Linked Questions

102
votes
2answers
20k views

Why do airlines follow these routes between Barcelona and Düsseldorf?

In the wake of GermanWings' terrible incident of flight 9525, I have noticed that the crash location is quite far from the shortest route connecting the two airports. I then went on FlightRadar24's ...
55
votes
6answers
16k views

Why do pilots use airways instead of just “flying direct” every time?

These days, on larger/newer aircraft at least, it seems like GPS navigation is pretty much ubiquitous. So it doesn't seem like VORs and Non-directional Beacons (NDBs) would really get a lot of usage ...
41
votes
5answers
81k views

How much is the minimum safe distance between two planes in-flight?

According to FAA regulations, how far should a commercial jet be away from another plane in-flight? How about military planes? They get really close when in formations... Is there a minimum distance?
36
votes
3answers
4k views

When might a pilot hand-fly a jet at cruise altitudes, and is it difficult?

How difficult is it to hand-fly a jet at cruise altitudes? Other than autopilot failure and just doing it for the fun of it, when might you want to hand-fly at those altitudes? I suspect the answer ...
16
votes
4answers
29k views

What is a rule of thumb for when to begin a descent?

What rule of thumb would you use for your airplane insofar as how far from your destination you would begin your descent given an expected straight-in approach and landing in no-wind conditions and no ...
19
votes
3answers
35k views

What is a TRACON?

What is a TRACON or Terminal Control? When do pilots need to be helped by a TRACON? Where is it usually located and what is the difference between TRACON, En Route and Tower?
19
votes
3answers
9k views

Is it legal to fly in RVSM airspace with an inoperative autopilot?

FAR Part 91, Appendix G, Section 2 says: (c) Altitude-keeping equipment: All aircraft. To approve an aircraft group or a nongroup aircraft, the Administrator must find that the aircraft meets ...
18
votes
1answer
5k views

How does vertical separation work above FL400?

The information mentioned in "Jeppesen Airway Manual" is that after FL400, fight levels are FL430, FL470, FL510 for the 'even' FL's column. Normally, I would expect every level divided by a thousand ...
14
votes
1answer
3k views

How does handover between Air Traffic Controllers work?

I have a questions about air traffic control. I understand how the controllers monitor and direct aircraft on their intended routes while maintaining clearance distances to other aircraft and ...
4
votes
4answers
878 views

How does Air Traffic Control know a flight's route and destination?

I am trying to find out in layman's terms how does ATC determine the direction a flight has to take after takeoff, or when should it start descending for the destination airport. I understand it has ...
0
votes
3answers
769 views

Why do airlines not use direct routes?

Why do airlines use SIDs and STARs when flying IFR. Wouldn’t it be easier and make more sense for them to use direct routes (for example KDFW.KLAX instead of KDFW.L4D.ZIBIT.J5N.BUBIN.P3K.KLAX (not a ...