February jetstreams affecting airline performance

Please forgive my lack of details, but a hurried glance at the front page of USA Today for February 27 showed an article listing stronger than usual jet streams negatively affecting airline performance. I believe the article (wish I could have grabbed the paper) listed this as a '15-or-20-year event'.

Did anyone get a copy of this? Any further info?

Thanks,

Dave Gallaher
Huntsville, AL
 
Wouldn't this be offset by the flights flying with the jetstream? Typically if you are going up wind you fly around the jet maxes to the extent that you can. For the down wind flight you head right for the highest winds. The net effect would be positive as you avoid the highest winds when they hurt you and you seek out the highest winds when they help you. Of course, if you need to make unscheduled stops than you lose.

Sounds like JetBlue is just making up excuses for their dwindling profits on performance.

This summer I did the nonstop from New York to Bangkok, the second longest flight in the world. Its such a long flight that over the round trip I flew around the world to use the jetstream. When we left NYC we flew NE over Maine, Greenland, Iceland, Moscow and then down to India and into BKK. For ther return flight we flew NE over Vietnam, Beijing, Kamchatka, Barrow then over the Hudson Bay in NYC. It seemed like on the return flight we weren't catching the right winds and we almost had to land. That took 18.5 hours. Some other side notes, it was light the entire trip there, and there were amazing noctilucent clouds over Greenland.
 
Unplanned fuel stops shouldnt happen on short range flights, especially over the US where weather data is good.

the media is almost always wrong when it comes to aviation, so keep that in mind.
 
Thanks, Justin and Bill.

I was just kind of surprised to not hear of an abnormal jet confluence on ST first since we have so many close watchers, even though it was not chase-specific and in February.

the media is almost always wrong when it comes to aviation, so keep that in mind.

I'll just add this to the omnibus list of other things the major media are usually wrong about lately.

Dave Gallaher
Huntsville, AL
 
Unplanned fuel stops shouldnt happen on short range flights, especially over the US where weather data is good.

the media is almost always wrong when it comes to aviation, so keep that in mind.

I don't doubt that unplanned fuel stops occured. Flying from JFK to LAX on a JetBlue airbus is coming close to their max range. If they usually have a ground speed of 450mph and the wind takes it down to 350mph, thats a big difference. That's going to take 30% more fuel. Although, I'm sure the flight computers told them just after take off they wouldn't make it, so it might not be an "unplanned" stop.

Like I said before, on the long haul Asia flights unplanned stops are not that uncommon.
 
Sounds like an issue of flying with smaller, low cost airlines. My dad and uncle fly for American Airlines... they haven't reported anything to me. My dad is a spotter and always tells me interesting wx features he comes across.

Aaron
 
On my flight from Dulles (Washington D.C.) to Denver fro the Chaser Convention, the flight was delayed by about 30 to 45 minutes due to "unusually strong headwinds" according to the pilot. The effect was reversed on my flight home and airtime was about two and 1/2 hours.

Bill Hark
 
I guess this has something to do with the 3 turbulence incidents this week.
 
There's a big thread on the flightaware.com website about this - we've been noticing plenty of strange looking routes for westbound flights that are a result of the jet dodging. I'm not sure what the "media" got wrong in this article?
 
Jet Streak!

Good day everyone,

Wonderful subject ... As I used my trusty GPS hooked up to my lap top en route to the Denver Convention amd sure enough, caught the effects of the relentless headwinds while being bumped around by all the CAT (not the animal, but Clear Air Turbulence)...

flygps1.jpg


Here is the GPS unit, held to the window, to receive the satellites. It must be held / placed at the window ... The aluminum fusalage of the airplane is an effective "faraday cage" and blocks much reception inside.

flyjetst.jpg


Now for the good stuff... This is an annotated picture showing GPS measurements of ground-speed when crossing a region of strong winds aloft associated with the core of a jet stream.

In this diagram, the first measurement was taken over central Lousiana west of New Orleans, in an MD-80 at about 37,000 feet with a ground speed of about 417 MPH. With an airspeed of 575 MPH (this airspeed was constant in all three measurements, with a heading to the WNW), the jet stream component is about 158 MPH.

The next left inset, measured over far west Lousiana, shows a ground speed of 389 MPH, giving a jet component of 186 MPH. Finally, after crossing into far E Texas airspace, ground speed rather suddenly dropped to only 372 MPH (most likely as the "core" of the jet stream, or jet "streak" was crossed), yielding a jet-stream "core" component of 203 MPH.

A turn to the WSW, heading more into the strong WSW winds aloft, yielded a lowest ground speed of 349 MPH (not shown), suggesting a jet streak of 226 MPH. Speaking about being "late", imagine flying the other way?

flylent.jpg


Here is a picture above, but from a different flight, from California to Texas just eas tof the front range over SE Colorado at about 31,000 feet ... Kewl lenticular clouds! Jet stream helped here, got in 30 minutes early!
 
"we've been noticing plenty of strange looking routes for westbound flights that are a result of the jet dodging. I'm not sure what the "media" got wrong in this article?"

well thats the whole point. The flight planners know what the winds are likely to be and will dispatch their flights accordingly. Theres nothing strange about avoiding headwinds...

as for the transpacific flights, its much more important for those planes to go even if they must make a stop. A fuel stop on a 15 hour flight hurts your bottom line a lot less than one on a 5 hour flight. And they are closer to their max range and pacific ocean forecasts dont have the benefit of radiosondes every 12 hours all over the place.
 
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