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Bloviating Zeppelin: Less Jet-A?

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Less Jet-A?

NEW YORK (CNN) -- U.S. Airways is pressuring pilots to use less fuel, undermining their authority and possibly compromising safety, according to a spokesman for the U.S. Airline Pilots Association.

U.S. Airways says it wants pilots to balance an appropriate amount of fuel with rising gas prices.

Eight pilots and their union have filed complaints with the Federal Aviation Administration, accusing the airline of infringing on their authority and making them fly with less fuel than they feel is safe, said James Ray, a spokesman for the U.S. Airline Pilots Association.

There are two sets of fuel rules:

1. Those set by the FAA: when you file a flight plan, you also file an alternate airport for emergent purposes. Fuel burn is known, distance is known. You must have 45 minutes of fuel when arriving at your primary destination, but also 45 minutes of fuel in reserve at your alternate destination as well.

2. The Pilot in command has the final decision: in terms of how much fuel to put on board, and other issues.

Most pilots know when they have to wait for takeoff. If there is a taxi time issue, most pilots will run the ramps with one engine and then, when closer, spool up the second engine in line. A Southwest 737, for example, will burn 800 pounds of fuel per hour, per engine, to taxi. Climbout burns 2,000 pounds of fuel per hour, per engine.

There are also various economy settings in a commercial aircraft. Power may be pulled back in order to save fuel in flight. Fuel is heavy. There may be 100,000 pounds of fuel on board a large commercial craft.

US Airways has apparently had a consistent history of discontent between its pilots and management.

The big question: are these pilots adding 2,000 or 3,000 additional pounds of fuel -- what most pilots consider very reasonable? Or are they adding 10,000 pounds, 12,000 pounds?



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to look at this somewhat like an HMO. The company or HMO administrators, are out to save/not spend the company money. The pilot/doctor is out to do what the customer/patient really needs to be safe. I think I will go along with the pilots on this on. Its kind of like being operated on for cancer instead of given a pain killer for it.

Thu Jul 17, 02:53:00 PM PDT  
Blogger TexasFred said...

Ya know, public safety is just not a thing we can compromise, and last time I checked passenger liners don't have air to air refueling capabilities...

Jet fuel next exit isn't an option either, maybe parachutes will be provided, you know, just in case...

Thu Jul 17, 04:33:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

0WMD & TF: some are saying these whiny union-driven US Air pilots are just trying to throw some sand in the vaseline. If they're preloading another 10,000 pounds, well yeah, maybe that's a point. But I'm not reading this. I have to go with safety, period.

Look: the airlines can't afford, literally, to take a wrong tack at this time in the economy.


Thu Jul 17, 05:18:00 PM PDT  
Blogger ABFreedom said...

With the air system running at capacity, the narrow turn around times, and very little compensation time for errors, I'd have to side with the pilots. When something goes wrong, you don't need even more variables.

Thu Jul 17, 05:31:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Mark said...

the pilots can fix this easy, just start making unscheduled stops for fuel out of concern they may not have enough to get to their destination. when the suits have to pay for extra landings and take-offs, and their precious schedule gets screwed, I'll bet they change their tune.

Fri Jul 18, 04:14:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If they're preloading another 10,000 pounds, well yeah, maybe that's a point."

I seriously doubt that they are overloading by that much. They want to be as light as possible when they land. The last thing you need is an extra 10k lbs slamming down on a wet or icy runway at 150+mph

Fri Jul 18, 01:05:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

WMD: so you made my point. Sounds like sour grapes with US Air.


Sat Jul 19, 10:27:00 AM PDT  
Blogger BobF said...

Aircraft always put on extra fuel in case of emergencies. Safe landing weights are calculated based on current runway conditions. Pilots know what they can safely land with and will get the aircraft weight and CG into proper configuration. They know their life and the lives of their passengers are on the line, not some clown sitting in an office.

The pilot always has the final say if the aircraft is safe to fly. It's that way in the civilian world and also in the military. No officer, no matter what rank, can order a pilot during peacetime to fly an aircraft the pilot doesn't think is safe.

Sun Jul 20, 11:16:00 AM PDT  

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