Jshank83
Topic Author
Posts: 2256
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2016 2:23 pm

Plane flying low. reasons?

Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:46 am

I noticed this plane was flying DCA-ORD at 22,000 even though it was planned at 38. All the other flights today between the airports flew higher, even one that left around the same time. Just curious on the reasons it might be doing this and still make the trip without having to land for something mechanical, etc.

https://flightaware.com/live/flight/AAL ... /KDCA/KORD
 
747Whale
Posts: 267
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:41 pm

Re: Plane flying low. reasons?

Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:28 am

No idea; they. may have elected to ride lower for turbulence or winds, or it may have been they got better routing lower. That sometimes happens. I've had trips before out there that were filed higher, but which ended up being a lot lower due to traffic.
 
e38
Posts: 561
Joined: Sun May 04, 2008 10:09 pm

Re: Plane flying low. reasons?

Sat Jan 12, 2019 3:27 am

It is possible that it could have been a pressurization issue.
At one point in my career I flew an aircraft that was equipped with two air conditioning packs (for pressurization).
It was permissible to dispatch the aircraft with one pack inoperative (MEL) but there were certain restrictions that were required to be followed, one of which the maximum altitude allowed with an inoperative pack was Flight Level 250. It could fly revenue trips for three days before the condition HAD to be repaired.

e38
 
User avatar
CALTECH
Posts: 3094
Joined: Thu May 17, 2007 4:21 am

Re: Plane flying low. reasons?

Sat Jan 12, 2019 4:45 am

e38 wrote:
It is possible that it could have been a pressurization issue.
At one point in my career I flew an aircraft that was equipped with two air conditioning packs (for pressurization).
It was permissible to dispatch the aircraft with one pack inoperative (MEL) but there were certain restrictions that were required to be followed, one of which the maximum altitude allowed with an inoperative pack was Flight Level 250. It could fly revenue trips for three days before the condition HAD to be repaired.

e38


If other aircraft were flying higher, more than likely a inop pack.

A 737-800 MEL, not necessarily American's, but more than likely the same.

Except for ER operations, one may be inoperative provided:
A. Flight altitude remains at or below FL250.
B. APU operates normally.
C. Both Engine Bleed Air Shutoff Valves (PRSOV) operate normally.
NOTE: If pack airflow/shutoff valve will not close, refer to
The gun is a precious Symbol of Freedom
Criminals are the deadly cancer on American society
Those who believe otherwise are consumed by an ideology
That is impervious to evidence of tyrants who disarm their citizens
 
aeropix
Posts: 174
Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2005 2:08 pm

Re: Plane flying low. reasons?

Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:13 am

Sometimes after having carried a bunch of extra contingency fuel, you get airborne and get a much shorter than expected routing. This puts the aircraft above the maximum landing weight, so extra fuel must be consumed enroute to bring the landing weight within limits. One way of doing this is to fly at a lower level, in the low 20's, in order to achieve the required consumption in the given flight time.

This scenario was a frequent occurrence on the EMB-145 in the northeast back when I was flying them.
 
Dalmd88
Posts: 2814
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2000 3:19 am

Re: Plane flying low. reasons?

Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:48 pm

It could be RVSM restricted. If any of the components to meet RVSM rules are on MEL then the plane is restricted to below FL290. Those components tend to get fixed very quickly.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reduced_v ... ion_minima

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