View Full Version : Diverting and Fuel Emergencies

9th Jan 2005, 18:52
This topic was raised on the middle east forum.

A pilot asked an open question about ATC response to a diversion.

How many pilots out there leave their diversion (due to, say, fog at the destination) late enough so that if they don't get direct tracking and planned level to the diversion destination, they will be in a fuel emergency and have to declare Mayday?

Is this a common SOP?

Feather #3
10th Jan 2005, 04:29
Perhaps a common SOP might be with long-haul machines, big payloads [that money again!] & minimum fuel, that if you can have an alternate from touchdown, even on min fuel as described, the Cat IIIb capability will ensure you can land at the destination.

G'day ;)

10th Jan 2005, 05:49
wotsyors is probably based in the UK. The UK has taken a firm line that the term fuel emergency has no specific meaning. There are probably many States that accept the declaration of a fuel emergency and have relevant procedures.

Hangin' on
10th Jan 2005, 07:07
Nor do the Gulf States, having recently declared one.......:uhoh:

10th Jan 2005, 07:13
My understanding is that a 'fuel emergency' is still an emergency as there is a specific impending danger to the aircraft and will still require all the normal paperwork that such an event entails but not the emergency services attendance.

It is realistic to have fuel for a full procedure approach at the alternate as radar vectoring most often leaves us (in my experience) with a shorter approach than planned (good job ATC folks) but it doesn't hurt to take into account the fact that as you are having to divert, then others will also be doing the same.

Conservative planning, as per our operation, uses a higher headwind than forecast, full procedure and the least favourable level.

10th Jan 2005, 07:37
Miserlou.. In the UK there is no such emergency category as "fuel emergency" and ATC will not respond unless a Pan or Mayday call is made. Many, many moons ago if a pilot said he was short of fuel he was given priority. Unfortunately people tumbled that they only had to mention fuel and ATC bent over backwards to help! Now it has to be genuine and checks are made later that the problem really existed.

Once had a guy holding for landing 27L who said he had fuel problems so I said "What's your alternate?" He said: "27R".

Hangin' on
10th Jan 2005, 07:57
All very well having full alternate fuel plus contigency etc etc if that is your companys procedure....but what of us who use the 'decision point' procedure. Once you have left the decision poin that is it, you have one destination and the only proviso is not to land with less than final fuel.....all perfectly legal unfortunately.:uhoh:

10th Jan 2005, 11:58
Regarding the declaration of a fuel emergency, Canada has the recognised "minimum fuel" call, defined as "a declaration that fuel supply has reached a state where, upon reaching destination, it can accept little or no delay. It is not an emergancy situation but merely an indication an emergency situation is possible should any undue delay occur". Of course, in UK (and by the sounds of it, elsewhere in the world) if a driver anounced "minimum fuel", I'm not too sure what the understanding of ATC would be.

10th Jan 2005, 12:15
... and how much pressure are crew put under to 'give it a try' when conditions are, at their best, marginal (this weekend in the UK for example)

(apologies for being slightly off topic)

10th Jan 2005, 13:16
In the UK a pilot who declares a 'fuel emergency' is likely to be asked if he/she wishes to declare an emergency.

There's an AIC that talks about this - http://www.ais.org.uk/aes/pubs/aip/pdf/aic/4P058.PDF which often prompts a discussion about no delay expected!

Which gives a whole new dimension to the question 'Which part of NO don't you understand?'