trijetfan1
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Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Tue Jul 06, 2004 1:53 pm

Basically what the topic says.


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Tasha
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Tue Jul 06, 2004 1:56 pm

... what exactly is the point to the question? Most transatlantic flights I was on cruised at around 39000.

Tasha
 
musapapaya
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Tue Jul 06, 2004 1:58 pm

u mean some aircrafts not able to fly above or below 33,000? or u have other meanings?
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trijetfan1
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Tue Jul 06, 2004 1:58 pm

I read in a book that 39,000 is pushing the envelope. I was wondering if all airliners fly at 33
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mariner
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Tue Jul 06, 2004 1:58 pm

TriJetFan1:

According to Flight Tracker and FlightComm, Frontier flight #1775 from PHL to LAX is presently flying at 39,000 feet.

So I guess the answer to your question is "yes."

cheers

mariner
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NW7E7
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Tue Jul 06, 2004 2:02 pm

Most CRJ's that I have been on flew at FL310 and my transatlantic flights on a 772ER was around FL400..FL390.

A319's around FL370.
737NG long-haul around FL390.
 
MaverickM11
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Tue Jul 06, 2004 2:02 pm

Commercial flights fly regularly up to 43,000 feet, and Concorde flew well over 50,000 feet. It depends on the aircraft type but anything up to the lower to mid 40s is fair game.
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aviationwiz
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Tue Jul 06, 2004 2:29 pm

I fail to see a point to this question. Most domestic US flights cruise at 35K or 37K ft. while Intl. are regularly 39K. Just seems pointless to me...
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coa764
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Tue Jul 06, 2004 2:32 pm

read in a book that 39,000 is pushing the envelope

What book are you reading and what envelope? Max altitude is aircraft specific and can be found in the AFM (Aircraft Flight Manual). Max altitude can be reached and flown with relatively no problem depending on what kind of payload your carrying.

[Edited 2004-07-06 08:03:48]
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tekelberry
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Tue Jul 06, 2004 5:05 pm

I've flown on a domestic 777 flight cruising at 42,000 ft. That's probably one of the highest cruising altitudes for commercial aircraft.
 
AirframeAS
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Tue Jul 06, 2004 5:12 pm

AS doesnt fly their aircraft above 30,000 ft between SEA-GEG and SEA-PDX. Most of those flights are on an M80.
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LHcapt2007
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Tue Jul 06, 2004 5:20 pm

How did you get a RR of 23 asking questions like these? (really)

If this is sarcastic, I can see your question's validity (if most of the flights you've heard of are all FL330). Translating your question: almost everyone flies @FL330, can't they fly at other altitudes?

We all would assume you've heard of airliners @FLs 27,29,31,37,39,41,etc., if not, that is quite strange not to mention oblivious(especially for RR23).

Concorde @ FL650, rarely airliners above FL41.

WN SAT to HOU once up to FL350 (this is unusual).

LHcapt2007



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duke
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Tue Jul 06, 2004 5:35 pm

I don't see what's wrong with this question. I too have wondered for a long time about the ceiling of planes. Long ago I read in a 1960s-vintage book that airliners fly to 40,000 feet. But later most quotes I heard were lower, except of course for Concorde. Would a 707 or DC-8 ever fly to 40,000 feet?
 
jwenting
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Tue Jul 06, 2004 7:37 pm

No aircraft flies at exactly 33.000ft all the time so the answer to the question has to be yes.
After all, aircraft do have to come down some time to refuel...

Cruise level depends on a lot of factors, but mainly weight and wind.
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Tue Jul 06, 2004 7:42 pm

"Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000"
Of course the fly below FL330, other wise how would they land  Big grin Big grin I know that a few fly at FL420, hope it helps
 
Delboy
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Tue Jul 06, 2004 7:49 pm


I believe the 146 struggles to get to FL330, certainly the older models did anyway. Not too sure about the RJ series.
 
mconway
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Tue Jul 06, 2004 7:55 pm

In 12 and a half years at Gander Radio, I can't ever remember a commercial airliner flying above FL410 (ie FL430 since FL420 is not approved) on the Atlantic, not to say it has not happened. For bizjets on the pond, FL470 is rare, most often by the Citation X. Might even have had one one day at FL490 but not really sure on that one. I remember a bizjet a few years back looking for FL470 and was told unable higher due to Concorde traffic. The Concordes normally flew at F450B600. Every now and then we get a U2 making the crossing and the stated altitude is VFR above FL600.
 
lauda777
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Tue Jul 06, 2004 7:59 pm

I've flown on a Lauda 777 at 41,000 MEL to KLL
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gkirk
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Tue Jul 06, 2004 8:21 pm

I believe the A300B4-200 cannot fly above FL330
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Starlionblue
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Tue Jul 06, 2004 8:39 pm

Sometimes aircraft cruise under 30000ft for because of wind conditions.

A
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RareBear
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Tue Jul 06, 2004 8:56 pm

A number of RJ flights I have been on flew at less than 30,000 ft. The shorter ones were at 25-27,000. Once flew on a Delta DC-8 from TPA to MCO. Probably didn't get much above 5,000 ft.

Have been on L-1011 and DC-10 flights above 40,000 ft.
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miaskies
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Tue Jul 06, 2004 9:04 pm

I have flown at 39,000 feet on the following routes:

1. LGA-FLL -> AA -> 757-200 -> 39,000FEET. Their was a bad storm front coming in and the pilot climbed from 33000 to 39000, we flew 39000 all the way down to Florida.

2. MIA-CDG -> AA -> 767-300ER -> 38,700FEET. We reached this altitude and if I recall correctly a bit more over the atlantic near the icebergs. As noted by the track map given to me as a gift by the flight crew.

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funflyer
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Tue Jul 06, 2004 9:12 pm

Delta's highest regularly flown altitude is 43,000ft.
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AUAE
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Tue Jul 06, 2004 9:15 pm

This is a very good question, and you guys shouldn't berate TrijetFan1 for asking it.

Within the commercial world it may seem as though 39k ft is some what of a limit. This only has to do with the design of the planes. Early aircraft 737, 727 ect, did not have enough engine performance to get to really high altitudes. When the really high bypass engines came around, aircraft could fly much higher. Currently, seems like about 42k ft is the ceiling for most commercial aircraft, except for RJ's. RJ's tend to have ceilings under 30k. Again, this all has to do with engine performance, cruise performance and certification limits.

Theoretically there is no limit to how high you could fly, it just gets to be very expensive to design a plane to fly there.

shawn
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worldoftui
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Tue Jul 06, 2004 9:17 pm

Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Yes. When they take off and land.


Sorry. Couldn't resist!  Laugh out loud  Wink/being sarcastic

But seriously, airliners fly at the most economical altitudes based on sector length, weather, loads and traffic. Higher altitude means thinner air means less fuel required to push the aircraft through the air.
Highest I think I have been is 41,000, in a QF744, QF 738 and a few times on UA 777's.

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noelg
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Tue Jul 06, 2004 10:59 pm

The altitude is also based on the direction in which the aircraft is flying.

In general, ICAO rules the following:

Below FL290, the altitudes for IFR aircraft go 2000/4000/6000/8000/10000 etc for 180-360 degrees, for 0-179 degrees it's 1000/3000/5000/7000/9000.

From FL290-FL410 Reduced Vertical Seperation Minima apply to approved aircraft. Most airliners are RVSM approved, so flight levels for these aircraft are Westbound FL300/FL320/FL340/FL360 etc, eastbound flights are FL290/FL310/FL330/FL350 etc.

Above FL290 for non-RVSM aircraft, 180-360 degrees is FL310/FL350/FL390/FL430 etc, and 0-179 degrees is FL290/FL330/FL370/FL410 etc.

The exceptions to the rule are as follows:

In France/Spain/Portugal, due the fact that most of the airways in these three countries are north-south directed the whole airspace structure for altitudes/FL’s are set to north-south as well. For northbound flights even FL’s should be used and for southbound flights odd-flightlevels.

Over the North Atlantic, seperation is 1000 feet - so it goes FL310/FL320/Fl330 etc both ways - obviously dependant on other traffic.

Finally, in Russia altitudes are read in metric. All flights are leveled on meters. Vertical separation between two aircraft is 300 m from altitude 900 meters to altitude 8100 meters, 500 meters separation from altitude 8100 meters to altitude 12100 meters and a separation of 1000 meters from altitude 12100 meters to altitude 16100 meters.

Personally - I've cruised at everything from 10,000ft in a 737 to FL390 in a 744 - and everything in between - it really depends on the length of flight, the weather, fuel, heading and traffic so could be anything. I've heard 737NGs cruising at FL430 before overhead the UK.

Cheers,
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solnabo
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Tue Jul 06, 2004 11:12 pm

One word: CONCORDE!
waaaay over 33.000 ft/ 10.000 meters Big grin
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modesto2
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Tue Jul 06, 2004 11:14 pm

NoelG, thank you! I don't understand how all these people could answer this question without outlining the ICAO rules for flight levels and headings.
 
Delta07
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Tue Jul 06, 2004 11:21 pm

Just a side-step, but I thought I would mention it anyway. I've found from tracking DL flights from and to CLT that they are able to reach FL300 easily but going from CLT to ATL they fly either FL220 or FL240 and returning from ATL, they fly either FL230, FL250, or FL270(sometimes), most of the time it has been FL250.

Sorry about the sidetrack there...Continue Big grin
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bobnwa
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Tue Jul 06, 2004 11:38 pm

TriJetFan1,

Suggest you re-state the question. To answer your original question, yes airliners fly above/below 33,000 feet all the time.
 
warszawa
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Tue Jul 06, 2004 11:52 pm

Any flights around FL410 to FL430 are VERY very rare cruising altitudes.

Generally typical cruising altitudes in the United States are:

[WestBound]

39000
35000
31000

[EastBound]

37000
33000
29000

41000, 42000, or 43000 are VERY rare cruising altitudes, i've seen aircraft cruise this high ( In fact like 5-6 weeks ago i was tracking a KMSP-KEWR Northwest Boeing 757-200 at 41000 ft )

All commercial airliners except the concorde generally have Max-Altitude as 43000 ft, 42000 ft, or 41000 ft, And thats also not including RJ's ( Avro's, BAE's, CRJ's, ERJ's, etc. )

It depends on the aircraft though too. I know the Fokker 100 typically will never go higher than 33000 ft, at least i've never seen one cruise higher than that.

MD-80's, i've never seen one higher than FL350

etc.etc.

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AC330
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Wed Jul 07, 2004 12:06 am

I fly on Air Canada Jazz Dash 8's all the time and depending on the length of the flight, they usually are cruising anywhere from 13 to 23,000 feet.

AC330
 
ltbewr
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Wed Jul 07, 2004 12:14 am

I can recall being on trans ocean flights where the crusing altitude was announced at up to 43,000 ft., and many times at 36,000-41,000 ft ranges. Would the upper ranges (for regular a/c, not Concorde) be used if need to clear high storms or disrupted wind patterns?
 
IL76TD
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Wed Jul 07, 2004 12:21 am

I'm not a complete expert, but like Warzsawa said, commercial flights have legal FL caps at 41,000 feet (sometimes higher but no more than 43,000 feet, and only over 41,000 feet with special exemption). Concorde was the lone exemption to this. So yes, they do fly over 33,000 feet, however there is a legal limit in place to how high they can fly.

Private Business jets can fly above 41,000 feet without exemption. Flight levels of around and over 50,000 feet are common for some of the higher end private bizjets such as the G5, Global Express, and Citation X
 
AmericanAirFan
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Wed Jul 07, 2004 12:43 am

of coure planes fly below 33,000 feet on my short hop from SJC-LAS I flew at 29,000 feet and the highest ive ever flown is at 37,000 feet due to bad weather.
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InnocuousFox
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Wed Jul 07, 2004 12:46 am

This is the current A/C over the US and southern Canada that are over 40,000 feet. Notice that many are private jets but there are some commercial ones in there as well including some Southwest 737-700s on the east coast at FL410. (click to enlarge)



This shows all the aircraft that are over 33,000 feet. 33-39 are yellow, 40+ is still blue. (click to enlarge)

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AGrayson514
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Wed Jul 07, 2004 12:51 am

A lot of aircraft are certified to fly above 45,000 feet, but its not always worth the fuel burn to get up that high, so cruise is usually between 30 and 40 thousand feet.

~ Andrew Grayson
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Slcpilot
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Wed Jul 07, 2004 12:58 am

Some "expert" will have more specific knowledge, but I think the 747SP was certified to climb to FL450. If it's anything like the Citation X (certified to FL510), the need for the climb to those levels can have several reasons.

1)Ride - it's often smoother above the jetstreams.
2)Range - lower SFCs at the higher altitudes
3)Winds - this one is a little counterintuitive. Planes climb not to take advantage of tailwinds, but to get over headwinds. Most jetstream upper limits aren't that high. If you can eliminate 80kts on the nose it's going to help your cause (unless you're building time  Big grin.

Fly Safe!

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EnoreFilho
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Wed Jul 07, 2004 1:22 am

It depends...

Like when the old planes should make the "step-climb". I flew in a RG DC10-30 from MIA to GRU, and in the first hour we flew at FL290. Later, just before start our descent to our destination, we were flying at FL350.

actually, I believe that those step-climbs are quite rare, less for long-haul flights.

Cheers!:D
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saigonhouston
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Wed Jul 07, 2004 1:27 am

As I remembered on Eva Airways 747-400 (TPE-LAX) as we just about to passed Midway island, the cruising altitudes on the TV screen showing close to 50,000 ft. I can feel it the different too. It only last about 15-20 min.

Saigonhouston
 
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ATA L1011
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Wed Jul 07, 2004 1:38 am

Flown one of our L1011-100's at 41,700 2 years ago, the highest I've been on a commercial liner.
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oneworldman
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Wed Jul 07, 2004 1:52 am

Actually I was on an Asiana Flight from Seoul to JFK and for most of the flight we cruised at 45,000 feet.
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md80fanatic
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Wed Jul 07, 2004 2:34 am

Turbofans have a really difficult time above 45,000.....Not much air to "grab" a hold of, or to push against.
 
SAS-A321
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Wed Jul 07, 2004 5:08 am

The 737NGs are limited to FL410 according to the AOM (Aircraft Operating Manual).
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7e72004
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Wed Jul 07, 2004 5:09 am

I know the LAN-DTW and IND-CVG flights do not fly that high and they are mostly on mainliners.
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Gib
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Wed Jul 07, 2004 6:14 am

I was on a 2 week old DL Seven-Six, WAY back in like 1986, ATL-MCO, and we hit FL430.......just to add to the comments....!

VFR and Tailwinds!

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Samurai 777
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Wed Jul 07, 2004 6:17 am

While on a WestJet flight from Winnipeg to Edmonton on a 737-700 in May this year, I was told by the FO that we were flying at FL410, or 41,000 feet. That was a 2-hour flight.

Several transcon flights across Canada I've been on have been as high as 41,000 feet, particularly with 767s.

Most short-haul jet a/c flights under 2 hours of course do not usually go that high. For instance, Edmonton-Vancouver is usually no higher than FL330.

Even on jet a/c, cruising altitudes can get awfully low, too. I was on a Canadian Airlines 737-200 which was cruising no higher than FL220 on that route once. I was told by a retired pilot sitting next to me that it was because the jet stream was unusually strong and was sitting right over that route at the time. The 737 was literally flying 90% of the time through the clouds, so I couldn't anything out the windows until we were right over Vancouver!
 
smcmac32msn
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Wed Jul 07, 2004 6:20 am

I know that CRJs can fly at FL410. But I think the stats that airlines give you are all empty/light aircrafts. Lear Jets can easily get over FL350.
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Benjamin
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Wed Jul 07, 2004 6:27 am

Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

You've gotta be kidding. Is this a real question? The answer is that EVERY airliner flies either at, above or below 33,000 feet. What are you talking about?

This is a very good question, and you guys shouldn't berate TrijetFan1 for asking it.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! How was this a good question? He included almost EVERY SINGLE plane in the world since they are ALL either at, above or below FL 330.

TriJetFan1,

Did you REALLY think that EVERY plane flies at 33,000 feet???? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Don't you think there would be more mid-air collisions?
 
andz
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RE: Do Any Airliners Fly Above/below 33,000

Wed Jul 07, 2004 6:36 am

I remember flying in the jumpseat on an SAA 747SP from JNB to DBN and we went up to FL410, the total flight time was less than an hour. When I asked the captain why we went to high on such a short flight he replied "because we can."
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