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Whats Up With FedEx 9796?  
User currently offlineMikeE07 From United States of America, joined Mar 2010, 30 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 10973 times:

Hey all, I was just tracking FedEx flight 9796 from KDOV into KCHS on FlightAware. I then tracked it as flightaware said it was heading to CLT, when suddenly it turned towards the west, and as of now (approx. 0100Z) it is well over Georgia. Any ideas? Thanks!

22 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineAA94 From United States of America, joined Aug 2011, 605 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (2 years 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 10840 times:

According to FlightStats, it diverted to Atlanta. Reason unknown.

http://www.flightstats.com/go/Flight...&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=co-op



Choose a challenge over competence / Eleanor Roosevelt
User currently offlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15830 posts, RR: 27
Reply 2, posted (2 years 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 10826 times:

Quoting MikeE07 (Thread starter):
Any ideas?

Sweep flight?



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlineRussianJet From Belgium, joined Jul 2007, 7719 posts, RR: 21
Reply 3, posted (2 years 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 10740 times:

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 2):
Sweep flight?

What on earth is a sweep flight?



✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
User currently offlineSpacepope From Vatican City, joined Dec 1999, 2980 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (2 years 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 10664 times:

Quoting RussianJet (Reply 3):
What on earth is a sweep flight?

Part empty flights that take off, head a certain direction in case another station needs the lift capacity, then heads to a hub. For example I've seen one out of DEN that heads out towards GJT, down to ABQ and then over to MEM.

Here's another one, though more direct:

http://flightaware.com/live/flight/FDX1329

That routing adds 30 min at least to the flight time.


EDIT: Here's the DEN sweep flight: http://flightaware.com/live/flight/F...1/history/20121213/0207Z/KDEN/KMEM

Key info:Distance Direct: 872 sm Planned: 1,795 sm

[Edited 2012-12-15 23:56:04]


The last of the famous international playboys
User currently offlineCaptainmeeerkat From Russia, joined Aug 2010, 398 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (2 years 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 10659 times:

I believe FX and maybe others operate a system where they have a certain number of aircraft (one, two, ten..who knows) in the air with a full fuel tank but no cargo. They fly indirect routes around major centres/hub incase another a/c goes tech. The supply line doesn't get disrupted and all the boys and girls get their Xmas presents on time. These are known as sweep flights.


my luggage is better travelled than me!
User currently offlineRussianJet From Belgium, joined Jul 2007, 7719 posts, RR: 21
Reply 6, posted (2 years 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 10204 times:

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 4):
Part empty flights that take off, head a certain direction in case another station needs the lift capacity

Thanks for the explanation - appreciated.



✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
User currently offlineunattendedbag From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 2342 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (2 years 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 8563 times:

Quoting Captainmeeerkat (Reply 5):
I believe FX and maybe others operate a system where they have a certain number of aircraft (one, two, ten..who knows) in the air with a full fuel tank but no cargo.

Not exactly. FedEx does not have aircraft in the air circling over major metropolitan areas or flying around empty just waiting for the divert order.

Instead, they will send larger aircraft to smaller markets. When that large aircraft departs for Memphis, half full, it may get the call to divert to another city to pick up extra cargo. It might even get that call before it leaves the ground. Typically, when a plane has to divert in midair, that is a sign that an aircraft went tech and that "in-air" aircraft is needed to carry that cargo.



Slower traffic, keep right
User currently onlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25986 posts, RR: 22
Reply 8, posted (2 years 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 8414 times:

Quoting unattendedbag (Reply 7):
Quoting Captainmeeerkat (Reply 5):
I believe FX and maybe others operate a system where they have a certain number of aircraft (one, two, ten..who knows) in the air with a full fuel tank but no cargo.

Not exactly. FedEx does not have aircraft in the air circling over major metropolitan areas or flying around empty just waiting for the divert order.

I recall a thread on this a few years ago that gave several examples of the routings flown by these empty aircraft. Are you implying they used to do this but no longer do?


User currently offlinedelta88 From United States of America, joined May 2009, 89 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (2 years 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 7588 times:
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My manager used to be a pilot for FedEx, back in the day of low fuel prices, and what FedEx would do is keep lots of Empty aircraft airborne, and what they actually were used for was to respond to changes in demand of Cargo. Say there was a large order that needed to be moved to Memphis, then the empty aircraft(s) would be sent to where the help is needed. and the aircraft would fly them to Memphis(or where ever else its needed). They tend not to really do this during the general part of the year (March-Mid November) But during the holiday seasons of giving, they keep more aircraft in the air, or over fill them with fuel so they can divert to get extra cargo. Of course today most likely it was a diversion, but without knowing the type of aircraft and how full the cargo is, one wont know until more information is given


707,717,727,738,744,752,762ER,763ER,772ER,MD82,MD-83,MD-88, DC-9-10,DC-10-10,A320
User currently offlineHPRamper From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4141 posts, RR: 8
Reply 10, posted (2 years 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 7436 times:

Under normal conditions, sweep flights are partially full aircraft that fly zigzag routes en route to the hub so as to be available in case of freight overflow or mx transload. However, because of the excessive volumes of peak season, FedEx does indeed fly empty aircraft as sweeps.

User currently offlineunattendedbag From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 2342 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (2 years 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 7290 times:

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 8):
Are you implying they used to do this but no longer do?

That's what I am implying. According to information I learned while visiting the FedEx complex back in July. They can fill the over capacity at random stations by having under capacity at others. I can't remember the exact example he used, but an MD-11 might be sent to Oakland, CA. Oakland can't fill the MD-11 so it will depart to anoter station before it gets to Memphis. If no over capacity exists, it flys direct to Memphis.



Slower traffic, keep right
User currently offlinefdxco From United States of America, joined May 2008, 14 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (2 years 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 6842 times:

None of the above gents. It was a ferry flight to CHS to pick up a load for a military charter. It departed CHS as FX9706 heading to JFK for fuel and then on across the pond.

User currently offlineJHCRJ700 From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 377 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (2 years 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 6416 times:

Quoting Captainmeeerkat (Reply 5):
I believe FX and maybe others operate a system where they have a certain number of aircraft (one, two, ten..who knows) in the air with a full fuel tank but no cargo. They fly indirect routes around major centres/hub incase another a/c goes tech. The supply line doesn't get disrupted and all the boys and girls get their Xmas presents on time. These are known as sweep flights.
Quoting unattendedbag (Reply 7):
Not exactly. FedEx does not have aircraft in the air circling over major metropolitan areas or flying around empty just waiting for the divert order.

I saw recently on some documentary about FedEx that they have at least two aircraft in the air that can divert as necessary.



RUSH
User currently offlineHPRamper From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4141 posts, RR: 8
Reply 14, posted (2 years 2 days ago) and read 5463 times:

Quoting JHCRJ700 (Reply 13):
I saw recently on some documentary about FedEx that they have at least two aircraft in the air that can divert as necessary.

Each region has a sweep aircraft. IIRC the upper midwest sweep is an Airbus that comes out of ATW. But they are not empty, maybe in years past it was cost effective but the fuel is just too expensive now to make flying an empty plane around a viable idea especially when they are not utilized as a sweep the majority of the time. There is nearly always freight on board, as a revenue flight.


User currently offlineyvphx From United States of America, joined Jul 2009, 260 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (2 years 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 4670 times:

Here is a great example of a sweep aircraft and its pattern:
http://flightaware.com/live/flight/F...1/history/20121204/0155Z/KDEN/KMEM


User currently offlineSpacepope From Vatican City, joined Dec 1999, 2980 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (2 years 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 4519 times:

Quoting yvphx (Reply 15):

I posted that flight in reply #4

In the past week it's diverted to ELP and OKC presumably to pick up freight.



The last of the famous international playboys
User currently offlineChrisNH From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 4163 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (2 years 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 3691 times:

Quoting unattendedbag (Reply 7):
Instead, they will send larger aircraft to smaller markets.

Here at Manchester, NH we are occasionally the recipient of these 'sweep flights' but rarely the provider of them. The DC-10s and A300s we get go directly to and come directly from Memphis and Indianapolis. This time of year, though, any flight can be 'turned in a whole other direction' at the snap of a finger, which I think is a marvelous core competency that I know FedEx has but not sure of for UPS.

I originally thought the Portland, Maine 757 was a 'sweep flight' (being a bit larger than the market needs). But that one goes directly to Memphis each night. I have seen no evidence of it being diverted, which leads me to believe it always flies mostly full.


User currently offlineHPRamper From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4141 posts, RR: 8
Reply 18, posted (2 years 23 hours ago) and read 3406 times:

Quoting ChrisNH (Reply 17):
I originally thought the Portland, Maine 757 was a 'sweep flight' (being a bit larger than the market needs). But that one goes directly to Memphis each night. I have seen no evidence of it being diverted, which leads me to believe it always flies mostly full.

I think the 757 would be the perfect size for the Portland ME market, since it is the only ramp in the state. All that cargo likely funnels through PWM. If the flight were less than about 2/3 full regularly it would be connected with another market instead of going straight to MEM.


User currently offlineMikeE07 From United States of America, joined Mar 2010, 30 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (2 years 22 hours ago) and read 3332 times:

Thanks guys! I got a lot out of this thread. Not too far from doing my first solo flight in a Cessna 172, so even little random tidbits of knowledge like this motivate me along the way!     

User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31702 posts, RR: 56
Reply 20, posted (1 year 12 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 3011 times:

Quoting unattendedbag (Reply 7):
when a plane has to divert in midair, that is a sign that an aircraft went tech and that "in-air" aircraft is needed to carry that cargo.
Quoting Spacepope (Reply 4):
Quoting RussianJet (Reply 3):
What on earth is a sweep flight?

Part empty flights that take off, head a certain direction in case another station needs the lift capacity, then heads to a hub.

Exactly what I had thought, a diversion which could be mainly tech or medical.



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineChrisNH From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 4163 posts, RR: 2
Reply 21, posted (1 year 12 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 2864 times:

Quoting HPRamper (Reply 18):
All that cargo likely funnels through PWM. If the flight were less than about 2/3 full regularly it would be connected with another market instead of going straight to MEM.

PWM has always puzzled me, L.L. Bean used to be a FedEx customer but now they use UPS...which doesn't fly their own metal into PWM. I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt and say it's because there's no space...not because they don't want to. Instead, L.L. Bean trucks it all here to MHT where much of it flies to Louisville (domestic) or Philadelphia (international).

PWM also seems to be a very 'thin' market for freight; otherwise FedEx wouldn't keep the 757 there all day...they'd do a double rotation to/from Memphis each day rather than the single circuit they do now.

With only UPS to consider, PWM probably wouldn't invest in more cargo ramp space unless and until UPS said they needed it. Air cargo is a two-horse race, and I guess UPS figures that they can truck stuff from Maine to Manchester (and v.v.) more economically.


User currently offline113312 From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 576 posts, RR: 1
Reply 22, posted (1 year 12 months 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 2798 times:

Folks, the key is the flight number. 9000 series flight numbers, at FedEx, are charters, ferries, and test flights.

Some have mentioned sweep flights and inflight orbiting extras. While you might have seen a documentary about such things from the past, in todays world inflight empty planes orbiting to pick up extra freight is out of the question and is not done.

There are sweep flights that are planned to depart at a specific time and fly inbound to the hub and have extra capacity to pick up extra cargo. This is usually as a result of another plane having a problem delaying departure. The sweep aircraft can be rerouted to stop and pick up cargo from the flight stuck on the ground. But these sweep flights always have regular flight numbers and flight plans.

Old legends and tales die hard.


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