View Full Version : NZAA lighting failure 26/11/2010

29th Nov 2010, 22:25
The Townsville refueller tells me Auckland suffered a total runway lighting failure on Friday night from 20:30 to 04:00 local on Friday night, causing diversions to NZWN & NZCH.

Can anyone shed any light (intended) on how this "theoretically impossible" situation occurred, given some operators only require diversion fuel from TOD into NZ.

30th Nov 2010, 03:25
Media were reporting it as a possible lightning strike, and has apparently happened twice before. Haven't heard any offical word yet though.

30th Nov 2010, 04:19
I had the same issue in Darwin about a year ago.

No advice from ATC that there was a failure until questioned, simply advised to hold, (like we make fuel).

3rd world airports with 4th world services

mates rates
30th Nov 2010, 04:52
And there are idiot captains flying airliners around here on minimum fuel because accountants and operations departments have told them it's the way to operate. :ugh:

30th Nov 2010, 05:22
mates rates
Spot on! :ok:
And if you do manage to save a spoonful of fuel, where does that money go?
Someone's pocket in the form of a bonus. :ugh:

Waghi Warrior
30th Nov 2010, 06:57
Maybe they had some wantoks from AYPY down there ! I didn't think NZ was a third world country ! :p
No it's that plug, na mate it must the other one,sh!t I dunno there are to many plugs here with empty sockets,me nosavy !

30th Nov 2010, 07:30
And there are idiot captains flying airliners around here on minimum fuel because accountants and operations departments have told them it's the way to operate.
out of interest what do you believe an airline captain should carry?

30th Nov 2010, 08:34
Yes...I was going to ask the same thing..how much fuel do consider enough fuel?

30th Nov 2010, 09:34
:D Keep putting in until the stuff pours out the vents and then back it off 100Kg.

Waghi Warrior
30th Nov 2010, 10:26
Enough fuel for me,mum and the kids and I can do that,that's why I have four gold bars on each shoulder ! Sorry I forgot to mention,this is on top of the minimum legal requirements.
Anyway that's what I do up her in PNG,and I haven't flown a glider lately.
I do understand things might be slightly different in the real world !

30th Nov 2010, 11:01
RENURPP, was that you in the B717 that had to divert to Tindal?

mates rates
30th Nov 2010, 11:06
Obviously there is no single answer to that question, it depends on many factors.What is the legal minimum and what is the company minimum are a good starting point.Sufficient to give you a plan B in case of the unexpected even if it's CAVOK.Then you ask yourself the question,what is the minimum fuel I WANT TO LAND WITH at destination or alternate ? And work backwards from that point.Remember Plan B does not necessarily mean fuel to another airport!! I've seen crews in the simulator take 60 mins. in a holding pattern to do the flap asymmetry checklist.Whilst we can't cover all possible contingencies on every flight the last thing we need is to give ourselves the additional time pressures associated with a lack of fuel on top of whatever the other operational or technical or ground problem happens to be.
The bottom line is the company wants you to carry minimum fuel.It makes the flight operations department look good in the eyes of the accountants and gives the executives bigger bonuses.
Don't be so nieve as to believe if you f%ck up they will not use you to cover their own arse.
While you need to be sensible with the fuel you carry do not be pressured into carrying less than your comfortable with.As PIC you are more than covered by the CAR's.Just quote them if you are queried.

30th Nov 2010, 11:31
What he said!:D

30th Nov 2010, 19:13
While your response might be "spot on" and woftam is joining the parade, it doesn't really answer the question.

You criticise others for not arriving with "enough" fuel, yet you are unwilling to put an amount down your self. Give me an example of a destination with no weather requirements and what you believe is the minimum acceptable.

30th Nov 2010, 19:20
Back to thread, what happened to fuse the lights at NZAA?
..........and it does sound like an event befitting a 3rd rate outfit.....

30th Nov 2010, 21:54
Skynews, that's like asking how long is a piece of string.
Suffice to say it would be generally a lot more than the accountants think you need (and they should know, right?)
There used to be a thing called "Airmanship" and experience which dictated such decisions.
We have seen enough examples of what cost cutting leads to lately.
Back to the thread.

1st Dec 2010, 00:12
Been a while since I was in AKL. Is Whenupai still operational?

1st Dec 2010, 01:47
Yip, storm in a teacup material. A fuel emergency would have got you into whenuapai.

1st Dec 2010, 04:07
I'm sorry to go off thread again, but people who make ridiculous unfounded comments should have to explain them.

Idiot Captains flying airliners on minimum fuel, is what was said, so who are these airlines that require Captains to fly on minimum fuel and what exactly is minimum fuel?

Maybe this is a throw away comment from some one who doesn't know how to plan and consider his/ her options carefully, so like was suggested, simply likes to fill the tanks.

Minimum fuel, by the way for a jet is normally 30 mins + weather.

mates rates
1st Dec 2010, 11:25
minimum fuel at the flight planning stage for an airliner would be FF+taxi out+ FR + VR + Traffic holding (if Required)+ WX holding (if required).
Minimum LEGAL landing fuel is FR.So if your LANDING with less than your FR you should have declared a fuel emergency.
As stated by others here, good airmanship,experience,co-pilots imput,gut feelings on the day, etc, would dictate your fuel requirements.But if you want to pin me down to a figure.On a good weather day at SYD without single R/W ops I would say over the top with 80 mins fuel provided CBR has no WX requirements.This gives you lots of options including Richmond,Williamtown and Nowra and CBR if required, still landing with about 45mins fuel.Some places are not blessed with so many options e.g.CNS or PER where you would be crazy not to carry TSV and KAL fuel respectively.
Remember, at the end of the day the PIC will wear the can,not the bean counters or the flight operations management, whose backsides are covered by the company operations manuals.You make your decisions with that in mind,afterall it's your licence!!

1st Dec 2010, 14:16
Why carry KG fuel when you have Pearce right next door to Perth, surely you are carrying excess fuel for no reason.

Why CB fuel when Richmond is right nect door?

Maybe idiot airline pilots are not carrying minimum fuel they have simply thought out their options a little better?

1st Dec 2010, 20:16
Yes there are pilots who are thoughtful about what fuel they carry but some others would still throw on an extra half a tonne even if they had diversion fuel to the moon, despite it being cavok everywhere. As has been pointed out Whenuipai would have been available and I'm sure the lights at Hamilton could also have been switched on if required.

1st Dec 2010, 20:53
mates rates

should I offload passengers to achieve the 80 minutes over SYD on the CAVOK day tou talk about?

mates rates
2nd Dec 2010, 22:48
I think gentlemen you don't need me to teach you any more about running around on minimum fuel.You have all the proof you need that only fools do that on the weather holding thread.:ugh:

2nd Dec 2010, 23:53
you don't need me to teach you any more about running around on minimum fuel.I cant see anyone suggesting we run around on "minimum fuel" (fixed reserve), its deciding what minimum planned arrival fuel should be.

So far you haven't taught me a thing I am afraid!

3rd Dec 2010, 00:55

Theres a whole raft of reasons why Capts may choose to carry fuel for aerodromes further away than perhaps some closer in.

Just because Richmond and Pearce are "next door" does not make them necessarily the most desirable.

3rd Dec 2010, 01:21
It must be a hangover from the days when ATC told you whether or not you had enough gas and that you come from a country that has 8/8 blue most of the time.

I've flown with a lot of Aussie pilots both as a copilot and a commander and in many parts of the world too. Some of those that came across to NZ had to learn real fast and admitted that they had learn't a lot.

Almost without exception, you all quote the rules using all your own unique (though fairly practical) terminology while still remaining completely inept at interpreting weather (outside of a TAF or TTF) and planning your fuel. I'ts an obvious weakness in your pilot training and the way things happen in Australia.

Anyway, back on subject, I am wondering if there will be any refund for local operators who were obviously seriously jerked around by this lighting fiasco. Everyone pays a premium price for AKL's services and AIAL and Airways Corp NZ certainly dropped the ball this time. :=

3rd Dec 2010, 03:00
Theres a whole raft of reasons why Capts may choose to carry fuel for aerodromes further away than perhaps some closer in.

Just because Richmond and Pearce are "next door" does not make them necessarily the most desirable.

Really, thanks for that. Is there a reason there are also a whole raft of reasons why Capts may chose to carry fuel for aerodromes closer in then further away.

Just because KG is further away doesn't make it more desirable than Pearce.

3rd Dec 2010, 07:08
Is there a reason there are also a whole raft of reasons why Capts may chose to carry fuel for aerodromes closer in then further away

Yep, there are a few.

Just because KG is further away doesn't make it more desirable than Pearce

Um, well, yes sometimes actually it is.

3rd Dec 2010, 09:36
I thought this thread was about the whys and wherefores of the lighting failure at NZAA NOT about fuel contingency at some place in OZ.

Has Airways finally been bitten by their profit first mentality?

Have they been putting enough recources into maintaining equipment?

3rd Dec 2010, 11:01
you know sometimes lightning will get you no matter what.

i had a server room that was protected by the building having a lighting rod, theoretically this took direct strikes out of the equation. the server room was close the the middle of the 3000 sq m floor plate.

on the in bound power line i had a surge suppressor that was designed to commit hari-kari if we had a strike come down the line.

behind that was a voltage smoothing 10kva in-line UPS.

everything in the server room ran off that UPS.

one day, none of this made a jot of difference. had a direct strike on the building (supposedly very very very unlikely) which transferred enough voltage through the reinforced concrete wall where it hit to take out a bundle of Cat5 runs and 3 switches in the server room, 5 PCs, and 2 printers connected to that Cat5. :ouch: :{

had a guy in another company run Cat 5, literally 5m between two buildings underground. lasted less than 12 hrs. how the lightning managed to ground strike between those 2 buildings is quite remarkable.

I don't know what happened at Auckland, but it isn't beyond the realms of possibility that the lightning found the weak point no matter what the plans the mice have to stop such events, or recover from a strike.

as for Darwin, i'm surprised the lightning doesn't take out the lights more often, frankly.

3rd Dec 2010, 13:24
Clearly, the redundant system was neither redundant, nor independant, so is therefore inadequate for the job.
An aircraft designer designs an electrical system to cater for a total failure..i.e if you lose all the electrics..the default setting is the engine keeps turning.
AAL and Airways stepped on their collective d1cks with this one, and I'd bet 5 bucks cold hard cash..that the genius who thought this through..also thought they were saving money.

Mates rates..I'm afraid your assertion is far too simplistic. I quite happily fly around with company minimum fuel, in fact I came back from Shanghai 12 hrs ago with min fuel with no problem.
Minimum fuel means plenty of things, legal minimums are a totally different kettle of fish, and require awhole other thread.

On Guard
4th Dec 2010, 03:55
It all comes down to the situation on the day. Landing with 60 mins is my ideal min and I do often. I agree with Sky, there are many out there that no matter what will take more fuel.

It comes down to the likelihood of getting in. As professionals we need to think about the situation and make a decision, it is very easy to load fuel every time but we need to think more I believe.

SYD for example, with no weather req. 3 rw's, you are going to get in so why do you need more fuel or an ALT? In your back pocket you have RIC, undesirable but extremely unlikely. On the other hand if SYD had TCU, CB's etc then minimum fuel will not suffice.

AKL if it was CAVOK that night. Why take more fuel? An alternate would have been planned. For some NZCH, but lets be pessimistic and give ourselves NZHN as it was unlikely to be used. When the lights fail you have approx 1hr fuel so head to NZHN or Whenapai. Whats the big deal. This is a once in XXXX times occurrence so if we all carry fuel in case the lights go out then the Greenies won't like us. Bean Counters another story and yes I don't agree with it all going to Management bonuses.

If AKL B010 then take NZWN, when lights go out you can give away NZWN for NZHN and hold some more then if you choose give away NZHN for Whenpai or divert at any stage.

My 2 cents