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Cobbler
8th Oct 2006, 11:37
Heard an interesting one inbound to LGW this morning (0700Z)... Virgin 747 told to expect 10 mins holding at WILLO. Replied that he didn't have any holding fuel.

ATC asked "Do you want to divert or declare an emergency?"
VS: "Well, we could go to LHR but they won't want us."
ATC: "I need a decision by the time you pass Goodwood."
VS: "in that case... we'll declare a MAYDAY."

VS then continued to Gatwick.

Now it seemed to us that the guy was cheating - he had the fuel to divert and so should have done. The fact that his alternate may not want him is niether here nor there - that's the risk you have when carrying LHR as an alternate for LGW. Perhaps, if Heathrow had 20 mins holding, that would put it beyong his endurance, but ATC made no mention of LHR delays. (And can a 747 land, and take off again, at Bournemouth? If so, that should have been an option)

And SOP in our company is that this situation - MAY land was less than reserves - is a PAN. Is this universal? A MAYDAY seemed a little extreme.

Any thoughts?

<I presume he hadn't already committed to LGW, as he stated he had the fuel to reach LHR.>

Hand Solo
8th Oct 2006, 12:04
We don't know exactly what their fuel state was so we can't comment on their choice of emergency pro-phrase but if they had insufficient fuel to hold at LGW then chances are by the time they were vectored round to LHR they'd probably be close to at least a PAN call anyway. No doubt the CAA will be taking a look.

Daysleeper
8th Oct 2006, 12:13
Is there not a procedure in the UK for declaring minimum fuel, as opposed to fuel emergency? If one had used the expression "minimum fuel" a few frequencies back,

Due to the tortueous nature of the internet I cant put my hand on the Pink (safety) AIC that covers this but to surmise the UK do NOT recognise phrases such as "minimum fuel" "fuel priority" or similar. You either have enough fuel or you declare an emergency.

The theory behind this (AFAIR) is that in a cut throat business we are all carrying minimum fuel anyhow and if one operator thought that it could load a few kilos less and then cry priority every time it came in it would gain an unfair commercial advantage. Whereas "Pan" and "mayday" will trigger a formal investigation and a paper trail allowing the CAA to track these problems.

blackmail
8th Oct 2006, 12:43
hello cobbler,
i don't want to speculate on "cheating" on your fuel status in flight, because, if you do, you are breaking/bending the rules, which is not good of course.

but lets talk about fuel management in flight, which is different from fuel planning in the briefing room.
taken your example with a fuel decision over goodwood:case 1) overflying this point you must have as minimum fuel on board:-approach fuel from goodwood to missed approach+chosen alternate fuel(long range cruise) + final reserve(30min at 1500ft agl). i think the va flight was in this situation, because the pilot( supposedly honest), told atc , he didn't have the 10min extra hold fuel over goodwood & it was either divert to lhr or to proceed for a landing in lgw.
now case 2) regulation & some cie sops allow the pilot to convert/burn his alternate fuel in holding over destination(here goodwood), IF the pilot decides it is safer to hold than to divert considering weather factors, expected approach time etc. the flight is then committed to landing in lgw & atc is informed e.g." gatwick radar, yes, we can accept 10min holding but are now committed to lgw, max holding time = ... min(time to burn your alternate fuel at holding speed). for info, here we are still in a normal fuel scenario
case 3) holding over goodwood( >10min & at a time where almost all of your alternate fuel is consumed & still no approach clearance)) you are " approaching" your absolute minimorum fuel status: approach fuel + final reserve(30min). you then call atc: " lgw, approaching minimum fuel, request priority landig". for info, this is still no pan or mayday call, because, if you get now your approach clearance, the regs only ask you to touch down with 30mins in the tanks. that some sweathing is going on in the cockpit at this time looks more than probable.
case 4) from bad to worse: still no approach clearance & you see that you are passing the point where you have on board less than approach & 30min fuel. you now enter the world of a full blown low fuel emergency situation. to atc " lgw, va..., mayday 3x,fuel emergency, ... pobs, 25min fuel endurance left, request immediate vectors for landing". if totally unlikely, by then you still have no clearance, you just dive for the runway & land, using your emergency authority:" inflight captain is last authorithy etc... & may deviate from all rules & clearances in the interest of safety".

i agree, this is a worst case scenario & used to explain the different aspects of it, but still 100% legal, but i admit nerve wrecking.

BOAC
8th Oct 2006, 12:48
A 'common' UK SOP is, as 'Cobbler' says, to declare a 'PAN' if you MAY land with less than reserves. A MAYDAY is commonly reserved for you WILL land with less than reserves.

The CAA 'Pink' that 'Daysleeper' refers to does advise ALL aircraft inbound to LHR/LGW and STN to have AT LEAST 20 minutes holding fuel. At 0700Z I would certainly try very hard to have at least that.

The issue of nominating LHR as a LGW alternate was one we fought with in BA shorthaul having also been told we were not expected to go there for real.....................:{

Edit for Blackmail - Case 2 is not normal procedure in the UK. Telling ATC you are committed to LGW will do nothing (in theory). There is a chance the runway can be blocked by an evacuation or tyre burst. Case 3 is not applicable in the UK - in both cases, in the UK, it is Pan or Mayday or just get on with it.

Fly747
8th Oct 2006, 13:00
They also declared a "fuel emergency" at DXB about 10 days ago.

DXB gets worse as it gets busier, still only one runway, lots of slowing down, long vectors, flaps out, gas get guzzled quick, vis can go quickly, accident waiting?

Daysleeper
8th Oct 2006, 13:03
Found the AIC http://www.ais.org.uk/aes/pubs/aip/pdf/aic/4P058.PDF

you may need to register for free to view.

The salient points are.


8 Pilots should be aware that although every effort will be made to expidite their arrival, a call such as "Fuel Emergency" has no status in the UK and ATC cannot give priority to an aircraft with a shortage of fuel unless an emergency is declared

9 A radio call prefixed by MAYDAY for distress or PAN for urgency will ensure priority habdling but the aeroplanes actuial fuel state should reflect the seriousness of the emergency call. A commander should only make such a call when he belives the aircraft to be in danger, not because the fuel state has fallen below the ammount needed to comply with formula given above.

Well I was trying to copy and paste but in their infinite wisdom the flipping AIC (a published public doc) is password protected. Muppetts. Apologies for spelling errors in my re-typing.

120.4
8th Oct 2006, 13:24
At 07:00 (L) this morning Heathrow had 10 minutes holding delay. In the interests of least overall disruption to the system we occasionally "adjust" the landing order (for all airlines) where one or two places will make the difference but a 10 minute jump of the queue is out of the question without declaring Pan.


In view of 'Daysleeper's' "pink" regarding 20 minutes for LL/KK, I believe he should have advised ATC as soon as he knew he wouldn't have that on arrival (which was probably quite a long way back).
Point 4

Re-entry
8th Oct 2006, 13:25
Anytime it becomes apparent the A/C will land with less than reserve fuel, an emergency must be declared.
As far as ATC are concerned you either have an emergency or you don't.
If you do, you will get priority.
And you will have some paperwork to do.

stiffwing
8th Oct 2006, 14:20
It seems evident that the VS aircraft was long-haul.
Perhaps an earlier decision to divert to an enroute airport would have saved a lot of drama. Or maybe this was the scenario " I'm longhaul, give me priority, or else" ????
Basically, not being able to handle 10 mins holding is pretty desperate and should have been sorted prior to the Terminal area, IMHO.

PPRuNe Radar
8th Oct 2006, 14:31
On a famil trip with Virgin returning to LHR from JNB, we had been kept low almost the whole length of Africa due to traffic and the rudimentary ATC system which was in place (not a criticism, just a fact). The skipper was constantly assessing the fuel situation and coming over Europe it looked like we would make it with enough in reserve. However, the crew were also monitoring the LHR weather and in touch with Virgin Ops who were reporting 20+ minutes holding due to Low Vis Procedures (FG at LHR).

So we diverted in to Paris Orly for fuel ... then picked up 3 hours on the ground waiting for a slot back in to LHR.

The point of the tale ?? The long haul crew on my flight made all the right calls and didn't press on or push the limits, even although it would cause them and their passengers some inconvenience. Presumably the crew in this thread also made their decisions based on the information available to them, which none of us have at our fingertips right now.

LYKA
8th Oct 2006, 15:14
BOAC - Just to add to the debate (or fuel (:} :) ) to the fire!

The AIC (which is advisory, and not regulatory in nature) doesn't quite say that. It states that on receipt of an ATC advisory MSG "expect no delay" one can expect to spend 20 mins in the hold, it doesn't state you must carry 20 mins extra fuel into these airports.

Lyka

jondc9
8th Oct 2006, 15:15
I am just curious why the UK doesn't have "minimum fuel" as part of their lexicon?

We have that in the US...granted you still might have to divert or really declare an emergency later on.


It is sad to me that planes that can carry more fuel, don't. We all know why and I understand the concepts of tankering fuel or whatever expression you would like to use.

I do know that taking more fuel does cost a company more money, but what of the ORLY diversion? That must have cost even more. (though I applaud the pilot of said flight, short of taking an extra hour of fuel, he did the right thing)


In some ways I wish the entire world had re-regulated the airline industry...the cost of the ticket would provide a reasonable profit to the company and no shortchanging pilots or other workers on pensions. It would also allow a normal pilot to say, "I think we will take another hour of fuel just to be sure", without having to explain this to a bean counter or a chief pilot.

overstress
8th Oct 2006, 16:10
BOAC - Just to add to the debate (or fuel (:} :) ) to the fire!
The AIC (which is advisory, and not regulatory in nature) doesn't quite say that. It states that on receipt of an ATC advisory MSG "expect no delay" one can expect to spend 20 mins in the hold, it doesn't state you must carry 20 mins extra fuel into these airports.
Lyka


This enables a never-ending battle amongst colleagues, some of whom are dyed-in-the wool company men!

If 20 mins holding is to be expected at any time, shouldn't it be accounted for in the flight plan trip fuel?

In BA 'statistical contingency' is routinely used.

BOAC
8th Oct 2006, 16:30
LYKA - this thread is going the way of its previous 7 or 8 re-incarnations, and I'm sure a thorough search will locate them all.

One can indeed play semantics with this, and management in some airlines are particularly skilled at this.

To me, and most of my colleagues who have been operating into the London TMA for a few years, the AIC 'advises' that you really SHOULD carry AT LEAST 20 mins holding fuel during 'rush hour'. It is not realistic to read it any other way. In fact I believe in one of the previous fuel threads it was said that the original 'Pink' did in fact have those very words, but certain airlines 'requested' a change in the wording to its current form.

The CAA SOC on Fuel Policies of 2000 highlighted this and said "it has again become apparent that too many aeroplanes continued to arrive in the vicinity of their planned destination with little more than Alternate and Final Reserve fuel remaining."

It is also not generally known that the same SOC advised that Captains should adjust TRIP FUEL to include expected holding fuel. The BA system still does not do that, but allows, as 'Overstress' posts, increased 'contingency fuel' at peak times.

I'm fairly sure we all really know what it all means, despite pussy-footing around with words. Anyone who can but does NOT plan for such, and arrives short, has only themselves to blame. As PPR, however, I am NOT leaping to any judgement about this particular event as we do not (and probably never will) know the facts.

411A
8th Oct 2006, 16:36
>>In view of 'Daysleeper's' "pink" regarding 20 minutes for LL/KK, I believe he should have advised ATC as soon as he knew he wouldn't have that on arrival (which was probably quite a long way back).<<

Spot on, point 4, and then, if required, divert as necessary, just as the referenced JNB flight a few posts later.

It never ceases to amaze me the propensity of some flights to steam around with absolute minimum fuel, oftentimes finding themselves unable to hold, where holding is expected on a regular basis.
Further, the 20 minute hold fuel requirement for LHR (and LGW) has been in existance now for, what is it...nearly 14 years?

A CAA investigation is surely required.
Or, will it be the usual...smooth over and forgotten?

FullWings
8th Oct 2006, 18:04
Before we lynch the Virgin pilots, maybe we should examine some of the circumstances...

They (VA) filed a flightplan to LGW with LHR as an alternate. This was accepted by ATC.

The uncertainties of life conspired to leave them with just over RES+ALT approaching the holding fix at destination. Their nominated alternate decided it was too busy to accomodate them and there was a 10min+ delay at destination (not advised previously).

They declared an emergency and landed at destination.

At what point were they non-compliant with JAR-OPS? :confused:

In my Company, we would have probably been on a 'PAN' at that stage but I don't know Virgin SOPs for low fuel state - not really central to the argument, anyway.

Yes, we've all (I hope) read the AIC about holding into London but at the end of the day it's only ADVICE (good advice, I know). There is no specific prohibition on arriving at LAM, OCK, WILLO, etc. with <20mins holding fuel.

Where is the AIC forbidding the use of LHR as an alt. for LGW and vice-versa? Maybe there should be one...

Loose rivets
8th Oct 2006, 18:12
It never ceases to amaze me the propensity of some flights to steam around with absolute minimum fuel, oftentimes finding themselves unable to hold,


And of course the day will come where say, three or more aircraft are all in the same position.


Randomness comes in lumps.

woodpecker
8th Oct 2006, 18:18
FullWings Their nominated alternate decided it was too busy to accomodate them
Perhaps you could explain what you mean by this statement.
Are you suggesting it was ATC or their company at their nominated alternate that was too busy?

chiglet
8th Oct 2006, 18:19
FullWings
MAN landing 24R, a "LEGAL" alternate is 24L.....the DEPARTURE runway :ugh: . Yes we still get these idiosyncrasys[sp]
watp,iktch

FullWings
8th Oct 2006, 18:22
Perhaps you could explain what you mean by this statement.
Are you suggesting it was ATC or their company at their nominated alternate that was too busy?
I took the original transcript of the conversation to mean that they had been told not to come to LHR by ATC - On re-reading it maybe they meant something else... In that case it will be an interesting investigation.

BOAC
8th Oct 2006, 18:25
FWWhere is the AIC forbidding the use of LHR as an alt. for LGW and vice-versa? Maybe there should be one... - I don't think there has been an AIC, but I'm pretty sure it is 'not advised', a fact which certain companies choose to ignore.
and there was a 10min+ delay at destination (not advised previously).- the AIC clearly says this 'advising' is not going to happen, and 20 minutes is 'the norm' - to be expected.On re-reading it maybe they meant something else... - I was certainly told on more than one occasion by BA I was NOT to use the planned alternate (LHR) when I enquired - in the hold at LGW.

Two's in
8th Oct 2006, 18:27
If this was a deliberate ploy to get ahead of the queue, then it is clearly despicable and indefensible, but those who need to take a minute from polishing their halo's might want to remind themsleves of the other side of the coin, when positive and decisive action is not taken. Admittedly this was as much about language as airmanship, but 73 people never got to discuss this guys decision in any kind of forum.


http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/brief.asp?ev_id=20001212X22401&key=1

and some slightly disturbing stuff here as well:

http://planecrashinfo.com/cvr900125.htm

London Mil
8th Oct 2006, 18:42
Mayday on div is not unusual. Ryanair did it a couple of weekends back at Luton. Don't know how that one slipped to attention of prooners?

flt_lt_w_mitty
8th Oct 2006, 19:09
I would disagree! A 'Div' should be planned as best a possible, to ensure that the a/c will not be below legal fuel minimums on arrival. I would agree that a Pan on diversion might be 'normal', but a Mayday indicates significant danger and should only crop up with a last minute 'unexpected' diversion.

120.4
8th Oct 2006, 20:01
I was the LHR south director just before 07:00 this morning. I was not aware of any ATC discussion about delays, which I would expect to be if a possible div from KK was in the offing.
Just to be clear, nobody in ATC is going to tell any Captain that he cannot div to an airfield. We would tell him the expected delay and then wait for HIS decision. If there is a company policy not to use a particular airfield as an alternate then what is the purpose of specifying it as an alternate on the FP? And that being the case, one must arrive at the LL/KK holds with either 20 minutes fuel if "no delay" has been issued or sufficient fuel to get to the actual alternate.
Both the TC and LACC area sectors know what delay is being promulgated at Heathrow/Gatwick at any time; there is no reason why anybody in doubt about their fuel satus could not find out the anticipated delay long before they get here. := Everybody knows what Heathrow is like early in the morning. I cannot imagine why anybody planning to use Heathrow at that time (even as an alternate) wouldn't factor that into their fuel plan. Surely, there must be something we don't know.
.4

4PON4PIN
8th Oct 2006, 20:02
May I proffer the following info to deter any further "speculation" or verbiage such as "attempting to lynch the Virgin pilots" (my oh my!!!).
(Proper Pilots need not read, save your time!)
An aircraft must be and is, dispatched in accordance with it's Regulatory Authority Rules and Regs in terms of Fuel Load requirements for the flight, dependant upon the a/c weight and weather conditions. A Flight Plan will be produced some hours before the scheduled departure time, based upon an ESTIMATED Zero Fuel Weight (ZFW) which will show the required Ramp Fuel.
Once the Crew receive confirmation of the ACTUAL ZFW they will make appropriate adjustments to the Flt plan fuel figures to reflect fuel requirements in accordance with the new ZFW.
The Required fuel includes Contingency Fuel to account for possibly getting less favourable wind components en-route, lower levels than planned, or need for en-route ant-icing.
The Flight Deck Crew have the option of adding extra fuel should they consider circumstance or their feelings through previous experience warrant extra uplift.
However, Virgin have a Fuel Policy which will Dispatch an aircraft with Fuel Requirements IN EXCESS of JAR-OPS reqirements and based on in-house historical data (dependant on arrival times and knowing that VS XXX will generally go twice round the Hold) will add in additional fuel on top of JAR-OPS requirements.
I make a separate para to state that many other reputable Airlines have a similar if not identical procedure.
The point I'm coming to. is that once that a/c is dispatched, it is up to the crew to MANAGE the fuel that they have in order to get their pax to their Destination. Towards that aim, Airmanship, knowledge of the Company Fuel Policy, Customer satisfaction etc., all come into play. But NOTHING will compromise SAFETY. That is Paramount I know, amongst all VS pilots, and am 99% certain, of pilots in major Airlines throughout the world.
Sh*t happens as they say, and who knows at this stage, what accumulation of events led to the declaration of a "Mayday".
Final Reserve is 30 Mins Holding based on Fuel Flow at 1500ft above Alternate airfield. JAR-Ops state that if the a/c is expected to land with less than Final Reserve then ATC MUST be informed and a PAN call initiated. Once the Endurance reduces to 20 mins then a Mayday must be declared......would YOU wait until those fuel states were reached before you jumped the queque?
Maybe a bit verbose but just wanted to dispel any worries for the travelling public of the likelihood of any a/c running out of fuel over the skies of UK.

eyeinthesky
8th Oct 2006, 21:18
point 4 (or as some would have it, dayseemal fower!:hmm: )

A point of information:

Quote
Both the TC and LACC area sectors know what delay is being promulgated at Heathrow/Gatwick at any time;
Unquote

Not quite true. At LACC, it is "Less than 20 mins" on our information system until or unless one or all of the following happens:

The delays reach 20 mins and the TC Traffic Manager publishes the EATs on SIS;
The LAS keeps an eye on the 'other' delay screen only available to us which shows actual ETA and time of leaving stacks and tell the sector;
The controller winds out the radar and takes a look at the stacks and assesses an approximate delay;
The delays reduce through 20 mins when they EAT page shows delays less than 20 mins until the last one which HAD 20 mins or more has gone and the Traffic Manager gets bored (joke).

The stock reply from those who are not on the ball is : "Delay less than 20 mins", which could mean anything from 19.5 mins to 0 mins. Good, eh?:rolleyes:

120.4
8th Oct 2006, 22:51
EITS
Thanks, I wasn't aware the information was presented to you like that; nonetheless, you can phone for the predicted delay if asked?
I am considering the crew's mind set. They know they are not awash with fuel and so presumably their first quesiton to LACC is "what are the delays for Gatwick"? In this case, they would be told they are less than 20 minutes and so would still be okay if carrying an allowance for the normal arrival delays at 07:00. The fact that they weren't able to accept the arrival delay indicates that either they didn't carry an allowance for it or something happened en-route (outside their control) that burnt it off.
My point is that, knowing what the LTMA airports are like, surely, as soon as you know you are going to arrive at WILLO without an ability to accept any delay you have to do something about it? My question is, roughly where is the point at which the crew would have known that? It is, presumably, well before reaching the LTMA. Crickey, we used to get BA on the phone 15 minutes after the Concorde was airborne from Barbados saying 'he is going to be tight, how's it looking?'
I am having difficulty understanding how one can arrive at WILLO so tight on fuel that one has to declare a MAYDAY, having passed Shannon, Dublin, Cardiff, Brize etc. Can somebody enlighten me?
.4

BOAC
8th Oct 2006, 22:54
Modern FMCs, if correctly programmed with cruise levels and accurate winds, will indicate the 'shortage' at a very early stage. 5-6 hours notice is not unusual.

120.4
8th Oct 2006, 23:01
Thanks BOAC; this is what I am finding difficult. Even if you only knew 1 hour in advance that you won't have any holding fuel on arrival at WILLO, wouldn't that be ample time to arrange a div to Cardiff etc?

.4

411A
8th Oct 2006, 23:52
It's has to be a 'British' thing...this business of steaming around with min fuel, then (ignoring all AIM's about having the min 20 minutes holding available, upon arrival) finding themselves in rather deep doggie do-do.

Both Malaysian and Qantas in years past found themselves in a similar state, after very long sectors from Asia, yet failed to divert, after having overflown dozens of possible diversion airports for re-fueling, and the UKCAA told 'em...shape up, or don't fly to the UK any longer.
Yet, British airlines seem to follow the 'absolute min fuel' option on numerous occasions, and of course, are promptly found out.

We await the UKCAA investigation.
I suspect however, that it will all be conveniently swept under the rug, as yet again, a British carrier is short of fuel, inbound to the London TMA.

For shame...yet again.:yuk: :yuk:

ETOPS
9th Oct 2006, 03:18
For 120.4's peace of mind, I have never found myself in such a fuel predicament in the last 20 years of flying into LHR/LGW because I have taken care to arrive with "sufficient" fuel every time. I have had my battles along the way - Captains querying my excess fuel, then co-pilot's doing the same but I have been proved right on so many occasions I now trust my own judgement.

The trick is flexibility. Look at the difference in seasonal weather, traffic flows and time of arrival. We are entering Autumn in the UK, not referred to as a time of "mists and mellow fruitfulness" for nothing. If I see a TAF for London area airports in terms of "PROB 30 2000m BR " for my early AM arrival I take that to mean RVR450m when I actually get there! Don't believe me? Happens every year about this time without fail. Result - lot's of panic from guys with no fuel and me sat on at least an hours holding fuel and diversion to MAN ('cos thats where my car is parked ;) ) with time for another breakfast.....

GlueBall
9th Oct 2006, 03:28
PPRuNe Radar ...en route JNB-LHR: "...diverted in to Paris Orly for fuel ... then picked up 3 hours on the ground waiting for a slot back in to LHR.
I would be having a "duty time" problem with that...:=

A and C
9th Oct 2006, 08:04
Having found myself short of fuel in the London TMA for reasons that were out of my control (very bad WX forcast & techincal failure) I know how uncomfotable it is to be at the sharp end of this sort of thing.

I was only about 2 Min from making the Mayday call (due company policy) when the wheels hit the ground following a diversion.

I can only speculate what the PPrune pages would have been saying had I made that call, but I think that more than one of the posts from the comfort of an armchair would have been calling me an idiot for the course of action that I took.

I don't have enough data to comment on this inccident but I suspect that the guys took the correct course of action and the whole thing is a storm in a tea cup................ but that is not what some on an internet forum want!!

omnidirectional737
9th Oct 2006, 08:04
Thanks BOAC; this is what I am finding difficult. Even if you only knew 1 hour in advance that you won't have any holding fuel on arrival at WILLO, wouldn't that be ample time to arrange a div to Cardiff etc?

.4

Maybe they thought they would just about have enough because they thought there would be no holding.

overstress
9th Oct 2006, 08:48
If there is a company policy not to use a particular airfield as an alternate then what is the purpose of specifying it as an alternate on the FP?

You may well ask, .4!

My company (BA) regularly plans KK as an alternate for LL but there's no way they want us to go there! As our American cousins say, 'go figure'

120.4
9th Oct 2006, 08:54
Omni 737:

yes, could be.

Overstress:

In the event of an R/T failure what should ATC expect the Captain to do? How could we possibly begin to plan for your subsquent actions? In such a busy TMA environment that seems most unwise.


.4

helen-damnation
9th Oct 2006, 08:54
Or maybe they were given an early descent
or extra track miles due vectoring
or....... or..... :hmm:


411A up to his usual tricks again :=

Accident Prawn
9th Oct 2006, 09:59
DAYSLEEPER -
The theory behind this (AFAIR) is that in a cut throat business we are all carrying minimum fuel anyhow and if one operator thought that it could load a few kilos less and then cry priority every time it came in it would gain an unfair commercial advantage.

I NEVER carry minimum fuel. You have to always expect the unexpected, no matter how nice the weather is for instance. Talk about Cut Throat business, how's that for Heart Attack or, get a little Stroke business from stress. I know which I prefer! :D

Digitalis
9th Oct 2006, 10:07
There are a number of considerations in such a scenario that I think those with no experience of current longhaul flying might overlook.

1. The route of flight. Most Virgin 744 schedules into LGW are ex-Florida or Caribbean. The diversions available on landfall aren't particularly numerous if the flight has entered European airspace from around 45N, which is common. It may even be, in some circumstances, that LGW is actually the nearest suitable airfield (for a B744) on exit from oceanic airspace via the South-West Approaches, and that the last diversion available prior to that was Santa Maria or Lajes, at which point the fuel plot was looking acceptable - there are plenty of reasons why circumstances can conspire to trash a healthy fuel situation in the three hours or so between the Azores and UK.

2. If the captain discussed the possibility of a diversion with VS operations and was told that Heathrow ground facilities couldn't currently cope with him, and his second diversion was further away (Stansted? Birmingham?), that would explain both the comment that LHR couldn't take him and the insistence on LGW as the landing airport - he would have to have almost overflown LGW to get to LHR. Is that sensible when fuel is tight? Incidentally, there is no pressure within Virgin to land on minimum fuel. Captains are encouraged to think carefully about fuel, but if you want to take an extra few tonnes, no-one will question that decision.

3. There is no information about the build up to the declaration of the Mayday, but I'm one of those who wouldn't wait for the maximum endurance to get down to 20 minutes before declaring that Mayday. At 12 or more tonnes/hour fuel burn at low levels, anything under 10 tonnes on board would feel extremely uncomfortable. By 4 tonnes (20 minutes) my sweat would have turned brown!

4. It's far better to be on the ground safely, and able to defend your decisions, than be a smoking hole in the ground because you didn't want to upset the armchair pundits on Pprune who, of course, always know better than the captain involved.... :hmm: :ugh:

Xploy Ted
9th Oct 2006, 10:19
Once again we're on the fringes of a discusion about corporate pressure to carry min fuel.

Obviously we can't know what happened en route to the Virgin crew but on the one occassion when my (poor) decision left me over Europe with very tight fuel, after a long flight, I vowed that there would be only ONE reason why I would not take off with PLENTY to spare for the unforseen.

Namely runway/performance limitations. In that event, if circs conspired again, then an early diversion would be preferable to a repeat of the scary experience. Why push your luck?

I seem to remember that during the discussion that followed the previously mentioned Malaysian "fumes" incident, it emerged that it was a requirement to factor in "anticipated ATC delays", which for LHR&LGW I have always assumed some would exist no matter what time of day it is.
:ugh:

Farty Flaps
9th Oct 2006, 10:27
Chiglet,
I Know Man fits the two runway criteria for "no alternate reqd" planning under certain weather conditions. I doubt that means 24L is an alternate. Do you have planning reference in Jar ops 1 i could look at, or are we talking about the same thing?

anotherthing
9th Oct 2006, 11:18
I work in the TMA and when obviously busy, get sick of pilots who are flying on a flight plan clearance askng on an already crowded frequency "What are we to do on reaching Biggin/LAM/OCK/BOV" etc etc.

The Clearance limit is the hold.... you CAN EXPECT TO HOLD for 20 minutes for Heathrow.

A and C -

Even in bad weather etc - you should know your anticipated fuel state before you are only 15 miles from the hoding point - if its that tight you should be making the call earlier - it will get us ATCOS doing everything we can for you to get you down.... try visiting an ATC unit (preferably TC as this is the discussion in this case) during a TRUCE. Ask to see how a fuel emergency is handled - even if we are holding with huge delays for all london airports and there is bad weather. Heavy holding and or bad weather create carnage for us ATCOs in the TMA and the surrounding sectors, but even so, we will make sure an emergency, be it fuel or otherwise, gets priority, even if it screws up all our plans.

I used to fly in the military - one of my jobs as well as fighting the A/C was fuel calculations - often in bad weather, returning to a floating 'airport' that had moved during the sortie. We worked our fuel out with an indelible pen and a hand made graph on the back of a plotting board.... We often landed just above our minima as that was our brief.

It can be done.... maybe the problem is that in this day and age, Pilots feel under pressure not to declare an emergency when they should, especially when it is due to something like fuel which may have a comeback on them. If in doubt let us know early - if nothing else it means that you have a better chance of a priority landing at your destination, than the ignominy of a priority landing at your alternate!!

120.4
9th Oct 2006, 11:41
1. It may even be, in some circumstances, that LGW is actually the nearest suitable airfield (for a B744) on exit from oceanic airspace via the South-West Approaches, and that the last diversion available prior to that was Santa Maria or Lajes, at which point the fuel plot was looking acceptable - there are plenty of reasons why circumstances can conspire to trash a healthy fuel situation in the three hours or so between the Azores and UK.

If I understand correctly: That being the case, you would aim to pass Santa Maria with trip fuel to WILLO, plus 20 minutes holding, plus min reserve, plus (maybe) a further contingency, and if you haven't got that you would div to Santa Maria?
Can you give me some idea of what circumtances would upset that calculation over the 3 hour period? Unexpected headwind is obvious but what else that you didn't already know about? If it is an ATC cause you would presumably feel obliged to inform ATC that the instruction jeopardises your fuel state?
.4

Carnage Matey!
9th Oct 2006, 11:53
Failure to get a higher level, early descent or a mach no. restriction could all upset the fuel plan when coming from that part of the world. There's no requirement to have any remaining contingency fuel at that stage, you could have used it all taxying out to the runway. You don't even have to have 20 minutes holding fuel. Its a bit daft not to have it, but its not a JAR OPS requirement. In extremis I think you could be abeam Lajes with trip fuel to LGW, no holding capability and no div fuel (just min reserves) and still be legal.

overstress
9th Oct 2006, 12:07
120.4 - you said In the event of an R/T failure what should ATC expect the Captain to do?
Squawk 7600, hold until endurance and then commence an approach whilst you vector everyone else out of the way?
PS: also for 120.4, why do we fly 220kts coming off the holding beacon for LHR, not 230? On the types I've flown into LHR, 230 would be better as you can stay clean for just that bit longer, saving a few kilos, which of course, adds up to a significant amount of fuel saved over a large fleet (which saved fuel is then burnt waiting for a parking stand :hmm: )

BOAC
9th Oct 2006, 12:10
Chiglet
JAROPS 1.295 (b) para c. Whether MAN like it or not:) , if you build a separate, independent runway, then JAPOPS enables operators to discard their 'alternate' and use 24L as their diversion runway. It happens a lot of the time with BA at LHR where the departure runway becomes the alternate.

Edit: following post #47 - Overstress - 220kts was 'agreed' to be the best compromise speed in a thread a few years back on PPRune. Re-open it if you feel strongly, or simply tell ATC you need 230 and I'm sure they will accommodate. They are normally pretty good.:)

flt_lt_w_mitty
9th Oct 2006, 12:16
120.4
I would EXPECT my crews, in that situation, to continue on plan, contact our OPS and discuss an alternate, and leave WILLO for, say, Bournemouth, Cardiff or Stansted for a 'splash-and-dash' BEFORE they run below minimum fuel - having EXPECTED a delay of up to 20 minutes and monitored the actual with ATC. NB If you divert from the hold, before you commence an approach with minimum flight-plan fuel, you should NOT arrive at diversion in an emergency. If a last-minute fuel problem develops - ie some fuel suddenly becomes 'unusable' (like what we like to call the BA 3-engine ferry :-))) ) then a MAYDAY is, of course, required.
Like folk say, we do NOT know the whole story here, and are in fact basing it on one post by 'Cobbler' - "I heard". I guess it is the APPARENT suddeness of the onset of the Dire Emergency that has gotten this PPRune attention.
For good o' 411A on his bandwagon again - you know and I know that the results of any 'enquiry' into this will be for the operator and the authority alone to know. Even in the good old US this would not be a 'public' issue. Any disciplinary action/retraining - IF NECESSARY - will be conducted by the operator to the satisfaction of the authority. OK?

Carnage Matey!
9th Oct 2006, 12:26
If you arrive at WILLO with insufficent fuel for a 10 minute delay you certainly won't have the fuel to go to STN or CWL. If Virgins 744 burn the same fuel as ours then they'll need about 4T for a LHW to LHR diversion which is enough for about 30 mins holding.

flt_lt_w_mitty
9th Oct 2006, 12:39
CM - I do not understand! You leave WILLO from medium level (with 9 mins holding fuel) without commencing the approach (that your diversion fuel allows for) and glide gently down to your diversion - what do you do to use up the fuel?

In our OPS the 4T is for a g/a from an approach and then fly to alternate (NB a g/a and approach you will not be flying). What does your UK SOP allow for in div fuel? This could explain the problem.

Carnage Matey!
9th Oct 2006, 12:58
OK, basing this on some ballpark 744 figures of say 5T reserve and 4T div to LHR, I'd allow 2T to leave WILLO and fly the approach, so I need to be leaving WILLO with 11T. 10 mins holding is about 1.5T, so I need to arrive at WILLO with 13.5T. Lets say I only arrive with 11T then I can commit to LGW, burn the 4T div fuel to give me 30 mins holding and leave WILLO with 6T to land above reserves. Obviously that would not be fun and if I thought I was going to get below 6T I'd be declaring a PAN. Alternatively if I didn't want to commit I could divert to LHR leave WILLO with 11T, join the hold at BIG or OCK for x minutes then find myself in the same position of being short of fuel, except now I'm short for LHR instead of LGW. With standard vectoring and traffic loads I would not expect to get from WILLO to STN without yet again putting myself into a fuel emergency situation and CWL is almost certainly the same.

To get to the point, if the aircraft arrived at WILLO without the capability to commit to LGW and burn the div fuel (perhaps they'd committed earlier and burnt it already) then I think they'd already be below the 11T mark and any significant delay would be likely to lead to a PAN call.

You will not be leaving WILLO at medium level, you will be at FL100-130, and you will not be gliding gently down to STN (100+ track miles away) or Cardiff (also 100+ track miles away) or LHR (50 track miles + holding). You will be flying level at an altitude which keeps you out of the way of other traffic in the extremely busy TMA. Unless you declare a PAN.

Clear as mud?

anotherthing
9th Oct 2006, 13:07
C M hits the nail on the head - if you do not declare a state of urgency or distress, you will be vectored and held like every other customer.

For the sake of trying to save embarrasment over declaring an emergency due to fuel, is it worth the risk of not calling it early??

120.4
9th Oct 2006, 13:09
Overstress:


I understand the #7600 etc.


You can have 230 if you ask for it. We regularly give it to the B773s; they will also get 190 on base and 170 to 4DME if they have asked for 230 off the stack.

Bear in mind though, on the southside, with much of a southerly wind we have to give 180kts to everything before the downwind turn or we just won't get you round the corner efficiently and that will impact the landing rate.


Under normal circumstances if your "real" alternate is not the one on your flightplan how will we know what you are going to do if you r/t fail and have to divert?

Mitty:

Why would you allow your crews to pass Bournemouth, only get to WILLO and have to turn around an go back when you should have known for ages that you wouldn't have the fuel to accept the 20 minutes involved in "no delay" when you arrived at WILLO?

CM:

If you don't get the level needed, get descended early or are slowed below optimum mach you will presumably tell ATC that this compromises your fuel plan?


I understand the legal position re the 20 minutes. However, we all know what London is like. (You cannot even rely on Stansted as a diversion now because it has also become extremely busy at times.) Arriving at an LTMA hold without 20 minutes in the tanks just for holding seems to be asking for trouble.


.4

Carnage Matey!
9th Oct 2006, 13:23
.4

No you won't tell ATC because its like telling them the sun will rise in the morning. If everybody started telling Shanwick/Gander/Santa Maria that it was affecting their fuel everytime they got a clearance that wasn't exactly as per their flight plan we'd need a lot more clearance delivery frequencies. Plus the ATCers complain that we are trying to tell them how to do their job. We try to request better levels/different routings/other options that are better for us but there's only so much sky out there. I have followed an MYT aircraft through Brest airspace when he had been given a reroute that would leave him unable to reach his destination. The French response to this was "Well you weel 'av to devert"!

flt_lt_w_mitty
9th Oct 2006, 13:26
CM OK, basing this on some ballpark 744 figures of say 5T reserve and 4T div to LHR, I'd allow 2T to leave WILLO and fly the approach, so I need to be leaving WILLO with 11T. 10 mins holding is about 1.5T, so I need to arrive at WILLO with 13.5T. Let me get this right! On your 'ballpark' figures, you are approaching 11T at WILLO with no workable OCT and you tell me you would expect to then fly 100 miles, fly an approach into Cardiff (no holding expected there?) and land with less than 5T, when 4T will give you a g/a from decision, and a diversion track distance of around 40-50 miles? No, not clear as mud. Is that gear down, speedbrake out or what?

Lets say I only arrive with 11T then I can commit to LGW, burn the 4T div fuel to give me 30 mins holding and leave WILLO with 6T to land above reserves. Pedantry, but I think you mean leave WILLO with 7T?

120.4 = yes, 'cos holds CAN clear quite unexpectedly, and it would be throwing away an option to 'bolt' too early.

Another - the system as I understand it is that you do not declare a 'fuel emergency' (US) or a PAN/MAYDAY (UK) UNTIL you are in one? IF you start to get the cross-country vectors and you will be 'short', then you say 'PAN'? That will focus the minds. Incidentally, I have always found ATC 'on-side' on a diversion and the vectoring has normally been pretty tight. In any case guys, if your alternate is so busy/has crap weather that folk are holding there, why..........................:ugh:

jondc9
9th Oct 2006, 13:35
not too long ago, being a bit low on fuel into San Francisco,Ca USA was normal for one VERY VERY LARGE airline.

Declaring , MIN FUEL, was becoming standard...finally ATC gave up on them and said: MIN FUEL, roger, say diversion airport or declare an emergency.

Many flights went to OAK, across the bay from SFO.


It was all corporate decision making, carry less fuel, obtain efficiencies from carrying less fuel, push ATC into fewer delays.

It backfired.


Investigations launched, words exchanged.


It just seems to me that pilots will have to stand up and say to management...I will hit the outer marker with legal reserves PLUS XXX holding, plus diversion. And a bit more for the wife and kids.


And while there are many who will explain to me the cost this is just too high, it is time to take back from the bean counters control of the airplane.

120.4
9th Oct 2006, 13:55
Okay Mitty/ Carnage

I see that. It seems that there is large element of second guessing involved which probably makes it inevitable that this sort of thing will happen when circumstances conspire against you.

.4

Carnage Matey!
9th Oct 2006, 14:30
FLWM
Let me get this right! On your 'ballpark' figures, you are approaching 11T at WILLO with no workable OCT and you tell me you would expect to then fly 100 miles, fly an approach into Cardiff (no holding expected there?) and land with less than 5T, when 4T will give you a g/a from decision, and a diversion track distance of around 40-50 miles? No, not clear as mud. Is that gear down, speedbrake out or what?

I'm not familiar with the term OCT, but if you leave WILLO with 11T then you are technically good for LHR as well. This assumes 2T burn for the approach, which is quite feasible for a long, low, dirty downwind, a go around then 50 odd track miles to LHR. This doesn't assume holding at LHR, as JAR-OPs does not require you to plan for further delay on your diversion. You would not leave WILLO with 11T and expect to get to CWL without a PAN as at the weights I would guess the VS 744 to be operating at (circa 245T) you will need more than 6T to get there, factoring in the delay for rerouting, rebriefing etc etc.

If you realistically expected to need to use CWL as a destination alternate then you would take more fuel to start with. I don't know about VS but in BA our flight plans show the destination fuel (ie cheapest) alternate fuel required, plus the fuel required for all the commercial alternates you might consider using. If you consider theres a serious chance of diverting then everyone takes fuel for a commercial alternate rather than the fuel alternate. Nb these are company terms, not JAR-OPs terms.

You may wonder why we carry fuel for an alternate we wouldn't necessarily use, and the answer is that we wouldn't necessarily divert. The chances are that if you have gone around at LGW then it's due to a one off event like the preceeding aircraft being slow to vacate. During your briefing you will, of course, have discussed your endurance, and would be aware that in the event of a go around for such an occurence you could commit to LGW and burn your div fuel to make another approach and landing into LGW. If the event is something more serious, like a blocked runway with undetermined delay, then you dash off to LHR.

Pedantry, but I think you mean leave WILLO with 7T?

You are quite right, I do mean 7T, although I'd be feeling mighty uncomfortable leaving WILLO with 7T and would be advising ATC that in the event of a go around I would be declaring a MAYDAY.

the system as I understand it is that you do not declare a 'fuel emergency' (US) or a PAN/MAYDAY (UK) UNTIL you are in one? IF you start to get the cross-country vectors and you will be 'short', then you say 'PAN'?

You misunderstand. If you think you might get a fuel emergency you declare a PAN, if you know you will get a fuel emergency you declare a MAYDAY, the magic number being whatever your reserves are. In my LGW example, coming down the ILS at 4d with 6T I know that if I land I will be above my reserve 5T so no emergency, but if I go around I will be below 5T so a MAYDAY will be required. I could call PAN earlier, but as I know that if I land I'll be OK that could be considered over cautious, rather like declaring a PAN before the take off roll just in case an engine happens to blow up after departure.

skiesfull
9th Oct 2006, 14:31
Carnage Matey
To use up the diversion fuel as holding fuel, by committing to your destination airfield, shouldn't you be at an airfield with at least 2 independent runways?

120.4
On long-haul flights, the availability of topping-up the fuel rquired to take care of LHR/LGW's advice that 20 mins holding should be considered, is often not feasible, due to take-off performance restrictions and being at max.t/o weight with minimum fuel for the flight anyway. If, after taking into consideration all relevant factors before making my fuel decision, I have the luxury of taking an extra 20 mins fuel, it's uplift, bearing in mind approximately 33-40% will be used up by the heavier weight, will also depend on time of arrival and day of the week. In short, if I ever get my fuel figures spot-on, then I will start doing the lottery again!
However, I will land safely with fuel in the tanks at destination (or alternate), which is exactly what the VS crew achieved, with of course the usual excellent co-operation of ATC..

Carnage Matey!
9th Oct 2006, 14:45
skiesfull - In the case of LGW, LHR can be considered the second independent runway, and in practicality would probably involve less vectoring than trying to use a second independent runway at AMS when they are doing their noise abatement thing. If it all went really T/U there's also Farnborough within spitting distance, so its not as if you have nowhere to land, you'll just end up somewhere the company doesn't like.

skiesfull
9th Oct 2006, 15:27
CM
thanks for that - I'd forgotten that JAROPS were written by dyslexic lawyers! Not sure my company would appreciate recovery form Farnborough though!

flt_lt_w_mitty
9th Oct 2006, 16:05
Hey Carnage - you guys just crack me up! Are you for real?
you will need more than 6T to get there, factoring in the delay for rerouting, rebriefing etc etc. - rebriefing? Is there now a minimum distance for a diversion airfiled in BA for briefing needs? How many genuflections and bows to the east do you BA guys have to make?
Umm - "alternate for Rome Ciampino - well, weather's good at both, but Fiumicino is to close for briefing, so let's make that er...Naples." In the next breath we are using Farnborough (which might not be open?)..................? Maybe that's why the LAX jumbo could not return to LAX - not enough briefing time - "let's press on to LHR."
You may wonder why we carry fuel for an alternate we wouldn't necessarily use, and the answer is that we wouldn't necessarily divert. - ah, I see.
The chances are that if you have gone around at LGW then it's due to a one off event like the preceeding aircraft being slow to vacate. During your briefing you will, of course, have discussed your endurance, and would be aware that........... - don't rely on your 'chances' when you get in the LHS, sir. However, I like the second bit of that - that's good.

Incidentally,You are quite right, I do mean 7T, although I'd be feeling mighty uncomfortable leaving WILLO with 7T and would be advising ATC that in the event of a go around I would be declaring a MAYDAY.
- so would I, and I am advised that in BA that 7T should be a PAN anyway.

411A
9th Oct 2006, 16:26
It would appear from some of the responses here, such as...

"In extremis I think you could be abeam Lajes with trip fuel to LGW, no holding capability and no div fuel (just min reserves) and still be legal."

...that we have truly found the problem with the low fuel state that permeates the operations of some British operators.

The absence of other carriers (Malaysian and Qantas, years ago, excepted) seems to indicate a planned modus operandi on the part of some British carriers to the idea of....'we can get away with it because the CAA will somehow 'understand' and further, possible expedited handling by a 'co-operative' ATC.

anotherthing
9th Oct 2006, 17:23
411a

I hope thats not what they think and that is not the planned 'modus operandi'.

They WILL NOT receive expedited handling by ATC unless they have declared an emergency. Its as simple as that as far as UK ATC into our airports is concerned.

If only ATCOs had the time to make such favouritism and change things round like that. They don't have the time, nor favour any airline. It's a case of get you off the frequency as safely and quickly as possible, not a case of dicking about trying to rearrange an order and making hard work for yourself!!

If you call an emergency you get priority. Thats it.

Carnage Matey!
9th Oct 2006, 18:11
- rebriefing? Is there now a minimum distance for a diversion airfiled in BA for briefing needs? How many genuflections and bows to the east do you BA guys have to make?
Umm - "alternate for Rome Ciampino - well, weather's good at both, but Fiumicino is to close for briefing, so let's make that er...Naples."


Now you're just being facetious (I hope). What I mean is you won't be blasting off to CWL at 350kts as you won't have time to reprogram the FMC, get the charts out etc. Have you ever tried going from the London area to CWL in a 747? No? Didn't think so. I have, and I can tell you that even when you've prebriefed it before departure it's still a busy sector. Which means its advisable to go there at 250kts unless you believe that the aircraft should lead you and not vice versa.

In the next breath we are using Farnborough

If LGW has closed after I've gone around and LHR has also closed completely I'd use Biggin Hill if I had to to get it on the ground whether it's open or not! You are demonstrating a lack of understanding of relative levels of urgency. Got enough fuel, do it by the book. Engines about to quit, do what you have to.


don't rely on your 'chances' when you get in the LHS, sir. However, I like the second bit of that - that's good.

I rely on my chances everytime I come to work as do you. Chances are they built the aircraft properly, the engineers maintained it properly, we won't be hit by a meteorite. You can call it probability if you prefer, but thats just semantics, I think most readers know what I mean. If we didn't work on chance/probability we'd be flying everywhere with full tanks and this entire thread would be redundant, would we not?

and I am advised that in BA that 7T should be a PAN anyway.

You are adivsed incorrectly Sir.

Farty Flaps
9th Oct 2006, 19:01
Reading a copy of jarops on the toilet this afternoon I think there might be some misinterpretation of the planning/and or enroute requirements.I'm not trying to be definitive, its just how they read.

One rule concering two runways applies to planning a flight and removing the need to file a destination alternate. 2 independant runways (with criteria) wx 1hr before /after descent from msa in vmc.This is for flights under 6 hrs

An alternate should not be within 50nm or subject to the same wx phenomena as the destination. This is avoided (massaged as a rule)with convulted track miles, but the diversion fuel should allow for that. Bit of a cheat using lgw and lhr, as it is man and lpl.

Committing to a destination is allowed in two scenarios. When overhead, ie holding and no more than 50% of diversion fuel will be used.Brave call

AND when enroute fuel checks show a shortfall you can continue as long as the dest has two runways and has wx in accordance with planning for a destination.

So it doesnt necesarily need two runways. The virgin guy when over head could have theoreticaly held using half his diversion fuel.
However If he was aware earlier of a shortfall(when no delay means 20 mins ,is this legally binding?)then a diversion would be mandatory except if there are two runways.(the second two runway rule)That would mean serious brinkmanship arriving overhead, see overhead option. LGW doesnt have two independant runways and lhr is another airport not a second runway for lgw.As always the rules are open to interpretation and in these examples easily confused or quoted inappropiatelyMixing and matching the various planning and enroute criteria isnt an option but does happen in the murky world of jarops

Second runway criteria mean two independant landing surfaces in use served by independant landing aids at the same airport. LHR would be kicking the arse out of liberal interpretation as a second lgw runway:ok:

Dan Air 87
9th Oct 2006, 20:15
Anyone mind if I bring this thread down to my level? Fuel on the ground $60 a barrell. Fuel in the air- priceless!

chiglet
9th Oct 2006, 23:27
Farty and BOAC
The example of 24L was perhaps not written properly. It actually came from an airline based at Manch. "As their fuel policy", so it was written rather tongue in cheek, so to speak. Sorry for any confoosion
watp,iktch

javelin
10th Oct 2006, 17:40
On the 2 or 3 occasions when we have been a bit thin on the right hand side of the pond, I can only say that the area and local controllers at MAN and LGW have been superb.

We come out of the Caribbean or Florida with a suitable amount of fuel for what we have planed and forecast. It also should take into account what time we will arrive at destination re holding.

On these occasions I have been screwed up by the muppets also known as ARINC - New York Radio............... I know they are only operators and I am always polite, but when you are planned for 370, gas for 370 and get offered 280 until half way across the Atlantic, there is no way you will have normal holding fuel when you reach destination.

So, we come off the Atlantic thin on gas, yes we have alternatives but at $10,000 a div minimum, we don't want to if possible.

So, I let Area know that in the event of holding I will be unable, that got passed forward, Approach asked again, I confirmed and we were brought in with minimal delay - nobody else held more than 1 turn more, it was the professionalism of the controllers that helped.

Each time, I called the watch boss and thanked them :ok:

120.4
10th Oct 2006, 17:46
Javelin

Thank you. Most are willing to 'manage' the arrival order in order to minimise overall disruption (for all operators). Nice of you to acknowledge our efforts.

.4

dogcrushedvelvet
10th Oct 2006, 18:31
So, we come off the Atlantic thin on gas, yes we have alternatives but at $10,000 a div minimum, we don't want to if possible.

So, I let Area know that in the event of holding I will be unable, that got passed forward, Approach asked again, I confirmed and we were brought in with minimal delay - nobody else held more than 1 turn more, it was the professionalism of the controllers that helped.

Each time, I called the watch boss and thanked them :ok:

Well this is all very nice and cosy but what if your problem becomes someone elses problem.

For example inbound to LHR in the recent past we were advised to expect no more than two holds. This was fine, however at the end of the second hold we were advised to remain in the hold. Our situation now required that we divert. All because of '1 turn more'.

And how often do you call the watch boss?

Roffa
10th Oct 2006, 20:51
Well this is all very nice and cosy but what if your problem becomes someone elses problem.


Agreed.

It's no skin off, say, LHR ATC's collective noses to give some priority to whoever says they are a bit short for whatever the reason, but it will knock everyone else in the queue back a bit.

Throw in a PAN or MAYDAY and one will get extra spacing ahead of one on the approach to assure a landing. In the case of a MAYDAY one might be surprised how much and it is very possible depending when one declares it that traffic ahead of one will be broken off the approach to assure one that landing. Everyone else goes back even further.

If someone else is sweating on an EAT a priority approach for aircraft A may well result in additional delays and a diversion for aircraft B, C etc.

Just an observation really that operating on very tight fuel margins in busy terminal airspace to congested airports is an issue to more than just the aircraft with the fuel guages pointing towards the 'E". It affects all the aircraft going to the same airport at the same time.

javelin
10th Oct 2006, 22:14
All I'm saying is do your best, negotiate with the first people who are trying to upset your best laid plans, then if all goes to ratshit, communicate and try to avoid a div. After all, we are all in the business to save our company money. We don't want to pee off 2, 3 or 400 passengers, so we as 'front end' do our best to manage the situation.

120.4
10th Oct 2006, 22:25
Porco, I understand what you are saying and it's logic is unescapable.

I would ask you to consider though that the purpose of minor 'management' of the arrival order in these circumstances (which is our right as we see fit under any circumstances) is to ensure that the waste involved in diversion can be avoided where it is reasonable to do so. One day it may be that airline A benefits and the next day airline B. Having such assistance available from ATC absolutely demands that nobody abuses the system i.e that it is just one of those rare occasoins when things have transpired against a Captain and we can all work together for the good of him and his pax. I am alsolutely certain that nobody would sanction an expedited approach to one aircraft that caused another to have to div because that would be counter to the whole aim stated above.:)

Finally, and I am sure I can speak for most on this, if we ever once come to believe that a particular operator is abusing this privilidge that will be the end of it, for him.:=

.4

P.s. for what it is worth, if its a toss up between two arrivals, all other things being equal, I put the long haul first as a matter of course.

Riverboat
11th Oct 2006, 20:28
One thing is pretty certain: if an aircraft declares that it is short of fuel, and makes this perfectly clear, yet for some reason does not declare a Pan or a Mayday, IF the aircraft fails to make asafe landing and hundreds of people are killed, there will be a lot of legal action against the ATCO and the Air Traffic Centre concerned.

Yes, the airline will also be sued by hundreds of relatives (or injured pax), but Air Traffic will too. Common sense tells you that if an airliner states that it is short of fuel, and nothing is done to expedite its safe arrival, if it does ultimately crash, they will not be protected by statements issued by the CAA or NATS deeming no emergency to be in existence because no Pan or Mayday was given.

Of course it is irresponsible to not make a Mayday in such a circumstance, but we live in a funny world, where justice seems to be something rather different from what we thought it was. I am not an ATCO, but if I was, I'd be a bit edgy about ignoring a statement that an aircraft was short of fuel. Some judge might decide to put the ATCO in jail for 5 years if things went wrong.

egsc_h17
12th Oct 2006, 00:03
One thing is pretty certain: if an aircraft declares that it is short of fuel, and makes this perfectly clear, yet for some reason does not declare a Pan or a Mayday, IF the aircraft fails to make asafe landing and hundreds of people are killed, there will be a lot of legal action against the ATCO and the Air Traffic Centre concerned.
Nonsense, the only way to "make it perfectly clear" is to declare Pan or Mayday. Other language that conveys urgency would probably result in ATC asking "Are you declaring a fuel emergency?" but it's not the ATCO's responsibility to mind read.

Self Loading Freight
12th Oct 2006, 02:07
What happens when they're changing ends at LHR - is the place closed to diversions for the duration? That certainly fills up the hold.

R

anotherthing
12th Oct 2006, 09:47
SLF

What do you mean by diversion?? If it's weather diversion, then an A/C that chooses LHR as its alternate would have to accept that on going to its alternate it may have to hold. An A/C merely diverting because the destination is, say, closed due weather has no priority over other A/C inbound to its alternate.

However if it then descends into an emergency, then it's a different matter.

I am not a tower controller, but I can say with 100% confidence that if LHR was changing ends, and a mayday called on a TC sector and wanted to divert to Heathrow, the bods at the airport would get the runway vacated by checker etc immediately. Runway direction is NOT an issue with a mayday - it's whatever the Captain wants.

If it was a PAN, again, the runway change would cease if the pilot insisted on Heathrow. However the pilot would also be informed of the fact a runway change was in operation and hopefully the reasons for it.... this information may actually end up with the pilot deciding that the runway condtions are too marginal at Heathrow.

Your question in itself if a little vague to give you the answer you are probably looking for.

Self Loading Freight
12th Oct 2006, 11:53
Yes, sorry - I meant for an emergency diversion. We were spiralling away outside LHR long enough the other day for the flightdeck to make a PA explaining that this was due to the approach changing and "it can take a little while to sort out the incoming traffic when this happens", or words to that effect. In that context, I wondered about the consequences of someone diverting in on a mayday - and whether it would push the hold times towards that twenty minute marker for a number of people.

It's rarely the individual factor that worries me - in the case that sparked this thread, the immediate consequences of the mayday were minimal, as they almost always are. It's the potential for it to form part of a chain that I like to understand better (especially on the sixth turn in the stack after ten hours from SFO. Not that I was counting. Honest).

R

ETOPS
12th Oct 2006, 21:14
Reference my post a couple of days ago referring to autumnal weather in the UK. Here's tomorrows TAF for LHR.

121630Z 130024 VRB05KT 4000 BR SCT030 TEMPO 0010
1400 MIFG PROB40 TEMPO 0310 0200 FG VV/// PROB40
TEMPO 1013 BKN004 BECMG 1215 8000 NSW TEMPO 2024
3000 BR -



More fuel Sir?

Riverboat
12th Oct 2006, 22:01
EGSC - I take your point and accept it. To make it perfectly clear a Pan or Mayday should be made. But if it isn't, and clearly there is a reluctance some times for these to be made (don't ask me why), and an ATCO has ignored a statement that an aircraft is short of fuel - IF something nasty happens, I would expect the ATCO to be one of the defendants. That is just the way things are these days, and it would probably be a good idea to wise up and not rely on some CAA position statement

120.4
12th Oct 2006, 22:27
Riverboat

You're probably right. Legal precedent was set about 20 years ago in a court case following the crash of a B20 (CFIT). In his summing up the judge basically said that had ATC known that a dangerous situation existed and not issued a warning, then ATC would have been be liable (in that particular case ATC were aquitted).

I think maybe the point is that in the UK, when the captain indicates he has a fuel problem he will aways be asked if he wishes to declare a Pan or Mayday. If he says no, he will then be informed that unless he does, immediate assistance will not be forthcomming.

.4

coracle
12th Oct 2006, 22:28
Riverboat - As an ATCO if I had the situation you described, you tend to get a funny feeling your water that all is not well. He/she would probably be afforded priority even though he/she hadn't declared and the relevant paperwork filled in. Better to be safe than sorry!! I agree though that it's not a nice situation to be in.

late developer
12th Oct 2006, 23:06
Yes ETOPS. More fuel!
I am appalled by most have what I have read here. Dan Air 87 offered wise comment, something I once took for granted as surely drummed into everyone who ever got an ATPL. Hopefully drummed into every new PPL too, but I know it isn't. How can it be when they can read all this diversity of opinion at the highest levels? What's this talk about the $10,000 cost of diversions as if it is a factor in your decision in how safely you will continue. Surely you don't mean that?
I flew as a long haul passenger just once there and back. Virgin. 1991. Same kind of problem I reckon. Landed in very thick fog at Cardiff. So did another. A third went to Orly. I was in Upper as it was then. Near the door and cabin crew discussions after the event. First and last man-made shape I saw out of my window seat before touchdown was the grey rectangular outline of the top of a fire engine to the left of the beginning of the runway. Kerplonk! Taxied to apron. Only one set of steps so couldn't get off. We were told fog at Gatwick. Earlier perhaps. Holding at Gatwick? Now yes that would be a natural consequence. Sit tight we're refuelling. Landed Gatwick only about 90 mins late I think. Brilliant clear skies. Fog? Problem? Where? Cardiff that's where. Was I glad we diverted ? I was glad we didn't run out of fuel. I was a bit surprised that Cardiff took 747s in thick fog. I'd flown myself out of it in DR400 6 months earlier yet still had no idea it was that big! Was I annoyed we were 90 minutes late? Not really.
I think I still have a letter somewhere from RB about that one. Usual guff.
Here we are 15 years later and I was expecting to read something approaching developed science. But no, all we seem to have is commercial art based on 'managing' the apparently even more ambiguous rules that pervade in this low cost world (cos here you all are presenting more variations than you seem to have agreed) and 'negotiating' with ATC to modify your pulserate to suit your appetite for paperwork, rather than communicating to ensure that whatever happens my pulserate is 100% guaranteed to remain above zero :suspect:
And here too we seem to have ATCOs saying they expect a few tight ones and they have the sticking plasters to make it better but only a few to go round each morning so no pretending you need one??
Am I reading this right?
No wonder since August it's inconvenient to be a pilot without deodorant. Sounds like there ought to be one of those automatic lemon squirters in every long haul cabin, always aimed right in your eye, just one quick squirt every time the refuelling pipe is disconnected and you have started to commit aviation. Just so's you get the message from the back.
MORE FUEL. PLEASE.

Carnage Matey!
12th Oct 2006, 23:23
Oh dear. He comes joe public with his 2 pence worth again. Bring on the ranking system Danny.

Sky Wave
12th Oct 2006, 23:25
Late Developer

Fog can clear very quickly once the temperature starts to pick up. The fire engine could have been there for any number of reasons.

I don't believe that VS take any less fuel than any other long haul operator. As has been said by many experienced pilots on this thread already, the best laid plans of mice and men sometimes go wrong and a diversion can become necessary.

I think I'd rather rely on the flight crews judgement of how much fuel to take, rather than listening to demands from the back.

late developer
12th Oct 2006, 23:57
As expected.

I didn't question why the fire engine was there. I was just using the fact that it was the only thing I saw before touchdown as an example of how low the visibility was at Cardiff.

Three Virgins diverted that morning.

I know fog can lift pretty quick. Once upon a time I could tell you how quick because I used to rely on it to stalk pigeons!

I also know that early morning fog at early morning busy airports causes holds for some time afterwards.

No one said Gatwick was closed at any point and it really was brilliant clear and we did not hold 90 minutes later, so I made my simple deductions:

Virgins can land in thick fog but Virgins couldn't hold for long that morning. Three of them. Why? Not enough fuel. And how many times again and again over fifteen years?

Do you think I am wrong or what?

I am damn sure they aint the only operator who make the same mistakes.

I fully accept pilots make mistakes, but I am also damned sure now there are too many flying yes men. Not sure about flying yes women. I can barely imagine one because they are generally designed differently.

Bring on the ranking Danny by all means, I've formed my opinion and I ain't looking for votes or publishing rights.

Max Angle
13th Oct 2006, 00:03
What's this talk about the $10,000 cost of diversions as if it is a factor in your decision in how safely you will continue. Surely you don't mean that?Considering the commercial implications of decisions that you make or may have to make goes with the territory of being a commercial pilot, it has always been so and always will be.


PS. If you can divert a long haul aircraft for $10,000 you are doing pretty well, you could easily add another zero in some circumstances.

late developer
13th Oct 2006, 00:20
Considering the commercial implications of decisions that you make or may have to make goes with the territory of being a commercial pilot, it has always been so and always will be.
Yes. But considering the commercial implications of a decision not yet made to divert on safety grounds is NOT your affair, never was and never will be so just fly the damn plane, please. If your fuel economy plans have gone for a ball of chalk then be sure you know which hat you put on to deal with it. If you discover a planning mistake like those discussed in this thread as a Pilot in the air then you WILL play Commercial Manager when you get back on the ground and not before.

I make no apology if this post gets up your nose. Maybe it needs another squirt.

pietenpohl
13th Oct 2006, 00:26
Yes, late developer, I believe there is more than a grain of truth in what you suggest. I welcome input from the 'back' about how you feel. (Not while I am operating, mind you.) Getting the balance right is what we are paid for. However, coming into SE England around dawn this morning, I would try to have an extra 45 to 60 minutes of fuel if I could. I would also keep a very close eye on all possible divs (as would all pilots) because if you are diverting, you can bet your bottom dollar that a whole load of other aircraft are as well which means that you will need more than the computed minimum div fuel.

Carnage Matey!
13th Oct 2006, 01:27
In a word, no. If you start shouting Mayday because you think you might run short of fuel then the CAA will have a quiet word in your ear. That may not fit with your simplistic approach to things but thats the way it works.

Yes. But considering the commercial implications of a decision not yet made to divert on safety grounds is NOT your affair, never was and never will be so just fly the damn plane, please. If your fuel economy plans have gone for a ball of chalk then be sure you know which hat you put on to deal with it. If you discover a planning mistake like those discussed in this thread as a Pilot in the air then you WILL play Commercial Manager when you get back on the ground and not before.

I make no apology if this post gets up your nose. Maybe it needs another squirt.

And what qualifies you to make that judgement then, apart from having a PPL and once having sat on a 747 ten years ago? The answer? Nothing at all. You really have no idea what goes on in the cockpit of a commercial aircraft, but let me explain something to you. When we go to work we are the safety manager and the commercial manager for that flight. Thats our job description. Its what we get paid for. We juggle priorities. Safety first. When safety is assured we then assess the commerical priorities. We may seek guidance from the company as to where they would like us to go, but it is our decision and our decision alone. Not somebody on the ground at company HQ and certainly not some underqualified back seat driver who thinks that on the basis of 240 hours in a Cessna that they have a valid opinion or that we even care. Whilst you like to make a big deal about three Virgin aircraft diverting to Cardiff, perhaps you'd like to tell us what the weather forceast was for the London area at the time those flights departed, or how many other airlines aircraft diverted to other airfields that day. I suspect you have no idea, something which is amply demonstrated in your posts.

And yes, you are wrong. Diversions are part of the business and a calculated commerical risk. Eventually you'll get caught out and have to divert but that costs less than carrying extra fuel for the 99.9% of flights where you won't need it.

Bedder believeit
13th Oct 2006, 02:38
Hey Carnage, I seem to remember meeting you on the "FRAGRANT HARBOUR" link under the "Hkg Atc" thread not too long ago. You certainly seemed to have some forthright opinions about HK ATC then. I could then have opined something along the lines of your statement to Mr Late Developer, that "what makes you qualified etc etc..." I did answer you (in a pretty errudite and informative way) as to your squawks re HK, but you seemed to lose interest when I pointed out a few "reasons" for why events happen as they do, and you disappeared off my radar screen. Maybe I will meet you one day at the Dickens bar....I should be able to recognise you!! You will be the guy giving the bar man a hard time for putting ice in your Gin & Tonic! Peace my friend, let LD have is say, maybe he has helped pay your salary at some point in time.

gonadz
13th Oct 2006, 08:48
Bedder - Late developer has been allowed his say, several times, and his viewpoint is clear and is noted.

However, like Carnage last post (93), I also believe LD is talking well above his weight. He is clearly not in a position to be offering that level of advice about things he knows little about. This is not a sleight against him, he simply lacks the experience and knowledge to appreciate the complexity of the operation!

Anything said in another thread would seem to have little bearing about the point being made by Carnage. The points he makes here and now are valid. Period!

Late developer - just so that you are left in no doubt - "Just flying the aircraft" is a very small part of the operation. As has already been pointed out to you; whilst airborne the crew make all the decisions. If they are wise they will listen to the advice offered both by ATC and the Company but it is the crew that make all the decisions - in the order Safety then commercial.

120.4
13th Oct 2006, 08:49
Late Developer.

It is entirely reasonable for you to expect that your safety will be paramount in your Captain's mind.

To survive, commercial aviation must strike an efficient balance, where safety is number one but not with such huge margins that it makes flying economically impossible. There are over a million air transport operations in and out of UK airports each year. I would be guessing, but I bet that less than 100 of those involve some sort of fuel shortage and way fewer involve a diversion due fuel. No single operator seems to be having proportionally more 'occurrances' than others and I am not aware that we have yet had a fuel related accident; you are paying in the £100s for a ticket to New York.

Yes, we do have the occasional fuel incident, which we work together to resolve and yes, we do need to understand why they occur, but wouldn't you say that on balance the professionals up front are getting it about right?:rolleyes:

Professional aircrew:

Going back to a point made earlier about the impact on other operators when one aircraft has a fuel problem: It is worth remembering that we now have procedures for sterilising runways where a go-around would exacerbate a problem - Pan due fuel comes into that category. It basically means 15nm ahead of you rather than the extra mile or so that we have historically given you. 15 miles is 5 medium sized movements.

.4

anotherthing
13th Oct 2006, 08:53
Coracle...

As a TMA ATCO, if a pilot told me he/she was getting short of fuel my response would be "XXX are you declaring an emergency?".

If the answer was no, I would advise him/her what the holding situation was, and give them the full picture regarding what delay they could expect. This advice may be along the lines of "XXX delay is 15 to 20 mins, hold at XXX on reaching".

The pilot is a very well paid, highly skilled person. It is their decision to call an emergency or not. Being told early that they may be running short on fuel is what I would consider good manners and gives me a warning that the A/C may have to divert at some point. Yes, I will afford the A/C more attention; but other than that, no priority.

It is laid down in black and white what the procedures are and the correct ATC responses. Being told that "we are getting short on fuel" means nothing to an ATCO.... do you know what a pilot means by short on fuel?? It is an ambiguous statement considering it could mean short with regards to company gudelines or any other number of reasons. It's as unambiguous as "climb FLXXX, with a good rate through FLXXX"

If (and this is taking it to extremes but doing so for an example) a company policy was to land with 10T of fuel, why should that A/C be afforded any more priority (and thereby penalising others) than any other A/C in the stack if it does not call an emergency and is merely trying to stay within company (and not safety) guidelines??

If you need to land with priority, you call an emergency. Be it for safety reasons or to remain within company guidelines. You then fill in the paperwork and the reason becomes public domain. This way, other people will maybe learn something or have a memory jogged, thus preventing a nasty incident sometime in the future.

That is why the UK, unlike so many other countries has such a good, open reporting system and is one of the safest places to fly. Pilots and ATCOS are encouraged to report, it educates others.

frangatang
16th Oct 2006, 08:05
I do like the references to pop into the likes of cardiff,chuck on a few tons of fuel and away you go.It doesnt work! Land and you are stuffed,nothing happens until at least 8am.I know, l have done it,pax home by bus etc.

Nubboy
16th Oct 2006, 10:26
and your point is?

As so many people have said before, NO DELAY is up to 20 mins holding. Period. Full stop.

If you can't manage that, then you are into the various options described at length. Your decision, your call.

As soon as you know you're going to land with less than the required minimum, then it's got to be a MAYDAY.

Inconvenience, paperwork, tea and no biccies, it don't matter.

Quite simple really.

bigbusdriver06
16th Oct 2006, 11:38
Late developer,

I would like to apologise on behalf of just a few of my "professional" colleagues who are so arrogant as to think a passenger's views are worthless. It doesn't matter what the truth is (and to your credit you are pretty near it), it's your perception as a customer that matters.

Fact: The beancounters want us to carry less fuel, even in poor weather. You as a passenger don't like it and would prefer an airline that carries more.

If we carry more fuel you might have to pay a bit more for your ticket, that's the only apparent consequence. Unfortunately the eventual actual consequence is that the responsible airline goes bust through being uncompetitive and the disreputable airline just carries on with min fuel - except you no longer have a choice.

PPRuNe Radar
16th Oct 2006, 12:25
I-FORD

Whilst on the face of it what you say has some merit, how do we in ATC deal with the fact that, with the advent of low cost operators having a major market share, almost every aircraft is probably in the postion of being able to declare 'minimum fuel advisory' ? Which puts us back to square 1.

Once one pilot uses it and jumps the queue (for that is what will happen), then everyone will work it out and use the same ruse. No emergency declared, no paperwork and no justification required to be given to anyone afterwards, and a chance to get ahead of everyone else. It's a winner !!

It is for precisely those reasons that the UK did away with non emergency fuel priorities, simply because too many operators were sailing too close to the wind and pulling the 'we'll have to divert if we can't be number 1' card. If you genuinely can't hold, or can only hold for a maximum number of minutes, then tell us. Call a PAN if you're not critical yet (but will possibly be if holding for a while), or a MAYDAY if things are getting desperate and you really need to get on the ground. Then the waves will part and you'll get the priority you deserve. The ATC system is geared up to deal with things which disrupt the efficient flows, it's part of our training, and second nature (mainly because our plans are changing tactically all the time anyway due to 1001 different things). You can learn the lessons once on the ground safely..... and worry about any 'inquest' then.

Since I practice my black arts in both an en route and terminal environment, I have experience in most phases of flight.

In the en route arena, I'd say you can advise that you might be tight without going to the PAN or MAYDAY route, since it may be possible to give you a more efficient flight profile (level or speed) which does not involve any queue jumping in any form. Doing that early may just give you a fuel saving which is the difference you need. And the workload involved on the ATC side is likely to be minimal.

But once you get in to the terminal area, it's probably too late to do anything worthwhile unless you are looking for us to give you priority. Sequences will be set up, holds will have traffic feeding in to them in an ordered manner, speed restrictions will be in force, level restrictions will be required. All things which might cause you delay and increased fuel burn. ATC (at least in the UK) is 'first come-first served'. It's the method which gives us the easiest life ;) and it's also the fairest. Of course we'll put that to one side if someone is in need and has a situation which necessitates the quickest approach possible. But you'll need to have legitimate reasons and make the appropriate status call to do so. It leaves no one in any doubt about the situation, both on the ground and in the air.

Blurring things with talk about 'fuel minimums' to ATC can introduce confusion and uncertainty. Different operators have different definitions, different aviation authorities have different requirements, none of which the ATCO has any knowledge of, so how can we be expected to decide upon the ramifications and the actual need for priority ? It's the commanders decision and theirs alone to decide whether their aircraft can be operated safely, or if risk margins are being reduced such that they need the help of us on the ground to help resolve it. The recognised way to get that help is to make the call - PAN or MAYDAY.

late developer
16th Oct 2006, 15:52
I do like the references to pop into the likes of cardiff,chuck on a few tons of fuel and away you go.It doesnt work! Land and you are stuffed,nothing happens until at least 8am.I know, l have done it,pax home by bus etc.Well if you are referring to my post then I am glad you liked it! In my post I was making a report of my one and only transatlantic inbound flight - of fifteen years ago. Not sure what time of the morning it was but it was early October 1991 and it wasn't dark when we landed at Cardiff. We wondered then if buses would be rolled out, but they weren't. A few tonnes of fuel were indeed chucked on and away we indeed did go! The logistics might not work that way now. But that's the way it did then.
Late developer,
I would like to apologise on behalf of just a few of my "professional" colleagues who are so arrogant as to think a passenger's views are worthless. It doesn't matter what the truth is (and to your credit you are pretty near it), it's your perception as a customer that matters.Thank you BBD06 but you don't need to apologise - just please try to influence your peers so they don't practice too much of what they see preached here sometimes! Of course I am pretty near the truth - because it doesn't take an ATPL to see it. I am not so green as I am cabbage-looking!

sidtheesexist
16th Oct 2006, 18:15
Coracle...

The pilot is a very well paid, highly skilled person..

Hear, hear anotherthing, tho' I would suggest 'very' is inappropriate for most of us, and in my case, the 'highly' most definitely IS!! Seriously though, I doubt that many of 'our' beancounter managers view us in a similar light - and what of the travelling public too - do many just view us as glorified bus drivers??

A very interesting thread and I think I'm gonna have to dive into the manuals and brush up on one or two items.....

On the subject of expressing one's opinion - well I am often surprised at the 'conviction' with which some contributors post comments - and also the manner with which other's points are dismissed........I know that as pilots we are by nature quite a self-confident and outgoing bunch, but there is a fine line between an excess of confidence and downright arrogance. :)

A330busdriver
18th Oct 2006, 01:01
Recently a good friend of mine was promoted in a LO-CO. This paticular lo-co has a leaderboard in their operations department with the rankings of the most fuel efficeint captains. I think this is deplorable and amounts to little else other than pressure on crews who wish to carry above minimum flight plan fuel on any given occasion.

Some of the "advice" my friend was given during his command training in realtion to fuel, and delays (in the London TMA in paticular) was to declare a medical emergency if things were looking iffy, on the basis that such declarations are always granted and rarely ever followed up. On the other hand, PANs and Maydays are.

spekesoftly
18th Oct 2006, 01:53
Some of the "advice" my friend was given during his command training in realtion to fuel, and delays (in the London TMA in paticular) was to declare a medical emergency if things were looking iffy, on the basis that such declarations are always granted and rarely ever followed up. On the other hand, PANs and Maydays are.

Perhaps you should point out to your "friend" that wasting the time of the Ambulance Service, on a bogus medical emergency call-out, isn't very clever. :hmm:

411A
18th Oct 2006, 07:15
I knew it.
Let the discussion go on long enough, and the ahhhh, 'min fuel at any cost' folks will come out of the woodwork, then find ways to manipulate the 'system'.
Now, QF and MAS were found out, but of course they are not British airlines.

I wonder....who's next?:uhoh:

HEATHROW DIRECTOR
18th Oct 2006, 08:13
<<Some of the "advice" my friend was given during his command training in realtion to fuel, and delays (in the London TMA in paticular) was to declare a medical emergency if things were looking iffy>>

One particular airline did that with such regularity that they were tumbled. I flew with that airline from Los Angeles to Heathrow a little later and a pax was taken quite ill. Incredibly we held for 20 minutes so the crew must have had the frighteners!

I can only ever recall Virgin and BA being short of fuel, never any other airlines. Is this still the case nowadays??

120.4
18th Oct 2006, 08:42
A330Bus

Identifying the lo-co in question would enable ATC to follow up every medical emergency they declare and that should stop the abuse. :=

HD

To be fair, bearing in mind that between them BA and VIR have about 45% of the slots into Heathrow, I guess it might appear that they have more occurrances than other carriers. BA still ran Captains league table as recently as 18 months or so ago. (They say they didn't but I know they did, cos I saw the books.) I understood that the CAA had outlawed such things?

.4

Over+Out
18th Oct 2006, 09:04
With reference to A330busdriver , 'medical emergency', is the same as 'fuel emergency'. It is not recognised in the UK.
For a no delay priority approach you have to declare either a PAN or a MAYDAY.
If you say to me 'fuel or medical emergency', I will say to you something like ''roger, what are your intentions?'' or '' Do you wish to decare a PAN?''

Carnage Matey!
18th Oct 2006, 09:31
Sssshhh......you'll spoil 411As great conspiracy/cover-up theory.

shack
18th Oct 2006, 10:02
<<I can only ever recall Virgin and BA being short of fuel, never any other airlines. Is this still the case nowadays??>>


Come, come Bren you must remember the trouble we had with the Aeroflot TU 104s, which led to a dipping of their fuel tanks!

cwatters
18th Oct 2006, 10:22
Sounds like the answer is to hit them where it hurts. Dip anyone who declares a fuel emergency plus a few arrivals selected at random. Anyone declaring a fuel emergency get double landing fees with a right of appeal.

L337
18th Oct 2006, 11:01
cwatters: 4 posts up it says 'medical emergency', is the same as 'fuel emergency'. It is not recognised in the UK.
For a no delay priority approach you have to declare either a PAN or a MAYDAY.
If you say to me 'fuel or medical emergency', I will say to you something like ''roger, what are your intentions?'' or '' Do you wish to decare a PAN?''

cwatters
18th Oct 2006, 18:46
Yes, I wasn't just thinking of the UK though.

Actually having thought about it a bit more.. I agree. It's either an emergency or it isn't. Not being able to hold is one step along the road to a potentially more serious problem.

FlyGooseFly!
18th Oct 2006, 23:42
......I know that as pilots we are by nature quite a self-confident and outgoing bunch, but there is a fine line between an excess of confidence and downright arrogance. :)

I was once told by a true captain of industry - if you have someone is very good in a crisis - get rid of him because while he's with you - you'll always have one.

Now, this quip was meant for normal business operations rather than heavy drivers and I certainly wouldn't want to be in the choosing seat myself BUT!

As we rapidly approach the technical sophistication that marginalises the pilot to the guy that takes the blame when the thing crashes more than any functionality - the justification for the flight crew being there is for passenger comfort and assurance - however; I'm constantly amazed by the behavior of crew (particularly long served pilots ) that when faced with the very scenario the passengers hope to avoid by having a human doing the driving - they normally screw up.

We've had guys land on motorways after turning a working engine off, others taking off on a short dark runway when a lit up one was in sight and the one that tops the lot - the guy that took off into a landing flight because he was anxious to keep his slot and get home for his weekend off.

Carnage Matey!
18th Oct 2006, 23:49
Ok so thats three incidents. Now how about all the guys who've saved the aircraft when the technology has fouled up? Perhaps you don't hear about them because there isn't a smoking hole in the ground to film.

As we rapidly approach the technical sophistication that marginalises the pilot to the guy that takes the blame when the thing crashes more than any functionality

Really? I've flown some pretty whizz bang technology but I wouldn't say we were anywhere close to that level of sophistication. I usually find that the people who believe we are approaching such a level of sophistication usually don't fly the things and understand what they can and cannot do. I like to point them in the direction of that most advanced of UAVs, the Global Hawk, and remind them of how that has faired in Afghanistan. I believe it was three deployed and two destroyed. Do you fancy those sort of odds next time you go flying?

A330busdriver
19th Oct 2006, 01:34
I can't say much other that the operator concerned is a large airline, but is not UK based. I applaud the NATS for their manner in only providing priority to aircraft declaring a Pan or Mayday. There is far too much pressure in some airlines on crews to take minimal fuel even when common sense or local knowledge would suggest the prudent option would be to take increased fuel. It has happened to me in the past, and I know I 'm not the only one, where we've had another aircraft jump the arrival sequence due to a low fuel situation. In effect, these crews have managed to get to their destination on other crews holding fuel.

If the UK procedure of declaring a Pan or Mayday was more widely adopted it would help crews in airlines that fudge fuel issues.

DownIn3Green
19th Oct 2006, 03:45
Has anyone thought of this as a CRM thing?

When I was a new (less than 100 hrs in seat) F/O on the 727 for some reason we had a brand new (less than 100 hrs with the airline) F/E and a highly experienced Captain. (over 8,000 total hrs as PIC of jet transports)

However, he had less than 200 hrs on the 727.

We were headed from ATL to DCA, but because of weather we ended up holding near Richmond, VA.

Being primed for the standard ???'s via CRM, we all tried to agree on what fuel we had to leave the hold with.

After about 45 minutes, we reached that level, which by the way was higher than it needed to be if push came to shove, but while I was trying to get ATC to send us to Norfolk or Richmond and they kept giving us the old "stand=by", the Captain was communicating with Company via ARINC.

After 5 minutes or so he asked why we were still in the hold, with 200 lbs above our "CRM" decided comfort fuel, and I said I couldn't get a clearance anywhere.

He said, and I'll never forget this, "Turn to 240 and declare an emergency, tell 'em we're going to Richmond."

Could we have held longer...knowing what I do now, yes. With greenhorns in each of his 2 other seats, the wx doggie do-do all along the east coast, did that Captain make the right decision? YES.

Sooner or later that VS Captain has to make his first "solo" across the pond.

Sounds like good judgement to me.....

captted
19th Oct 2006, 04:10
Many years ago while I was flying left seat on the MD-80 for NWA we were trying to get into DTW. The clouds were loaded with water and it was cold enough to make ice with lumps. We were going downwind for an ILS approach folllowing a long line trying to get on the localizer for the approach. If we could climb just 1000 ft, we would be out of it, but the controllers, sitting in a nice room would not let us climb. We finally got into our slot and were tracking inbound, came almost to the outer marker when I heard British Air asking for a priority approach as they were icing up and needed down right now. The controller turned all of us on approach to get in line for another approach, I am trying to get in the communication, but can't. To say the least, I was very mad and that is putting mildly. We again had to fly out bound and get in another line for the approach, all this time we are packing ice. When we got on the ground, I went to our operations and called the tower to get that controller that did this to us. He said, "If you wanted to get in first you should have asked for priority. That is what the British guy did and he got away with it. I wouldn't have done that to all the guys in front of me. I finally got in touch with the British captain, he appoligized saying he has never seen that much ice on his airiplane and didn't know what else to do. Guess he never flew around the Great Lakes in the winter. Anyway, we don't use the priority, emergency because we don't want to fill all that paperwork and we don't want our fellow pilots to think we got into a situation that required the help on the ground. Well, I can tell you, I learned from the day, I use priority when ever I think it will make my flight safer. That is what it is for. Ted Wirch

scroggs
19th Oct 2006, 09:54
I can only ever recall Virgin and BA being short of fuel, never any other airlines. Is this still the case nowadays??

This reads to me as though you are trying to suggest that BA and Virgin use (or abuse) lower fuel minima than other airlines operating at Heathrow. Forgive me if I have misinterpreted you, but, while I can't speak for BA's crews, I can categorically assure you that I am under no pressure to land with dangerously low levels of fuel. The minima that Virgin use are in excess of those mandated by ICAO and the CAA, and may be augmented as the Captain sees fit.

Circumstances can conspire to upset a perfectly acceptable and conservative fuel plan, and, as someone else has pointed out, arriving in the South-East Approaches after a very long sea crossing leaves one vulnerable to those circumstantial upsets. It is patently not sensible to carry fuel for every conceivable contingency - otherwise we'd never get airborne with less than full tanks, and we'd limit our maximum range to something ridiculous! Every fuel plan is a compromise between comfort, speed, time, cost and efficiency. As in all things, sometimes plans go wrong - and, though rarely, sometimes they go dreadfully - and unforeseeably - wrong. That's why we, and ATC, have procedures to deal with that eventuality. The procedures were exercised satisfactorily on this occasion, and the mandatory investigation will determine whether there are lessons to be learned from the circumstances and actions taken on that day, and will publish those lessons.

Until the facts are known in full, perhaps the armchair aviators - particularly those for whom an armchair is the nearest they ever get to commanding a large jet transport aircraft - will withold from casting aspersions about the crew involved.

HEATHROW DIRECTOR
19th Oct 2006, 10:02
<<This reads to me as though you are trying to suggest that BA and Virgin use (or abuse) lower fuel minima than other airlines operating at Heathrow. Forgive me if I have misinterpreted you, but, while I can't speak for BA's crews, I can categorically assure you that I am under no pressure to land with dangerously low levels of fuel. The minima that Virgin use are in excess of those mandated by ICAO and the CAA, and may be augmented as the Captain sees fit.>>

Scroggs.. . I made the statement recalling experience, but others have already disputed what I said and I accept that.

Edited to add: Before anyone jumps to conclusions - I have every confidence in the airlines I mentioned and fly with them both and no slur was intended..

Cuillin
12th Jul 2007, 12:30
AAIB (very short) report here

http://www.aaib.dft.gov.uk/cms_resources/Boeing%20747-443,%20G-VROM%2007-07.pdf

Is it me or are the AAIB getting a bit confused with Final Reserve Fuel and the definition of Alternate Holding Fuel?

If he can't make it into Gatwick with 7.4 tonnes of fuel the he should be on his way to Heathrow.

If he thinks Heathrow is going to be a problem at that time of the day then he should have taken sufficient fuel to divert somewhere further away. ie Cardiff/Birmingham.

The figure of 3.9 tonnes is the absolute minimum he should be landing at Heathrow with.

Are Virgin allowed to eat into their alternate holding fuel while still at destination?

What would he have done if the aircraft ahead of him at Gatwick had burst a tyre and blocked the runway? He would have landed at Heathrow with less than Final Reserve Fuel. Mayday would definitely be required at that point.

ATC responded exactly as you would expect them to in response to the ''Mayday' and are faultless. Otherwise it was an abuse of the 'Mayday' rules and involved a lot of queue jumping of arriving aircraft to Gatwick.

Sounds like it was company expedient and cost the rest of us who were held up the time and delay cost (we were sat at the holding point for 26L while all this was going on).

haughtney1
12th Jul 2007, 12:52
Having spoken to a couple of ATCO's who work these sectors, I wonder what the comment
he
decided to declare an emergency for an approach to
his primary destination. This was in accordance with
his company procedures but a ‘Pan’ call, rather than a
‘Mayday’ would have been more appropriate.
from AAIB, means to you guys...the impression given to me was that in the instance of a fuel shortage, all a PAN will do is let the controller know that it is a matter of urgency..and that declaring a MAYDAY was their preferred response as it gives no room for ambiguity.
Avianca springs to mind in the sense that when we are short of a bit of fuel...I'm certain I would want to convey that message in as a concise and recognised way possible.

Cuillin
12th Jul 2007, 13:03
PAN call to be made if you may land with less than Final Reserve Fuel.

MAYDAY call to be made if you will land with less then Final Reserve Fuel.

Under normal circumstances this would apply as you are on your way to your alternate.

haughtney1
12th Jul 2007, 13:35
Cuillin, I wish I worked for your company....all those pesky fuel decisions are so easy:hmm:
the use of MAY leaves it open to interpretation, until such time as you WILL, afterall, how do you know what ATC are going to do with you?

Cuillin
12th Jul 2007, 14:25
Haughtney

The guy wasn't short of fuel - he had more than enough to safely divert to his alternate - he just didn't want to go there. It was a nice day and he had a few things go against him - a normal day at work. Hardly comparable to Avianca. He wasn't just about to drop out of the sky.

I am not quite sure what you are getting at. I answered the question you raised.
He arrived at his destination with less than the required fuel at destination (despite a priority approach), had no ability to hold at destination, therefore, he should have diverted (safely & legally).

Everybody else got it right that day (and got delayed) - why couldn't he?

haughtney1
12th Jul 2007, 15:05
What I'm trying to say is....put yourself in his shoes for a second..you seem to be quite happy to condemn this guy with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight..because it would appear that you are miffed at being delayed.

The report highlights a combination of factors, all of which conspired to put these guys a bit short..and are you telling me that you've NEVER been a bit tight on gas?
I can't fault the decision in any real sense, yet you give the impression that because everyone else had no problems..it is perfectly acceptable to have a pop at someone who did. It is very easy to point the finger after the fact.

Cuillin
12th Jul 2007, 15:53
Haughtney.

Of course we have all been a bit short at times and done the normal thing - use airmanship, command skills, divert if necessary.

I am not hanging anyone out to dry or using twenty twenty hindsight - I was there, listening in to part of it and we have an AAIB report available. Are you sanctioning that we all use the technique of calling Mayday every time we reach a minimum fuel figure at destination such that we avoid a diversion? As to the wisdom of arriving in the London TMA on a weekday morning with less than zero destination holding fuel then that is another argument.

The Mayday should have come as he went around at Gatwick (destination) and reckoned that he was less than Final Reserve at Heathrow (alternate). If he had any doubts about what he was letting himself into then he should have diverted en route at an earlier stage. Many people were delayed both inbound and outbound that morning to allow the Virgin to make his priority approach.

From your comments I cannot make out if you are ATC, a Virgin employee or someone that is not 100% up to speed on fuel planning and the rules that go with it.

My last comment as I look forward to other people's opinions of the report.

Airbrake
12th Jul 2007, 16:01
Cuillin you are wrong to say he should have diverted.
If the airfield is open and weather suitable (as in this case) only a fool would set off on a diversion to intensionally make a low fuel situation more critical by burning your alternate fuel.
Given that LHR and LGW would both be likely to be suffering from delays just declare a PAN/Mayday as appropriate, get on with the approach and make a note to carry more fuel next time.
The only time this would not be sensible is if the weather is marginal at your destination and your alternate is better (which it always should be). In this case landing is not assured at your destination and you should have been on your way to to your alternate sometime ago!

haughtney1
12th Jul 2007, 16:27
From your comments I cannot make out if you are ATC, a Virgin employee or someone that is not 100% up to speed on fuel planning and the rules that go with it.

Nope not ATC, nor a virgin employee, and I'm fully conversant with the JAR OPS fuel planning minima, and the relevant CAA planning requirements required for the London TMA during "peak times of congestion"
Are you sanctioning that we all use the technique of calling Mayday every time we reach a minimum fuel figure at destination such that we avoid a diversion?
No I didn't say that.....and I am taking issue with your comments relating to "delaying others", and that you feel the guys on this occasion got it wrong. Furthermore, are you suggesting that the Virgin crew declared a Mayday to avoid a diversion? If so, I'd like to see some evidence to back that up.
Your statement also suggests that you would have considered a better course of action to be to head off to LHR (at possibly the worst time of the day) burning your diversion fuel..then declaring a MAYDAY due to low fuel.
IMHO, I would be happier to land sooner rather than later(at an airfield i can see is open and available), with more of a margin in hand..than perhaps to diligently follow a course of action that whilst legal in the strictest sense..is a reciepe for opening a can of worms, but then that may be a "cultural" or "organisational" difference between you and I Cuillin.
If he had any doubts about what he was letting himself into then he should have diverted en route at an earlier stage
I agree, but then neither of us were there....and the AAIB haven't seen fit to mention it..so from a regulators perspective, its a non-issue.

Cuillin
12th Jul 2007, 18:18
I suggest guys that you read the previous 7 pages on this subject and see what the majority of people's views are on this one.

I wouldn't expect to have to depend on LHR as a diversion either.

I assume from your comments then Virgin are allowed to eat into their alternate holding fuel at destination.

This 'event' should have been sorted out long before he got to GWC. He would have been well within range of a number of fuel stops while inbound ie Shannon, Cardiff etc.

There was nothing technically wrong with the aircraft and the weather was fine.

The one person who had got his fuel calculations wrong (and would be aware of lack of tailwinds, re-routings as a possibility) got a direct approach to Gatwick while everybody else (who had taken sensible amounts of fuel to allow for various possibilities) were delayed because of him. He was either unlucky or got it wrong so he was the one that should have taken the hit (a diversion).

There seems to be no serious pressure from Virgin on their crews in respect of fuel decisions so why did he leave it so tight?

There doesn't seem to be any cover in your arguments for the 'what ifs' that are included in any sensible command decision.

I would like to think that this crew won't get themselves into this situation again.

TopBunk
12th Jul 2007, 18:27
Cuillin

Your posts are absolute twaddle!

What the aircraft commander did on the day was absolutely correct (with the possible choice of the the 'Mayday' word viz 'Pan'). I would have done the same thing.

Before you ask, no, I do not work for VS but BA, and likewise command a B747. Your signature gives no clue as to your profession, what is it?

[Edited to add: 100% hindsight is easy, foresight is an art and fallible]

Cuillin
12th Jul 2007, 18:44
If they are absolute twaddle then you frighten me, Topbunk.

javelin
12th Jul 2007, 19:00
With his knowledge that he would probably encounter
another delay at the alternate airfield of Heathrow, he
decided to declare an emergency for an approach to
his primary destination. This was in accordance with
his company procedures but a ‘Pan’ call, rather than a
‘Mayday’ would have been more appropriate.

This kind of sums it up - it worked on the day but for future reference, a PAN would have worked better.

Been there, lost tailwind, New York refused levels, etc etc. My approach is to let Shannon know on VHF that your fuel state is on minima, they pass it to London or Manchester with 40 minutes notice and the rest is usually seamless professional vectoring.

I have landed on minima 3 or 4 times, below minima with seperated runways twice, it is not pleasant, but the ATC guys will bend over backwards to help a genuine problem. Naturally, the first call is to the watch supervisor with a big thankyou.

I guess it makes the CRM lectures worthwhile :ok:

TopBunk
12th Jul 2007, 19:04
Cuillan

If they are absolute twaddle then you frighten me, Topbunk.

If your knowledge of procedure is as you suggest, then your lack of knowledge frightens me:yuk:

Cuillin
12th Jul 2007, 20:03
Topbunk

Sounds like the same attitude that a certain captain in your company took when he landed Concorde on fumes at LHR. If it all goes swimmingly then hardly anybody notices - when things go against you they go wrong big time.

Virgin had a very compliant and able London ATC to back them up. I have listened (albeit some time ago) to a TWA 747 waiting for 30 minutes in the Merue hold at CDG for a diversion clearance. His voice was going up several octaves every time he spoke.

Oh, by the way, current heavy Boeing Captain and 10 years in NATS ATC as a fully validated controller. Air Law studied to a far higher degree than the UK ATPL Air Law exam.

If it was such a non event then why did he declare a mayday and why is it subject to an AAIB report?

120.4
13th Jul 2007, 09:32
Cuillin

Check your PMs

.4

Captain Sensible
13th Jul 2007, 16:41
Always planning to arrive at LHR in a 744 with never less than 25,000 lbs, which includes 20 mins holding at LHR, on a nice day with Stansted as diversion, one day last year after 25 minutes holding, had to Go Around with one on not clearing, had such a warm fuzzy feeling going downwind that I had in fact arrived in the Hold as planned with 30,000 lbs. But then my operation allows me to do that, so maybe I'm lucky that I'm usually free of the extraordinary stress that many pilots have to suffer because of their company's minimum fuel policies. The worst times I think I had was trying to stretch Dan Air 727's LGW to Tenerife using ERA's all over the place, No 7, say, on approach, when you knew there were at least the same number holding at the diversion, say Las Palmas. Crazy! When the APU flames out taxying in as I believed happened to a Far East 744 operator, it was time for the CAA to take an interest, which it did I believe, after some 10 documented incidents of their arriving at LHR with below minimum fuel.

411A
13th Jul 2007, 19:10
...the British airlines inbound to LHR/LGW carry enough fuel, not 'just' what's required, but a sufficient amount to actually make a difference.

And, not lie about what fuel remains, to achieve a commercial advantage.

Oh gosh...some do?

What an absolute surprise....:}:rolleyes::zzz:

Carnage Matey!
13th Jul 2007, 22:25
I see 411A has popped up at last. Dunno what took you so long as this is one of your pet subjects, although I seem to recall that last time this came up you could offer no evidence of a British carrier cheating to achieve commercial advantage. Found any yet, or can we file this one away with the others?

haughtney1
13th Jul 2007, 22:31
Good Ole' 411, at least hes consistent:} You could rely on the man to p*ss you off each AND every time:8

Carnage Matey!
13th Jul 2007, 22:45
If it was such a non event then why did he declare a mayday and why is it subject to an AAIB report?

Well as the report indicates, his company procedures required him to declare an emergency if he thought his fuel would fall below CMR, which he evidently did. OK he declared a Mayday instead of a Pan but anyone can make a mistake. If you've studied air law to such a high level then I am surprised you are unaware that all fuel related emergencies are investigated in the UK.

I'd love to know which outfit you fly for if they consider it sound commercial sense to divert to SNN or CWL to refuel on the basis that you might get 10 mins holding at LGW which might take you close to your reserves.

Gonzo
13th Jul 2007, 23:19
May I recommend the ignore function?

120.4
13th Jul 2007, 23:32
CM

I do understand the pressures that you chaps operate under.

Could I just say that anybody who doesn't expect to get at least 10 minutes delay at either KK or LL during the early morning peak period is being rather optimistic.

Without wishing to judge: It seems to me that if one is told the delay will be 10 minutes and one doesn't have fuel for that, then it follows that if you continue to destination you know an emergency will have to be declared to get in legally. This suggests that whilst this crew may have acted completely within the law they showed little regard for their fellow aviators, who suffered as a result.

If my understanding of the facts is correct then whilst there may be a legal defence, there is no moral one - The day all captains behave like that there will literally be Carnage Matey!

.4

Carnage Matey!
14th Jul 2007, 00:00
One always should expect 20 minutes delay at LHR, the CAA tell us that. I regularly bump on a bit of extra fuel to ensure I have an appropriate amount of fuel to cover delays at the peak period and have landed with over 20T when the delays did not materialise. No embarassment felt or necessary. Those 'no delay' days do occur, so if events conspire to leave me with a little less fuel than I would prefer after crossing the pond and the weather is forecast CAVOK everywhere in the London TMA I am going to have to think very carefully before I divert on just the possibility that I may be delayed longer than I can accept. It would be a very short chat in the office if I lobbed into Cardiff, thus terminating the flight 100+ miles from destination, only to find that there was no actual delay into LHR or LGW!

The day when everybody carries little or no contingency fuel is not going to happen as the CAA will nail the practice, as they did with a certain Asian airline. However even the CAA recognise that a blanket 20 mins delay is rather a blunt tool for the operators who are based at LHR and permit the carriage of statistical contingency fuel, which is based on actual achieved fuel performance. Carrying 20 mins of holding fuel for an 05:00 arrival at LHR is a waste of time and money, which the stats reflect, but carrying 30 mins for the morning rush is prudent, which the stats also reflect. Arriving on fumes is an experience largely restricted to long haul aircraft when good weather prevails as they are the only ones subject to prolonged, sub-optimal performance. Short haulers simply aren't exposed to lower levels and speed restrictions long enough to get into that position. When bad weather prevails everyone sticks on a lot more fuel and it's a whole different ball game. I doubt many long haul crews would actually look upon this incident as an attempt to cheat the system. They are more likely to recognise it as the inevitable consequence of the system everybody uses.

120.4
14th Jul 2007, 10:22
CM

You make some fair points.

I am guessing that if you are going to div to FF then your TOD will be about 250nm west of London? - about 35 minutes from KK? At this range the anticipated arrival delay is becoming quite reliable, although perhaps slightly less so at Gatwick than Heathrow because KK is a mixed-mode operation and one can never be certain what departure demand will materialise (but early in the morning there is sure to be some).

Nonetheless, at 35 minutes from WILLO you would presumably know without doubt what your fuel would be at WILLO? Does it not follow that if at this point you are told that the delay will be 10 minutes, you must know for certain whether you have it covered or not? If the answer to that question is "no", then it must further follow that 35 minutes before you get to WILLO you know you are going to have to jump the queue to get in with destination fuel on board? To press on at that point, on the basis that the delay may not materialise seems to me to be an unreasonable thing to do.

I have difficulty accepting that this crew didn't know they had less fuel than the reported delay at some considerable distance before WILLO. To me that suggests one thing - Divert. Unless, of course, you are permitted to burn your diversion fuel in the WILLO hold on the basis that a landing is assured? but at a single runway airport? :hmm:

Is that logic correct?

.4

Carnage Matey!
14th Jul 2007, 10:52
Thanks to the wonders of the modern FMC you will probably know your fuel at WILLO some 6 hours prior. The problem is you won't know the delay at LGW (or at LHR) until 20 mins prior to the holding fix at the earliest, which is some time after top of descent. It is rare to be passed holding information at any great distance from LHR for sure. Although the delay information may be well known and promulgated withing the ATC system, that info doesn't necessarily reach us in the cockpit in a timely fashion.

The problem with the FF diversion is that you will be starting your descent somewhere over Shannon. I've never heard delay information for London being passed that far west, so essentially you're taking a punt on initiating a diversion on a best guess as to holding delays. You are (in my airline at least) permitted to burn your diversion fuel at WILLO in order to absorb the holding delay subject to certain conditions. Bear in mind that there are few two runway airfields in the UK and the fuel policy must cover operations to single runway airfields. If you are at Edinburgh with reserves plus diversion fuel, told to expect 10 mins delay, then divert to Glasgow, arriving with just reserves, at which airport would you have been in the better fuel situation?

120.4
14th Jul 2007, 11:20
CM

Okay, understood. This suggests we need to get the forecast delay information out earlier. During peak periods the EAT guy at Heathrow is working on the delays out to about 30 minutes in advance and this is normally stable (I accept not quite so at KK). In the pipeline for Mixed-mode is an arrival manager that should provide accurate information significantly further out than present. In the meantime we seem to be left in a position where this kind of occurrence will continue for as long as crews take an optimistic view on arrival delays.

At KK, where arrival delays are less stable, perhaps an early call to TC from OPs so that the EAT guy can be constantly monitoring the situation and report back when it becomes clear delay will exceed endurance. As I said in an earlier post, BA were often on to us when the Conc was just airborne out of Barbados saying it was going to be tight. During EATs we often ask traffic what their endurance is so that we know how close they are to a div; this enables us to tell them early if it looks like they aren't going to make it.

.4

haughtney1
14th Jul 2007, 11:25
Beautifully put Carnage, one of the best posts on here:ok:
your comment
If you are at Edinburgh with reserves plus diversion fuel, told to expect 10 mins delay, then divert to Glasgow, arriving with just reserves, at which airport would you have been in the better fuel situation?
Sums it up perfectly for me, sure, you can blast of to your diversion airfield and be PERFECTLY legal arriving with just a final reserve...however it is a far far better thing IMHO to have a bit of fuel in hand and commit to an airfield that is open and available.
This point seems to be lost on many here..as is the fact that we normally get the delay info about 2-3 minutes before the holding fix.

At KK, where arrival delays are less stable, perhaps an early call to TC from OPs so that the EAT guy can be constantly monitoring the situation and report back when it becomes clear delay will exceed endurance.

.4, how early would this delay info be passed on?
The best I've had was last year when there was a bit of fog about..we got the holding delay as we were inbound to BEXIL, which was about 10 minutes after TOD.

BOAC
14th Jul 2007, 11:44
This point seems to be lost on many here.. - what is also 'lost' on many here is that the RECOMMENDATION is to arrive with 20 mnutes holding at LGW at that time of day. This crew did not have that, and that would have been obvious to them for a long time. They took a 'punt' at it (don't we all?), got it wrong, and delayed other aircraft. No, it was not 'dangerous', there was no 'emergency' - just not good planning.

Personally in that situation I would reckon a PAN to LHR (with 2 runways) from the hold would have been the safest option just in case LGW (1 runway) became unusable. /Personally. A g/a on short finals and we would be looking at a different report. What VA management would have made of that I know not.

All this discussion of late has been about what to do when you get to the hold, when in fact the 'error' was made well before and the gamble only 'paid off' at the inconvenience of others.

411A
14th Jul 2007, 12:17
- what is also 'lost' on many here is that the RECOMMENDATION is to arrive with 20 mnutes holding at LGW at that time of day. This crew did not have that...
And, just how long has this been in the notams?
15 years?
20?
Certainly a very long time, yet it is mainly British airlines who have these fuel problems...others abide by the rules, and stick to the plot.

It would appear that from some of the comments here, that many believe...'well, we work for a Brit airline, so we can get away with low fuel on arrival, the others be damned.'

That smokin' hole is getting ever closer.

Danny
14th Jul 2007, 12:22
This crew did not have that, and that would have been obvious to them for a long time.
Not necessarily so. On long haul flights, any 'extra' fuel taken on in anticipation of the 20 minute holding at destination can easily be used up if you do not get the optimum levels or the winds are incorrectly forecast or you have to do a lot of unexpected vectoring around weather that wasn't forecast.

Most of the time you get near enough to the levels that you want and as long as the forecast winds are reasonably accurate you will not have a problem. However, there are occasions when everything conspires against you and it will not be until fairly late into the flight that you will have a clear idea whether your fuel situation will be critical.

If the reported incident had been a regular occurrence, I could have understood the criticisms being bandied about by a few posters on here. However, considering that this was an isolated incident, I think that some of the comments based on 20/20 hindsight are a little off the mark.

By all means, the discussion surrounding the technicalities of calculating fuel loads based on historical data and ways of promulgating expected delays much earlier to the crews is good. It is not very appropriate to compare the differences between a short haul flight and a long haul flight when it comes to any of the numerous vagaries that can take their toll on fuel burn over 8 or more hours.

BOAC
14th Jul 2007, 14:27
any 'extra' fuel taken on in anticipation of the 20 minute holding at destination can easily be used up if you do not get the optimum levels or the winds are incorrectly forecast or you have to do a lot of unexpected vectoring around weather that wasn't forecast. - so, you are saying, that in your experience, it is not unusual to eat all your contingency and start to use up the planned holding fuel? Time to take a little more, I feel, or maybe get Ops to review the airframe fuel burns? I know what I would do. Incidentally, the 'short-haul/long-haul' bit is irrelevant - 5% is 5%, and it is very easy to use all your 150kg contingency on a 1 hour flight just by being held for take-off a few minutes, even without 'wrong levels', 'winds' or 'weather' - and you STILL need 20 minutes holding.

Anyway, as I said, whether they knew 1 hour, 2 hours or 5 hours before, they took a 'punt' at it and got it wrong - I'm sure they would agree? To end any flight on a Mayday due to insufficient fuel is not ideal.

Out Of Trim
14th Jul 2007, 15:09
That smokin' hole is getting ever closer.


I agree; one day the unexpected weather en-route, combined with an incident and lack of contingency fuel will catch out not just the odd flight but, many at the same time all trying to get into LHR, LGW and STN.

Multiple fuel priority maydays and even if all the current runways are available and take-offs cancelled there would be chaos. If the holes in the swiss cheese really started lining up and another incident say LGW runway blocked by a disabled aircraft then someone may not make it! I believe it takes at least 20 minutes to get LGW's emergency runway available.

So where are ATC going to send you - Biggin Hill, Farnborough, Dunsfold, Lasham, Bournemouth, Manston, Southend - Possible lack of Fire Cover at these airfields but you may be lucky and get it down OK.

The lack of runway capacity is a safety factor that should be addressed by the CAA and Government forthwith. In my view it's unsafe that LGW and STN have only one runway for the traffic they're taking and LHR should have at least three now!

I'm sure all the NIMBY noise protesters would prefer the extra runways to getting the out of fuel aircraft instead.

poorwanderingwun
14th Jul 2007, 15:24
Apologies if this has been covered in the interveneing pages but there are a lot of them !
One reason for the arrival fuel being what it was is given as less than expected tail-winds... in my airline days factoring for tail-winds was always a moot point and our SOP's forbade it except for very high f'cast numbers... anyone know what the current practise is for Virgin.. or any other major ?

120.4
14th Jul 2007, 15:50
"The lack of runway capacity is a safety factor that should be addressed by the CAA and Government forthwith. In my view it's unsafe that LGW and STN have only one runway for the traffic they're taking and LHR should have at least three now!"

Absolutely spot on. The policy of "best use" of existing infrastructure is a major risk to safe air navigation and needs to be voiced as such by the industry.

BOAC is right too. Gambling on arrival delays is inappropriate here.
Another consideration is that every fuel PAN means 15nm of sterilised runway. This equates to 5 movements and brings everybody else's fuel calculations into doubt.

The LL EAT controller can see out to 250nm - so that's about 30 minutes. High level traffic can be seen before TOD. As soon as the system begins to track an aircraft it is put into the EAT queue in the order relevant to it's stack estimate. During peak periods we then manipulate that for optimum wake vortex. At that point it is clear what the delays are likely to be. Additionally, there are other tools that advise us of 'active demand' for each hour of the day so that even if we cannot say an hour in advance what the exact delay will be we will know how may are going to reach the stacks in that hour.

With this information available, no crew should be having to gamble.

.4

Carnage Matey!
15th Jul 2007, 01:17
Come on now BOAC, make your mind up. First you say:
so, you are saying, that in your experience, it is not unusual to eat all your contingency and start to use up the planned holding fuel? Time to take a little more, I feel, or maybe get Ops to review the airframe fuel burns? I know what I would do.

Then you say:

Incidentally, the 'short-haul/long-haul' bit is irrelevant - 5% is 5%, and it is very easy to use all your 150kg contingency on a 1 hour flight just by being held for take-off a few minutes, even without 'wrong levels', 'winds' or 'weather'

Are you lobbying your Ops people to increase your 150kg contingency fuel? Or do you accept that it's very easy to eat up your contingency fuel (whatever that quantity is) just by being held for take off for a few minutes, or being held down for a few hours? Do you have much experience of 4 engine long haul ops?

BOAC
15th Jul 2007, 09:02
CM:

Q1 Who said I would take 150kg?

Q2 None, but I do not consider the number of engines relevant. Also this 'obsession' with 'hours' again - 5% is 5%

On nearly all my flights, including trans-Atalntic, I have RARELY used all my contingency. I have generally found that wrong winds/levels/routings etc all sort themselves out somewhere in the great 'averaging' scheme. A few have been 'nail-biters' as this one was.

Are you also saying that your '4 engine long-haul' regularly eats up all your contingency?

Cuillin
15th Jul 2007, 11:26
Have watched this discussion for the last few days with interest and it is nice to see (generally) reasoned discussion after the 'flaming' I received a couple of days ago.

I am not going to go over some very well made points in previous posts (particularly ETOPS and 120.8) but as far as I can see this aircraft couldn't have taken any holding into LGW whether it was 2 minutes, 10 minutes or an hour.

The crew would have known this for some time and chose to continue onto destination and arrived at 1000' on finals for 26L (single runway airport) with less than destination arrival fuel. As has been mentioned before everything was on their side but they could easily have been faced with a go-around if the departure ahead had done a rejected take-off/landing aircraft had burst a tyre. They would then be on their way to LHR, in an aircraft burning fuel at a higher rate than a small oil-producing country could make it, expecting to arrive at LHR with less than Final Reserve Fuel.

As has been alluded to by Carnage Matey you would have to have balls of steel to get yourself into this situation at alternate. Further disruption to a hard-worked ATC system as well.

I am guessing there are probably 100+ flights a day coming off the Atlantic into the UK (the majority of which are for the London TMA) and the majority of which are as likely to have suffered the lack of tailwinds/weather avoidance as the Virgin crew had.

I totally agree with other comments in that if we all start putting out requests for priority approaches (with PAN calls) when we reach minimum destination fuel in a busy TMA there is going to be chaos.

If he had tried this in the New York TCA they would have pointed him at the nearest suitable airfield (which more than likely would not have been his destination).

And none of this has anything to do with 20/20 hindsight.

Carnage Matey!
15th Jul 2007, 12:10
BOAC - I am saying my 4-engined operation can easily eat up all it's contingency and more if the ground controllers at JFK or ORD are having a bad hair day. I know that your current employer flies to rather quiet little airfields on the other side of the pond, with minimal airfield delays. You also fly aircraft which cruise slower, so if you are trying to suggest that that experience is representative of trogging across the Atlantic from a busy airfield and held down low and slow then don't, because it isnt.

NigelOnDraft
15th Jul 2007, 12:25
For most of the above posters, we are going over old ground again here... and most with the benfit of 20:20 hindsight and/or different company procedures.

However, the incident happened and the AAIB have investigated and made a conclusion. Their only "criticism", mild IMHO, was but a ‘Pan’ call, rather than a ‘Mayday’ would have been more appropriate.
So further / alternative criticisms are, I believe, unfounded and unwarranted unless the poster(s) are also willing to state that they consider the AAIB wrong :hmm:

NoD

BOAC
15th Jul 2007, 12:32
There is no point in a willy-waving competition here, CM, as Professional Pilots are not particularly impressed by that, and in any case it is obvious yours is bigger and better than mine. The size of your thing or what you do with it makes NO difference to the way fuel should be planned. Matey in his C152 who burns more than he 'needs' is in just as difficult a position as CM in his important big jet, and even me, going to the little sleepy backwater with minimal delays, can and have been held down and slow, (and delayed for departure).

If this 'using all the contingency' is anything like a regular occurrence, we have to hope that you (and your colleagues) are taking extra, or is this the root of the problem? Do I hear some bells ringing in the background....................?

NOD - the AAIB have no remit as far as I know other than 'safety' and there was no 'danger' here as I have said. Most of the 'old ground' here revolves around commercial issues and the effect on other operators. AFAIK no-one is questioning the AAIB report?

SR71
15th Jul 2007, 17:14
Carnage_Matey,
Arrogance is so unbecoming...
I haven't a clue who BOAC is (and notwithstanding the fact you may be best of buddies....) but I'd be surprised if he doesn't make a darn site more fuel decisions than your good self being a short/medium haul pilot, perhaps?
Which means the potential to get it wrong far exceeds the potential of you getting it wrong in your big shiny four-engined monster!
How many sectors do you do a year? 50? 60? 100?
How about 5-600/year for your numerous short-haul colleagues who negotiate the same congested European airfields...
:rolleyes:
Maybe if you read this thread http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?t=280160
JFK wouldn't catch you out so often?
:ok:
However, question for BOAC....
Back in Post #5 you state (discussion about landing with "E" only):
Edit for Blackmail - Case 2 is not normal procedure in the UK. Telling ATC you are committed to LGW will do nothing (in theory). There is a chance the runway can be blocked by an evacuation or tyre burst. Case 3 is not applicable in the UK - in both cases, in the UK, it is Pan or Mayday or just get on with it.
Our OM allow us to burn into our "D" fuel and commit to the destination airfield if three conditions are satisfied, one of which is an EAT.
You suggest this is not standard practise in the UK and is not Virgin SOP?
Is that true?
Comments anyone?

120.4
15th Jul 2007, 17:33
NOD

I understand and agree with what you are saying - that the only valid criticism on legal grounds is the PAN/MAYDAY issue.

Gently I say it, I don't think that is actually the point here. I believe the point is that whilst this may have been legal, it is not an acceptable course of action because it deliberately (i.e. out of choice) uses the system to save the individual having to make a decision he would rather not make. The government have taken a similar view on runway capacity and these "abuses" of the system are not in anybody's interest. I have no desire to criticise the crew, however I think their decision to continue to Gatwick was an error.

.4

411A
15th Jul 2007, 18:52
I have no desire to criticise the crew, however I think their decision to continue to Gatwick was an error.


Very well said, although it is unlikely many here will agree.
Perhaps these folks would rather stick their collective heads firmly in the sand, and just say...'what, me worry?':ugh::ugh:

BOAC
15th Jul 2007, 19:04
SR - yes, that was also BA's 'approved procedure' when I left in 2004 - using LHR as a second runway for LGW and allowing crews to burn down to land with 'E' ('final reserve') fuel as long as:

Wx ok

EAT known

No plausible failures of ground equipment which might preclude a landing at LGW.

Inumerable bright young cadet 'CEO of the future' co-pilots tried to persuade me to do this as I started to mumble into my beard about diverting, until I made them look at the arrival fuel at LHR if you then went round at 3 miles with a blocked runway at LGW, when they went quiet - it was just about enough to cover the fuel pumps. It was indeed item 3 that bothered me at LGW, and I never got an answer from the 'dreamer's in BA as to whether they considered a runway to be necessary ground equipment:ugh:. The point of my 'Edit' was to point out that telling LGW ATC that you are 'committed' meant nothing OFFICIALLY to them (and that when they found out what it meant they might think you should be:)). The runway did not become 'yours' and life went on as normal from the time you 'committed' to the time you landed.

EDIT: To add - I'm not aware of VA's policy on this. You never know, the crew could have been planning on LHR, to be told by OPS there was no way due to manpower or whatever, and it has not been unknown for a crew (NB not VA before I am leapt on!) to do this to highlight an issue.

haughtney1
15th Jul 2007, 19:07
Well I guess we have to agree to disagree....having said that, I agree entirely with the AAIB in the sense that a "PAN" call would have been more appropriate.
Personally would be happier committing to LGW, rather than heading off to LHR, for the reasons I previously highlighted, and I am of the opinion that it is the safer and more prudent option.
My own plan in an instance similar to this (after discussing this very issue with a few guys at west drayton) is to make ATC aware that at time XXXX a fuel PAN will be declared...not strictly Ops manual, but IMHO gives a heads up to the relevant ATC.

BOAC
15th Jul 2007, 19:29
H1 - see posts #70 and #135 too.

haughtney1
15th Jul 2007, 19:45
:ok: cheers BOAC.....I suppose theres only one or two ways to skin a cat:}

SR71
15th Jul 2007, 20:19
BOAC,

No criticism intended here and I, of course, agree that javelin's approach to the problem is a demonstration of how fantastic common-sense can be!

:ok:

The scenario you share with your FO's supposes you've burnt all your D and on finals, your day gets even worse and you're left with the proposition of diverting on E, correct?

The way I look at it, is, once you're into burning D and commiting yourself to a destination airfield, I think you're in non-normal territory. A PAN at this point might be prudent.

Normally, in the neck-of-the-woods where I fly and on my type, D < E. I could still make my normal alternate if that happened to me and have some flex...er, vapour left in the tanks.

I hasten to say that I'd be mighty upset if that happened to me, to say the least.

In the above scenario, for your aircraft type, D was only just less than E, correct?

If D is greater than E, and you've burned all your D, you're going to have to think extremely quickly and find another strip of tarmac somewhere, which may or may not exist....

Cognizant of the relative sizes of D and E (the following won't apply if E is greater than D, obviously - see above), it strikes me that if you're staring the "Should I commit or divert?" proposition in the face, what you need to know is where your EAT is in relation to the point at which your fuel onboard (FOB) is equal to D.

Having made the decision to commit, if you get an EAT which means that, if you commit further, your remaining fuel onboard is going to be less than D (+ whatever "pucker factor fuel" you in particular can handle, call it = D_adjusted), it is at the point that it is equal to D_adjusted you've got a SECOND decision to make...

You've got three options (at least) as I see it...

You're either absolutely ice-cool, and the possibility of the blocked runway scenario you suppose doesn't bother you, so you're willing to commit anyway and accept the given EAT. The PAN is still active but no MAYDAY? Fair play to you. Professional pilots tend not to like options which leave them no escape bar a PFL in Biggin Hill!

You reach D_adjusted (because you're allowed to and you hope your EAT might come forward - not unusual), bottle it, decide to divert, and somewhere along the line, when FOB = E, declare a MAYDAY. Personally, knowing that at some time during my diversion I'm going to reach this point, you might as well declare it at the point you make the decision.

You reach D_adjusted (because you're allowed to and you hope your EAT might come forward - not unusual), bottle it, decide to declare a MAYDAY, in order to accelerate your progress to the destination airfield, although, in this case, you'll probably land with more than E, whereupon strictly, a MAYDAY is not required....well not according to our OM. However, you'll only get the expedited arrival if you DO declare the MAYDAY.

I think that is right anyway....

Makes you think there is more to fuel planning than meets the eye.

I agree that what the regulations permit could potentially lead you down a cul-de-sac, whereupon, the above is a last attempt to ensure you still have more than one option.

:eek:

BOAC
15th Jul 2007, 21:04
H1 - in my opinion that is the ONLY sensible way to skin that particular moggie. As soon as you can see you will be arriving at the hold with 'insufficient' fuel, (and you should get a fair bit of notice), a good Ops cell in your company will be able to look at/talk to ATC and hopefully 'smooth your passage' without noticeable effect on others. I've seen it done many times with tricks like directs/stack swaps and others. ATC have always been brilliant. At least everyone knows in sufficient time rather than a 'shock and awe' tactic.

SR - I'm beginning to loose you there:confused:. I am assuming 'D' is 'div fuel' and 'E' is 'final reserve' in my language? Some typical PLOG figures for a 737-400 with LHR as alt for LGW would be

'D' 9-1000 kg
'E' 1300-1400kg
..so g/a at LGw with 1400kg and burn 1000 on the way:eek: - don't tell the residents around LHR what is coming over their heads shortly!

BA procedures (then, anyway) required NO call to ATC of any sort to carry this out. Somewhere in the annals of PPRune was a thread by 'Antigua', I think, who did notify ATC of his inability to go-round having committed and the result was interesting.

SR71
15th Jul 2007, 22:01
BOAC,

D = Alternate fuel and E = Final Reserve...thats correct.

Your situation at LGW with LHR as the alternate is E > D, so the option of accepting an EAT into LGW which means you burn all your D will still allow you (theoretically or otherwise!) to reach LHR.

Thats a good position to be in....relatively.

However, if D > E, once you've "committed" to LGW, what I am saying is you need to watch what the FOB does as it burns down from D + E to D (not E, although thats what you're allowed to do legally!), because at that point you need to make another, potentially even more important decision, about whether you are going to continue to commit to LGW or go to LHR.

This is the important point in time....even more important than your actual EAT isn't it?

Because at this point in time, if you commit further, you've got only one option.

BOAC
15th Jul 2007, 22:15
All a bit academic, in the eyes of the 'dreamers', since your landing is 'assured' in their eyes, and therefore down to 'E' it would be.

TheKabaka
16th Jul 2007, 11:29
..so g/a at LGW with 1400kg and burn 1000 on the way - don't tell the residents around LHR what is coming over their heads shortly!

Hi BOAC thats the whole point of commiting, LHR is no longer an option. Now you ARE going into your final reserve for a circuit at LGW and a MAYDAY is mandatory.
Not a good position to be in but allowed by FCO's.
Edited to add that some airlines do not carry 5% contingency, but a statistical contingency (normally enough fuel so that div + final reserve fuel will not be eaten into on 99% of the flights on that route) which may well be more than 5% for JFK to LHR. So to say 5% is 5% is are not (always) strictly correct.

BOAC
16th Jul 2007, 11:36
FCOs have changed then? You missed the fact that LGW runway was out of action which is why you went round...........................................:eek:

TheKabaka
16th Jul 2007, 11:49
That is my understanding, I'm ready to be corrected.I did say it was not a good position to be in and most Captains are not happy with commiting to one runway. I am based in LHR so when commiting is discussed "we have 2 runways to use" is phrase used every time.
I have only commited for real once. On a gin clear day so flight planned fuel had been taken. If there is a hint of bad weather (or any other excuse)everyone takes a load of extra fuel. I wouldn't mind betting more palpatations due fuel happen on fair weather days than on bad wx days.

212man
16th Jul 2007, 13:53
Nice to see the reference to "Alternate Holding Fuel" has been dropped: I know JAR OPS has only been in place 8 years or so!