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LAX-FRA Lufthansa Flight

Fri Aug 21, 2009 6:11 am

Once upon a time, like a decade ago, I was at LAX airport and I saw a Lufthansa Boeing 747-400 take-off from LAX. I was guessing that it was flying to Frankfurt, Germany. I kept my eyes on the 747 until it disappeared on the horizon. I was trying to figure out when the Lufthansa Boeing 747 would turn towards the East-Northeast heading to Germany, but I never saw it anymore after it disappeared over the horizon, it just kept on flying towards the west. When airliners depart LAX to Frankfurt, Germany, right after take-off from LAX, how far do they travel westbound before turning towards its flight path towards Germany or Europe? Is there a VOR station out over the Los Angeles coastline over the Pacific Ocean that the airliner has to intercept before turning towards the east-northeast heading to Germany?
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RE: LAX-FRA Lufthansa Flight

Fri Aug 21, 2009 12:27 pm

If you zoom in to LAX you can see that they turn pretty well straight after take off.

Turn to the south

Turn to the north

I can only imagine that the plane you saw wasn't going east.
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RE: LAX-FRA Lufthansa Flight

Fri Aug 21, 2009 12:56 pm

This is the chart for a standard eastbound departure out of LAX:

As you can see, aircraft fly westbound over the ocean for as far as 15 nautical miles before turning back eastbound to cross over LAX and then onto their route.
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RE: LAX-FRA Lufthansa Flight

Sun Aug 23, 2009 4:18 pm

There are actually two main departure procedures that most of those European flights depart on. One is called the "LOOP" departure which was described by Ward86IND. Aircraft depart LAX on a westbound heading and have to cross back over the Los Angeles VOR (on the airfield) at or above 10,000 feet. They have to start the turn back to the Los Angeles VOR at 15 nautical miles.

A lot of the heavies are unable to comply with this climb restriction, largely in part due to their weight. In their case, the "SEBBY" departure is assigned. This procedure has the aircraft fly westbound 15 miles offshore, then turn back direct to the Seal Beach VOR (located near Long Beach) to cross it above 10,000 feet.

The only flights that depart northbound are Asian flights, trans-pacific flights, and other northwest US destinations. All of the other departures off LAX fly westbound for XX number of miles before they make a southbound turn to go east or northeast.
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RE: LAX-FRA Lufthansa Flight

Mon Aug 24, 2009 3:08 am

The Gorman departure can also be used for flights going to Europe, however in my experience plane spotting this doesn't happen as often. When they fly this departure, they'll fly West a number of miles, usually being cleared to 9,000' and then turned to the North over the San Fernando Valley and then onwards to Gorman before going the rest of the way.
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RE: LAX-FRA Lufthansa Flight

Mon Aug 24, 2009 5:33 am

Hey everyone, thanks for the all information, I appreciate it, today I learned something knew Big grin I am glad to finally know the answer.

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