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Lack of fuel forces Qantas jet to land in heavy fog

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oz_mark

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From News: Lack of fuel forces Qantas jet to land in heavy fog | NEWS.com.au

A QANTAS international flight was forced to land in heavy fog in Perth because the plane didn't have enough fuel to fly to a safer location, an investigation has found.


The Australian Transport Safety Bureau said Qantas’s fuel policy did not allow for pilots to land in a different runway if conditions were dangerous at Perth Airport.
 

maninblack

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This is interesting. What is the alternate for Perth? RAAF Pearce? But this would be fogged in too, but okay for other emergencies. KGI runway is under 6000ft. GET, 6500ft? and these are both far away. Albany also under 6000ft. I mean its a long way to Adelaide!

Apparently the alternate is Learmonth...er thats 2 hours north...makes you wonder.
 
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oz_mark

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maninblack said:
This is interesting. What is the alternate for Perth? RAAF Pearce? But this would be fogged in too, but okay for other emergencies. KGI runway is under 6000ft. GET, 6500ft? and these are both far away. Albany also under 6000ft. I mean its a long way to Adelaide!

Apparently the alternate is Learmonth...er thats 2 hours north...makes you wonder.
Most international arrivals into Perth are form the North, and there are landings at Learmonth from time to time, assuming the decision is made while you have enough fuel to get there :)

I think Pearce would be too small - large military aircraft have been known to use Perth. There are not lots of airports in WA where you can land a widebody.

ATSB report: 200605473
 

straitman

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oz_mark said:
Most international arrivals into Perth are form the North, and there are landings at Learmonth from time to time, assuming the decision is made while you have enough fuel to get there :)

I think Pearce would be too small - large military aircraft have been known to use Perth. There are not lots of airports in WA where you can land a widebody.

ATSB report: 200605473
Not sure about Pearce being too small though. I've seen many KC135 & DC10 size a/c there over the years and even a B1 bomber.

Having said that the lack of facilities could have been interesting. Also Pearce often has a different weather pattern than Perth.
 

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Technically, a flight should carry enough fuel to get to its planned destination and then still be able to make it to a suitable alternate airport. So even though it often known well before arrival that a diversion is required and a PER-destined flight could divert to Learmonth (if from North) or ADL (if from East), this would not help if PER suddenly became unavailable as the flight was on final approach, such as may be the case if the flight ahead was unable to clear the runway (perhaps due to a wheels-up landing or some other incident).
 

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straitman said:
Not sure about Pearce being too small though. I've seen many KC135 & DC10 size a/c there over the years and even a B1 bomber.
I checked, they can - but they often fly down to Perth to refuel!!
 

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oz_mark said:
I checked, they can - but they often fly down to Perth to refuel!!
And isn't that exactly what a diverted A330 would do? I expect the RAAF will land a KC30 there at some stage.
 

maninblack

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NM said:
Technically, a flight should carry enough fuel to get to its planned destination and then still be able to make it to a suitable alternate airport. So even though it often known well before arrival that a diversion is required and a PER-destined flight could divert to Learmonth (if from North) or ADL (if from East), this would not help if PER suddenly became unavailable as the flight was on final approach, such as may be the case if the flight ahead was unable to clear the runway (perhaps due to a wheels-up landing or some other incident).
And what about flights coming from the west?

Or when circumstances change suddenly as you point out.

RAAF Pearce has a main runway over 8000ft and could handle widebody aircraft in an emergency but doesn't have many of the sophisticated technical systems Perth has...and yes the B1 has visited there.

Here is a bit of interesting reading. 200201556
 

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maninblack said:
And what about flights coming from the west?
Makes no difference which direction the flight is coming from. They should carry enough fuel to reach the planned destination and THEN to divert to an alternate if required. The only comments about approaching from the north or east was regarding an early decision to divert, thus saving flying all the way to PER and then looking for long enough piece of lack stuff to put it down.
 

meloz

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I believe Meekatharra (MKR) is a viable alternate for PER. 400 miles away and 7100 ft of rwy.
 

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maninblack said:
RAAF Pearce has a main runway over 8000ft and could handle widebody aircraft in an emergency but doesn't have many of the sophisticated technical systems Perth has...and yes the B1 has visited there.
Isn't that what I said :?:

I've landed at Pearce 'many' times :!:

.... and more correctly 'a' B1 has visited not 'the' B1. The yanks actually have a few of these :!:
 

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straitman said:
I've landed at Pearce 'many' times :!:
But you don't require much more than 40 feet of "runway" to land and take-off. Or are you talking about a previous life :confused: .
 

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NM said:
But you don't require much more than 40 feet of "runway" to land and take-off. Or are you talking about a previous life :confused: .
That may depend on how much you skid if your a light plane or a heavy plane :D

I don't know WA airports at all but PER seems like a good one to land at...
I just wonder why even MEL & SYD don't have ILS level II or III, maybe due to surrounding buildings etc being a problem.

The issue with landing at some airports mentioned would be down to the fact there would be a lack of fire fighting facilities etc.

But also the international flight issue and having customs/immirations offical to meet the plane, the seem to care more about that these days than anything else.

E
 

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Evan said:
I don't know WA airports at all but PER seems like a good one to land at...
I just wonder why even MEL & SYD don't have ILS level II or III, maybe due to surrounding buildings etc being a problem.
The powers that be seem to have determined that the cost of maintaining such systems is not warranted for the few days that the airports are affected by poor visibility conditions :confused: .
Evan said:
But also the international flight issue and having customs/immirations offical to meet the plane, the seem to care more about that these days than anything else.
Poor visibility delays are generally short-lived, so it would be feasible to keep the passengers on board, refuel and then head either to the original planned destination or take on enough fuel to get to another port that does have appropriate I&C facilities.
 

oz_mark

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NM said:
Makes no difference which direction the flight is coming from. They should carry enough fuel to reach the planned destination and THEN to divert to an alternate if required.
While this sounds like a reasonable process, this does not actually seem to be part of the fuel policy in force.
 

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oz_mark said:
While this sounds like a reasonable process, this does not actually seem to be part of the fuel policy in force.
Indeed that would seem to be the case at least for PER arrivals from Asia :rolleyes: .

Which beg the question as to what they would do if, while on final approach to PER, the airport became unavailable?
 

Evan

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You would have to land at one of the other listed alternates even though they are not ideal (ie maybe no fire fighting etc)

Or maybe they should start fitting the 4wd tyres so you can just put it down in the desert somewhere ;)

I have no idea what a 330 with fulll pax but little fuel would take to pull up but they seem to do it rather quickly so i imagine it does not need too much runway.

E
 

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Evan said:
I have no idea what a 330 with fulll pax but little fuel would take to pull up but they seem to do it rather quickly so i imagine it does not need too much runway.
E
Isn't the general problem with shorter runways taking off again? IIRC, an MH 744 made an approach to Essendon one day, and whilst it was dicey whether they would have pulled up in time, even if it did there was definitely no way that aircraft would have been leaving the airport, except in pieces.
 

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Evan said:
I have no idea what a 330 with fulll pax but little fuel would take to pull up but they seem to do it rather quickly so i imagine it does not need too much runway.
Getting it out again may be an issue!

QF has managed to put a 747-200 and a 707-138 on the ground at Longreach, but without runway extensions, there they will stay. Of course, such one-ways are no unique to Longreach. There is a B52 and a Concorde sitting at Duxford (near Cambridge, north of London) that needed to stripped of all excess weight in order to land, and neither is ever going to fly out under their own steam.

Maybe Qantas is planning a new museum for modern airliners at KGI?

On several occasions, NZ has diverted 747 aircraft from AKL or CHC to WLG and had to fly the aircraft out empty with the passengers on smaller aircraft.
 

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NM said:
Getting it out again may be an issue!

QF has managed to put a 747-200 and a 707-138 on the ground at Longreach, but without runway extensions, there they will stay. Of course, such one-ways are no unique to Longreach. There is a B52 and a Concorde sitting at Duxford (near Cambridge, north of London) that needed to stripped of all excess weight in order to land, and neither is ever going to fly out under their own steam.
One suspects that in a real emergency they would just put the plane down anywhere it could be done, and worry about how to get it out of there later.
 
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