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Date: 12 Aug 1998
Remote Name: 22.214.171.124
We generally use the net for an outlook the day before, checking out forecast winds aloft at various altitudes (FL 100, 180 and 240), and any significant weather. Based on that, we work up a preliminary flight plan to prefile that night, and from that figure out how much fuel we plan to uplift in the morning.
Each morning of a flight, Universal faxes to us, usually both to the hotel and to our ground handlers, a complete weather briefing packet, containing text METARs and TAFs en-route, airmets/sigments, a high- level sig weather chart, and winds aloft for FL 050, 100,180 and 240. We take those with us for use during the flight, and in case they suggest any changes from our previous night's plan.
We originally got winds only for FL180 and 240, but in Vanuatu, the Universal fax did not arrive, and we got local WX for the flight to Cairns, and saw very strong headwinds at 180, but light and variable at 100. So we ended up flighing the leg low, which was less efficient on fuel burn per hour, but was more than made up by higher ground speed. So now we check the winds at all practical levels. Even so, we find that FL180 is generally the best balance between efficiency, ground speed and comfort.