557. TWA International Computer Flight Planning


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W E Soverns: 557. TWA International Computer Flight Planning. 1966.



Precision flight planning is one area of airline operations which contains significant potential savings.
Flight planning by manual methods is very time consuming and cannot consistently account for the many variables in jet operation. The jet aircraft’s best environment for economic operation occurs above 30,000 feet depending on gross weight, temperature, wind direction and wind velocity. To achieve the most economic operation the jet aircraft must be operated at a speed, altitude and route combination where overhaul, maintenance, crew and fuel costs are optimized. Because the aircraft weight continually decreases as fuel is consumed the optimum altitude increases and would, if practical, dictate a climbing cruise. However, for traffic control reasons a climbing cruise is impractical thus requiring a compromise of successive stem climbs of 4000 feet.
Admittedly there are uncontrollable factors such as air traffic, weather, etc. which reduce the flexibility of operation and may prevent flying a particular flight plan to achieve minimum cost. However, substantial savings are possible in spite of these factors.
The Digital Computer with its ability to perform an infinite number of high speed operations is serving a very important role in the daily planning of flights.
A more detailed discussion follows under the captains: Weather Analysis, Flight Plan Requests, Minimum Time Route, Aircraft Performance Analysis and Flight Plan Output and Delivery
The International Computer Flight Planning System has developed with full cooperation from TWA’s Transportation, Technical Services and Finance Divisions. The system programming and analysis was accomplished by TWA under the direction of Transportation’s Data System Design Group.


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