Cruising Altitude From Airline Of Aircraft?

Wed Sep 05, 2001 10:33 pm

Does each airline have a specific cruising altitude? Or it depends on the aircraft type?
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RE: Cruising Altitude From Airline Of Aircraft?

Thu Sep 06, 2001 1:49 am

No,the cruising altitudes depend on a lot of factors.

Aircraft performance,weights,flight length,winds and weather at altitude,direction you're going,other traffic all influence the choice of flight level/altitude a flight will have.
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RE: Cruising Altitude From Airline Of Aircraft?

Thu Sep 06, 2001 11:43 am

Basically, it depends on the course you're flying and if you're flying VFR or IFR. There is a list of standard Flight Levels depending on your heading. You will be cleared to these by the traffic controller, and yes it also depends on weather as FBU said.

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RE: Cruising Altitude From Airline Of Aircraft?

Thu Sep 06, 2001 12:45 pm

You cant be VFR above 18,000 MSL. These are the possible altitudes. The altitude selected depends on best fuel economy, wind speed, weather, and magnetic direction of flight.
Heres some examples:

At or above 18,000:

Easterly Course- Odd flight levels- FL190, 210, etc...
Westerly Course- Even flight levels- FL180, 200, etc...

At or above 29,000:

Easterly Course- Flight levels at 4,000 foot intervals beginning at 290; 330, 370, 410 etc...

Westerly Course- Flight levels at 4,000 foot intervals beginning at 310; 350, 390, 430 etc...
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RE: Cruising Altitude From Airline Of Aircraft?

Thu Sep 06, 2001 2:12 pm

As far as jet aircraft go, the general rule is to climb as quickly as you can, to as high as you can and stay there as long as you can. But as everyone has pointed out there are a lot of other considerations involved. As a general rule of thumb for the aircraft that I fly we can climb 2 times the distance. For example, if we've got a short 150 mile leg we can climb to 2 times 150 or FL300 (Flight Level 300 - 30,000 feet) On trips over 200 miles we can climb to our normal crusing altitudes of 39000 to 43000 feet. We typicall plan our descents to have a 3 degree descent angle or about 2500 to 3000 fpm.
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RE: Cruising Altitude From Airline Of Aircraft?

Thu Sep 06, 2001 2:59 pm

If you are a scheduled air carrier flying published routes, ATC will tell you what Airway to fly, and at what altitude to fly at.
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RE: Cruising Altitude From Airline Of Aircraft?

Fri Sep 07, 2001 12:00 am

They may tell you what the'd like, however the pilots can refuse a routing that would not work out for passanger comfort/or fuel burn. The airline dispatchers file the flight plan a few hours before departure and ATC issues a PDC which is printed out at the departure gate. That is the same as getting a clearance verbally over a frequency. That route may be the same as what the company filed, or it can be a new route that ATC would like you to fly due to weather or traffic conflicts. Normally it is only a minor change and may or may not involve flying at a cruising altitude different from what you expected and used for calculations. The crew must calculate the new fuel burn through the FMS,or other computer on board, or through the dispatcher. It only takes few minutes and fuel can be added if necessary. Then you launch and try to request more direct routing and the altitude you prefer. Normally you get what you ask for down the road.
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