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Positioning Flight

RCNextGen12 Guest

Hey everyone,

I hope you can settle a dispute me and a guy at work are having...we both work at the airport and the other day there was a 'positioning flight' going from London Heathrow (LHR) to London Gatwick (LGW). The airports are only about 55 miles apart so in a Boeing 747-400 I thought the pilot probably wouldn't bother going higher than 6,000 ft to make the flight. My colleague seems to think the pilot would have to get to full cruising altitude?? It seems a bit of a waste to me to burn off all that fuel for just a short hop across London??

If anyone can help end this argument it would be much appreciated!

RC

Pro Member Captain
Jared Captain

#1 you are right, they would cruise at a lower altitude for a short hop.

#2 the 747, if i am correct, probably wouldnt be able to get past 30000 feet in 55 miles

#3 it would be a waste of fuel to go soooo high then descend in a big circle to loose altitude and speed

Guest

Allowing for departure and approach distances and taking it that half the distance would be used to climb and half to descend, that would give a distance of about 25 miles to be at maximum altitude for the flight.

Using the formula of dropping the thousands and multiplying by four to determine the begining of descent point, would result in an altitude of around 6,000'-7,000' at the mid point.

The biggest fuel burn is during the climb so on a non-profit making re-positioning flight the pilot would aim to fly at the minimum altitude possible. And we're talking of a flight time of about 15-20 minutes depending on how far out they would have to go.

My vote is for an altitude of not more than 7,000'.

Pro Member First Officer
SoCalRick First Officer

RCNextGen12 wrote:

Hey everyone,

I hope you can settle a dispute me and a guy at work are having...we both work at the airport and the other day there was a 'positioning flight' going from London Heathrow (LHR) to London Gatwick (LGW). The airports are only about 55 miles apart so in a Boeing 747-400 I thought the pilot probably wouldn't bother going higher than 6,000 ft to make the flight. My colleague seems to think the pilot would have to get to full cruising altitude?? It seems a bit of a waste to me to burn off all that fuel for just a short hop across London??

If anyone can help end this argument it would be much appreciated!

RC

Well I'm glad to see that you have good head on your shoulders, mate, but I can't say the same for your colleague, lol. I think you need to not only tell him he's wrong, but also dance the Superior Dance when you see him next!

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