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Do Airlines "pressure" Crew To Use Less Fuel?  
User currently offlinereadytotaxi From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2006, 3264 posts, RR: 2
Posted (3 years 6 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 6649 times:

Given the price of the stuff and the uncertain world markets I was wondering if airlines regularly "remind" crew of the need to save fuel when ever possible? Does any airline reprimand if they burned more than they should?
I understand that a lot of this is in the lap of the ATC gods as you fly where they tell you but wondered what it was like on different continents?

As an after thought what can you crew do to reduce fuel burn during a flight that does not compromise safety?
TIA


you don't get a second chance to make a first impression!
42 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineNorthwest727 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 491 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (3 years 6 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 6648 times:

Yes, they do. In fact several have come to the FAA about it, but I am not sure if anything was ever "done" about it:

Quote:
US Airways pilots: We're pressured to cut fuel

WASHINGTON — The pilots union for US Airways said Wednesday the airline is pressuring pilots to use less fuel than they feel is safe in order to save money.

US Airways Captain James Ray, a spokesman for the US Airline Pilots Association, which represents the airline's 5,200 pilots, said eight senior pilots and the union have filed complaints with the Federal Aviation Administration.

The union also paid for a full-page ad in Wednesday's USA Today addressed to "our valued passengers." The ad accuses the airline of "a program of intimidation to pressure your captain to reduce fuel loads."

Ray said soaring jet fuel prices have sent all the airlines scrambling to find ways to cut the weight of airliners because the heavier the plane, the more fuel the plane burns. US Airways, based in Tempe, Ariz., has recently removed movie players, redesigned its meal carts and replaced glassware with plastic to cut weight.

Jet fuel has surpassed labor as the airline industry's greatest expense.

But US Airways recently crossed the line when it ordered eight pilots who requested "an extra 10 to 15 minutes worth of fuel" to attend training sessions, or "check rides," that could put their pilot licenses in jeopardy, Ray said. The pilots were supposed to report for their training sessions Wednesday, he said.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2008-07-16-2123901297_x.htm


User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25406 posts, RR: 49
Reply 2, posted (3 years 6 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 6633 times:

I'd say airlines are rightfully holding their crews more accountable for fuel usage.

There needs to be a valid operational reason for each Kg/Lb of fuel onboard, so keeping a focus on usage can help minimize needless uplifts.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineYYZRWY23 From Canada, joined Aug 2009, 561 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (3 years 6 months 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 6545 times:

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 2):
I'd say airlines are rightfully holding their crews more accountable for fuel usage.

I think a bit of respect needs to be paid to the Captain of each flight. If he/she feels they will need the extra fuel to complete their flight safely, they should not fear reprimand. The Captain knows what he/she will be flying through, and with their experience, I think the airline should give them due credit.

I understand that airlines want to cut cost, but maybe they should have some leeway like airlines have in other aspects in the operation. For example, at AC, the Captain can request push back up to 10 minutes before scheduled departure (or push-back, not sure how it is set). However, if they are ready to go more than 10 minutes before, they must get permission from the flight dispatcher at flight operations. Perhaps the airline and pilots could make an agreement allowing the Captain to authorize "x" amount of extra fuel. If they want more, they must talk to flight operations and the dispatcher can use their professional judgement on if it is necessary or not. If the extra fuel is authorized, a small note from the captain on why it was requested and one from the dispatcher giving the reason they authorized it should suffice.

My thoughts.

YYZRWY23



If you don't stand behind our troops, feel free to stand in front of them.
User currently offlinelonghauler From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 4990 posts, RR: 42
Reply 4, posted (3 years 6 months 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 6531 times:

Quoting YYZRWY23 (Reply 3):
For example, at AC, the Captain can request push back up to 10 minutes before scheduled departure (or push-back, not sure how it is set). However, if they are ready to go more than 10 minutes before, they must get permission from the flight dispatcher at flight operations.

This is close ... but not quite. The Captain is not "asking" if he can leave more than 10 minutes prior to scheduled departure time, he is "telling" Flight Dispatch that he is leaving more than 10 minutes prior. The big issue here is "flight watch". One of the functions of Flight Dispatch is the Transport Canada requirement that the airline be in contact with the airplane at all times, and that they must know where the airplane is at all times. There has been some question whether Flight Watch is compromised with an earlier than planned departure. The rule emerged as a result of that question. And, it is normally only a concern with some remote destinations, like from the Caribbean heading to Canada.

However, once airborne, if the aircraft is going to arrive "too early" (staffing or gate issues) then Flight Dispatch will advise the crew to consider a "tactical slowdown". That is entering a cost index of 0 into the FMGC to delay the arrival. I have seen valid points for doing either, and the final decision rests with the Captain.

Quoting YYZRWY23 (Reply 3):
Perhaps the airline and pilots could make an agreement allowing the Captain to authorize "x" amount of extra fuel.

With the Flight Plan, there are statistics showing the fuel burn for that aircraft type, at that time, on those city pairs over the last two years. A 99% percentile is added as a part of AC's fuel policy. As this is in addition to normal fuel burn, alternate and stand off fuel ... it is normally enough.

Quoting YYZRWY23 (Reply 3):
If they want more, they must talk to flight operations and the dispatcher can use their professional judgement on if it is necessary or not.

If the Captain wants more fuel .. he gets it. No questions asked. If the Flight Dispatcher wants to add more fuel .. he can. No questions asked. There is a "co-dispatch" policy up to the point of engine start, and if a disagreement occurs, the most cautious suggestion is used. And yes, you are right, if fuel is added at the Captain's request, it is usually added as such on the Flight Plan.

It sounds like you are well on your way to being one of our Flight Dispatchers! It is good to see someone with such interest.



Never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down .... Barefoot Blue Jean Night
User currently offlineNorthwest727 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 491 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (3 years 6 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 6503 times:

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 2):
I'd say airlines are rightfully holding their crews more accountable for fuel usage.

I disagree. As stated in the FARs, the PIC (captain) essentially has the "final say" in the operation and safety in the flight. If that airplane runs out of fuel and something happens, guess who's going to be in trouble. No, not management, but the captain. So if the captain feels an extra 10 minutes may be needed, then so s/he should have it, no questions asked.

Maybe management should be asked which is more expensive, a few extra pounds of fuel, or lawsuits and jacked up insurance rates due to a mishap that could have been prevented...not to mention, lots of negative publicity (think Colgan).


User currently offlinekalvado From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 491 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (3 years 6 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 6493 times:

Quoting Northwest727 (Reply 5):
insurance rates due to a mishap that could have been prevented.

What is mishap in this case? Fuel stop? Arriving with fuel emergency (aka 30 minutes worth of gas on board?)

Flying into the weather to reduce fuel burn may lead to real problems - but as far as I understand, things did not go that far in US and Canada (yet?)


User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21637 posts, RR: 55
Reply 7, posted (3 years 6 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 6474 times:

Quoting Northwest727 (Reply 5):
So if the captain feels an extra 10 minutes may be needed, then so s/he should have it, no questions asked.

   Threatening crews for wanting some extra fuel is ridiculous, and if the FAA were doing their job, they'd put a stop to it.

Quoting Northwest727 (Reply 5):
Maybe management should be asked which is more expensive, a few extra pounds of fuel, or lawsuits and jacked up insurance rates due to a mishap that could have been prevented...not to mention, lots of negative publicity (think Colgan).

It doesn't even have to be a mishap. Consider the costs of a diversion because you didn't have those fifteen extra minutes of holding fuel. Suddenly the extra gas starts to look pretty cheap by comparison.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently onlinemandala499 From Indonesia, joined Aug 2001, 6867 posts, RR: 75
Reply 8, posted (3 years 6 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 6429 times:

Quoting longhauler (Reply 4):
However, once airborne, if the aircraft is going to arrive "too early" (staffing or gate issues) then Flight Dispatch will advise the crew to consider a "tactical slowdown". That is entering a cost index of 0 into the FMGC to delay the arrival. I have seen valid points for doing either, and the final decision rests with the Captain.

Indeed... especially for busy destinations... either he/she does that, or he'll hold for longer that he needs to at the destination... and perhaps end up in a clogged frequency... adding to more risk...   

Quoting longhauler (Reply 4):
If the Captain wants more fuel .. he gets it. No questions asked. If the Flight Dispatcher wants to add more fuel .. he can. No questions asked. There is a "co-dispatch" policy up to the point of engine start, and if a disagreement occurs, the most cautious suggestion is used. And yes, you are right, if fuel is added at the Captain's request, it is usually added as such on the Flight Plan.

As long as it is reasonable, no questions should be asked.

Quoting Northwest727 (Reply 5):
So if the captain feels an extra 10 minutes may be needed, then so s/he should have it, no questions asked.

Here, extra 10 mins or up to X amount of fuel is no questions asked. But if the captain asks for 3 hrs worth of extra fuel, then it's up to the dispatch to OK it or not... depending on the situation. If the traffic at the destination is light, no weather problems enroute or within the vicinity of the destination (actual and forecasted)... then asking for 3hrs extra fuel need to be questioned. The amount bordering "reasonable" and "ridiculous" depends on the situation of the day, and the experience of the PIC and the dispatcher. Now, if a Captain complains why is 3hrs extra fuel is added to his trip when there's a typhoon approaching his busy destination, then questions need to be asked too! It works both ways!

Computerized flight planning now can make the fuel requirements bloody accurate. The enroute reserve built into the minimum sector fuel (Origin to destination fuel burn + x% route reserve + holding + divert/alternate + additional extras due to current circumstances) should minimise the "additional extra" fuel.

Quoting longhauler (Reply 4):
With the Flight Plan, there are statistics showing the fuel burn for that aircraft type, at that time, on those city pairs over the last two years. A 99% percentile is added as a part of AC's fuel policy. As this is in addition to normal fuel burn, alternate and stand off fuel ... it is normally enough.

Thank God for CFP!
Off Topic, you guys use Navtech? Jepp? or Lido? or some other provider for the CFP?



When losing situational awareness, pray Cumulus Granitus isn't nearby !
User currently offlinePGNCS From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 2825 posts, RR: 45
Reply 9, posted (3 years 6 months 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 6368 times:

Most airlines develop fuel saving strategies and remind crews how they want them implemented at regular intervals. Having said that, I have asked for extra fuel numerous times and have never once been questioned about it. I am grateful to work at a company that respects conservative decision making in their crews and dispatchers.

User currently offlineChamonix From France, joined Mar 2011, 355 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (3 years 6 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 6307 times:
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Cutting corners:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkKPirksymQ


User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25406 posts, RR: 49
Reply 11, posted (3 years 6 months 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 6231 times:

Quoting YYZRWY23 (Reply 3):
I think a bit of respect needs to be paid to the Captain of each flight.

Having a crew justify any additional uplift is hardly a reason for disrespect.

If the Captain truly knows something or anticipates something he should share that with his dispatcher and company for the benefit of future flights.
However uplifting extra fuel just for the sake of it, or for 'grandma' without valid operational concern is hardly a model of good decision making process.

Quoting Northwest727 (Reply 5):
I disagree. As stated in the FARs, the PIC (captain) essentially has the "final say" in the operation and safety in the flight.

Final say indeed. But the FARs do not excuse PIC from being accountable for his actions.


Quoting Northwest727 (Reply 5):
Maybe management should be asked which is more expensive, a few extra pounds of fuel, or lawsuits and jacked up insurance rates due to a mishap that could have been prevented...not to mention, lots of negative publicity (think Colgan).

And management does consider this. I know as I have spent years in flight ops management.

Anyhow, no airline plans below authorized FAR values, something the government has deemed adequate and safe. Worst case you land short, or divert. I cant recall a modern day accident result of fuel starvation.

Quoting Mir (Reply 7):
Consider the costs of a diversion because you didn't have those fifteen extra minutes of holding fuel. Suddenly the extra gas starts to look pretty cheap by comparison.

On a macro scale a diversion (which tends to happen 1/1000 flights amongst US majors) is hardly a sign of failure, nor a huge cost when the million upon millions that can be saved by properly managing needless fuel uplifts.

Anyhow, even the best planning, or full tank of gas is not going to save you from some diversions.

Quoting mandala499 (Reply 8):
Computerized flight planning now can make the fuel requirements bloody accurate. The enroute reserve built into the minimum sector fuel (Origin to destination fuel burn + x% route reserve + holding + divert/alternate + additional extras due to current circumstances) should minimise the "additional extra" fuel.

Indeed, newest forecasting technologies combined with the latest statistical traffic modeling when combined can create incredibly accurate plans.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineRJLover From Canada, joined Dec 2006, 577 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (3 years 6 months 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 6211 times:

Quoting longhauler (Reply 4):
However, once airborne, if the aircraft is going to arrive "too early" (staffing or gate issues)

As a former STOC Agent... There is nothing that STOC hates more then having a plane show up +10 minutes early (MOST of the time)! 



Last Flight(s): YHZ-YUL-YYC-YVR-YYJ // YYJ-YYZ-YSJ-YHZ.....Next Flight(s):
User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21637 posts, RR: 55
Reply 13, posted (3 years 6 months 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 6207 times:

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 11):
Having a crew justify any additional uplift is hardly a reason for disrespect.

Depends entirely on how it's done.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 11):
But the FARs do not excuse PIC from being accountable for his actions.

The FAR's hold him accountable to the FAA, not to the airline. The airline doesn't care whether the PIC follows the regs or not - it's his certificate on the line and not the airline's. So the airline is free to pressure the PIC into doing things that he'd rather not without any real risk of consequences.

If the PIC wants more fuel, that's between him and the dispatcher. The beancounters should leave their noses out of it unless there's something unreasonable going on (which 15-20 minutes of fuel isn't).

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 11):
On a macro scale a diversion (which tends to happen 1/1000 flights amongst US majors) is hardly a sign of failure

I'd call it a failure if the pilot didn't ask for extra fuel because he didn't want to face the consequences from management.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 11):
Anyhow, even the best planning, or full tank of gas is not going to save you from some diversions.

I can't remember where I read this, but ever since AA started getting more strict about their fuel policy, and challenging pilots on how much they added, their diversion rates went up noticeably. That's bad from a customer service standpoint.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineYYZRWY23 From Canada, joined Aug 2009, 561 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (3 years 6 months 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 6208 times:

Quoting longhauler (Reply 4):
This is close ... but not quite.

I am trying to recall what a flight dispatcher I know told me about 2-3 years ago when I visited Flight Ops, so I knew I probably didn't remember correctly.

Quoting longhauler (Reply 4):
The big issue here is "flight watch". One of the functions of Flight Dispatch is the Transport Canada requirement that the airline be in contact with the airplane at all times, and that they must know where the airplane is at all times.

So if the aircraft is inside of the ten minute window, it may leave without informing dispatch? Sorry if I am confusing something obvious here, I would just like it clarified if you could.

Quoting longhauler (Reply 4):
And, it is normally only a concern with some remote destinations, like from the Caribbean heading to Canada.

Again, I request some clarification (just for my curiosity and own knowledge). I was thinking that maybe due to limited gate space at these destinations, leaving too early could interfere with airport operations. I wouldn't think arriving back at YYZ for example (with so many gates and staff) would be an issue.

Quoting longhauler (Reply 4):
A 99% percentile is added as a part of AC's fuel policy.

Could you explain this aspect of the policy? I don't imagine you add 99% of what you need for the trip...?

Quoting longhauler (Reply 4):
It sounds like you are well on your way to being one of our Flight Dispatchers! It is good to see someone with such interest.

Hopefully I am. Year one of university is almost complete, so a few more years. Sorry for all of the questions, but I am trying to get as much knowledge as I can from these forums and those I know at the airline. Thanks for all of your help!

YYZRWY23



If you don't stand behind our troops, feel free to stand in front of them.
User currently offlinelonghauler From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 4990 posts, RR: 42
Reply 15, posted (3 years 6 months 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 6180 times:

Quoting YYZRWY23 (Reply 14):
So if the aircraft is inside of the ten minute window, it may leave without informing dispatch? Sorry if I am confusing something obvious here, I would just like it clarified if you could.

If you read between the lines, one can assume that 10 minutes is what Transport Canada would consider to be acceptable to be out of touch from the aircraft. But ... it actually goes a little further than that. For example on flights to the US, the 10 minutes is law. So, if we push on schedule, but take more than 10 minutes to reach the runway, (which would be most of the time) we have to update our take-off time. Even though the ACARS has already shown an out time, just not yet the off time.

Quoting YYZRWY23 (Reply 14):
Could you explain this aspect of the policy? I don't imagine you add 99% of what you need for the trip...?

No, you are right, I worded that a bit vaguely. Look at it another way. The fuel burn is calculated for the flight using our flight planning computer (Lido in AC's case). So, from the point of take-off, to the point of landing, on the conditions of that day, with the load you are carrying on the specific fin you are flying, right to the kilo ... the fuel burn is calculated. Right to the kilo!!! Then, they look statistically at how that has varied over the last 2 years, in relation to the planned fuel burn. Sometimes it is more, sometimes less ... but all are placed on a bell curve. Then they look at what the fuel burn was for the 99 percentile, and the additional above planned burn is added to the flight plan.

For example, I pulled out a flight plan for a B767-300 today, flying YVR.

On top of the normal fuel requirements for the flight;
Taxi, burn, alternate, and final reserve ... there was some additional fuel.
Among that was 900K of fuel termed CONT99. This is the 99 percentile fuel. Basically what it means is that 1% of the time over the last two years, the fuel burn was 900K higher than planned, for whatever reason.

Armed with these statistics, it is pretty hard not to accept a flight plan as written by the dispatcher, and most of the time, that is exactly what happens!

[Edited 2011-03-21 19:23:47]


Never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down .... Barefoot Blue Jean Night
User currently offlineYYZRWY23 From Canada, joined Aug 2009, 561 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (3 years 6 months 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 6142 times:

Quoting longhauler (Reply 15):
If you read between the lines, one can assume that 10 minutes is what Transport Canada would consider to be acceptable to be out of touch from the aircraft. But ... it actually goes a little further than that. For example on flights to the US, the 10 minutes is law. So, if we push on schedule, but take more than 10 minutes to reach the runway, (which would be most of the time) we have to update our take-off time. Even though the ACARS has already shown an out time, just not yet the off time.

Thank you for the explanation. That makes sense.

Quoting longhauler (Reply 15):
Then, they look statistically at how that has varied over the last 2 years, in relation to the planned fuel burn. Sometimes it is more, sometimes less ... but all are placed on a bell curve. Then they look at what the fuel burn was for the 99 percentile, and the additional above planned burn is added to the flight plan.

For example, I pulled out a flight plan for a B767-300 today, flying YVR.

On top of the normal fuel requirements for the flight;
Taxi, burn, alternate, and final reserve ... there was some additional fuel.
Among that was 900K of fuel termed CONT99. This is the 99 percentile fuel. Basically what it means is that 1% of the time over the last two years, the fuel burn was 900K higher than planned, for whatever reason.

Alright, all I needed was an example to get it. I have a flight plan at home from a CO flight I took, so I am going to examine it once I am done school for the year and see if I can find this type of thing on there.

Thanks again for the great explanations longhauler, I do appreciate it.

YYZRWY23



If you don't stand behind our troops, feel free to stand in front of them.
User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25406 posts, RR: 49
Reply 17, posted (3 years 6 months 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 6074 times:

Quoting Mir (Reply 13):
The FAR's hold him accountable to the FAA, not to the airline. The airline doesn't care whether the PIC follows the regs or not - it's his certificate on the line and not the airline's.

Wrong. The FAA does care what the airline does, and the airline certificate is very much subject to action if its employees (Capt in this case) releapetedly fail to operate safely or legally.

Quoting Mir (Reply 13):
I can't remember where I read this, but ever since AA started getting more strict about their fuel policy, and challenging pilots on how much they added, their diversion rates went up noticeably.

Well since the US airlines data share - AA's domestic diversion rate in 2010 was not out of the averages of its peers, with about a 0.35% chance for diversion for any reason (includes medical, mechanical, weather etc).

More specifically AA, their fuel planning takes into account statistical modeling beyond the vanilla FAR requirements.
The airline can now statistically forecast within designated percentages (eg 90, 95, 99% etc probability) the amount needed fuel should be needed if one is operating into LGA for example at 4pm versus 10am, on a Thursday with VFR versus IFR conditions. Such statistical modeling is quite accurate and when further combined with live ATC airport demand information can provide a very accurate forecast beyond the old book rule of thumbs or wise tail fuel planning some still enjoy experimenting with.

Frankly I'd rather have some math and science behind my flights fuel planning them some back of the napkin rule that Capt Joe has utilized since he got his wings in the 1970s.

Quoting Mir (Reply 13):
If the PIC wants more fuel, that's between him and the dispatcher. The beancounters should leave their noses out of it unless there's something unreasonable going on

Indeed its between him and the dispatcher. The dispatcher should be the first one to ask the reason why.

If the Captain knows something as to why he requires the additional fuel he should certainly share it and help on the planning for the next flight.

There is nothing wrong with holding people accountable for their actions, and requiring a simple explanation for things like fuel adds.

Quoting Mir (Reply 13):
(which 15-20 minutes of fuel isn't).

15 minutes here, 15 minutes there, and before you know it you are talking about millions being carried around potentially without a valid operational need.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineNorthwest727 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 491 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (3 years 6 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 5966 times:

Quoting mandala499 (Reply 8):
Here, extra 10 mins or up to X amount of fuel is no questions asked. But if the captain asks for 3 hrs worth of extra fuel, then it's up to the dispatch to OK it or not... depending on the situation. If the traffic at the destination is light, no weather problems enroute or within the vicinity of the destination (actual and forecasted)... then asking for 3hrs extra fuel need to be questioned. The amount bordering "reasonable" and "ridiculous" depends on the situation of the day, and the experience of the PIC and the dispatcher. Now, if a Captain complains why is 3hrs extra fuel is added to his trip when there's a typhoon approaching his busy destination, then questions need to be asked too! It works both ways!

3 hours of extra fuel I entirely agree is questionable. But the article I quoted talks about US pressuring and punishing their pilots for using any extra fuel, even 10 minutes worth. Is USAirways so freaken' cheap that they resort to punishing pilots that determine an extra few minutes is safe? What Sullenberger did at US was based on his years of experience and training. So a high time captain that feels an extra few minutes does indeed know what s/he is talking about.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 11):
Final say indeed. But the FARs do not excuse PIC from being accountable for his actions.

Anyhow, no airline plans below authorized FAR values, something the government has deemed adequate and safe. Worst case you land short, or divert. I cant recall a modern day accident result of fuel starvation.

The FARs aren't very safe, when you think about it. That's why insurance companies set standards above the FAA's. A part 91 operator can take off in 0 visibility. Safe? Hardly. The difference here is personal minimums vs. FAA minimums.

Quoting Mir (Reply 13):
If the PIC wants more fuel, that's between him and the dispatcher. The beancounters should leave their noses out of it unless there's something unreasonable going on (which 15-20 minutes of fuel isn't).

  

Quoting Mir (Reply 13):
The FAR's hold him accountable to the FAA, not to the airline. The airline doesn't care whether the PIC follows the regs or not - it's his certificate on the line and not the airline's. So the airline is free to pressure the PIC into doing things that he'd rather not without any real risk of consequences.

  


User currently onlinemandala499 From Indonesia, joined Aug 2001, 6867 posts, RR: 75
Reply 19, posted (3 years 6 months 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 5946 times:

If the MSF is done based on:
Trip + Hold + Alternate and no cushions, then punishing them for 10-15mins of extra fuel is silly.
If it's Trip + Hold + Alternate + a standard extra, then punishing them for 10-15mins on top of the "standard extra" is questionable.
If it's Trip + Reserve + Hold + Alternate, then punishment is also questionable.
If it's Trip + Reserve + Hold + Alternate + extras, then punishing them could be reasonable, depending on the situation of the day
If the MSF's "extra" includes weather cushions and 10-15mins cushion on top of the 99% percentile, and those guys ask for another 10-15mins, then, the punishment can be justifiable.
However, the above should not be taken as a blanket statement. Each of those cases should be investigated and the investigation should be done on "reasonability" basis.

In those punishment cases... what was the MSF based on?
Unfortunately, the USAtoday article doesn't specify it...

I guess the only clue in it is: ""These eight pilots have routinely been above the 60 to 90 minute range. It just behooves us as a company to talk to these guys, figure out what they're seeing that we're not," Durrant said."

If going above the 90 minute range goes to 91-95 minutes, and only these 8 guys experienced it, then what the airline does can be understood. But, if it turns out to be 120 minutes on a regular basis (More than 5% of the time), then the airline is chasing up the wrong tree!

Just my 2 cents' worth

Mandala499



When losing situational awareness, pray Cumulus Granitus isn't nearby !
User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 19724 posts, RR: 58
Reply 20, posted (3 years 6 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 5816 times:

Quoting Northwest727 (Reply 5):

Maybe management should be asked which is more expensive, a few extra pounds of fuel, or lawsuits and jacked up insurance rates due to a mishap that could have been prevented...not to mention, lots of negative publicity (think Colgan).

Given that many flights have plenty of diversion airports available, I think that a crash due to running out of fuel due to this reason is unlikely.

But airlines need to ask how many diversions (and the extra fuel for the extra takeoff) are worth their stinginess.


User currently offlineNorthwest727 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 491 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (3 years 6 months 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 5774 times:

Quoting mandala499 (Reply 19):

Nicely explained, in my opinion. Makes good sense.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 20):

Agreed, but you never know what "could" happen, and that's something nobody, especially a pilot, wants to find out.


User currently offlinePGNCS From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 2825 posts, RR: 45
Reply 22, posted (3 years 6 months 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 5769 times:

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 11):
However uplifting extra fuel just for the sake of it, or for 'grandma' without valid operational concern is hardly a model of good decision making process.

Do you have evidence that asking for fuel "for 'grandma'" is a common problem, because it isn't where I work.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 17):
Indeed its between him and the dispatcher. The dispatcher should be the first one to ask the reason why.

And he is.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 17):
If the Captain knows something as to why he requires the additional fuel he should certainly share it and help on the planning for the next flight.

And he does.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 17):
There is nothing wrong with holding people accountable for their actions, and requiring a simple explanation for things like fuel adds.

And we are.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 17):
Quoting Mir (Reply 13):
(which 15-20 minutes of fuel isn't).

15 minutes here, 15 minutes there, and before you know it you are talking about millions being carried around potentially without a valid operational need.

I as the Captain (and an active pilot since 1978) have a better idea about what the valid operational reasons for asking for additional fuel are than do administrators sitting in an office hundreds or thousands of miles away.

Quoting Mir (Reply 13):
Quoting LAXintl (Reply 11):
On a macro scale a diversion (which tends to happen 1/1000 flights amongst US majors) is hardly a sign of failure

I'd call it a failure if the pilot didn't ask for extra fuel because he didn't want to face the consequences from management.

I would too. Fortunately we have a very disciplined pilot group who asks for extra fuel when we believe we need it and accept the dispatchers plan the other 99% of the time.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 11):
Anyhow, no airline plans below authorized FAR values, something the government has deemed adequate and safe. Worst case you land short, or divert. I cant recall a modern day accident result of fuel starvation.

And the FAA holds the PIC responsible for the conduct of the flight. If I am aware of the potential for delays, weather, or any other factors that may require more fuel and I fail to request it, I am remiss. That's why I'm the PIC.

I guess Avianca in New York isn't modern enough for you?

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 11):
Indeed, newest forecasting technologies combined with the latest statistical traffic modeling when combined can create incredibly accurate plans.

And they still can't account for local knowledge that pilots and dispatchers acquire over years of safe operation.


User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25406 posts, RR: 49
Reply 23, posted (3 years 6 months 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 5752 times:

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 20):
But airlines need to ask how many diversions (and the extra fuel for the extra takeoff) are worth their stinginess.

And they do. Hence why a diversion should not be viewed as a failure in all circumstances.

Even with the best planning, and best crew resource management, an unplanned diversion will occur.
The diversion risk on a severe clear VFR day is still more than zero, while the risk during IFR conditions can never be completely eliminated either. This is not to be considered a “failure”, but rather an acceptable risk.

To mitigate the risk, the airlines use a host of things, from basic FAR rules like requiring alternates, to newer statistical modeling and real time traffic management and demand forecasting to aid in fuel planning.

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 22):
Do you have evidence that asking for fuel "for 'grandma'" is a common problem, because it isn't where I work.

Subjective fuel adds is an industry wide thing. Breaking old human habits, and rules of thumb in favor of more concise and science based planning methodology is certainly a challenge many are dealing with.

Certainly some carriers and work forces are more disciplined then others.
Quoting PGNCS (Reply 22):
I as the Captain (and an active pilot since 1978) have a better idea about what the valid operational reasons for asking for additional fuel are than do administrators sitting in an office hundreds or thousands of miles away.

Very good, and you should. However not sharing that information, or refusing to rightfully justify actions should not be condoned.

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 22):
I guess Avianca in New York isn't modern enough for you?

Avianca was another country, and a whole set of different circumstance not the least of which being a lack of any operational control.

You might be interested to know that vast majority of diversions land at their alternates with in excess of 1hr of endurance, and are not treading into any minimum fuel situations.

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 22):
And they still can't account for local knowledge that pilots and dispatchers acquire over years of safe operation.

Indeed, however technology tools are getting ever better and can often more consistently and prudently plan than a human, even doing things like adding fuel when deemed appropriate.
Sit a group of 10 dispatchers together to work a single flight, you could very well have 10-different interpretations and 10-different plans with varied fuel loads, alternates etc..


Ultimately, fuel management strategies can form a key component of the commercial advantage airlines have over each other. Accurate and efficient fuel management on the part of all involved will continue to maintain if not enhance safety.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21637 posts, RR: 55
Reply 24, posted (3 years 6 months 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 5730 times:

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 17):
The FAA does care what the airline does, and the airline certificate is very much subject to action if its employees (Capt in this case) releapetedly fail to operate safely or legally.

The fact that Gulfstream is still operating leads me to believe that this statement is incorrect. An airline's certificate is rarely on the line in the same way that a pilot's is, particularly when it relates to flight crew actions.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 17):
Frankly I'd rather have some math and science behind my flights fuel planning them some back of the napkin rule that Capt Joe has utilized since he got his wings in the 1970s.

So would I. But considering that those math and science people have probably never seen the inside of a cockpit, I'd also like the flight crew to be able to tweak the results a bit if they feel the need, and not have to worry about some guy from accounting who has also never seen the inside of the cockpit second-guessing them about it.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 17):
Indeed its between him and the dispatcher. The dispatcher should be the first one to ask the reason why.

And the only one.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
25 VonRichtofen : I know there's pressure on the rampers to get ground power plugged as soon as safely possible on arrival so the flight crew can shut the APU down. But
26 Pihero : Fuel planning is probably one of the most discuted subject among employees and one will generally see some differences of opinion between aircrews and
27 Post contains images mandala499 : This isn't a problem on the CFP, it's a human factor problem in dispatch in many places. The dispatchers should make the CFP numbers as something tha
28 longhauler : It really depends on the circumstances. And ... why you have an alternate to begin with. At AC, we have "no-alternate IFR" in some (very strict) case
29 musang : Agreed. An old-school training captain on the 146 years ago used to tell people "just put an extra tonne on", which would have been more than 25% ext
30 musang : The two biggies are to ensure that if appropriate, you're flying at the optimum flight level as calculated by the Flight Management Computer, and to
31 dxing : And most dispatchers won't do that but it is a starting place for which to plan with. First, if CDG is forecasting CAVOK for hours before and after y
32 Pihero : So if I understand you well, you'll start your job with a fallacious basis ? Or does it just please you to announce a fuel computation "down to a kil
33 dxing : Which you evidently don't since you are omitting the part where I state that those numbers are a good starting point for planning. That does not mean
34 saab2000 : My airline requires consultation with dispatch if the PIC requests fuel greater than on the release and requires a re-release (or revalidation) if the
35 dxing : I would agree with that assesment. Within reason I have never denied a captain extra fuel if he/she asked for it and had a legitimate reason. If I se
36 Mastropiero : I have a question: I assume that fuel prices are different even within the same country, much more so between different ones. Considering this, and ob
37 Pihero : Yes, there is and rather often on short-to-medium haul. That procedure is called "(fuel) tankering". there is a simple mathematical formula used by a
38 Mastropiero : Thank you very much!
39 Northwest727 : I've known fuel tankering is used heavily in business jet operations ("Company X" has a fuel contract with "ABC FBO" for dirt cheap, and Company X ha
40 Pihero : Benefits are for everyone and what is good for bizjets is good for heavies... Even more so when one realizes that an airline has a lot more data than
41 acidradio : This has turned from a productive discussion about the art/science of fuel load calculation to an unproductive argument. I just had to delete a ton of
42 Post contains images readytotaxi : Thank you. Having started the debate I was grateful for the information that followed. I understand and value different points of view, what a terribl
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