bakestar
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UA Fuel MAYDAY call into SYD

Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:54 pm

Morning all,
Thankfully all was well, but does this seem a little exessive by the crew? Or was it in real danger?
Major roads around the airport were also closed

https://www.theage.com.au/national/nsw/ ... 507n5.html
Last edited by qf789 on Thu Oct 04, 2018 12:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: updated title for clarity
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BoeingGuy
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Re: UA MAYDAY call into SYD

Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:00 pm

bakestar wrote:
Morning all,
Thankfully all was well, but does this seem a little exessive by the crew? Or was it in real danger?
Major roads around the airport were also closed

https://www.theage.com.au/national/nsw/ ... 507n5.html


They were probably below their Fuel Reserves due to headwinds, as the article sort of states. I believe Mayday is a required call in that case.
 
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airportugal310
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Re: UA MAYDAY call into SYD

Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:04 pm

bakestar wrote:
Morning all,
Thankfully all was well, but does this seem a little exessive by the crew? Or was it in real danger?
Major roads around the airport were also closed

https://www.theage.com.au/national/nsw/ ... 507n5.html


What was excessive by the crew, exactly?

What's excessive is shutting down roadways around the airport...and that's solely on the airport authorities.
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Okie
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Re: UA MAYDAY call into SYD

Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:20 pm

The plane landed at 6:30a, I am not sure of the scheduled arrival but SYD has a 6:00a curfew. That does not take into account additional fuel usage fighting headwinds trying to maintain ground speed but at worst it was 30min additional flight time.

Either serious fuel miscalculation or mechanical issue having usable fuel in a tank that can not be transferred to be used.

Okie
 
ABpositive
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Re: UA MAYDAY call into SYD

Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:22 pm

When a mayday call is made, does it mandate an investigation from the safety agencies, e.g. CASA in this instance?
 
Newbiepilot
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Re: UA MAYDAY call into SYD

Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:23 pm

The American LAX-SYD flight diverted to HNL after already passing Hawaii. There were remnants of a hurricane off the coast of California so i wonder if that caused extra headwinds that were unforseen.

The united flight did something unusual. Step climbs are normal as fuel burns off, but at one point they were flying at 40,500ft. I assume that was to optimize fuel burn. That makes me wonder if they knew they were extremely tight on fuel but thought they could make it until descent.
 
m007j
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Re: UA MAYDAY call into SYD

Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:28 pm

Does Australia allow the call of "minimum fuel"? I've heard US pilots declare it to let the controllers know that you cannot accept any deviations to route or extended/delay vectors to final, so did UA839 call for this before declaring mayday? Just a question out of curiosity....
As for the cruising altitude, I believe it's rather common for 787s to cruise that high either right out of the gate if they're light or if they are at the end of a longhaul where they reach that lighter weight.
 
bakestar
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Re: UA MAYDAY call into SYD

Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:34 pm

If it was that close, could they not have diverted to BRI or OOL or even NOU?
I'm sure the crew did factor this in too.

https://flightaware.com/live/flight/UAL839
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Utah744
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Re: UA MAYDAY call into SYD

Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:37 pm

Wonder when they realized they were running way over their projected fuel burn. It is hard to believe it all of a sudden happened the last hour before landing. If they overflew Fiji (NAN) with it's 11,500' runway they may have some explaining to do. No one wants to make an extra stop but you've got to follow the regs.
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CaptainKoror
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Re: UA MAYDAY call into SYD

Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:37 pm

I believe that the use of "mayday" is an ICAO standard when declaring any kind of emergency.
 
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qf789
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Re: UA MAYDAY call into SYD

Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:48 pm

ABpositive wrote:
When a mayday call is made, does it mandate an investigation from the safety agencies, e.g. CASA in this instance?


CASA is the Australian equivalent of the FAA, the investigating of this incident would be left up to the ATSB
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ual763
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Re: UA MAYDAY call into SYD

Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:54 pm

CaptainKoror wrote:
I believe that the use of "mayday" is an ICAO standard when declaring any kind of emergency.


There's also "Pan, Pan, Pan" for not so serious emergencies. But it is always up to the Captain to decide how serious it is.
From flying to the NOTAM office
 
jumbojet
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Re: UA MAYDAY call into SYD

Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:57 pm

article mentioned the plane, a Boeing 787-900, only had 180 passengers on board. A rather light load don't you think?
 
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Revelation
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Re: UA MAYDAY call into SYD

Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:58 pm

Routine stuff:

"There's an international standard that requires that, once you get down to your fuel reserve in a flight, you have to declare what is called a 'fuel mayday'," Mr Gibson said.

"What that tells air traffic control and aircraft in the area is that you need priority to come in. It doesn't mean you're running out of fuel; you've still got plenty of fuel left, but it's a precaution to say: 'I'm down to my reserve and I need to come in as quickly as can be arranged.' "
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ual763
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Re: UA MAYDAY call into SYD

Thu Oct 04, 2018 12:03 am

jumbojet wrote:
article mentioned the plane, a Boeing 787-900, only had 180 passengers on board. A rather light load don't you think?


*Boeing 787-9
From flying to the NOTAM office
 
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qf789
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Re: UA MAYDAY call into SYD

Thu Oct 04, 2018 12:06 am

jumbojet wrote:
article mentioned the plane, a Boeing 787-900, only had 180 passengers on board. A rather light load don't you think?


Firstly there is no such thing as a 787-900, its a 787-9 secondly the latest reports suggest that there were 239 passengers on board.

https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-u ... d9a1c947ac

Also let me make it quite clear if you are coming on this thread to turn it into your usual DL nonsense, think again, take it elsewhere preferably where no one else has to read it
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SQ789
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Re: UA MAYDAY call into SYD

Thu Oct 04, 2018 12:06 am

bakestar wrote:
Morning all,
Thankfully all was well, but does this seem a little exessive by the crew? Or was it in real danger?
Major roads around the airport were also closed

https://www.theage.com.au/national/nsw/ ... 507n5.html

Anything went wrong onboard?
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IADCA
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Re: UA MAYDAY call into SYD

Thu Oct 04, 2018 12:07 am

jumbojet wrote:
article mentioned the plane, a Boeing 787-900, only had 180 passengers on board. A rather light load don't you think?


It's over 70% (252 total seats). A bit light, maybe, but not crazy - even assuming that number is accurate. I'd venture a guess that all the US3 have dozens of flights going out daily with lower LFs than that.
 
Austin787
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Re: UA Fuel MAYDAY call into SYD

Thu Oct 04, 2018 12:11 am

Journalists tend to sensationalize things.
 
KICT
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Re: UA Fuel MAYDAY call into SYD

Thu Oct 04, 2018 12:22 am

Please let the flight crew fly the aircraft. Next thread.
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EA CO AS
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Re: UA MAYDAY call into SYD

Thu Oct 04, 2018 12:43 am

Revelation wrote:
Routine stuff:

"There's an international standard that requires that, once you get down to your fuel reserve in a flight, you have to declare what is called a 'fuel mayday'," Mr Gibson said.

"What that tells air traffic control and aircraft in the area is that you need priority to come in. It doesn't mean you're running out of fuel; you've still got plenty of fuel left, but it's a precaution to say: 'I'm down to my reserve and I need to come in as quickly as can be arranged.' "



So in other terms, "Joker Fuel."
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Whatsaptudo
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Re: UA Fuel MAYDAY call into SYD

Thu Oct 04, 2018 12:48 am

A mayday should only be declared if the crew believe the aircraft will land with less than the Final Reserve fuel. for the sake of United and the crew, i hope that's what was showing on the gauges when they got to the gate. A mayday is a very serious thing to do. Let's not be flippant. According to the media in Australia, United is now saying it was a mechanical issue. I'd bet the Fuel on board at the gate was too high to run with the fuel argument. And as others have said, if it was that critical, they should have diverted long before they got to Sydney. Maybe they just didn't want to get in line?
 
QueenoftheSkies
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Re: UA MAYDAY call into SYD

Thu Oct 04, 2018 12:52 am

Utah744 wrote:
Wonder when they realized they were running way over their projected fuel burn. It is hard to believe it all of a sudden happened the last hour before landing. If they overflew Fiji (NAN) with it's 11,500' runway they may have some explaining to do. No one wants to make an extra stop but you've got to follow the regs.


Exactly. Why did it get to this point in the first place? This smells of pushing it to the limit for the sake of not diverting to re-fuel and ended up burning more fuel than expected.
 
downdata
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Re: UA Fuel MAYDAY call into SYD

Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:03 am

KICT wrote:
Please let the flight crew fly the aircraft. Next thread.


If they carry enough fuel that is.
 
cpd
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Re: UA MAYDAY call into SYD

Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:05 am

qf789 wrote:
jumbojet wrote:
article mentioned the plane, a Boeing 787-900, only had 180 passengers on board. A rather light load don't you think?


Firstly there is no such thing as a 787-900, its a 787-9 secondly the latest reports suggest that there were 239 passengers on board.

https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-u ... d9a1c947ac

Also let me make it quite clear if you are coming on this thread to turn it into your usual DL nonsense, think again, take it elsewhere preferably where no one else has to read it


Just something that is bugging me, quibbling about the exact naming of the plane seems to be needlessly pedantic - it takes away from the topic. And additionally, this is being discussed in the Australian aviation topic - your own topic:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1405069&p=20760611#p20760611

At the time that was posted, there did not appear to be any other topics on the subject.
Last edited by cpd on Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:14 am, edited 2 times in total.
 
highflier92660
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Re: UA Fuel MAYDAY call into SYD

Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:09 am

This is a bit of a mystery because UAL 839 blocked the flight in 14:23 which is faster than a majority of the that flight's recent trips between LAX and SYD. They only taxied for 10 minutes at LAX so fuel wasn't burned-up on the ground. The flight is well within the capability of the Boeing 787-9. This leaves questions surrounding why it was dispatched with insufficient fuel. Some people are going to do some explaining.
 
alasizon
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Re: UA Fuel MAYDAY call into SYD

Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:18 am

highflier92660 wrote:
This is a bit of a mystery because UAL 839 blocked the flight in 14:23 which is faster than a majority of the that flight's recent trips between LAX and SYD. They only taxied for 10 minutes at LAX so fuel wasn't burned-up on the ground. The flight is well within the capability of the Boeing 787-9. This leaves questions surrounding why it was dispatched with insufficient fuel. Some people are going to do some explaining.


There are a good handful of reasons why an aircraft can be dispatched with enough fuel and then end up burning into the reserve.

Newbiepilot wrote:
The American LAX-SYD flight diverted to HNL after already passing Hawaii. There were remnants of a hurricane off the coast of California so i wonder if that caused extra headwinds that were unforseen.

The united flight did something unusual. Step climbs are normal as fuel burns off, but at one point they were flying at 40,500ft. I assume that was to optimize fuel burn. That makes me wonder if they knew they were extremely tight on fuel but thought they could make it until descent.

AA diverted to HNL due to a medical on board.
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Re: UA Fuel MAYDAY call into SYD

Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:27 am

Last edited by mercure1 on Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Jongum
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Re: UA Fuel MAYDAY call into SYD

Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:31 am

Obviously next time I go to work I will post the flight plan and all relevant paperwork associated with the flight on here. That way all the non flying experts on here can tell me what I’m doing wrong before I go to the aircraft. I will also buy the WiFi so I can get expert advice enroute.
 
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zeke
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Re: UA Fuel MAYDAY call into SYD

Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:34 am

Whatsaptudo wrote:
A mayday should only be declared if the crew believe the aircraft will land with less than the Final Reserve fuel. for the sake of United and the crew, i hope that's what was showing on the gauges when they got to the gate. A mayday is a very serious thing to do. Let's not be flippant. According to the media in Australia, United is now saying it was a mechanical issue. I'd bet the Fuel on board at the gate was too high to run with the fuel argument. And as others have said, if it was that critical, they should have diverted long before they got to Sydney. Maybe they just didn't want to get in line?


Mayday fuel means you have already started to eat into your 30 minute final reserve. If at some stage you are indicating you will then dip below the final reserve “minimum fuel” should be used, and then “mayday fuel” when eating into the 30 minutes.

Some pilots of American carriers believe it is “minimum fuel” when you no longer have fuel to divert to your alternate.
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Re: UA Fuel MAYDAY call into SYD

Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:34 am

The flight in question took about the same amount of time other UA839 flights would take---just over 14 hours. That likely leaves major headwinds increasing fuel burn, not having enough fuel on board, or unusable fuel for a mechanical problem. I'm not sure why this happened.
 
N766UA
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Re: UA MAYDAY call into SYD

Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:40 am

CaptainKoror wrote:
I believe that the use of "mayday" is an ICAO standard when declaring any kind of emergency.


Technically, I suppose, but actually stating “mayday” implies iminent peril. I’ve declared several emergencies, and never once did I say the word “mayday.”

To most pilots and controllers in the US, saying “mayday” means I’m in peril. For fuel, we say “declaring emergency fuel.” For all other emergencies, we say “declaring an emergency.” You say mayday when your circumstances are so egregious they don’t permit you to explain further. That said, perhaps overseas it’s a more universal term.
 
ABpositive
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Re: UA MAYDAY call into SYD

Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:42 am

qf789 wrote:
ABpositive wrote:
When a mayday call is made, does it mandate an investigation from the safety agencies, e.g. CASA in this instance?


CASA is the Australian equivalent of the FAA, the investigating of this incident would be left up to the ATSB


That's what I meant - thanks for the correction.
 
airzona11
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Re: UA MAYDAY call into SYD

Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:58 am

jumbojet wrote:
article mentioned the plane, a Boeing 787-900, only had 180 passengers on board. A rather light load don't you think?


71%? They might have been saving fuel to make money...
 
OceanATC
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Re: UA Fuel MAYDAY call into SYD

Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:59 am

FYI Min fuel and emergency fuel procedures straight from the Australian AIP manual.

11.9.5 Minimum Fuel

11.9.5.1 The pilot in command shall advise ATC of a minimum fuel state by declaring MINIMUM FUEL when, having committed to land at a specific aerodrome, the pilot calculates that any change to the existing clearance to that aerodrome may result in landing with less than planned fixed fuel reserve.

Note 1: The declaration of MINIMUM FUEL informs ATC that all planned aerodrome options have been reduced to a specific aerodrome of intended landing and any change to the existing clearance may result in landing with less than planned fixed fuel reserve. This is not an emergency situation but an indication that an emergency situation is possible should any additional delay occur.

Note 2: Pilots should not expect any form of priority handling as a result of a “MINIMUM FUEL” declaration. ATC will, however, advise the flight crew of any additional expected delays as well as coordinate when transferring control of the aeroplane to ensure other ATC units are aware of the flight’s fuel state.

11.9.6 Emergency Fuel

11.9.6.1 The pilot in command shall declare a situation of fuel emergency by broadcasting MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY FUEL, when the calculated usable fuel predicted to be available upon landing at the nearest aerodrome where a safe landing can be made is less than the planned fixed fuel reserve and as a result of this predicted fuel state, the aircraft requires immediate assistance.

Note: MAYDAY FUEL declaration is a distress message. A distress message is reported when the pilot in command has assessed the aircraft is threatened with grave and imminent danger and requires immediate assistance.

11.9.6.2 It is a requirement in any case where an aircraft lands with less than its planned fixed fuel reserve that the pilot in command shall consider the event an immediately reportable matter and file the
required report.
 
32andBelow
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Re: UA MAYDAY call into SYD

Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:59 am

Newbiepilot wrote:
The American LAX-SYD flight diverted to HNL after already passing Hawaii. There were remnants of a hurricane off the coast of California so i wonder if that caused extra headwinds that were unforseen.

The united flight did something unusual. Step climbs are normal as fuel burns off, but at one point they were flying at 40,500ft. I assume that was to optimize fuel burn. That makes me wonder if they knew they were extremely tight on fuel but thought they could make it until descent.

They could have just been in a block due to turbulence. Airlines fly in blocks all the time.
 
flyguy84
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Re: UA Fuel MAYDAY call into SYD

Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:11 am

Most people here have NO idea what they are talking about. Listening to the tapes there were other aircraft who were assigned holding. The most plausible scenario here is that the United aircraft was also assigned holding but did not have sufficient fuel to hold for the given EFC and declared minimum fuel. The aircraft was not low on fuel and there was no emergency.
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DeltaB717
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Re: UA Fuel MAYDAY call into SYD

Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:12 am

I've just listened to the recordings from liveatc - info is a bit patchy due to the quality of the recording (because of the distance UA839 was from YSSY when it declared - it was still at 410 and 135nm from YWLM). However, YMML issued a SIGMET about 10-15 minutes before the first time the 'issue' with UA839 was raised in the recording (at which point UA839 is offered YWLM, hence my earlier reference to its position relative to YWLM). Reading between the lines, one would assume YMML was the planned alternate for UA839 and the crew / UA Ops elected not to nominate another alternate, and instead declare mayday and continue for YSSY. Going on through the recording, UA839 is offered (several times) options including track shortening and a Runway 25 landing, but declines each and every offer - so the situation can't have been critical, and the declaration therefore most likely purely procedural.

As an aside, QF829 followed UA839 onto Runway 16R and was asked if they could accept a little more track lengthening, to which they replied in the affirmative, stating "we have the fuel."

Reference to United saying there was a mechanical issue could also indicate a fault, the result of which being that the system was unable to draw from some portion of the remaining fuel and therefore, technically, the reserves start to be burnt.
 
747-600X
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Re: UA Fuel MAYDAY call into SYD

Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:30 am

A lot of subjectivity is being left out of the discussion. The dispatcher who planned the flight has considerable leverage over how much fuel to put onboard. Some dispatchers plan considerably less than others, and airlines often emphasize the importance of doing so since carrying thousands of pounds of extra fuel and weight halfway across the planet is quite expensive and, in the shareholders' opinions, wasteful.

Also, quoting rules and regulations ignores the human aspect. Pilots frequently will declare a fuel emergency or "min. fuel" when nothing of the sort exists. Airlines may define "min. fuel" or provide in-house operation requirements regarding when to declare a fuel emergency which are more conservative than the requirements of the FAA or other regulatory body. Additionally, pilots at many airlines are encouraged to declare their fuel status to be urgent or emergency not *when* it reaches those levels, but when it is clear that it *will* reach those levels. Thus, if the crew has outdated winds information and the FMS calculates that the plane will land with, say, 30 minutes of fuel remaining, the crew *should* declare a fuel emergency at that point, not at the point where they actually only have 30 minutes left. If the plane then lands with 90 minutes of fuel remaining, that's all well and good, but the declaration of the emergency should take place as soon as the crew becomes aware that they appear to have insufficient fuel remaining to safely complete the flight.

And it is the 787-8 or -9, not -800 or -900. There's no harm in being correct.
 
CBRboy
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Re: UA Fuel MAYDAY call into SYD

Thu Oct 04, 2018 3:33 am

ABC News online, in a somewhat breathless report ("a mayday call above the Harbour City"), quotes a CAA spokesperson as saying the flight had about 40 minutes of fuel remaining.
 
OceanATC
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Re: UA Fuel MAYDAY call into SYD

Thu Oct 04, 2018 3:34 am

747-600x

Unfortunately from an ATC perspective all we have are these 2 phrases to work with so any potential "human" aspect behind why a declaration had been made has to be discounted, i.e no speculation. The meanings and response to each are quite clearly stated so there is no confusion on how each situation shall be handled. As you say, it is solely up to the pilot to decide which is appropriate. Also, the regulations I quoted all refer to predicted fuel state and not current state, just as you said.

Please note I'm not disagreeing with you, I'm not a pilot. I provided the reference for some clarity of actual ATC procedure in response to earlier posts.
 
CriticalPoint
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Re: UA MAYDAY call into SYD

Thu Oct 04, 2018 3:36 am

N766UA wrote:
CaptainKoror wrote:
I believe that the use of "mayday" is an ICAO standard when declaring any kind of emergency.


Technically, I suppose, but actually stating “mayday” implies iminent peril. I’ve declared several emergencies, and never once did I say the word “mayday.”

To most pilots and controllers in the US, saying “mayday” means I’m in peril. For fuel, we say “declaring emergency fuel.” For all other emergencies, we say “declaring an emergency.” You say mayday when your circumstances are so egregious they don’t permit you to explain further. That said, perhaps overseas it’s a more universal term.


International pilots only say MAYDAY because it’s recognized world wide declaring an emergency in China will get you no where. Every time I have a problem I say MAYDAY no matter where I am in the world because it gets the point across that I have a problem.
 
jumbojet
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Re: UA MAYDAY call into SYD

Thu Oct 04, 2018 3:39 am

qf789 wrote:
jumbojet wrote:
article mentioned the plane, a Boeing 787-900, only had 180 passengers on board. A rather light load don't you think?


Firstly there is no such thing as a 787-900, its a 787-9 secondly the latest reports suggest that there were 239 passengers on board.

https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-u ... d9a1c947ac

Also let me make it quite clear if you are coming on this thread to turn it into your usual DL nonsense, think again, take it elsewhere preferably where no one else has to read it


I didnt mention anything about Delta and my bad, 787-9 not 900. Long day at the office, Point being, if, as the article suggested there was only 180 folks on-board, then wouldnt that particluar aircraft be able to fly LAX-SYD without having fuel issues? Was it an operational mixup?
 
CriticalPoint
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Re: UA MAYDAY call into SYD

Thu Oct 04, 2018 3:42 am

jumbojet wrote:
qf789 wrote:
jumbojet wrote:
article mentioned the plane, a Boeing 787-900, only had 180 passengers on board. A rather light load don't you think?


Firstly there is no such thing as a 787-900, its a 787-9 secondly the latest reports suggest that there were 239 passengers on board.

https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-u ... d9a1c947ac

Also let me make it quite clear if you are coming on this thread to turn it into your usual DL nonsense, think again, take it elsewhere preferably where no one else has to read it


I didnt mention anything about Delta and my bad, 787-9 not 900. Long day at the office, Point being, if, as the article suggested there was only 180 folks on-board, then wouldnt that particluar aircraft be able to fly LAX-SYD without having fuel issues? Was it an operational mixup?


So you haven’t read a damn thing? It was a mechanical issue.
 
CriticalPoint
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Re: UA Fuel MAYDAY call into SYD

Thu Oct 04, 2018 4:06 am

Look folks it takes two 4 hour days plus several computer based training modules and simulator sessions to teach ETOPS at United Airlines. So I can’t begin to give enthusiast even a remote understanding of the procedures. But let me say this, there are dozens of opportunities to recognize a fuel/wind bust if proper procedures are followed. You don’t just arrive in SYD and say oh crap I’m out of gas. The crew would have recognized the situation at a CriticalPoint ;) ......well before the fuel became an issue.

All 4 of the crew members would have had to intentially disregarded every single procedure we have to end up in this situation.


With that said you can easily hit min or mayday fuel if ATC screws around with you. If you arrive into SYD to early you will hold until curfew then join the line with everyone else. If we were planned for 15mins of holding and ATC gave them 45 then extended vectors there is your MAYDAY.

Like someone posted up thread MAYDAY fuel is when you are projected to have less than 30 mins NOT when you actually have 30mins. I declared MAYDAY fuel going into EWR several years ago because I was projected to land with less than 30 mins of fuel. After shortened vectors and priority handeling I landed with just under an hour.
 
iahcsr
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Joined: Fri Jun 04, 1999 2:59 pm

Re: UA Fuel MAYDAY call into SYD

Thu Oct 04, 2018 4:47 am

For those who care about such things it was N27958 involved... it’s currently SYDSFO as UA970. It departed the gate on time, but ETA SFO is 35min late...
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benjjk
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Re: UA MAYDAY call into SYD

Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:01 am

qf789 wrote:
ABpositive wrote:
When a mayday call is made, does it mandate an investigation from the safety agencies, e.g. CASA in this instance?


CASA is the Australian equivalent of the FAA, the investigating of this incident would be left up to the ATSB


The NTSB can also choose to investigate as it involves an American aircraft.

Mayday calls are always reported to the ATSB but more often than not are not formally investigated. Unless they were running on fumes I'd be surprised if an investigation is initiated, more likely a 'please explain' from the FAA.
 
kaitakfan
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Re: UA MAYDAY call into SYD

Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:56 am

CriticalPoint wrote:
N766UA wrote:
CaptainKoror wrote:
I believe that the use of "mayday" is an ICAO standard when declaring any kind of emergency.


Technically, I suppose, but actually stating “mayday” implies iminent peril. I’ve declared several emergencies, and never once did I say the word “mayday.”

To most pilots and controllers in the US, saying “mayday” means I’m in peril. For fuel, we say “declaring emergency fuel.” For all other emergencies, we say “declaring an emergency.” You say mayday when your circumstances are so egregious they don’t permit you to explain further. That said, perhaps overseas it’s a more universal term.


International pilots only say MAYDAY because it’s recognized world wide declaring an emergency in China will get you no where. Every time I have a problem I say MAYDAY no matter where I am in the world because it gets the point across that I have a problem.


Excellent post about the “declaring and emergency” phrase. Every time I’m back at TK for recurrent, the PI’s or Standards captains usually touch on using Mayday to avoid any confusion from ATC.
 
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Goodbye
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Re: UA Fuel MAYDAY call into SYD

Thu Oct 04, 2018 6:14 am

The overreaction by the media this morning (I live in Australia) was nothing short of hysterical. Live crosses to the airport to their reporter "on the ground". Talking about a "major emergency" with the plane "running out of fuel". Roads being closed. It was absolutely ridiculous.
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zeke
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Re: UA Fuel MAYDAY call into SYD

Thu Oct 04, 2018 6:52 am

DeltaB717 wrote:
I've just listened to the recordings from liveatc - info is a bit patchy due to the quality of the recording (because of the distance UA839 was from YSSY when it declared - it was still at 410 and 135nm from YWLM). However, YMML issued a SIGMET about 10-15 minutes before the first time the 'issue' with UA839 was raised in the recording (at which point UA839 is offered YWLM, hence my earlier reference to its position relative to YWLM). Reading between the lines, one would assume YMML was the planned alternate for UA839 and the crew / UA Ops elected not to nominate another alternate, and instead declare mayday and continue for YSSY. Going on through the recording, UA839 is offered (several times) options including track shortening and a Runway 25 landing, but declines each and every offer - so the situation can't have been critical, and the declaration therefore most likely purely procedural.

As an aside, QF829 followed UA839 onto Runway 16R and was asked if they could accept a little more track lengthening, to which they replied in the affirmative, stating "we have the fuel."

Reference to United saying there was a mechanical issue could also indicate a fault, the result of which being that the system was unable to draw from some portion of the remaining fuel and therefore, technically, the reserves start to be burnt.


As I guessed declaring an emergency when an emergency didn’t exist. Had similar into HKG with a DL A330, they landed with over an hours worth of fuel. They also declared mayday fuel.

Seen this many times over, they just don’t know their international procedures.

Not having fuel for your filed alternate is not a mayday. Mayday means you are actually below 30 minutes, and they should have landed at YWLM or YRIC both being closer for a genuine fuel emergency.
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