Life as a flight planner starts when a number of routes are generated by the system, we then plot these routes to identify available options.
We then build the flight plan based on the available routings and start with some historical data such as airport taxi times and holding patterns.
Other aspects considered when flight planning:
- Weather forecast
- How many passengers, how much baggage and how much cargo is onboard (this all affects how fast and high the aircraft can fly)
- Runways in use, dependent on the wind direction at the time of landing
- Overfly costs, we will carefully analyse if the country is worth paying to fly over or if we choose to fly around that country over a cheaper option
- Extra fuel needed for anticipated holds or weather en route.
- Departure and arrival tracks
- Alternate airports. All flights have plans for if weather or technical issues cause them to divert from their route or arrival airport.
- Once the planners have gathered all this information, they fix the speeds and flight levels and then calculate how much fuel the pilots need to order. Finally, they do a ‘gross error check’ of the flight plan to make sure it’s all correct.
In the hours before departure, a flight plan is a living document that can change minute by minute, literally as the weather changes the plan has to change but at two and a half hours before take-off, it’s filed with NATS (the air traffic control service).
Once complete this is uploaded for the pilot and the operation is complete.
Flight planning and trip planning is available with Flightserve International, for further information don’t hesitate to contact us.