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747 Long Flight - Stepping To Optimum Cruise Altitude

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Last week, I flew VS020 (Virgin) KSFO-EGLL in real time. I started the flight late into the night so that I would be on-hand to land the next morning.My initial cruise was FL310 based on my weight. Before I started my descent, my optimum cruise was FL380.Had I stayed awake during the entire flight, what is the proper procedure for slowly stepping up from the inital cruise to the final optimum cruise? Do I just monitor the FMC, and make the change at every 1000 foot intervals, or do I program the steps into the FMC ahead of time, and let VNAV do it?This is the longest flight I have made so far, so this procedure is new to me.Thanks,John



- John Drago

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U have to do it manually. Only the A310 steps automatically, as far as I know. U couldn't program it in anyway, because u'd need ATC clearance.

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The FMS will calculate the step climb point along the route. Upon reaching this point, or just prior to you would call ATC to request the climb. Once this is received, you need to enter the new altitude on the MCP, and press the alt button, and the autopilot will start the climb for you. You could also climb by FLCH and VS, but I let VNAV manage it :)When initialising the FMC you can also enter an alternate value for how much you want to step climb by. I beleive that the default - ICAO - amount will want to step climb by 4000ft, but most places these days operate under RVSM rules which would require a climb of 2000ft to the next flight level.

Alaister Kay

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The A310 can step automatically? Wow that's kinda cool - I suppose clearance would be requested way in advance...regards,MarkXPHomeSP2/FS9.1/3.2HT/1024mb/X700pro256



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