It’s a simple concept: if you can flight plan a higher altitude to use during an overwater emergency, then you might not need as much extra fuel to reach an alternate airport. Most airlines and business jet operators flight plan for an emergency altitude of 10,000 feet, because supplemental oxygen isn’t needed at that altitude, when flying from the equal-time point to an alternate airport. But if you could quickly calculate how much oxygen is needed to reach an alternate safely after, say, a decompression emergency, then you may be able to fly to the alternate at a higher altitude, which means burning much less fuel. Stillwater, N.J.-based Aeronautical Data Systems (ADS) has developed software that does dispatch oxygen management calculations quickly and easily, potentially saving the operator of a large jet tens of thousands of dollars a year on fuel costs. ADS is exhibiting here at the Pacific Precision Products booth (No. 887).
“We’re providing the industry with probably the single biggest fuel-saving technique that [it] will see short of aerodynamic redesign,” said ADS vice president Jim Stabile. “It’s nothing but flight planning more efficiently.”
ADS offers two ways for operators to access oxygen management tools, on the company’s E-ops website or using the Ergo 360 iPad app.
The key service offered by ADS is the E-ops calculation. “Based on the fuel solution that the flight-plan company provided,” Stabile explained, “we tell you how much oxygen psi you need in your system and how much money you saved by not flying at 10,000 feet. Why flight plan at 10,000 when you can plan at 15,000 or 14,000 [after a decompression emergency]?” ADS E-ops users will see the fuel savings for each trip and cumulative savings over the course of the year. The E-ops system can also be used as part of an operation’s safety management system. By incorporating risk analysis of oxygen management, potential hazards of emergency situations can be further minimized, and E-ops maintains records for later review. E-ops costs $1,000 per aircraft for the first year, then $500 per year. This includes the aircraft oxygen system analysis, 50 flight plans ($10 for additional plans), quarterly reports and a year-to-date savings log.
When calculating required oxygen reserves, E-ops starts with the flight-plan details, such as crew, passengers and flight time. The program calculates how much oxygen is needed for this particular flight at a selected altitude above 10,000 feet for the time needed to reach the alternate airport. The user can try different altitudes, taking passenger comfort into account, to see how high or low the emergency portion of the flight could be flown while still having enough oxygen, but also remaining above 10,000 feet.
Using a sample Falcon 7X, Stabile calculated a flight that could be accomplished safely carrying 4,000 pounds less fuel by flight planning the emergency sector at 25,000 feet instead of 10,000 feet. At 15,000 feet, the fuel saving was still a significant 2,469 pounds. The operator saves money not only by not having to buy the extra fuel but also by being able to fly at a higher, more efficient altitude at a lighter weight.
“The only efficiency we’re showing the operator is through regulatory compliance,” said Stabile. “We’re able to flight plan above 10,000 feet because [the pilot] has this knowledge.”