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Aviation, or air transport, refers to the activities surrounding mechanical flight and the aircraft industry. Discussion on this topic revolves around the assertion that aircraft instrumentation are built to assume, and pilots are taught to fly, over a flat, non-rotating earth.

Royal Air Force College

Taking wrong directions would obviously have dire consequences when flying supersonic in a combat jet, therefore the Royal Air Force teaches their pilots the “real thing”. From the Aug 16, 1979 issue of New Scientist (Archive) we read on p.543:


  “  Andrew Hill ("Darwin rules—OK?", 12 July p 127) says "...even in the Spectator, we rarely find serious assertions that the Sun goes around the Earth".

One can of course believe anything one likes as long as the consequences of that belief are trivial, but when survival depends on belief, then it matters that beliefs correspond to manifest reality. We therefore teach navigators that the stars are fixed to the celestial sphere, which is centered on a fixed earth and around which it rotates in accordance with laws clearly deducible from common sense observation. The Sun and the Moon move across the inner surface of this sphere and hence perforce go around the earth. This means, that students of navigation must unlearn a lot of the confused dogma they learned in school. Most of them find this remarkably easy, because dogma is as it may be, but the real world is as we perceive it to be.

If Andrew Hill will look in the Journal of Navigation he will f‌ind that the Earth-centred Universe is alive and well, whatever his readings of the Spectator may suggest. ”

                  —Darcy Reddyhoff, Royal Air Force College

Study Guide

A study guide from says that a flat, non-rotating earth is assumed (Archive).

See section 1.1.2:

  “ In this summary, we want to describe the flight dynamics with equations. This is, however, very difficult. To simplify it a bit, we have to make some simplifying assumptions. We assume that...

  • There is a flat Earth (The Earth’s curvature is zero.)
  • There is a non-rotating Earth (No Coriolis accelerations and such are present.) ”

Related References