Why would this flight file such a low flight level?


flightaware.com/live/flight/AAL3 … /KORD/KAUS

I happened to come across this flight just now. I can’t figure out why they’d file and fly so low, FL280? There is nothing in the winds aloft charts that indicate to me that it should need to fly so low, and all the other flights going from ORD to AUS are flying at normal flight levels. This flight is 6000’ lower than any other flight from ORD to AUS.


Probably an RVSM (Reduced Vertical Separation Minimums) issue. Even though the flight was filed as a /Q.


How about a pressurization problem with the airplane?


Sounds like a good possibility. I don’t know about the MD-80’s but I know when one of the a/c units goes out on the 737’s they have to stay down low.


AA MD80’s are notorious for flying low. I was in the jumpseat in the MD80’s a lot during training in Dallas and the pilots were saying it doesn’t have the power to get up to 350 and higher and sometimes it can get to its destination faster if it flies lower. This is one reason why AA is dumping the Stupid 80’s.


I flew from St. Louis to Seattle in January on an AA MD-80 @ 16,000 feet. It was winter and that was the favorable altitude for winds. Several times per winter those flights will stop here (89nm from SEA) for fuel.


And given the fact that yesterday at FL300 the temperature charts were forecasting 10-15 degrees above standard across the route. The warmer than standard temps make it even more difficult to make power. If you add in a heavy load…a Super 80 ain’t so “super”…

In my flying last night, it was 13 degrees above standard at FL330. So the atmosphere was definitely warm. The forecast charts showed that one would have to go to the low 40’s to find standard temps, but we were making short hops so there was no reason to go that high.

A RVSM issue…maybe. Or it could’ve been the temps. http://www.websmileys.com/sm/sad/533.gif


I did manage to find one today, departed KSAN, went directly to FL350 without stopping, and stayed there all the way until descent into KORD
AAL 590
I would guess it was a little lighter than a typical flight, since any extra cargo for the day went on earlier flights (which had filed for 310-330), but still that’s a good chunk of fuel for that trip.


Something else to consider is that AA still operates alot of older/earlier versions of the “Super 80”. Many of which were inherited from TWA. Those earlier airplanes have less powerful versions of the JT8D engine. Maybe the subject flight was one of those airplanes.


I wonder if this is one of the birds that the TSA damaged. IIRC, that involved pitot-static, which would affect the ability to fly into RVSM airspace.

Agree with AZ though – we were flying last night, and were at ISA +12 to 13 from Santa Fe to OKC. Heavy Super 82 might just have a problem with that in the higher flight levels…


Hi ya Chris… How things?

I believe that it was just Eagle RJ’s that the TSA knucklehead was climbing on. :wink:



Things are good – back in operation, and life is pretty good! I’m still waiting for a trip to SDL/PHX so that we can go out for a beer (actually, I’ll have to drink something else as I am allergic to beer – trust me, there’s tons of other things to drink :wink: )

I couldn’t remember the details of the story other than TSA damaged aircraft. Whoever their PR person is needs to be sacked – their justification for damaging aircraft and potentially placing pax lives at risk is laughable.

How’s things for you?


Just another day at the beach… :wink:

Beverage of choice it is! http://forum.digital-digest.com/images/smilies/1/5shots.gif

I look forward to it…