contrails67
Topic Author
Posts: 54
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2009 11:11 pm

Pilot Deviation Questions

Fri Jul 01, 2011 6:16 pm

Just wondering, that assuming the airline management was okay with it and there are no issues with traffic or weather, would a pilot ever be allowed to:

1. Take a longer routing than is normal. For example, instead of going from IAD to LHR, up thru the east coast, what if he wanted to fly out over Pittsburgh and then over Toronto and Montreal before heading east?

2. Fly at a lower altitude than normal? Taking the above routing into account, flying at 25,000 feet instead of the usual 30-40,000 feet.


Thanks,
Contrails67
 
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Siren
Posts: 529
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RE: Pilot Deviation Questions

Fri Jul 01, 2011 6:24 pm

The FAA or regulatory agencies wouldn't have a problem with it, but you can bet that the airlines would. At a minimum, the pilots involved would probably be retrained on how to maximize aircraft efficiency - both of which scenarios you've discussed above would severely negatively impact the operating costs of the plane.
Siren: 32 year old single white female based @ KLAX. Aviation nerd, political wonk, disability rights activist, German car enthusiast, Californian Independence leader & evangelist
 
PGNCS
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RE: Pilot Deviation Questions

Fri Jul 01, 2011 6:32 pm

Well why is he doing it? If it's for an operational reason (weather avoidance, earlier release time, etc.) it's OK as long as he has the fuel required and the dispatcher agrees. If he just wants a view of PIT then not so much.
 
JETPILOT
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RE: Pilot Deviation Questions

Fri Jul 01, 2011 6:39 pm

ATC doesn't have to give you the route you filed. Most of the time they will give you the preferred routing.
 
contrails67
Topic Author
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RE: Pilot Deviation Questions

Fri Jul 01, 2011 6:52 pm

As I said, what if he doesn't want the preferred routing but wants something that is out of the ordinary. Like I said, lets assume the airline is ok with it and there are no weather, traffic, fuel or operational issues for the request.

I realize that ATC doesn't have to give you the route specified, but I fail to see the harm in it if that's the way he wants to get to LHR.


Contrails67
 
Mir
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RE: Pilot Deviation Questions

Fri Jul 01, 2011 7:13 pm

Quoting contrails67 (Reply 4):
As I said, what if he doesn't want the preferred routing but wants something that is out of the ordinary. Like I said, lets assume the airline is ok with it and there are no weather, traffic, fuel or operational issues for the request.

Then ATC will approve the route.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
bond007
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RE: Pilot Deviation Questions

Fri Jul 01, 2011 7:25 pm

Quoting contrails67 (Reply 4):
but wants something that is out of the ordinary

The point is that an airline pilot can't simply 'want something out of the ordinary', so although, yes, as long as ATC approves the route it may be OK from their standpoint, there would have to be a very good operational reason to do so, which would also need to be approved by the dispatcher.

Quoting contrails67 (Reply 4):
but I fail to see the harm in it if that's the way he wants to get to LHR.

Well, there's a lot of 'harm' there, measured in time and airline dollars ... lots of it!
Airline's schedule messed up ... etc. etc.

The pilot can't get to LHR the way HE wants to go. It's the most efficient, safe route, approved with the dispatcher and ultimately approved by ATC, so it's really a hypothetical question.

Jimbo
I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
 
apodino
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RE: Pilot Deviation Questions

Sat Jul 02, 2011 4:39 am

Quoting contrails67 (Reply 4):
As I said, what if he doesn't want the preferred routing but wants something that is out of the ordinary. Like I said, lets assume the airline is ok with it and there are no weather, traffic, fuel or operational issues for the request.

The situation you describe just will never ever happen at an airline...period.
 
unattendedbag
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RE: Pilot Deviation Questions

Sat Jul 02, 2011 5:39 am

Quoting contrails67 (Reply 4):
As I said, what if he doesn't want the preferred routing but wants something that is out of the ordinary. Like I said, lets assume the airline is ok with it and there are no weather, traffic, fuel or operational issues for the request.

Assuming the airline is ok with it, then yes, the pilot can file any route he wants. Take a look at some routes Boeing or Gulfstream take when testing their aircraft.

however,

Quoting apodino (Reply 7):
The situation you describe just will never ever happen at an airline...period.

  
Slower traffic, keep right
 
IAHFLYR
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RE: Pilot Deviation Questions

Sat Jul 02, 2011 3:25 pm

Quoting unattendedbag (Reply 8):
Take a look at some routes Boeing or Gulfstream take when testing their aircraft.



That is a completely different situation than what the OP is asking about for a airline ops. Test flights or maintenance flights are not moving passengers from point A to point B, yet they are normally flying a planned route.
Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
 
bond007
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RE: Pilot Deviation Questions

Sat Jul 02, 2011 11:16 pm

Quoting unattendedbag (Reply 8):
Take a look at some routes Boeing or Gulfstream take when testing their aircraft.

That still has little or nothing to do what the 'pilot wants'. As IAHFLYR mentioned, this is a predefined course, probably set up way in advance.

Jimbo
I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
 
unattendedbag
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Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 10:35 pm

RE: Pilot Deviation Questions

Sun Jul 03, 2011 4:21 am

Quoting IAHFLYR (Reply 9):
That is a completely different situation than what the OP is asking about for a airline ops. Test flights or maintenance flights are not moving passengers from point A to point B, yet they are normally flying a planned route.

What does having passengers on the plane have to do with it? The thread starter asked whether or not a pilot could deviate from the prescribed flight plan and take a longer route (as long as the airline was okay with it).

Would the airline actually allow this if the reason wasn't for weather or another valid purpose? no. That should be the end of the discussion. But the thread starter added the caveat that the airline was okay with it. In this case, yes, the pilot can deviate and file his own route.

Quoting bond007 (Reply 10):
As IAHFLYR mentioned, this is a predefined course, probably set up way in advance.

And those predefined courses can be amended both prior to departure and while in the air.

The pilot can go almost anywhere he/she wants. As long as this sentence is true:

Quoting contrails67 (Thread starter):
that assuming the airline management was okay with it and there are no issues with traffic or weather,
Slower traffic, keep right
 
ThirtyEcho
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RE: Pilot Deviation Questions

Sun Jul 03, 2011 5:32 am

ATC will almost always grant a pilot with whatever routing, altitude or speed he/she wants while in flight. That is not quite true with respect to the filed flight plan versus the clearance. Obviously, the more bizarre filings will not be granted but enroute strange things can usually be accommodated, traffic and weather permitting. Tours over downtown or over the lakes are local examples, easily and courteously done by the controllers.

This was not true in the earlier days of IFR, where routes were more rigid, and caused major hernias in areas without radar coverage.
 
bond007
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Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2005 2:07 am

RE: Pilot Deviation Questions

Sun Jul 03, 2011 3:04 pm

Quoting unattendedbag (Reply 11):
But the thread starter added the caveat that the airline was okay with it. In this case, yes, the pilot can deviate and file his own route.
Quoting unattendedbag (Reply 11):
The pilot can go almost anywhere he/she wants. As long as this sentence is true:

Quoting contrails67 (Thread starter):
that assuming the airline management was okay with it and there are no issues with traffic or weather,

Agreed, but I think what we are saying is that in reality this would never happen. The question is purely hypothetical because the dispatcher (and management) would not be OK with the pilot just going where he wants.

Quoting unattendedbag (Reply 11):
What does having passengers on the plane have to do with it?

Well, in as much as a Part 121 flight has much more rigid rules concerning dispatch responsibilites, and a Part 91 flight would have none. If I'm flying a Part 91 flight for pleasure, I literally will file where I want to go.

Quoting ThirtyEcho (Reply 12):
Tours over downtown or over the lakes are local examples, easily and courteously done by the controllers.

Right, but since the OP mentioned an airline, and a flight from IAD to LHR, a downtown tour of Pittsburgh wouldn't happen ... although perhaps theoretically possible.


Jimbo
I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
 
fxra
Posts: 600
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RE: Pilot Deviation Questions

Sun Jul 03, 2011 5:11 pm

A while back, in a previous life, we had a pilot divert from his route about 60 miles north so he could shoot approaches to his home airport. The flight was a positioning ferry. ATC had no issue letting him change his filed routing, shoot three approaches in an MD-11 to KPRC, and then continue on.

The company found out (from a post on this website) and since the deviation caused a significant delay on the next live flight, through the book at the crew. So the answer to the OP's question is yes, the crew can request a change, and often do for reasons such as weather or whatever. But the company may question the reasons for the change.
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