Flight planning with tankering in mind made easier
I used to be an airline pilot, and that life had its perks. I’d get to the gate, and the agent would hand me a stack of papers; I would confirm the fuel order as appropriate, and off we’d go. I didn’t have to do any flight planning for over 20 years. It was heavenly until I decided it might be a good idea to switch careers to corporate flying.
Wow, what an awakening! Where was my dispatcher? Where were the ramp agents, baggage loaders, or passenger liaisons? It was not all me. I had become somewhat spoiled throughout my airline career, and I had some catching up.
One of the most challenging tasks I faced was fueling the corporate aircraft. And no, I don’t mean computing the fuel to fly from A to B and back again. No, my boss was a fanatic about saving money, and the best way we could do that was through fuel efficiency. Let the games begin.
If we had a 6-leg day, that meant numerous phone calls to countless FBOs, fuel discount services, and even neighboring airports to figure out the best combination of factors to save the most fuel.
My boss was no dummy. He was a Harvard graduate who knew the concept of tankering fuel. He knew that if we ordered this much at that airport, we could save when we went to the next airport with a higher fuel cost. And he knew that our fuel load affected our aircraft weight, which affected our speed and fuel burn, and he wanted me to be able to do all those computations before every flight.
I took the time before each trip to figure it out, but I wished someone would come up with a way to make it easier, and someone has. Introducing the new Fuel Tankering calculator, created by World Fuel Services.
World Fuel Services have designed a fuel optimization tool that automates tankering calculations to help pilots like me make better fueling decisions over multi-leg flights.
This tool uses multiple variables to give operators the information they need to decide where to order fuel to lower their overall trip cost.
It uses data such as:
- fuel prices,
- ramp fees,
- aircraft type performance info,
- aircraft-specific fuel burn.
I used to do the same thing with a pencil, paper, and phone; it would take me hours.
The calculator can quickly calculate tankering values for up to six locations. Pilots or operators can manually enter the data or upload their trip information from scheduling software platforms. The software uses maps and analytics to show how the savings are accounted for and allows users to order fuel directly within the tool. Also, the app shows all its work, so you know how it came up with its answers.
With this fantastic technology, I don’t mind being responsible for filing my flight plans and being the company’s hero. It’s easy as pie – what a great time to be a pilot!