Southwest Airlines recently hit a milestone in our quest to fly more efficiently and greener by successfully implementing autothrottles and VNAV (vertical navigation) modifications to our entire 737-700 fleet. Now, if you don’t understand what that sentence means--don’t worry, you aren’t alone. The important message is that this milestone will help save the Company millions of dollars in fuel burn, while at the same time significantly reducing our carbon emissions. In fact, since the modifications began, we have seen very tangible benefits.
You may be wondering how the modifications help us save so much “green.” Simply stated…the modifications allow our Pilots to fly at a nearly perfect speed when at cruise altitude and gives them an enhanced level of precision during climbs and descents. Our Maintenance group has been working alongside our Flight Operations Department on the project for more than two years to make this happen--we are very proud of their tireless work.
And, this is merely the tip of the iceberg. Soon, our nearly 6,000 Pilots will receive additional training as we prepare to begin GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) navigation. This will be followed by RNAV (area navigation), and ultimately RNP (Required Navigation Performance) procedures.
As the automation evolution continues, the best is yet to come!