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Virgin Aircraft 'Emergency' Landing

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Virgin Aircraft 'Emergency' Landing

Old 21st Jun 2013, 07:05
  #181 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Sydney
Age: 56
Posts: 1,545
Ken, how come I have a letter from my company with my average fuel order compared to everybody else?
Companies DO monitor this. some of us just ignore it.
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Old 21st Jun 2013, 07:06
  #182 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2007
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ATSB update!

Ben Sandiland and ATSB's (shock horror!) latest update:
Virgin Mildura fog update: This is getting interesting
The ATSB has launched a thorough professional inquiry into a serious Virgin Australia incident at Mildura, in sharp contrast to its disgraceful conduct in relation to the Pel-Air ditching near Norfolk Island in 2009.

The ATSB has updated its advice on the Virgin Australia landing at Mildura in fog conditions that didn’t meet the minimums acceptable under the rules for low visibility operations.

It has probably begun reading and analysing the data and cockpit conversations it retrieved from the 737′s voice and data recorders.

At about 1015 EST on 18 June 2013 air traffic control advised the ATSB of a fuel related occurrence involving a Boeing 737-8FE (B737), registered VH-YIR, at Mildura Airport, Victoria. The aircraft, operated by Virgin Australia, was en route from Brisbane, Queensland, to Adelaide, South Australia, with five crew and 86 passengers on board when the crew diverted the aircraft to Mildura.
The aircraft had departed Brisbane at about 0630 that morning and carried sufficient fuel for the flight to Adelaide. On the basis of the weather forecasts at the time the aircraft departed Brisbane, there was no requirement to provide for an alternate airport to Adelaide. As the aircraft approached Adelaide, fog reduced the visibility at the airport to below the minimum required for landing. The crew diverted to Mildura and the aircraft landed safely at Mildura Airport at about 1010 following two instrument approaches.
The fog at Adelaide was not forecast when the aircraft left Brisbane. A number of other aircraft, in addition to the B737, returned to their departure airports or diverted to alternate airports as a result of the reduced visibility at Adelaide Airport.
The ATSB commenced an investigation at about 1100 on 18 June 2013 and the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder were removed from the aircraft and forwarded to the ATSB’s facilities in Canberra for download. The investigation is continuing and will involve:
· examination of the recorded information
· interviews with the flight crew of this and other affected aircraft
· examination of the operator’s procedures
· review of the relevant radio and radar data
· examination of the relevant weather observations and forecasts.
It is anticipated that the investigation will be completed in March 2014.
It is clear that this is going to be a detailed consideration of all of the factors that caused an Australian airliner’s pilots to instruct passengers to adopt the crash landing brace position and then land at a fog bound airport under circumstances where they were left with no alternative but to set down.

In the background there is another question hanging in the air, which is whether Australia’s current regulations concerning the fueling of passenger flights are truly safe and adequate, or need to be reviewed and improved.

The contrast between this inquiry and the disgraceful conduct of the ATSB in relation to the Pel-Air ditching near Norfolk Island in 2009 is painfully obvious.

In that crash the data recorder from the jet was not recovered by the ATSB, but is probably well preserved at an easily recoverable depth.
Not only did the ATSB fail to recover such vital data, it failed to canvas the fueling policies of the operator, and acted in association with CASA the safety regulator, to unfairly frame all blame on the pilot while discounting evidence that CASA failed to perform its duties of oversight, and Pel-Air failed to meet the requirements of Australian safety rules.
Clearly the ATSB has found its charter and its professionalism in the Mildura fog incident. This incident has important safety ramifications for Australian mainline airlines and their passengers. Unlike the Norfolk Island disgrace, in which the ATSB although aware of the fact that none of the safety equipment on the Pel-Air jet worked as intended in a ditching, ignored its international obligation to make findings and recommendations concerning that aspect of the ditching to the world wide aviation community.

Now that the ATSB has got its head back into gear when it comes to safety inquiries, perhaps it might deign to consider the findings of the Senate committee that inquired into its conduct in relation to Pel-Air before it holds its regular board meeting on 24 July.

Perhaps the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Anthony Albanese, might also instruct the ATSB to re-open its Pel-Air inquiry, and do its job with the same thoroughness and fairness that it seems to be bringing to bear on the Virgin Australia incident.

Yes, time is running short Minister. It would be a pity to leave the Pel-Air scandal festering away while the ATSB adopts a different, and apparently totally professional approach to the conduct of the Virgin flight that ended up in Mildura in a pea-souper, rather than in the soup, like Pel-Air.
Hmm so will everything investigated by the bureau from now on always be benchmarked against the Norfolk ditching report??

Q/ I wonder if the bureau investigators have noticed a 'Critical Safety Issue' already? If so I wonder if Beaker will be game (or not) to promulgate an official 'Safety Recommendation'? As Ben said.."This is getting interesting"...

Last edited by Sarcs; 21st Jun 2013 at 07:24. Reason: Pondering possible SRs
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Old 21st Jun 2013, 07:34
  #183 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2011
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Posts: 56

I'm guessing that, having allowed a second-best situation to develop, both the QF and VB crews thought that Mildura was a good option. Certainly a paradise compared to ETOPS planned alternates like Cold Bay, Adak, Shemya, Petropavlosk, Anadyr and Magadan in winter.

The question you should have asked: "At what point in the flight did it appear that Adelaide might well go bad and that anywhere else nearby (same high pressure, lioght breeze, small dew point/dry bulb split) would also likely go bad (or at least risk that) too. At that point was a diversion to MEL available?"

I would find that question interesting for command training courses and LOFT exercises etc.

But then I scare easily.

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Old 21st Jun 2013, 08:05
  #184 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Australia
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Ben Sandiland latest update:...
Has there been anything from Sandilands reference the mater of the met forecast ?

Sandilands for one is fairly familiar with the Australian BOM and the sheer waste of multi millions of dollars to do with the global warming scam. What research is being done to ensure pilots get an improved basic fog forecast ?

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Old 21st Jun 2013, 09:11
  #185 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2006
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Could the Townsville refueller ask the Mildura refueller how much was left in the tanks?
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Old 21st Jun 2013, 10:04
  #186 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: OZ
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An earlier post offered the following scenario;

Interesting situation you often face. You arrive at aerodrome A at 2300z with fog, with a metar saying fog clearing at 0000z. But 2330z is your aerodrome B diversion fuel cutoff time.. You have fuel in tanks to hold until 0030 and make an approach to A.
Stay or Go?? Firstly if known before departure carry fuel for a hold until 0000z plus the approach and diversion fuel. Otherwise at 2330z you divert. If not you are proposing to commit to an airfield that is closed and I can't see any logic in that at all. Commit if your are assured of a landing sure, but how can you say that when the airfield is still below your approach minimas?

You have no legal obligation to divert at 2330 to B. Do you stay or do you go at 2330?
Then your fuel policy needs rewriting I would suggest.

An auto land to a Cat 1 facility below minima is an emergency, don't think of it any other way. It is most definitely not a plan B....Those that have done them to unprotected ILS aids will agree with me, the lack of protections even to a CAT 11/111 can result in some strange AP behaviour, I have experienced early flare and a low pass down the runway, late flare, sudden LOC divergence. To consider this as a non emergency option is pretty silly thinking.....
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Old 21st Jun 2013, 10:33
  #187 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Australia
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Our job has two key aspects:

Science and Art.

The Science is the black and white stuff. SOP's, rules, systems knowledge etc.

At best, forecast is a human prediction of what mother nature will be doing in the future. A mixture of Science and Art. While it is a document by which we apply our science based rules, one must remember that it does not come with an ironclad guarantee.

Sometimes we have need to look beyond the rule book, and ask,

"WHAT IF............"

If that means looking the KPI seeking fleet manager in the eye and telling him you made a COMMAND JUDGEMENT to carry more fuel or delay a flight or whatever then be it.

Anyone can be rule based trained to do the Science part of our job. It ain 't difficult. What is difficult is to "know when to show them, know when to throw them...", as Kenny Rogers used to say.

In the aftermath of an occurrence, the benchmark will not purely be the was it legal. The question will be asked, "what would/did a reasonable person have done/do in the same circumstances? A peer comparison. This approach is common in the medical profession. If 99 had done "X" and one did "Y" then there may be perception issues.

(This is a general discussion only and not directed at the issue under investigation)

Last edited by illusion; 21st Jun 2013 at 10:53.
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Old 21st Jun 2013, 11:23
  #188 (permalink)  
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I know this is simplistic, but I have a massive issue with an RPT jet in an 'emergency' situation with no structural/systems etc issues or unlawful interference. Avianca anyone?

Last edited by Hempy; 21st Jun 2013 at 11:24.
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Old 21st Jun 2013, 12:27
  #189 (permalink)  
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What do you mean Hempy?
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Old 21st Jun 2013, 12:37
  #190 (permalink)  
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I know this is simplistic, but I have a massive issue with an RPT jet in an 'emergency' situation with no structural/systems etc issues or unlawful interference. Avianca anyone?
So you're ok with 'emergencies' as long as they are structural failures or hijackings?

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Old 21st Jun 2013, 12:46
  #191 (permalink)  
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Virgin Aircraft 'Emergency' Landing

That is a disingenuous question, but I will answer 'Yes'. If an aircraft has a genuine emergency because of something that couldn't be avoided by any practical means then it is, by definition, unavoidable. There is no possible excuse for running out of fuel....
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Old 21st Jun 2013, 13:38
  #192 (permalink)  
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Hempy, may help if you put yourself on the other side of the fence. Can't always takeoff with full fuel tanks.

Last night, pilot report from departing aircraft, fog's rolling in. Checked the TAF, CAVOK, checked the METAR, 9999 but with all the conditions that would indicate fog. After a report to MET, 2 minutes later a TAF comes out with fog.

Same night, TAF AMD issued for an aerodrome @ 1000 predicting fog @ 1100, 2 aircraft airborne airworking some distance away were informed. A phone call received at the front desk from the base around 1015 saying 'tell the aircraft the fog is at the aerodrome NOW'

I'm a little educated in the James Reason model of accident causation, not formally, but shit happens. A lot of drivers are placed in very serious situations due to a lack of infrastructure. Funny, airports seem to find the money for retail & car parks etc but when it comes to real infrastructure we are a pathetic joke.

If there's no excuse for running out of fuel, & 'excuse' is a very poor choice of word, how are aircraft placed in the situation where they have legal fuel loads and have very limited options when he above happens?
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Old 21st Jun 2013, 13:48
  #193 (permalink)  
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the benchmark will not purely be the was it legal.
Now a crew has to second guess the OM.

The only way to circumvent an occurrence like this again would be to require all IFR aircraft to carry a VFR alternate for every destination.

As for the autoland, don't aircrew practice flying an ILS all the way to a landing any more. We used practice it back in the 80s, just in case.
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Old 21st Jun 2013, 13:51
  #194 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 119
Short & curly of it, is the crews (QF & VA) both had good outcomes given the information provided.

The thing that irritates me, and many of my colleagues is that it's 2013 and here we are with a met service that 'appears' to give semi accurate forecasts. I'm sure they are doing the best with the infrastructure they have....I don't know. But it's bull5hit.

Just remember folks....fuel tanks, not air tanks. Stuff the bean counters if you have a hunch...and remember 4 is the new 3.
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Old 21st Jun 2013, 14:24
  #195 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2009
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Why hold overhead MIA for over an hour before losing options?
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Old 21st Jun 2013, 15:43
  #196 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: OZ
Posts: 313
601...practising an auto land in cavok conditions when LVPs are not in force or to a Cat1 ILS has more risk associated with it than an Auto Land done in anger when protections are in force. That's what simulators are for....
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Old 21st Jun 2013, 16:15
  #197 (permalink)  
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I am a big believer in the "if it aint broken don't [email protected] with it" concept. But, how many OZ RPT flights have busted minimums this year as its their last option? Have any foreign carriers had to do the same?

Something just don't seem right.

The Don
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Old 22nd Jun 2013, 00:48
  #198 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2000
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Dangly bits who told you they held for an hour over Mia? Because you are wrong
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Old 22nd Jun 2013, 01:00
  #199 (permalink)  
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Could the Townsville refueller ask the Mildura refueller how much was left in the tanks?
600kg's apparently..... dryer than a nuns .......

It would have been interesting to have heard when they called Pan Pan for the fuel emergency. I would imagine the frequency lit up with activity shortly after!

Am I correct in my understanding that Virgin pilots aren't trained to use auto-land and company policy says it can't be used? Unless perhaps they had training from a previous employer...

Last edited by VH-XXX; 22nd Jun 2013 at 01:15.
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Old 22nd Jun 2013, 01:49
  #200 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2012
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Does Mildura have an ILS, I didn't think so. So assuming no ILS then they won't have completed any sort of autoland.
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