Re: MD80 and ETOPS

Date:         02 Mar 97 15:18:04 
From:         kls@ohare.Chicago.COM (Karl Swartz)
Organization: Chicago Software Works, Menlo Park, California
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>>Have any airlines obtained ETOPS for their MD80's ?
>>SAS ? Alaska ? BWIA ?

>Alaska pretty much follows the Aleutians, so not much need for ETOPS.

I wondered about that.  With all the base closures, is it still
possible to follow the islands and fly non-ETOPS?  None of the
Alaska MD-82/83s seem to have any special properties so you're
probably right, but I'd love to see a definitive response.

I just checked Alaska's web site ( and
found that they fly to the following sites in Russia:

   GDX	Magadan
   ?	Kharbarovsk
   ?	Petropovlovsk/Kamchatski
   VVO	Vladivostok
   UUS	Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk (effective May 10, 1997)

For the three that I could find IATA codes for, I plotted the great
circle flight paths along with the 60 minute rule-time (non-ETOPS)
ranges.  The URL to get you that map is,ANC-VVO,ANC-UUS&ETOPS=60

All three route stay well north of the Aleutians, and appear to be
beyond the "no-go" area for non-ETOPS.  That may not be accurate,
though, as the database of alternates is not complete.

There's also nothing which says the great circle route is used --
90 minute ETOPS for North Atlantic flights is decidedly off the
great circle route, but in the early days of ETOPS it was used
because it was that or nothing.  Alaska could fly along the
Aleutians to avoid ETOPS even though it's a longer route.  (They
might even catch better tailwinds for the eastbound flights.)

>There's plenty of islands in the Carib, too.

There are, but not enough to stay within the 60 minute rule-time
of non-ETOPS flying.  The FAA developed rules for 75 minute and
then 85 minute rule-times at least as far back as the 1970s, and
perhaps even in the 1960s, specifically to allow twins to fly the
Carribean without overly circuitous routes.  I can't find any
obvious no-go areas at 60 minutes so perhaps some key airports
have now been built up to support jets, at least in emergencies.

Karl Swartz	|Home
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