Flight Planning Introduction

Introduction to Flight Planning

Flight Planning is essentially planning, mapping out and understanding all of the criteria, materials and routes of a flight that you are undertaking. Flying is not as simple as driving a car, you need to be fully prepared and know the route that you are taking. It is vital that all flights are deemed to have a well-structured and organised flight plan, which will not only maximise the safety of those on board but also reduce costs where necessary. The aim of flight planning is to create a recipe for the safest flight on a specific day and for a particular aircraft. As circumstances are never the same for any flight, the calculations must always be tailored to the flight in question. Another aspect of any particular journey’s flight plan is that of airspace. Close attention is paid to the necessary altitude at which the aircraft must fly in order to stay safe in flight so that collision with other crafts be sharing airspace is avoided.

Flight Planning Today

The development of computer technology has been extremely significant with regards to flight planning. When the first commercial flights were being planned, there was nowhere near the accuracy that there is today; all calculations were done by hand which was an extremely time consuming process not to mention that it was difficult and also open to error. Today we benefit from the early work of flight planners combined with the wonderful steps that have been made in technology. Planning for commercial and private flights is now so precise and accurate that expected fuel consumption can be worked out to an exact amount for any particular journey.

Flight Planning and Fuel Consumption

One of the most important factors when planning a flight is fuel consumption; every pilot should study their flight planning with caution as an aircraft’s fuel consumption is extremely high and working out how much fuel will be required is a big part of any plan. The necessary points which are considered during the calculation of fuel are many and one of the main issues is the weather. Unpredictable weather patterns can potentially play havoc with an aircraft, a sudden storm or high winds can cause the craft to be forced into a higher or lower altitude and the extra effort can use up more fuel than anticipated. Equally wind direction plays a part in fuel usage; wind which pushes a craft from behind or front can help or hinder a pilot in making the journey with minimum necessary fuel consumption.

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