Flight Time and Headwind or Tailwind


The concept of headwinds and tailwinds and their effect on east-to-west or west-to-east travel times was first explored in a very similar question on travel times between Bombay and Los Angeles. In that answer, we explained that the trip from India to California is so much faster than than the return trip because of the effect of wind over the latitudes in question. These wind directions are further explained and depicted in another question we answered on travel times between London and New York. The diagram in that question illustrates that the predominant winds over much of the Northern Hemisphere are referred to as the Prevailing Westerlies because they blow from the west and to the east. So the scenario you describe in your question is actually the opposite of what really happens. The faster trip is from Hawaii to California since this direction results in a tailwind.
- answer by Doug Jackson, 15 September 2002

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