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United SFO to HK flight turns back due to fuel issues

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United SFO to HK flight turns back due to fuel issues

Old 17th Oct 2015, 15:24
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PNR is not common term these days but you may see it in an island dispatch with no viable alternates
That would be PNA then - Point of No Alternate - not the same as PNR.
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Old 17th Oct 2015, 15:42
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If you don't have an alternate then it still is a PNR-back to the departure airfield.
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Old 17th Oct 2015, 16:58
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As an example flying London to Bermuda with island reserve and Halifax as an alternate there would be a Point of No Alternate. Additionally there would be PNR between LHR and BDA if you like.

However I agree if there are no alternates it would be PNR that is the limiting factor.
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Old 17th Oct 2015, 17:11
  #44 (permalink)  
 
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Dispatched with the wrong fuel load?

Wouldn't be the first time it's happened.
I was thinking the same thing. On the LiveATC.net tapes they seem to indicate that they are returning to SFO for a fuel leak but after landing they initially wanted to taxi straight to the gate with no further assistance required. The tower controller said the crash crew wanted to look them over first. Nothing was evident on the ARFF crew inspection so they then went to the gate.

Is it possible that they initially thought the fuel burn discrepancy was due to a leak or gauge error and then, after conferring with Dispatch (or whatever the 'modern' term is at United), realized that the missing fuel was due to an error with the paperwork? Wrong altitude, wrong weights, wrong winds, most of us have seen this sort of thing on (hopefully rare) occasions over the years.
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Old 17th Oct 2015, 20:21
  #45 (permalink)  
 
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Cripes, and when WE wrote the book on flying the "Big Twins" over the N Atlantic, making use of the N Atlantic Track System, it was called EROPS (I think). Or, maybe EROPS replaced ETOPS. Very confusing but the logic remains much the same.
Are you referring to the early days of the B-767 on the NATS when under ICAO rules it could go 90 minutes from an adequate airport but the FAA still required compliance with the 60-minute rule?

As discussed in another recent thread here, the FAA granted an exemption from FAR 121.161 as early as 1977 for operations in the 'Caribbean Sea'. Many legacy U.S. airline Ops Specs still pay homage to this '75-minute rule' in 'benign areas of operation' even though it is nowadays somewhat obscure.

B767 a really nice a/c for those trips, but when operated at max range it's the same as any other a/c. Distance/GS/Time/Fuel. Laws of physics no matter what the accountants want.
Over the years the geniuses on the ground have come up with ever more devious ways to put on less fuel on overwater flights whilst (I'm picking up the PPRuNe dialect ) complying with the regs.

That planned re-dispatch has been used for decades to get around the flag operations reserve fuel requirements. On one fleet it was discovered that flights had been dispatched for years on a milk run route with the plane too heavy to legally land at the initial dispatch airport. Don't know if the feds ever found out about it but at least the paperwork was quietly changed and more ICAO/flag ops reserve fuel added for a more distant initial dispatch airport.

I don't see the planned re-dispatch much anymore but the latest ETOPS trick in the vogue seems to be to only list one ETOPS alternate. You don't have an ETP (duh ) but you get a CFP (Critical Fuel Point).

Even if there are plenty of airports within the diversion mileage (the ETOPS rules are in minutes but the area of ops is defined by mileages derived from still air flight in the Ops Specs where I've worked). Somehow, listing only one ETOPS alternate takes advantage of regulatory wordplay between 'adequate' and 'suitable' airports, decreases the weather constraints and lets the company put on, you guessed it, less fuel.
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Old 18th Oct 2015, 01:29
  #46 (permalink)  
 
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I know of a case where a DC10 Freighter departed London bound for mid-America. They had a payload of 150,000 lbs, but their flight plan was based on a 50,000 lb. payload. The crew did not discover the problem until their enroute fuel burn was way off. They had to land short for additional fuel.
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Old 18th Oct 2015, 04:13
  #47 (permalink)  
 
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I was thinking the same thing. On the LiveATC.net tapes they seem to indicate that they are returning to SFO for a fuel leak but after landing they initially wanted to taxi straight to the gate with no further assistance required. The tower controller said the crash crew wanted to look them over first. Nothing was evident on the ARFF crew inspection so they then went to the gate.

Is it possible that they initially thought the fuel burn discrepancy was due to a leak or gauge error and then, after conferring with Dispatch (or whatever the 'modern' term is at United), realized that the missing fuel was due to an error with the paperwork? Wrong altitude, wrong weights, wrong winds, most of us have seen this sort of thing on (hopefully rare) occasions over the years.
Would a stop into ANC for fuel be out of the question then? Domestic ops make unscheduled fuel stops from time to time. They may have been looking at duty/flight time issues.
Just seems odd to haul all the way back to SFO if its a suspect fuel leak.
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Old 18th Oct 2015, 04:21
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It is not unheard of for unscrupulous freight forwarders to surreptitiously put cargo onboard an aircraft which is not included in the load manifest, thus effectively stealing revenue from the airline involved. More often than not, the weight discrepancy is not significant and goes undetected. However, the following indications can manifest themselves when heavier than planned gross weights are encountered.

First indication in the cockpit is a "STAB GREENBAND" msg during taxi or an aircraft that is not ready to fly at rotation speed coupled with the elevator trim being way out of wack.

Second indication is a progressive overburn on the "how-goes-it" log caused by higher than normal cruise power settings.

Third indication is an AOA showing "slow" when established at a final approach speed which has been calculated based on the assumed zero fuel weight.

Last edited by wanabee777; 19th Oct 2015 at 06:34.
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Old 18th Oct 2015, 11:17
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SOOKY2 sounding very irritable . I know LF and I think he was just being a bit mischievous. Worked eh ? AIRBUBS, I was on the 757, 1987 when we headed out over the N Atlantic. Boeing might have designed the 767 for ETOPS but, crikey, "WE" (sorry Spooks) were doing it with the smaller one. I don't think my company were the "first" either. We shared Airspace with other heroes like Britannia & Monarch. At the risk of setting off Spooky2, I THINK it WAS EROPS !! Doesn't matter, the shared room parties in room 131 at the Holiday Inn, Bangor Maine, after another successful Atlantic crossing were the stuff of Legend. I THINK "we" started with 75 mins. Later went to 90 and then a bit more and a bit more and a bit more. Always safe with healthy fuel loads but attempts at pursuasion, in another company, that 5% of the last hour for contingency on the N Atlantic was "safe" , turned me from THE best looking Dude on the N Atlantic to a little, old, white haired wreck in room 131. Changed the outfit.

RAT5 ; hope you enjoy your retirement as much as I am mine.
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Old 18th Oct 2015, 13:40
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Gordmac thanks for the morning chuckle Only wished I was retired but continue to work in this crazy business.
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