Airliner Routes and 767s

From:         Tony Heatwole <HEATWOLE@LANDO.HNS.COM>
Date:         23 Feb 93 12:04:36 PST
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Last week I flew from Delhi, India to Frankfurt, Germany on
a Delta 767-332 (ER), N178DN.  I picked up a few interesting
tidbits from the first officer on airplane routings and 767s
in particular:

    1.  Our route out of India was over Pakistan, Afghanistan,
        and into the former USSR.  US Airlines, it seems, are
        not allowed to fly over Iran.  Last December I flew
        Swiss Air from Zurich to Delhi and we flew over Iran
        (the Swiss get along with everyone), but curiously,
        our route seemed to avoid Afghanistan.

    2.  US airlines didn't used to be allowed to cross
        Afghanistan.  At that time Delta's route from Frankfurt
        to Delhi had to cross Saudi Arabia and skirt Iran to
        the south, over the Indian Ocean.  The flying time was
        1.5 hours longer than it is now.

    3.  The air traffic control is coordinated "across"
        Afghanistan.  Pakistan and the ex-USSR republics
        coordinate the crossing.  As a courtesy to Afghanistan,
        planes crossing that country call ATC there to let them
        know that they're coming.  Sometimes they get a response
        from Afghanistan, sometimes they don't (on this trip
        they did).

    4.  Since this was a 767, I asked the first officer about
        the plausibility of United pilots' rumored concern
        (discussed previously in this group) about crossing the
        Himalayas in a 767.  He said (possibly diplomatically)
        that he wasn't aware of their concern.  However, on our
        flight the minimum crossing altitude for northwest India
        and Pakistan was 16,000'.  They have a specific "point-
        of-no-return."  If an engine fails before that point,
        they do an immediate 180 deg. turn to avoid the mountains.

Tony Heatwole
Gaithersburg, MD