View Full Version : Heathrow Tornado causes BA diversions

16th Oct 2003, 01:20
LTN has seen a couple of BA fuel diversions this lunchtime. An A319 and A320 came in due to a Tornado GR4 doing a flypast at or near Heathrow. So why do BA Airbuses carry so little fuel that they can't cope with a delay caused by a quick flypast???

16th Oct 2003, 02:06
Down to cirrus I suspect!

16th Oct 2003, 02:59
During this QUICK fly-by, nothing landed at Heathrow for 10 minutes, and EAT's were about 30 - 40 minutes!!!

Lucky more aircraft didn't divert.

16th Oct 2003, 03:52
why on earth would a Tornado do a Fly By at LHR ??? ....

cheers .... hobie ....

16th Oct 2003, 03:54
Probably looking out for spotters - a dry run for the 24th! ;)

16th Oct 2003, 04:01
BA SH has a new "Flight Planning System" as of 10 days ago (Cirrus - as mentioned above).

For Airbus, work on ~10-15mins less holding time than previous before diversion / PAN into LHR...

The previous system had a little fat - the new one, no fat, and seems to actually burn a bit more then Flt Plan (& FMGS for that matter).

Once holding gets much >20mins, and if people continue to take Flt Plan fuel, we are going to see more of these diversions... I am sure there will (have to) be some "tweaking" of the system soon...


Warped Factor
16th Oct 2003, 04:20
NoD wrote:

For Airbus, work on ~10-15mins less holding time than previous before diversion / PAN into LHR...

Worth bearing in mind that once anyone shouts PAN in these circumstances it will inevitably lead to even greater delays for those still waiting in the queue behind as landing slots will be lost whilst providing the PAN a/c with an expeditious approach and a large gap in front of it on final.

BA could be shooting themselves in the foot with this depending on how it pans (groan) out.


16th Oct 2003, 04:54
As is mentioned above, why the hell was a Tornado GR4 conducting a fly by at Heathrow???:confused:

16th Oct 2003, 04:58

Flypast was a practice run for an Air Force Memorial Day flyby at the WW2 Air Force Memorial at Runnymede, Egham, Surrey. 1 Tornado today - I think planned for 4 a/c on the actual day. Not sure of the date of the real flypast.

16th Oct 2003, 05:16
Was there any warning that this was going to happen? Was it NOTAMed?

It seems that this sort of thing is becoming quite common. I got caught out with the flypast for the Queen's Birthday. Forecast great at LHR. No hint of a flypast or reasons for a delay, so we took flight plan fuel. Long delays out of our departure field, headwinds en-route and then 30 minutes going around the hold on a CAVOK day. We were very tight.

I did write it up - but chances of a reply are nil. :hmm:


16th Oct 2003, 05:18
So that's what woke me up from my little snooze today:(

16th Oct 2003, 05:41
thanks Conn for the reason ........

I'm speechless !!!! ..... lol

cheers ... hobie ...

Douglas Bader
16th Oct 2003, 05:51
Interesting about the Tornado, EGSC (Cambridge) ATC had been complaining about the violation of the approach to R23 by low flying Tornado's, which fell on deaf ears at high command until an Air Vice Marshall was on deck of an L1011 RAF Freighter 10 miles out on the centre line R23 (pre ILS at Cambridge) when low and behold left to right 500ft approx came another offending Tornado, needless to say it hasn't happened again since, probably because all the aircraft are constantly U/S nowadays.

16th Oct 2003, 07:34
Actual flypast is on Friday. Routing BPK - LHR - RUNNYMEDE - BAGSHOT - M4 J11 !! Not sure of the time. Using freq 132.7

Odd that BAA close the airport for over 10 mins for 2 days in one week and then don't allow Concorder any flypast/parallel landings.

Onan the Clumsy
16th Oct 2003, 11:10
Flypast was a practice run for an Air Force Memorial Day flyby erm...do they really need to practice a flypast? I mean aren't the military trained to have a quick squint at a map and some photos, and watch some chap with a handlebar moustache and a big pointer saying "enemy concentrations are here, here and here" then just come whizzing over the ridge, drop the eggs bang on target and then they're off back home to the mess and their black labrador?

I mean, did they practice flying over Berlin a few times first, just to get a handle on the Reichstag and the Brandenburg Gate? :confused:

16th Oct 2003, 13:52
More importantly...
Why are aircraft continually dispatched toward LHR with absolute minimum fuel in the first place, considering the delays often encountered?

This seems to be a recurring problem.

Hasn't anyone actually learned by now that this ain't a good idea?:sad:

16th Oct 2003, 14:49
Onan, no they did not. That maybe why neither of those 2 monuments were actually destroyed. The old church near Ku'Damm got hit by mistake!

16th Oct 2003, 15:50
Surely 411a has a valid point here.

I was on an MAS flight from KUL that achieved some notoriety when it landed at LHR flying on fumes some seven or eight (??) years ago.

I'm not a pilot, so just how much pressure is put on you drivers not to err on the cautionary side when it comes to fuel?

16th Oct 2003, 15:58
Must have blinked and missed it....

Can't see why 1 aircraft could cause so much difficulty and problems, surely it could have been fitted into the existing pattern completed it's approach, executed a go-around, flypast and then completed it's run in over runnymede. No conflict of interests or diruptions, just a short delay to some departures perhaps.

16th Oct 2003, 16:12
Having been subject to Cirrus flight plans in BA longhaul for some time now I have to say that I use the fuel fig as a guide to minimum acceptable and then add suitable amounts to that.
For instance, on shorter flights the 5% contingency figure can be way below 1000kg and if arriving at LHR at say 0615 you will need at least 20 mins holding - 2000kg or more. Add a bit of typical early mist and drizzle and I would not consider anything less than 5000-6000kg over and above Cirrus. The cost of diverting just for a "fuel & go" far outweighs the marginal extra cost of the fuel, the majority of which remains on board to used on the next sector......

16th Oct 2003, 16:57
Practice runs? From what I hear about happened yesterday the answer is Yes! Those guys should talk to the Pathfinders about finding targets (or waypoints!).:D

16th Oct 2003, 17:47
Any truth in the rumours that it was a US F15 and he was actually meant to be overflying Gatwick?

16th Oct 2003, 19:03
Just for the record, a BA 757 also diverted into Luton yesterday for the same reasons.

16th Oct 2003, 20:37
411A / Angels...

We've debated this endlessly in the past, and whatever the CAA leaflet referred to can be interpreted as, the BA policy complies with it (IMHO).

This new Flt Plannng system (Cirrus) uses the same principles (Trip, 5%/15mins contingency, Divn, 30mins Reserve).

For the Bus (A319 figs here), the 30mins Rsv has not altered. However, the LGW diversion now takes ~20% less. The aircraft seem to burn a little more than Flt Plan, previously a little less.

In my mind, so long as everyone understands the rules, there is little safety implication. However, it does appear to me to be a large commerical risk... This weeks combination of strong easterlies at height, but not on the sfc - else good wx, and Tornado flypasts, has maybe brought it home with a few diversions...


Jordan D
16th Oct 2003, 21:05
Why did the aircraft divert to LTN and not to LGW, where BA have an ops base?


17th Oct 2003, 00:27
Because LGW is so busy. All these a/c want is a couple of tons of fuel and a quick departure, neither of which would happen as quickly at LGW than at LTN. Even if it if it was a tech problem it would probably be easier to bus people from there than LGW anyway (and theres no BA airbus engineers at LGW in any case).

As to turning up with less than minimum fuel, as mentioned we dont - we aim to arrive with the CAA's legal amounts. Carrying any more without reason (and theres plenty of those!!) is a waste & harmful to the environment :) Its rare that Ive carried any extra - and Ive never diverted yet in 400+ arrivals.

17th Oct 2003, 02:26
we aim to arrive with the CAA's legal amounts I think you'll find that what the CAA specifies are not 'legal amounts' but minimum amounts. The way things are these days, operators are expected to plan to do what they do safely - the minimums are set to stop idiots doing really stoopid things. In the ATC world this is known as SMS and means that we have to look at what we do and decide what is necessary to make sure it's safe. And, surprise surprise, sometimes it's more than the minimum that the CAP says. I'd like to think that pilots look at the minimum fuel requirements as a useful guide to what is borderline stoopid rather than always trying to do it!!! Not wishing to appear disparraging to someone who has 400+ arrivals under their belt, but I'd like to know what someone who's done 4000+ arrivals does.

And btw, I thought airlines did SMS too - I read about it in CAP712 - am I living in a dream world?

17th Oct 2003, 03:04

Having reviewed the CAA AIC/FODN, BA comply with them (except maybe as below). And in fact do not "aim to arrive with the minimum", but with more than that... And safety wise, its not too relevant what they plan to get into the LHR area with - its their actions as it runs out. The Avianca 707 left Columbia with plenty of fuel - it was the subsequent handling after extensive delays that caused the problem. Extra fuel might not have saved them - decisive, earlier actions / comms would have saved them, even with less original fuel.

One qu. I do have, if you (or anyone else caring to respond) are a LHR/LGW area controller. The latest AIC says, for div fuel:
".... track miles on which fuel rqmt for flying to altn is calculated should be realistically assessed taking into account of the extended routing which can reasonably be expected during busy periods".

That's the CAAs language, and as a pilot, I do not know what this distance would be. So given the following:
1. LHR landing 27R
2. LGW landing 26L
3. Aircraft goes around at 100' over LHR 27R, follows MAP, and say, at 1500' (now heading 320), states "and we wish/need to divert to LGW".
4. Assume at no stage does the aircraft declare an emergency.
5. The aircraft follows ATCs routings to get to LGW.

what NM distance would be realistic to use for planning??


Jordan D
17th Oct 2003, 04:43
Thanks 52049er .... is LTN the preferable diversionary for all airlines going into LHR?


17th Oct 2003, 05:50
Blimey, I'd forgotten how careful you have to be on this board with shorthand. Jordan D... to answer your Q - no idea. LTN is a goodie because its close - but obviously shares its weather with LHR so may not be an ideal wx diversion.

Spitoon - point taken but I called them that cos I assumed jordan was not a pro aviator & was trying (!) to be non-techie. We are planned to arrive with 5%/15mins contingency, Divn and 30mins reserve fuel, and my point was that with no other factors we often will. Perhaps Ill leave my next posting until I have 400 000 approaches at LHR & am worthy of inclusion.


17th Oct 2003, 06:43
OK, Nige, I was being a bit provocative but I guess what I'm trying to say is that everyone plans to arrive with minimum contingency etc. it doesn't take much to create a domino effect - every aircraft that needs priority handling creates delays for many other aircraft in the sequence.

I don't do LTMA so I'm afraid I can't asnwer your questions about track distance but if there are two or three aircraft diverting at the same time I suspect that it could take quite a distance.

In my experience it take an awful lot longer to clear a disabled aircraft from a runway that it takes for a Tornado to do a flight past!

And apologies to 52049er, I guess I'm just feeling particularly grumpy today - due respect for 400 approaches to LL. But I notice that of the pilots that I know, it only seems to take one arrival with rather less fuel than they feel comfortable with and they start adding a little bit extra for those events that, to use the SMS terminology, are supposed to be 'extremely remote' but seem to crop up rather more often!

Jordan D
17th Oct 2003, 18:20
Thanks again 52049er .... you are indeed correct ... I'm far from a pro aviator ... distincly amateur! ... Maybe sometime in the future.

I'm flying into LTN tomorrow, out of STN on Monday, so I'll just hope EZY get their fuel right!


17th Oct 2003, 18:21

Having got everyone in the office expectant for 4 x Tornadoes over LHR at 1115L today, nothing's happened! Anyone know the time they're due.

Egg on my face or what!

Well they held up the traffic for several mins and have just started t/o's again. So they've been and gone. Stealth Tornadoes may be?

17th Oct 2003, 23:01
Trust me.....they were there!

Roger Dodge
17th Oct 2003, 23:16
They were supposed to flyby at 1123(L), but of course they were late!! 1126(L), probably took a long time to find 4 serviceable jets :} :E

17th Oct 2003, 23:56
Just came back from DEN this morning, loaded an extra 2 tonnes on because of this ego trip. Held for 15 minutes, due to fly past?
Do we get any compensation from the Tornado operators?

18th Oct 2003, 00:33
Intersting point. NATS's attributable delays lead to fines. Thoughts?

Warped Factor
18th Oct 2003, 00:40
NoD wrote:

what NM distance would be realistic to use for planning

In the scenario you describe you'd likely be turned righthand downwind and climbed up to min stack level or thereabouts.

At a suitable point turned right again to head off towards the TIMBA neck of the woods routeing probably between BIG and EPM.

If you've not declared an emergency you may be expected to hold again for Gatwick.

Track mileage from the missed approach to reaching TIMBA will, I reckon, be in the region of 60nm give or take a few.

If Gatwick are quiet at the time and you get a right base straight onto the ILS expect around 50nm from the missed approach to touching down at Gatwick.

stormin norman
18th Oct 2003, 02:59
Those w....ers at the MOD should keep ther flypasts to air displays
at those nice RAF stations................The rest of the world is trying,
in quite difficult times, to run a business.

18th Oct 2003, 03:15
The 20,000 plus names on the Air Forces Memorial might have had a few choice words to say about some of the posts on this subject if they were still around......(oiseau2, roger dodge and stormin norman please take note)

I was told by a copper at the Memorial the jets were due overhead Runnymede at 1129L, but got called in early due to proceedings on the ground not running to time. The route was never going to take them over LHR, just a mile or so to the west- look at a map of where the Memorial is and how it is orientated. There didn't seem to be anything wrong with either the timekeeping or the navigation from where I was standing.

Human Factor
18th Oct 2003, 03:30
Just to add more fuel to the fire (actually a lot less), BA has CAA approval to use statistical contingency fuel rather than the 5%/15 mins on the CAA document. This is subject to a number of criteria but as ETOPS suggested, Cirrus can plan you to arrive early morning into LHR with 6 mins contingency. It's very rare for anyone to take this 'minimum legal' (my words) amount. It's usual to add to this figure. However, with prudent tactical planning (ie. once you're up there fighting for the optimum level) you can sometimes eke out another ten minutes worth.

18th Oct 2003, 03:33
Ahhh, was waiting for this. Starting the "you are disrespecting those who gave their lives for us!". Garbage. I hold the utmost respect for those who served their country.

The fact is this.....the route the formation took to get to the Memorial was absurd.

The route was never going to take them over LHR, just a mile or so to the west- look at a map of where the Memorial is and how it is orientated. There didn't seem to be anything wrong with either the timekeeping or the navigation from where I was standing.

You're right about the first bit....the crossed just to the west of the airport. However, the fact that approaches were halted from 1121 for 9 minutes did cause excessive delays. Now, before slinging starts, it was approved by Ops. But, as been mentioned, the cost in fuel etc is a consideration for operators.

The Wake Knot
18th Oct 2003, 03:40
60024 – you beat me to it, although your int seems too good to have been on the ground talking to a policeman. I fear you may actually sit in a seat very close to me – about 6 feet in front to be precise. Wasn’t going to rise to the bait but given the reason we conducted the flypast (in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen) I feel compelled to respond. The flypast today was to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Ruddymede Memorial, a memorial to the 20000 aircrew from the Allied Air Forces that laid down their lives in the Second World War and who have no known grave. To answer some of the comments, in no particular order :

Jerricho - Ref your first post, thank you. Ref your last post - how else were we to get to the memorial? It is pretty much on the extended centreline of LHR. Whichever way we approached from would have had the same effect. 9 mins. Wow. How many lives per second is that.

Hobie – why are you speechless?

G-ALAN – Yes, it was NOTAM’d.

Douglas Bader – You don’t know how true your last comment is!!!!

ONAN – Practice makes perfect.

Slingsby – Didn’t need to shoot an approach at Heathrow, plenty of gizmos on board that mean we don’t need to conduct an airfield approach to get into low level. Never climbed above 2000’ AMSL all sortie.

topofthestack – You are an ar$e, but then perhaps you thought we were aiming for Heathrow. Have successfully found plenty of targets over the last few years and left smoking holes where they were. I hope your talkdowns are better than your attempt at "witty" remarks.

Oncemorealoft – As said earlier, flypast was never over Heathrow. Stealthy is something the Tornado isn’t. Hope the egg came off ok.

Roger Dodge – Get your facts right. The original TOT was 1129 local. At 1126 local (ie 3mins out) we were asked by the organisers if we could be 2 minutes early. Even the mighty (!) Tornado can’t crack 18 miles a minute at 1000’.

Oiseau2 – Send the bill to HM The Queen, c/o Buckingham Palace. Or perhaps you could send the bill to the relatives of the 20000 aircrew commemorated at Runnymede. Oiseau sounds very like wazzock, a local term for pillock.

Stormin Norman – I have never read such an ill thought out comment before – and I’ve seen plenty on this website. You are a disgrace to the aviation community (assuming you are really a 777 pilot and not some wannabee who thinks he might get laid if he tells everyone he’s a pilot). As someone who seems to dislike the MOD, in particular the RAF, it seems strange that you have adopted the handle of one of the greatest military leaders in recent times. You're definately a wannabee!!!

As for the so called chaos caused. Yes we flew through the approach lane into Heathrow but it was all carefully co-ordinated with the various agencies (as opposed to the armchair to55ers who seem to have a smart ar$e comment to everything). Air traffic were fantastic (and that’s not something you hear from a military aviator that often, particularly given that some of the more pathetic comments on this thread came from "ATCO"s....), in fact the only bleating we got were from the mil radar at Brize as we transited low level past Brize Norton (and no closer than 3 miles south of their zone, bless them).

As you can tell I have first hand experience of this flypast as I was part of it and have the pictures to prove it!!! However, apologies to Mr Els, Mr Singh and all the others at Wentworth. Hope we didn’t put you off your stroke!!! Not often we get to fly down that part of the world – some nice houses in the undershoot of Heathrow!!!

As for stormin norman and his little “pilot pals” get your heads out of your own selfish little ar$es and show some respect to 20000 brave and courageous aviators who gave up the ultimate sacrifice.

Oh, advance warning - Lord Mayors procession on Sat 8th Nov. Check your NOTAMs carefully and carry a bit nof fuel in reserve!!!!!

18th Oct 2003, 03:46
Jericho, I dare say you are correct about the cost implications to the operators if the airliners didn't fly again. After all, if there's spare fuel in the tanks after landing, then that fuel is available for the next leg so less fuel will need to be uplifted but as a frequent passenger in and out of Heathrow, I'm surprised by some of the comments about fuel reserves that some folk seem to think are acceptable.

18th Oct 2003, 05:23
The Wake Knot

Point well made, a pity that some people are unable to understand the basic principle of commemorating those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

I do not know which Sqn flew todays fly past but I had the privilege to be on the receiving end of a different fly by of two Tornados from 9 Sqn early in September at a Beating Retreat ceremony. They were perfectly on target and exactly on time as one would expect

Ignoring all the childish comments from others regarding the apparent disruption to their little schedules - thank you.


Wee Jock
18th Oct 2003, 06:47
My other half's uncle is one of the pilots commerated by the Air Force Memorial. He'd like to pass on his apologies to everyone inconvenienced by the flypast, but his Beaufighter was shot down over the Friesan Islands in 1944, resulting in his death at the age of 21.

Pilot Officer William Arthur Lynch, RAFVR, panel 22 on the memorial.

The Wake Knot - my 88 year-old mother in law, sister of the above, says thanks.

Go and have a look some time, and remember that not one of them was ever found.

Especially you, stormin norman. You dishonour a young man who gave his life to let you attend to your business in quite difficult times, you poor lamb.

Liam Gallagher
18th Oct 2003, 07:26
The Wake Knot,

Don't know if I can say "Dogs Knob" on PPrune...

.....it seems I can...

.....Dogs Knob.....:ok:

18th Oct 2003, 13:43
Well said ! Excellent reply. :)

Any chance of posting some of the photos ?

Respect ! :ok:

ps : Stormin' Norman ! You really are a [email protected] ! :yuk:

18th Oct 2003, 16:09
As I have said, I don't detract from honouring the memories of those fallen. Nor am I haveing a go at the RAF drivers (and it looked bloody impressive on the radar as well, fast moving jets over London!!!).

Personally, my beef is with the somewhat poor lead-up, with the massive effects the practice on Wednesday had on our inbound delays, and the actual on Friday. Sometimes, the poor sector driver sitting there doesn't have the luxury of being able to explain to pilots why they are holding for and unexpected extra 10/15 minutes (especially as to what happened on Wednesday!). And there were one or two unimpressed pilots holding.

As to the actual route and the orientation of the Memorial, there were suggestions of routing from the NW, crossing the approach path further out, but as I'm not in Ops or anything like that, and I 'm sure all these avenues (well, hope) were considered.

Capt H Peacock
18th Oct 2003, 21:29
>>BA has CAA approval to use statistical contingency fuel rather than the 5%/15 mins on the CAA document<<

There is no current permission for any operator to carry less than the permitted contingency fuel figure promulgated in JAROPS D 1.255. Perhaps the CAA approved your policy conditional on its carriage of a figure not less than that given in JAROPS, and it can never be less than 5 minutes at 1500ft and that only after ‘dispatch’.

I don’t know what it is with Big, but you must not operate into Heathrow without having at least the ability to hold for 20 minutes without having to compromise your reserves. If you don’t burn 20 minutes fuel then the remainder is still in the tanks for next trip. If the MINISCULE amount of extra fuel burnt in increased weight carriage is that important, then Big is in worse trouble than I thought.

You are professionals in a big boy’s environment. The CAA asked you nicely to bring 20 minutes holding fuel. If you can’t take professional advice from the experts then you deserve everything you get. You’re making the ATCO’s life incrementally more stressful, and you’re adding extra burden on those whose operations upon whom you impinge. What the passengers think of an airline that cannot plan a flight from XXX-LHR without diverting to SND is anybody’s guess.

We’ve had this argument so many times before. Some people just don’t listen. Perhaps BA should publish the statistical chance of reaching the planned destination so the customers can plan accordingly?:*

18th Oct 2003, 22:02
The Wake Knot

I am 100% behind everything you have said. I have paid my respects at the Air Force memorial on several occasions, I would have loved to been there at the same time as you guys.

It never ceases to amaze me that so many d1ck heads are associated with the airline industry.


19th Oct 2003, 00:14
Capt H Peacock:

Sorry, but BA does have CAA approval to use statistical contingency fuel rather than the 5%/15 mins on the CAA document.

Accusing BA of not operating to JAROPs is a serious accusation. If you believe, and clearly you do, that BA is breaking the law. Either retract the accusation, or go to the CAA and make your complaint.


Capt H Peacock
19th Oct 2003, 02:17
The legislation as laid down permits no less than an equivalent level of safety for the operational interpretation of JAR-OPS 1 Part D 1.255. In the guidance to that interpretation the Authority states that the absolute minimum contingency fuel shall be:

AMC Ops 1.255 1.3b An amount to fly for 5 minutes at holding speed at 1500 ft (450 m) above the destination aerodrome in Standard Conditions.

If British Airways has secured an exemption to this policy it can only be of a temporary nature, for operational exigencies, and must be disclosed to the European Council as specified in Annex III to Council Regulation (EEC) No 3922/91

Article 8:

3. Member States may grant exemptions from the technical requirements and administrative procedures specified by this Regulation in the case of unforeseen urgent operational circumstances or operational needs of a limited duration. In these cases the Commission and the other Member States shall be informed as soon as possible of the exemptions granted.

5. In circumstances where a safety level equivalent to that attained by the application of the common technical requirements and administrative procedures included in Annexes I, II and III to this Regulation can be achieved by other means, Member States may, without discrimination on grounds of nationality of the applicants and having regard to the need not to distort competition, grant approval derogating from these provisions. In such cases, the Member State concerned shall notify the Commission before granting such approval and give reasons demonstrating the need to derogate from the common technical requirements and administrative procedures, as well as the conditions foreseen to ensure an equivalent level of safety is achieved.

If your policy does not allow the reduction below 5 minutes at 1500ft then my previous assertion stands – that the authority allows you to use any method you wish so long as the minimum contingency fuel is no less than that figure. If your policy does allow contingency fuel of less than this figure then it can only be under the circumstances specified above. There is no extant exemption to this rule, and so therefore perhaps you might enlighten us all as to how this can be achieved within the current legislation.

The CAA Safety Regulation Group has made its interpretation of the reserves inbound to UK aerodromes very clear. Most operators seem to have no issue with the opinion of this august group. I am at a loss to understand how anyone can choose to ignore the advice of the Authority that licences operation of public transport aeroplanes in the UK.

You appear to be asking me to put up or shut up. If this is to be a discussion forum, then I would expect a full and frank exchange of views. If however you wish to make some form of ultimatum, then perhaps you would furnish us instrument of variation to Annex III EEC 3922/91. I have no doubt that the CAA SRG are well aware of custom and practice within the industry, and their concerns about this issue are well documented. It seems odd therefore for them to relax these regulations for one company, in the opposite direction to the thrust of policy.

Either way the CAA will get to know. The rest of the industry has a right to ask why.

Airbus Unplugged
19th Oct 2003, 17:20
The Air Force Memorial in Runnymede is a beautiful and fitting tribute to those truly gallant airman who laid down their lives for their friends. They came from an era when personal sacrifice by people who did something really worthwhile was the stuff of adulation and heroism. That quality is lost on our valueless and barren society.

Good luck on the flypast. Take extra fuel.

19th Oct 2003, 19:14
Capt. H. Peacock,
Just to clarify, and I quote "British Airways have been authorised by the CAA to operate a Statistical Contingency Fuel policy since 2002"
And also, just to confirm, BA fully comply with AMC Ops 1.255 1.3b in that the lower limit for SCF will be 5 mins holding at 1500ft.
They are also not alone in using Statistical Contingency fuel, both KLM and Lufthansa have operated an SCF policy for some time.
In each case, an airline has to devise their own policy, before submitting it to the requisite authority for approval (In BA's case, the CAA, for KLM and Lufthansa, their respective local authorities).

19th Oct 2003, 20:05
BA (or any other airline) can have dispensations to do anything they can bully out of the CAA but the final respnsibility is that of the AIRCRAFT COMMANDER.
No-one tells the boss how little fuel to carry: not the DFO, not the chief pilot, not the check-captain, no-one!
I had to explain the foregoing to a line checker a couple of years ago and then backed it up by restating to the FO for future ref when he's a skipper.

19th Oct 2003, 20:31
Strange that LTN had three different BA aircraft types land for fuel while no other Heathrow airline paid us a visit. So are BA Commanders looking over their shoulders when it comes to justifying carrying more than the minimum?

normally left blank
19th Oct 2003, 22:22
I'm on the sideline here, but would like to pose a few questions:

The event was NOTAM'ed? But nobody had read, or understood the NOTAM. Not the first time that has happened. The NOTAM system doesn't work as intended.

Why 10 min. blocking? What is the time requirements for a TOT - Time On Target - isn't that in seconds?

Hopefully it was just a "coppers story":

"called in early" :eek:

Practise run - what did that accomplish? (Apart from a lot of
:ugh: :rolleyes: :* etc. )


Capt H Peacock
19th Oct 2003, 23:04
So as I said in my post 181329OCT, BA is subject to the same minimum contingency carriage as everyone else, using the approval granted by

AMC OPS 1.255. Fuel Policy

1.3. Contingency fuel, which should be the higher of (a) or (b) below:

a. Either:
i. 5% of the planned trip fuel or, in the event of in-flight replanning, trip fuel for the remainder of the flight; or
ii. Not less than 3% of the planned trip fuel or, in the event of in-flight replanning, trip fuel for the remainder of the flight, subject to the approval of the Authority, provided that an en-route alternate is available; or
iii. An amount of fuel sufficient for 20 minutes flying time based upon the planned trip fuel consumption provided that the operator has established a fuel consumption monitoring programme for individual aeroplanes and uses valid data determined by means of such a programme for fuel calculation; or
iv. An amount of fuel of not less than that which would be required to fly for 15 minutes at holding speed at 1500 ft (450 m) above the destination aerodrome in standard conditions, when an operator has established a programme, approved by the Authority, to monitor the fuel consumption on each individual route/aeroplane combination and uses this Data for a statistical analysis to calculate contingency fuel for that route/aeroplane combination; or
b. An amount to fly for 5 minutes at holding speed at 1500 ft (450 m) above the destination aerodrome in Standard Conditions.

So you are required to consider the statistical data when calculating the fuel load. In other words if the 5pm from Shuttleville burns on average an extra tonne, then you are to add it to your fuel load, subject to the absolute minimum contingency of 5 minutes at 1500ft.

As regards the interpretation of official guidance from the CAA such as that given in AIC 82/2003 advising operators to routinely expect 20 minutes holding, JAR OPS further specifies:

1.255 b (b) An operator shall ensure that the planning of flights is [based upon]…

(2) The operating conditions under which the flight is to be conducted including:
(iv) Air Traffic Services procedures and restrictions.

So it appears that BA has a method of statistical analysis of fuel data which is acceptable to the Authority under 1.255 a. (iv), as do many other operators. It is bound by that regulation to use that statistical data to calculate the fuel load, and it is bound by that regulation to carry not less than 5 minutes at 1500ft. None of which is any different to the assertion that I made in my previous post.

For those who get all uppity about being called to account, let’s summarise as follows:

British Airways is bound by JAR OPS Part 1 in the same way as all other compliant operators
British Airways has a statistical fuel policy which the Authority has passed as an Acceptable Means of Compliance under 1.255 a.(iv).
British Airways remains bound by the requirement to use that data to calculate fuel loads, and is bound by the requirement to load no less than 5 minutes contingency at 1500ft.
British Airways remains subject to the requirement to consider such procedures and restrictions as the Authority promulgate for the planning of their flights
British Airways has no special exemption to these rules

Over to you.

20th Oct 2003, 02:52
Re Clumsy - To all ex-mil guys (yes, I'm one) don't rise to the bait guys, he's just kidding!!

The Wake Knot
20th Oct 2003, 04:10
normally left blank

Thank you for your comments from the sidelines.

The NOTAM system - Notice to Airman - applies to all aviation users, as I'm sure you know. If its not working for the civil side then its an issue for them. I don't profess to knowing how the civil briefing side works but in the UK military it is the individual crews responsibility to ensure that all NOTAMs are briefed, marked on their maps etc etc. If the various companies ops staff did not brief the individual captains as to potential delays on their arrival slot times ......

As for the TOT question. Whilst the flypast was commerating the 50th anniversary of Runnymede it was in the presence of HM The Queen. Whilst these events are run to second by second accuracy you would be amazed how often things get delayed. A recent flypast in Norfolk was delayed when HMTQ was held up by a local Norfolk lass on a driving lesson bimbling along the country lanes at 20mph, thus making HMTQ late! At least by giving a 10min bracket the numerous companies operating into and out of LHR could have made suitable contingency in their fuel planning (or not as seems to be the case).

As for the "called in early" it was exactly that. As I mentioned in the para above things don't always go to plan and on this occasion things were running early. Unfortunately, because of airspace restrictions (I know, I know) we had to plan our timing hold well to the North East (ie off Southwold) and were committed to a "hard" time some 10 mins prior to overflight. We didn't get the call that things were running early until we were almost on top so only had speed available to catch up time. Whilst overflying the memorial in burner (reheat) would have been a real fitting tribute, HMTQ and most of the residents would have been well unimpressed!!!!!! However, as I understand it some smart small-talk ensured HMTQ was kept occupied as we chopped along at a gentlemens (but legal) speed!!!!

And as I said in my earlier post - practice makes perfect. The flight on Wednesday was to ensure that all the deconfliction procedures, frequency allocations, routing etc all worked. Again, it would appear that this was given a stiff ignore by some.


Not raising to the bait - as you will see from some of the posts (not the fuel reserve posts!!), partcularly from wee jock, remembrance like this mean a lot to them. I will defend my corner - besides it gives me something to do when the jet goes u/s ......again!!!!

Safe flying everyone!

20th Oct 2003, 05:15
I'm just a pax, I've never fought for my country but I'm very grateful to those who have.

The Wake Knot.
I am very grateful to you and your colleagues for reminding us of the debts we owe. I have family in the forces, you are all precious to your families – don’t ever doubt this fact.

20th Oct 2003, 11:52
To be fair to the Crabs the delays into EGLL were not all their responsibilty.
Windshear and work on the new terminal had meant reduced arrival rate for most of the morning anyway. The ten minute flypast was just the last straw. Capacity was reduced for 1 hour by the way, so it sounds like the fly past was being used to buy some breathing space and get the air holding time down.
From some of the comments above seems it is better to wait on the ground than in the air anyway!

20th Oct 2003, 14:26
Capt H P

We've been over this before...

Some (brief) answers:
1. 'Big' complies with all the JAR OPs blah you quote.
2. I have reprinted all the CAA AICs etc. you quote. There is much mention of "20mins", but never do I see it say you should carry "20mins holding" over & above the standard planning criteria. Indeed, AIC 82/2003 states:
..should plan.. overhead... at the very least, fuel .. to:
Make Approach, Missed Approach, fly to Altn, App & Land there, 30 mins @ 1500' @ ELW.
3. 'Big' carries all that, and contingency.
4. In SH, SCF is not yet in use, and we plan to carry the standard 3% (ERA) / 5% / 15mins.

If you have the reference that states we sould carry 20 mins holding on top of this, please quote it directly here (no spin/interpetation!). I, for one, would love, on occasion, to have such a reference to challenge 'Big' on. But everytime it is quoted here, it doesn't actually say it (I also have FODC 11/2003).

What it says is "No delay" means 20 mins. "No delay" = no EATs. Last week we got to the point where there were EATs more often than not, and no planning indication of such delays i.e. the first we knew of "No Delay" (i.e. up to 20 mins) of EAT was on initial descent.

Diversions / Safety.
We have a new Flt Planning system - yes. It uses the same principles as above to plan on, however, somehow most elements are a bit less than before. Whether the old was "fat", and the new "correct", or the new "over lean" is a fine call right now.. however, the overall effect is we have less, but all iaw the rules.

As for the diversions, it is a fact of life. It is not safety related, but is a commerical risk. Safety does come to the Commander's door, and I for one am more than happy with the new system, and know what needs to be done when. If the company wish to run the commerical risk of increased probability of diversions, then so be it - that is largely their call.

Finally, since JAR OPs seems your bed time reading, under it with 2 runways, <6 hours Flt Time, good wx etc. there is no need to plan for, or carry fuel for, any Altns. And 75%+ of the time, this applies to LHR. 'Big', however, does not take advantage of this in planning, and we always plan for 1 Altn....

Jordan D
20th Oct 2003, 20:29
I'm just SLF, and can see both sides of the argument, but I'm with the boys in blue, and remind the civvies of those who have fought for the country, and that they must be dutifully remembered.


21st Oct 2003, 07:34
the only conclusion i can come up with regarding why Airbus don't take enough holding fuel, is that quite often A320's are very weight restricted if departing with a full traffic load, as from experience i know of quite a few A320 having to do tech stops due to that reason,


23rd Dec 2003, 04:35
If a BA aircraft ever ever runs out of fuel it will thus be pilot error. Whilst the company will be legally off the hook it will be very expensive for them.
We can expect wholesale management sackings and very adverse publicity.
Only when passengers and crews have died will these fuel loads be increased.