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Kingfisher flight runs out of fuel midair, almost

 
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karatecatman
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 4:07 pm    Post subject: Kingfisher flight runs out of fuel midair, almost Reply with quote

www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1219150
Kingfisher flight runs out of fuel midair, almost
N Raghuraman
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
New Delhi: If you were one of the 86 passengers who travelled on Kingfisher flight IT 335 from Mumbai to Delhi last Saturday, you should thank your lucky stars you are safe. Because the flight landed with a near-empty fuel tank as the pilot took an uncommon risk at 31,000 feet above the ground.

The situation
The flight left Mumbai at 7:45pm with enough additional fuel to not only reach its scheduled destination of New Delhi by 9:30pm but with enough supply for a diversion to Jaipur or Lucknow -- the immediate alternative airports.

Generally when a flight lands after 9pm in winter -- particularly at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport -- the airline makes sure a Cat-III-trained pilot is in command. Cat-III pilots can land with just 100 metres of visibility.

The aircraft assigned for this route was an Airbus 320 and the captain was only trained for Cat-I situations, which means pilot Tariq Khan needed a minimum of 550 metres of visibility.

The incident

According to a source, minutes before landing, the air traffic control (ATC) at Delhi airport informed the pilot that visibility had dropped to Cat-III conditions, which meant the pilot would not be able to see beyond 100 metres. The source said Khan sought a landing at Jaipur, but permission was denied due to lack of parking space. Khan then decided to divert the flight to Lucknow as he had already consumed a lot of fuel hovering over Delhi.

When Khan was halfway to Lucknow, which is 55 minutes of all-weather flying time away, the Delhi ATC informed him that the fog had lifted and he could return, the source said.

The big risk
The aircraft had consumed nearly 45% of its additional fuel by this time, the source said. Instead of opting to land at Lucknow, refuel, and fly back to Delhi, Khan decided to head back to the capital.

Once he reached Delhi, he was ninth in the landing queue. By now, the plane was dangerously low on fuel with just a few kilolitres left in the tank. A crisis was averted only after the pilot asked the ATC to allow him to jump the queue.

What Kingfisher says

Confirming the incident, Kingfisher spokesperson Prakash Mirpuri told DNA on Monday that the pilot did ask for preferential landing at Delhi as he was running low on fuel. The aircraft was in the queue for landing when visibility at Delhi dropped. The captain then requested a diversion to an alternate designated airfield, which was Jaipur. As the parking bays were full, the aircraft was diverted to Lucknow, Mirpuri said.

"En route Lucknow the weather deteriorated. Consequently, the aircraft was turned back to Delhi and the captain requested priority sequencing for landing," Mirpuri said in his written communication to DNA.

Kingfisher's flight safety department summoned captain Khan to seek an explanation on Sunday. Mirpuri termed it a "routine enquiry" by the department whenever there was a deviation from the assigned route.

What is the Cat?
There are three categories of instrument-landing systems which support similarly named categories of operation.
Category I: A precision instrument approach and landing with a decision height not lower than 61m above touchdown zone elevation and with a visibility not less than 800m or a runway visual range not less than 550m.

Category II: Decision height can be lower than 61m above touchdown zone elevation but not lower than 30m and a runway visual range not less than 350m.

Category IIIA: A precision instrument approach and landing with a decision height lower than 30m above touchdown zone elevation, or no decision height; and a runway visual range not less than 200m.

Category IIIB: Decision height can be lower than 15m above touchdown zone elevation, or no decision height; and a runway visual range less than 200m but not less than 50m.

Category IIIC: A precision instrument approach and landing with no decision height and no runway visual range limitations. A Cat IIIC system is capable of using an aircraft's autopilot to land the aircraft and can also provide guidance along the runway surface.
In each case a suitably equipped aircraft and appropriately qualified crew are required.
Source: Wikipedia


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HAWK21M
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think its a case of declaring emergency due fuel getting low in qty & not near empty as reported.
Would be keen to know the arrival fuel though.
regds
MEL
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vt-ala
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
MEL
Would be keen to know the arrival fuel though


--

Fuel on arrival was 940 kilos
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Spiderguy252
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vt-ala wrote:
Quote:
MEL
Would be keen to know the arrival fuel though


--

Fuel on arrival was 940 kilos


How much is that?
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Boeingdream787
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When useable fuel remaining is less than 30 mins endurance,pilot declares Pan Pan or urgency.When fuel remaining is less than 15 mins endurance,pilot MUST declare Mayday or distress/emergency.
Either ways,a 'fuel priority' landing can be requested anytime the pilot thinks that he is dangerously low on fuel and would need to "jump the queue" so to speak for a safe approach and landing.
Fyi...
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HAWK21M
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vt-ala wrote:
Quote:
MEL
Would be keen to know the arrival fuel though


--

Fuel on arrival was 940 kilos


Wow....Thats critical.
regds
MEL
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sreenath_y
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 11:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Considering the usual FF 940kgs would be roughly enough for >20 mins.
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shivendrashukla
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

vt-ala wrote:
Quote:
MEL
Would be keen to know the arrival fuel though


--

Fuel on arrival was 940 kilos


Ok... now that's scary!!

Cheers
Shivendra
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TKMCE
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Balanced report - but then was there anything violating safety???

1 Weather at DEL was clear when he took off from BOM
2 Only minutes before landing (and knowing the rush at DEL between 9-12 PM it is a safe bet he would likely have been holding for some time), did the weather drop below Cat I
3 Diverted to LKO half way through ATC informed him of DEL being open again.

4 PIC had to decide whether to continue or go back. I am sure his decision to go back would have been based on him being able to make itwith fuel within limits.

5 Reached back DEL and found he was NINETH in que. Declares a PAN, requests and given a priority landing and lands back.

End of story isnt it??? So what is DNA trying to say??? There are quite a few accidents when pilots didnt monitor fuel/ failed to delcare PAN/Mayday and didnt make it to the runwway with loss of life. That is dangerous and criminal.

But in this case (with my limited laymans knowledge) - everything was by the book???
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ssbmat
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The TWO MOST USELESS THINGS IN AVIATION

1) The amount of fuel left in the fuel bowser/truck

2) the length of runway left behind the aircraft.

On the ground, fuel may be costly but in the air, it is PRICELESS!!
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Boeingdream787
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TKMCE,
Unfortunately here NOTHING was done by the book!
We have an old addage as aviators,
Once u say 'go around'--u GO AROUND,
Once u say 'Reject'--u REJECT
And once u decide to divert--u D.I.V.E.R.T....!!
And NOTHING else.
You don't "re-divert"just cause ur girlfriends cooked u home cooked pasta that night,nor ur OM who thinks it's more "economically viable" to be in home base.
Once u hit TOGA and set course on the magenta for ur alternate,mate u go ALL the way.
And THAT'S the bottom line!
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iflytb20
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quite similiar to what happened in the Gulf last week when fog hit AUH/DXB/SHJ. All 3 arpt became CAT III almost simultaneously and as a result ppl started diverting all over the place. MCT filled up fast and they started turning ppl away. In fact, one of our flight had to re-divert as Muscat refused to accept them. They finally ended up in Doha. Seems there were 4-5 fuel emergencies declared within an hour of each other.

How come no one managed to ekta-kapoor-ise the events like these jokes have??? Question
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TKMCE
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
You don't "re-divert"just cause ur girlfriends cooked u home cooked pasta that night,nor ur OM who thinks it's more "economically viable" to be in home base.
Once u hit TOGA and set course on the magenta for ur alternate,mate u go ALL the way.
And THAT'S the bottom line!


Making silly mistakes and then doing gliding heriocs as in Air Canada's Gimli or Air Transat's Azores is defintely alarming. Same with the cases like Avianca 707 (JFK) among others where pilots declared fuel emergency too late!

But can you compare the IT incident with the cases mentioned above? I dont think so!!!

Quote:
And once u decide to divert--u D.I.V.E.R.T....!!
Once u hit TOGA and set course on the magenta for ur alternate,mate u go ALL the way


Bu my questiion in this case is how then the ATC gave them the option to come back??? If it is such a NO NO as you say!!! The report says ATC offered them the option - not that the pilot insisted on turning back???

Maybe other pilots here can comment! From iflytb20s post he also seems to think this as a part of the days work like me thinks! But then I stand corrected by experts!!!
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HAWK21M
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

By the look of things printed,looks like the pilot never thought the delays would stretch......But since this was a procedure in place when such a senario occurs, it was followed & aircraft landed.

regds
MEL
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