View Full Version : Ryanair Very Low Fuel Landing

3rd Jun 2008, 00:20
Anyone with details concerning the Ryanair Frankfurt Base Captain who landed with less than 800 kgs of fuel? :\

3rd Jun 2008, 00:45

Why don't you ring up the EDFH base captain and get the facts first hand and share with us.:ok:

3rd Jun 2008, 00:51
what's that, about 17 minutes of flying time?

did he taxi to the gate ok?

how would anyone know this unless:

he was atc

he was monitoring atc

he was the copilot

Ex Cargo Clown
3rd Jun 2008, 01:18
800Kgs usable fuel or 800Kgs left in the tanks ???

As much as I dislike Ryanair, even I don't believe this story without some evidence.

3rd Jun 2008, 01:28
There are pictures of the Tech Log

3rd Jun 2008, 02:17
Pictures from a tech log;)? Uh huh. Whose tech log? but seriously folks, if this tale is true, I sure would like to know the circumsances behind the crew's decision not to divert to their alternate when bingo fuel level was reached.

3rd Jun 2008, 06:34
Are there any "incentives" to arrive with a low..ish [alleged] fuel state ?

Landing below final fuel reserve always produces an interesting ASR.

They are always worth reading. I am sure there is a perfectly good reason why this happened :confused:

I think LHR suffered a few years back from a number of low fuel states on arrival from a certain carrier's longhaul flights from the far east. :oh:

3rd Jun 2008, 07:45
I sure would like to know the circumsances behind the crew's decision not to divert to their alternate when bingo fuel level was reached.

Depending on the wx etc, I would be tempted to stay at Frankfurt if I was low on fuel than waste some it flying to an alternate.

If the delay was due to ATC congestion the question is why didn't they declare an emergency.

3rd Jun 2008, 08:00
In any case minimum fuel operation on 737NG is 1800Kg so....you are in non-normal operation then. You have to take some decision and to talk to ATC at least.

3rd Jun 2008, 08:08
I'm not on the Boeing, BUT how can you say that 1800 kg it min fuel? Does that not depend on how far away your alt is, or IF you have an alternate? I'm not a big RYR fan , but this seems to be another one of those situations where we have no facts and people are jumping the gun....:suspect:


uncle dickie
3rd Jun 2008, 08:13

How do you arrive at 1800kgs for the -800 NG ??

FFR+ Alt fuel = CMR

Depending upon the flying time, and landing weight to No.1 div, your CMR could be under 1.8

Ryanair no.1 div from Prestwick is Glasgow. 23nm as the crow flies. Depending upon actual routing, flying time could be less than 10 minutes if landing on rw 05.

Having said that, anything under 2.0 MT and still airborne is likely to concentrate the mind !!:ugh:

3rd Jun 2008, 08:33
totally normal to have a CMR under 1800 kgs
usual to have one 1500kgs or lower

how much fuel you take is a different matter.....

A Very Civil Pilot
3rd Jun 2008, 08:47
I'm not on the Boeing, BUT how can you say that 1800 kg it min fuel

1800 kg of fuel (900 kg each side) is the limit for the 'low fuel' warning to go off in the NG

[Edit - This is from my companies QRH for the NG (specifically 907 kg in a main tank), so I guess there are different options thnat you can go for]

flying headbutt
3rd Jun 2008, 09:06
Actually, the 907 kg (2000lbs each main tank) low fuel warning is a figure that came about for ETOPS certification for the NG, that's the understanding in my company anyway. I certainly know of 737NGs where the low fuel warning triggers at 1000lbs in the main tank, not sure about the Ryanair ones, so stating that 900kg in each main tank is into the NNC is not strictly true.:= Edited for kakatoa, cheers, doh!

Notso Fantastic
3rd Jun 2008, 09:32
It's totally not true. Manufacturing fictitious figures like 1800 kg minimum 737 is nonsense. The fact it sets off a Low Fuel Warning is nothing to do with minimum figures- it just makes the digits go a pretty yellow colour. The usual rules are 'Pan' if you are likely to go below minimum reserve which is usually 30 minutes, and 'Mayday' if you are going to go below.

captjns- you show a touching reliance on 'diverting will make it all OK'. In several experiences of diverting, it often ends up being a crisis of its own. Sometimes it's better to hang on to what you have rather than open a door to another houseful of problems!

3rd Jun 2008, 09:32
That's interesting, i only know the 1000lbs figure for the low fuel warning as well, and none of our NGs flies ETOPS nor do we plan to fly ETOPS with them. But lowest i had for total reserve fuel so far was 1.900 kg and that was for a diversion from TXL to SXF (just a short hop over berlin). We expect to get a low fuel warning though when we have to use diversion fuel, final reserve is usually way below the low fuel warning threshold.

3rd Jun 2008, 09:45
CMRs of 1600/1700kg are by no means unusual - it depends on div distance and landing weight. Landing with that WILL have the 'yellow' fuel readings and is perfectly safe and 'legal'.

Denti - I believe ALL NGs leave Boeing field 'ETOPS capable' so that is why. I assume there is a software option to change it, but why bother?

Another stunning FIRST APPEARANCE by a poster:mad:. There may be a story, but I doubt it.

EDIT: Crossed with jock there! 800kgs a side may well be a total 'non-event', but 800kgs total, of course.............................

3rd Jun 2008, 09:50
Your final reserve fuel + diversion fuel (or flight plan fuel without an alternate) may be less than 1800 kgs on a NG, BUT you are then flying with a FUEL LOW caution and have to follow the QRH procedure for that. Look it up. It does restrict the way you fly the aircraft.

While I might get a FUEL LOW caution during a diversion, I always carry enough fuel so I land at my destination with at leat 1800 kgs during normal operations. That's airmanship. To me.

3rd Jun 2008, 10:11
BINGO! I was wandering what that meant when my F-16 was shouting out "BINGO BINGO" I thought it was Gambling onliine :p

3rd Jun 2008, 10:12
Manadasytem and some others

Read the above posts re updated low fuel warning levels on the NG. easyJet are modifying their fleet so the warning comes on when one one main tank hits 453kg. I daresay other operators are the same or have been for some time.

Not all the fleet is modifyied yet so the CFPs still contain extra fuel to cater for low CNRs (below 1814) which will allow you to land above 1814kg. Once the fleet is modifyed that extra fuel will disapear as I daresay you will never find a CNR less than 907!!

You are quite right that if you get a low fuel warning you should run the QRH. Thats why easyJet allowed for extra fuel to prevent this as it was felt crews should not be dispatching into a situation were they would probably have to run a non normal checklist. That still has little direct bearing over whether you declare an emergency though (although you could if you wished to) as its generaly understood that a PAN PAN PAN with low fuel means you may land below CNR and a MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY with low fuel means you will land below final reserve.

Diverting when you reach CNR is a choice not a necessity. You may have an EAT a few minutes away and the weather is fine so you would land with more fuel in the tanks than if you divert. In other circumstances diverting would be the better choice. You have to weigh up all the factors and make your decision.

3rd Jun 2008, 10:15
Bingo1, Bingo2 or chicken ?

3rd Jun 2008, 10:17
After reading some input from Boeing guys.....Jumping the gun seems like just what it is.

Someone was saying something along the lines "I carry more to land with at least 1800 kg, thats airmanship" I can only agree, IF CNR is 1800. If CNR is lower and there is no specific reason to carry more, I'll carry enough to land with CNR.
However, maybe they carried fuel to land with 2000 kg, what do we know? Plan for landing with 2000, get a lower flight level then planned, arr at hold with 1700, get EAT 30 min away, nice weather, lots of runways, decide to stay in hold and use alt fuel since landing is assured. If plan does not work, request priority and land. Fair enough?

3rd Jun 2008, 10:22
Changing the 'LOW' setting guys - does that mean that the QRH is now only actioned at 453kg or do you still do it at 907kg?

Jet Fuel Addict
3rd Jun 2008, 10:23
In the Ryanair NG's the fuel low warning will pop up if the main tanks have less than 453 kg's (or 1000lbs) in either tank.

Also Ryanair policy is to plan your flight not to arrive with less than 2000 kg's of fuel remaining so they should never have less than 2000 kg's of alternate fuel when arriving at their destination.

Plan for landing with 2000, get a lower flight level then planned, arr at hold with 1700, get EAT 30 min away, nice weather, lots of runways, decide to stay in hold and use alt fuel since landing is assured. If plan does not work, request priority and land. Fair enough?

Seems a bit of a risk with only one runway though doesn't it? Sure one MCC instructor once told me "meh, if worst comes to worst you can always land on the taxiway" :}

3rd Jun 2008, 10:24
wo ping, if this happened three times in the last two weeks to you, maybe from now on you should expect this;-)

3rd Jun 2008, 10:25
Our fleet in FR is also modified to the 453kg low fuel warning.
Interesting is that no FR flight is planned to land at Dest with less than 2000kg
So even when diversion fuel would be 600kg, this would normally be increased to around 1100kg on our flightplan.
So 1100kg plus the 30min would end up with more than 2000kg on any flight.
What I hear from other guys here that's quite a lot.

I Just Drive
3rd Jun 2008, 10:36
Im waiting for the facts to emerge. They may have landed with that amount of fuel but thats not to say its due to crew irresponsibility. There are any number of reasons out of the crews' hands that could lead to that situation. What would be bad would be if it transpired that there was no mayday.

3rd Jun 2008, 10:50
What's the fuel burn like on the 737 when taxiing? If there was a long distance and/or delays on the way to stand, that might account for some of it. I've been below CMR in the tech. log when landing with planned remainder at LHR, JFK, etc. even with an engine shut down when possible.

3rd Jun 2008, 10:59
Changing the 'LOW' setting guys - does that mean that the QRH is now only actioned at 453kg or do you still do it at 907kg?

QRH is actioned when the LOW warning comes on, which will be at 453kg.

As mentioned before, the 907 figure is an ETOPS requirement.

3rd Jun 2008, 11:23
Thank you 5150 - as I thought, and that trips my 'logic' CB!:confused: The drill is for 'Low Fuel State' (for pump cover etc) and if 907kg is considered 'low'......................? Pumps will risk being 'unconvered' whether you are ETOPS or not - they don't know:). Personally I look at 1000kg to action. Nice ROUND figure.

3rd Jun 2008, 11:27
"Landing at destination without alternate requires 30min holding fuel+15min

1800Kgs should be spot on for the NG"

That depends on what type of NG you are flying and the weight. On a not so heavy 700, the figure is around 1400-1500 kg's.

3rd Jun 2008, 11:34
Quite a few of the FR bases publish a fuel league, and you will often see the base cpt at the top end of that league… quite a few of those base cpt are line trainers; ie not always flying the most fuel efficient profiles (for training reasons)… so they must be doing something just a bit better than the rest of the FR drivers !!!:E

Then there is the fuel leaflet from the DCP handed out 2 weeks ago at STN, it apparently now has spread to other bases…:ouch:

All that said, I am sure FR do not want their drivers landing with less than 1136 kgs (total) in the tanks… (Apparently airport elevation at HHN will make the 1136 kgs. number slightly different according to the DCP) anyone appreciate the irony of the statement !:oh:

But still no back info on 800 kgs. actually happened!!! :rolleyes:

3rd Jun 2008, 12:02
heard this rumour over a month ago...although the rumour was 900 kilos

think it went something like.... plog fuel to iffy weather airport, tailwind componet putting ac out of limits by 1 knot when on approach followed by diversion to non precision airport again with iffy weather..followed by another go around...followed eventually by a landing

but thats all rumour

3rd Jun 2008, 12:35

How do you arrive at 1800kgs for the -800 NG ??

FFR+ Alt fuel = CMR

Depending upon the flying time, and landing weight to No.1 div, your CMR could be under 1.8

Boys, girls & uncle dickie

Don’t mix JAR-OPS fuel requirements and B737NG limitations and non-normal operations!!!

I don’t care about their alternate fuel and final reserve fuel now; I was just talking about QRH.

QRH NNC 12.9

MAIN TANK FUEL PUMP switches.......All ON
CROSSFEED selector.......................Open

Apply thrust changes slowly and smoothly.
If a climb is needed, maintain the minimus pitch attitude needed for safe flight.


The question is: “Is it legal to plan a flight with FR+Alt. F. less than 1800Kg?”

Imagine yourself diverting. You have a lot of staff to care about and as a bonus do the NNC and take care about pitch attitude, slow acceleration and so on. HAHA

That's all! Fly safe!

3rd Jun 2008, 12:50
Imagine yourself diverting. You have a lot of staff to care about and as a bonus do the NNC and take care about pitch attitude, slow acceleration and so on. HAHA - which is why I never accepted BA's policy of 'committing' to LGW (single runway) using LHR as the 'second' runway/s, and thus being encouraged to linger at LGW down to 1100kg ish (final reserve 734) until the runway blocked with a tyre burst on take-off ahead of you.:ugh:

A lot of the BA brainwashed cadet co-pilots thought it a good idea................

3rd Jun 2008, 14:07
In this case he arrived over his single runway destination in bad weather. Tried several approaches and then diverted and landed with 800 kg. All the others were long time gone or never tried an app at destination. The man is a RYR hero, what can you do about that?

The Real Slim Shady
3rd Jun 2008, 14:17
JAR Ops allows 2 approaches and then diversion.

Is 2 classified as "several"?

I think not!

3rd Jun 2008, 14:19
On that basis, isn't that what reserve fuel is about, he clearly landing with sufficient fuel. You could ask whether the poor weather at destination and alternate were forecast and if so should he have carried more fuel? But that is what pilots are paid their money for, even in Ryanair.

3rd Jun 2008, 15:31
The greatest threat to aviation safety are pilots with the brain of a lawyer. They think reality is written down in the books, it’s a bit like religious fanatics.

Below 30 min you have to declare at least a PAN........he didn't

Forecasted Wx is irrelevant in this case. At TOD you have a clear picture of what your options are.

3rd Jun 2008, 18:24
2 minor items...........

flying headbutt got his/her lbs/kgs conversion a little confused .
453 kgs = 1000 lbs and 907kgs = 2000lbs , and not 500 /1000 lbs .

BOAC is probably correct to assume that all NGs leave the factory ' NG capable' but in case there are any readers not familiar with ETOPS requirements I would like to point out that some NGs only have 1 FMC fitted and are therefore not ETOPS capable.

Keep safe

Right Way Up
3rd Jun 2008, 20:00
Heres a scenario......old wizened Captain diverts from destination with CNR + a little for mum. On approach one of the marshallers who has a soft spot for old Mikey Schumacher infringes the runway and causes him to go-around. Said Captain flies a circuit & lands with just a few hundred kilos under Final reserve fuel.

I guess we might just have to leave the authorities to work on the real facts....

3rd Jun 2008, 20:36
some NGs only have 1 FMC fitted - what! You mean Fred N is still buying 737s?:) ('In joke' for old pilots)

3rd Jun 2008, 20:50
Last year there was an EasyJet div. to MAN.
That declared a 'mayday' and landed due to extended hold @BHX, overshoot due to BMI baby late leaving the runway.
When i looked there was 640kg total fuel. (A319).
Circumstances have an awful lot to do with low fuel diversions/landings so i suggest all facts are digested before a 'bunfight' begins........

3rd Jun 2008, 21:27
Below 30 min you have to declare at least a PAN........he didn't

Forecasted Wx is irrelevant in this case. At TOD you have a clear picture of what your options are.
Last edited by Bitburger : Today at 14:56.

Our company SOP states that landing with less than final reserve fuel (30.min) constitutes an emergency.


3rd Jun 2008, 22:00
Slightly off topic and may not be linked, but over southern France today I heard a Ryanair aircraft ask for a more direct routing as they were quote"running low on gas". My colleague and I couldn't believe our ears!

Maybe the bullying culture within Ryanair is encouraging more and more guys to take plog fuel only which isn't always accurate. Over on REPA web there is a thread running detailing instances where guys have recieved formal "written warnings" for not endorsing the voyage report with the reasons why more than plog fuel was taken.

An open question to all reading this thread. Could there maybe be a link between this and Ryanair aircraft "running low on gas"?

Desert Driver
3rd Jun 2008, 22:34
I don't fly the 737 but my understanding is you can commit to a single runway if landing is reasonabley assured ( Wx, atc, etc. ) if you will be on the ground with final reserve (30 mins. at 1500'). prior to that you inform atc of an urgency if you find that excess delays beyond their initial delays have been encountered. If you are in the air with less than final reserve then that famous russian holiday is declared. ( MAYDAY) What is this business about min fuel on type and checklists for fuel quantity low? A different issue about management. The question should not be about bingo but rather was the operation safe and were the resouces( reluctantly ATC )informed to mitigate the situation or simply a commander unable to direct the appropriate course of action and just kept going hoping for the best. Perhaps he did land with 30 minutes of fuel but taxied extensively. I don't think ther has ever been a min fuel on stand.


The Real Slim Shady
3rd Jun 2008, 22:34

Everyone departs on the basis of the TAF. Fuel is loaded with due consideration to the TAF and any likely delays.

By the time you reach TOD it's a tad late to increase the fuel load!!

And for your info, every pilot these days has to have a lawyer sitting on his shoulder watching his back!!

3rd Jun 2008, 23:12
I would add that in addition to the TAF what the metar is reporting when compared to the TAF and also your previous experience at airports in that area at that time of year.

The TAF are normally fairly accurate, but not by any means infallible,

league tables IMHO only encourage people to take risks, sooner or later a "weak" crew (newish Captain low hour F/O) will get into a situation where they will be forced to either land below minima or go around to divert to somewhere they don't have enough fuel left to get to, and make the wrong call because of MOL fear over their jobs, even if the fear is only in their own heads.

Base Captains and trainers are not super heros (or super pilots for that matter) plog fuel is for nice days or nights not for ABZ in winter or EDI at rush hour or PMI on a Sat or LHR most days or LBA on any day when there is the letter A in it!!

3rd Jun 2008, 23:49
I know what it was!

He thought he was flying to Frankfurt! Didnt realise Hahn "Frankfurt" was best part of an hours flying further! :}

4th Jun 2008, 00:03
'Ryanair - The Low Fuel Airline'

It's got a ring to it.

4th Jun 2008, 09:39
Slightly off topic and may not be linked, but over southern France today I heard a Ryanair aircraft ask for a more direct routing as they were quote"running low on gas". My colleague and I couldn't believe our ears!

I work on TWR at an aerodrome with typical taxi time of 10 minutes. On occasions (bad wx with runway changes, twy closures etc), with that time extended, I had several a/c from different airlines (RYR has only one flight here) asking for priority in departure sequence because they're running low on fuel. One German crew when asked to expedite their backtrack due to an a/c on final reported unable due to running on one engine to save fuel. Of course no previous mentioning of shutting down the other one...

4th Jun 2008, 11:01
Whenever I read about "uncalled for ATC delays", I smile. Of course we are not perfect (no one is), but if you have 12 planes, someone must be first, and someone must be 12th, you can't make everyone depart at the same time. Sure, you can accomodate for requests of one crew, but it almost always means delays for other. Same goes for arrivals - the APP unit at my place usually vectors for 5-6 miles finals, and offers visuals whenever possible. But if you have a peak of arrivals, someone will have to accept a 20 mile final, speed reductions and delaying vectors. Most probably he will think its uncalled for.

You don't need to be a pilot to understand the cost of fuel these days. But there's something wrong if you report low fuel when you're not even been airborne, and the taxi took 10 minutes more than usual. Also I know perfectly well pilots use different techniques to save fuel, but entering a 3km long runway for backtrack in high traffic load and driving along at 5kts without noting the ATC prior to entering the runway that you're on 1 engine (while being told to expedite before entering) is not the best thing to do. And you should also understand that while this single crew might have saved a bit of fuel (was not so as they were moved down the sequence due to their action), they also cost other waiting a/c more fuel. You're not alone.

BTW, this was just to show that it happens everywhere, not only at RYR (and for obvious reasons). But while a good deal here will jump at everything said about RYR, they will defend "good actions of the aircrew" if it is a different airline.

The Real Slim Shady
4th Jun 2008, 11:50

The Ryanair PLOGs, at my base at least, are incredibly pessimistic: even taking PLOG fuel will get you there with around 3 tonnes at GS intercept.

The only exceptions to that which I have encountered are the TFS sector where a lower level due to traffic can increase the burn, or the winds are significantly different to the forecast, PLOG and MET, and the LDY where the bleedin' train gets priority over aircraft and that can involve an extra 500kgs burnt in the hold.

Additionally, we don't have a facility on the PLOG to reduce the final fuel if the actual load is lower than the PBT. This can be frustrating when the PLOG final is 9002Kgs and the ZFW is a tonne under plan.

I have to emphasise that we are not under any pressure to carry minimum fuel: like every other company we are actively encouraging the crews to critically examine the amount of fuel they carry unnecessarily.

In conjunction wth this we are also examining ways of reducing the fuel burns fleet wide which include more direct routings ( we have twin GPS, twin IRS, twin VOR / DME and twin FMCs so our ANP is pretty spectacular ), optimising descents and CDAs, optimising cruising levels etc.

For my own part I will not accept a remote hold burning fuel just to massage departure stats, unlike baby and Easy who routinely do this.

Regardless of which company you may work for fuel optimisation is now part and parcel of our daily grind and will continue to be a dominant feature even if the price drops to $105.

4th Jun 2008, 12:31
fuel optimisation is now part and parcel of our daily grind and will continue to be a dominant feature

Makes brilliant sense: regardless of the price of fuel, everything should, in my opinion, be done to reduce fuel consumption and thereby reduce fuel cost, such as by obtaining optimum flight levels, routes and speeds to finding ways to lighten aircraft. However, how achievable would those things be?

The Real Slim Shady
4th Jun 2008, 14:33
Absolutely concur gents.

Perhaps it would be of more benefit if we discarded our company hats ( if you have one ;)) and pooled our collective ideas to generate sensible, workable proposals on fuel saving / economy which would have global dividends.

4th Jun 2008, 15:56
BTW, as we are talking about saving fuel. Maybe you could clarify sth to a lowly ATC. Do you save fuel by loading less of it, or by burning less of it? Let's say your sector requires 8T of fuel (enroute, hold, diversion etc). You can load 10.5T, or you could load 9T, changing the margin you have. Does loading 9T really means you save fuel? (I know that this 1.5T difference makes your total weight bigger and affects performance, but would it be significant for fuel burn? Let's put aside MTOW etc.). If you load 10.5 instead of 9, and arrive with 1.5 more, this fuel is not lost I think...

4th Jun 2008, 16:08
They more heavy you are the more fuel you burn! If you take 1500 kilos more than needed for a 4 hour flight you will burn: 1500 divided by 100 times 2,5 times 4 = 150 kilos of fuel more!

4th Jun 2008, 16:14
I know you burn more being heavier, but is it that significant? The 1.5T was just an example (an probably exaggerated). Also, is 150kg compared to your total fuel burn THAT significant (yeah, silly question, I know, $$$:ugh:). But that's less than you use for your taxi, APU... And as said, 1.5 figure should probably be lower.

The Real Slim Shady
4th Jun 2008, 17:13
It may seem insignificant individually, but 150kgs at todays price of around $1300 tonne is $13*15 = $195 per sector.

Multiply that by, in Ryanair's case alone almost 1000 sectors per day and that's $195 000 per day wasted.

Factor in Easyjet, Baby, BA, Virgin, Jet2 etc and you are looking at hundreds of thousands of $ per day simply discarded.

4th Jun 2008, 17:56
Then why this topic, and dozens of others?

Anyway, you use extra fuel for number of different reasons...

4th Jun 2008, 18:13
That $195/sector cost translates into around $7m/year. Cut that wastage out and save a fortune. Moreover, it nicely illustrates the essential nature of doing everything possible to really reduce fuel consumption and to thus reduce your fuel cost – not just when fuel’s bloody expensive, but at all times. If you seek to maximise operational efficiency – which is evidently a fundamental requirement – actively tackling your fuel comsumption and thus fuel cost must obviously always be of major importance.

While we’re on the topic of cost reduction, perhaps FR pilots will receive a pay cut ( :ooh: ): with the present state of the industry, the demand for pilots will reduce with every capacity reduction so FR will be in a stronger negotiation
position. Not that FR pilots, particularly captains and training captains, earn much ( :ok:): http://www.ryanair.com/site/EN/about.php?page=Jobs&sec=careers&ref=app_benefits (http://www.ryanair.com/site/EN/about.php?page=Jobs&sec=careers&ref=app_benefits)

4th Jun 2008, 19:16
JNP, are you saying that £100.000 pa is 'not much'?
Refer to the 'What do you earn' thread and you will see that FR pilots earn a pretty good wedge.
What is your point?

4th Jun 2008, 19:17
JNP, are you saying that £100.000 pa is 'not much'?

Sarcasm, dear Watson, sarcasm.

4th Jun 2008, 20:22
There's one big but to all this propaganda from the posters above, this should not be seen as a positive fuelsaving measure by Ryanair in any circumstance....Because: WE'RE NOT SAVING FUEL, WE'RE SAVING MONEY.

Example: Plog fuel 8357. Max allowable by FR SOP would normally be 8600. (Max 300 on top CP discretion) Every other sector is Tanker, so you take what you can up to 69.9.. lets say round trip: 15.0t. 2.5 hrs flight. Because of that you will burn 450 kgs extra just to save MONEY. NOT FUEL.

My point is... If we were allowed, yes ALLOWED, to carry a normal figure to land with say 3.0t both legs...THEN we would save fuel. (I do agree that many flights land with around that figure, but alot of them end up very close to 2.3t diversion fuel, especially after they've started tweaking the plogs!!)

To the guys talking frisky about landing with 1.8t...what the F are you talking about. You burn at least 600kgs on 1 approach + alt fuel is based on a straight line at opt level....come on grow up...some day you'll flame out on short final. 3.0t will keep you out of trouble.

Also, said Base Captain will send us a letter if we carry 5kgs on top of the max 300 allowable. Don't believe it? Trust me....
Company pressure...NaaaAAaahhh.

4th Jun 2008, 21:27
And with the greatest of respect...........

The day someone does cut it too fine, all those little $195 per sector savings you primly mention will not be enough to cover the final bill.

Take a bit extra for Mum.

4th Jun 2008, 21:59
To the thread starter - wtf? Who are you, the pilot police? Get a life! Is this how you spend your time, preying on professional pilots hoping to screw them in public? I am far from being a fan of Ryanair, but for ******* sake, what's your problem? Why did you start this post? What did you hope to achieve?

4th Jun 2008, 23:03
If you think taking a little of bit extra fuel is expensive, try taking not quite enough. that gets real expensive real quick.

slip and turn
4th Jun 2008, 23:52
Well gents, personally I think the original poster did us all a favour.

Recent company much excepted, I would very much like to know what exactly makes some of you captains think you are qualified to cut these figures to the bone and ensure an acceptable safety regime at the same time? In a world of constantly changing variables in your environment, you are taking an awful lot for granted.

I passed the same double-digit number of JAA ATPL Theory exams that I assume you did, in the same surprisingly short 6 months from start to finish with or without much revision being necessary to get 75% in the multiple guess, and I don't recall there being anything in the process of obtaining the passes that would remotely qualify me to make decisions to cut fuel load as fine as some of you guys say you routinely do.

And you didn't get really get schooled and tested on these fine niceties of fuel management before you got your CPL/IR either, now did you?

So it must be something you got schooled and tested in and become absolute experts in later on, ... so that would be when you did your type rating course??

No? Too busy learning other important stuff? Or maybe yes, partially?

Oh so what we are really talking about is all that right hand seat experience under various LHS mentors, plus all that line training and sim stuff, not forgetting company SOPs that you learned from ? And how to keep the employer happy and yourself challenged and meaningfully engaged? The been there done that kind of stuff?

Real Slim, I still think I'd trust you to be spot on your numbers, because your declared MO means you recall them to your immediate grasp far more easily than most, but really, I do think it does no good here to suggest all pilots are as on the ball as you might be with these profit-critical parts of the latest guises of the job.

I have seen enough stupid mistakes littering these pages recently, and been personally subjected to rushed departures, without having to imagine you all thinking twice about fuel and then thinking twice again for MOL about how to manage to leave maximum air in your tanks by the time you've taxied in on one engine on the return sector.

Over the years, this question has arisen time and time again on PPRuNe. The answer is still the same. It has nothing to do with being green or saving fuel to do your job right. You fly jets for crying out loud. You certainly ain't ever going to come close to being greener than anyone other than Lewis Hamilton on a good day :rolleyes:, and he actually only burns a few hundred kilos a couple of afternoons a fortnight during the summer, not double digit tonnes up the spouts, morning noon and night, nor does he do his bit of early morning overcast seeding like you so obviously do.

So, as for he rest of you, I don't care what you think your job is in relation to this thread, but it certainly is not clever to set out to save such miserly amounts of fuel by cutting the fuel loads down to limits of a hundreds of kilos when your powered flying machine weighs fifty to a hundred times more and can burn the lot very fast if you have to go around, hang around and then divert because your runway just got blocked 30 seconds before you expected to feel good about a perfectly managed return sector, particularly if there another twenty of your homebound colleagues all needing to divert in the same half hour. Yes, I am sure your ATC colleagues would help you all out of such a bind, but a lot of adrenalin would get released to manage it, wouldn't it?

Leave the latest profit maximising ideas to your accountants, let them put the prices up a bit. Meanwhile get yourselves a proper union membership instead of shouting the odds here like competing mercenary special forces, and pass all company memos suggesting you tighten up on your fuel consumption through a strong union and send copies to CHIRP as a matter of routine. Oh, ... I suppose you can't be doing any of that? ... goes against a certain grain ?

Well whatever you decide is right, please don't come here and call people like me who pay your wages morons and bashers. We have partially schooled brains too.

5th Jun 2008, 01:13
Fuel in the bowser is like tits on a nun!

(Or runway behind you.)

Anyone else ...

5th Jun 2008, 02:06
What did all this start from? read the first page and cant see where the low fuel info came from? was it just started up to have another Ryanair bashing thread?

I am F/O with FR, only got just under 200sectors at the moment, but in not one have I been even close to what I would call low fuel and never had a captain say we better not take too much in case I get in trouble, 40% of the flights we have tankered enough fuel for round trip and the others always landed with alt and final reserve plus about 20-40mins extra fuel, that really is a lot of time to find a decent runway what with us been cat3 and all.

I think your all talking crap personally, I would not take off if I was in doubt, dont need the money that bad.

5th Jun 2008, 02:16
Yes, But your'e just the 'driver' at the end of the day, And we comply with orders.

I have always been 'open minded' about FR.

But just recently all these stories are all coming out in the wash.

If FR want to carry min fuel that is their choice, But it may backfire on
them one day??

I don't think FR is the only operator sailing a tight ship??

Right Way Up
5th Jun 2008, 06:43
So who on this thread actually knows that he took min fuel?

He could have taken an extra tonne for all you know.

5th Jun 2008, 07:47
"TOPBUNKER Fuel in the bowser is like tits on a nun!"

on a lighter note....eh topbunker surely you meant t"ts on a bull? as least t"ts on a nun can be useful if your that way inclined!!!:p

5th Jun 2008, 10:12
Folks... with the fantasy load sheets that are prepared based average assumed weights, an extra 100 or 200 kilos ain't gonna make a difference in burn on short round trip sectors. Fuel has to be pumped into the tanks sooner or later. It’s not as if it’s going to be wasted. The Fuel burn and savings is going to be the same whether you take min fuel or extra an extra 200 kilos.

A message to the Bean Counters “Create other ways to save money that do not hinder with the safety of operation!”

Message to the so called company people “Put down the Kool-aide and take the fuel you need to keep it a safe operation!”

Max Angle
5th Jun 2008, 10:36
an extra 100 or 200 kilos ain't gonna make a difference in burn on short round trip sectors. Fuel has to be pumped into the tanks sooner or later. It’s not as if it’s going to be wasted. The Fuel burn and savings is going to be the same whether you take min fuel or extra an extra 200 kilos.Unfortunately that is simply not true, the latest figures our airline pushed out are that a 100kg of extra fuel carried on every flight costs us $390,000 a year. There are now literally millions of dollars a year to be saved in a big airline by reducing the fuel carried on every sector and it's little surprise that pilots are being pressured, directly or rather more subtly, to carry less excess fuel. As one of our Chief Pilot put it, "for all airlines, the days of carrying extra fuel because it makes us feel comfortable are over". I have to say I agree completely with that statement, if you have a decent flight planning system then sector fuel is going to be enough for most flights on most days.

The Real Slim Shady
5th Jun 2008, 10:46
Topslide has, again, hit the point.

We have a normal PLOG minimum fuel, D+E or CMR, of 2100kgs (the absolute minimum permitted is 2000kgs) even if the alternate is the parallel runway 2 miles away ( AMS ). The minimum fuel the computer will program for an alternate is 1100kgs: that's enough for an alternate 100nms away.

So we have at least 500kgs fat in that figure straight away plus we have 5% contingency, at least another 200kgs, hence at GS we will have at least 2800kgs without taking any extra on top of PLOG, hardly "cutting it to the bone" or " being close to the edge"!!

Some of the comments border on tabloid journalism at it's finest.

slip and turn
5th Jun 2008, 10:47
Topslide6, in my mind, ever since you so roundly couldn't deal with my earlier withdrawn posts which I freely admit risked shifting the thread too far too soon, I'm afraid you've had me seriously questioning your provenance, old chap. I am glad you aren't here representing Ryanair.

Taking the below quoted paragraph as an example, it leaves me with the impression its from someone who won't make eye contact while they are communicating.

To the people getting their knickers in a twist, no one is suggesting you take minimum fuel everywhere everyday. I've made that point three or four times already. The point is, that on a cavok day, there is no point WHATSOEVER in putting extra fuel on board for the sake of it, or as the chap with the PPL said, 'a bit for mum'. It's not about being unsafe or standing on the edge of a cliff. It is about making sensible commercial but uncompromisingly safe decisions.
By the way, have never seen lemmings just standing on the edge of a cliff. There's usually a headlong rush involved. I say again, leave the profit-critical decisions to the accountants. Concentrate by all means on uncompromisingly safe decisions. You can't sensibly put commercial and uncompromisingly safe in the same sentence and expect to reap any dividend unless you are one.

As captjns implies, you can't even be sure what fuel you'll actually be burning until you are established in the climb and can monitor it and learn how largely or marginally fictitious your load sheet was ... CAVOK or not (whatever that has to do with it other than making you 'feel good' enough to wear your RayBans non-stop).

Real Slim, you are here to tell it how it is from your seat. That's good and doubly reassuring because you fly for the airline headlined. I don't find it reassuring however that you couple your view so easily with Topslide's. Let him paddle his own canoe. Let's see where he takes us next.

5th Jun 2008, 11:20
Most flight planning systems don’t take airport environments such as congestion, expected runway for departure, CTOTs, unexpected weather, or other for fortuitous events when one shows up to the desk to pick up their paperwork. Manual adjustments on the EXTRA line, which are stabs in the dark at best, are required. One airport that comes to mind is LEPA. You can be number 14 for takeoff and if min fuel were taken you have just burnt your taxi and a good portion of your contingency fuel. There are other vacation destinations that have the same problem as well as arrival delays that are not factored into the flight plan.

A number of carriers use flight planning systems that run all of flight plans early in the morning at about 05:30(Z) the day of the flight(s) without updates.

Flights occurring 12 hours after the run usually results in forecast winds, temperatures, and weather different to which was used to run the flight plans earlier in the day. Some systems may be sophisticated to alert the crew that weather data used is outdated, if the flight is plan is greater than 6 hours old. I guess you can call ops and ask them to run you a current flight plan… good luck with that.

The load sheets of today are SWAGs at best. Estimated TOW is better than using the term SWAG on the flight plan. During cruise on full flights returning from vacation spots with 185 adults, and carry-ons, along with 220 bags in the holds, take out your performance manuals and work your way back to calculate your actual weight is versus the flight plan weight. I am always very happy to assume an almost MZFW versus flight plan weight. 2 tons can make a difference of 2,000 in cruise altitude resulting in extra fuel burn too.

Again, no airline is unique to this problem. There are times you just have to look beyond the flight plan and rely on experience and common sense.

5th Jun 2008, 11:25
I'm with Studi on this one. Too many in here listen to the beancounter rubbish. The fuel saving amount in a year may seem like a lot of money to some as they compare it to their private economy and think wow :eek: However, in relation to turn over it is a pittance. Safe operation is the priority, NOT to help some useless manager get his fuel bonus.

5th Jun 2008, 11:27
Part of the problem here is that modern PLOG systems are very good at forcasting the fuel burn and in some cases are within 20-30kg of what happens, what most seem to over look is that the D+E/CMR (final res +alt) is in many case the very worst case you'll see as more often than not you will use less than planned fuel (ATC are much more focused on giving you direct to these days) and as was said eailer you'll have the contingency fuel on top.

Also most systems that generate plogs use the longest SID/STAR couple and dont take the weight of children (35kg) into account only adults (70/88) so the EZFW will often be at least 1000kg higher on a typical med run than the actual ZFW which will reduce burn.

I will go further: there is so much fat built into these systems that if min plog fuel 9007kg and its a nice day(wx,timeof day, route,airport)i am more than happy to take 9000kg (by reducing taxi burn) after all in the case of the classic how are you going to put 7kg in the centre tank? then how are you going to use it?

Over the last 8 years i have only ever ended up with less than CMR/D+E on 2 occasions once after a divert (having held for 40 mins) and once holding overhead destination with an EAT in good weather conditions and using my Alt fuel to hold (all safe & legal)

Max Angle
5th Jun 2008, 11:38
However, in relation to turn over it is a pittance.Quite agree, but profit and loss has nothing whatsoever to do with turnover and everything to do with costs versus income, ie. margins. A rapid increase in any cost goes straight to the bottom line which is why so many airlines have gone bust recently and formerly very profitable ones (Ryanair for instance) are openly saying that their profits are going to be much reduced.

5th Jun 2008, 12:10
The fuel saving amount in a year may seem like a lot of money to some as they compare it to their private economy and think wow :eek: However, in relation to turn over it is a pittance. Safe operation is the priority, NOT to help some useless manager get his fuel bonus.

I disagree: I believe it's the duty and responsibility of everyone to seek ways to reduce costs.

Nothing should be done to jepodise a safe operation. However, I firmly believe that such cost reduction and a safe operation can concurrently be achieved.

As Tesco says: "Every little helps."

If we use Shady's $195 saving/sector, that'd translate into around $7m/year saving. If FR has around 1000 pilots and every penny of that saving was given to every pilot on an equal basis, that'd be an additional $7000/year/pilot. However, in general FR pilots get paid a lot, so I'm not advocating a pay rise, but rather merely illustrating the possibilities of this "pittance."

slip and turn
5th Jun 2008, 12:48
I didn't remove your post slip and turn, the mods did. They then removed my reply. I can only assume they did so as it was a spotters post which had no bearing on the thread at all. You assume a lot Topslide6, and that is what worries me most if you represent any common theme.

Personally, I am very pleased at the airing this whole question is getting in the current $130 climate. Are you?

Thanks facelookbovvered for continuing to add data. The 70/88 number is a case in point. It varies by airline in agreement with their regulator doesn't it? Does it change every time the airline puts up the hold baggage charge or every time the airports relax their pre-security weighins? Nope, don't think so.

The pressures on the accuracy of those 70/88 figures vary constantly with the airline model, the landside monitoring on the day, the weather (how much clothing the pax are sporting), last week's latest baggage charging regime, and seasonal reasons for travel. My last flight saw me pass through security with a 15kg bag. I don't mind admitting it. Was I endangering the aircraft? Someone tell me, please. I was prepared to dump the overload if challenged because the baggage charge was more than the value of what I was carrying but I knew it was unlikely. On my return I was down to 12kg and in that case had I spotted any new weighing machine never before encountered I'd have transfered a kilo to my pockets and held the other kilo (a heavy book) in my hand. This time I didn't grab 2 more kilos from Duty Free, 2 from Boots (cheap water) and another 2 from Pret, but I have done many times in the past.

It's not only the airlines and crews that play complex games with the margins. It's also the hoards of discerning new passengers that these new models have created who think nothing of bending the arbitrary rules on baggage weights.

PS What's a child in an airline's book thesedays? I have two. One isn't even a teenager yet but is already average adult height and weighs in at a good 55-60kg. Her brother isn't yet 15 but is six feet tall and wears mens large size jackets because his shoulders as almost as broad as mine.

I am 100kg in my socks. In my winter coat with pockets full I probably go 110 at least before I pick up my bag.

None of us look obese. I again suggest that the only way you will know how much a load of traffic like me and mine weighs is when you monitor fuel burn in the climbout. But then you guys know that too.

Nice to know there's still plenty of 'fat' in the calculations on a good day.

5th Jun 2008, 12:48
It may seem insignificant individually, but 150kgs at todays price of around $1300 tonne is $13*15 = $195 per sector.

Multiply that by, in Ryanair's case alone almost 1000 sectors per day and that's $195 000 per day wasted.

Factor in Easyjet, Baby, BA, Virgin, Jet2 etc and you are looking at hundreds of thousands of $ per day simply discarded.

I may have missed something here but it is that type of perverse mathematics which cause the bean counters and idiot 'managers' to push us ever closer to the edge!

The fuel you put in the tanks only costs you what is costs to carry it if it is still in the tanks when you land!!!!! = bugger all. That 150 kgs costs 3kgs per hour to carry - thats all. It would cost $195 whether you put it in the tanks at a or b (+/- cost differential).

For those who don't recognize tongue in cheek ....here it comes......you could even put it down to hedging as the price will probably have gone up by the time you land.....so you are actually saving the company money!!

5th Jun 2008, 13:10
The fuel you put in the tanks only costs you what is costs to carry it if it is still in the tanks when you land!!!!! = bugger all. That 150 kgs costs 3kgs per hour to carry - thats all. It would cost $195 whether you put it in the tanks at a or b (+/- cost differential).

Most sensible recent comment in my view. This cannot be the best way of achieving cost savings by reducing overall wieght of the aircraft at take-off. The bean-counters might as well insist on all passengers going to the toilet at the gate!

5th Jun 2008, 13:11
All these number crunchers with a calculator can come up with some amazing theories and scenarios. It's what bean counters do.

Many years ago in a UK major charter airline, after the pilots had left upstairs and been replaced by said B.Ctr's., someone heard about this extra weight = extra fuel. They calculated the weight of an orange on every meal tray, multiplied it by the number of trays per year = total extra a/c weight per year = total extra fuel burnt per year. He showed that removing the orange more than paid his inflated salary. Not only did they save the cost of the orange but also the fuel QED.

I wonder what RYR's B.Ctr's would come up with becasue they limit pax baggage to 15kgs instead of 20kgs? Wow that would be a huge amount. When will all others follow and lower baggage allowance?

Will cabin crew be weight limited? Don't even think about pilot fitness regimes. Lose 5kgs in a month or pay excess baggage charge. Ouch.

5th Jun 2008, 13:20
I wonder what RYR's B.Ctr's would come up with becasue they limit pax baggage to 15kgs instead of 20kgs? Wow that would be a huge amount. When will all others follow and lower baggage allowance?

Come to think of it, there only one short step to weighing luggage, handbaggage and person, all at the check-in counter. Then charge each passenger by the amount of fuel used. MOL, I claim copyright on the idea!

5th Jun 2008, 13:39
"Come to think of it, there only one short step to weighing luggage, handbaggage and person, all at the check-in counter"

I've long held the belief that charging should be based on total weight being carried. But, as a slim passenger with only hand baggage, I would wouldn't I! In fact, dont limit this to just air travel....extend it to all vehicles. It must take more energy (= fuel burn + emmissions) to transport a 120Kg person than a 60Kg one.

It would take a brave business person to try and get that idea through though :-) Mind you, there's one carrier I can think of that would probably give it a go.....

5th Jun 2008, 13:48
I recall my grandfather telling me that many years ago he was always weighed (for weight-and-balance reasons) before flying to and from the Channel Islands. :p

The Listener
5th Jun 2008, 14:00
In 1954 my parents went to the Isle of Man on board a Dragon Rapide. :rolleyes:
They had to split the newlyweds front and back for weight-and-balance reasons :ok:
The old dear wasn't too chuffed - first flight and all :eek: :p

The Real Slim Shady
5th Jun 2008, 14:13

I don't disagree that it may still be in tanks when you land, however, it is still fuel that you don't need to carry, hence you are spending money unnecessarily.

Using your increased burn figure still gives close on $6 per flight hour extra cost: $6000 per day, $180 000 per month on a 1000 sector day for a single airline.

There is so much fat in the planning already that routinely carrying an extra 300kgs for the wife and kids costs a huge amount of money.

No one disputes the wisdom of carrying extra fuel for perceived contingencies, weather, common delays, notams etc but the prudence of routinely adding excess fuel is what we are discussing.

5th Jun 2008, 15:06
Simple question... Why are so many Kool-aide drinkers so hell bent on saving the company money versus protecting their own safety and security as well as the safety security of their crewmembers and passengers’, along with insuring their airman's certificate? Do you think that your company will come to bat for you before the JAA, IAA, CAA, or FAA if you land with 800-kgs in the tanks? At the end of the day, they will say that was contrary to our manuals, and his/her behavior was contrary to our SOP as well as NNPs.

5th Jun 2008, 15:11
"Our duty and responsibility upfront is to fly safely... if all the safety aspects of the operation have been met, we then might find the time to make also economical sound decisons."

I agree with you: no one disputes the fact that the number-one responsibility is to ensure safety, and it's obviously a case of ensuring safety first and then trying whatever possible to increase efficiency and cost reduction. But I believe that pilots have a responsibility and duty to do what they can to minimise fuel consumption by, for example, seeking optimum flight routings, speeds and levels, and by not regularly taking more fuel that necessary beyond what's required for possible eventualities, weather, delays, etc., and to do whatever they can to increase aircraft productivity. (I firmly believe that it's the responsibility and duty of every employee to seek ways to improve efficiency and reduce costs.) I dare not mention what I think about pilot productivity. ;)

5th Jun 2008, 15:44
In the very early days of flying, when winds en-route and weather at destinations were unknown, or at best, a guess, pilots would routinely calculate the fuel needed for the journey, then add a bit extra. No science involved, simply instinct and experience. 20 Gallons in case the wind is bad, 20 gallons in case the weather is bad and 20 gallons for Mum.
Now I feel better and off I go!
Here we are in the 21st century and some of you seem to apply the mind set of the pilots referred to above. Very professional and modern, I am sure!
So all the progress made in the last 100 years in flight planning, weather forecasting, route planning, STARS, approach plates, performance monitoring and historical evidence count for nothing with you people.
Ballcocks to all that information and technology, I'm still taking some for my Mum!
If your company did introduce a reward system for fuel efficiency, you would soon be walking the walk instead of talking the talk.
Correct fuel loads are simply that, correct. They are safe and efficient, which is all that is required.
You cannot be more safe than safe.

5th Jun 2008, 16:10
There is an awful lot of entrenched anti-management 'venom' and illogicality here. May I suggest that you regularly review your arrival (landing) fuel against company minimum, be that CMR or a 'minimium' figure as above. You may be surprised, and may find that your uplifts are - in general - uneccessary. Sure, there will be that one trip when it all goes to pooh, but then, would 15% extra have really been enough? 20%? Why not fill to 16200/21800 (737) EVERY trip, just in case x, y, z? The Classic 737 checklist says do not try the gear up drill with less than 3800kg on board - are you going to plan that as your minimum at the IAF? That is what we are employed for, to try and establish a safe operation, based on what it is reasonable to expect. Forget Contingency - JAROPS allow you to burn that at any time after engine start - eg taxi delays. All we need is a pragmatic approach to uplifting 'extra', thought out and discussed, with justification, with the other crew. not a random figure, like 600kg regardless of weather, time, route etc.

These 'scare stories' of being in dire staights just because you did not uplift 'xxx extra' are ludicrous and not supportable. You always have the diversion option if you are not arriving with minimums. As professionals we have to be capable of managing our fuel states as we flog around the world. There are a lot of posters here, 'journos' or flt simmers - who knows - who do not exhibit this ability.

5th Jun 2008, 17:18
Come to think of it that way, any single kg above 0 you land with was an unnecesary surplus. You only needed fuel you actually burned.

Stan Woolley
5th Jun 2008, 17:38
I don't see how the increasing fuel price should have an effect on the fuel loads people have considered safe for many years - I personally think that there will be consequences to the added pressures we are seeing.Tell you what lets give everybody with 3000hrs a 737 command - stick em with a 200hr cadet and leave them option-free on every non tanking sector - Super.

It might be nice if the real pilots posting here would stop imposing their idea of what a reasonable fuel load should be on others who have spent many years making up their own minds on this subject. :rolleyes:

As for everything being so much better and easier than in the 'old days'? You're having a laugh! :8

5th Jun 2008, 18:30
Stan, who said anything about 'better' in the old days? You seem not to have read the post properly and have completely missed the point. I was trying to point out how very 'Wells Fargo' such an approach to aviation used to be.
We have all the benefits of modern technology, accurately computed flight plans, weather data, forecasts etc. yet still you and others on this thread seem to think that you can second guess all of this expensive information and still feel the need to bung on a few hundred or even a ton or two extra just because you feel like it.
I fail to see just how you and others like you can consider it professional to gaily pluck imaginary numbers out of thin air and argue that you are being 'safe', or 'safer' than me, you are not; you are being wasteful and you know it.
You choose to try to justify your ostrich like stance with woolly and spurious arguments about gear problems or holding for 30 minutes. All that and more is already loaded into your aircraft if you take the calculated PLOG fuel.
I agree that if you fly into LHR at 0700 Local each day then you will know historically that holding is the norm but if you are working for a real airline, they will already have calculated and allowed for such a situation.
I have been flying for over 30 years on short haul around Europe in all weathers and very rarely take more than 300 kg extra, and then only if the destination is at or close to minimums. Otherwise I take PLOG fuel rounded up to the next hundred. This on over 9000 flights.
How often have I diverted due to fuel shortage?
How often have I landed at my destination with less than 2000kg in my B737?
Twice, and then not less than 1800kg.
Unsafe? You tell me.

Stan Woolley
5th Jun 2008, 18:55

Unsafe? I don't know.

Sorry but I thought that you were implying that you felt lots of things had improved over the years whic I took to mean 'better'?

You are certainly experienced (in Europe)but I know plenty very experienced pilots who don't agree with you.

I do object to someone with a very narrow band of experience telling me I am unprofessional though.

Robert Campbell
5th Jun 2008, 18:55
"We have all the benefits of modern technology, accurately computed flight plans, weather data, forecasts etc."

Y'all hear that the Gimli Glider was just retired?:)

5th Jun 2008, 19:29
What I would like to see is better airmanship from F/O's. They are PF and so they decide the fuel. Their thinking is not educated. They've been brained washed in an unhealthy way. Plog = macho minimum. +330kgs allowed, we'll take it. Wx. bad so another 300kgs. That's it. So one day I listened to this guessimation and then I said 1500kgs more. Wow, their eyes exploded. So we sat down and did the caluclations of what we wanted to do. Hold here for X ins, make 2 approaches, divert there, hold there for Y mins and then land with 30 mins. Guess what; 1500kgs extra. Eyes wide open. "Are we allowed to do that?" "On this flight we are!"

Next year these guys are going to be captains. 4 stripes don't always make a captain. It's what's on the inside that counts. not the outside. OK; 10 years experience takes 10 years, but a lot more can be done to educate before the 4th stripe is given. There's a danger of too many trained monkies flying around. Also, too many times I hear, "yesterday we did this and it worked out." So no need to assess today as a different day, then?

One day......................................

Robert Campbell
5th Jun 2008, 19:45
About fourteen years ago I was flying from KSFO to KDEN to pick up my 10 weeks on the airshow circuit in Hap Arnold's C-41 (DC-3)

As I got onto the 737 (I don't know which model, but it had a pretty neat decal on the VS), I looked into the cockpit, saw steam gages and a guy who looked to be about 19 in the left seat.

On landing in KDEN, after a flight that was CAVU all the way, I chatted him up and found that he had almost 2,000 hrs. and that he thought that he had a pretty cool gig...

I don't fly Frontier anymore.:confused:

5th Jun 2008, 21:19
I am becoming quite fascinated by this anti-Ryanair phenomenon. This latest outburst of venom and vitriol was started by:

Whitebraz from Frankfurt
Post: No.1

"Anyone with details concerning the Ryanair Frankfurt Base Captain who landed with less than 800 kgs of fuel"?

Now this is not an accusation as such but is smack full of innuendo and, as such, is clearly designed as a sh*t stirring exercise.

In this it has been largely successful for it has so far generated 7 pages of rubbish and learned discussion (in mixed proportion) on the thread but let us look at the facts:

1. Whitebraz has made his entrance to pprune with this piece of innuendo.

2. Whitebraz has found nobody to confirm this event.

3. Whitebraz has produced no evidence of any sort.

4. Whitebraz has not made one other single posting on this piece of innuendo (or on anything else for that matter). In other words, he has started his bit of sh*t-stirring and is too cowardly to come back and defend his corner.

From all of this one can only conclude that Whitebraz has his own agenda which probably involves the Frankfurt Base Captain. Perhaps he could enlighten us?

In the meantime, we have had 7 pages of mostly regurgitated opinions about fuel planning and the only thing that has emerged (as someone who has never flown a Boeing) is that a whole bunch of pontificators who cried foul about the low-level lights coming on at 907 kgs a side were enlightened by those who really knew their aeroplane that this was merely an ETOPS requirement and that their aircraft were modified so that the low-level lights came on at 453 kgs per side.

And so it seems to me, as one who flew professionally for over 50 years (and who still teaches in the simulator), pretty pathetic that even if Whitebraz is indeed correct, and considering the thousands and thousands of sectors flown, that one aircraft landed and had about 100 kgs less than low level in the tanks.

There could be around a million reasons for this. Diverting is not always a cut and dried and simple procedure.

I will give you an example; I was captain of a DC-10 inbound to LGW from JFK. Gatwick had had early morning fog but it was clearing rapidly. However, because of their single runway and the general backlog there was a lot of holding going on.

I held until I got down to minimum diversion fuel and all the time kept ATC advised of my fuel status. I then asked for a diversion to Stansted (where the weather was actually worse than Gatwick) and so we set off in that direction.

Somewhere north of Heathrow, they called me and said that Gatwick would take us now without delay and so it was that I landed at my original destination (having started a diversion) where the weather was much better and was, incidentally, where the 380 punters wanted to be.

Needless to say, I had less than C+D when I got on the ramp but I defy any of you so-called professionals out there to tell me that I made the wrong decision.

In summary, when you see a posting like this and the person that starts it is not prepared to put up or shut up, then maybe those of us who really are professional pilots should just totally ignore it and let the spotters get on with it.

P.S. I started by describing this as a piece of innuendo. I don't know if you have heard the definition of innuendo?

It is a Spanish suppository!

5th Jun 2008, 21:19
I don't think there's anything wrong with making sensible commercial decisions, with regard to fuel. It costs money, and we are duty-bound to be safe, but also commercially aware. I don't want my company to go bust, and despare of these morons who clearly don't understand fuel policy, and load extra on every sector, and probably not enough when they really need it.

I'll give you an example. The other day, I was flying back to LGW, late at night. It's a new company route, so no stats were available, and hence we were planned 15 mins of contingency. We had a very generous taxy fuel, for what was a very quiet airfield. I reasoned that we'd almost certainly get shortcuts on the way, probably a straight-in on 08R, and that we'd not need all that taxy fuel, so loaded 300 Kgs less than flight plan. Reserves were 2.2, planned remaining 2.8, and I landed with 3.4, as everything happened as predicted. Frankly, if it hadn't, my 300 Kgs that I didn't have, would have equated to an extra 8 mins in the air. Big deal.

All you are doing by loading extra fuel, is avoiding having to make a decision, which is what you are paid for. By all means load extra, when the weather is bad etc. But loading extra all the time "just in case" is pathetic, moronic, and you don't deserve your job if you do.

Oh, and do you ever fly with those idiots who load an extra 100 Kgs? What, exactly are you going to do with your extra 2-3 mins? As I say, I despare, sometimes.......

PS All based on 737 figures.

G-SPOTs Lost
5th Jun 2008, 21:20

The statisticians out there would only argue that because it hasn't happened in 9000 sectors can only mean is that its now over due!

$195 is 50p per seat sold. Bargain........(compared to the alternative) lets face it the holes just need to line up only once.

Back to the thread if it was only 800kg then I would be looking at that figure sideways in my 14 ton bizjet

Stan Woolley
5th Jun 2008, 21:49
I reckon rubik has made some bloody good points, to dismiss that as a 'narrow band of experience' is ridiculous

I did not deny his level of experience, just the variety.

It was mostly a wind up but I should have known you serious types would take it seriously. :8

Chill out, go count your hours.

5th Jun 2008, 22:21
Gentlemen, while the more arcane technical details are beyond my ken, I can say that I once was an airline bean counting type of person and I know a lot about cheese paring as we called it, and I used it to great effect trimming maintenance budgets for six years.

We do these little calculations about the weight of oranges, pencils and charts and approach plates, you name it, and then we innocently make the claim that if perhaps, you only carried the approach plates you really neededfor a flight, it would save the company X hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Our logic appears irrefutable, or appears to be.

However, the logic is flawed because you haven't subtracted from your savings the risk adjusted costs of not having what is required. That was the original point of my post, when I glibly said "take a bit extra for mum".

To put it another way, it was great that I saved tens of thousands of dollars a year by cutting our stock of widgets in half, right up to the day where an aircraft was grounded for three weeks due to lack of widgets wiping out six years of savings in one day - you need to look at your savings in perspective compared to the possible outcomes.

But the more sinister issue is allowing too much "bean counter" influence over operational decisions, because what starts as "voluntary" cost cutting programs have a very nasty habit of becoming "compulsory". Furthermore if you give in to such forces and the operations manual is not amended to reflect them, which it won't be, and you cut things too fine one day, you will be hung out to dry by the authorities.

I guess the simplest thing for the authorities to do is monitor the number of "low fuel" calls, if the number starts trending up, the bean counters have got at you too much. Fuel is your decision. Keep it that way.

5th Jun 2008, 23:13
Yeah, Sunfish, it is my decision, but I really don't understand why everyone gets's their knickers in a twist about it. My personal fuel policy is that I won't land without any. It's fairly simple; company policy is to take flight plan, unless circumstances dictate otherwise (wx etc). I follow company policy, and divert if necessary (2 times in 10 years-sometimes shit happens, and your extra 150 KGs would be no use...). Maybe that costs them more - I don't know, and it's the bean-counters' problem. I just don't land without any fuel, and make my decsions on the day accordingly.

6th Jun 2008, 00:29
I don't disagree that it may still be in tanks when you land

If its not still in the tanks you are DEAD.

I new someone would come up with the old argument of multiplying x times number of flts etc etc. Look at the big picture.

If my experience of a particular route or time of day says to me I need extra fuel I should be allowed to take it. That is what I am paid for. That 300kgs of 'comfort' fuel gives me thinking time and reduces my blood pressure and risk of heart attack. My company wants me to land with diversion fuel. If I go into the hold they don't want me to divert. They accept that I may eventually land with less than 900 kgs. That is about 15 minutes to everybody on board being DEAD.

Some here are behaving like bean counters and doing their job for them. A relatively small amount of 'comfort' fuel would be covered by raising the passenger ticket price by 1 Pence per ticket. Thats how petty it is.

Show me a Chief Pilot who is willing to say to the Management Board....'Leave my Captains alone with their fuel....get your economies elsewhere. Any volunteers?

The Real Slim Shady
6th Jun 2008, 09:41

No one in the course of this thread has disputed that the decision to carry extra fuel, based on expected delays, weather, NOTAMs or equipment failures, MEL etc is anything other than sensible and correct.

Some company PLOGS have a block which which allows the Captain to circle a reason for carrying the extra fuel e.g Weather / Icing / ATC / etc. Where that facility is not pre printed, a simple single word comment beside the fuel block to verify the reason for the extra fuel is all that is required. E.G Weather.

What is wholly unreasonable is carrying "comfort" fuel: if you routinely need 300kgs of "comfort" fuel, either your superior training department has failed to do it's job, or your Chief Pilot and company culture leads you to somehow doubt the safety and efficacy of your planning system and / or the airframes you fly and / or the skills and abilities of your colleagues.

Incidentally, burning the excess 150kgs "comfort" fuel won't kill you: you still have D+E (CMR) in the tanks. No need to be quite so neurotic!

6th Jun 2008, 09:57
Incidentally, burning the excess 150kgs "comfort" fuel won't kill you: you still have D+E (CMR) in the tanks.

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

Think again....That 150 kgs is at the bottom of the tank. It is the last 150kgs to be used!!!!

My company has discounted every reason you can give for carrying extra ....in advance. The only reason they accept as valid is Low vis. Expected delays from my personal experience aren't statistically supported and are not valid. The ANO that recommends returning to the London TMA with div fuel plus 20 minutes holding fuel does not apply to 'us'.

I am trying to put this argument into perspective. The unwarranted pressure put on Captains to carry less and less fuel and sending out shitograms to those who would seem to 'waste' 3kgs of fuel adds enormous, unecessary stress...and for what.....the equivalent of 1 P per ticket!!!

The Real Slim Shady
6th Jun 2008, 10:28

I fail to see why the AIC does not apply to aircraft inbound to Stansted: STN is quite clearly within the TMA and unless specifically excluded by the CAA from the 20 minute = no delay protocol surely you have to follow their guidance.

6th Jun 2008, 11:03
Apparently not....

6th Jun 2008, 11:35
With the utmost respect, the AIC doesn't say you must load an extra :20 when operating into the LON TMA, neither is it an ANO requirement.

6th Jun 2008, 12:00
I agree. It simply states:

In busy terminal areas in the UK 'No delay expected' can mean a delay of up to 20 minutes.

It is down to the company to identify the requirement or not. My personal experience counts for nothing.

Anyway this is getting away from the point.

The Real Slim Shady
6th Jun 2008, 12:00
Quite agree LKYA, and if enough data exists to confirm that the probablity of a 20 minute delay is minimal I can see no reason to carry extra fuel. Howver, if you have data indicating a 20 + minute delay at 5pm every Friday it would be eminently sensible to increase the fuel load.

It is all a matter for commmon sense and airmanship.

6th Jun 2008, 12:08
Not allowed where I work!

Romeo India Xray
6th Jun 2008, 13:49
Finman has got me thinking. Other than a couple of degree modules I have no legal training other than Air Law at ATPL. Could someone more enlightened than me please shed some light on the legal position a company would be in should they take disciplinary action against a crew for loading additional fuel, and should that crew then take the action to tribunal. IMHO JAR-OPS1 would be on the side of the crew regardless of any employment laws, contract etc.

Of course taking action against your employer may well have you seeing out your flying days in a Caravan in the bush of Africa, but thats a different story.

6th Jun 2008, 14:06
Someone computer-savy really should post Shreks latest memo on here for all to read…

Btw have you guys noted that this memo was only circulated on paper, and NOT via the normal intranet system… food for thought!!!!:=:=

i can only say if i was the DCP i woud not have the balls to write said memo... but then again i am not as eloquent...:E:E

The Real Slim Shady
6th Jun 2008, 14:12
Of course, everyone has copied the memo and filed it for future reference?

6th Jun 2008, 15:02
When you talk about the value of each lbs of fuel, I wonder where all these crews that request startup and taxi only to arrive at the h/p needing next 5 minutes to finish preparations, or request taxi 30 minutes before the CTOT to wait 15 minutes before the runway, come from. Don't they have beancounters?

6th Jun 2008, 15:44
The pros and cons of this thread are most interesting however of all the postings from what I shall call the `minimilists` not one individual has made any reference to the fuel guage accuracy and tolerences. Most manufacturers publish these and a wise captain bears these in mind despite airline fuel policies ignoring this point.

6th Jun 2008, 17:16
As one of your 'minimalists', Meikleour, what point are you trying to make? Here I give you yet another excuse to ignore the calculated PLOG fuel and bung on a bit more for Mum?
When I land, wherever that might be, I calculate, both in Kgs and in litres, the fuel I need to fill the tanks with the amount I require to accomplish the flight. When the two figures are compared they rarely differ by more than a few tens of litres.
The gauge normally reads within about 10-20kgs and has never read more than about 40-60kg different from what I am expecting, so once again, just what is your point?
The gauges are accurate.
If you need an excuse to ignore the PLOG, find something else to hang your hat on.

6th Jun 2008, 18:12
The point that I am making is that the manufactures themselves (Both Boeing and Airbus) admit to tolerance levels in their aircraft fuel gauging systems therefore your observed accuracy levels of "10kgs" may not be as accurate as you would like to assume. Certainly when loading 150 tons onto a Jumbo even minor SG errors will vastly swamp these figures. Just because the ecam reads to 10kgs don`t assume that that is the true accuracy level.

7th Jun 2008, 08:26
The only way that you will know that the gauge is accurate is to run the tanks dry. Either the gauge is correct and the engine will stop at fuel 0 wich is ideal or not. Who however is going to try?

The point is, Yes it will produce figures that you are used to and they seem correct. You expect 2000 kgs remaining and voila it says 2000 kgs . If it is really 2000 kgs of usable fuel is questionable.

7th Jun 2008, 09:46
Well, where I fly, we don't have ANY fuel policy:ok:
We take whatever we want to take, questions are NEVER asked, and we even have a new SOP that has us leaving the APU ON for flights less than 90min. We fly B737's all over Europe and make a LOT of money doing so.
Never understood and never will understand people who take less fuel then the PLOG only to be more "economical". Remember that a diversion due to low fuel always costs more than a couple of hundred kg's extra weight. Not to mention different fuel prices over Europe...(why land with min. fuel in Ljubliana for example when you know that the fuel there is 40% more expensive than in Germany?!).

Be reasonable, realistic but don't ever just bend to the beancounters just because they say so when dealing with fuel and safety issues. If you do THAT, then you are not flightdeck material. The PIC has always the ultimate say.

7th Jun 2008, 10:51
The world is not about to run out of oil anytime soon, Airlines on the other hand are about to run out of money if oil stays where it is price wise, so the effort is to save money and burning less of the stuff will do that.

If the price was the same all over the world no one would tanker would they, if the price is? 40% dearer in Slovina then the cost of the additional fuel burn in carrying extra fuel is offset by the lower cost of the fuel uplifted and tankered.

My local fuel station is not the cheapest, but if i am filling the car up it is cheaper for me to drive the additional 10 miles round trip to which is paid for by the 7-9p a litre saving on a full tank.

We are all agreed that we burn extra fuel to carry extra weight so it is only ever a question of how much is enough. Issues such as the accuracy of fuel gauges and the cost of a divert are IMHO a red herring.


I fly around 650 sector a year and have diverted just once in the last three years, in the last 8-10 years it will be no more than a dozen times, i normally operate into major airports in a CAT3 aircraft, if operating into smaller fields with NPA and aircraft that are CAT1 only then yes the number of diverts will increase, but by and large these will be turboprop type ops with much less fuel burn in the first place! my point here is that the cost of carrying an extra 500kg for mum over the last 3 years and nearly 2000 sectors would have been far more than the cost of a divert. I could also add that even if i had an extra 5000kg on i still would have had to divert because it was 300m and the airfield was only CAT1 anyway.


Its often the case that on the 737 classic the centre tank will magic some fuel from somewhere so unless i have put some in there i ignore it, but i will try and burn it off in the CRZ, who cares about 20kg? does it matter if you land with 2500 or 2520? any slope on the ramp can change that, let alone the fuel temp so if your worried about 20kgs what are you flying? a C152?

At the end of the day it is the Captains call after discussion with his/her F/o, but you are being paid to make SAFE and then COMMERCIAL judgements otherwise you might as well fill her up

7th Jun 2008, 15:10
My home base is Cat1 procedural ILS with 9 based A/C.
if you want to see the eventual outcome of operating there in grubby weather with little extra fuel you could do worse than read the Brittania Airways accident report from 1999 on the AIB websight. Had he left the R/W to the left instead of the right he was in the fuel farm.
Remember those 3 priorities 1 - Your neck 2 - Your licence 3 - Your employer.

Max Angle
7th Jun 2008, 16:26
captplaystation, has anyone on this thread suggested operating in "grubby" conditions with little extra fuel?, no thought not. What we are talking about is carrying an appropriate fuel load and for the majority of flights that is plog fuel.

Notso Fantastic
7th Jun 2008, 17:25
There is a lot of sense in this:
I fly around 650 sector a year and have diverted just once in the last three years, in the last 8-10 years it will be no more than a dozen times, i normally operate into major airports in a CAT3 aircraft, if operating into smaller fields with NPA and aircraft that are CAT1 only then yes the number of diverts will increase, but by and large these will be turboprop type ops with much less fuel burn in the first place! my point here is that the cost of carrying an extra 500kg for mum over the last 3 years and nearly 2000 sectors would have been far more than the cost of a divert. I could also add that even if i had an extra 5000kg on i still would have had to divert because it was 300m and the airfield was only CAT1 anyway.

Acting as a fuel tanker and carrying several 100kgs every flight is not a sensible way of going about business with fuel suddenly being a very expensive commodity. I've diverted once in 2 years flying. The diversion would have happened even if I had been carrying even more fuel, so actually carrying extra does not do a lot for you. You should carry less and make a timely decision to divert. We must do our bit for the bottom line under current conditions- the airlines cannot afford you fuel tankering all the time when it doesn't actually achieve a great deal for you. The chances are, the extra fuel is that much more to waste before you divert anyway. I take PLOG with a significant reason to carry more required. This is even more important as the cost of fuel goes up.

7th Jun 2008, 17:41
Despeque, you should read the posts more carefully. I have yet to see anyone advocating taking 'less fuel than the PLOGl' as you suggest they have.
Nor do you seem to have taken on board the many pilots who mention 'tankering'. carrying cheaper fuel to expensive airports.
If you take what you want to take, everywhere, why does your company employ a Flight Ops Planning Dept?
Why have PLOGs at all? Simply fill it up and keep it topped up after every flight.
A question to all of you who carry a bit extra fro Mum, comfort factor, safety, whatever:
You arrive at your destination with an extra 1000kg, only to be told that you need to hold due to a blocked runway and that it should be clear in 20 minutes. No problem, you smug buggers think, I bought extra just for such an occurence as this! Aren't I the clever one?
20 minutes later, they tell you it will be another 20 minutes and now your extra 1000kg is gone. You are however, number 1 in the hold.
How long do you stay at your destination before you decide to divert due to fuel shortage?
If you divert early, before CMR is reached, you will certainly lose the chance to land at your desired airport. If you wait until CMR, or even, God forbid, a little less than CMR, is reached your comfort factor is gone and it's sweaty palm time.
The point being, if you want to fly around with a comfort factor, a bit for Mum, then you will never use it because your mind set will tell you to leave the hold with CMR plus a bit for Mum.
What is the difference between me landing at my destination or diversion field than you landing at the same place but with 1000kg more fuel?
Absolutely nothing except you waste a lot of money and a considerable amount of fuel simply carting it around every year.
BTW, done another 8 sectors since the last post and still haven't had to divert due to fuel shortage!

7th Jun 2008, 19:56

7th Jun 2008, 20:56
Despeque, you should read the posts more carefully
In fact I quite agree with Despegue. He will retire as I did with a smile on his face and no arterial tension at all. The PLOG is something very useful as a basis. But the computers assume that you are going to get the flight level prepared in the flight plan and follow the track...Fly from Paris to Istambul in summer (I will assume there are no thunderstorms so as to keep it reasonable)...tell me when that did happen? The PLOG leaves you with the exact fuel required by law at your destination, assuming everything has gone according to the nice flight plan???That never satisfied me, and I never regretted taking a little more, not on a hunch, but according to experience.
I took the plog to stockholm, I took a lot more to Athens or Sofia. And I think you will agree with that. I checked everytime with the fuel cistern for the test for water in the fuel and I checked its temperature...old habits and mistrust make old aviators.

stator vane
9th Jun 2008, 20:23
some have different safety factors than others. some will get closer to thunderstorms than others. some will take the aircraft down to lower fuel quantities than others.

personally, i think it unethical to even consider taking a plane load of passengers anywhere close to a minimum fuel situation. and might be a bit silly to some, but i fly the aircraft as if everyone i loved was on board.

our plog shows at times less than 1000kgs for final fuel. my ZERO fuel is 2000. i will never plan to be in the air with less than that, regardless of the weather-- if that makes me a ******, then so be it.

i have personally seen UK alternates refuse to take any more traffic, after i have entered holding. so i use the most distant for planning.

and frankly, the number of times someone else hasn't diverted, does not overly influence my planning. when one loses a friend due to fuel shortage and resultant assymetric thrust on a twin engine aircraft, it brings it home like nothing else. that can happen on a 738 as well.

it would make a lot more sense to trim off the useless 5 sector a month freeloading management types than to trim off fuel for flight.

9th Jun 2008, 20:27
Although I'm SLF I would comment that I would be much more confident about flying with Stator Vane than a "minimalist"

9th Jun 2008, 21:34
The PLOG leaves you with the exact fuel required by law at your destination
Do you fellas up there in Europe not have to carry 5% contingency fuel to cover unplanned additional fuel burn? This is part of min legal gas down here. UK to Istanbul, roughly 3.5 hours, roughly 9000kg fuel burn in 737, so should be 450kg of contingency fuel carried. This seems like a reasonable amount to cover avoiding thunderies and that sort of thing.

Terminal 5ive
9th Jun 2008, 22:06
No disrespect mercurydancer, but you would have no idea if the PIC was a "minimalist" or not and there is no reason why it should make you "feel more confident".

1. As far as I see, nobody is talking about taking less than any legal documented fuel policy.
2. As some have already stated, there is fat in PLOGS generated by the flight planning system of many airlines.
3. If additional fuel is required due to weather or any other operational requirements, that is the PIC's decision and some Airlines may just require the reasons recorded.
4. If it is not needed, then why carry it? That is the all a "minimalist" questions (without speaking for all).
5. There is a significant difference between WANT and NEED, neither jeopardise safety.
6. If 1000 PIC's in airline A took what they wanted ("a bit for mum" or "thinking time"), and 1000 PIC's in Airline B took what they needed, neither has any safety implications but consider the economic difference between the two.
7. If the unexpected happens on an apparent "good" operational day, the "minimalist" may have to make an earlier decision. However, in the event of a runway closure, the "bit for mum" and "thinking time" may end up next to "minimalist" at the No.1 alternate a while later anyway (whilst "minimalist has refulled ready to return to original destination).
8. The term "minimalist" should be banned.:=
9. If your airline has no concern over fuel prices then where do we all apply?

slip and turn
9th Jun 2008, 22:54
I am sure there are other threads on the general subject of low fuel on PPRuNe over the years, but stumbled over this one from six years ago when a tonne of fuel apparently cost about $200 :} : http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?t=57134

It caught my eye because there was a discussion of what you might do with CAVOK in it.

I conclude that minimalists were perhaps more of a rarity way back then, or perhaps more simply, no-one had coined such a clinically-neutral name for them?

10th Jun 2008, 07:40
One point I would emphasise is that local knowledge and experience is required to make the sensible decision about extra fuel. If you fly the same route regularly you get a very good feel if more is required. The Plog plans for the shortest departure and for the longest approach. In Munich flying the whole transition requires several hundred kilos more fuel. Most times on arrival it is not required and is therefore effectively extra. On the other hand going to the Canaries with Plog fuel might not be the wisest decision.

10th Jun 2008, 10:22
Actually Studi it makes a difference of hundreds of thousands if not millions of pounds to my companies bottom line. Those couple of hundred extra for mum really do add up.

A million is very roughly equal to a 1% pay rise, or in todays climate a 1% pay cut. Do you think the bean counters will look sympatheticaly on a bunch of pilots whose attitude is we'll carry whatever the hell we like when we like because we can. No they will not, they will despise us for our arrogance and they would be right.

By all means carry extra fuel but behave like a professional and do it for a legitimate and justifiable reason. If you do not need extra do not carry it.

That said I am lucky enough to be in a company were the CFPs can be trusted. If that was not the case then I would carry extra and write the reasons why on the CFP and journey log.

coool guy
10th Jun 2008, 10:35
The legal minimum to land assuming you are assured of a landing at destination is Fixed reserve which on NG is aprox 1100kg. After a long taxi you could easily burn 300kg thus arriving at the gate with 800kg, all perfectly legal, very uncomfortable but no cause for postings on this site.

10th Jun 2008, 10:48
Reading this thread which is trying to justify flying with minimum fuel in order to save fractions of a percent in fuel burn makes me think that with margins so tight there ought to be a case for the return to the good old turbo-prop!

Despite improvements in gas turbine efficiency with high bypass ratio fans for short haul and mid haul ops you can't beat the air miles per gallon (or whatever units you prefer) achieved even by "old" technology engines such as the RR Dart.

I know that turbo-props are slower than the whizzy A318s/19s/20s etc. or the NG 737's but if flying slower meant flying cheaper then perhaps the SLF would accept it. Stll, it won't make the argument go away - there will still be the argument as to what is the prudent min fuel to upload. IMHO that is a cockpit responsibility and must remain at the crew's discretion....it will be a poor reflection on an airline's management should that cease to be the case.

One final though, maybe this should be posted on the History and Nostalgia page!! Were they really the good old days when there were Vicounts, Vanguards, Britannias etc. dominating the fleets?

10th Jun 2008, 11:55
Our planning figures are 40kg/min in the air and 14kg/min for taxi, so 30 minutes would be exactly 1200kg. A further 300kg away from that would be over 20 minutes taxi time. Definitely worth shutting down one engine. If I saw a remaining fuel like that I would probably have a chat with the incoming crew to see what happened and if possible avoid it happening to me. Are you based at CDG cool guy?

10th Jun 2008, 12:03
Those couple of hundred extra for mum really do add up.

....to peanuts!.....in the big scheme of things.

My company wastes more on lawyers every year than all the pilots will ever 'waste' carrying fuel which makes them feel less close to the edge.

Tell the 'management' boards to leave the (relatively tiny) fuel margins alone and look at themselves where real savings are to be had!

10th Jun 2008, 18:24

Thanks for the figures, my company gives us something similar I just didn't have it to hand.

My mob have about 150 shorthaul aircraft which fly between 6-8 sectors each a day. Profits last year were in the order of £200 mil. Given that on many occasions you will have to carry extra fuel I would guess the saveings we cold put down to takeing just CFP fuel are in the order of 2-3 mil so still around 1% of profits. I do rather disagree that this is insignificant particulary in an operation were margins are tight and as fuel costs increase the saveings will get bigger.

Maybe we could all volentarily (before we're forced to) give up 1% of our salaries to help out in these hard times. It is after all peanuts!

Finman I agree with you that there is often huge waste by management etc Other than voiceing your disquiet there is nothing you can do to directly affect that. You do however have control over how much fuel you carry and how you operate your aircraft both of which have a direct impact on the companies bottom line. Its a touch childish to say just because in my view they are not doing their job properly I won't make an effort either. Of course if you cannot trust your companies flight planning that is a different matter.

10th Jun 2008, 19:34
Funnily enough I too pay my dues to BALPA, but that wasn't the point I was makeing.

Terminal 5ive
10th Jun 2008, 19:47

The situation of individual Airlines is clearly going to affect opinions on this.

You have indicated that you work for a successful airline in this industry, however there are a significant number that must fight for every penny to survive.

Take an airline with 10% of the figures you quoted (excluding the profit). That is
£1.3 million towards the profitability of the airline. That is a significant figure to airlines of this size whether their business model is flawed or not.

I also quite agree that airlines must also be looking elsewhere for savings but surely this should include fuel carriage given that fuel is one of the biggest costs to most airlines?

As I said before, as long as the company's fuel policy is followed and conditions permit, if it is not needed then why carry it given the cost implications?

If it is needed then, of course, it must be carried and perhaps documented if the airline requires.

10th Jun 2008, 22:22
Well, I'm in Ashling's company and I fully agree with Studi. Too many swallow the management bollocks. Economically, it is peanuts saved. Costs must always be seen in relation to turnover and it is a pittance that can be saved. Any doubt, stick some more fuel on. I am not getting stressed and age quickly to save a few bucks while useless managers squander obscene amounts on stupid decisions. The summer of 2006 comes to mind in the orange world. I wonder if someone is calculating the ekstra airframe hour costs now that la la land wants us to descent with 256 knots :ugh:

The 1 million thing is just applicable to our specific airline and is no generic figure.

Sick Squid
10th Jun 2008, 23:21
About 3 years ago, I was heading out from LHR on an AMS day trip... overcast at 400 on departure, with a prob 30 for 300 on the forecast. Now my company says I can ignore prob 30. But I didn't. Indeed, what's the difference between 300 and 200... simple, LVP's.

So I tanked for an hours holding on return, reinforced by the fact that EAT's were being sent out as we left...not drastic ones but EAT's none the less, which means over 20 minutes holding.

Arriving back at LAM, with a comfortable 1hr and 15 available for hold using contingency and holding Gatwick, we were given an EAT of 40 minutes, LHR being 200ft and LVP's. However, I heard one of our aircraft talking about not being able to cope with any movement on the EAT, so called ops, told them I was happy for an EAT swap as long as it was not beyond 60 minutes on my EAT, ie a move of 20.

They actioned it. Two aircraft who would otherwise have diverted recovered to LHR, our EAT moved about 4 times, but we left the stack at 57 minutes versus the 40 I was given originally. Comfortably in, and technically close to a commit to LHR, but as we all know STN is still available from LAM for a long time, and we were monitoring it on box two. No sweat at all, just another 17 minutes.

A fortnight later I flew with a copilot who had been flying the same day. He'd arrived just ahead of us, and hadn't the fuel to hold (they were on Cirrus) so had diverted to Luton. 2 hours on ground, then recovery with several passengers missing connections.

He had a letter in his bag from Flight Ops Management thanking him for diverting. I am not joking, it actually said words along the lines of "thank you for your efforts on such-and-such a day, we realise the decision to divert is a hard one and thank you for your sterling work blah blah blah."

I'd write out my letter verbatim.... if I ever got one. 3 diversions saved due to experience, and nothing. But you divert, you get a slap on the back.

Go figure. You don't need to carry excess extra every time, but then again, we shouldn't be given a diversion fuel for LTN via 27L that is effectively a Brookmans park plus an arrival at FL90 as reality bears no relation to that ground track at all.

What we are paid for is the interpretation, not following the orders verbatim. Unlike certain posters on this site, I do not believe Flight Ops Management know everything.


10th Jun 2008, 23:49
Thank You. A thinking man's Pilot. I recognize the frustration with the outcome of your innovative work and that of the Pilot who diverted. There seems a disconnect at times (sic). In another time, our FOMs were non-Pilots, but answered to a very experienced man who couldn't shepherd all eleven of his people at one time, a source of bitterness for many years.


11th Jun 2008, 08:17
As I said before, as long as the company's fuel policy is followed and conditions permit, if it is not needed then why carry it given the cost implications?

If it is needed then, of course, it must be carried and perhaps documented if the airline requires. - can we please put this thread creep to bed with this excellent summary which really says it all? It is not about carrying extra fuel when your destination weather is crap, it is about a rumoured low arrival fuel state.

SS - how about a new thread about uplifting extra fuel?:ugh:

Now, back to Ryanair bashing.....................:=

Stan Woolley
11th Jun 2008, 11:07
This is how your last post appears to me BOAC? Just because you consider that to be an excellent summary it is indeed the word of God and we can now move on knowing that the 'experts' have spoken.

As I said previously fuel is an emotive issue and ten pilots will probably have a hundred opinions on the subject. In my experience the majority of pilots do not feel comfortable arriving anywhere with the bare bones of Diversion plus Final Reserve,maybe all or none of the contingency, it is a minority that feel comfortable doing so at least in the jet companies I have worked at. That is on the basis also that I was a first officer for around nine years so I'm generally talking about the Captains ideas rather than mine. Talking to the F/O's I fly with and have flown with it appears that not much has changed in this regard.

You for example flew Harriers so will certainly have experience of flying around on minutes if fuel, which I do not and until they stick in an ejection seat have no intentions of going there. The point being that we all have different comfort levels.

Remember also that different companies may have very different approaches to this issue. They may have a very well developed Nav department that has huge piles of statistical data that adjusts navlogs to account for different situations - frequently they do not! I have found that one plog may leave you comfortable and the very next one could leave you literally short of legal fuel?

Different airports too have different approaches so one time you get straight in and you land with say 3.4t (737), same trip the next day you go all the way round the arrival at 5000ft.....'make your speed 180 kts'....'number five' etc and you land with 2.2t? Other airports are far more predictable so easier to plan for.

Amazing as it may sound I am aware of fuel prices and the requirement to be efficient, I quite frequently take plog fuel when I think it sensible. I'll bet there is some area in your operation where you have a particular view and maybe it doesn't quite gel with what 'they' say you should be doing but from personal experience you don't quite believe them and you quietly do what you believe to be right?

When I run short of fuel I would prefer people to say ' Sh1t it really wasn't his day!' rather than 'Why didn't he stick on more fuel?'

11th Jun 2008, 11:34
the word of God and we can now move on knowing that the 'experts' have spoken. - well, I know for a fact that there at least 2 of us who think it was an 'excellent' post:8

God's primary intention was to revert this thread to its topic and not have lots of wittering on about '1000kg for mum' and 'my comfort zone' HERE, but rather to explore the plight of the pilot in question.

Stan Woolley
11th Jun 2008, 11:44
God's primary intention was to revert this thread to its topic and not have lots of wittering on about '1000kg for mum' and 'my comfort zone' HERE, but rather to explore the plight of the pilot in question.

Some of us strangely enough think it's the same issue. :rolleyes:

11th Jun 2008, 12:47
I guess what BOAC and others are interested in is the missing mayday (or at least pan pan) - which needs proof as well as the number itself.

11th Jun 2008, 16:43
..........or indeed if it ever happened, or if he 'landed' with 800, or just shut down with same after extended ground holding, or uplifted 1000 over PLOG and got held for an hour or so, diverted, had a fuel leak etc etc. Maybe there was a 'Mayday' or 'PAN' - who knows? We don't.

All 'urine and wind', I'm afraid, until we get something a little more reliable. NB 'Whitebraz' has not re-appeared, so we assume a 'stirrer'?

11th Jun 2008, 20:07
Last Activity: 3rd June 2008 01:23

nuff said?

11th Jun 2008, 21:07
As I already stated in Post 121, Whitebraz is almost certainly a little one-post sh*t stirrer who is unwilling or unable to come back and back up his Spanish suppository.

We are all equally stupid to have risen to his bait.

The Real Slim Shady
12th Jun 2008, 01:40

Regrettably these threads all develop into Ryanair bashing.

You will always get the sanctimonious whiners in any company: you know the type, all mouth, nada in the cojones!

Maybe WB was one of them.

As a mate once said DILLIGAF.

Actually he had it painted on his cab

Orp Tolip
12th Jun 2008, 19:28
Actually quite enjoying this thread, despite the drift, especially as fuel loading is a hot topic where I work too, although agree it might be better as a seperate thread.

However, back to topic, and a question.

We don't know the 'facts' about the flight in question yet, and any number of factors could have contrived to put the crew in the situation of landing in a low fuel situation, perfectly legally and safely, if indeed thay actually did.

JAR Ops allows 2 approaches and then diversion.

Can somone point me in the direction of where this is documented please? I have been told similar by a colleague a while back but never found the documented reference to this rule/guideline..... :hmm:

12th Jun 2008, 21:39
terminal 5

Thank you for replying... I quote "No disrespect mercurydancer, but you would have no idea if the PIC was a "minimalist" or not and there is no reason why it should make you "feel more confident". That is very true - I wouldnt know the PIC but I may be aware of company policy towards fuel (and I am not a Ryanair basher) or other possibly more unacceptable management cultures.

As Ive said elsewhere, my interest in aviation is the parallels between aviation safety and my own field, which is safety in healthcare. I am very well aware of situations where professionals can disregard their own judgement for fear of upsetting the status quo, be that management or other professionals. This topic does appear to revolve around a professional judgement made amongst conflicting influences. As a cross-section of opinion about the elements which come together to form such a crucial decision as to how much fuel to take on board it has been fascinating and illustrating.

13th Jun 2008, 11:26
With EMA set to run out fuel tonight, i guess Ryan will have to tanker in, EMA gets (or did until today's strike) its fuel from Shell!!

13th Jun 2008, 11:40
Last time I looked the fuel tankers at EMA for Ryanair had big Texaco signs all over them!