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Guest CRJ700FO

ATC and reserve fuel

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A question regarding ATC using holds and recommended fuel reserves. For instance say i had 30 minutes reserve fuel on arrival at my destination and then was put into a hold, would this be classed as an unseen delay, or should a flight have enough fuel on top of the 30 minutes in order to compensate for the hold up or would the fuel on board include extra for holds etc?I am thinking of the fact Avianca flight 52 was put into a holding pattern for over an hour at JFK (1990) before fallng from the sky on approach. I recognise the pilot should have alerted ATC of his plight but an hour seems an awfully long time.

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You are supposed to have enough fuel to make it to you destination then to an alternate and be able to hold for 45 minutes at normal cruise power there after. One thing I always do is to make sure when I get put into a hold I have enough fuel to hold until my EFC time plus the time it will take me to reach my destination and still have alternate and reserve available. For the Avianca flight it was just poor planning and not working with the system for your advantage.

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Actually, in the US, the Regulations require an IFR pilot to:

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>You are supposed to have enough fuel to make it to you>destination then to an alternate and be able to hold for 45>minutes at normal cruise power there after. One note--that isn't actually what the Regulation states. You do not have to have enough fuel to "hold" for 45 minutes, but rather "fly" for 45 minutes (one obviously includes the other, but not vice versa).Okay, two notes--Additionally, you wouldn't typically "hold at normal cruise power". Normal cruise power will typically burn more fuel than you need for going in circles and/or exceed the maximum holding airspeed for that altitude. _____________________________http://home.comcast.net/~jsnyder99/sigs/nameavsim.jpgPersonal Photo/Aviation Website

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True it is for cruise for 45 minutes thereafter.I hold at cruise power because it makes me look like a much better aircraft on the radar scope ;)

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Hi Bob, if you are suggesting that the Avianca crew showed poor planning I think that is unreasonable, if you wish to criticise them for failing to tell the controller that further holding would hazard the aircraft due to lack of fuel, you would be accurate.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avianca_Flight_52http://amelia.db.erau.edu/reports/ntsb/aar/AAR91-04.pdfhttp://amelia.db.erau.edu/gen/ntsbaar.htmBest and Warm RegardAdrian Wainer

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So a hold is not a foreseen delay but rather an unexpected one which does not require reserve fuel to take account of that, but rather reserve fuel is for an alternative airport if so needed?

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No no I go full power and I look like the SR-71 requesting 20 mile legs ;)I did get to go into the ARTCC for the Seattle sector and it was amazing the stories they told about those aircraft. Told them to turn on their transponders and they would watch the blip update 5 or 6 times then it would be gone from the scope!

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Actually that is perfectly reasonable. The controllers do not know the amount of fuel on board and the crew didn't report it to the controllers that they now will not make an alternate. That was poor inflight planning based off of what they knew with fuel available. Once you get low enough it is time to pick an alternate and go for it.

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It depends on where you are flying and what you are flying.If you are going to Chicago, Heathrow, Kennedy or Los Angeles in a commerical passenger jet, you would be strongly advised to have enough fuel to hold for two or three hours aboard.I was once on a AAL flight from KORD to KDFW. As we got close to DFW, the pilot told us that he didn't think we would get in before thunderstorms at Dallas.He broke off the approach and diverted to KLIT about 60 nm short of KDFW. He told us over the PA that he was choosing to divert early because his experience was that we would spend a couple hours circling KDFW waiting for the storms to pass, then be diverted to somewhere else to refuel.By choosing early to go to KLIT, he got in early enough to have a parking spot at the terminal, and had plenty of fuel still on board to make the final leg to Dallas without having to refuel at Little Rock.That worked, and we were only five hours late arriving. Some of the diverted AAL aircraft which sat out on the ramp at KLIT (no parking available) did not get back to KDFW for 12 hours or more.The key is planning by the dispatcher and the pilot - and detailed knowledge of the conditions at the time of the flight. He knew the weather had a high probability of impacting the flight and creating delays, and they planned for the worst case.Some days you need only the IFR minimums to get into KORD, some days you need three or more hours extra fuel.I find this a nice quide - http://www.fly.faa.gov/flyfaa/usmap.jspSome days, such as 1606 UTC Thursday - it tells me that flying to KDEN will be a 16-30 minutes hold going to KDEN and 47 minutes hold going to KEWR.Looking at radar - KMCI is obviously going to have problems today.A pilot should always plan for the worst case of hold/ diversion with in the capacity of the aircraft and his wallet, not the best case.There is an article on a Cherokee crash at KJAX in this month's AOPA magazine - fuel was never mentioned, but three attempts to land at different airports at or almost below minimums before the crash strongly suggests the pilot should have given up and gone far away from the bad weather.

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Agreed with you on that, adding the word "inflight" makes it clear to me what you meant in your post. Best and Warm RegardsAdrian Wainer

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>So a hold is not a foreseen delay but rather an unexpected>one which does not require reserve fuel to take account of>that, but rather reserve fuel is for an alternative airport if>so needed?Regulatory fuel reserves are for the flight to the destination (including an approach*) and a flight to the alternate (including an approach*) and then for 45 minutes thereafter at normal cruising speed. That's the Regulation.Now, the question is "what is the flight"? If your "flight" and/or approaches require a hold (depending on the type of approach necessary, you might have to execute the "full" approach, including the procedure turn/hold), then you include it in your flight and thus your fuel calculations.If during your flight, ATC begins routing you off your flight plan via vectors and/or requires you to hold, that is not a part of your planned flight and thus is not typically part of your fuel calculation.That's basically it from a regulatory standpoint.Now, with regard to a practical standpoint, depending on what kind of plane you are flying and how it is loaded, it is unlikely you will be able to load three hours of ~extra~ fuel, beyond that required by the Regulation, onboard as suggested above. For instance, in many general aviation aircraft (including single engine, multi engine, small jets, etc.) they will only have a TOTAL of 3-6 hours of fuel capacity. Considering a flight that might last 3 hours, with distance to an alternate 30-45 minutes away, and IFR reserves, you're already required to have 4.5 hours of fuel onboard. If there is room for more, I'm definitely adding it, but we rarely have the ability to carry ~hours~ of extra fuel beyond the regulatory amount.That being said, my own personal minimum when it comes to fuel quantity is that I will have ~at least~ 1 hour of fuel instead of the 45 minutes. Again, that's a minimum, so I'll usually have a bit more or will reduce my legs accordingly.**note - The FAA recently released a Legal Opinion indicating that the approaches (both of them) need to be added to the "flight" for fuel reserve calculations._____________________________http://home.comcast.net/~jsnyder99/sigs/nameavsim.jpgPersonal Photo/Aviation Website

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2 regulations exist for required domestic airline fuel planning.This typically equates to around 60-75 minutes of fuel (10,000ft holding rate) for a typical US based airline. e.g. A320 landing with apprx 5000-6000lbs.FAR 121.639Fuel supply: All domestic operations.No person may dispatch or take off an airplane unless it has enough fuel--(a) To fly to the airport to which it is dispatched;(:( Thereafter, to fly to and land at the most distant alternate airport (where required) for the airport to which dispatched; and© Thereafter, to fly for 45 minutes at normal cruising fuel consumption or, for certificate holders who are authorized to conduct day VFR operations in their operations specifications and who are operating nontransport category airplanes type certificated after December 31, 1964, to fly for 30 minutes at normal cruising fuel consumption for day VFR operations.FAR 121.647Factors for computing fuel required.Each person computing fuel required for the purposes of this subpart shall consider the following:(a) Wind and other weather conditions forecast.(:( Anticipated traffic delays.© One instrument approach and possible missed approach at destination.(d) Any other conditions that may delay landing of the aircraft.For the purposes of this section, required fuel is in addition to unusable fuel.

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So a hold even if it is not part of the arrival proceedure is an expected delay ((:( Anticipated traffic delays) or would that only be expected if dispatch/ATC told the pilot prior to or during flight?

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>So a hold even if it is not part of the arrival proceedure is>an expected delay ((:( Anticipated traffic delays) or would>that only be expected if dispatch/ATC told the pilot prior to>or during flight?on a release it will split the fuel into categories, for example at my airline you would see: ARPT FUEL TIME DIST DEPT DFW ENRT LBB 002467 0050 0251 --------------------------------------------------------------- RSV 01700 0045 CAPT ADD 00100 0003 BUFR 00100 DISP ADD 00600 0020 BUFR 00300 ALTN MAF 01108 0024 0105 HOLD 00433 0015 MEL/CDL 00200 0006 --------------------------------------------------------------- T/O FUEL 006608 MIN T/O 006208 --------------------------------------------------------------- TAXI 00408 0017 ------ TOTAL 007016 so from DFW to LBB you are expecting a fuel burn of 2467 lbs which is 50 min for 251nm.the 45 min RSV is 1700lbs. the ADD fuels are additional fuel the CA or dispatcher has added and 100% of the CA and 50% of the DISP have gone to the bottom line (ie you have an additional 300lbs to play with on taxiing) however in reality the BUFR % is 25% as a default. for MAF the ALT fuel is 1108lbs which is 24 minutes, 105nm, from LBB. the dispatcher has given the CA 433lbs, 15 minutes, of holding fuel because they think a delay may occur. there is also 200lbs of fuel added for an applicable MEL/CDL (for example a wing seal may be missing requiring a 2% increase in fuel burn). adding all of this up gives you a T/O fuel of 6608lbs. your absolute minimum T/O is 6208lbs (this is the number you have to have when wheels up), however there is still 300lbs of DISP ADD fuel that could still be buffered, so the real number is 5908 but if you need the 300lbs this release would have to be amended showing that extra 300 being taken out (a pen and ink correction). you then simply add the 408lbs of taxi fuel to this to get the TOTAL fuel which is the amount of gas the fueler will put on the airplane at the gate.the fuel requirements are a T/O amount regulation. you DO NOT need to land with 45 minutes of fuel, plus the alternate fuel. each CA has their personal mins (a common one is the 45 min reserve plus a small amount say 500lbs) and use various techniques at their disposal. if they are holding, they will coordinate with dispatch to find an appropriate diversion airport (just because an airport is listed as your alternate doesn't mean you have to use it as your alternate and ATC has no idea who you're alternate is).a good example could be you are holding 40nm away from ORD with 5000lbs of gas. you coordinate with dispatch and they tell you a lot of airplanes have already gone to your listed ALT of FWA so they would prefer you to goto IND. the CA's personal safe zone is 2500lbs of gas and from your present position you are 1000lbs of fuel burn away from IND. based on this he will hold until they have 3500lbs of gas, at which point they would divert to IND. of course each carrier is different and might even mandate the RSV requirement plus burn to diversion as an absolute minimum.hope this helps.

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