Talk:Flight planning

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This page used to be just a redirect to Flight plan. See my notes on the talk page of that article for my intentions. I expect that it will take a month or two to get this article into a reasonably complete shape. Murray Langton 12:53, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

The article is now in a vaguely usable state. Still need more explanation of 'reclear/redispatch'. Lots of more minor items still to come. Murray Langton 16:54, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

Peer review 1[edit]

I have written this article from scratch over the last few weeks, and would appreciate having other Wikipedians cast their eyes over it (other articles I have contributed to have benefitted greatly from other editors).

I work for a major flight planning bureau service.

  • Please check for bias/POV.
  • I can't reveal trade secrets by referencing internal company documents or quoting internally-developed equations.

Thank you in advance for your efforts. Murray Langton 14:10, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

  • The lead is way too long- please see WP:LEAD.
  • safety-critical shouldn’t be in bold.
  • Too many extra spaces between sections
  • Per WP:MoS, the first letter of the first word of a heading should be captalized, even if it isn’t a proper noun
  • The heading “What is a Route?” isn’t very appropriate; headings generally aren’t questions
  • Very, very list-weighty, some of the lists should be converted to prose
  • What kind of a citation format is being used for the reference? Please see WP:CITE
  • The TOC is huge
  • “Basic terminology” is redundant; should be integrated into rest of article, same with navigation terminology
  • Lacks inline citations (see WP:FOOTNOTE)
  • I see screens of black text and almost no wikification, mostly towards the bottom
  • Prose is rather poor- contains fragments, disorganized

Thanks, AndyZ 23:41, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Hi AndyZ, thank you for your comments and suggestions. Looks as if I have a few weeks worth of re-organisation and tidying up to do. Murray Langton 09:07, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

Following a peer review by AndyZ, the article has been substantially reorganised. There is still a lot of rewording/rewriting to do, espcially in the last half. Murray Langton 09:42, 27 March 2006 (UTC)


The last paragraph of "Reserve Reduction" reads: "One factor identified by Arthur and Rose which helps save fuel is to find an initial destination which is positioned so that descent to the initial destination starts immediately after the reclear fix." Should it read: "One factor identified by Arthur and Rose which helps save fuel is to find an initial destination which is positioned so that descent to the final destination starts immediately after the reclear fix." or am I just confused? Thanks, Paul at

Don't worry about feeling confused - everyone does the first time they encounter the concept of 'reclear'. As stated by Arthur and Rose, 'initial' is correct, though they didn't actually publish any proof. Due to trade secrets and 'no original research' I can't publish the theoretical analysis which conforms this.
For a 'reclear' flight to save fuel, you must require more reserve fuel for a flight to the final destination than for a flight to the initial destination, so the final distination must be further away from the origin then the initial destination. Murray Langton 06:09, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

Peer review 2[edit]

This is a request for a second peer review. The article has already been much improved as a result of the first peer review, a copy of which can be found at Talk:Flight planning.

Could folks please check:

  • Spelling and grammar.
  • Does general style/layout conform to Wikipedia standards?
  • Please check for 'neutral point of view' - I work for a major flight planning vendor, so some bias may have crept in.
  • How understandable is the article? I'm quite prepared to rewrite any sections which are a bit obscure (and have already done so several times).
  • If there are any pilots or flight dispatchers out there, could they check for technical accuracy?

Sorry, due to 'trade secrets' and 'no original research', I can't provide much in the way of references.

Thanking all reviewers in advance. Murray Langton 09:43, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

Response 1[edit]

I have done a bit of spell checking and minor copy editing on your Flight planning article. It is, I think, very well written, though it would benefit from a few diagrams. I will try to keep coming back to it from time to time-- it's a lot to take on at one bite if one is unfamiliar with the subject.

One section you might want to try to work on: Flight planning#Calculation is written in how-to language after the first sentence. I realise this is a natural form for this section, but it really ought to be made descriptive, instead.

Excellent work. Cheers! -- Mwanner | Talk 12:18, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

Thanks Mwanner for your swift response and helpful comments. Murray Langton 13:59, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

Response 2[edit]

I think there should be some images added to the article- for instance take a look at the article Aircraft, Taxiing, Great circle, Aviation, and other articles for several images of aircraft, and Image:Flightplan.PNG for a relevant image. Preferably, at least some of those lists should be converted to prose (paragraph) form. Plenty more wikifying can be done, and more links can be created towards the bottom half of the article- please see WP:BTW. The trivia section should be removed and incorporated into the article. It would be helpful also to cite the one reference according to WP:CITE and WP:CITE/ES - {{Cite book}} can be helpful here. Though I note that you mentioned that not many references can be added, I think that several WP:FOOTNOTEs can be added, underneath the cite.php method (see WP:WIAFA criteria 2(c)). For example, numbers and figures should definitely be cited- for example, nearly 400 metres below sea level.<ref>Last, First. [ Dead Sea]. December 28, 2007. New York Times. Accessed on February 31, 2006.</ref> (It would be very helpful though if you gave correct information :) Finally (for now), as stated above, the Calculation section should be reworded so that it no longer is a how-to (there is a wikiHow for that). Thanks, AndyZ t 19:25, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

Thanks AndyZ for your comments and practical suggestions. Murray Langton 08:30, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

Response 3[edit]

In the LEAD information should be presented in order of importance. The second sentence says that planning by small pilots is different from that of commercial pilots. Is that really the next most important fact after what flight planning is? I would suggest rewriting the intro (1) what is flight planning (2) when did it start (3) why it is significant. Also, there is a sentence stating "this article..." Avoid self-reference. Kaisershatner 12:02, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

Thanks Kaisershatner for your comments. I'll certainly look into rewriting the introduction. Murray Langton 14:24, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

Things to do[edit]

Based on the above comments, I can draw up a partial list of things to be done to Flight planning, though I may well add more items if other comments are received. Murray Langton 15:34, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

  • Rewrite introduction. (Done Murray Langton 08:52, 16 May 2006 (UTC))
  • Eliminate 'how-to' from calculation subsection. (Done Murray Langton 14:47, 18 May 2006 (UTC))
  • Consider a few images. (Done Murray Langton 12:16, 16 May 2006 (UTC))
  • Reconsider lists.
  • See what footnotes and/or references can be added.

Airway routing is listed as the required routing for ATCs; however, I believe this is only preferred in North America where navaid routing proves to be more efficient. Now, there is a subset of routes based on where you begin and end that make up the preferred routes (DAFIF use to site this back when it was free) and, until recently, military training routes. I think the flight plan page should be merged with the flight planning page. Intrepidwerx (talk) 03:23, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

I think that Flight plan and Flight planning should be kept separate (but I'm open to reasoned argument): the latter describes how a flight plan calculation is performed, etc. while the former describes what a flight plan looks like as far as Air Traffic Control or a flight dispatcher or a pilot is concerned (presentation as distinct from the calculation behind the presentation). Also the latter article is already moderately large; by and large I prefer several medium-sized articles rather than one large one. Murray Langton (talk) 08:45, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

UK Gallons[edit]

UK gallons are illegal for trade purposes in the UK and dependent territories. Is is true to say that fuel may be expressed in this unit? Blaise 14:24, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

There may still be a few aircraft around with their gauges calibrated in UK gallons, so it is helpful if a flight planning system can report fuel requirements in units which match the fuel gauges. Murray Langton 21:52, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

I believe gallons are converted into pounds (and kilograms when using metric) when referring to such scalar values as ramp, taxi and takeoff weight of vehicle. This should also be true when referring to fuel. Intrepidwerx (talk) 03:33, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

I am told that there are still a few aircraft around which have fuel gauges calibrated in gallons and/or litres, so pilots like to have their fuel specified in the same units as the gauges. I agree that these would need to be converted to pounds/kilograms when considering ramp weight etc. (the flight planning system I work on does all its internal calculations in pounds or kilograms, and then converts to the required output units as appropriate). Murray Langton (talk) 08:50, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

Change of wording[edit]

I am not 100% that I am correct with this change so I will add it here. I think the first sentence needs to be changed to the second sentence with "weight" changes to "mass" and "gravity" changed to "volume"

When fuel is measured by weight the specific gravity of the fuel must be taken into account 
when checking tank capacity. Specific gravity may vary depending on the location and the supplier.
When fuel is measured by mass the specific volume of the fuel must be taken into account 
when checking tank capacity. Specific volume may vary depending on the location and the supplier.

--Clawed 09:13, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

'mass' is probably technically correct as far as a physicist is concerned, but 'weight' is the term used within the airline industry.

On looking at the wikipedia entries for specific gravity and specific volume, I am inclined to think that 'specific gravity' is the appropriate term to use here. Note that the former is a number without any associated units and hence independent of metric/imperial systems, while the latter has units and value which depend on the units of measurement.

Murray Langton 15:31, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

Perhaps putting the word weight after the word fuel will make this more familiar to air transportation industry. Intrepidwerx (talk) 03:26, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

Flight Planning Providers[edit]

As part of the 'See Also' section, there is a short list of firms who provide flight plans, generally for a fee. To reduce the scope for advertising, I would recommned that the only links here should be to Wikipedia articles, i.e. to flight planning providers which are sufficiently 'notable' to have their own Wikipedia article. Murray Langton (talk) 07:32, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

General aviation[edit]

In its current state, the article seems to discuss only airliner's flight planning. Not a word about the military, and equally nothing about general aviation. But adding these would require a substantial rework, and some knowledgeable editors. I could and would like to help about general aviation. (btw it also seems to me that the article focuses very much on the situation and procedures of North America, but can't be sure whether that's relevant). Jan olieslagers (talk) 08:58, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

Hi Jan. As the principal author of the article in its current state, I can say that, apart from a few references to legal requirements in North America, that the bulk of the article applies world-wide - I worked for over 20 years in UK for a European firm which calculated flight plans for about 150 airlines, all over the world. One of the customer airlines was an air force, and they had options which allowed for mid-air refuelling, dropping loads by parachute, circling for a while, etc. I'm not sure what you mean by 'general aviation' - could you clarify please? Jan olieslagers (talk) 22:48, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm quite happy for anyone knowledgeable to add to or modify the article. Murray Langton (talk) 22:02, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Pffieeuw!! What a relief! Now to find the time, and a bit of inspiration. Jan olieslagers (talk) 22:48, 25 February 2014 (UTC)


I don't have experience in this area, but from my knowledge of aviation it seems like there's a few things missing in this article, mostly constraints on routes besides weather & airways (perhaps a new section "Route considerations"):

  • In light of MH17 disaster, conflict zones (and restricted/prohibited zones) and avoiding them or restrictions on overflights. How do airlines and/or flight planning software process NOTAMs (such as dangerous areas, airport restrictions/hazards, etc)?
  • Avoided/restricted areas for political reasons. Eg. Gulf carriers avoid Israel, US carriers avoid Iran, & avoidance of North Korea (I've actually seen flights on flighradar24 cross NK, but it's really interesting to see the huge amount of traffic in/out of Seoul that avoids NK)
  • ETOPS -- mentioned/defined in the lead & "Overview and basic terminology", but it is important to note these restrictions and better incorporate it into the prose of the article.
    • Also restrictions on Polar flights: Over Antarctica, polar gear must be stored on aircraft flying below 72°S, so South America to Australia/NZ flights don't travel further south despite more favorable tailwinds in the polar jet (discussed here by a Qantas pilot, here, and by an Aerolineas Argentinas pilot at some point in this long video). There are also requirements for airlines to fly over the Arctic...see Polar route#Operational considerations.
  • Timing. Discussed to some extent in the context of congestion and available landing slots. However, there's also:
    • Maintenance. This is mentioned once under "cost reduction", but it should be expanded just a little (airlines want planes scheduled to fly [close] to maintenance facility to avoid flying empty when it's time for maintenance).
    • Airport restrictions. Aircraft size & congestion/slots are mentioned in relation to airports. But there are nighttime restrictions (eg. number of aircraft operations per hour) or closures and noise restrictions (ie.a volume limit is established, so either certain planes can't land/depart at all during certain periods or there is an hourly limit for landings/departures of noisier aircraft...see Quota Count system for London airports)
    • Especially at hubs, timing of connecting flights. Long-haul flights are likely to leave in late afternoon or evening so domestic/regional feeder flights can bring connecting passengers. This is also important for cargo flights, especially at hubs for UPS/FedEx/DHL/etc (on a tracking site like flightradar24, it's incredible to see how many airplanes converge on Memphis [FedEx sorting facility] & Louisville [UPS sorting facility] around 12-2am, then the swarm departs around 3-5am).
    • Turn-around time. It's wasteful to leave aircraft resting on the ground and not flying. At major airports (at remote stands, not at gates), it can be expensive too! Airlines want to maximize use of their fleet. A pair of 777s operating a long-haul route might have 8-12 hours between flights at the hub, so an airline might want to make use of it on a short-haul flight (that has high enough passenger load to justify the 300 seats on a 777, of course).
    • Pilots. The airline has to manage the hours worked by pilots and (especially when an airline has only a few of a certain aircraft model) which pilots are certified & available for aircraft types. For medium- & long-haul routes, the flight plan & schedule needs to take into account the number of pilots that are needed to operate the route...a turn-around time of 4 hours vs 2 hours at the destination may mean the difference between needing 2 pilots for a route vs 3-4 pilots. When an airline operates only a few aircraft of a particular model and has a limited number of pilots certified for that aircraft type (eg. 8 A340s), they may need to consider the scheduling of the flights operated by the aircraft type to best utilize their pilots (if for some reason the airline doesn't have the means/desire to train more pilots on the type, eg. they're phasing out the type from their fleet) or, oppositely, consider the type of aircraft operating on a route based on the availability/utilization of their pilots.

I can't find a Wikipedia article related to route planning (how airlines determine which routes to operate & frequency) and there seems to be some overlap with this article. If there is no such article, and since there's a moderate amount of overlapping topics (profitability, aircraft utilized, timing), I suggest a section near the bottom called "Route planning". The only topic, in addition to what's now in the article and suggestions above, that would be relevant to route planning but not flight planning is competition For example (hypothetically and ignoring other issues, as I don't feel like researching a real example), if a Miami-based airline wants to fly to London and there's already a lot of competition to fly MIA to London-Heathrow, then they may consider flying to London-Gatwick. This would be the case on many routes between city pairs where the destination has multiple, large airports. Competition is possibly more important for cargo flights. AHeneen (talk) 06:02, 1 August 2014 (UTC)