On Oct 16, 2018, Flat Out Hero issued a $100,000 challenge to plot out a 270 degree triangle using flight charts:
Here is the challenge transcribed from his video:
Using flight charts, you know the only navigational maps that pilots can use to navigate. The only ones that actually get them where they’re going. Yeah flight charts. Using flight charts travel from point A to point B make a 90-degree angle turn. Travel the same distance you did the first time from point B to point C then make another 90 degree angle turn. Travel of the same distance you did in the first two legs and get home. Map that out using the only navigable maps that we know. Can’t use a globe to navigate but we know that we can use in flight charts to navigate so map that flight route if you can do it hundred thousand dollars to the winner whoever can do it.
Feel free to watch the video to verify what he said matches this transcript. He referenced two previous videos where he asked Wolfie6020 and SciManDan a similar challenge, though without a monetary prize.
Please watch these shorter videos. He shows how you cannot plot a triangle with three 90 degree turns on a flat surface but you can on a spherical object. He claims that real navigation requires 4 points with 90 degree turns but provides no evidence to support this claim.
This challenge is pretty simple using electronic flight charts which is what the majority of flights use in 2018. Certainly, international flights covering the necessary distance are more likely to use electronic flight charts in 2018.
On October 18, 2018, I submitted an entry that used electronic flight charts. Flat Out Hero insisted that he meant paper flight charts. For some reason, he neglected to specify that he meant paper flight charts in the challenge video. Since he neglected to include this stipulation in the original challenge, this is a modification of the rules after they were issued and a solution was provided. This is fraud and people rightly accused him of “moving the goalposts”. I submit that my first solution completely satisfies the challenge. It is also the first video solution I am aware of.
However, the paper chart requirement is not a problem as paper flight charts use the same source data as electronic flight charts. I am up for the additional challenge. Flat Out Hero has suggested using “The ones that are like the FAA sectional flight charts” in a follow-up video. FAA sectional charts only cover the Unites States so they are not large enough to cover the necessary distances for the challenge. Here are some features of the FAA Sectional Charts:
- These charts are intended for Visual Flight Rules
- FAA Sectional charts use the Lambert Conical Conformal projection to map the sphere of the earth onto a flat chart
- The scale of the FAA charts is 1:500,000 to one.
Since the FAA charts do not cover enough area, what does Flat Out Hero mean when he says to use charts “like the FAA Sectional charts”?
There are several different chart series, but just one chart series that is the closest to the approved FAA Sectional Charts, the Operational Navigation Chart Series. These are freely available and cover the entire world. They are also VFR charts and use the same Lambert Conical Conformal Projection. The single difference is that the scale is 1:1,000,000. These charts match the description “like the FAA Sectional Charts”.
The exact charts I selected are not an important factor because the original challenge did not specify any restrictions on the charts used. To change the rules after a submission has been submitted is fraud, or “moving the goalposts”.
There was no scale mentioned, no specific projection mentioned, no stipulations on IFR vs VFR, nothing was said about how to arrange them. The challenge was silent on any of these stipulations.
On November 6, 2018, I submitted an entry using paper flight charts. I used real airports with weekly flights between them as the points of the triangle. This was to satisfy any complaints about the flights not being possible. This caused the distances and angles to be slightly off 90 degrees. While this entry strongly disproved the idea of a flat earth by plotting out a 263 degree triangle, an impossibility on a flat earth, this entry was rejected. I agreed as the angles and distances were not accurate enough.
Flat Out Hero and I had a conversation on the topic of the angles being slightly off 90 degrees. This conversation was on the days around November 14, 2018.
Flat Out Hero further suggested that the points of the triangle do not need to be located at airports. They just need to be in non-restricted airspace. This was not specified in the original challenge so it is nothing more than a suggestion. To change the rules after a submission has been submitted is fraud, or “moving the goalposts”.
Piece together flight charts or if you want to use your Mercator style map, take me on a trip to the North or South Pole. Or plot it any where else doesn’t matter anywhere that’s not restricted. Hey if you can use airspace that we know planes fly in, fine, that’s proof.
I adjust the routes using coordinates that worked perfectly and avoided restricted airspace. These were again plotted the ONC paper flight charts. On Nov 30, 2018, I submitted my third entry to the challenge.
The details are listed in the description of the video and I’ll include them here:
The three points of the spherical triangle:
- Near Taratara, Namibia, Africa S18°3.49′ E20°19.22’ or -18.058167, 20.320333
- Near Snuol, Cambodia N11°57.54′ E106°18.77’ or 11.959000, 106.312833
- North of Iceland N68°18.16′ W15°35.42’or 68.302667, -15.590333
You can paste into SkyVector’s route box to see the entire route:
180444S0201913E 115720N1061833E 681800N0153525W 180444S0201913E
Each leg is exactly 5403.6 nautical miles. Each angle is 90.0 degrees.
Starting at Near Taratara, Namibia start with a heading of 85°, fly 5403.6 nautical miles straight, arrive near Snuol, Cambodia, turn 90 degrees counterclockwise. Fly 5403.6 nautical miles, arrive North of Ireland, turn 90 degrees counterclockwise. Fly 5403.6 nautical miles, arrive back at the starting point.
This completely satisfies the criteria. I have not heard Flay Out Hero identify how this entry does not satisfy the criteria in the challenge. If additional rules are added to reject this entry, it is fraud, or “moving the goalposts”.