Flight-path for me means trajectory through the air. But it can colloquially mean a route.

Since we have a tag, I imagine flight-path does indeed refer to the trajectory. It does lack a tag description though.

Yet most questions for are about routes. So I wouldn't force a description really and retag a bunch of questions.

What should we do about it?

Update after 1.5 years: I've split the answer. The action taken (?) was opposite my recommendation (now posted separately), I believe in error. The flight-path tag is now the master, with the route a synonym.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ When I hear flight path used in aviation it is usually referring to, either the trajectory, (i.e. "the object crossed my flight path at a 90° angle") or the track of an aircraft after the fact (i.e. during a crash investigation). I've never heard it meaning a route. $\endgroup$
    – TomMcW
    Aug 15, 2017 at 2:22
  • $\begingroup$ It's interesting to note that in some scientific publications, path and trajectory are NOT the same thing. Trajectory is the 3D line that an aircraft is following, Path has also a reference velocity. $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    Aug 15, 2017 at 7:26
  • $\begingroup$ I haven't looked at the questions involved, but maybe people are confusing flight-paths for flight-plans? $\endgroup$
    – user
    Aug 22, 2017 at 11:20
  • $\begingroup$ note that the route -> flight-path synonym suggestion has been made more than a year before you posted this question, on 2016-03-17 23:51:59 . I approved it on 2017-12-12 11:02:37 because I was not aware/did not remember this discussion. It can still be changed, as I (thankfully) did not merge at the time. $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    Mar 1, 2019 at 13:33
  • $\begingroup$ @Federico: Thank you for featuring it, it's received one UV, and a lot more users saw it in the last week. What's the plan now? $\endgroup$
    – user14897
    Mar 8, 2019 at 22:19

2 Answers 2


I removed the synonym link between the tags.

As a consequence of my past actions (approving the synonym on 2017-12-12 11:02:37) the currently has no questions attached to it.

I can rename to , but I would prefer to do it selectively, so please feel free to edit the tag wherever required.

I say so because a tag without questions will be automatically deleted during the UTC night, when an automatic chron job cleans the tag lists of every SE site. Renaming to would leave without questions, and thus delete whatever wiki guidance one would put there.


I do not think they should be synonyms. I originally wrote:

I would say merge (replace and delete) flight-path into route.

Is that doable?

In detail, although actual implementation may vary as I don't know what options the mods have:

  1. The synonyms to be split (no longer synonyms)

  2. All flight-path questions to be tagged route

    • Rename then delete flight-path(?)
  3. flight-path tag to be added again and to have a description for its uses, borrowing from Wikipedia as an example:

    A trajectory or flight path is the path that a object with mass in motion follows through space as a function of time.

  4. Find at least 1 question about the newly defined flight-path, and tag it to establish and reserve the tag. I was able to find three potential tag-users:

Over to you.

  • $\begingroup$ if you merge they have to be synonyms first. and I am not sure you can re-create the merged one afterwards. I'll ask when I have a bit of time. $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    Mar 9, 2019 at 8:39
  • $\begingroup$ This comment is way late but i must make it anyway. Route is a legal corridor like a road "route 66" or "V253"(VOR low alt routes) and "Q123"(GPS routes), flight-path is the actual [historical] path of an object, trajectory refers to potential path if no additional inputs are made. $\endgroup$
    – Max Power
    Mar 10, 2019 at 4:41

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