View Full Version : Flight plan step climbs/descents

jonny dangerous
11th Apr 2006, 11:51
Hi all. I came to the realization the other day that I have never seen a "step descent" in our company's flight plans due to winds being stronger at a lower altitude. I have seen them due to a change in magnetic track, but never to lower altitude winds being strong. Anyone else work at a place where the dispatch computer software will step descend the aircraft?


11th Apr 2006, 12:01
jonny.....like you ,dont see them very often,mostly in the climb,due to the weight of the aircraft...from the east coast of the states to the west,especially when the jet is blowing 200+kts,I have seen decent steps to lower altitudes combined with as fuel as you can take and reduced payloads to stop refueling stopovers.....mostly winter ops...had a decent step this winter from intial climb to FL360....down to fl280,due to winds....it happens but not often

jonny dangerous
11th Apr 2006, 16:34
Yeah, I had a flight last week heading northeast out of FLA and looked at the winds a couple of thousand of feet below us and it seemed they were stronger. On a hunch we descended to 370 from 390 (OPT read 395) and picked up 18 kts ground speed (This was for the last 160 miles of the flight prior to TOD)...looked at the Boeing Wind Altitude Trade, and it seemed to agree it was a good move. I'll look at it in the future more closely...

I have heard of at least one company (a friend works there) that is considering some expensive program that will plan for step descents due to forecast stronger winds. For now, our company will have to rely on the professionals upfront earning their pay.