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No fuel to go-around

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No fuel to go-around

Old 9th Oct 2002, 17:48
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Exclamation

I think the rules for how much fuel you are meant to have on arrival at LHR have been well and truly done to death here before. Suffice to say that the controllers at LHR are just about the most professional Iíve come across in 20 years in the biz. If they officially ask you to have 20 minutes holding fuel on arrival, you are making their lives incrementally more stressful by flouting the rules.

As for pressure on commanders to take less, I have an extract from a recent company publication where fuel league tables are brought up and the top captains asked to pop by for a chat. They have been specifically told by the CAA that they may not do this but theyíre above all that. Since the said company makes sparse reference to flying efficiently and focuses on average fleet excess departure fuel, I suspect that KRAís and their associated annual bonus/new BMW might be the underlying motivation. After all thereís £100m in the trough apparently.


Iíll take on the opposition anyday. Itís my management I canít beat!
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Old 9th Oct 2002, 18:04
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Ever so "Slightly" off topic.
Pre Sept11, I was on a [Domestic] Fam Flt ex LHR. North Deps were [heavily] slotted. A/c arrives at the hold and shut down Not enough gas from LHR to dest if held at the holding point for more than 10mins No reroute just park with only the APU running.
we aim to please, it keeps the cleaners happy
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Old 9th Oct 2002, 18:16
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I would like to draw attention to another of BOING's comments:
"My operation is great, the company never question a Captain's decision." This is the way is SHOULD be. When I worked for a company with this attitude, they stated that the Captain is the company's representative and at the time the only person with all the facts in a position to make the best decision based on those facts. Thus, they continued, we as a company will always back a captain in his decision even if, in the light of subsequent events, a better decision could have been made. I should add that I never wished to leave that particular airline but redundancy struck as it does so often in this business.
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Old 9th Oct 2002, 18:56
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120.4

If an inbound aircraft tells you they have not enough fuel for a GA, if true about the fuel amount, then the situation itself must be a violation of British Aviation law / rules / regulations / JAR bibles.

I am sure you had no reason to doubt the fuel information given to you was untrue. You were then looking at a clear cut case of a violation which, owing to your capacity and perhaps good luck of having favourable circumstances, turned out OK. As an ATCO, were you not responsible to report the incident to UK CAA Flight Safety department (or wherever you report it in CAA)? At least the way it works here, looking it the other way round, if an ATCO does not report an incident, he/she has made a grave error. From your post it was evident that you only talked to the commander.

The CAA then would have launched full investigations as to the amount of fuel left & made a judgement was it a violation or not & taken corrective & preventive action. Or are these violations so commonplace at LHR that you'd spend most of your shift faxing incident reports?

Nevertheless I am sure you did a good job, don't get me wrong. Glad you started the thread, it's been excellent.

-headwind
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Old 9th Oct 2002, 20:40
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Headwind,

I suspect what the crew in question meant was that they could not go-around without having to declare a mayday, not quite the same thing as not being able to go-around.

I don't really want to be in either position so I (apart from late pm) put enough fuel on to be able to hold for 15-20mins and still land at LHR with alternate fuel in the tanks. That said, the JAA fuel policy works very well in my opinion, it puts the decision of what to do with the extra fuel on the aircraft right where it should be, in the flightdeck.

Wiley's comments on his method of fuel planning make perfect sense to me although I have to say I have never found it quite as complicated as that. It seems fairly simple to me, you know at what fuel figures you have to make a decision and as those various figures come close I size up the current situation with regard to traffic, weather etc. and then we make a choice about what to do.

Held this morning for about 25 minutes at BNN and it was a nice comfy feeling sitting there with a hot coffee and plenty of lovely jet-a in the tanks, no worries at all. Great.
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Old 9th Oct 2002, 20:57
  #66 (permalink)  
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Cannot resist a sales pitch here for our non-pilot viewers.

Fundamentally, the reason my company does not question the judgement of the captain or apply pressure concerning fuel usage is because our pilots are strongly unionised. The company cannot apply undue or unfair pressure on one pilot because they face the legal department of a strong union. We all know that unions are blamed for high operating costs and high paychecks but never, never, forget that the original function of unions, at least in the US, was to ensure aviation safety was not compromised by "pilot pushing". Despite the adverse publicity caused by other union activities their involvement in air safety should never be underestimated and this involvement continues today just as it has always done.

(Standby for the ever rabid 411 to start foaming at the mouth and explaining how, with his enormous logic, he never needed a union to back his decisions! (Pre-emptive strike!))
 
Old 9th Oct 2002, 21:07
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Headwind:

Its a fair question I guess but not one I really wanted to answer. I spoke to the skipper first to ensure that I had not misunderstood him and we agreed a course of action. MOR filed, AAIB involved. However he did land legally, with the minimum reserve.

As far as I am concerned the issue here is the transfer of information, not the law.

Point 4
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Old 9th Oct 2002, 21:36
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HSLC,

if Shakespeare says it is, that's good enough for me.
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Old 10th Oct 2002, 02:27
  #69 (permalink)  

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It depends hugely on the management of the airline.

Yes, 411a is technically correct. Sure, let's just fire everyone who screws up at any time, ever, no pension, go to bed without any supper etc. Hell, why not guillotine them? Bit messy, admittedly, but gosh you'd get the message across - there wouldn't be too many pilots left in a job, of course, but by golly they'd be aces wouldn't they? God, I wish I was perfect - must be so satisfying in in that Ivory Tower .....

Listen, those of you who wish to bring religious fundamentalism to the flight deck, someone very close to me flies for a European (mainland) long haul outfit which is so draconian that some people are physically sick when the word 'simulator' appears on the roster - (I know, I've cleaned up after) - an outfit where the offence of not being fit to fly is considered a hostile act redeemable only by a satisfactory visit to the sickness police. Needless to say their fuel policy is jack-booted to say the least. Any extra fuel, any, must be justified in writing - and by God you'd better be seriously cast-iron when you appear before the fuel Ayotollah (who, incidentally, is able to bend his own rules a bit and, naturally, is deemed by all to fly like a turkey) This character has ordered the Nav Planning department to always fuel-plan for the closest alternate, regardless of weather, and then fly the Atlantic at the minimum possible Mach No ... (I know, don't ask.) The whole ethos of the place is based on dictatorship with, of course, the associated witch-hunts. Is it any wonder that with outfits like this, otherwise perfectly sane, excellent, professional airmen very occasionally find themselves staring at fuel gauges approaching the squeezed-ass point? It is this sort of Flight-Operations Management philosophy which generates incidents like this - I simply refuse to believe that there are hundreds of us out there who are cavalier about fuel ... no - but there might be quite a few who work in a horrible atmosphere.

Me? I'm bl@@dy lucky where I work - I have never had a single diversion, weather delay, or fuel load questioned by my management in 25 years. (We did have one character about 10 years ago who tried to introduce the lunacy of fuel-burn competitions and naming and shaming, but The Big Boss said 'listen buddy, we trained 'em, so we trust 'em - kindly don't bang the door as you depart') Our fuel policy says, in precis, 'be sensible with fuel' ... and I know of not one of our lot who isn't precisely that.

That's the way to run it; with respect - not with a shotgun.
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Old 10th Oct 2002, 04:23
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Cool

Sometimes, you do your best and still get low on fuel. That has happened about 3 times to me, always because of performance restrictions or TOW being reached. In all cases, we have spoken to approach radar in good time, explained the situation and have always been treated very well. The last one was a long westbound flight with an enroute div planned, into 140kt headwinds ending in the desert. Weather fine, holding about 300kgs above CMR, we spoke to LA and they passed it forward, everyone knew the situation and we landed with 6 tonnes - I loaded 72 !

Communication early is the key, if you go with min fuel, and are then looking for sympathy it lays between two well known words in the dictionary ! Take it when you can, talk early when you can't
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Old 10th Oct 2002, 06:36
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To quote javelin:
Sometimes, you do your best and still get low on fuel.
Too true - and lucky's the flyer who hasn't found himself in that situation at least once in his career despite the most careful and thouough pre flight planning.

However, misfortunes enroute leaving you short at destination should have absolutely no effect on the figure you select as your last divert fuel. That figure remains the same - it's simply pyhsics. The engines stil burn the same amount of fuel.

Your bad luck enroute simply means you reach that point where push reaches shove somewhat earlier than you would have otherwise. In a worst case situation, a decision might have to be made to go straight t your alternate without attempting an approach or to drop in to an enroute diversion field for more fuel. Alowing commercial pressures to impinge on that final fuel figure is nothing short of insanity.

A very good rule of thumb that I find works really well for me is to ask myself how I would explain my decision, not to my chief pilot, but to some slick, hostile lawyer who knows nothing about flying but who's carefully read the regulations as he prepared to nail my sorry a**e to the wall a court of law.

Someone earlier said that I overcomplicated the decision process in my long earlier post. Guilty as charged - but I reached that stage of spelling everything out in detail after being repeatedly amazed at how incredibly ill-prepared some of my colleagues are in their fuel planning. How many times have any of you heard an FO say "Oh, we'll need about six and half tons for 'x'?" - or not include a divert figure in their approach briefings at all?
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Old 10th Oct 2002, 07:40
  #72 (permalink)  
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Throughout this thread I have maintained that ATC will always help but would look very poorly upon anybody who abused the system.

I ask you to imagine that a company had an aircraft that didn't have particularly good payload/range characteristics but wanted to operate it into a major airport which regularly experienced significant inbound holding. If that aircraft was not able to accept the delay how woud you feel about it being allowed to jump the queue (as a matter of right) so that it could carry a higher payload or didn't have to divert? Purely hypothetically, you understand.

Would that be an abuse of the system?

Point 4
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Old 10th Oct 2002, 16:16
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Point 4

You ask
Would that be an abuse of the system?

Yes.
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Old 10th Oct 2002, 16:57
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Aircraft with poor payload/range characteristics, jumping the queue (as a matter of right) - you must mean the new Needlenose Arrival Procedure being imposed upon us.
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Old 10th Oct 2002, 21:23
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If he arrived with plog poa fuel he had enuff to go around and get to his alternate, and then have final/emergency reserve.
if he arrived at poa with final reserve ie the fuel planned in tanks at minima at alt then his enroute decision making could be called into question.
the fuel allocated for final reserve is also the fuel allocated for holding and also the fuel allocated as emergency reserve depending if you are planning , flying or on your last circuit before it goes quiet.

a further delay a fter going around to your alt on plog fuel would warrant a pan up gradableto may day if you dont get yer way.
going around from minima at your alt is a may day as the emergency reserve manifestation of this fuel is considered sufficient for a visual circuit to land.

The trick is not to get yourself in that situation, with things like big picture planning etc etc.

Last edited by dicksynormous; 10th Oct 2002 at 21:31.
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Old 10th Oct 2002, 21:36
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I ask you to imagine that a company had an aircraft that didn't have particularly good payload/range characteristics but wanted to operate it into a major airport which regularly experienced significant inbound holding.
Well quite, no one in thier right mind would try that would they. Well at least not more than once a day anyway!.
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Old 10th Oct 2002, 23:53
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Wink

There are lots of those around: they are called helicopters!

I have obviously missed something about the original thread; does the pilot mean "not enough fuel to go around and then fly to the alternate", or "not enough fuel to go around and carry out a further approach" ?

If the latter, then how does that work?
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Old 12th Oct 2002, 16:20
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Rage:
you must mean the new Needlenose Arrival Procedure being imposed upon us.
As a current "needlenose" [sic] pilot would you be able to enlighten me? I know of no new arrival procedure.

Ta

NW1
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Old 12th Oct 2002, 19:49
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nw1

we are not allowed to discuss any "alleged" new priorty procedure for our biggest customer on a public forum






edited for content
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Old 12th Oct 2002, 20:04
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I thought it said don't discuss or mention it on the r/t!!!

GULP!

CJ
:o
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