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QF A380 Not Enough Fuel?  
User currently offlineLTC8K6 From United States of America, joined Jun 2009, 1210 posts, RR: 0
Posted (3 years 4 months 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 22355 times:

Did they just miscalculate weight or fuel load, or was it headwinds?

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news...-fuel/story-fn3dxity-1226057229931

A MELBOURNE-bound Qantas plane was forced to divert to Adelaide this morning after crew discovered it did not have enough fuel.

A Qantas spokesman said the A380 from Singapore made the unexpected pit stop around 5am AEST.

He said the low fuel supply was not the result of a leak.

"Engineers have inspected the aircraft on ground this morning in Adelaide and found there were no technical issues," the spokesman said.

"The flight crew found they had burnt through the fuel supplies quicker than expected.

"It was not an emergency landing."

The jet carrying 249 passengers was expected to arrive in Melbourne about 7.30am (AEST).

35 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineqfa787380 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (3 years 4 months 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 22136 times:

249 pax, that isn't a high load. I was expecting 400+ pax/crew on this service. I wonder what's happened here if it's not a technical issue, as Eastbound normally has tail winds. Why the unexpected increased fuel burn?

User currently offlinecpd From Australia, joined Jun 2008, 4879 posts, RR: 38
Reply 2, posted (3 years 4 months 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 22123 times:

Quoting LTC8K6 (Thread starter):

"The flight crew found they had burnt through the fuel supplies quicker than expected.

What were the weather conditions? Wind, ISA, etc? Headwinds might do it - as might conditions above ISA.


User currently offlineMilesDependent From Australia, joined Sep 2001, 856 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (3 years 4 months 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 21607 times:

Normally I would be saying "typical media bullsh*t". I was expecting to open the story and read that it was a LAX-MEL flight (and these need to stop for a top-up sometimes). But in this instance, for a SIN-MEL with tailwinds, something does seem weird.

User currently offlinetullamarine From Australia, joined Aug 1999, 1569 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (3 years 4 months 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 21481 times:

Probably pilot error when calculations were made in SIN on required fuel load. People immediately look for some Airbus conspiracy when it is probably just an error. Remember, if it is a choice between a conspiracy and a stuff-up, take the stuff-up everytime!!


717,721/2,732/3/4/5/7/8/9,742/3/4,752/3,762/3,772,W,A310,320,321,332,333,388,DC9,DC10,F28,F100,142,143,E90,CR2,D82/3/4,S
User currently offlineLTC8K6 From United States of America, joined Jun 2009, 1210 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (3 years 4 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 20160 times:

I haven't seen any other reports, and there's so little info in the story that it's hard to know what to make of it.

How common are such calculation errors these days?

You are supposed to have enough fuel to hold and to make alternates, so how can you end up short?

Or is it a case of not having enough fuel for the hold/alternate, rather than not having enough fuel to make it?

That is, they were short of fuel under the rules, but not actually physically short of fuel.


User currently offlinewilco737 From Greenland, joined Jun 2004, 9032 posts, RR: 75
Reply 6, posted (3 years 4 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 19916 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
HEAD MODERATOR

Quoting LTC8K6 (Reply 5):
How common are such calculation errors these days?

Nothing is impossible. And maybe they all calculated it all right, but due to different weather, wind, rerouting while airborne let you use more fuel.

Quoting LTC8K6 (Reply 5):
You are supposed to have enough fuel to hold and to make alternates, so how can you end up short?

Yes, but you wouldn't use that enroute to your destination. Because then you reach your destination and don't have any holding fuel or alternate fuel anymore... And you need it! And the final reserve should never be touched (30 mins of flight time). If you are below that you have to declare emergency and land ASAP!

Quoting LTC8K6 (Reply 5):
Or is it a case of not having enough fuel for the hold/alternate, rather than not having enough fuel to make it

There is contingency fuel on board for unforeseen changes, like reroutings, circumnavigation of bad weather, stronger head winds, less tailwind. But once this is used up, then you have to think about something else. Continuing to the destination with not enough fuel isn't a good idea. So land, refuel and continue.

Doesn't happen too often as the wind data usually are very reliable, but of course on remote areas there are less reliable and you can end up losing fuel (or saving)...

wilco737
  



It it's not Boeing, I am not going.
User currently offlineLTC8K6 From United States of America, joined Jun 2009, 1210 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (3 years 4 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 19752 times:

http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/s...-fuel/story-e6frea83-1226057258436

This article says it was headwinds that were not in the forecast...


User currently offlinewilco737 From Greenland, joined Jun 2004, 9032 posts, RR: 75
Reply 8, posted (3 years 4 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 19677 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
HEAD MODERATOR

Quoting LTC8K6 (Reply 7):

There you got your reason. So nothing serious.

wilco737
  



It it's not Boeing, I am not going.
User currently offlineBurkhard From Germany, joined Nov 2006, 4397 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (3 years 4 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 19314 times:

It looks like every time an aircraft has an unscheduled fuel stop gets an own thread here.

I find it completely normal that when airlines are bound to save money by flying not too much reserves, this is bound to happen once a week somewhere or even more often, we only hear it when it is an A380 or a Lufthansa aircraft.

If this would never happen, then the aircraft would fly around with too much fuel. As long as there are safe places and the refueling is really done, this is a little annoyance to the passengers, but that's it.


User currently offlineLTC8K6 From United States of America, joined Jun 2009, 1210 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (3 years 4 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 18777 times:

I actually thought it was unusual, particularly on that route. Looks like I actually answered it correctly myself in my original post, even though I really thought headwinds were unlikely with that flight.

User currently offlineeljonno From Australia, joined Sep 2008, 170 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (3 years 4 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 16504 times:

Are there any pics of it at ADL then?

User currently offlinetozairport From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 686 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (3 years 4 months 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 16052 times:

Quoting tullamarine (Reply 4):
Probably pilot error when calculations were made in SIN on required fuel load. People immediately look for some Airbus conspiracy when it is probably just an error. Remember, if it is a choice between a conspiracy and a stuff-up, take the stuff-up everytime!!

And your source for proclaiming pilot error!?!?!?       How about adding an option "C" to your theories. Maybe, just maybe, they experienced an overburn due to a variety of factors such as extended taxi time, having to use a lower cruise altitude, unforecast headwinds, inaccurate weights, or any number of other individual or combined factors. Heck, I took off out of PHL a while back and got held down at 10000' for a while to stay below the arrival corridor. By the time I got to cruise altitude I was already down 1,300 lbs. If I had not added fuel in addition to the dispatchers requirements then I would have been diverting into DEN or LAS. But I suppose you would have considered that pilot error too.



Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
User currently offlinewilco737 From Greenland, joined Jun 2004, 9032 posts, RR: 75
Reply 13, posted (3 years 4 months 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 16053 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
HEAD MODERATOR

Quoting LTC8K6 (Reply 10):

Unusual or not, it happens. The winds do what they want   I had an incredible strong tailwind westbound over the North Atlantic. Usually that doesn't happen and the flight time was so much longer. But it was known, so we had enough fuel. But if you don't know about it... Well, land and get fuel.

wilco737
  



It it's not Boeing, I am not going.
User currently offlinezeke From Hong Kong, joined Dec 2006, 9102 posts, RR: 75
Reply 14, posted (3 years 4 months 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 15663 times:

Other reports I read suggest that 16/34 was unavailable for the time of landing due to nbight runway works, and the single taxiway for 27 (which cross 16/34) was also closed. Runway 27 being 45 m wide is not wide enough for the A380 to do a 180 degree turn, so if they landed they would have blocked the only open runway.

Using this information, I think it is possible that the A380 crew did not have fuel onboard to remian airborne until 16/34 was opened again about 60 mintes after their initial planned arrival time.



We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking – Santosh Kalwar
User currently offlinedogbreath From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2008, 263 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (3 years 4 months 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 13264 times:

Quoting tozairport (Reply 12):
And your source for proclaiming pilot error!?!?!?       How about adding an option "C" to your theories. Maybe, just maybe, they experienced an overburn due to a variety of factors such as extended taxi time, having to use a lower cruise altitude, unforecast headwinds, inaccurate weights, or any number of other individual or combined factors.

Spot on there tozairport. You beat me to it with your post.

Makes me laugh when non-aviation types compare flying airplanes the same as filling up your car and driving down the motorway.



Truth, Honour, Loyalty
User currently offlinegoblin211 From United States of America, joined Jun 2010, 1209 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (3 years 4 months 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 11843 times:

Quoting tullamarine (Reply 4):
People immediately look for some Airbus conspiracy when it is probably just an error.

Agreed. I'm sure if this were any other plane such as a 737 the media couldn't care less.



From the airport with love
User currently offlineDIRECTFLT From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 55 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (3 years 4 months 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 10154 times:

Quoting Burkhard (Reply 9):
find it completely normal that when airlines are bound to save money by flying not too much reserves, this is bound to happen once a week somewhere or even more often, we only hear it when it is an A380 or a Lufthansa aircraft.

If this would never happen, then the aircraft would fly around with too much fuel. As long as there are safe places and the refueling is really done, this is a little annoyance to the passengers, but that's it.

Does anyone know what the relative cost difference is , in carrying some extra fuel vs. the unscheduled landing and takeoff and refueling, for this one incident ?



Smoothest Ride so far: AA A300B4-600R ~~ Favorite Aviation Author ~ Robert J. Serling
User currently offlinewilco737 From Greenland, joined Jun 2004, 9032 posts, RR: 75
Reply 18, posted (3 years 4 months 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 10114 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
HEAD MODERATOR

Quoting DIRECTFLT (Reply 17):
Does anyone know what the relative cost difference is , in carrying some extra fuel vs. the unscheduled landing and takeoff and refueling, for this one incident ?

A landing is for sure more expensive than carrying some extra fuel if you only see it on ONE flight. If you consider every flight taken within a huge company then it is millions you lose for extra fuel. That's why a landing every once in a while is cheaper than having a huge load of extra fuel on board.

wilco737
  



It it's not Boeing, I am not going.
User currently offlineLTC8K6 From United States of America, joined Jun 2009, 1210 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (3 years 4 months 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 9427 times:

Well, if it were QANTAS 737...  

User currently offlinefrancoflier From France, joined Oct 2001, 3765 posts, RR: 11
Reply 20, posted (3 years 4 months 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 8307 times:

Quoting LTC8K6 (Reply 10):
I really thought headwinds were unlikely with that flight.

It's not about head winds or tailwinds, but about stonger headwinds than expected or weaker tailwinds than expected.

Fuel load is based on the wind forecast for the route.



Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit posting...
User currently offlineikramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21529 posts, RR: 59
Reply 21, posted (3 years 4 months 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 8095 times:

I really don't understand why this is newsworthy. Even if it was a fuel leak like first reported, it's hardly newsworthy. When an engine blows up? Sure. But these kind of things happen EVERY DAY to all sorts of aircraft. Diversions due to inadequate reserves, pressure loss in an engine, bad fuel readings, etc. No biggie.


Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineGlideslope From United States of America, joined May 2004, 1617 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (3 years 4 months 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 7818 times:

Quoting tullamarine (Reply 4):
Probably pilot error when calculations were made in SIN on required fuel load. People immediately look for some Airbus conspiracy when it is probably just an error. Remember, if it is a choice between a conspiracy and a stuff-up, take the stuff-up everytime!!

Yup, all 249 of them. Pack that baby!!



To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy.” Sun Tzu
User currently onlineN14AZ From Germany, joined Feb 2007, 2713 posts, RR: 25
Reply 23, posted (3 years 4 months 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 7775 times:

Quoting ikramerica (Reply 21):
I really don't understand why this is newsworthy. Even if it was a fuel leak like first reported, it's hardly newsworthy. When an engine blows up? Sure. But these kind of things happen EVERY DAY to all sorts of aircraft. Diversions due to inadequate reserves, pressure loss in an engine, bad fuel readings, etc. No biggie.

Exactly. The only newsworthy issue about this topic is:

Quoting qfa787380 (Reply 1):
249 pax, that isn't a high load. I was expecting 400+ pax/crew on this service


User currently offlineKaiarahi From Canada, joined Jul 2009, 3000 posts, RR: 27
Reply 24, posted (3 years 4 months 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 7775 times:

Quoting zeke (Reply 14):
I think it is possible that the A380 crew did not have fuel onboard to remian airborne until 16/34 was opened again about 60 mintes after their initial planned arrival time.

  
And Gimli is way too far away from MEL.



Empty vessels make the most noise.
25 qfa787380 : Thankyou, that sounds like a very reasonable explanation.
26 bill142 : It's not. But Qantas + issues + slow news day + news corp paper = major beat up over nothing. A Qantas pilot can't fart without it making the news as
27 Kaiarahi : "QF pilot fails to declare emergency despite noxious smell in cockpit. A.net analysts declare she should lose her ATPL and be jailed for recklessly e
28 DIRECTFLT : So, for the QF 8 return from DFW, what would the alternate landing airport be for that flight ? ?
29 aloges : How about Fiji? It's quite a lot farther from Sydney than Adelaide is from Melbourne, but perhaps that just means you make the decision earlier.
30 ikramerica : NAN is right on the route and at 5800nm from DFW, is the a likely fuel stop location when BNE is simply too far.
31 tayser : it's DFW-BNE-SYD.......... the alternates will be in the Pacific - i.e NAN, PPT, HNL, not further from BNE or SYD!
32 par13del : So if I understand this explanation, this A380 should have taken enough fuel onboard to "waste time" to ensure that they arrive at the airport when t
33 Post contains links LTC8K6 : Seems like a dangerous game to play if the story is accurate... Of course it could be that they are just more familiar with the airplane now, and they
34 par13del : Lets say the story is true, is this any different than what AA and a number of other US airlines did a couple years ago when fuel prices started to r
35 Post contains images wilco737 : All airlines try to somehow reduce the fuel bill. We all know that fuel costs a lot lately and every kg you have additionally on board increases fuel
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