United 724 "Overburn"

TUCKnTRUCK

That guy
Winner Winner! This is pretty darn close.

Only one thing I will add to this from a dispatch perspective. It always seems as if pilots are to trusting of the FMC. If all of your burns were matching up with the flight plan cross check but your FMC was off. You talk with dispatch and they cross check the burn and run you a new flight plan and everything they advise say continue.

Honestly I want real answers. How many of you could go against the FMC?
We do all the time. The favorite term is "making fuel". The closer you get to destination, the higher the predicted fuel at landing is.

Usually on a Long flight we will be flying with the check designation fuel message for at least the first half of it. We just check the segment fuel against the plan and go from there.
 

DE727UPS

Well-Known Member
We program the FMC with the flight plan winds. If the flight plan burns are working out I'd start looking at why the FMC is predicting something else. Any time that's ever happened it was an issue with an FMC waypoint that is in the wrong place or entered in error. Garbage in, garbage out.
 

Nark

Macho Superpilot
Winner Winner! This is pretty darn close.

Only one thing I will add to this from a dispatch perspective. It always seems as if pilots are to trusting of the FMC. If all of your burns were matching up with the flight plan cross check but your FMC was off. You talk with dispatch and they cross check the burn and run you a new flight plan and everything they advise say continue.

Honestly I want real answers. How many of you could go against the FMC?
IF you input the winds accurately, I trust it.

I'm not sure where you work, but some of our dispatchers don't know what a SID is. LAX 99% of the time departs to the west. If our first fix is say TNP heading to ORD, we aren't going to depart LAX direct TNP on course.
A little pad fuel would be nice in our paperwork.
 

Springer

Well-Known Member
IF you input the winds accurately, I trust it.

I'm not sure where you work, but some of our dispatchers don't know what a SID is. LAX 99% of the time departs to the west. If our first fix is say TNP heading to ORD, we aren't going to depart LAX direct TNP on course.
A little pad fuel would be nice in our paperwork.
That is what the contingency fuel block is for. Our dispatchers add fuel to that block for west departures which happens 99% of the time.
 

Nark

Macho Superpilot
That is what the contingency fuel block is for. Our dispatchers add fuel to that block for west departures which happens 99% of the time.
Ahhh nope.
Contingency can be 0, and still an "uneducated dispatcher" can plan for LAX-TNP segment with zero consideration for SID's.
If that were the case we'd either run out of fuel, or into our reserve upon landing.

Contingency by its very name is for unplanned for events. A SID, well I'd say you can plan for that. OR if you can't, let's say add 600lbs pad fuel, which we also have room for on the release...

I edited to add this picture of our fuel action of our releases:

image.png
 

TUCKnTRUCK

That guy
Ahhh nope.
Contingency can be 0, and still an "uneducated dispatcher" can plan for LAX-TNP segment with zero consideration for SID's.
If that were the case we'd either run out of fuel, or into our reserve upon landing.

Contingency by its very name is for unplanned for events. A SID, well I'd say you can plan for that. OR if you can't, let's say add 600lbs pad fuel, which we also have room for on the release...

I edited to add this picture of our fuel action of our releases:

View attachment 34829
I don't know what your company uses for flight planning, but, if it's Arinc or Arinc like- the default flight plan will optimize and unless they select a Sid it won't plan it. It's kind of a pain.
 

Derg

New Arizona, Il Duce/Warlord
Staff member
Honestly I want real answers. How many of you could go against the FMC?
I'm generally mistrustful of using solely the FMC because it's not always accurate.

However I'm used to comparing the FOB with what the flight plan says we should have versus the FMS fuel because if there's a discrepancy, I needed to know when to start thinking about going to Reykjavik or Lajes! :)

Does UAL do period wind uplinks tot he FMC?
 

UAL747400

Well-Known Member
What's that supposed to mean?


How can you compare United's fleet of 74 B-777s that probably average 14 hours in the air, every day all year (minus time in maintenance) to a part 91 Gulfstream?



How are those two operations similar in regards to the importance of operating economics?
OK, I'll bite regarding the apparent uproar.

Not bothering to check how old the weather information is and/or using old weather information because the operation says it's ok, or blindly following all of this in regards to what the FMS spits out, or not taking extra fuel "just because" when there is uncertainty sounds complacent to me.

You all have made your arguments with cost, but there are plenty of approved weather sources that can give you current weather within 2 minutes of searching on your own. It seems current weather information that reflected the higher winds aloft was actually available according to a previous post.

Just to be clear, I'm not arguing safety in this particular situation. They did the right thing it seems and their procedures probably would have dictated this outcome anyways. Going from point A-B is the mission of most flights. From a flight crew stand-point, the regs/opspecs for going from point A-B are irrelevant. The PIC of a 172 going from point A-B is facing the exact same things as the PIC of a 747 going from point A-B. Limits are set and can't be exceeded. No difference. Take off limitations, weather enroute, landing limitations. That's the only thing affecting every single airplane. Given that it seems that the current weather was available, someone failed. Not at safety, but at being diligent in successfully getting that plane to point B.

You're making assumptions about the part 91 Gulfstream and I am admittedly making assumptions about 121, but see above. Because current weather was apparently available and not used, the 121 carriers get an F on this day. Sorry, but I do find it odd that any operation, 91/135/121 would ever be OK with not making it to point B because of fuel planning.

Crossing the Carribean isn't identical crossing the Pacific or Atlatic. PNR and ETP is still calculated and used in a slow turbo-prop and it's just as critical. Maybe you're not allowed to use weather you find on your own or even use it as a basis to take more fuel. I'm am allowed, but only because of my operational control authority, but I take extra fuel anyways and I have that flexibility to disregard dispatch. Kind of, but not really. I've landed with 2.5 hours of fuel sometimes with bumped cargo. "The weather looked bad, what of it?".

Arriving at point C instead of B sounds like shady operations. Shady=/= unsafe to me. Shady means someone didn't check something either purposefully or accidentally to arrive at point B to me.

If this is SOP at United, then United is more shady than Ameriflight at arriving at point B...

I'm open to anything though. This just sounds odd to me, given the operation. My avatar is an inflatable shark... I'm not THAT serious about a lot of things.
 
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Cptnchia

Dissatisfied Customer
It's not complacency to just accept the WX package, it's trusting the dispatcher to do his job. Just like we trust the load planner to properly do his job, the load agent to properly load the aircraft and report back to the load planner, the AMT to do his job, and the multitude of others who's job affects the readiness of the aircraft.

Not trying to be dickish about this, but sounds like you don't trust the dispatcher if you regularly compile your own weather and fuel loads. That activity wouldn't last too long at a legacy.
 

UAL747400

Well-Known Member
Bah, I've been dickish, throw it back at me! :) Blame @ClarkGriswold for being a crotch pheasant from get-go! I throw it back as well if it's not constructive! :)

Yes, It's more of a team than ever at that point, but ultimately the buck stops with you or the Captain as the PIC. The company may not care in the 121 world, but I feel like double checking your team (takes about 7 minutes total to check TAFs, NOTAMS, Winds/weater aloft) is not a big deal to do. The situation being discussed would probably get you berated on the internets (ZOMG 121, this would never happen!!!) if this was 135/91 and probably fired. Maybe it is a big deal in 121 to do this? Guess I'm not legacy material if it is? I guess the legacies are shadier than owner operator CJ2 guy? Yes, I'm being dickish again, but I see your justifications as complacency from a PIC standpoint.

This is what really bugs the ever living hell out of me though.
I've known a bunch of pilots that don't pay as much attention to east bound fuel. Not sure if they just expect the winds or rotation of the earth to help them but w/e.

I also know a lot of dispatchers run all of their flight plans as soon as they get to their desk, which means an end of shift flight can be a long ways off forecast. Unfortunately when the WX packet gets sent to the pilots, it usually has winds from when the dispatcher pulled it.

Most pilots also don't realize that pirep winds actually get imputed into some variations of weather models, and can update the aloft winds... ( helping out other crews). Full access mode S would give real time info to ATC and NOAA - which would really help get fuel planning cut down based off real world data... But who wants to save gas right?
 
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z987k

Well-Known Member
I do flights between the west coast and hawaii and back quite a bit. I have to trust that the the winds I'm given on the release will be accurate. I believe our releases are based on fairly current winds as they don't print them out until just before departure but I will have to check closer next time. We do note our actual burns vs predicted burns over each waypoint. We also have a FMC predicted fuel at the half way point and at landing. If my burns were high I'd look at what I'd have at the half way point to see if I was legal and if not talk to dispatch and see if we could adjust an alternate or even find a closer destination to make it work. I think what happened was the crew was "over burn" and talked to dispatch. The crew was probably looking at the FMC predicted fuel and thinking they might be okay but the dispatcher was smart enough to consider an ETOPS contingency where you have to have enough fuel to fly at 10000 ft due to a loss of cabin pressure and still have enough gas. You burn a lot more gas at 10K. So, when they looked at the possible loss of pressurization scenario it wasn't going to work out so they had to turn around even though the FMC predicted fuel might have had them landing with a safe amount of gas. All this is speculation. Where I work there was a flight recently where they were over burn and had to turn around. It was supposed to be a ferry flight with no cargo and the release reflected that. The gateway put cargo on, though, and the crew didn't think about the extra burn. They were checking the burn at each waypoint, were over burn, and had to turn around. The big takeaway for us was to make sure our actual takeoff weights are less than release weights. I check it every time now.....
If you get more cargo do you not acars dispatch and tell them that the new payload is X, where they generally will run the fuel numbers again and send you back new block/min fuel numbers and such? We do, unless it's a very small amount, but we still always send them the actual payload.
 

doubleo6point9

Well-Known Member
Bah, I've been dickish, throw it back at me! :) Blame @ClarkGriswold for being a crotch pheasant from get-go! I throw it back as well if it's not constructive! :)

Yes, It's more of a team than ever at that point, but ultimately the buck stops with you or the Captain as the PIC. The company may not care in the 121 world, but I feel like double checking your team (takes about 7 minutes total to check TAFs, NOTAMS, Winds/weater aloft) is not a big deal to do. The situation being discussed would probably get you berated on the internets (ZOMG 121, this would never happen!!!) if this was 135/91 and probably fired. Maybe it is a big deal in 121 to do this? Guess I'm not legacy material if it is? I guess the legacies are shadier than owner operator CJ2 guy? Yes, I'm being dickish again, but I see your justifications as complacency from a PIC standpoint.

This is what really bugs the ever living hell out of me though.
I'll bite... I've worked for a pretty good 135 company in the past and I'm now at the Legacy we're all talking about so I'm going to say that Seggy has it right IMO. I'll put it this way, of all the assumptions being made here they're pretty much all wrong. So far every Captain I've flown with does a detail review of the weather and all other pertinent info about the flight. I know this because we discuss it, whether we meet in the briefing room or the airplane we always talk about it. Sometimes its short and sweet and sometimes it's detailed if there's lots of stuff to talk about. Pretty much everyone I've flown with does fuel hacks, updates winds and I've even had one go so far as to outsmart SABRE (which does a pretty good job as it is) on a regular basis and make fuel by simply putting a little more brain matter into the flight plan path and winds the entire flight. I was actually flying the day after this event in question happened and we received a note from dispatch of irregular overburns from SABRE and dispatch actually gave us extra fuel as a just in case.

Also saving fuel by not taking what we're comfortable to avoid tankering costs is a joke if anyone thinks that happens here. I'm constantly asked at the end of every brief if I'm comfortable with fuel and the one time I've questioned it when I was fresh off IOE, (WX was marginal and I wasn't sure if what we needed more or what) the captain said "no worries we can add some more" and off he went to make a phone call to dispatch. That said there was some stuff from ALPA about how the extra fuel requested by the Captain should be displayed on the release but that was it.

I can also tell you that in the 135 world I probably would have been in a much hotter seat than those UAL guys were if I had to have diverted. I wouldn't have lost my job at my previous company but Michael Jackson himself would have been impressed with the carpet dance I would have had considering how things are done there with regards to planning.

Now I'm just a lowly relatively new FO so take that for what it's worth...
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
Also saving fuel by not taking what we're comfortable to avoid tankering costs is a joke if anyone thinks that happens here. I'm constantly asked at the end of every brief if I'm comfortable with fuel and the one time I've questioned it when I was fresh off IOE, (WX was marginal and I wasn't sure if what we needed more or what) the captain said "no worries we can add some more" and off he went to make a phone call to dispatch. That said there was some stuff from ALPA about how the extra fuel requested by the Captain should be displayed on the release but that was it...
Interesting. So onloading some extra fuel hedge (within reason of course, am not saying top the tanks) isn't tough to do or frowned upon at your shop. That's good.
 

SpiraMirabilis

Possible Subversive
From the perspective of a 135 operator who still relies on purchasing fuel from retailers most of the time, we have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars BY tankering fuel if possible. For example, fuel at Roswell, NM is $2 more a gallon than fuel in Lubbock, TX (difference of negotiated rates may be smaller but is still significant.)

A little difficult to tanker enough fuel back to Roswell to be in service without needing to buy any fuel when you land in an Astar or Koala but simple in a Pilatus.

There is obviously a cost involved transporting this fuel back to base, but the spreadsheet I made if I got the calculations right makes it seem minimal.
 

DE727UPS

Well-Known Member
If you get more cargo do you not acars dispatch and tell them that the new payload is X, where they generally will run the fuel numbers again and send you back new block/min fuel numbers and such? We do, unless it's a very small amount, but we still always send them the actual payload.
Let's just say there have been some procedural changes since this happened. I believe the release said they would be empty and it had been planned as a ferry flight. However, cargo was added and the weight and balance form they got at the last minute reflected the cargo. The crew missed that they had a higher takeoff weight than the release said. It didn't help that it was a HNL turn from the west coast with the same crew outbound that flew it in with no rest. Our procedures now require us to make sure our takeoff weight is less than planned takeoff weight on the release. Still no requirement for an ACARS message. That's a good idea....
 

Nick

Well-Known Member
Let's just say there have been some procedural changes since this happened. I believe the release said they would be empty and it had been planned as a ferry flight. However, cargo was added and the weight and balance form they got at the last minute reflected the cargo. The crew missed that they had a higher takeoff weight than the release said. It didn't help that it was a HNL turn from the west coast with the same crew outbound that flew it in with no rest. Our procedures now require us to make sure our takeoff weight is less than planned takeoff weight on the release. Still no requirement for an ACARS message. That's a good idea....
If I may inquire here . . .

You can fly ONT-HNL and then fly back to ONT in the same duty period? Is that 3 pilots and nobody gets off the jet??
 

Nick

Well-Known Member
Wow.

I submitted all of those cargo cutout petition requests and that's a perfect example of why.

At least the FAR 117 stuff would put the category of rest facility in writing if the day was scheduled long.
 
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