Why do planes need to turn and bank. Couldn’t they just point in the direction they need to go and fly there? If LAX was say 273° west, why wouldn’t they aim the plane at the direction and just fly straight?
_Close_to_the_Edge_: Planes don’t turn mid flight for the most part. They do excalty as you describe.
They do however turn, near the runway usually, for numerous reasons. Most obviously, the runway isn’t aligned with the direction of travel. Or others, like they have other aircraft to schedule around with landing. Weather conditions require a certain runway direction. There are unforseen delays causing them to circle. There is unfavourable weather (or airspace) they wish to avoid. Etc.
Unless you mean [this type of “turning”](https://ixquick-proxy.com/do/spg/show_picture.pl?l=english&rais=1&oiu=http%3A%2F%2Fspatial.ly%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2012%2F06%2Fflights_sml.jpg&sp=75046cdd341c1875b293471f0cae281b). Those aren’t turns, they are straight lines distorted by trying to make a flat map. On a globe, they are the straight path.
blipsman: Planes have to take off of runways that are at specific directions, so they have to turn to go toward their destination. Hey also need to be able to get into approach patterns without colliding into other aircraft landing around the same time from other destinations. And then there may be things like airspace restrictions, weather, jet stream, etc. that they need to maneuver around.
djamp42: Weather, other aircraft traffic. For the most part if the weather is fine, and there is no air traffic around they will fly stright.
slash178: Many reasons – the direction of the runway, the direction of the wind, other planes on the same course..
cersei_and_jaime: Traffic. You have multiple planes coming in (or going out) from different directions, but they all need to be in an ordered line to land (or get out of the way). IANAP but I believe this is what they call “flying in the pattern.”
Also, the direction of the runways are not all the same. So if you take off from LAX, you’re going to be roughly headed east or west. If you’re going to SFO, PDX, or SEA, you have to turn at some point. PDX faces E/W, SFO is diagonal to the four cardinal points, and SEA is N/S. The only way your hypothetical makes sense is if you take off from LAX, and go east, landing at an airport with roughly the same compass heading.
cdb03b: Banking and Turning is how they point in the direction they need to go. That is how they aim the plane.
Beta1988: Do not quote me, but i so know that some countries do not allow certain companies to fly over them. Also, think of the skes like road lanes, what if wverybody just went where they wanted, chaos. Therefore planes have to fly their set road/lane. Also something to do with the fact with waste i think, not sure about that. Waiting for an actual answer.