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Thread: Flight routes

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2015

    Flight routes

    Hi , new to the forum. Maybe this question has been asked before but out of curiosity I'm wandering what determines the flight path of planes going over my city.
    For example this week planes have been travelling over leeds uk mostly from Frankfurt and Amsterdam whereas when I payed attention in the new year most were travelling N/NW from Heathrow ,Paris and Zurich?
    Is this a genera alteration of fight plans something that rotates on a regular basis or is there a science to it?

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Captain fungus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Sydney, Australia

    Firstly and in general there are defined air routes although modern satellite navigation technology is doing away with this to a certain extent. ADS-B technology also plays a role in this new era of navigation. The days of leap-frogging VOR's/TACAN's and NDB'S will one day become obsolete. The following webpage may help (I used to get my charts from the pilots shop at the local airport) and note the different types of charts. I'm not sure if this site has them but there are also the aerodrome (Terminal) and procedure charts etc which can be obtained by pilots via the web or these days their 'electronic flightbag.' There's also a link to explain aeronautical charts although quite basic;

    Then there's the weather at and between the departure airport and arrival airport which plays a major role in determining routes and altitudes.

    Then there are set regulations which pilots and airlines must comply with (which can vary slightly from region to region but in general are standard) and airline company policies themselves which may be over and above the regs.

    There are also different rules governing Instrument flights (IFR) or Visual Flights (VFR) and these will dictate both routes and altitudes.

    Then there are the Atlantic Tracks and that's a whole other topic altogether across the Atlantic Ocean.

    Aircraft type and size has an impact as well.

    Pilots can also request variations (from ATC) to routes and/or flight levels as a result of weather, shorter routing etc and ATC may also vary departure or arrival procedures for various reasons such as spacing of aircraft, other safety related reasons and so on.

    Pilots (and the airline execs or bean counters) like to use as short a route as possible within all these parameters.

    Hope this helps,
    Last edited by fungus; 2015-02-12 at 02:44. Reason: additional info
    YSSY2/T-YSSY4 [SBS-1 Basestation w/- SSE-1090 SJ Mk2 Antenna (Thanks Delcomp) ] [Uniden UBCD996T w/- 16 element Wideband Discone VHF/UHF Antenna, and tuned 108MHz-137MHz Airband Antenna] [Trialing a home-brew 1090MHz collinear antenna]

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Thanks for your reply I appreciate it , I assumed there were varying factors but not that many haha thanks

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