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Our Crowded Skies

U.S. flight patterns

Some say that it wouldn’t be such a bad thing for flight capacities to get cut way down and for half the population to stop flying for a while. I originally saw this cool photo above in Wired magazine and found it online at a design site hosted by UCLA. In case that site goes down in the future, it’s a collection of work from Aaron Koblin that also appears at the Celestial Mechanics site.

In this case they’ve taken FAA data from 2005 that tracks 141,000 aircraft paths over a 24-hour period. I cropped out the Hawaii and Alaska parts just to show the mainland, but it’s amazing how few places there are in the lower 48 where you won’t see a jet’s vapor trail overhead, even in “flyover country.”

Follow that Celestial Mechanics site link and you can see some other rather scary images, like our planet enveloped in satellites. Hey, that GPS signal has to come from somewhere, right?