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Flying During Tornado Season

  1. #31
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    3,838
    WOW! You have been doing a lot of thinking about how weather affects flight. Most people do not realize what effect heat and humidity have with flying.

    With today’s advanced technology that has been incorporated into avionics, pilots have very few calculations that they need to make. All critical numbers are typed into the FMS (Flight Management System), which is the computer located on the console between the two pilots. There are generally two FMS’s on the console, one for each pilot. Weight of passengers, luggage, freight, fuel are all calculated into the FMS, along with the flight plan, using GPS.

    Sensors are used to gather weather information and are then factored in by the computer. We didn’t have to type the percentage of humidity. The sensor did that work. If you’re thinking that a lot of automation is being used to fly, you are correct.

    As for your question re: humidity, the higher humidity, the heavier the air, which means that more trust is required to climb. Most pilots use max thrust anyway to begin their climb and most pilots have their own preference of how they will climb. Generally, I did what is referred to as a “step climb.”

    If my cruising altitude was going to be 38,000 feet, I may climb to 7500 feet and level off by reducing thrust and allowing the engines to relax a bit. From there, I would go to my next step of 15,000 feet (using about 75% of max thrust), then 25,000 feet and then up to 38,000 feet. It may take somewhere between 20-25 minutes to reach cruising altitude. Of course, my rate of climb has to be approved by the traffic controllers.



    Thanks for the question.
    "SEMPER FI"

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    3,838
    One thing to keep in mind is that the higher we fly, the lighter or thinner the air, so less thrust is required as we climb. Although on takeoff, we may use 90% of thrust, a few pilots may go right to max thrust, we can cut back as we gain altitude. During the last step of my climb from 25,000 ft. to 38,000 ft., I may only need to use 50% of the thrust available by the engines.

    The higher we climb and the thinner the air, we will burn less fuel, yet be able to increase our speed. At 35,000-38,000 feet, we can fly in a B-767 at about 480-500 mph. Normal cruising speed would be about 450 mph avg. You also have to realize that the air temperature outside at 38,000 feet will be about -60F degrees.
    "SEMPER FI"

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