Sigh. In either model, you never fly in a straight line.

Yes, these aren't pictures for the specific flights you've asked about. They're old shit from an old post of a noob asking a nearly identical question (hint: use the search function in the future)

(I removed the pictures from the quote for brevity. You can see them above)

Indeed. For example, the shortest flight path between most sets of two points on a RE model is through the Earth's crust. The flight deviates via the atmosphere in order to ease passage.

You misunderstood what I meant by straight line (or shortest path) on a globe. This is the shortest path between two points on a globe by traveling on the surface of a globe. (see

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geodesic).

In any case, the measured 11,800 km for a RE journey from Sydney to BA is fairly accurate, and my calculations do not change.

By the way, here is a FE distance calculator derived from the polar coordinate distance formula (Freebie!):

(Source: 10000\sqrt{[(1-\frac{\phi_{1}}{90})sin(\lambda_{1}\frac{\pi}{180})-(1-\frac{\phi_{2}}{90})sin(\lambda_{2}\frac{\pi}{180})]^{2}+((1-\frac{\phi_{1}}{90})cos(\lambda_{1}\frac{\pi}{180})-(1-\frac{\phi_{2}}{90})cos(\lambda_{2}\frac{\pi}{180}))^{2}})

Φ_1 and Φ_2 are the latitudes of places 1 and 2 reps. (positive if north, negative if south)

and

λ_1 and λ_2 are the longitudes of places 1 and 2 reps. (positive if west, negative if east)

If you want the derivation, I'll show you in another post.

And that's the quickest flight path. People might notice that something is suspicious because of the land there flying over, to go route that doesn't create suspicion they'd have to go even further.

You are confusing the quickest flight path with the shortest. They are not necessarily the same. Flight paths can be planned to take advantage of jet streams and although longer are both quicker and cheaper.

using sydney's (34.00 S, 151.00 E), and BA's (34.58S, 58.36 W), that's

Sydney: (-34.00 N, -151.00 W)

BA: (-34.58N, 58.36 W)

I calculate the distance to be 26,718 km.

Now, jet streams go from west to east in a roughly circular pattern, sydney and BA are roughly on the same latitude.

if you travel along a jet stream path from sydney to BA, the ground distance on a flat earth is

(1+34/90)*20,000 * (pi/180 * (209)) = 50,258 km going East, and

(1+34/90)*20,000 * (pi/180 * (260-209)) = 36,310 km going West.

To actually stay in the jet stream is a longer route.

Since the jet stream flows east, "going with the jet stream" will double the length of the flight path, and cannot account for making up time in an FE model.