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Too close for comfort - easyJet lands with 18m fuel

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Too close for comfort - easyJet lands with 18m fuel

Old 18th Nov 2023, 21:31
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Originally Posted by NoelEvans
Who cares about the relatively small effect on fuel burn on a day like that when the safety of the aeroplane is improved with that extra fuel. Are you one of those 'bean counters' who knows nothing about the real world??
.
No, I am one of those people who thinks that bean counters who put so much pressure on pilots in order to save a few pence per seat that we end up with situations like this are completely out of their minds. If I had my way legal minimums would be upped by an hour.
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Old 18th Nov 2023, 21:41
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Originally Posted by Doors to Automatic
No, I am one of those people who thinks that bean counters who put so much pressure on pilots in order to save a few pence per seat that we end up with situations like this are completely out of their minds. If I had my way legal minimums would be upped by an hour.
But burning all that extra fuel to carry extra fuel would make Saint Greta very unhappy.

Last edited by tdracer; 18th Nov 2023 at 23:41.
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Old 18th Nov 2023, 21:47
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Greta might (?) be a saint, but she ain't the captain.
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Old 19th Nov 2023, 07:29
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Doors to Automatic, tdracer and Herod:

Excellent, excellent and EXCELLENT!!!!
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Old 19th Nov 2023, 09:14
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Considering that final reserve is typically only 30 mins, it doesn’t take very long to get down to these sort of numbers once things start going pear shaped.

The bean counters sitting in their offices with spread sheets aren’t dealing with an ever changing environment of weather, ATC, and operational factors. I’d love to have one of these guys in the flight deck when the weather is deteriorating and the expected approach time gets extended because of FOD on the runway.

Final reserve fuel needs to be 60mins minimum, if that adds a few pennies to the price of a ticket then so be it.
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Old 19th Nov 2023, 10:21
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Too close for comfort-easyjet lands with 18m fuel

Trouble is that many 'bean-counters' in Flt Ops were Ex Mill failures who needed to make a point to higher-ups. No point in claiming to be the "Captain"; your "Command" decision making would come under review.

I regularly rounded up the fuel to nearest zero in order to make the manual loadsheet easier. Yes, Bean counters kept costs down by not paying for down-route or even Base departure computer loadsheets. "Captain" was phoned by CP and asked to calculate how much extra the annual fuel bills would be if everyone did that. It was quite a lot, actually.

Because ETOPS was an ERA operation, final reserve contingency could be, by definition, reduced to 5% of the last hour. Compliant 'Yes-Men' were flying the North Atlantic with 125kg contingency.

Clever 'beancounters' also applied language definition to the enhanced fuel requirement for ETOPS and convinced most that it was not necessary.

Try telling the beancounters that flying the N atlantic with 125 kgs contingency and no ETOPS enhanced diversion fuel because, say, the En-route Diversion airfield was, in fact, closed and, in any case, was a Glider club field . Claiming to be "Captain" would not endear.

Only one Cowboy outfit employer in my experience and I said "Khimo Sabi" pretty quick. Still look good in me Tonto outfit that I kept for dressing up room parties though.

Thankfully, there are very professional airlines out there who would not argue with fuel decisions. I stayed with one for 17 years and regularly came top of the list of the most fuel efficient Captains. I was told that it was because I was one of the few who took Company minimum fuel, all the time. It was a generous figure compared to what the Cowboy outfit was trying to pursuade me to do.

In recent history, wasn't it one lot who were so often declaring fuel emergencies at arrival airfield that it became, almost, SOP ???

I take full round-trip in the Beamer just going to Ayanappa for lunch ! - Much easier on the digestion -.

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Old 19th Nov 2023, 10:45
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Perhaps...

A captain's adherence to the flight plan fuel depends upon their experience and who, at various stages of their career progression, they are hoping to impress. If brought up in an airline where tight SOP adherence results in rapid upgrades and "brownie points" one can expect to see a semi-religious following of flight plan fuel. Until one day, or night, all goes south and they suddenly "see the light" that no one else can help after the fuel is gone and they then see the wisdom of carrying extra fuel and the futility in trusting in the luck they had had until that event. after it happens again, even after taking some extra fuel, they then see that a bit more will not hurt.

I learned before I left piston aircraft that min fuel can kill after learning that my instrument instructor had been talked into making a flight without taking on some extra fuel, did not make the short flight from Anchorage International to Merrill Field, a flight "planned" for about 5 minutes flight time.

No chief pilot, nor the many tea and biscuits meetings i was called to, ever motivated me take only flight plan fuel. I always added more. Like one mentioned above, I looked more at landing weight limits than most.
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Old 19th Nov 2023, 16:06
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I learned my lesson on extra fuel early on in a commuter turboprop on a double-diversion day. Had I not carried the extra fuel I'd have had to land a Cat1 aircraft at STN in RVR 150. (40hrs on type)
From then on I continued to take what I felt was needed and when (later) employers sought justifcation I just used to write "Captaincy" on the flight report.It was never challenged.

fwiw I never (in 5 UK airlines) encountered jobsworth ex-mil people in Flt Ops trying to make a point (Chief Pilots, quite another matter). These min-fuel diktats don't usually if ever originate in Flt Ops, they are the bastard spawn of the grey-faced accountants that have so wrecked the industry.
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Old 19th Nov 2023, 16:30
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I am surprised no one has mentioned the flight path after the second divert. I would have taken a much more direct routing to Zurich.
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Old 19th Nov 2023, 17:02
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Originally Posted by meleagertoo
... and when (later) employers sought justifcation I just used to write "Captaincy" on the flight report. ...
I have known people simply to write "W&K" (for "Wife & Kids"!!)


Originally Posted by Sailvi767
I am surprised no one has mentioned the flight path after the second divert. I would have taken a much more direct routing to Zurich.
From that Aviation Herald info:
The aircraft touched down on Zurich's runway 14 about 13 minutes after the go around in Basel
Considering the terrain in that area, it was night, the 'startle factor' of "where to go now" and planning for a totally unexpected approach, 13 minutes sounds quite good to me! Well done to them!!
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Old 19th Nov 2023, 18:01
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Originally Posted by Sailvi767
I am surprised no one has mentioned the flight path after the second divert. I would have taken a much more direct routing to Zurich.
The tracking shows that soon after the missed approach at Basel the aircraft turned left and flew a heading of about 075 that took them, with an intercept, to an 8-10nm final for RW14 at ZRH.
What routing would have been more direct?
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Old 19th Nov 2023, 18:46
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Many years back in my line maintenance days I noticed an entry in the log book for a US major's 747-100 that had just completed a trans-pacific flight that the fuel boost pump LP lights were blinking on approach to NRT. Fuel on arrival was recorded as only 6,900LBS! Cutting it a bit fine?
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Old 19th Nov 2023, 22:35
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Originally Posted by NoelEvans
I have known people simply to write "W&K" (for "Wife & Kids"!!)


From that Aviation Herald info:
Considering the terrain in that area, it was night, the 'startle factor' of "where to go now" and planning for a totally unexpected approach, 13 minutes sounds quite good to me! Well done to them!!
You are correct. I glanced at the map and viewed it wrong.
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Old 19th Nov 2023, 23:15
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Why everyone thinks about single sector? An airline with a few hundred aircraft regional fleet is doing literally thousands legs each day. If you wish to carry an extra fuel every time why dont you start your own AOC? Actually some gentlemen did. All of them failed badly.
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Old 20th Nov 2023, 01:20
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Unfortunately the amount of fuel burned in carrying extra fuel does mount up, particularly for larger operators. However it’s a safety issue and worth spending money on. I use my judgment to arrive with a sensible amount of fuel taking the conditions into account.

Going to India in the wet season, I’ve got fuel for the farthest alternate and about half an hours holding at my destination, if I can’t get in after a couple of goes I can choose the best option.

Flight plan fuel is simple the legal minimum to depart with.
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Old 20th Nov 2023, 01:54
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Originally Posted by CargoOne
Why everyone thinks about single sector? An airline with a few hundred aircraft regional fleet is doing literally thousands legs each day.
And it is making thousands of hours equivalent revenue and profit each day. It's all relative. The cost is still only ~3.5% per tonne carried per hour of flight.
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Old 20th Nov 2023, 10:25
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You have to remember that for LCC, if you divert to a nearby field, you will invariably, have the ac manufacturers' fitted low fuel warnings going off way before to get minimum land fuel/Final reserve. So unless the operator has modified the low fuel light limit (unlikely) you will be messing about with the QRH and checklists when you should be concentrating on the approach to yr alternate. I remember doing this when diverting from Bristol to Cardiff when the Bris runway got 'blacked' and shut for an 'indeterminate period' with about 3-4 other ac inbound to BRI. We were one of those and made an early decision to divert to ahead of the queue and were fed into the Cardiff pattern straight from Bristol approach - but the low fuel lights came on just as we got handed over on an intecept to the Cardiff ILS localizer. Very distracting and somewhat disconcerting - lucky it was good weather!

IIRC for the B7373, the low fuel amber light came on at 2000kg (1000kg per side) but the Final Reserve at Cardiff was 1500kg.....

Last edited by Flipster130; 20th Nov 2023 at 10:31. Reason: addition
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Old 20th Nov 2023, 14:34
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Originally Posted by Doors to Automatic
On an A320 carrying an extra 45 mins of fuel would add around 2% to take-off weight. What effect would this have on fuel burn?
As mentioned by CaptainProp, the extra fuel burn caused by additional weight is computed using the weight factor.
The weight factor for modern aircrafts is typically between 3.1% per hour and 3.5% per hour. Historical values have ranged from 2.5% per hour to 5% per hour.

In practical terms, uploading an additional 1000 kg of jet A1 will burn an additional 31 to 35 kg of fuel with every hour of the flight.
Or, if your aircraft needs 1200 kg of fuel for flying 30 minutes at 1500 ft as the final reserve and if your planned flight time is 2h, you need to upload 1285 kg of fuel.

Weight factor increase with longer flight time because its effect is cumulative.
The weight factor for a 5h flight is not (1 + 5 * 0.035 ) = 1.175 (or a 17.5% factor),
but it is 1.035 ^ 5 = 1.188 (or a 18.7% factor).
It also increases (slightly) with very short flights because of climb and approach burn.

If you want to read about the theory behind weight factor, google on "Breguet Range Equation"
or read this page https://www.aircraftit.com/articles/...of-weight-cow/
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Old 20th Nov 2023, 17:02
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Why everyone thinks about single sector? An airline with a few hundred aircraft regional fleet is doing literally thousands legs each day.
Because I知 not being paid to exercise my professional judgement and command authority over all those other thousands of flights. Just the one I知 doing now, with the crew, passengers and aircraft I知 responsible for. I知 not ordering extra fuel for the hell of it, just to ensure that I can deal with whatever eventualities I think are reasonable on the day.


​​​​​​​If you wish to carry an extra fuel every time why dont you start your own AOC?
No thanks, I値l just keep doing my job to the best of my ability, which includes ordering whatever I consider to be a safe and professional amount of fuel.
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Old 20th Nov 2023, 21:55
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Originally Posted by CargoOne
Why everyone thinks about single sector? An airline with a few hundred aircraft regional fleet is doing literally thousands legs each day. If you wish to carry an extra fuel every time why dont you start your own AOC? Actually some gentlemen did. All of them failed badly.
Just one sector, out of all hose "thousands legs each day", running out of fuel and crashing will make that airline fail, badly!
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