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When bean-counters run the world
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, July 17, 2008

You can get in some dicey and dangerous situations.

US Air pilots have taken the rare step of going public about accusations that US Air is threatening "termination of their careers" if pilots fail to "reduce fuel levels" "to save money."

Said one pilot:
"Fuel is very critical to any mission. When you start varying the amount of fuel and getting it below a captain's comfort zone, that's why we have an issue here," said Capt. James Ray of the US Airline Pilots Association.
Only one person can be the captain of a ship or the pilot in command of an aircraft, and as I've always understood it, their authority is pretty abosolute. And as most people have figured out by now, even more than the sea, the air is a very unforgiving place.

So, as a passenger, I want the guy who's sitting in the cockpit to be the one making decisions about how much fuel he's going to carry, because he, unlike the bean-counters, is going to ensure he has more than enough to get that aircraft back on the ground safely, especially if there are some unforeseen circumstances which might extend flight time.

Yes I understand the push to save money - but for heaven sake, you just don't do that at the risk of your customer's lives. And while it is entirely possible that aircraft today are carrying more fuel than needed even for safety margins, it should still be the captain's call.

Instead of dictating reductions in fuel, why not work with the captains to assess the problem and work out a compromise that is amenable to all?
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Yikes, that article didn’t even present as much as my local station did this morning. The other side of the story is that US Airways is already above the federal minimum, and the company is trying to work with those pilots who are requesting more.
US Airways spokesman Morgan Durrant said the decision to bring in the eight pilots for extra training was not meant to be punitive. "That’s totally not true," he said.

During the past few years, the carrier has required its planes to carry enough fuel to pad their flight times by 60 to 90 minutes, Durrant said.

"These eight pilots have routinely been above the 60 to 90 minute range. It just behooves us as a company to talk to these guys, figure out what they’re seeing that we’re not," Durrant said.

FAA regulations require aircraft to carry enough fuel to reach their destination and an alternate destination, plus 45 minutes worth of fuel, FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said. Also, pilots have the final authority on whether their flight should have extra fuel.
Written By: Keith_Indy
What does it matter? If they don’t need the fuel, they won’t use it. It is still in the plane. When they refill the plane, it will take less fuel to fill to the point at which the pilot is comfortable. It doesn’t matter if it is stored in a tank at the airport or in the airplane. What does matter is how much is consumed. This won’t improve the efficiency of the airplane. Are they saying that the extra fuel allows the pilots to take their time getting the plane in? What am I missing here?
Written By: Is
URL: http://
Airlines WANT to go out of business the way they’re acting nowadays.
Written By: shark
URL: http://
>>What does it matter? If they don’t need the fuel, they won’t use it. It is still in the plane.

Fuel is one of the largest sources of weight on any plane. Reducing the weight of the plane reduces the amount of fuel needed to fly it. So if they carry more fuel, they also use more fuel.
Written By: Dustin
URL: http://
Or how about this...the Fed’s require 45 minutes, we allow 60-90 mintues, but these doofuses want more than a 90 minute cushion, so how about we say "It’s YOUR plane, but OUR airline." And we let the airline manage it’s personnel?
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Fuel is one of the largest sources of weight on any plane. Reducing the weight of the plane reduces the amount of fuel needed to fly it. So if they carry more fuel, they also use more fuel.
Yes, yes. More coffee...
Written By: Is
URL: http://
Or how about this...the Fed’s require 45 minutes, we allow 60-90 mintues
Actually going by what the article says, the Fed requires 45 after the fuel required to reach an alternate destination, so 60 - 90 minutes seems to be cutting it close already.
Written By: Boogs
URL: http://
One of the problems is the FAA. Controllers are sensitive to fuels (as they should be) giving priority to aircraft with less fuel. So, if you arrive in holding at JFK with 90 minutes of fuel, and another aircraft has 45 minutes, guess who lands first.

Jet fuel weighs about 6.5 pounds per gallon. Lets say airliners burn 12,000 pounds per hour so 90 minutes is 18,000 pounds - 9 tons of fuel! What that means is that you must generate 18,000 pounds of lift rather than 9,000 for a 45 minute supply. Additional lift requires increased angle of attack which induces drag. To keep you airspeed, you must counter drag with power.

I’m not advocating always arriving with min fuel, but why lug around tons of extra gas? I think arriving at the initial approach fix with an hour’s worth of gas is reasonable.
Written By: arch
URL: http://
Well Boogs, if 60-90 minutes is too close how about this, how about a three HOUR fuel reserve? How about a four hour reserve? I mean how about landing and re-fueling every 30 minutes?

At some point we have to say, this is enough fuel...if you want to be truly safe, drive to your destination, that way you will NEVER die in a plane crash.

The airline is already exceeding the Federal minimum…and in carrying excess fuel it is driving up the cost of the airline and therefore the cost to the passenger.
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I would like to know who is the genius that would even think of such a ridiculous plan. We have enough worries on being blown out of the sky or being flown into a high rise, now we have to worry about not having enough fuel ?

So now my life hangs in the hands of a CEO, that is sitting at home, sipping on Cognac, while my pilot is stressed and wondering if he has enough fuel to land his airplane, that is carrying three hundred passengers.
Well Pete yeah your life does kinda hang on that kinda know the sort of decision weighing, the cost of transporting UNUSED fuel from airport to airport in Mr. Cautious Tanks...It costs money to fly JP-4/5/8 around too, you know...and every pound of fuel, within certain limits, carried is one LESS pound of paying freight...meaning that CEO sipping Cognac can give you a two hour cushion if you want, but you’re ticket is going to cost an extra $100, how about it?
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Next winter may prove to be very interesting.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://

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