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EQUAL TIME POINT (ETP)

Equal Time Point is the geographical point in a flight at which the aircraft
has the same flying time continuing on to a given airport or turning around and returning to a
given airport. Compute an ETP anytime the flight is a long distance between usable airports.
The ETP is a function of:

True airspeed, which is a function of configuration and altitude


Wind factor, which is dependent upon the final altitude selection
Distance which is dependent on the availability of airports
Distance is based on usable airports close to the coastline and close to the flight route.
Pilot's normally look at an ETP as their critical point based on an emergency situation. An
example would be engine failure, pressurization problems, or perhaps a medical emergency on
board the aircraft.
Develop more than one ETP based on different conditions. Each emergency situation would
constitute different airspeeds, wind factors or distances, so be aware of the most critical
situation.
At the ETP, always have enough fuel to reach any of your ETP diversion airports with some
reserves. If forced to descend from your cruise altitude and you have insufficient fuel to reach
your intended divert airfields, you are operating with a wet footprint.
A wet footprint is defined as an area encompassing a distance each side of an ETP where an
airplane, if required to descend, will not have sufficient fuel to make destination or return to
departure. The size of the area is determined by the total fuel onboard, descent altitude, length of
over-water leg, wind factors and other individual factors.
Part 135 operators are restricted from operation with a wet footprint. Part 91 operators have no
instructions, but it is strongly recommended that they not operate with a wet footprint.
In order to operate without a wet footprint should a pressurization problem arise, an operator
might need to fly at an altitude above 15,000 ft. Here, not only is fuel a concern, but also oxygen.
With a limited oxygen supply, there must be a trade-off between fuel required and oxygen
required to safely recover the aircraft.

ETP Computation
In order to compute an ETP you must determine the following:
Total distance which is the distance between the selected ETP diversion airfields
Groundspeed to return (GSrtn) which is the groundspeed for the ETP back to the last
diversion airfield based on TAS and wind factors at the selected altitude and the aircraft
configuration
Groundspeed to continue (GScont) which is the groundspeed from the ETP continuing on to a
diversion airfield based on TAS and wind factors at a selected altitude and aircraft
configuration
True airspeed (TAS) which is determined from the aircraft flight manual
Wind factors determined along the proposed flight route at the selected altitude. A first half
wind factor reflects turning back; a second half wind factor reflects continuing on.
The formula for computing an ETP using a CR-3 or E6-B computer is:
Total Distance
GSrtn + GScont

ETP (NM)
=
GSrtn

The formula on a calculator is:


Total Distance x GSrtn
=

ETP (NM)

GScont + GSrtn
Example
The ETP for an Excel flight to Bermuda from White Plains (HPN) to TXKF, assuming
an engine failure, should be computed as follows:
Given:
- Engine failure average TAS at FL260
- First half wind factor
- Second half wind factor
- Total Distance

285 kts
-45
+35
680 NM

Insert the numbers into the formula as follows:


163200

(680 x 240) (240 = 285-45)

= ETP (NM) 291


560

(240 +320)

(320=285+35)