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I was wondering about this topic. The following assumptions are made:

- area is flat and about 70 miles wide from all direction

- ideal airplane only changes in height (roll, azimuth, pitch stay constant).

So here's the scenario:

If a laser beam is mounted on an airplane and is pointed in a 45 degree angle towards the ground (with the right wing of the plane from a cockpit perspective as zero degrees and the angles ascend in a clockwise manner), then would a slight change in the airplane's height significantly alter the location of the beam on the ground?

I was just curious about this topic, and on paper, I'm actually using elevation angle instead of height. The elevation angle is defined as the angle formed between: 1) a line from the plane to the ground directly underneath it and 2) a line from the plane to the point on the ground where the beam is pointing.

I want to know how to calculate the change of the beam's position when this elevationg angle varies by +/- 1 degree.

I know that the elevation angle is dependent on the airplane's height, and that if the airplane was close to the ground then a +/-1 degree change would not really amount to a significant change in position of the beam. But if the plane was, say, 1000 ft in the ground, then this would be a different story.

Thanks!

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# Will a slight change in angle significantly affect distance?

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