How does flight planning account for comfort, speed and efficiency?
Air Canada uses a software, Lufthansa Integrated Dispatch Operation, or Lido, that crunches the numbers. Routing, winds aloft, weather en route such as possible turbulence or thunderstorms, temperatures, restricted or closed airspace, fuel efficiency, weight and altitudes all enter the equation. Pilots receive the flight plan two to three hours before departure. On my Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the flight plan downloads into the navigation computers. With updated winds data and exact aircraft weight added, the airplane calculates precise fuel burns and altitudes to answer the most frequent question we pilots get: What’s our arrival time? Routes change on a daily and hourly basis. For example, a morning flight to Vancouver from Toronto might follow a Canadian route, but later in the day, it may be deemed more beneficial to fly over the northern U.S.