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107 votes
Accepted

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

Purpose FDX1311 is a daily scheduled flight, called a flying spare, or more colloquially a sweeper. It's a provision to remedy unplanned events which would otherwise prevent customers shipments to ...
mins's user avatar
  • 74k
90 votes

Why did this plane fly in a zigzag pattern?

It is a typical dogleg used to increase spacing between aircraft or delay their arrival. If the airport does not have enough capacity to handle incoming traffic, the air traffic controllers have ...
DeltaLima's user avatar
  • 83.5k
69 votes
Accepted

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

The pilots in this case did know where they were going: Edinburgh. BA said a paperwork error was to blame, with the pilot following orders from Germany, where WDL’s head office had filed the ...
StephenS's user avatar
  • 27.7k
56 votes
Accepted

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

The first thing you usually do as a pilot is to look at a sectional chart, which shows all the airports and airspace in the area you want to fly (and transit). They look like this: You can see that ...
Ron Beyer's user avatar
  • 36.2k
51 votes

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

If you're not seeing them, you're not looking. I see planes all the time when flying commercial. Obviously, I see them a lot more when close to a major center, and a lot less when in the sparse ...
abelenky's user avatar
  • 30.7k
43 votes

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

I can't be completely sure but the most likely reason is a planned strike by ATC in south-east France. It was planned from the 30th of June to the 1st or 2nd (depending on the source) of July, meaning ...
Pondlife's user avatar
  • 71.7k
41 votes

Could this "Wingless Dodo" fly in real life?

There is an old saying "If you put a big enough engine on it, you can make anything fly." The Lockheed Starfighter was a classic example of that. With its short stubby wings it is basically a guided ...
Trevor_G's user avatar
  • 4,876
35 votes
Accepted

Why does one airliner fly along the coast and the other doesn't?

The routes for the flights shown in the question are correct (see the routes at the end of this answer). Airlines will typically try to choose the fastest route for their flights. Time is money. One ...
fooot's user avatar
  • 73.4k
34 votes
Accepted

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

Emergency landings often dictate landing at the safest airport, not necessarily the closest one. As I said in the comments, the flight was operating IFR and had turned the window heater on presumably ...
Ron Beyer's user avatar
  • 36.2k
30 votes

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

Generally people don't fly GA aircraft into major international airports. It can be done, but the landing fees tend to be high, fuel is expensive, and they often charge quite a bit for parking. If you ...
Dave's user avatar
  • 101k
28 votes

Why do some flights make turns shortly after takeoff?

It is mostly standardized procedures. I take as example Amsterdam airport (AMS), but the following is applicable to most, if not all, major commercial airports. Let's look at the departure charts, ...
Federico's user avatar
  • 32.6k
27 votes

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?

When you file a flight plan, you don't enter an arrival date or time. You just enter proposed UTC departure time and estimated length of time enroute. For aircraft or pilot logbooks we only use UTC ...
Mike Sowsun's user avatar
  • 37.8k
27 votes
Accepted

Does a headwind/tailwind affect your rate of climb?

A steady (continuous) head wind (or tail wind) will not affect your climb rate, only your climb angle. It means you will reach a specific altitude in the same time interval, but your ground distance ...
Radu094's user avatar
  • 7,970
25 votes
Accepted

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

This thread should be a great source of tips and tricks :) The way to think about this is to think about the purpose of being asked to divert during your checkride. What the examiner will be looking ...
Simon's user avatar
  • 31.3k
25 votes
Accepted

Do any flights go over the South Pole?

Please forgive me for asking if you are a "flat earth truther". We sometimes get those numpties passing by trying to justify their theories (especially the one about Antarctica being a ringed ice ...
Simon's user avatar
  • 31.3k
24 votes
Accepted

How is flight planning performed with short turnaround times?

The main reason why turnaround times can be that short is that pilots brief all flights of the day in the morning before the first flight. This briefing is typically done in the crew room at the ...
Bianfable's user avatar
  • 55.9k
24 votes

How do I intentionally fly into turbulence?

The best/safest way I know to get "within reason" turbulence is to go flying on a day when the sailplanes are having good flights. Every little popcorn cumulus cloud will have a thermal ...
Zeiss Ikon's user avatar
  • 17.1k
21 votes

Why did this plane fly in a zigzag pattern?

DeltaLima hits the mark. I used to work there. Undoubtedly traffic management delays going on for some reason, either too much traffic or reduced runway capacity. TBFM issued directly to the aircraft ...
Iain's user avatar
  • 491
19 votes

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

The pilots don't do the flight planning. It is done 1-2 hours before the flight by dispatchers using computer software. On a quick turnaround, one pilot goes to a printer to retrieve the flight ...
Mike Sowsun's user avatar
  • 37.8k
18 votes

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

I'm in a similar boat to you and I just did my first XC from KDYL to KDDH a few months ago. Which was the first time I had been to an airport I did not go to during training. It was a lot of fun but ...
Dave's user avatar
  • 101k
18 votes

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

Yes, an IFR flightplan can be cancelled at any time. The pilot simply tells ATC "cancelling my IFR flight", then it is cancelled. Depending on airspace classification, ATC may need to issue ...
60levelchange's user avatar
16 votes

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

Here are some things to keep in mind, in no particular order. There is also a nice thread on reddit. identify visual checkpoints every 10-20 NM, stay within 20-30 mins of an airfield (even if it ...
hashinclude's user avatar
16 votes

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

Retired airline pilot. We were based in the East and flew entirely in the East for years, then expanded and started doing some flying out West (SBA, SFO, Helena, MT, Seattle). We were required to take ...
Tony Rein's user avatar
  • 161
16 votes

Why did my transatlantic flight meander off the great circle?

Most flights across the Atlantic don't fly direct great circle routes; they use the North Atlantic Track system, which is an array of "lanes" you might say, usually 60Nm apart, like one of ...
John K's user avatar
  • 132k
16 votes

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

For commercial flying, yes both pilots should know where they are going and the general direction/course they are flying but they do in-fact follow an approved path and are subject to ATC vectors. The ...
Dave's user avatar
  • 101k
16 votes

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

US airports are broadly divided into public and private. Public means anyone can use them, usually because that was a condition of receiving public funds, and private means you need the owner's ...
StephenS's user avatar
  • 27.7k
16 votes
Accepted

Does an IFR flight-plan include the approach?

US-based answer. No, the specific instrument approach is not part of the flight plan and is not included in the initial IFR clearance. The flight plan is just that, a plan. It can change in flight, ...
randomhead's user avatar
  • 15.3k
16 votes

Why does one airliner fly along the coast and the other doesn't?

To add on to @fooot's answer, I put the 2 routings into SimBrief (https://dispatch.simbrief.com/options/new) and used the "Calculate & Compare" tool which gives me the ability to see ...
iaexo's user avatar
  • 331
15 votes
Accepted

How to request to fly on a flight level, different from the direction, according to the charts?

Say you are flying on a route that requires an even level, but you would like an odd level such as FL350. The phraseology to use would be Request FL350 The rest is up to ATC. Depending on local ...
60levelchange's user avatar

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