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trnswrld
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B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Wed Oct 16, 2013 1:36 pm

I have been a controller at an enroute facility now for 8 years and saw something the other day that I have never seen before. I was at the super high sector and had an Emirates B744 cruising at FL430. I know the flight was nearing its completion with only 2 hours left on that flight if that, so he was as light as he was gonna get, but still thats a first for me. That was the first time in my career ever seeing a commercial airliner flying above the typical FL410. Is this a somewhat common thing or something that I just dont see at my particular facility, or was this truly a rare event? highest aircraft I have ever worked was a U2 that checked on "above FL600", and besides that the other was a G4 at FL510.
 
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Francoflier
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Wed Oct 16, 2013 1:52 pm

That's rather typical of freighter ops when on a very light payload flight. Especially towards the end of a long flight.

I've been on such and hit FL450 once.

The 748 is only certified to FL430, however.

The problem up there is that ozone concentrations inside the cabin may become an issue, and radiation exposure is much higher.
I'll do my own airline. With Blackjack. And hookers. In fact, forget the airline.
 
flyguy1
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Wed Oct 16, 2013 2:30 pm

Was tracking Norwegian from Oslo, to JFK last night. Was also surprised, to see them up at FL 430 for awhile, figured it was the 787 ceiling.
727, L1011, MD80, A300, 777-200, 737-300, 737-700, 747-400, 757-200, 737-800, A320. E190, E135, 767-200, CRJ9
 
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seabosdca
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Wed Oct 16, 2013 2:46 pm

Quoting trnswrld (Thread starter):
Is this a somewhat common thing or something that I just dont see at my particular facility, or was this truly a rare event?

All Boeing widebodies except the 747, and the 747-8 passenger model, are certified to FL430. 747 Classics and 400s are certified to FL450. The 747-8F is only certified to FL420 for some reason.

You don't see them above FL410 often, but it does happen. I've been on several 747s and a 777 at FL430 late in the flight.
 
tjh8402
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Wed Oct 16, 2013 2:59 pm

Quoting trnswrld (Thread starter):
highest aircraft I have ever worked was a U2 that checked on "above FL600", and besides that the other was a G4 at FL510.

haha on the U2. that's awesome. reminds me of this story:

http://gizmodo.com/5511236/the-thrill-of-flying-the-sr+71-blackbird

"One day, high above Arizona , we were monitoring the radio traffic of all the mortal airplanes below us. First, a Cessna pilot asked the air traffic controllers to check his ground speed. 'Ninety knots,' ATC replied. A twin Bonanza soon made the same request. 'One-twenty on the ground,' was the reply. To our surprise, a navy F-18 came over the radio with a ground speed check. I knew exactly what he was doing. Of course, he had a ground speed indicator in his cockpit, but he wanted to let all the bug-smashers in the valley know what real speed was 'Dusty 52, we show you at 620 on the ground,' ATC responded. The situation was too ripe. I heard the click of Walter's mike button in the rear seat. In his most innocent voice, Walter startled the controller by asking for a ground speed check from 81,000 feet, clearly above controlled airspace. In a cool, professional voice, the controller replied, ' Aspen 20, I show you at 1,982 knots on the ground.' We did not hear another transmission on that frequency all the way to the coast."
 
DAL763ER
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Wed Oct 16, 2013 3:41 pm

The BA 380s that flew (still fly) LHR-FRA-LHR go up to FL430 on the FRA-LHR leg. I flew it in August and we went up to 430.
 
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Francoflier
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Wed Oct 16, 2013 4:11 pm

Quoting seabosdca (Reply 3):
The 747-8F is only certified to FL420 for some reason.

It was brought up to 430 relatively recently.
IIRC that was made possible by some flight control software tweaks (to the FBW spoilers mostly).

I believe that lower max certified altitude is due to the more efficient wing, which doesn't allow a fast enough descent in case of an emergency like a sudden loss of cabin pressure.
I'll do my own airline. With Blackjack. And hookers. In fact, forget the airline.
 
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flylku
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Wed Oct 16, 2013 9:47 pm

A friend who was a UA 744 captain (and on the SP) said he just did not like the feel of the airplane up there. I don't think this was reserved for the 744 but any aircraft near the edge of its altitude envelope.
...are we there yet?
 
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Siren
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Wed Oct 16, 2013 9:59 pm

I've heard rumors and stories of military E-4Bs operating up to 52,000 feet. I imagine it's probably very tricky operating a plane right on the edge of its envelope. What is it they called it? 'Coffin Corner'? Where the overspeed barber pole and the minimum allowable speed are right on top of each other?
 
AR385
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:07 pm

When I flew AR, their 747SP on the LIM-EZE sector of their LAX-MEX-LIM-EZE flight at least a couple of times we went up to 45,000 ft. towards the last two hours of flight. I thought only the SP version could go that high but apparently not.

On the other hand, on my FRA-EZE flight we went to only fl 270 all the way until we reach Las Palmas, and then only climbed to FL 310. Towards the end, the highest we went was fl 330.
 
Yakflyer
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Thu Oct 17, 2013 12:54 am

Quoting trnswrld (Thread starter):
Is this a somewhat common thing or something that I just dont see at my particular facility, or was this truly a rare event?

I think the reason you don't see many airliners above FL410 is that 410 is the highest altitude the pilots (at least those governed by the FAA) are allowed to fly without one of them having to wear an oxygen mask. Since it is pretty uncomfortable to wear the mask, most pilots are not will to fly higher than 410 without a good reason (example weather avoidance) for doing so.
 
twa727
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Thu Oct 17, 2013 1:28 am

Quoting trnswrld (Thread starter):
Is this a somewhat common thing or something that I just dont see at my particular facility, or was this truly a rare event? highest aircraft I have ever worked was a U2 that checked on "above FL600", and besides that the other was a G4 at FL510.

A bit earlier, you might have encountered Concorde flying up at that level. The one flight I was on, we were up to 55,000ft, and as I recall the pilot said we were flying a bit low that day. I believe it was certified up to 60,000ft.
 
rfields5421
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Thu Oct 17, 2013 1:36 am

Quoting tjh8402 (Reply 4):
reminds me of this story

One of my favorites.

Another is ATC gets a request for clearance to FL600. The newish controller replies "Sure, but what makes you think you can reach FL600?"

The Blackbird pilot replies "Sorry I wasn't clear, request permission to DESCEND to FL600"
Not all who wander are lost.
 
Norcal773
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Thu Oct 17, 2013 3:47 am

Quoting seabosdca (Reply 3):
All Boeing widebodies except the 747, and the 747-8 passenger model, are certified to FL430. 747 Classics and 400s are certified to FL450. The 747-8F is only certified to FL420 for some reason.

You don't see them above FL410 often, but it does happen. I've been on several 747s and a 777 at FL430 late in the flight.

Interestingly though, the 77W apparently has altitude restrictions, reason why if you look at flight radar over the Pacific especially, they're always lower than everybody else. An AA 77W pilot mentioned as such on Twitter a while back after switching over from the 772 to the 77W. I bet they're certified for higher but I've never seen a 77W over FL350 on FlightRadar24...maybe I don't look hard enough.

Quoting flylku (Reply 7):

A friend who was a UA 744 captain (and on the SP) said he just did not like the feel of the airplane up there. I don't think this was reserved for the 744 but any aircraft near the edge of its altitude envelope.

There's a 744 FO I know who said the same, he just doesn't like the feeling while flying that high because the margin of error btwn Max and Min speed is so small.
If you're going through hell, keep going
 
speedbird2263
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Thu Oct 17, 2013 3:50 am

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 12):

Absolutely pure gold!

-2263
Straight'n Up 'N Fly Right Son
 
AS737MAX
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Thu Oct 17, 2013 4:01 am

Quoting Norcal773 (Reply 13):

CX888 HKG-YVR
and
CX872 HKG-SFO
Are 77W and are both af FL370
 
Max Q
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Thu Oct 17, 2013 4:28 am

FL 410 is not uncommon on the B757 and I've been to FL430 on the B762 a couple of times.


The Cal 762's are the only Aircraft I've flown that could make a 75 look underpowered !
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


GGg
 
crownvic
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Thu Oct 17, 2013 4:41 am

I was on a Avianca 720B back in the early '80's Cartagena - JFK and noticed we were flying much higher than other a/c. The captain shortly thereafter came on and said we at FL450. I was quite amazed. When I returned home, I started researching to find out that the 720B had a higher certification altitude than any other airliner of the first generation. Any of you classic buffs know anything about this?
 
kevi747
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Thu Oct 17, 2013 5:13 am

OK, maybe I'm crazy (or, more likely, my memories fading...LOL!) but I have a distinct memory of hanging out in the cockpit of an AA 767-200 flying from JFK to LAX at 45,000 feet over the western USA. (This was circa 1999-2000 and I was the purser on this flight.) I remember talking with the female captain about how unusually high we were flying. I can't remember the reason, though. While we were chatting, a message came out of the ACARS printer from dispatch (and this part I remember clearly) which said "Can you see the curvature of the Earth from up there?" Everyone chuckled.

I knew it was a strange event, but as I'm reading this thread I wonder if it's even possible that we were that high. Help me out experts.  
"Reality has a well-known liberal bias." --Stephen Colbert
 
Max Q
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Thu Oct 17, 2013 5:30 am

Quoting kevi747 (Reply 18):
OK, maybe I'm crazy (or, more likely, my memories fading...LOL!) but I have a distinct memory of hanging out in the cockpit of an AA 767-200 flying from JFK to LAX at 45,000 feet over the western USA. (This was circa 1999-2000 and I was the purser on this flight.) I remember talking with the female captain about how unusually high we were flying. I can't remember the reason, though. While we were chatting, a message came out of the ACARS printer from dispatch (and this part I remember clearly) which said "Can you see the curvature of the Earth from up there?" Everyone chuckled.

I knew it was a strange event, but as I'm reading this thread I wonder if it's even possible that we were that high. Help me out experts.

You could well have been at FL430 (43000 feet) kevi but I doubt it was 450000


All our B767's have have a maximum certified altitude of 43000 and I don't know of any models that differ in this.
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


GGg
 
rwy04lga
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Thu Oct 17, 2013 5:38 am

Quoting Max Q (Reply 19):
but I doubt it was 450000

I doubt it, too!
Just accept that some days, you're the pigeon, and other days the statue
 
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chrisnh
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Thu Oct 17, 2013 5:41 am

I flew on an Air Canada 77W this past Saturday night from Toronto to London and sure enough, we stuck at 350. Reg was C-FIUL.
 
Centre
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Thu Oct 17, 2013 5:46 am

Quoting kevi747 (Reply 18):
"Can you see the curvature of the Earth from up there?"

Was going to ask the question myself
max I have been was FL410 on westjet 737 due to weather, and the curvature was not there yet, at least from my seat
I have cut 4 times, and it's still short.
 
onebadlt123
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:38 am

Above FL410 a flight deck crew member is required to be on oxygen at all times so you will rarely see an US operator under the scope of part 121 FAR's ever above FL410

[Edited 2013-10-16 23:44:26]
 
blueflyer
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:45 am

To the best of my memory, the only 744s still in Emirates' fleet are two TNT birds on ACMI contracts, so JAA rules would apply, and I don't believe there's any requirement to use oxygen past FL410.
 
onebadlt123
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:51 am

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 24):
To the best of my memory, the only 744s still in Emirates' fleet are two TNT birds on ACMI contracts, so JAA rules would apply, and I don't believe there's any requirement to use oxygen past FL410.

Not sure how the foreign carriers work, but I know US 121 operators need to comply with FAR 121.333 crew O2 requirements. I would assume though that if they operate in US airspace, then they would have to "respectfully comply" with the overflying country's regulations. I know we are required to comply with countries we fly over. Not entirely sure how it works from a non-US carriers point of view honestly.
 
pommy80
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:59 am

I flew EK415 in August and we climbed up too FL430 over India. The flight was pretty empty however.
 
murchmo
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Thu Oct 17, 2013 7:33 am

Okay, how bout this. When I flew back home to HNL a few weeks ago we flew really low. I think it was 24,000 ft. Turbulence was the reason. That's about as low as I've cruised other than on some flight between LA and Seattle.

Btw this is the best thread in a long time  
to strive to seek to find and not to yield
 
rlwynn
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Thu Oct 17, 2013 7:37 am

QTR3 which is a 787 is at 430 over Iraq right now. Besides the private jets that is the highest flying airliner in the world as of right now.
I can drive faster than you
 
Capt.Fantastic
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Thu Oct 17, 2013 10:26 am

In the late 1980's, I recall a Northwest 747-200 en route from NRT to JFK at FL430, over southern Ontario.
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Thu Oct 17, 2013 11:48 am

The KC-135A was certified by the USAF to FL-550, but the regulations required SR-71/U-2 type space suits above FL-500. The highest I remember flying was FL-490.
 
76er
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Thu Oct 17, 2013 12:10 pm

Alough our company flight planning system never takes us above 410 we take the -4ERF to 450 every once in a while. No problem whatsoever, climb rate stays above 1000 FPM all the way, so technically I think the plane can go quite a bit higher still.
 
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jetfuel
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Thu Oct 17, 2013 12:56 pm

Flown at FL430 and FL450 many times between Australia and LAX
Where's the passion gone out of the airline industry? The smell of jetfuel and the romance of taking a flight....
 
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747classic
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Thu Oct 17, 2013 1:48 pm

Below is a print-out of the AIDsystem* of PH-BUM, a KLM 747-206combi (later converted to -206(SUD)combi) cruising at FL451 (max. certified altitude), with call sign KL832 (probably between Djakarta and Singapore). at October 25 1983

A print-out was frequently presented to a new cabin attendant, when we were cruising at FL450, to prove that they had actually cruised at that altitude.
(this particular print-out was even signed by the CEO (faked signature) and the flight engineer.)

FL451- PH-BUM -KL832 - Oct 25, 1983.


* AIDsystem = aircraft integrated data system.

[Edited 2013-10-17 06:52:43]

[Edited 2013-10-17 06:53:37]
Operating a twin over the ocean, you're always one engine failure from a total emergency.
 
daviation
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Thu Oct 17, 2013 2:30 pm

On commercial jets....

The lowest: July 1973 on an AA 727-200 BUF-LGA, 17000 feet. We went through many cumulus clouds, got rattled around, came out the other side, but never climbed higher.

The highest: Dec 1993 on a DL 757-200 PBI-ATL, 45000 feet (at least I think it was 45000, but I'm probably wrong). I do recall that I told my wife that I was shocked to see us so high on such a short flight.
PlaneFlown:717,727,737,747,757,767,777,DC8,DC9,DC10,L1011,F100,A300,319,320,321,330,340,CRJ,ERJ,E190,Av85,DH8,Beaver,ATR
 
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flylku
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Thu Oct 17, 2013 10:02 pm

Quoting murchmo (Reply 27):
Okay, how bout this. When I flew back home to HNL a few weeks ago we flew really low. I think it was 24,000 ft. Turbulence was the reason. That's about as low as I've cruised other than on some flight between LA and Seattle.



You must have used loads of fuel!
...are we there yet?
 
Viscount724
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Thu Oct 17, 2013 10:08 pm

Quoting daviation (Reply 34):
The highest: Dec 1993 on a DL 757-200 PBI-ATL, 45000 feet (at least I think it was 45000, but I'm probably wrong).

757 maximum certified operating altitude is 42,000 ft.
 
hivue
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Thu Oct 17, 2013 10:25 pm

I flew an AA 757 DFW-MCO a couple of days after this event --

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/art...elage-hole-in-american-757-349130/

When the captain said we'd be cruising at 40,000 I said to myself hmmm...

I believe this turned out to be a manufacturing (or maybe it was a repair) defect.
"You're sitting. In a chair. In the SKY!!" ~ Louis C.K.
 
Norcal773
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Thu Oct 17, 2013 10:27 pm

Quoting AS737MAX (Reply 15):
CX888 HKG-YVR
and
CX872 HKG-SFO
Are 77W and are both af FL370

I am not on FlightRadar as much as I used to be, I don;t think I've seen a 77W over FL350, but evidently they do go that high. Looking right now though over the Pacific with all the Asian Couriers pretty much operating the 77W, they're all lower than the likes of A380s, 747s,330s and 772s.
If you're going through hell, keep going
 
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CCA
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Fri Oct 18, 2013 12:51 am

Returning empty after F1 charter.

Enthusiast
 
AR385
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Fri Oct 18, 2013 12:54 am

Quoting CCA (Reply 39):
Returning empty after F1 charter.

Wow! What´s the AOA?
 
Thenoflyzone
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Fri Oct 18, 2013 1:40 am

Quoting francoflier (Reply 1):
The 747-8F is only certified to FL420 for some reason.

No, CPA87, a B748F is currently over Japan at FL430.

http://flightaware.com/live/flight/CPA87

Quoting francoflier (Reply 6):
It was brought up to 430 relatively recently.

 checkmark 

Thenoflyzone

[Edited 2013-10-17 18:45:26]
us Air Traffic Controllers have a good record, we haven't left one up there yet !!
 
rlwynn
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Fri Oct 18, 2013 5:55 am

Right now there is only one plane at 430. An Emirates A380 over India.

And not the topic but the fastest plane is an AA 777 over the north pacific at 652knots.

[Edited 2013-10-17 22:58:58]
I can drive faster than you
 
CO953
Posts: 523
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:56 am

Quoting Centre (Reply 22):

Quoting kevi747 (Reply 18):
"Can you see the curvature of the Earth from up there?"

Was going to ask the question myself
max I have been was FL410 on westjet 737 due to weather, and the curvature was not there yet, at least from my seat

Cool thread - learned something new  

Was at FL 410 last month on a WN 737-700, MSY-LAX - good amount of unsettled weather across the middle of the route - I figured they were flying high for that reason - but did not know about the U.S. oxygen-mask reg!

Anyone know what the rating is for the -700, besides the oxygen reg
 
trnswrld
Topic Author
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Fri Oct 18, 2013 12:40 pm

^^^ Dont know anything about ratings, but the 737-700 regularly go right up to FL410 right after departure....and they get there very quickly. Love working the Southwest 737s because they get up and out of everyones way quickly  
 
Norcal773
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Fri Oct 18, 2013 3:08 pm

Quoting trnswrld (Reply 44):

^^^ Dont know anything about ratings, but the 737-700 regularly go right up to FL410 right after departure....and they get there very quickly. Love working the Southwest 737s because they get up and out of everyones way quickly

I've been on a Southwest 737 SMF-LAX that went straight up to FL390. It's an hour flight, didn't get it.
If you're going through hell, keep going
 
GentFromAlaska
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Fri Oct 18, 2013 3:37 pm

A year or so ago I saw a F9 A319 on flightaware flying at 41,000 up the coast to ANC. My first thought was it seemed high for that airframe. A second thought had me thinking about seasonal thermals which I've heard of before off the coast of Alaska. As I recall it was about 9:00 PM at night.
Man can be taken from Alaska. Alaska can never be taken from the man.
 
rcair1
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Fri Oct 18, 2013 4:16 pm

I got my 152 up to 11.2 once... ;   
rcair1
 
AR385
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Fri Oct 18, 2013 5:18 pm

AM´s 737s routinely go up to FL410 on MEX-MTY which is a one hr. flight.
 
trnswrld
Topic Author
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RE: B744 Cruising At FL430. Highest Ive Seen One.

Fri Oct 18, 2013 5:19 pm

Unfortunately all this high altitude flying has claimed the lives of some people as well. I remember one specific crash which I believed was a CRJ2 which was being ferried empty between somewhere and MSP. The pilots wanted to be part of the "410 club". Once up there the aircraft was not holding altitude so they requested a descent. Then shortly after both engines oversped or seized up (im not sure the details). The pilots focused too much on restarting the engines all the down from FL410 which was never going to happen because they were damaged. They failed to find a suitable landing place and crashed into trees and homes. The CVR transcripts are pretty shocking as well.

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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