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Does a plane need to compensate to maintain a steady altitude while flying, or will it naturally follow the curvature of the Earth?

So it's quite a simple procedure then.

therefore the plane stays at the same height, regardless of earth's curvature.

Someone sent me this answer by email:"This is to do with centripetal force, and gravity. Discuss...

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variation of gravity with height

Does that really make a difference? Relative to the radius of the Earth, the altitude range over which a plane flies means that gravitational variation is negligible isn't it?

Well the cord is inflexible and once you reach a certain speed of rotation any increase does not change the 'altitude'. If this was instead a perfectly elastic cord then change would then be a more realistic model of the flight of the plane. Even modelling a stall when the rotation slows too much.

Quote from: Colin2B on 20/03/2016 08:57:55variation of gravity with heightDoes that really make a difference? Relative to the radius of the Earth, the altitude range over which a plane flies means that gravitational variation is negligible isn't it?