Pressure Pattern Navigation is a method of capturing favorable tailwinds when flying long-distance trips.

The basic methodology can be found in this PDF.

I imagine that airline captains aren't all that free to choose their routes (correct me in the comments if I'm wrong!), but this seems to be perfectly suited for the corporate and charter crews among us. However, I've never heard of any crews using it in real life.

Does pressure pattern navigation work in the real world? How effective is it?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Airline crews don't do the route planning. We leave that up to dispatch and only intervene if there is an issue with the route (wx, etc) $\endgroup$
    – casey
    Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 23:09

1 Answer 1


It is used in the real world, especially by airlines. The best example is the North Atlantic Track system. The tracks are tailored every day to maximize the tailwind on West to East crossings and minimize the headwind East to West crossings.


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