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Questions tagged [flight-planning]

Flight planning is the process of preparing for a flight: planning a route to fly, identifying alternate destinations in case of diversion, calculating required fuel, ensuring the aircraft will not be not overloaded and so on.

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28
votes
2answers
104k views

What are the ICAO fuel reserve requirements?

How much reserve fuel are private and commercial aircraft required to carry by ICAO rules? I heard that it changed recently (about a year ago) and is a little complicated. How is it calculated for ...
17
votes
5answers
33k 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 ...
106
votes
2answers
21k 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 ...
29
votes
4answers
63k views

What is Cost Index?

I'm not sure if it's just in Boeing aircraft, but I've heard that Cost Index has something to do with flight planning but have no idea what it is. What is it for and how is it calculated? (I'm happy ...
10
votes
3answers
13k views

How Earth's rotation affect flight times? [duplicate]

How much does Earth's rotation affect flight times in going East or West, and how could you calculate if zero winds?
34
votes
3answers
8k views

Why would a helicopter climb in a spiral?

I was just watching the James May's Toy Stories Christmas Special Flight Club*, and in it he commented that the helicopter was making a spiral climb to 8,000'. Why would the pilot spiral, not just ...
25
votes
2answers
10k views

Are there diversion points for southern Pacific great circle route flights?

At first I wasn't even sure if any airlines flew southern Pacific great circle route flights, but it looks like Qantas (QFA27) operates a flight between Sydney and Santiago, Chile. For northern ...
20
votes
6answers
40k views

What is the difference between Best Rate of Climb and Maximum Rate of Climb?

Is there a difference between Best Rate of Climb and Maximum Rate of Climb? From my research, best rate of climb trades ground distance for altitude (i.e. steeper climb, more altitude per unit time)...
112
votes
3answers
28k views

Why did this plane fly in a zigzag pattern?

I was tracking flight NKS739 from LAX to SEA this morning and saw that it made some some odd turns. If you look at the track from FlightRadar24.com you can see that it was heading toward SEA then it ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Why don't we get more user-friendly weather reports than METARs?

This question is not about how to decode METARs or what software or tools can be used to decode METARs. It is about why we are still using METARs today. Given that we have smartphones with video ...
20
votes
4answers
5k views

Can I use cellular data to receive in-flight weather on my iPad?

I would like to use an iPad for preflight planning. Can I also use the iPad to check weather while I'm en route?
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Is this ferry flight route possible for a B737-800 WL?

Recently a new aircraft, B737-86X (tail AP-BNA) was delivered to a new airline in Pakistan. The ferry flight as reported by planespotters is BFI - BGO - KHI but this seems like a large stretch given ...
11
votes
1answer
17k views

When is a flight plan required?

Do all flights need to have filed flight plans or only ones that fit certain criteria? What are the criteria?
3
votes
1answer
706 views

Aerobatics in "firm" IMC -- how would one do it?

Assuming you are aerobatically trained, IFR rated, have an aircraft that is rated for the aerobatic maneuvers you are planning to perform (let us assume that it is acrobatic category, even), and the ...
13
votes
1answer
809 views

Why might a passenger jet fly at altitudes in a strong headwind when the winds are more favorable at a different altitude?

I was a passenger on an east to west flight recently. During the flight I was playing with Garmin Pilot's new "Flight profile" feature that nicely shows the wind speeds at various altitudes, and I ...
13
votes
1answer
664 views

Where can I find regulations in different countries for flight level rules based on direction of flight?

I'm from Brazil, and here we use the West/East rule, so we use an odd flight level when we fly between 0/360 - 179, and when we fly between ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

What special training is required to fly in the Washington DC area?

I remember hearing that special training was required to fly into the Washington DC area and that it didn't really apply to me (maybe it was VFR only?). What is the requirement and what must you do ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

Can a IFR flight plan be amended or cancelled whilst in flight?

I'm asking, because ForeFlight states in their demo training video that an IFR filed flight plans can only be amended or cancelled up to 47 minutes prior to it being filed (and up to 2 hours after, ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

When does the airline check if an airplane can reach its destination?

It is known that - for example - LaMia Airlines Flight 2933 needed to travel 1,605 nautical miles (2,972 km), which exceeds the range of the Avro RJ85 at 1,600 nautical miles (2,963 km). At what point ...
3
votes
1answer
311 views

Where can a realtime map showing all flights and all dangerous areas be found?

Further to my other question, how can I find a realtime map of all flights that's combined with the foregoing map of all perilous zones? My goal is to see which flights may be overflying them, and in ...
10
votes
2answers
7k views

What is Tropopause height, and how is it determined?

I have seen the term "Tropopause height" used in a flight navigation plan. What is it and how is it determined?
6
votes
4answers
2k views

Constant TAS versus constant GS: What is the influence on turning circle?

Scenario Lets imagine a 50kts wind from east. Now lets imagine an aircraft flying at 200kts (True Air Speed) east that make a 1.15G turn -90º to north. Maintaining in all moments the given constant ...
18
votes
4answers
3k views

How does flight duration affect the hourly fuel consumption in heavy aircraft?

A 15 hour flight across the Pacific obviously requires more fuel than a 7.5-hour transatlantic flight. How significant is the hourly fuel consumption increase due to the additional fuel carried at ...
18
votes
3answers
4k views

After an emergency landing, what procedures should the pilot follow?

In case of an emergency landing (non-fatal) on a road/highway or in a large field, what happens next? Should police be contacted? Should aircraft owner and/or insurance be contacted? In case landing ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

Why are different routes flown between the the same pair of airports?

On two of my trips (same airline, same kind of plane 777), I noticed that the airplane took very different routes (from New York to UAE). 1st Trip in 2012 (blue): Duration 11h 30m 2nd Trip in 2013 (...
9
votes
5answers
6k views

Why do some flights make turns shortly after takeoff?

I have seen that flights will make a turn, after traveling some large distance (say after some kilometers), but that can be done before. Why not flying directly like in ...
7
votes
2answers
797 views

What should be the minimum time spent in cruise (for e.g. a B737)?

Having a short sector to fly, it would not be convenient to climb all the way up to the best cruise altitude, since the time in climb would burn more fuel than that necessary for a flight at lower ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Where can I download the flight plan data around the world?

Where can I download the flight plan data around the world, so that I have analyze their route? Are they provided freely?
16
votes
5answers
12k views

Is an alternate airport always required when flying internationally?

When flying a domestic US flight, an alternate airport is not required unless the weather is below specific minimums at the destination. What are the rules when on an international flight plan and ...
12
votes
3answers
15k views

Why does flight duration differ for the same flight?

I was checking the flight duration between two places over a 2-3 month period. The flight duration for the same flight is different for different months. For example, some days the flight takes 13 hrs ...
4
votes
1answer
4k views

What is the difference between Part 135 and Part 129?

I work with small commercial aircraft. Up until now I have understood Part 91 to mean that the flight has been filed as private and Part 135 to mean that the flight has been filed as commercial, to ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

How can the range of an aircraft be calculated given real wind conditions?

I am very new to aviation and trying to understand how to calculate the actual range of an aircraft given real world wind conditions. I understand from this related question that you need 30 minutes ...
14
votes
7answers
2k views

How/Where can I get additional weather information for flight planning?

METARs, TAFs, the area forecast (FA), and flight service briefings are great tools, but if I'm planning a flight with an overnight stay (or a flight that itself might take me a couple of days of ...
10
votes
3answers
76k views

What are "Alternate Minimums"?

As I asked question about weather minimums yesterday, I've read some material including TERPs. And In the FAA 8260.3b, 'Taking and Landing Minimims' 3.1 there is one sentence "alternate minimims, when ...
38
votes
2answers
4k views

How do I "sightsee" in a class Bravo airspace?

There are some good sights to see inside of class Bravo airspace. What is the best way to plan and communicate to ATC that my intention is to fly into the airspace to see some specific landmarks?
16
votes
3answers
5k views

Why don't aircraft fly over Tibet?

If you open www.flightradar24.com or their app, then this is what the scene commonly looks like: As you can see, the South-Central China area is strangely empty and the aircraft look to take a ...
6
votes
1answer
3k views

Why did this commercial flight fly in circles while far from the destination? [duplicate]

I was on the flight CX635 from Hong Kong to Singapore today, and I noticed the plane turning in a circle reminiscent of the holding pattern that planes often enter when they are queuing up to land. ...
5
votes
1answer
4k views

Can/do commercial flights change their flight path during flight?

Looking at the paths of the same flight on two different days, I noticed they flew very different paths. Short Path:1 YAY N184B TOPPS ENE PARCH1 Long Path:1 <...
16
votes
3answers
7k views

Could this "Wingless Dodo" fly in real life?

There is a wingless Cessna in GTA 3 that is so impossible to fly that the game counts how many seconds you manage to fly it. Would that plane fly at least 1 second in real life? The plane looks like ...
15
votes
2answers
7k views

What might have been the reasons for this low flight altitude?

I was flying from Heathrow to Miami last wednesday (AA 39) and for the first ⅔ of the flight we were flying at 28.000 feet, only afterwards did it go up to 33.000 feet. So far I was under the ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

Do autopilots force the aircraft to fly over certain coordinates?

As part of a project I'm doing I plotted the flight paths of about 2000 flights around the globe, I noticed over both the North Atlantic and Pacific that there is a pattern to the flight paths: You ...
12
votes
3answers
4k views

How long does flight planning take / when is it done / how is it done?

When I left an A320 today, the fuel truck was already there and refueling the aircraft. (At least, the hose was connected.) Also, a FA said they will fly back within 40 minutes. This isn't much time, ...
12
votes
2answers
870 views

How do airlines handle SIGMETS?

In general, what is the action taken by airlines when presented with a SIGMET in the projected route. Will they go around it, cancel the flight prior to takeoff, or simply fly thought it anyway? As ...
9
votes
3answers
7k views

What is the proper procedure to change altitude when changing heading?

I'm told that, depending on the heading of your aircraft, you have to fly at particular altitudes. Which, of course, makes sense because having planes flying in opposite directions at the same ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

What are the US flight planning regulations for an alternate airport?

As I read 14 CFR 91.169 literally, I understand an alternate airport listing waiver can be granted if the destination airport Has at least one instrument approach procedure from an authorized source. ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

How do the various DUATS differ?

In terms of technical capability, what are the comparative advantages and disadvantages between the following? CSC DUATS from Computer Sciences Corporation DTC DUAT from Data Transformation ...
5
votes
4answers
979 views

Do Blue Angels jets have a snap-to-angle feature in their control sticks?

So, in most drafting/modelling software, we have a feature called Snap to Angle or Snap to Edge; its function is to snap the ...
4
votes
4answers
393 views

Can longer paths consume less fuel than the (shorter) great circle path?

Is the most fuel-efficient route between points A and B always along a great circle ? Although somewhat counter-intuitive, this comment on an aviation blog seems to suggest that longer paths (in ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

What are the general post flight sequence checks and do they start automatically? If so, when?

What post flight checks are performed? Are they automatically or pilot initiated. If automatic, what are the possible conditions? For example, one of the conditions to start the postflight checks ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Can planned runway closures prevent a plane from leaving an airport?

I was on a flight recently where, due to the long runway at my airport being repaired, we had to fly to another nearby airport to get enough fuel for the rest of our trip. We couldn't take off with ...