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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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 ...
106
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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 ...
83
votes
1answer
10k views

Why did this FedEx flight (FDX1311) take such an indirect route multiple times?

I was looking at flights from DEN -> MEM, and saw this extra-long route that FDX1311 took last night (9 Aug 2021) Thinking they were probably just avoiding storms, I scrolled down and saw there ...
41
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4answers
10k views

How can I find places to store/land a private airplane?

Say I'm the proud new owner of a Cessna 172. To celebrate, I want to fly my family from Texas to Orlando Florida for a weekend visit. Local takeoff is easy enough. I live close by, and I know the ...
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?
34
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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 ...
30
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3answers
8k views

Why would a flight from Frankfurt to Madrid fly over London?

While enjoying the sunshine at the bank of the river Main in Frankfurt (Germany) this evening, I saw a LATAM B787-9 depart over the city center towards the north. This was slightly surprising, as the ...
29
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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 ...
28
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2answers
103k 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 ...
26
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2answers
6k views

Is the destination of a commercial flight important for the pilot?

As has been recently advertised (in here, here, here also), a recent British Airways flight from London City Airport destined for Düsseldorf mistakenly flew its passengers to Edinburgh instead. I'm a ...
25
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9answers
5k views

How can a private pilot prepare for a long cross country flight in an unfamiliar area?

TL/DR: What are common preparation tips or techniques for low-hour private pilots planning long cross country flights in unfamiliar territory? I got my private pilot's license in November 2016 in ...
25
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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 ...
23
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2answers
3k views

Are all flights planned?

Do (GA) pilots necessarily have to plan every flight, or can someone just go up and fly? Please note I don't mean actually 'filing a flight plan', but does every flight need to be carefully plotted ...
22
votes
3answers
9k views

Why is the flight going north just to go south?

I am tracking my kid's flight from LAX to EWR. It seems like a pretty straight West to East kind of flight but the flight path has the plane moving somewhat north through Ohio and then angling back to ...
21
votes
1answer
1k views

What are the protocols of flying over conflict areas?

Apparently Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 used a general airway over the east of Ukraine, which currently is 'in conflict'. What are the 'normal' procedures regarding (not) flying over conflict areas? ...
20
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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)...
20
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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?
19
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3answers
20k views

Why the number 6 in P6SM in a METAR/TAF?

A typical METAR or TAF reads something like this: VRB04KT P6SM SCT025 BKN040 OVC060 P6SM means "greater than 6 statute miles ...
19
votes
1answer
2k views

What are the printouts/paperwork a captain does at the check-in desk?

While flying American out of Chicago yesterday I noticed that when the captain arrived he went to the check-in desk and first read the monitor of a computer there for a minute or two, then he printed ...
18
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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 ...
18
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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
2answers
8k views

Does a headwind/tailwind affect your rate of climb?

I am still confused whether a head wind or tailwind would affect the rate of climb. Since in a HW/TW condition our a/c is basically still climbing in the same parcel of air, it is just that parcel of ...
17
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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 ...
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 ...
16
votes
4answers
12k views

Why do you never see any other planes in the sky whilst flying?

I was just wondering as I passed the airport this morning why, whilst we are flying, do we never see any other planes nearby? There must be millions of planes and millions of people flying each day, I ...
16
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2answers
70k views

Do any flights go over the South Pole?

Are there any flights that go over the South Pole, or any that have? I'm not interested in flights over the edges of Antarctica, I'm asking about crossing right over the Pole. Are there any problems ...
16
votes
4answers
13k views

How do I plan for my PPL checkride which will involve a diversion?

My CFI has told me that in my checkride I will begin a planned cross country flight and will be diverted to another airport shortly into the flight. My question is, how do I effectively plan for this? ...
16
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3answers
1k views

If I'm on a IFR flight plan with appropriate IFR reserves, and I'm given a lower altitude which will consume more fuel, what should I do?

Let's say I'm on a long-range flight at my requested altitude of FL250, and I am handed off into a very busy sector where the controller tells me "Descend and maintain FL210, for traffic." At FL250, ...
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 ...
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 ...
15
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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 ...
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
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1answer
5k views

Why would a pilot pick this military airport as an emergency landing airport?

Looking at this old question, a comment suggested that Skyway Airlines flight 1267 was a possible answer to that question. Out of curiosity, I looked at the NTSB link of the Nov. 1996 incident report ...
15
votes
1answer
317 views

What is required to fly privately from a region with high levels of the ebola virus (Nigeria) to the UK?

My dad will be flying us in a private aircraft from Nigeria back to the UK. I know that he has been in touch with someone from the UK about this, but since I wasn't present for the conversation I'm ...
14
votes
1answer
2k views

Should I put yesterday's date for destination date/time on a flight plan if the flight is to go east bound across Zulu +-12 time zone?

The international date line runs across the middle of Pacific Ocean opposite (12 hour ahead or before Greenwich mean time (zulu)) Zulu time. It is the boundary where 24 hours elapses and the date ...
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 ...
13
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3answers
4k views

Is the "Bay Tour" flight path documented, or is it a more informal route? Are there similar flight paths for other cities?

During my Private Pilot's Licence days out in San Francisco, we often flew a "Bay Tour": a sightseeing flight northbound from San Jose through SFO's Class B , over the city and Golden Gate Bridge, ...
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 (...
13
votes
3answers
822 views

How can I get more details about information in a NOTAM?

In doing some planning for an upcoming flight, I noticed my destination (a towered airport) has a NOTAM about the runway: "FICON PATCHY ICE". That seems rather vague, I'd like more information before ...
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
663 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

How is flight planning performed with short turnaround times?

For low cost carrier short-haul flight such as Dortmund-London I have experienced multiple times that turnaround times are around 20-25 minutes. In such a short time what is included in the flight ...
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 ...
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
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4answers
20k views

What is the difference between a positioning flight and a ferry flight?

What's the difference (for the purpose) between positioning and ferry flight?
12
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2answers
1k views

Is ETOPS satisfied solely by range circles?

Consider a scenario where an airplane is operated on an ETOPS 180 route where the ETOPS alternate is open, available and above minima, but there is terrain between the route and the airport which ...
12
votes
3answers
548 views

Are there benefits to opening a flight plan if I'm flying over populated areas?

Here in Idaho we have a lot of mountains and desert areas where if I had to make an emergency landing or crashed it may take a very long time to find me. In that case I can see the benefit to opening ...
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 ...
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 ...
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?

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