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frostyj
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Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Tue Mar 01, 2016 12:45 pm

I ask because every winter this is a daily problem on Transatlantic flights. The headwinds are crazy and have a massive impact, I have been tracking flights for the past week and noticed some crazy paths, last Friday flights were going wayyy far south like to Azores today flights are going to Greenland.

This makes a six hour flight become 8 hours as the plane has to take a 1,000 mile detour.

Is there an alternative to this? What about flying higher e.g 42,000 feet or flying lower e.g 30,000 feet. I just find it crazy that headwinds would be so bad that United would fly straight north from Shannon for 500 miles before going west, that's alot of extra miles on a barely 3,000 mile route.

These headwinds are a pain.

Could airlines install anything on the planes?
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jbflyguy84
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Tue Mar 01, 2016 1:12 pm

Quoting Frostyj (Thread starter):
This makes a six hour flight become 8 hours as the plane has to take a 1,000 mile detour

you know that they detour to REDUCE the flight time right? Flying the shortest route if its against the headwind will make that 8hr flight into 9hr+
 
shamrock137
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Tue Mar 01, 2016 1:23 pm

Quoting Frostyj (Thread starter):
This makes a six hour flight become 8 hours as the plane has to take a 1,000 mile detour.

Not exactly true, flight planners take this into account. If the flight flew a shorter path over the ground, but directly into the headwinds, the groundspeed would be lower, and the flight might take even longer.

Quoting Frostyj (Thread starter):
I just find it crazy that headwinds would be so bad that United would fly straight north from Shannon for 500 miles before going west, that's alot of extra miles on a barely 3,000 mile route.

If you look at the actual miles flown on flight aware, it really only changes by about 3-500mi or so, it looks drastically further on a flat map, but remember thats not an accurate projection of the actual shape of the Earth. For example on Feb 27th UA24 flew a more direct route and completed the flight in 7:11 while today they are taking a northerly route over Greenland, with a projected flight time of 7:27, not much of a difference in time and a miles over the ground difference of only about 400 miles.

Quoting Frostyj (Thread starter):
What about flying higher e.g 42,000 feet or flying lower e.g 30,000 feet

This is taken into account for planning every flight, not just trans Atlantic flights. Flight planners will find an optimal altitude based on a number of factors including winds, fuel burned to reach an altitude, the aircraft's weight and routing from ATC.

Quoting Frostyj (Thread starter):
Could airlines install anything on the planes?

They are, winglets have reduced the amount of tech stops needed for refueling on 757's crossing the Atlantic, and east to west coast flights in the United States.
Time to spare? Go by air!
 
Woodreau
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Tue Mar 01, 2016 1:35 pm

Quoting Frostyj (Thread starter):
Is there an alternative to this? What about flying higher e.g 42,000 feet or flying lower e.g 30,000 feet. I just find it crazy that headwinds would be so bad that United would fly straight north from Shannon for 500 miles before going west, that's alot of extra miles on a barely 3,000 mile route.

Most airliners aren't certified to go above FL410, and flying at FL300 ... well you might not have the fuel to complete the trip.
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
 
frostyj
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Tue Mar 01, 2016 2:58 pm

Winglets don't counteract the actual headwinds.
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jbflyguy84
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Tue Mar 01, 2016 3:19 pm

Quoting Frostyj (Reply 4):
Winglets don't counteract the actual headwinds

But they do make travelling through them more efficient and isn't that your goal?
 
flipdewaf
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Tue Mar 01, 2016 3:34 pm

Quoting Frostyj (Reply 4):
Winglets don't counteract the actual headwinds.

No, but they address the issues that headwinds create.

Fred
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shamrock137
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Tue Mar 01, 2016 4:15 pm

Quoting Frostyj (Reply 4):
Winglets don't counteract the actual headwinds.

Right, guess I'm not quite understanding what you're asking then, some sort of device to defeat headwinds?
Time to spare? Go by air!
 
jbflyguy84
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Tue Mar 01, 2016 5:01 pm

Quoting Shamrock137 (Reply 7):
Right, guess I'm not quite understanding what you're asking then, some sort of device to defeat headwinds?

Yes I think some magical sonic or laser beam protruding from the front of the aircraft to divert the winds around the aircraft and out of the way, obviously  

[Edited 2016-03-01 09:01:49]
 
shamrock137
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Tue Mar 01, 2016 5:20 pm

Quoting jbflyguy84 (Reply 8):
Yes I think some magical sonic or laser beam protruding from the front of the aircraft to divert the winds around the aircraft and out of the way, obviously  

Haha other then aerodynamic devices or extra fuel, this is all I can think of! Maybe some sort of wormhole device?  
Time to spare? Go by air!
 
frostyj
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Tue Mar 01, 2016 5:36 pm

It's just because it makes it such a painful experience for the passenger.. In the winter many of these routes can exceed 8 hours when they may only be 6 hours in the summer.
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jbflyguy84
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Tue Mar 01, 2016 6:13 pm

Quoting Frostyj (Reply 10):

It's just because it makes it such a painful experience for the passenger.. In the winter many of these routes can exceed 8 hours when they may only be 6 hours in the summer.

Then don't fly the route in winter if those 2 extra hours are so important to you...
 
FlyHossD
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Tue Mar 01, 2016 6:39 pm

Quoting Frostyj (Thread starter):
Is there an alternative to this? What about flying higher e.g 42,000 feet or flying lower e.g 30,000 feet. I just find it crazy that headwinds would be so bad that United would fly straight north from Shannon for 500 miles before going west, that's alot of extra miles on a barely 3,000 mile route.

These headwinds are a pain.

Could airlines install anything on the planes?
Quoting Frostyj (Reply 4):
Winglets don't counteract the actual headwinds.

Right, winglets don't counteract winds of any kind. However, they do add range and that can be enough to prevent a fuel stop or diversion.

Through the employee grapevine years ago, I heard that my former carrier did study adding aux tanks to the 757s, but the bean counters decided that the diversions and the resultant passenger missed connections weren't worth the investment.
My statements do not represent my former employer or my current employer and are my opinions only.
 
e38
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Tue Mar 01, 2016 10:22 pm

Quoting Frostyj (Reply 10), "In the winter many of these routes can exceed 8 hours when they may only be 6 hours in the summer."

Well, that's how "weather" works.

Perhaps for you, a better solution, so as not to have to put up with headwinds, would be to always fly in an easterly direction. For example, in you wanted to fly from London to New York, just book yourself on flights that go eastward from London--over Russia, the Pacific Ocean, and the United States. In this manner, you might be able to avoid headwinds.

e38
 
LH707330
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Wed Mar 02, 2016 4:32 am

There used to be a solution to this problem between 1976 and 2003. They made a plane that flew above most of the weather in calm winds. The only problem is that it burned 4x the fuel per pax of similar designs and pissed off the NIMBYs.
 
Viscount724
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Wed Mar 02, 2016 5:50 am

In the propeller era, westbound flights often flew at quite low altitudes to avoid the strongest headwinds. That's less practical for jets since they burn much more fuel at low altitudes. I have an interesting book of memoirs by a long-time BA captain who flew almost everything they operated from the Comet 1 to Concorde. In his chapter on the DC-7C he says westbound flights from London to New York were often made at 8,000 to 10,000 feet to avoid stronger upper winds.
 
Pihero
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:47 am

There are sets of graphs that would give some strategy to the jetstream problem : they are called *Wind / Altitude trade*.
This is how it works, basiucally :
- There is one altitude at which the fuel consumption is the lowest - at a given weight.
- Flying higher (not always possible ) or lower increases the fuel flow.
- Now we consider a specific consumption ( i.e how many miles per ton of fuel ) for each altitude , compared to flying at the *normal* flight level but inside the jet streaM.
- We find out that there is a parameter that's very important : the wind gradient : the higher it is, the better the chances of achieving a better economy at lower altitudes.

Now, why is it that flying lower could bring a lot of time and dollar savings : just the fact that lower altitudes have a higher temperature, hence provide a higher TAS for the same Mach number.... AND the fact that the wind will be less ( that's why the wind gradient is so important)

There's one drawback to flying lower : one could find that flying inside lower cloud covers is uncomfortable.

In airline OPS centers, there are some wizards who combine the wind / alt trade with some route changes to achieve enormous gains.

All this could be done in FMS programs... but AFAIK there is not one that takes care of it : every one of them is based only on optimum / max altitude.
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frostyj
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:57 am

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 15):

Really? I've flown from JFK to Ireland at 29,000 feet.
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DualQual
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Wed Mar 02, 2016 3:58 pm

Quoting frostyj (Reply 17):


Really? I've flown from JFK to Ireland at 29,000 feet.


And? 29000 isn't all that low in the grand scheme of things. And JFK to Ireland is short and has the advantage of a tailwind. FRA to MIA at 20000 however, will likely be a stretch.
There's no known cure for stupid
 
iRISH251
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Wed Mar 02, 2016 4:58 pm

Quoting frostyj (Reply 17):
Really? I've flown from JFK to Ireland at 29,000 feet.

Was it FL290 all the way? That would be unusual. Flights may begin the oceanic crossing at an initial lower level but step-climb en route as fuel is burned off and of course as traffic permits. Even 747-100s could sometimes make FL390-410 in the later stages of a transatlantic flight.
 
ANITIX87
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Wed Mar 02, 2016 5:31 pm

FROSTYJ, I think you're correlating flight distance with flight time too much. Not a single trans-Atlantic flight will takes an hour longer on a given day then it should, if we're talking about actual flight time. A 6hr flight stretching to 8 hours is basically unheard of. The distance flown has very, very little effect on total flight time since the entire goal is to pick the quickest route (and the difference is exaggerated on a flat map).

Last 6 flights for LH412 (MUC-EWR)
25-Feb --- 4185nm --- 9h28m
26-Feb --- 4334nm --- 9h9m
27-Feb --- 4372nm --- 9h0m
28-Feb --- 4190nm --- 9h14m
29 Feb --- 4724nm --- 9h6m
1 Mar --- 4606nm --- 9h7m

The two flights with the LONGEST DISTANCE took 9h6m and 9h7m.
The two flights with the SHORTEST DISTANCE took 9h28m and 9h14m

You can check this link, which shows how different many of the routes have been: http://flightaware.com/live/flight/D...2/history/20160303/1440Z/EDDM/KEWR

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MSJYOP28Apilot
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Wed Mar 02, 2016 5:55 pm

Quoting IRISH251 (Reply 19):
Was it FL290 all the way? That would be unusual. Flights may begin the oceanic crossing at an initial lower level but step-climb en route as fuel is burned off and of course as traffic permits. Even 747-100s could sometimes make FL390-410 in the later stages of a transatlantic flight.

Actually its not so unusual. If there is turbulence up higher then FL290 eastbound is often planned and flown to avoid the turbulence. Sometimes, even if planned higher they may descend to FL270-FL290 to get a better ride fuel and traffic permitting of course. The 757s westbound have troubles going lower due to tankage but 767, 777, 330s have no problem going across at FL280/FL290. Definitely a higher burn but passenger comfort means more than the added fuel.

Also it could be they were flying a random route underneath the tracks.

[Edited 2016-03-02 09:59:12]

[Edited 2016-03-02 09:59:36]
 
kurtverbose
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Wed Mar 02, 2016 7:29 pm

Quoting LH707330 (Reply 14):
There used to be a solution to this problem between 1976 and 2003. They made a plane that flew above most of the weather in calm winds.

Also, the faster you fly the smaller the problem headwinds are.

e.g. Fly 1000 miles at 1000mph into a 200mph headwind - 1.2 hours. 20% longer flight

Fly 1000 miles at 201mph into a 200mph headwind - 1000 hour flight. Almost 200x longer than if there were no headwind. Might be quicker to fly the other way round the world in that case.
 
B777LRF
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:45 pm

Quoting Frostyj (Thread starter):
Could airlines install anything on the planes?

I suppose a warp-drive would fit the bill.
Signature. You just read one.
 
sevenheavy
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Wed Mar 02, 2016 10:05 pm

The thing is, what you lose one way you gain in the other.

On those days where a westbound LHR-JFK flight is nearly 8 hours, the return may only be 5. 13 hours in the air.

In the summer it maybe 7 hours westbound but 6 coming back. Still 13 hours. You spend no more time in the air, the airlines burn no more fuel or lose any aircraft utilisation.

If it was really costing the airlines money, or causing lots of complaints they may have looked at (and probably failed to find!) more radical solutions. The best option is just to take the fought with the smooth.
So long 701, it was nice knowing you.
 
frostyj
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Wed Mar 02, 2016 10:57 pm

Quoting IRISH251 (Reply 19):

Well it was dayflight so that's probably why.
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frostyj
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Wed Mar 02, 2016 11:01 pm

Quoting sevenheavy (Reply 24):

Well I have flown to New York 3 times and will be flying once again in June. I have found that the flight there is normally around 6 hours and a bit and on the way back about 5 and a half hours so probably about 45 minutes difference - all in the summer when there are no headwinds, often tailwinds.

However, in the winter this is exacerbated as the planes have to take routings quite a distance off the great circle route adding at least an hour onto the real flight time if there were no headwinds.

I don't personally like the idea of headwinds, I would take no tailwinds to get rid of the idea of headwinds. 7.5 hours seems like a very long time for a barely 3,000 mile flight to me (I am talking from Ireland here).




[Edited 2016-03-02 15:02:16]

[Edited 2016-03-02 15:03:40]
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thegman
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Wed Mar 02, 2016 11:36 pm

Quoting Pihero (Reply 16):
All this could be done in FMS programs... but AFAIK there is not one that takes care of it : every one of them is based only on optimum / max altitude.

Airliners don't allow for wind info to be put into the flight plan?
 
IPFreely
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Thu Mar 03, 2016 1:35 am

Quoting frostyj (Reply 26):
I don't personally like the idea of headwinds,

Noted.
 
IPFreely
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Thu Mar 03, 2016 1:37 am

Quoting kurtverbose (Reply 22):
e.g. Fly 1000 miles at 1000mph into a 200mph headwind - 1.2 hours. 20% longer flight

1000 mph (indicated air speed) - 200 mph (headwind) = 800 mph (true air speed).

1000 miles / 800 mph = 1.25 hours, not 1.2 hours. 25% longer.
 
Viscount724
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Thu Mar 03, 2016 2:10 am

Quoting frostyj (Reply 26):
all in the summer when there are no headwinds, often tailwinds.

Headwinds on westbound transatlantic flights are common in the summer also. Check published schedules and you'll normally find that westbound block times are longer than eastbound. It of course varies from day to day, but on average the westbound flight time will be longer year-round.

For example. mid-July block times for all carriers DUB-JFK vary from 7:14 to 7:30, and JFK-DUB from 6:32 to 7:00.
 
RetiredWeasel
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Thu Mar 03, 2016 2:15 am

Quoting IPFreely (Reply 29):
1000 mph (indicated air speed) - 200 mph (headwind) = 800 mph (true air speed).

That should read:
1000 mph (true air speed) - 200 mph (headwind) = 800 mph (ground speed)

(that's if you really want to get your terms down.)
 
frostyj
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Thu Mar 03, 2016 2:38 am

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 30):

I've never been on a tatl flight that exceeded 6 and half hours.
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ANITIX87
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Thu Mar 03, 2016 3:31 am

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 30):
For example. mid-July block times for all carriers DUB-JFK vary from 7:14 to 7:30, and JFK-DUB from 6:32 to 7:00.

This actually has to do with the summer traffic at JFK, not the headwinds. LX does the same thing and pads the GVA departure and second ZRH departure with additional time to account for taxi times at JFK.

@frostyj, did you see my analysis of MUC-EWR above? All west-bound TATL flights will be longer than their eastbound equivalents, but how much the flight time varies day-to-day has very little to do with the distance flown (we're talking 15-30 minutes at most).

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LH707330
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Thu Mar 03, 2016 5:44 am

Quoting sevenheavy (Reply 24):
The thing is, what you lose one way you gain in the other.

Not quite true: you get dinged/helped by how much time you spend in the headwind or tailwind. Because you spend more time fighting the headwind than you do getting pushed by the tailwind, it's a net evil. Let's say you want to go 4000 miles at 400 knots out and back. With no wind, it's 10 hours each way for a total of 20. Now throw in a 100 knot wind. One way, you're going 300 knots, the other way you're going 500 knots, so it takes 4000 mi/300 kt=13.3 hr + 4000 mi/500kt=8 hr for a total of 13.3+8=21.3 hours. Obviously you'll look fow ways to minimize ESAD both ways, but I still think wind is a net evil unless you're able to get a small jetstream and get the best of both each way.
 
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Francoflier
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Thu Mar 03, 2016 9:41 am

Quoting Frostyj (Thread starter):

Strong jetstreams aren't that bad.

In fact, I'll posit that they're overall beneficial to airlines in terms of fuel consumption versus a hypothetical windless World.

Flight are very often routed directly into those jetstream on the Eastbound leg, benefiting from the full effect of the tailwind in terms of time and fuel gains.

On the way back, dispatchers, with the help of some very fancy software, devise ways to avoid the brunt of these winds thanks to creative routing in areas of lesser winds and sometimes altitude management.
This means that on an average transatlantic (or transpacific) roundtrip, the time (and fuel) lost fighting the headwinds will generally be less that that gained taking advantage of them going the other way.

And if you complain about those extra 2 hours on Westbound transatlantic flights, then I suggest you stay well clear of transpacific flights where the difference between Eastbound and Westbound is sometimes in the order of 4 hours...
I'll do my own airline. With Blackjack. And hookers. In fact, forget the airline.
 
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SRQKEF
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Thu Mar 03, 2016 10:14 am

Quoting frostyj (Reply 26):

Well, I don't like the idea of rain either. Doesn't mean there's anything I, or an aircraft manufacturer for that matter, can do to stop it.

Headwinds are there on westbound TATL flights, whether you "like the idea" of them or not. If the idea of those 2 extra hours, at most, equal "such a painful experience" for you then you don't have much to worry about. Either way, you can't just fly without headwinds as they are there by nature. It's not as if airlines want them to be there.

How do you propose to stop the wind? Have giant blowers on the US east coast that counter against it?  

regards
Sveinn
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coolian2
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Thu Mar 03, 2016 10:53 am

Quoting frostyj (Reply 26):
I don't personally like the idea of headwinds

Fly eastbound all the way. Unfortunately the planes will still likely have to land into a headwind. Or travel to destinations immediately north/south of you.

Quoting IPFreely (Reply 28):
Noted

I laughed.

[Edited 2016-03-03 02:53:41]
Q300/ATR72-600/737-200/-300/-400/-700/-800/A320/767-200/-300/757-200/777-300ER/
747-200/-300/-400/ER/A340-300/A380-800/MD-83/-88/CRJ-700/-900
 
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lapper
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Thu Mar 03, 2016 1:37 pm

Quoting frostyj (Reply 32):
I've never been on a tatl flight that exceeded 6 and half hours.

Fortunately for the rest of Europe outside of Northern Ireland there are flights to destinations other than the East Cost of the US. Unfortunately for you that would mean being cooped up in a metal tube for longer.

Quoting frostyj (Reply 25):
Well it was dayflight so that's probably why.

Of course, we all know that planes fly at lower altitudes during the day...
 
frostyj
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Thu Mar 03, 2016 1:41 pm

It should be pretty obvious to any aviation enthusaist that the reason why the flight was flying so low was due to the fact that it was going against the flow.

You shouldn't be questioning that, it's clearly obvious...

[Edited 2016-03-03 05:43:46]
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Starlionblue
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Thu Mar 03, 2016 3:39 pm

Quoting Pihero (Reply 16):
In airline OPS centers, there are some wizards who combine the wind / alt trade with some route changes to achieve enormous gains.

They do that. Then some flight ahead of you gains the high ground 10 minutes ahead of you and you're stuck at a suboptimal altitude for 3 hours. But I digress. 
Quoting thegman (Reply 27):

Quoting Pihero (Reply 16):
All this could be done in FMS programs... but AFAIK there is not one that takes care of it : every one of them is based only on optimum / max altitude.

Airliners don't allow for wind info to be put into the flight plan?

Well, sure. We download winds and they go in the FMS. However I think what Pihero meant is that the FMS calculates only vertical changes. It doesn't figure out lateral reroutings based on wind patterns.

Quoting frostyj (Reply 26):

Quoting sevenheavy (Reply 24):

Well I have flown to New York 3 times and will be flying once again in June. I have found that the flight there is normally around 6 hours and a bit and on the way back about 5 and a half hours so probably about 45 minutes difference - all in the summer when there are no headwinds, often tailwinds.

However, in the winter this is exacerbated as the planes have to take routings quite a distance off the great circle route adding at least an hour onto the real flight time if there were no headwinds.

I don't personally like the idea of headwinds, I would take no tailwinds to get rid of the idea of headwinds. 7.5 hours seems like a very long time for a barely 3,000 mile flight to me (I am talking from Ireland here).

It's weather. We have weather on every flight. Not that much we can do about it except avoid the dangerous stuff, try to keep the bumps to a minimum and hope the route planners have done their jobs.

Route planners attempt to minimize air miles traveled within ATC routing constraints. This often means traveling quite far from the great circle in order to account for winds.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
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lapper
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Thu Mar 03, 2016 3:45 pm

Quoting frostyj (Reply 39):

Right...

Have a look at FR24 right now (3.43pm GMT) and see the altitude of eastbound flights. I'll pick 2 straight off the bat, BA178 - 37,000 feet. VS26 - 39,000 feet.

Sorry, I know this is Tech/Ops, but I'm going to have to post this, as I can see this thread going on and on:
 
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lapper
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Thu Mar 03, 2016 4:03 pm

In answer to your comment about your flight travelling at 29,000 feet eastbound, it's most likely a lucky benefit of the questions you're asking. Tailwinds. The tailwinds at that flight level were probably beneficial for the flight of that length on the route you were travelling and allowed a lower fuel burn.
 
iRISH251
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Thu Mar 03, 2016 4:13 pm

Quoting frostyj (Reply 39):
It should be pretty obvious to any aviation enthusaist that the reason why the flight was flying so low was due to the fact that it was going against the flow.

You shouldn't be questioning that, it's clearly obvious...

It's not obvious at all. With RVSM there are twelve different flight levels available from FL290 to FL400 and this should allow an eastbound to secure a planned higher level than 290, even against the daytime westbound flow. Take a look at the actual eastbounds, either passenger cargo, during the afternoon and you will see flights at a variety of levels. And if strong winds dictate more circuitous westbound routeings, it's all the more likely that eastbounds will have a choice of available levels.
 
roseflyer
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Thu Mar 03, 2016 4:52 pm

Quoting Frostyj (Thread starter):
Is there an alternative to this? What about flying higher e.g 42,000 feet

The only plane that I know of that would be able to climb straight to 42,000 ft on a transatlantic flight would be a 787 (not sure about A350). Not many planes can get that high straight away and fly for 7-8 hours. Even the 787, which can do it, would be more optimal in the 38,000 - 41,000 ft range. If headwinds were less at higher altitudes, then yes it would make sense to climb even if it is higher than the ideal altitude.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
 
Pihero
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Thu Mar 03, 2016 4:57 pm

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 40):

Well, sure. We download winds and they go in the FMS. However I think what Pihero meant is that the FMS calculates only vertical changes.

NOt quite : generally once you're established at your first step - or even your optimum Flight level - the FMS erases all the lower altitude wind inputs.
You never get down from that level even though you've computed the benefits of trading the (head-)wind for lower altitude.

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 40):

Quoting Pihero (Reply 16):
In airline OPS centers, there are some wizards who combine the wind / alt trade with some route changes to achieve enormous gains.

They do that. Then some flight ahead of you gains the high ground 10 minutes ahead of you and you're stuck at a suboptimal altitude for 3 hours.

Gosh !!! you have to work it, too : You'll be faster at that lower FL : just compute / plan to arrive at the point where the headwind effect ceases before the aircraft above which is the most likely to block you... climb and guess who is screwed ?
In winter, you have every day the subtropical jet right at the airway between Zahedan and Vishakapatnam... the most annoying of all jets.
What is great is that it is a very compact tube of strong winds : 120 to 150 kt at FL 350, coming down to 20 at FL 240... That low is, un-obviously within the wind/alt trade... At that FL, you could modulate your flight to be able to climb inside Iranian airspace before one of the flights above you... Great fun, but it requires some SA.

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 40):
the FMS calculates only vertical changes. It doesn't figure out lateral reroutings based on wind patterns.

Some of these programs belong to the flight planners... Not on airborne systems.

[Edited 2016-03-03 08:59:46]

[Edited 2016-03-03 09:01:30]


Btw, where are you at on your TR ?


[Edited 2016-03-03 09:02:40]
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Starlionblue
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Fri Mar 04, 2016 12:49 am

Quoting Pihero (Reply 45):
Gosh !!! you have to work it, too : You'll be faster at that lower FL : just compute / plan to arrive at the point where the headwind effect ceases before the aircraft above which is the most likely to block you... climb and guess who is screwed ?

Of course we work it.   However it is hard to be that exact when all the flights from a certain region converge over a certain area. We can pretty much know when other flights from the same airport left. Other airports are harder to keep track of.

ATC and FIR changes get in the way as well. For example over The Philippines you often get a descent due to crossing traffic. And if you're only a couple of hours from the boundary, the previous FIR says "sorry, level not available" after they've checked with the Manila FIR.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
jbflyguy84
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Fri Mar 04, 2016 12:34 pm

Quoting frostyj (Reply 39):
It should be pretty obvious to any aviation enthusaist that the reason why the flight was flying so low was due to the fact that it was going against the flow.

Some aviation enthusiasts, yes, pilot or real life airline employee? ummm that would be no.
 
thegman
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Fri Mar 04, 2016 1:33 pm

Quoting frostyj (Reply 39):

You shouldn't be questioning that, it's clearly obvious...

That really isn't clearly obvious to the casual observer. Really it is only something a Flight Manager that handles TATL or a Pilot that flies TATL would know.

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 40):
Well, sure. We download winds and they go in the FMS. However I think what Pihero meant is that the FMS calculates only vertical changes. It doesn't figure out lateral reroutings based on wind patterns.

True, but you can't just fly wherever you want in airspace not under radar coverage. "This isn't 'Nam, there are rules!" Well you can but it would be extremely dangerous.

Quoting Lapper (Reply 41):

Have a look at FR24 right now (3.43pm GMT) and see the altitude of eastbound flights. I'll pick 2 straight off the bat, BA178 - 37,000 feet. VS26 - 39,000 feet.

Sorry, I know this is Tech/Ops, but I'm going to have to post this, as I can see this thread going on and on:

Are you guys familiar with the Nat Track system?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Atlantic_Tracks

It's a system of tracks that airplanes follow over the North Atlantic in order to ensure separation in a high traffic area that does not have radar coverage. The tracks shift every day. The planners that publish them plan them take into account weather, including winds. Sometimes you will see large gaps between two tracks, this might be because some significant storm or a particularly strong headwind.

During the evening the tracks run east, during the morning they run west. If you look at the nat track message for right now you will see that eastbound levels are nil, meaning that eastbound flights can either fly under the tracks, which right now would be under FL310, or they can be assigned what is called a random route which is usually either north or south (most likely south) of the track system.

Here is the current NAT track message http://pilotweb.nas.faa.gov/common/nat.html (it will change at some point during the day).

[Edited 2016-03-04 05:35:36]

[Edited 2016-03-04 05:37:13]
 
frostyj
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RE: Solutions To Headwinds On Tatl

Fri Mar 04, 2016 1:55 pm

Yes I am, I live under them..
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