Sounds to me like on the one hand you have ATC acting conservatively when faced with a communication problem on the subject of how little fuel remained in the aircraft. With Avianca in mind, they opted to route the aircraft directly in. Everyone's happy, except...
...On the other hand you have some "hometown" crew who's noses are bent out of shape because they automatically think he was trying to get clever and queue-jump, ignoring the fact that enroute diversions or unplanned FL assignments could have affected his burn so as to arrive in the fuel state he did i.e. unable to hold until EAT 45 minutes later.
So the controller's choice is to "stop fiddling around with the language barrier and work him in so as not to risk an Avianca accident" vs. "risk being bad-mouthed in a few cockpits containing Figjams who go through life thinking everyone else is doing it wrong or suspiciously, and will even later try and tell me how to do my job".
I'm no controller, but I sure know which choice I would make every single time and still sleep at night like a baby.
"stratcon"? Is that one level above or below defcom?
Piss taking aside, no, that's not the impression I'm getting from the thread. What I do get the impression of however, is that a minority of Captains struggle with making some basic common sense decisions when it comes to fuel requirements. Those that struggle with this should consider whether the daily responsibilities of command are really suited to them!
Going back to AIC 04-06, which several guys have quoted.
As I understand it, the 30 minutes holding figure is simply the Final Reserve. i.e. 30 minutes of fuel calculated at 1500 feet in ISA conditions at the estimated landing weight. Same as our standard fuel policy.
A few guys also interpret the 'no delay expected', 20 minutes figure to mean that aircraft must carry 20 minutes of holding fuel. This figure is also confused with the 30 minute Reserve figure.
This is not what it means.
The AIC is badly written and causes confusion. It is derived from an old CAA AIC, (which describes the 30 minute figure better)
'No Delay Expected' means holding is currently less than 20 minutes. Don't expect to get an EAT. That's it! Simple.
The AIC also confirms the requirement for arriving aircraft to carry alternate fuel. Something the Italian pilot didn't seem to need.
The issue seems to be more the LACK of ICAO English than shortage of fuel
Besides that: Statcon works just fine. Bad WX ------> Take MORE fuel. Good WX, loads of runways ------> Commit!
And I love this statement
Recently had a 600kg (5min) stratcon flight on a cavok day. Like good little chaps we took OFP fuel. Unexpected long taxi and ground delay, that 600 kg contingency plus taxi fuel was already gone at gear up.
by Sugarpuff! It's what contingency is FOR. Look the word up in the Oxford English
PS I used this same fuel policy long before coming to EK; none of my colleagues crashed out of the sky then - as they aren't now!!!!
Very good document from the CAA. Previously, controllers into LHR were already giving estimates of holding delay, even if the total delay was less than 20mins. E.g "expect one orbit/once round the hold at LAM", etc.
This document ties up and clarifies the loose ends.
The response from ATC to 'Minimum Fuel' seems appropriate. To inform the pilot of track miles. Then the pilot can assess his circumstance. Whether to divert, committ or declare a Mayday Fuel.
I hope all major airports including Dubai will follow similar procedures.
I have always liked the "standard" delay 10-15 that you get going into Heathrow, much simpler than lots of EAT's. Obviously there us a time for EAT's but a lot of the time a simple 10 minute delay is enough for us to plan.
Makes sense. Personally whenever I issue a hold into OMDB I just read the delay time off the screen be it 5 or 50 minutes as it saves the obvious question as to how long. Also allows me to mentally plan is a long leg length is available when that question follows.
As for delays, has the Emirates internal 'flow' control kicked in yet? I read on here it was to start soon. Winter is right around the corner and the delays are already 40+ of a night time.
the AIC states 30mins holding should be carried into the UAE, not 20 mins.
fly to an alternate aerodrome, carry out the subsequent .... landing......and .... hold for 30 minutes delay.
ex-A380, if your post was a direct quote then it's no wonder some people are confused. The 30 min Final Reserve is holding fuel insted of a landing reserve??? Interesting concept - touching down with empty tanks.
The fuel policy is actually straightforward. It's a little disturbing that so many people don't seem to understand it.
Good to see that finally "No Holding" in the UK actually does mean no holding ( and not up to 20 min )
Only the English could come up with something like that!
Deviate, of that I am aware but Emirates are allegedly spacing their arrivals at some time soon. When the airport can handle max 35 arrivals an hour (excluding B watch) and Emirates often schedule 30+ all by themselves, something has to give even before playing the Brass Razoo.
I'm chuckling at my "callsign" here as I'm about to post a reply....
Firstly, on fuel situations when holding (or not, or can't)....inbound to OMDB you are either given the STAR arrival, some delay vectors or the hold. I'll focus on the hold. There seems to be some debate about what holding fuel one should have when flying into the UAE. AIC says one thing yet company policy may differ depending on whether you're a local operator or not. I'm not going into that. What I am going to ask is this....Once given an EAT, (which I give regardless of holding time as I think this information is too important to pilots to omit, at what point does one: a) decide to go to their alternate ; b) arrive at the situation where you must declare a fuel emergency (given that point (a) was somehow missed); c) declare PAN PAN or MAYDAY?
The above terms seem to be misinterpreted within the pilot community. I have worked the DESDI hold for quite some time and all too often pilots, after lets say being given a 45min holding delay, have told me that they can only hold for one more round and must declare a fuel emergency. I just can't fathom why some pilots allow themselves to get into this situation. I know how frustrating it is when OMDB decide to change the spacing requirements on a whim and throws all EAT's out the window. This is mainly down to individual performance on some crews in OMDB. A clear example the other night was RWY12L, 1 a/c abeam DXB on downwind, 1 a/c 30nm behind in trail, 2 a/c on final spaced 9nm apart (heavy behind medium). No excuses for this diabolical controlling at this stage of the game. It's too busy and I think that if you can't handle the traffic, you need to think about your role in the game! But, we do try and manage the EAT's as best we can at DESDI. Some Supervisors are very pro-active at the ACC and will co-ordinate a better flow of traffic into OMDB with their counterpart at Approach based on where the bulk of the traffic is at any given time.
More simulation is expected to take place soon on the new arrivals manager and hopefully this will help alleviate the situation along with the new OMDB STAR's as long as they are put to good use.
Last edited by DESDI OR BUST; 19th Aug 2012 at 13:09.
Reason: addition to point b
I have worked the DESDI hold for quite some time and all too often pilots, after lets say being given a 45min holding delay, have told me that they can only hold for one more round and must declare a fuel emergency. I just can't fathom why some pilots allow themselves to get into this situation. I know how frustrating it is when
When pilots reach DESDI and there is significant holding, they should have worked out 2 fuel quantities:
1. The not commit case: The fuel quantity (and approximate time) at which they cannot continue to hold and must divert to the alternate. 2. The commit case: The fuel quantity (and approximate time) at which they must leave the hold and begin the approach to land at Dubai.
If ATC is informed that the aircraft can only hold for one more round before declaring an emergency, then the aircraft must have already committed. (or maybe for some other reason, cannot divert).
You guys in ATC are not aware of which aircraft have committed to DXB because we are not required to inform you.
Pilots should not be committing unless they can hold until the EAT and then approach and land (with final reserve) WITHOUT declaring an emergency.
In the case you detail, the aircraft should not have burnt fuel below quantity (1) if they knew that their EAT would leave them with less than fuel quantity (2).
It is possible that the EAT had increased, after they had committed. This is a relatively unusual case. In this case the pilots would normally inform ATC as soon as the EAT changes.
If you are regularly getting pilots, declaring emergencies (even by default) without increased EATs, then there is something wrong. If true, this would make me think there are pilots who are not following the fuel policy. I can only speak for EK pilots. I'd be surprised that many EK pilots would do this. If this is the case, then it needs sorting out.
Coming back, full circle....been an interesting thread. The problem, as I see it anyway, is that you have enough - just enough - fuel to commit and the company gives you no more with their statcon. All fine and dandy and you end up, as the previous poster says, knowing what fuel to leave the hold with for your alternate and what fuel you need to leave the desdi hold with to leave such that you arrive with final reserve (or, as I prefer, final reserve plus a 'sneeze factor'). You take your choice, committing as we did to DXB and then you are suddenly sweating because somebody turns up with no holding fuel and gets priority! No that is a game changer! The question should be asked straight away, what is your alternate? Why have you no fuel?
I do feel that we, as pilots, need to communicate the fact that we are about to commit to destination so that the controller knows that he will end up with multiple maydays on his hands potentially should he then start changing the rules........
I agree with captainsmiffy. I am sure ATC would like a heads up on aircraft about to commit. It would be interesting to know how many do each night in DXB. As I understand it you can commit without an EAT anyway if two independent runways are available etc which is the case most of the time at DXB.
The facts as they stand though are that we don't have to mention a thing until we " might" land below final reserve. The new ICAO directive is to call " Minimum Fuel". I would have thought endurance in minutes might be a useful piece of information as well?
As I understand it you can commit without an EAT anyway if two independent runways are available etc which is the case most of the time at DXB.
Except that, in the event of an accident at DXB, BOTH runways would immediately be closed as half the immigration department etc. who have managed to get airside passes for their Landcruisers would immediately head out to do some rubber-necking at the wreck!