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Carriage Of Fuel  
User currently offlineHarryStanhope From Australia, joined May 2012, 20 posts, RR: 0
Posted (9 months 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 3437 times:

An incident occurred the other day where a VA 738 landed below fuel reserves - 535kg of fuel remaining according to this report.

Full article here: http://www.avherald.com/h?article=46588ddb&opt=0

I understand the forecast did not require the pilots to plan for an alternate or carry extra fuel for holding but is the margin to fuel reserves always so little?

It doesn't seem like they are restricted with weights, only having 91 passengers on board, but why wouldn't they take more fuel? is it simply to be more efficient at the lighter weight?

When planning my charters, even though they are only in C172's, Mooney's and similar, I generally take max fuel if the payload will allow me...my flights aren't much more than 1.5hrs total.

Do you think this incident (there was also a QF 738 that got caught out by the fog at the same time who landed with low fuel) might push the reserve amount up? despite how rare this situation may be.

10 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15489 posts, RR: 26
Reply 1, posted (9 months 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 3411 times:

Quoting HarryStanhope (Thread starter):
It doesn't seem like they are restricted with weights, only having 91 passengers on board, but why wouldn't they take more fuel?

Because it's a waste. You burn fuel to carry fuel, and that doesn't take into account that fuel is more expensive in some places than others. (Of course, that means that sometimes tankering makes sense)

I don't know about Virgin, but when times are a rough airlines have been known to lean on their pilots to take only the bare minimum of fuel that they need.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 16908 posts, RR: 67
Reply 2, posted (9 months 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 3399 times:

As BMI727 says, carrying more fuel is a waste of money. Fuel planning in these days of expensive fuel is a very important exercise for airlines.

Quoting HarryStanhope (Thread starter):
I understand the forecast did not require the pilots to plan for an alternate or carry extra fuel for holding but is the margin to fuel reserves always so little?

It doesn't seem like they are restricted with weights, only having 91 passengers on board, but why wouldn't they take more fuel? is it simply to be more efficient at the lighter weight?

The requirement for turbojets is typically a final reserve of 30 minutes at holding speed 1500 ft AGL over the airport.

In this case, extra fuel (AKA "Captain's discretion") might have been wise given the forecast weather. However hindsight is 20/20.

Quoting HarryStanhope (Thread starter):
When planning my charters, even though they are only in C172's, Mooney's and similar, I generally take max fuel if the payload will allow me...my flights aren't much more than 1.5hrs total.

In a light piston, carrying full fuel or half has a negligible effect on fuel consumption. On an airliner carrying full fuel or half has a large effect, especially broken out over many flights and many aircraft.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlinejetblueguy22 From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 2649 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (9 months 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 3377 times:
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FORUM MODERATOR

Quoting HarryStanhope (Thread starter):
I understand the forecast did not require the pilots to plan for an alternate or carry extra fuel for holding but is the margin to fuel reserves always so little?

I'm pretty sure they are required to always have fuel for an alternate when flying IFR.

Quoting HarryStanhope (Thread starter):
When planning my charters, even though they are only in C172's, Mooney's and similar, I generally take max fuel if the payload will allow me...my flights aren't much more than 1.5hrs total.

Do you think this incident (there was also a QF 738 that got caught out by the fog at the same time who landed with low fuel) might push the reserve amount up? despite how rare this situation may be.

I'm with you there. If I can take full fuel, those tanks are filled. But it also costs a heck of a lot less to fly a C172 with 53 gallons of useable fuel than the thousands of gallons on a 737. I don't think this situation will cause any regulatory changes. The PIC might get in trouble and perhaps some internal changes, but that's about it. Sadly the only time you see regulatory changes is when there is a crash.
Pat



You push down on that yoke, the houses get bigger, you pull back on the yoke, the houses get bigger- Ken Foltz
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 16908 posts, RR: 67
Reply 4, posted (9 months 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 3345 times:

Quoting jetblueguy22 (Reply 3):
Quoting HarryStanhope (Thread starter):
I understand the forecast did not require the pilots to plan for an alternate or carry extra fuel for holding but is the margin to fuel reserves always so little?

I'm pretty sure they are required to always have fuel for an alternate when flying IFR.

You do not always need to file alternate in IFR so you do not always need fuel to reach an alternate. There are two main exceptions.

- You do not need to file an alternate if your destination has an instrument approach procedure and the forecast from one hour before to one hour after your ETA is 2000 feet ceiling + 3 statute miles visibility + above IFR alternate minimums. This is the FAA version but the EASA version is similar.
- You do not need to file an alternate for certain flights to "isolated airports". This is sometimes known as "island reserve".



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineglen From Switzerland, joined Jun 2005, 211 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (9 months 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 3291 times:

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 4):
You do not need to file an alternate if your destination has an instrument approach procedure

I don't know about the exact FAA requirements. According EASA the requirements for planning without destination alternate are:

the duration of the planned flight from take-off to landing does not exceed 6 hours;
and
two separate runways are available and usable at the destination aerodrome and the
appropriate weather reports and/or forecasts for the destination aerodrome indicate
that, for the period from 1 hour before until 1 hour after the expected time of
arrival at the destination aerodrome, the ceiling will be at least 2 000 ft or circling
height +500 ft, whichever is greater, and the ground visibility will be at least 5 km.

Operators may use these regulations more restrictive, e.g. two runways without crossing each other and instrument approaches to each runway based on different navaids.

[Edited 2013-07-19 03:18:08]


"The horizon of many people is a circle with zero radius which they call their point of view." - Albert Einstein
User currently offlineMSJYOP28Apilot From United States of America, joined Jul 2009, 204 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (9 months 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 3152 times:

The FAA fuel requirement for Part 121 Domestic flights is enough fly to fly to your destination plus the alternate if required plus your 45 min FAR reserve. The dispatcher may add some hold, contingency, extra, dispatch discretionary and the captain can request his own fuel from the dispatcher but it none of it is legally required.

Part 121 domestic requires an alternate to be listed on the dispatch release if the weather is less than 2,000 ft ceiling, less than 3 sm visibility 1 hour before and after your ETA at the destination. If the flight is scheduled at over 6 hours the alternate is required.

For flights released to an isolated airport with no alternate available, you need enough fuel to fly to the destination plus a 2 hour reserve at normal cruising consumption.

For Part 121 flag, you need enough fly to fly to the destination plus enough fuel for 10% of the total flight time then an alternate if required plus enough fuel to hold at that alternate for 30 minutes at 1,500 ft above the alternate.

For flag operations, an alternate is not required if the flight is not more than 6 hours or if +/- 1 hour of the ETA the ceiling is at least 1,500 feet above the lowest circling MDA for circling approaches, 1,500 feet above the lowest IAP minimum or 2,000 ft above airport elevation whichever is greater and the visibility is at least 3 sm or 2 miles greater than the lowest IAP minimums.

For Part 121 supplemental operations, an alternate is always required on the flight release except for an isolated aerodrome.

In the United States and Canada as well as many parts of the world, the dispatcher or flight planner is responsible for making sure the required alternates and fuel load are planned on the dispatch or flight release. In the United States at least, the dispatcher has joint responsibility with the captain for the pre-flight planning and release of the flight and is responsible for issuing necessary safety information after the flight has departed. No domestic or flag Part 121 FAA flight may depart unless a dispatcher authorizes it.

I think the Virgin Australia flight suffered from a lack of flight planning and no active flight watch. A dispatcher in the US and Canada would be facing a violation at best and possible certificate revocation if a flight was planned without an alternate or extra fuel with a temp/dew point spread so close and no updates given to the crew enroute on changes to the weather at the destination. Most airlines and the FAA in North America at least require the PIC and dispatcher to attempt to find a suitable alternate with the current fuel on board if the weather deteriorates enroute and if an alternate cannot be found within fuel range and the destination weather is at or below minimums, the flight could continue with an adequate back up plan. With no solid back up plan, continuation of the flight would not be advised and a diversion to a suitable airport would be the best course of action assuming the destination weather was either at or just below minimums with a deteriorating trend. Most airlines leave continuation of the flight to the PIC/dispatcher opinion on how safe it is to continue.

In the US, the FAA demands for airlines to maintain alternate minimums for the whole flight up until ETA at the alternate. Thus if an alternate deteriorates below alternate minimums enroute, another alternate must be found and amended to the release. If there is no suitable legal alternate within fuel range and the destination still requires an alternate, the flight may continue under the captain's emergency authority.


In the US, airlines typically use 1 navaid, 2 navaid rule for alternate minimums. If you have one navaid you need to add 400 ft to the MDH/DH and 1 sm to the visibility. If you have two navaids, you need to add 200 feet to the most restrictive MDH/DH and 1/2 sm to the most restrictive visibility. The reciprocal and possible parallels of the runway are legal to use for 2 Navaid but not two approaches from the same runway. Thus, you can use ILS 01 and ILS 19 to derive alternate minimums based on 2 navaid but cant use ILS 01/VOR 01 for 2 Navaid. Winds must be within limitations including gusts. Thus, a tailwind can exclude an approach as can any NOTAM taking out the approach. Most US airlines cannot use RNAV approaches for alternate minimums but this is starting to change. The best alternate minimums possible are 400 ft ceiling and 1 sm visibility based on two suitable ILS CAT I approaches with 200 and 1/2 minimums.

I am not sure how it works in Australia or the rest of the world.


User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 16908 posts, RR: 67
Reply 7, posted (9 months 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 3036 times:

Quoting MSJYOP28Apilot (Reply 6):
I am not sure how it works in Australia or the rest of the world.

The rules tend to be rather similar since ICAO countries must comply with ICAO requirements unless they file for a difference. Flight preparation rules are in ICAO Annex 6, paragraph 4.3.

http://dcaa.trafikstyrelsen.dk:8000/...t%20-%20Aeroplanes,%208th%20ed.pdf



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlinezeke From Hong Kong, joined Dec 2006, 8643 posts, RR: 75
Reply 8, posted (9 months 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 3032 times:

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 4):
You do not always need to file alternate in IFR so you do not always need fuel to reach an alternate. There are two main exceptions.

- You do not need to file an alternate if your destination has an instrument approach procedure and the forecast from one hour before to one hour after your ETA is 2000 feet ceiling + 3 statute miles visibility + above IFR alternate minimums. This is the FAA version but the EASA version is similar.
- You do not need to file an alternate for certain flights to "isolated airports". This is sometimes known as "island reserve"

Australia has its own rules, one method they use is an "all engines diversion point" (DPA), i.e. a EPT enroute before the destination where the aircraft will divert to if the Wx at the destination becomes worse. If is kind of like having that DPA as the destination, and the real destination as the alternate or in flight refile. They always have options up until close to top of descent.

Quoting glen (Reply 5):
I don't know about the exact FAA requirements. According EASA the requirements for planning without destination alternate are:

FAA/EASA do not apply.

Quoting MSJYOP28Apilot (Reply 6):

The FAA fuel requirement for Part 121 Domestic flights

Not applicable in Australia.

Quoting MSJYOP28Apilot (Reply 6):
For Part 121 flag,

Not applicable in Australia.

Quoting MSJYOP28Apilot (Reply 6):
In the United States and Canada as well as many parts of the world, the dispatcher or flight planner is responsible for making sure the required alternates and fuel load are planned on the dispatch or flight release

Dispatchers are not common outside of North America, the idea of dual responsibility also does not exist outside of North America. The responsibility under ICAO rests with the Captain.

Quoting MSJYOP28Apilot (Reply 6):
I think the Virgin Australia flight suffered from a lack of flight planning and no active flight watch.

I dont, they suffered from a change in the Wx forecast. Flight watch is not required.

Quoting MSJYOP28Apilot (Reply 6):
In the US

Which is not Australia.



We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking – Santosh Kalwar
User currently offlineTheCol From Canada, joined Jan 2007, 2032 posts, RR: 6
Reply 9, posted (9 months 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 2683 times:

Quoting MSJYOP28Apilot (Reply 6):
In the United States at least

Transport Canada and FAA regulations on operational control are pretty much identical. There are some notable differences with certification, but it mostly comes down to red-tape.

Quoting zeke (Reply 8):
Dispatchers are not common outside of North America

There are a few other countries outside North America that require certified/licensed flight dispatchers for air carriers. The trend seems to be catching on in the Middle East and Asia. Flight Dispatchers in Europe and New Zealand are known as Flight Operations Officers, and the major air carriers in Western Europe have set their industry standards very high.

Quoting zeke (Reply 8):
the idea of dual responsibility also does not exist outside of North America.

Co-authority operational control is regulated in a few other countries.

Quoting zeke (Reply 8):
I dont, they suffered from a change in the Wx forecast. Flight watch is not required.

I disagree. Co-authority operational control in the United States, Canada, and elsewhere, is a direct result of numerous incidents like VA738. Having an extra pair of eye's 24/7 enhances safety, improves fuel efficiency, and enables flight crews to focus more on flying.



No matter how random things may appear, there's always a plan.
User currently offlinezeke From Hong Kong, joined Dec 2006, 8643 posts, RR: 75
Reply 10, posted (9 months 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 2627 times:

Quoting TheCol (Reply 9):
Flight Dispatchers in Europe and New Zealand are known as Flight Operations Officers, and the major air carriers in Western Europe have set their industry standards very high.

They print out the flight plan, they do not actually have a legal role in the operation of the aircraft.

Quoting TheCol (Reply 9):
Co-authority operational control is regulated in a few other countries.

Such as ? and define "operational control", some people think of that as making sure flights are crewed.

Quoting TheCol (Reply 9):
Canada, and elsewhere, is a direct result of numerous incidents like VA738. Having an extra pair of eye's 24/7 enhances safety, improves fuel efficiency, and enables flight crews to focus more on flying.

Having an extra set of eyes would not have changed anything, the virgin crew were a victim of funding cuts to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), they have reduced the number of forecasts issued (and accuracy), and stopped forecasting for a number of airport all together. The BOM are not forecasting the Wx far enough in advance, and sometimes not at all. There have been a number of cases of unforecast fog in SYD in the past year, that is the main international airport for the country with no CAT 2/3 capability.

Australia is very different to the the US/Canada, a lot of extra fuel is carried compared to what airlines in the US would carry as the number of alternates few and far between, and some are not allowed to be used for curfews etc. I have operated numerous flights into Australia where my alternate is over an hour away, and in some cases use "island reserve" (two hours holding at the destination) as a closer alternate is not available.



We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking – Santosh Kalwar
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