spacecadet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3365 posts, RR: 13 Posted (9 months 3 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 3450 times:
Flew back from SXM-JFK the other day on B6 788 and there was a strangely long wait to get to the runway (after having taxied to the final turn before the runway), during which I saw two commuter planes pass us to take off, plus a couple landings. All told we sat holding for about 15 minutes, but the odd part was that the thrust setting during this time was high enough that it was actually shaking the plane as it sat there. I've never experienced that before for such a long period and it was strangely unnerving - it seemed like the pilot had increased thrust to start the taxi, then applied the brakes but never reduced thrust back to idle. Seeing these other planes pass us to take off and sitting there in this loud, shaking plane, I actually started wondering if there was a problem of some kind.
Is there some reason why a relatively high thrust setting would be used while stopped on a taxiway for an extended period of time? I had the thought that maybe they were anticipating needing a quick spool-up for a rolling takeoff in between landings, but we didn't do that; it was a "line up and wait" takeoff. It seems to me that doing this for more than a few minutes would use up a measurable amount of extra fuel, so I figured there had to be some good reason for it and I just wondered what that would be.
[Edited 2013-02-14 13:45:13]
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Darksnowynight From United States of America, joined Jan 2012, 1199 posts, RR: 2 Reply 2, posted (9 months 3 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 3332 times:
Burning excess fuel.
I'm a bit surprised this would happen on an A320; the fuel intake flow rate is between 160 - 180 GPM. This is very slow, and almost anything that isn't a 757 will fuel faster, including most RJs.
Most of the time, when burning excess fuel off, it's because the fueler overshot. Going over by between 200 - 500lbs is no big deal and happens on almost every mainline commercial flight. A pilot looking at a final load will generally tell the fueler something along the lines of "great, have a good one" at that point.
However, an overshot of 1000lbs or more will be troublesome. At that point, you definitely have to offload, especially at an airport like SXM, with it's child-size runway. This is a lot slower than even the 320's intake flow rate; almost never more than about 50 GPM. As well, fuel can only be offloaded onto a tanker dedicated to that particular operator. It cannot be off-loaded to a tanker shared with other airlines, and sure as hell not back into the hydrant. So, now we have to schedule a tanker to swing by and offload, assuming, of course, one is available.
Generally, as well, airlines will back-charge a fuel provider something like $1000/min for a delay (this is pretty std & we see the same for MX, groundhandling, etc...). So, at the operations level, there's a hell of a lot of pressure to get that plane out, yesterday.
As you can see, except for very extreme cases, it's better just to cook off a few hundred, or even a thousand, pounds before takeoff. In fact, the only time I ever saw a tanker used to de-fuel an aircraft was in a case where a guy overshot a 757 by 30,000lbs. That's not a typo.
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spacecadet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3365 posts, RR: 13 Reply 6, posted (9 months 3 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 3162 times:
Thanks for the info - that must have been it. The flight was full and it was a regular SXM day, which means 80 degrees and sunny. I did notice the takeoff roll seemed long-ish as well - I was paying attention to the liftoff points of various flights during the week we were there, in part because our car rental place happened to be right at the spot where both the KLM 747 and Air France A340 lifted off (we saw both at that spot on different days), but the B6 flight to San Juan lifted off a lot further back. We lifted off a bit past our car rental, which means actually beyond the point of the A340 and 747. So the fuel burning explanation makes sense.
Also explains why we were sitting there - even as I wrote my post, I was assuming we'd been waiting for other planes and the high thrust was unrelated, but I guess we were probably sitting there intentionally. The pilots never said anything, but I guess they wouldn't. Shortly before takeoff they did say "we expect it to just be another couple of minutes", which I assumed meant "we're waiting for one more landing aircraft" but probably just meant they were getting close to the target weight.
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MaddogJT8D From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 381 posts, RR: 1 Reply 7, posted (9 months 3 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 2876 times:
I was once listening to JFK ATC during a snow storm when one of AA's 757 flights to the caribbean checked in ready to taxi on Ground. He said that the aircraft had taken on lots of extra fuel for deicing and taxiing delays that were anticipated, but never materialized, and as a result they would have to sit on an active taxiway running up both engines for over an hour before they were ready to head to the runway. I thought at the time that was absolutely incredulous, but your explanations about the process of de-fueling an aircraft put this in perspective. Thanks as usual to you awesome TechOps folks!
JAGflyer From Canada, joined Aug 2004, 3398 posts, RR: 4 Reply 9, posted (9 months 3 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 2696 times:
Listening to YYZ tower during the snowstorm we had last week I heard a lot of chatter about run-ups prior to take off. ATC was asking all the aircraft if they needed to do a run up. Why would they need to do a run-up before taking off on a snowy day? I'd think the engines would easily melt off any snow that touches them while they are idling.
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Starlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 16339 posts, RR: 66 Reply 10, posted (9 months 3 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 2675 times:
Quoting JAGflyer (Reply 9): Listening to YYZ tower during the snowstorm we had last week I heard a lot of chatter about run-ups prior to take off. ATC was asking all the aircraft if they needed to do a run up. Why would they need to do a run-up before taking off on a snowy day? I'd think the engines would easily melt off any snow that touches them while they are idling.
Making sure they are up to the proper temperature before taking off? Making sure they don't quite unexpectedly when at high power setting?
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steinberger45 From United States of America, joined May 2009, 13 posts, RR: 0 Reply 14, posted (9 months 2 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 2015 times:
Ground holds can be for many things, Acft spacing, paperwork flight plan issues. When you take-off it is determined by what is going on at your destination. If there are delays better to hold on the ground rather than in the air. If you are holding and the pilot has the ac packs on high flow. Cabin noise is louder making you think the plane power setting is above idle.
DashTrash From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 1367 posts, RR: 2 Reply 16, posted (9 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 1848 times:
Quoting JAGflyer (Reply 9): Why would they need to do a run-up before taking off on a snowy day?
Possibly an anti-ice check.
We had to turn it all on, wait for the "cold" CAS messages, then increase N1 to some percentage and wait for the messages to clear before takeoff. The engines didn't have enough bleed air at low power to keep the sensors from reading a cold signal hence the run up before takeoff.
Stabilator From United States of America, joined Nov 2010, 544 posts, RR: 0 Reply 17, posted (9 months 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 1639 times:
Reminds me of a funny little story on a solo flight as a private pilot. Had to make a full-stop up near the MN-Canadian border because fuel wasn't being pulled from one of my Cessna's tanks. After trouble shooting with maintenance on the phone, we agreed I should do a 5min ru-nup on the tank that I was having the problem with. As I started my run-up, a Beech 1900 (belonging to one of the window companies up north, iirc) pulled up next to me. The Pilots had the funniest expression on their faces, along the lines of "WTF is this new pilot doing? It doesnt take 5 minutes to do a run up check on a Cessna".
Safely made it back to Nodak, thankfully.
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