I have a question with regards to opening the Fuel Crossfeed as per ECAM actions (Simulator)
When asked by ECAM to open the crossfeed, I normally check the fuel page for any leaks and if no leaks are apparent I open the crossfeed. I had a session with a new TRI and his thoughts on the matter was that I should write down the fuel figures in each tank and get back to the fuel page after few minutes later to check for any leaks and then open the crossfeed (by which time there is an imbalance since we left the crossfeed closed)
Although there is nothing wrong with his train of thought, can I please get some feedback on how this is done in your airline as at times I see a lack of standardisation in my operation.
I skip the fuel imbalance item while performing the ECAM procedure and come back to the fuel page at a later stage. I usually get back to this item once I am done with normal/abnormal C/L and have decided where to divert and pointed the aircraft in the general direction of where I want to go. If you have a small leak you will most probably not see it if you check the fuel page already when the ECAM calls for it.
In my opinion there's no rush for two reasons: 1. If you have an engine failure after T/O you know how much fuel you departed with, and I always check for any fuel imbalance as part of my departure briefing so I already know if there was a any imbalance prior to any failure. 2. This aircraft can take a lot of imbalance before you have any issues with it.
IF however I was out over open water or just far from any airport when the failure happens I would prioritize it a bit different as now its a matter of fuel conservation to be able to reach an (any) airport.
There seems to be a growing trend for folks to write down the tank quantities and come back to it. I don't bother.
All you really need to do when you come back to it is FU+FOB - is it what you started with (within 100kgs or so for APU usage on the ground) to see whether or not you have a leak. If no leak - manage it because the ac won't manage it for you. Either open the X-Feed (if no leak) to see if that stops it going OOB or leave it, let an imbalance develop, and then run the Fuel Imbalance Procedure from the QRH to fix it. Just keep coming back to "fuel" when you have finished something or as part of your review (fuel is time).
Just to be a bit pedantic, the FCOM asks you to Monitor the fuel for Imbalance with the caeveat "IF NO FUEL LEAK" , while the ECAM only offers you IMBALANCE------MONITOR. The only point here, is that your TRI will almost certainly want you to prove that you are aware of the potential for a serious fuel leak by checking the fuel page on the SD. I don't think you will get a serious de-brief for only following ECAM, but it shows that you are not just following it parrot fashion.
PT6A We posted at the same time, I was really commenting in a general sense about how to deal with the ECAM/FCOM, rather than you're specific post. You are correct, there are any number of different ECAM standards around, but how Airbus want us to 'think' about the situation (thus how our Training Standards Dept. hopefully want us to think) should be roughly the same. When I first flew A320's 15 years ago we religiously turned on the xfeed for every engine failure in the sim, then someone had a fright over fuel management in real life and the procedure changed. Twas ever thus.LOL
I actually was given a little book as published by another airline that has all possible versions of the ECAM messages! Quite good to look at now and then, it then has "airline text" for each ECAM on what they really want you to do (quite good for some of the more cryptic ones)
Ok, who's up for a silly question? How does the cross feed prevent an imbalance if we are leaving all pumps on?
We had a serious fuel incident some years ago where the cross feed was turned on but the low tank pumps were left on (all engines running). As these were the stronger pumps, the fuel used for both engines came from this low tank and it nearly ran dry (I wasn't there but this was the washup). So how, with one engine running, is the balance maintained purely by use of the cross feed.
Due to differing pressures, shorter routes for fuel and other varying circumstances the fuel will still flow faster out of one tank with cross feed open. Our companies procedure is to leave it closed and open it only to BALANCE the fuel and only in accordance with the QRH.
The new ECAM asks you "if no fuel leak monitor imbalance". There is no requirement to do anything at this stage. you should be landing back in 20 mts. anyway. If there is delay and imbalance developes then fuel advisory will pop up. At that time you apply imbalance procedure if there is no fuel leak. The last line of the procedure states "there is no requirement to correct an imbalance until the ECAM fuel advisory is displayed".
Leaving it to go 1.5T OOB is fine and dandy - until you find yourself in Alt Law for some reason and then Direct Law with gear down. Aileron trim is quite difficult to find in the heat of the moment!! Makes IF difficult!