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Low Fuel Emergency - Aberdeen?

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Low Fuel Emergency - Aberdeen?

Old 9th Jun 2008, 15:53
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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sycamore

What about Kirkwall,Wick and Lossie ?
Congratulations... you are the only one asking the blindingly obvious question! Not mention Inverness and Kinloss...

So why would you fly past all those perfectly good airfields on the way to ABZ and a low fuel emergency?
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Old 9th Jun 2008, 16:26
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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remoak, sycamore

I don't know what time of day this happened, I suspect you don't either, but looking at METAR history for that date, typical weather at Wick was 400 m in fog and Kirkwall was overcast at 200ft.
I suspect that the crew had a much better understanding of the options than you appear to
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Old 9th Jun 2008, 20:59
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The weather up north was poor last week. Bearing in mind Scatsta only has an SRA for 24 at best, if they can't get in then there's a chance at Sumburgh on the ILS or LLZ. Failing that, they won't waste time, and more importantly FUEL attempting to get in elswhere if they are marginal, they'd just head for Aberdeen as the facilities are the best (and totally discount the RAF fields,that's a no-go withought prior permission). As payloads can be tight going into Scatsta they may not have much spare for "extra" fuel on top of that which is minimum for the plan, so any sort of delay or hold could bring the level close to minimum if they have had to divert. But the flight would not have departed if there was no where to go / return. Don't forget, the best place to divert would be ABZ after LSI as the pax can be dealt with better there, when a 146 rocks up elswhere things slow down rapidly as the staff there aren't manned up for it ( no dis-respect to them, they do their best when it has happened!), and it usually means they'll be held until there's improvement in the weather up north because the heli's won't be going anywhere anyway!!!
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Old 9th Jun 2008, 21:48
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Pardon me if I have got totally the wrong impression from reading this thread just the once, but what we seem to be concurring is that it was a low fuel event but that the potential for one is commonplace on this route because the runway at the destination is too short to carry in optimum reserve fuel without sacrificing income ... ('payloads can be tight' says one).

And the local ATSP keeps an eye out for aircraft running short that may not yet have declared emergencies and gives them gratuitous priority when it seems prudent to do so ('third sense' says one), and makes sure everybody is ready at the end of the runway if pilots actually scare themselves enough to call Mayday?

Sounds very much like a community service run on some kind of local say so to me ('best efforts'. someone said, which forgive me sounds like a not so distant cousin of presson-itis).

Is there anything the rest of the world can learn from this operation? I do so hope not ... Third sense or sixth sense I have a nasty feeling it wouldn't translate ... better just let them get on with it and let the locals decide how they like their martinis prepared or their bread buttered.
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Old 9th Jun 2008, 22:22
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Wrong impression i'm afraid, all I'm saying is that it is like any other low fuel event. I used to work closely with the operation for many years until recently and can't think of any other fuel emergencies, but it could potentially happen to any airline, anytime, usually for reasons outwith the crews control. I was pointing out the reason why Aberdeen is always the preffered diversion after the Shetlands. Fuel will be calculated to do the trip, divert, and extra, but we all know that occasionally that extra may not be enough for some reason or another.. I'm sure it happens to many orbiting in the vicinity of Heathrow.... There are times where the 146's would go around at Scatsta and return direct to Aberdeen if Sumburgh was marginal. They'd only try Sumburgh if they had plenty of fuel on board to get back to Aberdeen if needed - no risks taken, but I'm sure there's no one out there that would really doubt that anyway!!!!! (and a lot of income is wasted on fuel trying to get into Shetland!!!!!!)
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Old 9th Jun 2008, 22:23
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Sorry, I have read this thread with increasing annoyance and the last contribution from Slip and Turn has tipped me into posting. I was on duty at the Ice Station when this "happened". Weather everywhere in N Scotland was sh1t that day though we were not too bad (ILS helps)

The aircraft couldn't get into Scatsta, and missed an approach at Sumburgh due to the Weather. It also held for some 40 mins (Not sure if this was before or after the Sumburgh attempt) It then had to divert back to Aberdeen. As has been said, Weather at Kirkwall and Wick was no-go. A few of you need to look at a map - Sumburgh to Aberdeen is SHORTER than going to Inverness and Lossie is no time saving either let alone the problems of arriving unexpected at a Military Airfield. Shortly after commencing descent into Aberdeen the crew advised that there was the possibility of landing (stronger than forecast headwinds?) with less than the legally required min fuel and in accordance with Standard Procedure declared a PAN. No drama, no hysterics. Also in accordance with STANDARD unit procedures, the appropriate category of emergency was instigated by ATC. The aircraft landed with no dramatics, the emergency services did not go chasing it down the runway spraying foam and life carried on.

All in all, a textbook "By the book" operation by all involved. End of.

DD
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Old 9th Jun 2008, 22:27
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farsouth

If the wx was truly that bad, you don't launch with minimal fuel to destinations that are as fickle as Scatsta and Sumburgh. I know, I spent many years operating up there (and into Lerwick/Tingwall). You certainly don't waste time on an approach into LSI, in marginal wx, if you are already very tight on fuel.

simfly

The only "facility" that you need if you divert, is a fuel truck. Kirkwall has an ILS as well, if both LSI and KWL are on limits, you go straight back to ABZ if making an approach at LSI is going to make you fuel-critical and there is no reasonable guarantee of success.

It doesn't matter how you try to justify it, ending up with a fuel emergency on such short sectors is just bad airmanship.
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Old 9th Jun 2008, 22:37
  #28 (permalink)  
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OK, it's quicker to back to Dyce, in this case. But
and totally discount the RAF fields,that's a no-go withought prior permission
- WHAAAT?? If the aircraft was nearer ISK or Lossie would it be refused permission? ('Sorry Chum, PPR for emergency landings are a minimum of H24 so you'll have to chuck it in the Moray Firth'??!!)
 
Old 9th Jun 2008, 22:52
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remoak, I know what you mean, but to the bears these aren't short sectors if the weather is bad. it can involve being in the aircraft for over 2 hours, and when I say facilities I mean catering, representatives etc all the things that can be available at places such as KOI, but can take time to set up, especially when they have to deal with their contracts to Logan etc first. Getting the bears back to ABZ can be a priority at times and keeping them fed and watered, I've been on the receiving end of them many times, and that's even using the biggest of them all, Sumburgh!!! I can assure all that sufficient fuel is taken onboard for all eventualities first and foremost, but then comes the best for the operation logistically, and that is monitored every minute during the day and relayed to and from the crew even when airbourne quite easily so that they can make the final decision.

green flash, sorry, I wasn't talking about emergencies, I'm sure they wouldn't refuse. They are just not used for planning purposes.
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Old 9th Jun 2008, 23:33
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simfly

Sure, but you don't need those facilities, all you need is 20 mins for a splash 'n dash to get you the fuel you need to get back to ABZ or wherever safely (ie without having to tell the world you are short on fuel!)

can assure all that sufficient fuel is taken onboard for all eventualities first and foremost
But not on this occasion... right? Missing at LSI on a marginal day is not much of an eventuality, more a near-certainty!

Data Dad

A few of you need to look at a map - Sumburgh to Aberdeen is SHORTER than going to Inverness
...by all of two miles. There are a number of reasons why Inverness can be a better bet when the wx is crap.
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Old 9th Jun 2008, 23:48
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Correct me if I'm wrong,but if a 146 has to make a flapless approach,then ABZ is too short.That was the case in Air UK days.Something to do with no reverse thrust.In fact didn't a 146 go off the end a few years back.
Also if the weather was iffy that day in the whole area,then why not have an alternate with Cat 2/3 capabilities,Glasgow or Edinburgh.The haar can be just as nasty in ABZ,and we only have Cat 1 ILS.
If ABZ had gone below limits,which creek would they have been paddling up then.
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Old 10th Jun 2008, 11:39
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As someone who spent 7yrs flying Budgies in that part of the world, (only ILS on 17 at ABZ in those days, VOR at INV,Wick and Kirkwall, SRA at LSI) I think that the correct decision was made by the skipper.

He set off to the destination with an expectation of getting there, makes an approach as the reported vis. is above limits but isn't able to land.
Sumburgh is his preferred commercial alternate (same land mass) and an attempt is made there.
To commence an approach the reported vis. would have led to an expectation of landing.
Unable to land and diverts to his weather alternate ABZ and arrives with above minimum fuel but forsees that he may land with less than minimum fuel and is obliged to declare an emergency.

I made several similar decisions in my time at ABZ and can remember asking for an expeditious return to Heathrow on a JSY (bigger aircraft) after setting off with max fuel (landing weight JSY restricted) when the weather changed somewhat abruptly during the approach - Bournemouth was closed due to a blocked runway in case you ask!!

Yes, it would be nice to carry an unlimited fuel supply and worry about all the possible failures (why stop at just a flapless landing add an engine out and total brake failure) but then no aircraft could fly anywhere.

Was the operation safe and the answer has to be yes.
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Old 17th Jun 2008, 10:26
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As this situation on this route does not seem to be uncommon i.e. minimum fuel carried for landing onto a short runway, with the diversion not much longer, is this the correct aircraft (146) to use............?. considering also the low numbers of passengers it now seems able to carry into this airport!
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Old 17th Jun 2008, 10:39
  #34 (permalink)  
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I think the airlines should decide that for themselves! Declaring a low fuel emergency is not 'OMG, we're doomed! We're running on fumes- nothing on the gauge but the makers name- help!!!!'. It actually means 'we may be, or perhaps are, expecting to land with below Reserve fuel', which usually means 30 minutes. It is a requirement to declare Pan if there is a possibility, or Mayday if you will, but the declaration is mandatory. It is not 'Help!- we have a problem, call out the emergency services'. Just an alert that your fuel situation is low.

I wish they would come up with another term for use here. These days it is grabbed by sensation seekers.
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Old 17th Jun 2008, 12:14
  #35 (permalink)  
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