Matt D From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 9502 posts, RR: 42 Posted (14 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 976 times:
Here's something I've often wondered. What is the typical ground distance covered that an airliner will travel to get from FL0 (ground level) to crusing altitude-say FL320 (32,000 feet)? Is it 40 miles? 50 miles? 75 miles? 100 miles? What about in reverse, on descent? How much ground distance will be covered starting with descent to zero AGL? I realize that there are certain variables involved, such as payload, a/c type, and whether or not the distance travelled is a straight line. But let's make it easy, and take a straight flight path.
Put another way, picture a triangle. The hypoteneuse is the flight path. Line X is altitude, from zero to 35,000 feet. Line Y is the ground distance. The intersection of the hypoteneuse and line X is FL350, level flight. The intersection of the hypoteneuse and line Y is the runway, and touchdown.
Kohflot From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (14 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 942 times:
The best answer is: it depends.
It depends on the plane.. there's a big difference between a 757 and an A340. Even regional aircraft don't climb the same.. a CRJ is very slow in the climb above 30,000 ft and can take 30+ minutes to get to 350 while a 328JET can climb at 6,000 ft per minute off the deck and can be in the 30's in 15-20 minutes.
It depends on the load.. obviously a light 757 is going to climb faster than a heavy one.
It depends on the temperature.. the warmer it is, typically the slower the climb.
It depends on the length of the flight.. On a short trip, it sometimes doesn't make sense to spend so much time climbing when you're going to spend even longer coming back down. On the other hand, turbojets burn less fuel higher up, so manufacturers hand out charts that show the best cruising altitude for a particular distance, takeoff weight, and temperature.
I know this probably doesn't help, but it's very difficult to give a firm number.. ATC doesn't help much either when climbs and decents are controlled and not just up to the airplane and its crew.