By now, it is almost certain you have heard of long flights that take over 20 hours, but did you know there are also very short trips that could last a few hours to a minute? This article looks at the shortest flight done by a commercial plane. The flight directly connects two Orkney Islands in Scotland. Time taken to complete this flight is just 90 seconds. The flight covers about 2.7km (1.7 miles) which is technically the length of the Edinburgh Airport runway. This flight is operated by Loganair, a Scottish regional airline, and runs between Papa Westray Airport and Westray Airport.
Shortest Flight Takes Only 90 Seconds
Papa Westray Airport and Westray Airport are two Orkney Islands linked by a short ferry ride. Loganair operates a direct flight between the two airports. The short distance is covered in just 90 seconds by an Islander aircraft, which takes off from Papa Westray, lands on Westray and vice versa.
The flight operates two or three times daily and appears in the timetable as “Orkney Direct,” taking just over a minute. That makes it the shortest commercial flight that runs just over a minute.
Pilot’s Viewpoint on Shortest Flight
The pilot who flies this route says it feels like a “normal” trip until you hit the runway threshold for landing. Flying lasts about 15 seconds during this 90-second direct flight due to significant headwinds experienced while landing on Westray’s 900-meter runway. During takeoff on Papa Westray, a headwind makes the plane experience a tailwind condition.
Aircraft Used for Shortest Flight
The Islander aircraft that flies the route is a variant of the Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer of 1958. Its source of power is two PT6 turboprop engines. The Islanders have an overall length of 7 meters and a wingspan of 10 meters with an empty weight of 2,340 kilograms, a max takeoff weight of 3,400 kilograms, and a cruise speed of 190 knots (350km/h).
Savior for the Islanders
This flight has been a savior all year round for around 80 people who call these islands home. However, the flight ferries day-trippers and other tourists to the Scottish islands during summer. Most of them look to experience the shortest flight in the world and discover the numerous delights the islands offer.
The start of the itinerary is basically on the Mainland at the Kirkwall airport. Kirkwall is the capital of Orkney. You take a fifteen minutes flight to Westray before you can now enjoy the shortest commercial flight worldwide.
Aviation fans, especially those who love seeing the pilot work their magic, will love it more on the Scottish flights. That is because the planes are tiny, and you can see the pilot fly the craft from where you are seated. However, you must understand that you do not choose where to sit. Passengers in these tiny planes are distributed evenly for weight distribution.
With these flights in the northern part of Scotland, you do not need the seat back screens to decipher where you are going. There is no looking for a route map since you can peep through the window and see your destination before you depart.
Touch down at the Papa Westray airport is exciting since the main runway is gravel. Found here is a fire truck that is always on standby around the airport for emergencies. These two airports are never too busy, and as the engine noise fades away into the distance, the airstrip remains quiet. After this, you can only hear the sea breeze and the flapping of the windsock.
Even though the flight may cost just a few dollars, the main attraction is Orkney island. Once in Scotland, visit the Scottish islands and enjoy the shortest flight in the world.