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VCTS: Alternate Requirement?

Old 3rd Nov 2017, 07:48
  #41 (permalink)  
 
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I will divert if the wx drops below the limit and I don't have an alternate from the missed approach. I know it would be annoying but that is the intention of the rule in my opinion.
I do about 700 hours a year and have never had to do it in the last decade that I can recall so it's not a big imposition.
For you to be airborne without alternate fuel, and the wx dropping to the extent that an alternate is required on destination, something unusual has happened either with the forecasting, or your decision making at the pre-flight stage.
Sometimes due payload/ destination combinations it is on the cards to have to bug out at top of descent but it hasn't happened to me yet.
If you began your descent and threw away your opportunity to divert somewhere suitable and the wx ( which has already been incorrectly forecast) continues to deteriorate then I think you'd have a hard time explaining your decision not to divert.
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Old 3rd Nov 2017, 08:47
  #42 (permalink)  
 
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I think you'd have a hard time explaining your decision not to divert
Why?

You said the wx was incorrectly forecast!
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Old 3rd Nov 2017, 09:26
  #43 (permalink)  
 
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In the scenario I painted ( poorly I know) , the pilot knows that the destination has deteriorated to the point that it requires an alternate. If the pilot has the option to divert at that point to a suitable airport, but chooses to reduce his/her options to just one airport, an airport that requires an alternate, and then an incident occurs due to the weather deteriorating further, how would you explain the decision? I might be wrong but I doubt you'd be able to convince many that your decision to fly out of range of a suitable airport was a good decision.
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Old 3rd Nov 2017, 09:55
  #44 (permalink)  
 
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Captain Fathom, During the investigation of the Mildura incident the ATSB sought clarification from CASA about this.
CASA said "In addition, CASA clarified that there was no ‘strategic difference between an in-flight scenario and a pre-flight plan' in relation to the use of forecasts. "
And "for in-flight planning considerations the decision making must be based on the forecast element so a pilot must hold an alternate and applicable fuel but is able to make a decision to attempt an approach at the destination should the flight crew calculate additional fuel is available to do so. Specific operator procedures and fuel policies may also need to be considered. "
Thoughts?
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Old 3rd Nov 2017, 10:06
  #45 (permalink)  
 
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Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
You can only make a decision on the information available at the time.
That information may or may not be accurate.
You can't spend your aviation career wondering how you will explain your desicions to the authorities. You'll never take off in that case!
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Old 3rd Nov 2017, 18:08
  #46 (permalink)  
 
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Hindsight is not required in the scenario we're discussing. The pilot knows that wx is now below alternate requirements, the pilot knows that the wx forecasters are having a bad day, the pilot knows he/she still has the ability to divert. Simple.
To get in that scenario is very unusual in Airline flying. Both the big players in Australia require their jets to have enough gas to get to an airport that does not require an alternate
so it is planned for. I can't speak for other types of operation.
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Old 4th Nov 2017, 09:16
  #47 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by 73qanda
Both the big players in Australia require their jets to have enough gas to get to an airport that does not require an alternate
so it is planned for.
Eh? From the Mildura report:

Virgin and Qantas each had a fuel policy within their operations manual, which specified the minimum fuel required, including the necessary fixed fuel reserves. Both allowed aircraft to be dispatched without carrying alternate fuel if the weather forecast for the destination did not require an alternate.
Might've changed since then...
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Old 4th Nov 2017, 21:06
  #48 (permalink)  
 
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Cap'n Bloggs,
What you've posted above doesn't rule out what I said
Both the big players in Australia require their jets to have enough gas to get to an airport that does not require an alternate
Just because you can dispatch without an alternate doesn't mean you can be airborne and not have fuel to an airport that doesn't require an alternate.
I'll give a practical example;
If I am inbound to YMML in my 737 and planning to land with 2.5 T ( Just over an hour) and I get new YMML wx that say vis has dropped to 5km ( my company says I can't use Special alternate minima), I now have to look around to find an airfield that I can reach that doesn't require an alternate.....no problem YMAV will do, but if YMAV is also 5km Viz I have to keep searching, no worries, YSCB looks CAVOK. I am still legal as I can currently reach YSCB. No emergency exists. Now I need to calculate when I will lose my ability to divert to YSCB, let's say that on descent though 5000ft I will lose my ability to divert to YSCB. I now can't go past 5000ft without being in breach of both company manuals and CASA's understanding of the rules. If I get to 6000ft and YMML and YMAV still require an alternate I have to bug out to YSCB in order to 'always have fuel to a suitable airport '.
This all sounds very inconvenient on paper but in real life, if the wx is anywhere near the alternate requirements, you simply carry YSCB from the YMML runway when you choose your departure fuel. Easy.
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Old 4th Nov 2017, 21:57
  #49 (permalink)  
 
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And there in lies the stupidity of our whole situation.

You are at 6000ft, so 20nm give or take a bit from the airfield, you are flying the star and can see the runway.

The forecast i.e. the prediction of what the computer models reckon the weather will be like (because the BOM has removed humans with forecasting experience from the equation pretty much) says an alternate is required.

Do you bug out to canberra to “stay legal” or do you use your ability as an authorised met observer to say “i can see the runway and i can see the surrounding weather environment (no great wall of showers about to cross the runway or approach path for example) and i am going to go and land at my destination”

Fuel policies, CAR234 and met forecasting are a means of risk mitigation intended to obviate the need for some poor sod to plonk his/her aeroplane in the field/ocean/multilane highway because they didnt consider the weather.

There needs to be some measure of common sense (yeah I know, that isnt all that common) and use of the captains decision making perogative not blind adherance to rules even when they produce a less than optimal result.

If you go and fly a 747,380,777 or other such large people mover, the decision making becomes more challenging as the ability to find other airfields that can accommodate your aeroplane is reduced.
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Old 5th Nov 2017, 00:18
  #50 (permalink)  
 
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"or do you use your ability as an authorised met observer to say “i can see the runway and i can see the surrounding weather environment (no great wall of showers about to cross the runway or approach path for example) and i am going to go and land at my destination”

Is a pilot an Authorised met observer?
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Old 5th Nov 2017, 07:01
  #51 (permalink)  
 
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73Qanda, you gave the impression that QF and DJ aircraft carry an alternate. That is only the case when the weather at the destination requires an alternate. Otherwise, you arrive with your 2.5t and hope like hell when you're on final, the airport doesn't close.

That is exactly what happened at Mildura. Neither QF or DJ carried a true alternate, and both got caught out badly.

I am concerned that uneducated readers might think that "the big players in Australia" do carry alternates. They don't, as QF found out in their A330/CBR and A330/PER when the weather changed enroute a few years ago.

Snakecharma, I understand European rules require carriage of a "proper" alternate at all times ie fuel to get to your destination then to your alternate. Your problem then goes away.
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Old 5th Nov 2017, 07:31
  #52 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by thorn bird View Post
"or do you use your ability as an authorised met observer to say “i can see the runway and i can see the surrounding weather environment (no great wall of showers about to cross the runway or approach path for example) and i am going to go and land at my destination”

Is a pilot an Authorised met observer?
I always thought so, as we pass on observed to other activities etc
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Old 5th Nov 2017, 07:33
  #53 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Snakecharma View Post
And there in lies the stupidity of our whole situation.

You are at 6000ft, so 20nm give or take a bit from the airfield, you are flying the star and can see the runway.

The forecast i.e. the prediction of what the computer models reckon the weather will be like (because the BOM has removed humans with forecasting experience from the equation pretty much) says an alternate is required.

Do you bug out to canberra to “stay legal” or do you use your ability as an authorised met observer to say “i can see the runway and i can see the surrounding weather environment (no great wall of showers about to cross the runway or approach path for example) and i am going to go and land at my destination”

Fuel policies, CAR234 and met forecasting are a means of risk mitigation intended to obviate the need for some poor sod to plonk his/her aeroplane in the field/ocean/multilane highway because they didnt consider the weather.

There needs to be some measure of common sense (yeah I know, that isnt all that common) and use of the captains decision making perogative not blind adherance to rules even when they produce a less than optimal result.

If you go and fly a 747,380,777 or other such large people mover, the decision making becomes more challenging as the ability to find other airfields that can accommodate your aeroplane is reduced.
At what point have you 'arrived' though? From where you can make the observed with confidence?
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Old 5th Nov 2017, 08:00
  #54 (permalink)  
 
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Is a pilot an Authorised met observer?
Yes, in some situations... AIP GEN 3.5, section 4.5.2.
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Old 5th Nov 2017, 08:29
  #55 (permalink)  
 
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73Qanda, you gave the impression that QF and DJ aircraft carry an alternate.
Sorry Bloggs I didn't intend to give that impression.
I am concerned that uneducated readers might think that "the big players in Australia" do carry alternates. They don't, as QF found out in their A330/CBR and A330/PER when the weather changed enroute a few years ago.
Fair enough. For all the uneducated readers out there;
If you're on a Qantas or Virginia Australia jet, the company has instructed the Captain that he or she must ensure that at all times while airborne, there is sufficient fuel in the tanks to fly to an airport that has not dropped below the alternate weather requirements, or if it has, they have the fuel to hold until it is better again. This airport may be your destination and as such you won't necessarily have an alternate if the weather is mint.
Caveat, real life may get in the way in which case you are technically in an 'emergency' and the Captain will do whatever he or she thinks is best.
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Old 5th Nov 2017, 08:40
  #56 (permalink)  
 
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If you're on a Qantas or Virginia Australia jet, the company has instructed the Captain that he or she must ensure that at all times while airborne, there is sufficient fuel in the tanks to fly to an airport that has not dropped below the alternate weather requirements
Does the company have to instruct this, or is it basic airmanship that you have fuel to land somewhere/anywhere?
When you takeoff, you have fuel to go somewhere!
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Old 5th Nov 2017, 09:03
  #57 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Capt Fathom View Post
Does the company have to instruct this, or is it basic airmanship that you have fuel to land somewhere/anywhere?
When you takeoff, you have fuel to go somewhere!
Well yeah.
In as much as clearly defined at least.
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Old 5th Nov 2017, 12:59
  #58 (permalink)  
 
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73qanda,

It is difficult to understand some of the things you are saying.

Qantas or Virgin Australia jet, ... must ensure that at all times while airborne, there is sufficient fuel in the tanks ...
At "all times"? Are you serious? Do these words ("at all times") appear in your ops manual or some CASA rule? Or is this just your interpretation?

If the forecast for your destination was good before you departed, and you didn't load any alternate/holding fuel and your destination is REMOTE, how on earth can you say that, for the latter part of the flight, you have fuel to go somewhere else? How is the "at all times" being met, in this case?

... you simply carry YSCB from the YMML runway when you choose your departure fuel. Easy.
Yeah, easy - when talking about YMAV, YMML and YSCB. How about if you're going somewhere REMOTE? What do you do then?

I am still legal as I can currently reach YSCB.
But for how long will you remain "legal"? Soon after you set course for YSCB, you will cease being "legal" will you not?

And why do you use the word "legal"? Does your Ops Manual stipulate that you must have alternate/holding fuel on board even when the requirement for same was unforeseen prior to departure?
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Old 6th Nov 2017, 06:20
  #59 (permalink)  
 
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At "all times"? Are you serious? Do these words ("at all times") appear in your ops manual or some CASA rule? Or is this just your interpretation?
They appear in the Qantas Flight Administration Manual ( not my manual).
I think I'll just cut and paste a couple of paragraphs out of the Mildura report in an attempt to make my point clear. I doubt it actually will because some of the posts above quite clearly show a lack of understanding of some common definitions, but here goes.

All of the quotes below are cut and paste from the ATSB's Mildura report.

Qantas issues instructions to it's pilots through a manual that says;
at all times inflight onboard fuel shall not be less than':

• Fuel to proceed to a Suitable Airport;

• 10% of the above;

• Approach Fuel;

• Fixed Fuel Reserve; and

• Special Holding Fuel (when required).

Note: A ‘Suitable Airport' may be, in order of priority:

• the Destination Airport;

• an Alternate Airport, following an approach and missed approach at destination, if the destination requires an alternate; or

• any other Suitable Airport to which an enroute diversion can be made.
Keep in mind that to be a 'Suitable Airport' weather has to be above alternate minima.
So that's QF.

Virgin instruct their pilots through a similar manual, their manual says
Once airborne, the amount of fuel onboard the aircraft at any point inflight should not be less than:

• Fuel required to enable the aircraft to fly from that point to 1500 ft above an adequate aerodrome, make an approach and land; and

• Variable Reserve based on the point above but not more than the Maximum Variable Reserve; and

• Fuel to provide for WX [weather] holding, if the weather at the selected adequate aerodrome is forecast to be below the applicable alternate minima or a probability of thunderstorms is forecast; and

• Fuel to provide for any required TFC [traffic] holding at the selected adequate aerodrome; and

• Fixed Reserve.
In practice that is the exact same policy as QF but expressed with different words.

The ATSB noted this;
The AIP ENR 1.10 paragraph 1.1 had a requirement for a pilot in command to consider forecasts and observation reports during their pre-flight planning. There was no corresponding guidance for application to crews' in-flight planning.
And so did this;
the ATSB sought clarification from CASA on the extent to which pilots are able to use observation reports for in-flight planning decisions, such as to continue to the destination or initiate a diversion.
And CASA scratched their heads for a while before saying that there was
no ‘strategic difference between an in-flight scenario and a pre-flight plan' in relation to the use of forecasts.
And
for in-flight planning considerations the decision making must be based on the forecast element so a pilot must hold an alternate and applicable fuel but is able to make a decision to attempt an approach at the destination should the flight crew calculate additional fuel is available to do so. Specific operator procedures and fuel policies may also need to be considered.
For me, that is quite clear. If I am wrong I am always ready to learn and admit it so I look forward to someone explaining that you can ignore the alternate requirements while airborne, but at this stage I'll keep on putting on gas for the nearest suitable if destination is within cooee of the alternate minima.
PS, if you do have a crack at it, please explain why someone went to the trouble of inventing Special Alternate Minima for use airborne? What advantage would it give if alternate minima isn't used inflight?
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Old 6th Nov 2017, 14:33
  #60 (permalink)  
 
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73qanda

73Q, I don't think you're a High Capacity pilot or you'd know that you're quoting is what you'll find in every airlines Fuel Policy, and you're taking it out of context!
It doesn't imply you'll have fuel to another port if your destination suddenly requires an alternate due to un-forecast changes, however if you have fuel to another port at the time it deteriorates, your obliged to apply the altn requirement and divert, or if it goes sour you'll answer for it.

The inflight quote ensures you don't continue on to destination after departure if your fuel level reduces to the level below what your min arrival fuel is pre departure. If your burn is > than planned (stronger H/Ws) such you won't have that fuel, you need to divert. E.G. o/head your last suitable A/P you must have burn to dest, app fuel, 10% of both and your FR etc. Less than that and you cannot continue. At some point after you leave behind that last suitable and your destination wx goes below altn min you will obviously not have altn fuel. Or if your last suitable enroute goes to altn as well.

SLAM is based on specific requirements and is available pre and inflt.
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