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FedEx Flight 1311 DEN-MEM: What's the deal with this route?

Stalking some FedEx flights, I came across FedEx 1311, an Airbus A300 nightly flight from DEN to MEM for the nightly sort. Does anyone have any good ideas as to why dispatch has this route going the wrong way, southbound, for 200 miles before turning towards MEM? Obviously it could be for the MEM arrival, but this seems a little dramatic considering this is one of the earliest flights into MEM. ( Más...

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Mark Duell 8
"Sweep" flight, available to pick up excess packages at any station that finds themselves in a pinch.
olseric 1
Take a look at some of the later stopped in El Paso, another in Oklahoma City. "Sweeper" makes sense.
PhotoFinish 1
So flying a set pattern, that allows the flight to land at certain airports along the way IF NECESSARY. Interesting.

If these are sweep flights, able to be redirected to airports along the way (while enroute), I also find it intereting that these flights are folliwing the jet stream's flow as it is currently blowing.

Not sure why the stops and pickups aren't set up in advance, even if only a few hours earlier

But if the idea is to keep the plane in the air and available, following the wind, would cost the least fuel, while keeping the plane in the air the longest. Though, thought that happened more during the holiday shopping season.
olseric 2
Check out reply #5:
PhotoFinish 0
Thanks! So, it's clearly a sweep flight, and is known for it's very indirect routing.

Now, with that settled. Is the almost perfect match between the recent flight paths (last 2 weeks) and the current position of the jet stream intentional or coincidental? That is, does the routing change up to reflect prevailing winds, or does that sweep flight have to fly along a particular corridor consistently to be near to certain airports that the flight covers, no matter where the winds blow?
PhotoFinish 0
The light might be available to pick up packages as necessary. But as new destinations are added, flight oaths would be calculated and provided to the flight crew for each new flight segment.

However the flight, for the last couple of weeks, has been fairly consistent. The paths happen to combine well with the jet steam as it currently flows.
PH Klein 3
The only thing I noticed is the planned flight distance was 1769sm and actual flight was 1800sm...ah, just read the comments. I guess when FedEx truck passes my house without making a delivery they are just copying what happens in the air!
PhotoFinish 0
FedEx spends a lot of money to calculate the most efficient truck routes, with the shortest distance traveled, least amount of gas burned, and least amount of time for the truck and driver. It's just a small incremental improvement, bi is the difference between a profitable and unprofitable operation.

Doubt they'd waste jet fuel, as well as plane an pilot time, unless they deemed it necessary.
matt jensen 0
who try to not make left turns
Most of the home delivery Fed Ex trucks are owner operators.
Brad Roehrs 3
To clear this up, this aircraft is an empty aircraft that can be diverted incase an aircraft is broken in the western region of the United States, it usually is diverted and rarely makes it empty anywhere, per my dad who works in fedex aircraft dispatch.
Chris Watts 2
Brad, your dad's info is correct. Flt1311DEN-MEM is a sweeper for the western and southern US. I used to launch this aircraft daily from MEM-DEN. It is always an A300 and rarley leaves MEM late. Due to the plan of sweeping of the region and being able to drop in and get out to still make the night sort. This is not uncommon, many cargo airliners do this. The aircraft leaves DEN, half full of empty ULDs and the other empty. The A300 has a great balance of all ULD types, and only burns two engines. It rarely goes North, because I believe that region is sweep by an aircraft out of SEA, but have seen it go to YYC once. You guys should see the special that was done on FedEx, I think by nightline. FedEx has four aircraft a night in the air known as sweepers. They are for recovery of maintnence downed aircraft or excessive overflow.
Brad, speaking of FedEx, for years there was a daily flight into MKE [my home airport] FDX761, then last summer they started changing the number just about every month. FDX762, then FDX763, now FDX728... just curious if you have any insight into what the rhyme or reason behind that is..?
Chris Watts 1
Not uncommon as of late with flight numbers being changed. Still they do not change that often. Have you noticed a different aircraft type on this route? And does it now go to another ramp after MKE. If so this flight number could be the final destination flight number.
Chris Watts 1
After looking at the Flight, it appears that starting in Sep. The flight goes MEM-MKE-MSP, so the 0728 was likly MSP original flight number.
It's always been (and still is) a DC-10 [or "MD-10" for those who can't embrace the legacy]. It's had always been MEM-MKE-MSP as 761. It's always been the same time of day. ..and there's only 2 gates it would even fit into at MKE anyway. I was curious since nothing that I can see has changed...
PhotoFinish 0
Thanks for the info.

Seems this flight made it directly into MEM everyday forth last 2 weeks except one when it went to OKC (even if taking an indirect routing to get there).
Sweep recovery flight that may have originally been routed to another city (PHX?)for overnight volume. Rerouted direct to MEM after it wasn't needed?
Chris Dierking 2
Ah Yes, Makes a lot more sense now! Thanks!
Lance Goff 1
is there any other sweep flight other than this one?
Mike Hand 1
See how it goes into Elpaso....Has to avoid White Sands
Saving fuel flying longer? Dispatching's glitch or glitches? Please enlighten me guys, tks!
PhotoFinish -2
Likely just following the jet stream to get maximal assistance from winds.
Check out the position of the current jet stream flow:

Apparently the wind assist makes the extra distance cheaper to fly or they'd fly straight or some other flight path. But the flight path almost exactly matches the flow of the jet stream, so it would be hard to beleive there would be some other reason for the creative path.
Daniel Sallee 1
This isn't near long enough of a flight to worry about that. Maybe on a long international flight but otherwise you'll burn a lot more fuel chasing jetstreams. For example, look at SLC-MEM, it's pretty much direct.
Same flight went DEN-OKC. Flew 1200 miles on a 400 mile direct route. They ain't riding the wind that's for sure.
PhotoFinish -2
Interesting question then.

They've been flying roughly the same bizarre pattern for much of the past 2 weeks, everyday. It happens to match the jet stream exactly. The weather can't be identical everyday for 2 weeks either.

Another possibility is that Flightaware is presenting the wrong data. I haven't checked the data to check for duplication (same data presented for everyday's flights) or for data/map mismatch (each day shows correct data, but not the coerce map).

If they aren't chasing the wind, I can't imagine any other cause that would've remained constant over a period of 2 weeks, to justify that flight pattern.

If someone is able to figure out the cause, please post here and let us know.
benin -8
sorry to state the obvious, but maybe they were trying to skirt around a storm.
Chris Dierking 2
Look at the flight each night, it is the same route night after night, storm or no storm.
Chris Dierking 1
In fact, the flight is flying right now. There is no weather but look at the flight path...
QuickBurn 2
Check out the speed readout on that particular flight. One hit with 936 kts? Something screwy happened there lol


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