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JonesNL
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FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Wed Nov 10, 2021 1:48 pm

Didn't see this posted anywhere else.

https://mobile.twitter.com/Airbus/statu ... 8143300619

https://mobile.twitter.com/flightradar2 ... 7313314817

These two #A350 “fellos” performed the 1st transatlantic flight as paired aircraft from Toulouse to Montreal airport! What’s #fellofly? A follower retrieves wake energy lost by a leader, reducing engine thrust & fuel consumption of over 5% per trip.


Seems like a huge number as savings go. Billion dollar PIP's usually aspire such numbers. This seems like simple change in processes to achieve 5% improvement.

If this really pans out I would guess that we will have lanes in the sky to make sure that everybody benefits from this reduction in costs and emissions...
 
pnut
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Wed Nov 10, 2021 2:28 pm

Very interesting! I wonder if some type of cooperative system would be set up to reap full benefit, where a leader plane/airline would recieve some type of credit, as they pave the energy transfer to the other planes.
Departure/Arrival schedules would be interesting to coordinate though, NextNextGen air traffic cooperation must be incredibly complex to handle airline schedule, felloflying, energy efficient descent, and holds.
Could this roll out as a way to mitigate hold-pattern burn at constrained airports?
 
Opus99
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Wed Nov 10, 2021 2:35 pm

That is very smart! Well done airbus if they can get this into service
 
744SPX
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Wed Nov 10, 2021 2:46 pm

I'm assuming this can only be done operationally with "like" aircraft given the disparity in cruise speeds between the A350 and A320.
 
Exeiowa
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Wed Nov 10, 2021 3:10 pm

I have am image in my head of convoys of planes flying over head like migrating geese. For practical purposes there are going to be very few routes where two identical planes flying between the same two points at the same time are going to be available to make this work, But I could see planes joining up along a route for part of a trip, presumably the saving could be enough to have some level of deviation from the best route to make it worthwhile.
 
tomcat
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Wed Nov 10, 2021 3:26 pm

I see it as a kind of virtual double decker which provides the efficiency of a well designed double decker while retaining the flexibility of a twin. It could be something to consider by EK for the replacement of their A380 fleet.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Wed Nov 10, 2021 3:55 pm

This has been beaten to death here before. Very challenging in operational service—identical departure times, etc,
 
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scbriml
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Wed Nov 10, 2021 4:30 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
This has been beaten to death here before. Very challenging in operational service—identical departure times, etc,


Discussed, but now proven. With the potential to save 5% fuel on a typical TATL flight, I’m sure airlines will rise to any challenges.
 
Newark727
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Wed Nov 10, 2021 4:32 pm

I'm picturing two A350s doing an overhead break on approach like a formation of F-16s at Red Flag. :D
 
arcticcruiser
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Wed Nov 10, 2021 4:42 pm

scbriml wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
This has been beaten to death here before. Very challenging in operational service—identical departure times, etc,


Discussed, but now proven. With the potential to save 5% fuel on a typical TATL flight, I’m sure airlines will rise to any challenges.


As said in the OPs quote, only the follower saves 5%. The leader nothing. So halve the benefits right there.
And invevitably the follower will hit the trail of the leader with associated turbulence from time to time.
Last edited by arcticcruiser on Wed Nov 10, 2021 4:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
tomcat
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Wed Nov 10, 2021 4:48 pm

scbriml wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
This has been beaten to death here before. Very challenging in operational service—identical departure times, etc,


Discussed, but now proven. With the potential to save 5% fuel on a typical TATL flight, I’m sure airlines will rise to any challenges.


To be honest, it's rather 2.5% fuel saving since only the following aircraft is saving 5% fuel. And both aircraft will have to cruise at an altitude set by the most heavily loaded one which means that the other one could potentially cruise at a higher altitude and save some fuel.

But in any case it's good to see Airbus testing this concept and obtaining some real life figures.
 
AvgWhiteGuy
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Wed Nov 10, 2021 5:41 pm

Meanwhile, at Boeing... Hey, look!! We found a way to get the toilet seats on the 737's to stay up!
 
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Spiderguy252
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Wed Nov 10, 2021 6:27 pm

If this was so simple/practical, it would have been done decades ago.
 
FlyingViking
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Wed Nov 10, 2021 6:29 pm

It comes to around $600-800 in fuel savings per plane per Atlantic crossing. It that really worth it for all the complexity involved?
 
AZa346
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Wed Nov 10, 2021 6:51 pm

Well i don't find it that hard to apply. Let's say that there is a AF A350 that goes to BOS and a DL A350 that goes to JFK taking off approximately at the same time from CDG: one could be the lead for the other if the schedule is correctly optimized for the most part of the trip.
Of course, if one is delayed the other goes as planned, on its own wings. Ultimately the mass (thus optimal FL) will be very similar for routes of similar length and in periods that see similar pax loads.
 
Naincompetent
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Wed Nov 10, 2021 7:03 pm

arcticcruiser wrote:
As said in the OPs quote, only the follower saves 5%. The leader nothing. So halve the benefits right there.
And invevitably the follower will hit the trail of the leader with associated turbulence from time to time.


Just for the sake of arguing, it may be that there is also a small gain for the front airplane. It has been proven to be the case in another field: cycling, where not only the follower but also the followee benefit from riding in close proximity.
 
JonesNL
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Wed Nov 10, 2021 7:33 pm

arcticcruiser wrote:
scbriml wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
This has been beaten to death here before. Very challenging in operational service—identical departure times, etc,


Discussed, but now proven. With the potential to save 5% fuel on a typical TATL flight, I’m sure airlines will rise to any challenges.


As said in the OPs quote, only the follower saves 5%. The leader nothing. So halve the benefits right there.
And invevitably the follower will hit the trail of the leader with associated turbulence from time to time.


I would imagine multiple planes behind the leader, so the savings could be potentially much more.
 
airzona11
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Wed Nov 10, 2021 9:09 pm

Not saying this isn't a cool project, but what is the potential scope? 20 flights a day? 1000?
 
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tjwgrr
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Wed Nov 10, 2021 9:35 pm

Like this: ;)
.
.
Image
 
bomber996
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Wed Nov 10, 2021 9:49 pm

MARSA = Military Authority Assumes Responsibility for Separation of Aircraft
AARSA = Airline Authority Assumes Responsibility for Separation of Aircraft

I can see it now...

Peace :box:
 
vahancrazy
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Wed Nov 10, 2021 9:55 pm

If 2 planes in a row can benefit, why not a storm in a V shape like birds or in a row like bycicles?

If let's say AF has a bank of departures to North America, the flights can be timed to dep for a few planes (like 6) to share the benefit. The saving then would be greater
 
YYZYYT
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Wed Nov 10, 2021 10:00 pm

Exeiowa wrote:
I have am image in my head of convoys of planes flying over head like migrating geese. For practical purposes there are going to be very few routes where two identical planes flying between the same two points at the same time are going to be available to make this work, But I could see planes joining up along a route for part of a trip, presumably the saving could be enough to have some level of deviation from the best route to make it worthwhile.


Doesn't TATL routing consist of aircraft flying to pre-designated points where they enter a "lane"... to ensure proper separation and no traffic conflict in oceanic space where there is no radar coverage or ground control? If so, that could make for a good coordinated flying, and minimal additional distance flown. Though, intercepting and forming up at cruise - how feasible is that?
 
westgate
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Wed Nov 10, 2021 11:54 pm

I have literally seen this already about 10 years ago, when I winessed two Lufthansa A340-600's fly over Newcastle in the UK, both having departed from MUC (presumably one right after the other) with one heading to LAX and the other to SFO.

They were most certainly flying in formation with one slightly behind the other, so I can only assume that the trailing aircraft did in fact experience reduced fuel burn as a result, even though that might not have been the intention at the time.
 
zuckie13
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Wed Nov 10, 2021 11:56 pm

vahancrazy wrote:
If 2 planes in a row can benefit, why not a storm in a V shape like birds or in a row like bycicles?

If let's say AF has a bank of departures to North America, the flights can be timed to dep for a few planes (like 6) to share the benefit. The saving then would be greater


The challenges are (1) they all have to catch up with each other - That's some extra fuel burned while playing catch up, or slowing down to wait. and (2) Do they all have to carry fuel under the assumption that if they get delayed for any reason and the convoy goes on without them they have to have the fuel to not save the 5%.
 
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scbriml
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Thu Nov 11, 2021 12:24 am

arcticcruiser wrote:
As said in the OPs quote, only the follower saves 5%. The leader nothing. So halve the benefits right there.
And invevitably the follower will hit the trail of the leader with associated turbulence from time to time.


tomcat wrote:
To be honest, it's rather 2.5% fuel saving since only the following aircraft is saving 5% fuel. And both aircraft will have to cruise at an altitude set by the most heavily loaded one which means that the other one could potentially cruise at a higher altitude and save some fuel.


You're both assuming that only two planes are involved. No reason it couldn't be more.

westgate wrote:
They were most certainly flying in formation with one slightly behind the other, so I can only assume that the trailing aircraft did in fact experience reduced fuel burn as a result, even though that might not have been the intention at the time.


It's very unlikely they were flying in formation - watch any busy air corridor and it will look like planes are flying in formation whereas they almost certainly have a minimum of 1,000ft vertical separation.

FlyingViking wrote:
It comes to around $600-800 in fuel savings per plane per Atlantic crossing. It that really worth it for all the complexity involved?


At today's prices. Fuel prices seem to be heading northwards very quickly.
 
johns624
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Thu Nov 11, 2021 12:51 am

How much more crew training would be required to prepare them for formation flying?
 
JonesNL
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Thu Nov 11, 2021 7:43 am

A side note, could this be made propitiatory tech by Airbus? So, only A350's are able to use the FelloFly tech.
 
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Polot
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Thu Nov 11, 2021 10:22 am

JonesNL wrote:
A side note, could this be made propitiatory tech by Airbus? So, only A350's are able to use the FelloFly tech.

There is no tech involved that Airbus can patent and make proprietary, it’s just aerodynamics. It’s no different than getting better mileage out of your car by being in the slipstream of the vehicle on front of you. Airbus can’t prevent competing aircraft from closely following another aircraft.
 
Noshow
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Thu Nov 11, 2021 10:27 am

It might very well be some autopilot function similar to automated tanker refueling distance formation flights. That very much might include patented features. It could become rather complex with both aircraft checking if both are fully functional and coordinate reactions whenever TCAS targets come close and such.
 
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Polot
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Thu Nov 11, 2021 10:30 am

Noshow wrote:
It might very well be some autopilot function similar to automated tanker refueling distance formation flights. That very much might include patented features. It could become rather complex with both aircraft checking if both are fully functional and coordinate reactions whenever TCAS targets come close and such.

Yes there could be autopilot functions that help out, but Boeing and others can easily write similar autopilot functionality that accomplishes the same thing without infringing Airbus’s IP.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Thu Nov 11, 2021 12:19 pm

johns624 wrote:
How much more crew training would be required to prepare them for formation flying?


USAF pilot training was, until the T-1, pretty much a formation course with contact and instruments thrown in. The majority of T-38 flyng was formation.

There’s no automated air refueling, the receivers are hand flown while the tanker is on or off autopilot. Looking at the video, they’re not that close.
 
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reidar76
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Thu Nov 11, 2021 12:46 pm

I can see felloFly would be worth the extra coordination on ULH. Two Qantas A350 sunrise flights departing at the same time from Sydney, one headed for Paris, the other for London. The longer the flight, the larger the benefit will be due to the need for more fuel to carry fuel.

When an aircraft operates close to it maximum range, the fuel savings could mean extra payload can be carried.

FelloFly, in addition to extended single-pilot operations in cruise, makes the A350 a mighty competitor to the 777X. Boeing needs to start innovating.
 
Noshow
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Thu Nov 11, 2021 12:48 pm

Except for test pilots evaluation flights this must be automated since it is intended for long cruise phases of flights day or night. Doesn't make sense otherwise.
 
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Spacepope
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Thu Nov 11, 2021 1:00 pm

Cool, 8 hours stuck in wake turbulence. On purpose.That sounds like a dream flight right there.
 
WayexTDI
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Thu Nov 11, 2021 1:00 pm

744SPX wrote:
I'm assuming this can only be done operationally with "like" aircraft given the disparity in cruise speeds between the A350 and A320.

Usually, A350s and A320s do not fly the same route...
 
Opus99
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Thu Nov 11, 2021 1:12 pm

reidar76 wrote:
I can see felloFly would be worth the extra coordination on ULH. Two Qantas A350 sunrise flights departing at the same time from Sydney, one headed for Paris, the other for London. The longer the flight, the larger the benefit will be due to the need for more fuel to carry fuel.

When an aircraft operates close to it maximum range, the fuel savings could mean extra payload can be carried.

FelloFly, in addition to extended single-pilot operations in cruise, makes the A350 a mighty competitor to the 777X. Boeing needs to start innovating.

Is it only A350 that can do fellofly?

I am also doubtful of single pilot operations
 
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Polot
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Thu Nov 11, 2021 1:41 pm

Opus99 wrote:
reidar76 wrote:
I can see felloFly would be worth the extra coordination on ULH. Two Qantas A350 sunrise flights departing at the same time from Sydney, one headed for Paris, the other for London. The longer the flight, the larger the benefit will be due to the need for more fuel to carry fuel.

When an aircraft operates close to it maximum range, the fuel savings could mean extra payload can be carried.

FelloFly, in addition to extended single-pilot operations in cruise, makes the A350 a mighty competitor to the 777X. Boeing needs to start innovating.

Is it only A350 that can do fellofly?


No. As I mentioned the reason for the reduced fuel burn is purely due to more favorable aerodynamics from the slipstream of the leading aircraft. Nothing about this is A350 specific. Airbus used the A350 because they have two of them available.
 
johns624
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Thu Nov 11, 2021 1:57 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
johns624 wrote:
How much more crew training would be required to prepare them for formation flying?


USAF pilot training was, until the T-1, pretty much a formation course with contact and instruments thrown in. The majority of T-38 flyng was formation.

There are a lot of commercial airline pilots, maybe even the majority, that don't have an air force background.
 
IFlyVeryLittle
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Thu Nov 11, 2021 2:38 pm

With air crews and controllers taking great pains to avoid wake turbulence from heavies, how is this a help for the following plane? 2.5% savings on fuel between them, and 250 passengers per pair vowing never to fly that airline again after experiencing an ocean crossing consisting of eight hours of seat-belt sign illumination. Science is wonderful. Practical uses are another thing, though.
 
westgate
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Thu Nov 11, 2021 6:10 pm

scbrmil wrote:
westgate wrote:
They were most certainly flying in formation with one slightly behind the other, so I can only assume that the trailing aircraft did in fact experience reduced fuel burn as a result, even though that might not have been the intention at the time.


It's very unlikely they were flying in formation - watch any busy air corridor and it will look like planes are flying in formation whereas they almost certainly have a minimum of 1,000ft vertical separation


Although it was quite a while ago, I do now vaguely remember seeing on Flight Radar that there was in fact a 1,000ft vertical seperation between them.

Nevertheless, they were still flying in 'formation' or in 'tandem' with each other, just obviously not close enough for the trailing aircraft to achieve any reduction in fuel burn.

I continued to track both of the aircraft and they flew in formation for almost their entire flights until they split up somewhere over Nevada.

So my point being, it certainly is possible for two planes departing the same airport right after one another and heading in the same direction to 'meet up' and fly together for most of their respective journey's.
 
migair54
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Thu Nov 11, 2021 6:25 pm

IFlyVeryLittle wrote:
With air crews and controllers taking great pains to avoid wake turbulence from heavies, how is this a help for the following plane? 2.5% savings on fuel between them, and 250 passengers per pair vowing never to fly that airline again after experiencing an ocean crossing consisting of eight hours of seat-belt sign illumination. Science is wonderful. Practical uses are another thing, though.


I was also thinking about the wake turbulence and some other factors like weather avoidance, separation in IFR conditions etc, It is not as easy as it looks, but I have to admit that 5% fuel saving is quite a lot, so let Airbus make more trials and they can find a system to implement and avoid most of the challenges.

Maybe for airlines with big banks of departures it can work to team up some flights going same direction and do the formation flight for few hours, if they can really save a good amount of fuel it will be great, lets say for example QF planes departing SYD to LAX, SFO, DFW. Also some Transpac flight.
 
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william
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Thu Nov 11, 2021 7:04 pm

So you turn TCAS off?
 
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JetBuddy
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Thu Nov 11, 2021 7:24 pm

Maybe a new use for the A380 as a "mother goose" with all the goslings in trail. The largest wake you can create.
 
32andBelow
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Thu Nov 11, 2021 8:14 pm

westgate wrote:
scbrmil wrote:
westgate wrote:
They were most certainly flying in formation with one slightly behind the other, so I can only assume that the trailing aircraft did in fact experience reduced fuel burn as a result, even though that might not have been the intention at the time.


It's very unlikely they were flying in formation - watch any busy air corridor and it will look like planes are flying in formation whereas they almost certainly have a minimum of 1,000ft vertical separation


Although it was quite a while ago, I do now vaguely remember seeing on Flight Radar that there was in fact a 1,000ft vertical seperation between them.

Nevertheless, they were still flying in 'formation' or in 'tandem' with each other, just obviously not close enough for the trailing aircraft to achieve any reduction in fuel burn.

I continued to track both of the aircraft and they flew in formation for almost their entire flights until they split up somewhere over Nevada.

So my point being, it certainly is possible for two planes departing the same airport right after one another and heading in the same direction to 'meet up' and fly together for most of their respective journey's.

The military does this all day every day. That’s how they refuel
 
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barney captain
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Thu Nov 11, 2021 9:23 pm

Spacepope wrote:
Cool, 8 hours stuck in wake turbulence. On purpose.That sounds like a dream flight right there.


My thoughts EXACTLY. No figgin' way would I do this.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Thu Nov 11, 2021 9:49 pm

johns624 wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
johns624 wrote:
How much more crew training would be required to prepare them for formation flying?


USAF pilot training was, until the T-1, pretty much a formation course with contact and instruments thrown in. The majority of T-38 flyng was formation.

There are a lot of commercial airline pilots, maybe even the majority, that don't have an air force background.


That’s true, I was pointing that formation flying isn’t an easy skill to learn.
 
johns624
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Thu Nov 11, 2021 9:51 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
johns624 wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:

USAF pilot training was, until the T-1, pretty much a formation course with contact and instruments thrown in. The majority of T-38 flyng was formation.

There are a lot of commercial airline pilots, maybe even the majority, that don't have an air force background.


That’s true, I was pointing that formation flying isn’t an easy skill to learn.
Okay, I misunderstood. I thought you were implying that most pilots would already have this skill.
 
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csturdiv
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Thu Nov 11, 2021 10:10 pm

Newark727 wrote:
I'm picturing two A350s doing an overhead break on approach like a formation of F-16s at Red Flag. :D



"You can be my wingman any time DL41!"
"BS DL42, you can be mine!"
 
YYZYYT
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Fri Nov 12, 2021 2:09 pm

william wrote:
So you turn TCAS off?


Would it have a problem with formation flying if courses did not conflict, as long as minimums are respected? Obviously it would have to be re-programed to recognize whatever new rules were permitted if this were to be approved (in fact, it could become a useful aid in holding position, couldn't it?).

csturdiv wrote:
Newark727 wrote:
I'm picturing two A350s doing an overhead break on approach like a formation of F-16s at Red Flag. :D



"You can be my wingman any time DL41!"
"BS DL42, you can be mine!"


:rotfl:

Glad you're observing the rules for posting here: quote Airplane! if possible; if not, quote Top Gun.
 
planecane
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Re: FelloFly: A359 and A35k fly in formation, save 5% fuel

Fri Nov 12, 2021 2:13 pm

scbriml wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
This has been beaten to death here before. Very challenging in operational service—identical departure times, etc,


Discussed, but now proven. With the potential to save 5% fuel on a typical TATL flight, I’m sure airlines will rise to any challenges.


It was proven years ago. I can't remember what aircraft or what agency but this was discussed quite some time ago. This isn't some great achievement by Airbus that nobody's though of before.

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Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos