Bag of aerial words


Appearing in the New York Times, a posting by Mark Vanhoenacker about flight.

The world’s airspace is divided. There are various sorts of divisions. To the pilots who cross them every day, their borders form what we may regard as the countries of the sky.

[…] An airplane typically navigates through sky countries along a route composed of a few radio beacons and many waypoints. Waypoints are defined by coordinates or their bearing and distance from a beacon, and by a name, which typically takes the form of a five-letter capitalized word — EVUKI, JETSA, SABER — that’s pronounceable and distinct to controllers and pilots regardless of their first language. Waypoint names are the sky’s audible currency of place, atomized and distinct.

Many waypoint names are random, but others are not.

Commenting on Hacker News, therockspush notes how the waypoints around San Francisco reflect underlying Silicon Valley, with waypoints named: UTOOB, NTELL, EBAYE, and CISKO.

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