Climb profile-- A340

Date:         08 Jun 98 02:58:08 
From:         zirkball@aol.com (Zirkball)
Organization: AOL http://www.aol.com
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An A340 pilot friend of mine recently explained to me that the climb
gradient for his A340 (as well as most other commercial a/c) as well as
the rate of climb slowly diminishes as the aircraft climbs into less
dense air, until stabilizing at about 500 fpm around 24000'. I have
noticed that the gradient is about 3-4 percent during the first 10000
feet and then seems to reduce to about 1.5% up in the flight levels. Can
anyone shed some light on this? (This example of course assumes that ATC
is not assigning altitudes and is leaving it up to the pilot).

zirkball