View Full Version : SQ and tailwind @ Sydney?
After some info from ATCOs if you are in the know.
Heard a rumour that SQ may be up for a little fine for a pre curfew landing on 16R at Sydney yesterday (Monday) morning. The source reports that one SQ aircraft landed on 34L with 22 knots of tailwind and that another landed prior to 0600 local on 16R due to insufficient fuel to hold until curfew lifted.
Just after a confirmation and a couple of questions. Does an aircraft that lands with such a tailwind get reported by ATC or is ATC not into that sort of stuff? Also, who reports the curfew breach. Does ATC do that? Just interested in the mechanics of it.
9th Sep 2003, 16:26
I was flying that night and had to divert and sit on the ground until after the end of the curfew period. I also heard the SQ aircraft inbound to SY (I think the ETA was around 5:30am), and he had been quoted a tailwind component of 27kts on 34L. Don't know what the max tailwind is for a 747, but I remember looking over to my right and seeing an equally puzzled face on the FO, when he continued his approach. All the other 747's (BA, QF etc) to my knowledge held until after 6am.
This tailwind was unforcast, and therefore the curfew in SY is a load of :mad: under these curcumstances.... IMHO
9th Sep 2003, 18:33
747 max t/wind 10 knots
"This tailwind was unforcast, and therefore the curfew in SY is a load of !@<hidden>#$%^ under these curcumstances.... IMHO"
9th Sep 2003, 19:20
Sure... I'll explain.
If the wind is un-forecast and the only available runway is one with excessive tailwind component, the options are simple. Hold, Divert, or land on 16 and except the massive fine.
I just don't think that any company should be penalised for conditions that are un-forecast. Therefore if the wind is un-forecast, 16 or 07/25 should be made available without penalty.
Sydney is the largest airport in Australia, yet it has the most restrictive noise abatement. I can't think of any airport of it's size and importance in the world with such a restrictive curfew.
Although Adelaide has a curfew, common sense allows the use of 23 during periods of adverse weather.
I realise that the curfew in Sydney will never change as long as we are stuck with politicians, doesn't mean I can't say it's :mad:
9th Sep 2003, 22:11
The problem is that the weather is not SACL, or Anderson's responsibility... Coordinating BoM with SACL against a standing policy would be a political nightmare.
9th Sep 2003, 22:30
coordinating and sacl in any sentence = oxymorn.
then again, sacl in any sentence = oxymoron
10th Sep 2003, 07:09
Night watch, I agree that no penalty should be incurred due to a forcast being way off the mark but is it not the case that the a/c commenced the approach at around 5.30 am, and are not SY ATC obligated to open 16R at 6 am if the actual conditions are such precluding the use of 34L......and there in lies the problem.
Perhaps if we could backtrack a bit.......actually about 8 hours when the SQ a/c dispatched from Singapore which subsequently arrived without the required fuel to hold till the cessation of the curfew.
There may be a reason for this.....ie the a/c may have had to cruise at a lower level due atc restrictions,which would incur a penalty of about 2.5% for 4000 ft below the planned level and in this case would come to about 2500 kg as the burn on this flight would be in the vicinity of 100 tons. However this would require a step below for the entire flight........extremely unlikely due minimal traffic on this route at that time of night and the use of RVSM airspace, plus the ability of Australian atc to issue non standard RVSM levels under radar control to help out a/c that are "caught" in a bind so to speak.
Also there could have been an extra burn associated with diverting around wx as the ITCZ is on it's march south but this would be minimal.
Cruise winds may have been way off resulting in a 30 minute earlier ETA....however this would require a mean tailwind of 35 knots above forcast for the entire 8 hour flight or, as winds in the equatorial region are quite light by comparison with their more temperate brothers, 75 knot t/w above forcast for the final 4 hours........possible but unlikely.
Finally, after correctly entering the winds for the flight in the FMC, had the progress page shown an arrival time 30 minutes before the cessation of the cerfew then a simple entering of LRC in the cruise page or a cost index of 0 in the performance page would have made this a non issue. Even in the enroute stage a change of alternate from Melb to Canberra would have given them another 4 tons in hand assuming CB was suitable. The required 30 minutes hold till the end of the curfew is of the order of 5 tons....less if holding enroute at altitude though not by much.
What about diverting enroute to top up...Darwin/Cairns/Townsville/Brisbane all spring to mind.
So now we arrive in SY without the required fuel as specified under the ANO's.....How about using the word require RX 16 R and screw the fine.....far better than putting your a/c and passengers in a position outside the certified limits of the a/c.
Lastly, he could have declared a mayday ("fuel emergency" went out when Jesus last played fullback for Jerusalem) and demanded 16R.
Granted the curfew is a crock of sh!t, but I think I have demonstrated that this should never have happened....or been allowed to happen in the first place if the crew was on the ball and used all options available to them.
Finally BIK, LHR does allow a certain # of "earlys"....actually I understand they have a quota per month otherwise the obligatory hold at LAM.
10th Sep 2003, 07:27
Firewall - what you say is spot on but in my opinion any Captain worth his pay should be able to anticipate a tailwind with the curfew, or at worst have the common sense to carry a few extra tonnes of fuel (lets call it 6 tonnes to carry the 5 odd tonnes for 30 holding and a bit extra burn to carry it) especially with the curfew limitations of using 34L between 0530-0600.
15 kts TW on a B744 isnt alot lets face it.
SIN-SYD shouldnt be limiting fuel wise but SQ seems very adverse to crew carrying extra fuel - anywhere.
The gentleman Captain for a particular asian carrier being escorted by police (supposedly under arrest for landing with 1600kg total fuel in a 747-400 at LHR) from the a particular hotel in Kensington London should be used as a pin-up boy for fuel management courses.
Unfortunately with the advent of accurate flight plans and pressure from bean-counters alot of crews seem hesitant in taking any extra fuel and seem to using less of the experience gained over the years anticipating unforecasted weather at the destination requiring additionall fuel or an alternate which a computer just cant do.
10th Sep 2003, 08:03
Anyone got a copy of the TAF that would have been available to the crew prior to departure? Would be interesting to see by just how much the tailwind was unexpected and whether it would be reasonable to expect a wind shift of, say, 90 to 180 degrees.
For this trip contingency would have been approx. 4,500kgs.
Not sure if things have changed recently but, unless it was a dire emergency a diversion to Canberra was a big No No for the SQ744 and certainly not available as an alternate for fuel planning purposes. Usual alternate was MEL but I could be out of date by now.
10th Sep 2003, 08:34
I don't know about the TAF at departure time but I was flying that night (not to SYD) and heard some A/C (BA and few QF) reducing cruise speed due to the forecast tailwind on 34L.
Pulled up an ATIS and TTF on the ACARS and there was a wind of around 25 kts from the south.
I would have thought the fuel required for 30 minutes was closer to 4 tonnes but either way he must have been very "thin".:eek:
Ralph the Bong
10th Sep 2003, 10:13
It's not so hard to delay departure for 30 mins if you have a curfew problem. ETA is presented on the flight plan and anyone who operates to SYD must know of the curfew restrictions. I understand that SQ operate on a BAM(bare ass minimum) fuel policy with "please explains" issued to those who tanker a bit more.
Canberra as an Alternate, I'd like to see that;) .
They'd probably have to brush up on there MBZ procedures and I think the ILS is NOTAMed at the moment. It would be interesting to watch from Mt Majura as they go for Rwy 17:ok: .
Out of interest how often do Qantas actually divert to Learmonth over in the west, anyone had to go there?
10th Sep 2003, 14:15
Well Ralph, they certainly didn't operate a "BAM" policy during my ten years there! Ask any of the ex QF pilots who came to fly for them, they thought it was a generous fuel policy. I never had a single 'please explain' letter despite carrying more than FP fuel when I thought it appropriate, the secret was to be sure and give an explanation in the VR, not just load it on.
Woftam - SQ contingency fuel was 5% of burn or 5000kgs, whichever was less, on top of this they would carry diversion fuel, alternate holding fuel, taxi fuel etc.
10th Sep 2003, 14:44
Just stating that the actual burn for 30 minutes holding would be closer to 4 tonnes (based on an "average" 250,000 kgs at FL200) from memory.
I know nothing of SQ policy.
I went into SYD recently for the first time in a while and was promptly reminded why I avoid the place as much as possible – (the airport, I mean, not the city). Tailwinds would have had us getting in ahead of the 6.00am curfew, so we delayed departure and played with speed enroute to arrive after 6.00. (I left slightly ahead of the calculated ETD so as to get ahead of [and more importantly, above] the pack who all had the same idea.) With a slightly slower cruise Mach, and with the (bloody ridiculous) Rivet 8 arrival inserted, we were planning to land at 6.01am.
The pack behind me (four of them – BA, SQ, MH and Skippy) all blasted on past me doing .84+ and were promptly put into the hold. (Which in most cases costs more fuel than a slower enroute cruise speed, doesn’t it? But I know Sydney operates (or once did operate) on a ‘first into the hold first served’ basis, so there’s some sense in what they did.) Add to them United coming in from the east and the predictable occurred – holding and loooooong vectors, (including a 270 degree long way round turn), to the point where we were only a couple of hundred kilos above min divert fuel when we finally landed.
Downwind at 9000’ over Georges River, (we’d been excused the below 9000’ restriction at whatever the waypoint is), and with **** miiiiiiles to go on the Rivet 8, it became evident that there wasn’t another aircraft anywhere between us and the runway. Asked for track shortening, was given it (“Oh, you want track shortening? Quelle shock horror and surprise!”), and carved about ten minutes off or landing time – with the runway unoccupied, by landing OR departing aircraft, from the time we could see it, passing 7000’ on descent. Without that track shortening, we’d have been right on min divert fuel for Melbourne. And of course, min divert fuel into Melbourne would have been an interesting exercise at 7.30am!!! (Canberra wasn't an option due Wx.)
What sets my teeth on edge about Sydney is the (apparent lack of) flow control. The Rivet 8 arrival is an extended tour of coastal south eastern New South Wales. If we’re going to pander to the politicians and the noise police pressure groups, (who all bought their houses near the airport cheaply BECAUSE of the **** airport noise, which with today’s high bypass engines, is a fraction of what it was in the 60’s), why in world can’t Sydney ATC, (or Melbourne ATC, since they handle you until short finals, thanks to Dickie Smith’s ‘cost savings’), get some sort of flow control going that’s even a pale shadow of what the guys at Heathrow achieve every day of the year? Or are they forced to space the aircraft so widely so the darlings under the flight path can finish their cornflakes between aircraft passing overhead and curdling the milk?
10th Sep 2003, 22:13
erm. arrr ohh ef ell.....
11th Sep 2003, 06:42
Blue Eagle that was true when you were working there under contract some years back but at the moment things are radically different apparently.
The thing that used to make me laugh was that we would depart ahead of SQ on a SYD-SIN sector and be at 1000ft above optimum doing M0.845 in smooth air and sitting reasonably close to the barbers pole.
SQ who was loaded similarly also would be flying 2000-3000ft above us doing M0.86!!!
Now thats a big difference.
Similar things on SIN-LHR where we took off at MTOW, these guys would always be a few thousand feet above and doing a much higher speed.
I wonder what software updates/upgrades their FMC's used?
11th Sep 2003, 07:37
Well, they use 1.2Vs and not 1.3 for a start! And don't forget the heavier you are the faster the FMC tells you to go. Just from memory, subject to no forecast bad weather/turbulence etc. we would often climb when the FMC showed the max. alt. to be 1000' above what we were wanting, I stress, NO bad wx! From a fuel consumption point of view, with the PW engines, from my experience, it is less of a penalty to be high early and fly into optimum than to be trapped at a lower level and getting lighter all the time, watching optimum alt. spiral upwards and away from you, with all higher levels occupied by the remainder of the South East Asian nightly armada! (Never had a problem with levels SIN/SYD/MEL personally, non-standard often available, room for everyone).
11th Sep 2003, 09:20
Would I be correct in thinking their fuel policy would require them to arrive at destination with an alternate, and if this was not going to be possible then an enroute diversion should be carried out?
11th Sep 2003, 11:54
11th Sep 2003, 13:10
Timmmmmeee, when I was on the -400 I always used to wonder how SQ did cruise so high until someone pointed out that a QF aircraft going SYD-SIN would always be carrying freight while SQ has dedicated freighters and hence were probably lighter even though fully loaded with pax.
The other variable is the one pointed out where they use 1.2 manoeuvre margin instead of the 1.3 most airlines use.
This may explain why, a few years ago, in the same crowded piece of European airspace over a period of 4 weeks.... two SQ jumbos stalled and proceeded to lose around 18000 feet before recovering and climbing back to the previous altitude...all without saying a word to ATC.:hmm:
11th Sep 2003, 18:48
Sunrise - Yes!
Kapt M - Your memory fails you! Yes, Paya Leba the alternate but with top-up to 60 minutes holding which, in effect, meant that KL was always legally possible, also with two useable runways available, good weather etc. then it was permissable to use diversion fuel as destination holding if required - and a lot of airlines do this. And no, no 'please explain' letters required on the -400, just a sensible note on the VR, 'Due Wx' was usually good enough. You're right about the water, officially, but there was always plenty available. As I said before, QF pilots who flew for SQ thought the SQ policy was generous
Don - SQ policy does require them to carry diversion fuel for an alternate. Some airlines don't carry diversion fuel to all destinations but they have a 'don't go beyond' en route airfield and they have to be assured of a no delay arrival at their intended destination to be able to pass that en route airfield.
Wasn't it QF that arrived at LHR once a bit light but still legal?
I know SQ did but they were declared still legal by the CAA once the proper numbers had been crunched.
C of Borg - Not good I grant you but I think you will find it was only one -400, (one too many) and it was questioned by ATC, Don't recall the figure of 18000' either but I may have missed that, I honestly thought it was nearer 5000', still not good.
According to Boeing more airlines world-wide use 1.2 than 1.3.
11th Sep 2003, 19:42
This is more a question rather than statement concerning the 1.2 g vs the 1.3 g buffet margin restriction. It was explained to me that the US carriers and all that use US certification standards in relation to the issuance of country specific AOC's use the 1.2 g buffet margin whereas those aligned with the UK CAA use 1.3g. Reason gived way back in the past was that the UK CAA were unhappy with the ability of the a/c to potentially exceed MMO in an emergency decent with the higher cruising MNo's associated with the 1.2 g buffet boundary restriction and so wanted a greater margin for error built into their certification requirements....always thought something was missing in this explanation. However it explained why those US based 767's would eat us up years ago when we were trucking along flat cookie in our "UK certified 6"
12th Sep 2003, 06:10
BlueEagle ......thanks for the reply. I guess you would have to wander why a diverversion was not carried out.:confused:
12th Sep 2003, 07:57
Except that any operator who breaks the curfew gets not only a fine but a "please explain" letter....any persistent violations of curfew risk losing slots.
7x7, my experience with 0600 arrivals is the first in the stack arrives on time. If you plan to land at 0601 the only way is to fly to arrive at 0550 (or earlier!):cool:
12th Sep 2003, 08:15
BIK ....in some ways I agree with you, however if the aircraft had an alternate, which I gather is a company requirement, then landing on 16R before the end of curfew would cost mega bucks, rumoured to be over $500,000!
And if the other aircraft landed with a tailwind in excess of the limitation.......I'm sure if the pax the knew, then they would not be too impressed.
12th Sep 2003, 08:59
I never understand why when ready to depart, an arriving aircraft in the terminal area necessitates a 10 minute delay at the holding point until the arriving aircraft has landed - even if the arrival is from the North/East and the departure is to the South/West.
Can someone explain the procedures/rationale??
12th Sep 2003, 09:08
Landing with 20-30kts tailwind is just irresponsible and probably in violation of their operations manual. All large aircraft ops manuals I have seen have a maximum 10kt tailwind component.
I am sure the operators won’t thank you for landing under the said conditions but if you have an incident, I suspect you would be criminally negligent. Being “practical” won’t help you in a court of law.
A smart operator would have delayed his departure out of Singapore or adjusted his inflight cruise speed so as to arrive around the time the curfew is lifted and or hold if necessary until he could use a favorable runway, or even diverted if the procedure was beyond the scope of the operations limitations. This is common practice when operating into other countries that have strict curfews.
If the incident is true, as reported here, I see it as just another questionable decision degrading our profession in the eyes of law enforcement authorities and the public if they know what goes on ……. Sad indeed.
12th Sep 2003, 17:04
I have no experience of SQ, international long haul, or wide body jets, though I have travelled domestically on a 74 once or twice. :=
Why are many of the posts on this thread in the vane that the crew stuffed up, either through negligence or company pressure?
Is it not possible that forecast winds/wx and/or some operational consideration conspired to have the aircraft arrive too early with insufficient fuel to hold?
The suggestions that "I would have slown down in the cruise so as to not arrive early" etc. seem far too obvious to be realistic reflections on such a high profile airline. :confused:
12th Sep 2003, 20:22
You said it yourself Dan... you have no experience of SQ.
Take it from those who do.
14th Sep 2003, 20:17
I just saw your thread starter.
No penalties are imposed for an operation contrary to curfew if it is an emergency. The Sydney Airport Curfew Act (http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/saca1995267/) (most of which is repeated in AIP DAP NAP Sydney pages) defines inability to divert to a suitable alternate as one such emergency for curfew purposes. I don't know how SIA stand in relation to this event. It depends on what they "knowingly did" (more about that in the Act) and the discussion your post generated covers the subject pretty well.
Also, you asked
Just after a confirmation and a couple of questions. Does an aircraft that lands with such a tailwind get reported by ATC or is ATC not into that sort of stuff? No, most definitely not. Along with many other things, operation in crosswind and downwind is 100% a pilot responsibility. We tell you the info, you decide what to do. We don't report or log anything in this regard, other than standard recording of R/T. No special "notes" or log entries.Also, who reports the curfew breach. Does ATC do that? Just interested in the mechanics of it. ATC does not. We have a standing order to log in our journal any operation contrary to curfew so that there's a ready record of basic details (callsign, runway, landing or take-off time) in case someone asks for details at a later date, but we do not police the curfew or originate reports.
If a flight is about to breach the curfew we advise the pilot "Curfew in operation, penalties may apply. Advise intentions." If the pilot wants to continue, we provide the necessary clearances and log the event, as above.
If a pilot says he has a curfew dispensation we accept that and do not seek verification.
Airservices is directed by the government to monitor noise. Airservice's Noise Unit has monitoring systems in place. That unit reports curfew breaches, not ATC.
Jet A Knight askedI never understand why when ready to depart, an arriving aircraft in the terminal area necessitates a 10 minute delay at the holding point until the arriving aircraft has landed - even if the arrival is from the North/East and the departure is to the South/West.Because curfew procedures (cast in law, there is no discretion available for ATC) say that you can't be turned southwest out of the arrival's way until you have cleared the curfew flight corridor to the south, which puts you fair and square in conflict with the arrival. (AIP DAP NAP Sydney pages 5, 6 and 9 refer - no links, sorry, the doc is not on line.)
(Edited a few times for grama, spelin etc)
15th Sep 2003, 04:03
Want to lose 30 minutes on a 744 on an 8 hour sector.
Simple go to F/L290 cut back as required to hold speed. Fuel cost about a ton.
Better still RTA to 5 minutes before curfew step climb zero in the box and you arrive at Sydney below the mob, a 250kt descent and land 1 minute after curfew!
15th Sep 2003, 07:03
Ausatco, thanks for that. I was aware of the corridor, but it just seemed a bit excessive, when arrivals are on downwind.
15th Sep 2003, 07:44
The Boeing standard tail wind limit is 10 knots however airlines can pay additional money to increase the limit to 15 knots. All QF B747's and B767's (possibly the B737's as well) have had the limit increased. It would obviously be worthwhile for any carrier operating into SYD using one of the limited number of pre - curfew slots to have the higher tailwind limit.
QF policy is that the services that have approval to land in SYD prior to 0600lt have to arrive with sufficient fuel to hold to 0600 in case of weather conditions being outside limits to land on 34L. I believe that if SQ are not carrying this additional fuel then they are in breach of the conditions that were defined when they were offered a pre 0600 slot.
Ausatco - Great post, thanks for the gen.
15th Sep 2003, 09:49
J_A_K and GB, you're welcome.
J_A_K, The wait does seem excessive, but when we try to reduce it things can go pear-shaped pretty quickly and we (the royal "we") end up in a recovery situation - I've seen it happen.
If we try to play unders and overs by holding the departure down, then obviously the departure's climb is inhibited which then restricts when and where it can turn and track over built-up areas because of noise abatement minimum altitude requirements. It also may run out of controlled airspace, which is a no-no for us. If you let the departure climb then you have to push the arrival down to slip under him, usually well below profile height miles away from the airport, over water.
It's extremely poor technique to have piston lighties miles out over water at low level, so within the procedures we're given we minimise that as much as we can. A Sy-Cootamundra flight is not an over-water flight - you wouldn't be carrying life jackets, would you?
Depending on aircraft types, wake turbulence separation can be a factor - the margin by which we aim to make them miss has to be bigger - 2 minutes at 240kt is 8 miles, nearly 3 times the normal radar standard, and that has to be fed into the equation.
In the traffic situation you described the mix of types is significant just for the timing. A PA31 or C310 departing with a BA146 coming down the coast, the cut-off would be on or north of the 07 extended centreline, so you're looking at about 30 track miles for the 146 at least, about 8 minutes.
A Westwind departing with a 146 or something slower coming down the coast, you could play it tighter - WWs go like $%^& off a shiny shovel and will quickly be out of conflict.
Now there's an interesting aircraft! I've seen one of them on a 12 mile base leg at 400kt GS.
'course, if there's a few arrivals in succession there's not much we can do, except maybe try to bunch the arrivals up and get them on the ground as quickly as possible to give the departures a run.
No-one likes the curfew procedures. The inefficiency you speak of (long delays on the ground) is an issue for all of us, except, apparently, for the pollies and noise lobby. They don't care.
I've heard a suggestion that the curfew hours be divided into arrival blocks and departure blocks which would be published and you time your operation to suit - I guess that's one way of managing the situation but I don't know how well it would work. I can see problems with it.
There are safety issues in the present set-up as well, regardless of how the delays are managed - human factors for us as ATCs and, for aircraft, low level over water a long way from land.
What we would like to see is 16L for departures, with a turn out through Botany Bay heads, and 34L arrivals. We already have procedures and standards to allow simultaneous arrivals and departures in that configuration. However, the environmentalists at this stage say no. They see it as the industry applying the thin edge of the wedge and they won't give ground. They have a huge mistrust of all of us in the industry and seem to forget that their own legislation won't allow the wedge to be driven and the situation to get out of hand - all the "noisy" aircraft are defined and on a legislated movement quota.
There are no votes in it, so it's difficult to get a good hearing in the corridors where it matters.