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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 12th Oct 2015, 17:01
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United SFO to HK flight turns back due to fuel issues

A nice incendiary headline in the the South China Morning Post United Airlines flight bound for Hong Kong ‘runs out of fuel’ and makes emergency U-turn back to San Francisco

It will be interesting to see what was the cause of the increased fuel consumption.
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Old 12th Oct 2015, 18:21
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From other forum it was a fuel leak rather than insufficient fob. Hence the 'emergency' declaration. SFO is major maintenance base for UA and likely better suited for customer care at that time of the morning.
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Old 12th Oct 2015, 21:03
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And that's why we use a Point of Equal Time and a Point Of no Return.
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Old 12th Oct 2015, 21:29
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Two hours into a 14 hour flight is no where near the equal time point. It was probably a redispatch with Tokyo as the initial destination but the howgoesit must have must have come up "not very well" quickly.
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Old 12th Oct 2015, 21:40
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Air Transat Flight 236

Reminds me of the Airbus that dead sticked it into Lajes several years ago.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_Transat_Flight_236
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Old 13th Oct 2015, 06:47
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ExXB :- Are you able to provide a link to the "Other Forum" thread ?
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Old 13th Oct 2015, 08:28
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airliners(dot)net/aviation-forums/general_aviation/read.main/6519412/ , although that forum is not usually know for its technical expertise
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Old 13th Oct 2015, 08:33
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Why is this even news


'No passengers were injured'


Unbelievable..
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Old 13th Oct 2015, 08:41
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And that's why we use a Point of Equal Time and a Point Of no Return
I wouldn't recommend using "point of no return" in case of increased fuel consumption
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Old 13th Oct 2015, 09:58
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Even the point of equal times seems critical then
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Old 13th Oct 2015, 10:29
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First of all there are probably two, maybe three ETPs on a flight plan between SFO-HKG so the first posters comments are somewhat meaningless. If the fuel score was trending downward this early in the flight one might suspect a leak assuming the fuel flows appeared normal. Sounds like the crew took the prudent course of action and all turned out well.
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Old 13th Oct 2015, 10:39
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Sounds like the crew took the prudent course of action and all turned out well.

If it is a critical issue: "when there's doubt there is no doubt." A risk/threat assessment, surely, would dictate a land at suitable. Departure airport, fuel allowing, seems sensible.
PNR's ETP's seem dodgy if there is a leak. The leak rate could change, and it would take quite a time of observation to determine the rate accurately in the first place.
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Old 13th Oct 2015, 16:03
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Sounds like there was no leakage visible to the fire crew when they took a look at the plane after landing:

http://archive-server.liveatc.net/ks...2015-1000Z.mp3

Here's the FlightAware plot, they were getting close to ANC when they made the turn:

United (UA) #869 ? 10-Oct-2015 ? KSFO - KSFO ? FlightAware

I'm not so sure ETP's were a player in this one.

Don't believe I've ever used the 'Point of No Return' in many years of Pac Rim and Atlantic crossings, is this a military or British term?
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Old 13th Oct 2015, 16:12
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Don't believe I've ever used the 'Point of No Return' in many years of Pac Rim and Atlantic crossings, is this a military or British term? - Airbubba

Interesting - I recall on a Piedmont flight from UK to Charlotte, obviously a few years ago now, when the Captain announced, "If you care to look out of the windows on either side, you will see that we have just passed the point of no return."

His next announcement was, "If those of you on the right side care to look out of the window, you will see that we are now safely over North America." We did, but all we could see were the snow covered mountains, glaciers, and icebergs of Labrador...

Jack
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Old 13th Oct 2015, 16:21
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PNR is not common term these days but you may see it in an island dispatch with no viable alternates. Mostly a biz jet term or.....a re-run of the High and the Mighty. Like you I have not seen this in a Part 121 operation.
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Old 13th Oct 2015, 17:47
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Interestingly enough, I always kept an eye on PNR when operating to Keflavik/Reykjavik. The planned alternate was Akureyri, which is not the sort of place to take a 737 on a dark and dirty night. Glasgow was the nearest 24 hr civil, and Kinloss the military. I always liked to be sure of KEF before reaching PNR. Puddle-jumping I know, but the principle remains the same.
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Old 13th Oct 2015, 18:14
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"If you care to look out of the windows on either side, you will see that he has just passed the point of no return."

I think this was said by the MD on floor 24 of a 25 floor office block as the CFO he'd just fired was seen going south.

a re-run of the High and the Mighty.

Ah, Earnest K.

I heard stories about the early days of Laker BAC 1-11 going into the Canaries, e.g. TFN. That's the furthest island. At TOD they had to expect a guaranteed landing at TFN as they had no diversion, or they dropped into Las Palmas for full. In other words it was a technical diversion from Las Palmas to TFN with no further alternate. I suspect there are still a/c operating on routes where PNR's are relevant. Not everyone flies around in big shiny high capacity jets. Given todays thinking a/c are being stretched to maximum/minimum everything.
Even in the days of 90mins ETOPS with basically medium range a/c this was a problem. By extending ETOPS to 2hrs it was often removed. With 150mins it all but disappeared. 180 mins? No problems. Nice when you can change the rules to make the situation easier and suit your wishes.
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Old 13th Oct 2015, 20:36
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PNR is not common term these days but you may see it in an island dispatch with no viable alternates. Mostly a biz jet term or.....a re-run of the High and the Mighty.
Yep, this famous overwater decision scene is sometimes whimsically credited with forming the basis for the modern egalitarian CRM flight deck:

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Old 14th Oct 2015, 03:23
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That's some good yoke action in that video!
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Old 14th Oct 2015, 04:06
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As has been stated, PNR's and ETP's are based on normal fuel consumption.

The PNR is alive and well in Doha, it just comes under a different acronym (PDP). Used for PER.
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