Flight planning is very important for any flight a pilot will undertake as it creates a recipe for the safest flight on a particular day for the specific aircraft in question. Of course, circumstances are never the same and therefore the calculations for each flight must be done to the individual aircraft. Whether a private flight or a commercial one, thorough preparation is needed prior to takeoff and there are many careful details to be mapped out.
The major points to be considered in a flight plan are that of fuel, weather and route. These details must be worked out in the best way to enable the aircraft to take the safest yet fastest route available and also to conserve fuel.
Fuel is the most important aspect of flight planning and favourable weather conditions can actually assist an aircraft in making its journey using the least amount of fuel. Wind direction plays a big part in fuel consumption. With a tailwind, an aircraft will burn less than it would flying into the wind. Another concern when preparing for a flight is fuel costs. As they are now higher than ever before, companies are looking for ways to attempt to save fuel where possible.
What are the Benefits?
An effective flight plan will keep fuel consumption as low as possible, ensure a safe and efficient flight, limit risks and at the same time minimise expenditure. By minimizing the risks and maximizing savings, flight planning software today is at its highest level of sophistication and no matter the size of the company, there are many potential money saving opportunities. Thanks to the developments of the internet and technology, pilots no longer have to calculate a flight using their hands!
The introduction of quality planning software not only saves money and time, but most importantly, save lives.
Flight Planning and Extra Fuel
All flights need to carry not only enough fuel to complete the scheduled journey, but also a reserve amount to ensure that the aircraft can fly further if needed. Fuel must, therefore be calculated to the closest possible gallon. There are times when a different airport may be needed due to disruption and this can make an alternative landing destination a much needed option for pilots. This is why it is crucial that pilots should account for extra fuel. The common circumstances in which an aircraft may be unable to land are bad weather which could cause visibility problems and technical problems with lighting or power. Although rare, other reasons may be security emergencies, fire or evacuation due to natural disaster. Another factor to consider when working out extra fuel allowance is that the aircraft may have to circle above the alternative airport for a significant amount of time. Flight planning needs to be very precise and extremely detailed to cover all eventualities.