Who are the real fly-over people?

The state flown over the most actually is…Virginia.

Next in line are Maryland, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

In part this is because so many flights from the very busy Atlanta airport cross Virginia.  Yet the airport with the most flights above Virginia is Toronto, including most of its flights to the Caribbean and Latin America.

Other than Hawaii, the least flown over state is — surprise — California.  Hawaii is also the “most flown under” state, if you look at the opposite point on the globe.  Most of the continental U.S. “opposites” into obscure parts of the Indian Ocean, but Hawaii opposites into Botswana.

That is all from Randall Munroe’s What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd and Hypothetical Questions.


I think a better measure of fly-over people would be the states with the highest ratio of flights over to flight landings.

Came to say this. Bravo, quick man.

That's just going to measure which states have major airline hubs. A lot of people land and takeoff again without ever leaving those airports.

He answers that: It's Delaware. Lots of flights going up and down the East Coast over Delaware, but none of them land there.

Bingo. That's (I assume) how the term originated: it's *just* flown over, not visited.

Congrats on misunderstanding the metaphor, Tyler_Cowen and xkcd!

What if? started as a series of web posts, and there's a lot of free content at his website: https://what-if.xkcd.com

Fun stuff.

Agreed, Randall is awesome.

Very very good book. Yes, based on the comic.

However, my kids — in agreement with many Amazon reviewers — were not happy with his next book The Thing Explainer.

Had you read the Up-Goer 5 comic he'd done using this concept before you bought the book? It was clever but not very amusing (probably more fun to create than to read), and a whole book of them pretty clearly held no interest for me.

"In part this is because so many flights from the very busy Atlanta airport cross Virginia."

Charlotte-Douglas International, snubbed!

I describe my community as fly in-fly out America (as opposed to fly-over America): the very wealthy fly in on their private jets on Thursday or Friday evening (landing at the small airport with runways that can accommodate Air Force One - which it has - even though there are no commercial flights), stay at their "cottages" at the nearby resort, and then fly out Sunday evening or Monday morning.

Such is life in America.

If we're going to verb an innocent noun for this article, couldn't it be "antipode" rather than "opposite"?


Dispite what Munroe asserted, Virginia simply has no major airport, none in the top 50 in NAmerica. And if you are in the way between two busy hubs there are going to be a lot of fly overs.

Virginia simply has no major airport, n

Except for Washington National and Dulles.

They are officially designated to belong to Washington DC


"""Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport is, along with Washington Dulles International Airport, part of a two-airport system that provides domestic and international air service for the Washington DC metropolitan and surrounding regions. Both Airports have been managed by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) since 1987 when they were transferred by Congress to the Authority under a long-term lease authorized by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Act of 1986, Title VI of Public Law 99-50."""


"""APPENDIX A | Airport Governance and Ownership | The National ..."""

IAD and DCA Official locations: "Washington DC"

Neither IAD nor DCA has any authority to draw state lines. Both Dulles and Reagan are in VA.

Monroe's book - and I hope, for his sake, he sells many copies - is a good example of the scientific "answers to questions" books, which have been with us for a long long time. There is of course a trade-off, the time spent reading such books could be spent, say, observing butterflies or variable stars, or measuring the smoke from local volcanoes, and thus building the confidence on one's own observations that is one of the nicest things about science. Anyway, to talk about another, similar, book, Astronomy Cafe by Sten Ostenwald is a real good version of a book that answers hundreds of the questions about a scientific field that the imaginative person who had not had the leisure to study the subject in depth might want to ask. A rare example of a obvious question Ostenwald did not answer in that book (but may have answered in a sequel book, astronomy is, after all, a big subject): if the universe is curved (and finite, as opposed to straight and, well, not finite), but is extremely large, what is the minimum size of the universe based on current cosmological observations?: the answer is found on page 1-2 of Shing-Tung Yau's and Steve Nadis' 2010 book "The Shape of Inner Space": if we accept that the universe may be 'curved and finite" (and there is no evidence that it is, it is just speculation that it might be) , then the visible part of the universe (with the most distant galaxies 13 billion years away - that is a lot of birthday cards, for the conscientious observer who has observed it all those years) is at the most just one in 1000 parts of the actual volume of the actual universe and possibly just 1 in a million or even less parts of the actual universe (that is, if it would take you ten years to walk to the end of the maximally curved (that is, the smallest) universe that is described by recent cosmological observations and photographs, traversing while doing so not so small galaxies with every single step - as if each galaxy were no more than a grain of sand on some idealized version of the beach at Coney Island that took 10 years to walk along - and remember, that is the small version of the universe - well, then, it would take, based on the most accurate cosmological observations of curvature (actually, of the lack of curvature) evidence - well, it would take you 10,000 years to walk over any path from one end of the universe (as it was when you started) to the other end (again, only as it was when you started so long ago, back in the day). And that is still nowhere near the smallest version of a finite universe. And, in this analogy, you would be walking very very fast. !3 billion conscientious birthday cards is a small concept compared to the speed of your ramblings. I guess. Maybe I don't know what I am talking about. It wouldn't be the first time, as Edna Millay used to like to say - again, I guess.

Sorry for the long comment, if you are the sort of person who reads long comments and then wonders where the time went, perhaps even resentfully (say it ain't so, Joe! - well, Joe, after his 15 minutes of being criticized by people who were not even aware what they were doing, lived a useful life, you can look it up, as his pal Casey (who managed the first and only 'professional sports' team I ever cared much about) used to say. ) So I will try a useful short comment, in an attempt at useful compensation: Google "Edna Millay quotes" and enjoy shorter observations. Or imagine what Coney Island looked like 10, 20, 30 (there I am!), 50, 100, 140, 200 and more years ago. Both the sunset and the sunrise hovered above the water, south of the beach. Paint it. Remember the ferry, the peaches, and people who cared about each other without realizing that one day it would all be almost forgotten. I remember, Edna. Help me out here, clockwork, despite your despicable moniker. You can do better. I know you can.

1125 South de Anzs Boulevard

1125 South de Anza Boulevard, Palo Alto, California, United States. Your world.

Your world being so large, bring something a little extra to the local GoodWill (the Google Street picture of the one on South de Anza is charming). Particularly in Silicon Valley there is a big need for contributions to support the local homeless population.

This is idiotic. Nobody calls them fly over states because they have the most planes flying over them. They're called that because most people interact with them by flying over them because there's nothing worthwhile in Wyoming. Obvious misinterpretations are such a boring waste of time.

there’s nothing worthwhile in Wyoming.

Except for 560,000 people, two cities, $38 bn worth of goods and services produced per year, and scenic landscapes which include Yellowstone. Do you people ever stop to think what you sound like?

Truth, Art.

I am dreaming of emigrating to anywhere on the east side of the Wind River Range.

Oh please you big baby. Substitute 'California' for 'Wyoming' and it's basically a direct Art Deco quote. Do you people ever stop to think what snowflakes you are, crying over mean librul's mean words?

teddy, keep on flying and i won't waste my time and be bored by reading your posts.

"Hawaii is also the “most flown under” state, if you look at the opposite point on the globe. Most of the continental U.S. “opposites” into obscure parts of the Indian Ocean, but Hawaii opposites into Botswana."

This ties into a broader fact that, strangely enough, most points on the earth's landmass have their antipode in water. With 31% of the surface area as land and given we were standing on land, we would naively expect a 31% chance that there was land on the directly opposite side of the world. But this is not the case; it is less than 5%. Most of the world's continents align almost exactly with the great oceans on the other side.

Perhaps a more useful measure would be fly-overs compared to local take offs and destinations, or remoteness from centroid of the weighted network of connections.

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