July 2009 Issue

Max-Range Flying

Sure, carry enough fuel and watch the weather. But fatigue and nutrition can play major roles, also.

Most pilots never need to eke maximum range out of the airplane. For others long-range flying is the norm, the reason for having an airplane in the first place. There are many considerations—some objective, some subjective—when you’re planning a maximum-range flight. Let’s define maximum-range flying as any flight planned to travel near the maximum distance the airplane can fly with the fuel on board, and have legal fuel reserves. When we think of max-range flying in light airplanes we’re usually thinking about a flight of three to seven hours, depending on characteristics of the specific airplane. If you take off with minimal fuel but are planning to use most of what you’ve got, however, even a short flight entails some maximum-range thinking.

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