Out of fuel??? Are you kidding me?


#1

After much debate and hesitation I decided to fly commercially to Washington DC. What’s the Baron for then, you say??? I know, I know… There were several considerations including coordinating among a number of people I was meeting, the need to make it in time for a convention, etc… The most important reason was that I was coming off of five days of call and I could not foresee what kind of night I would have the day before the trip and I did not want to fly sleep deprived, etc… I was worried about the F in “IM SAFE”.

So I am sitting here at the gate in… Richmond VA! The direct “nonstop” flight from Orlando to Reagan National in DC had to divert to Richmond for fuel! It was supposed to be a 1:45 flight. It left 15 minutes early. Weather in DC was rainy and delays were expected. As we approached DC, we were told by the captain that we would have to hold for traffic but that it would be about 10 minutes or less. We were about 10 minutes short of our destination. It was about 10 minutes later when the captain came on the PA system and announced rather sheepishly that we did not have enough fuel to make DC and that we would be landing in Richmond. I cannot imagine how you could get into a fuel shortage situation on such a short flight because you had to hold for 10 minutes or so on a day where you knew the weather was bad at the busy destination airport, i.e. delays would be expected…!

To make matters worse they later tried to blame it on weather, giving the passengers the impression that weather in DC was so bad that they had to divert. In fact the weather in Richmond was worse than DC: I looked it up! As I looked out the side window during what seemed like an endless approach to Richmond, I was very concerned that the field may be below minimums. Low hanging clouds looked like fog and the visibility was poor. Would they have enough fuel if they missed the approach to try again? Even worse, did they have enough fuel to make the alternate if needed? As it turned out Visibility was 1000 feet, ceilings were less than 2000 feet. DCA was reporting much better. I was truly scared. I had never been truly scared on a commercial flight before. I had lost confidence in that crew. I was praying to get on the ground, and that did not come soon enough.

Needless to say, my “non stop” flight was not, I missed my meeting and got very scared. Next time: Baron all the way!

Check out the Flightaware track:
flightaware.com/live/flight/AWE3 … /KMCO/KDCA


#2

Regional jets have all the “holding” time of an older gentleman with bladder issues after a couple of beers.


#3

I’ve always had that problem.

The airlines have been putting minimum fuel on board flights for years trying to save weight/money.
The occasional diversion, to the bean counters, is outweighed by the fuel savings on every flight. It’s embarrassing to our entire industry but when you let bean counters (my father was one) run the show that is what you get.


#4

My experience with the tiny holding pattern time was on a flight from OKC to PHX one Christmas season about 5 years ago. PHX managed to get under the yearly fog bank and was below minimums for an hour or so in the morning. Spectacularly clear everywhere except the airport.

As we circled in the holding pattern, I could see the larger air carriers doing the same. After about 10 minutes, the pilot announced it was time to divert. We landed in TUS, and left for PHX about 40 minutes later.


#5

38 yrs Cap… CAL/Saudia… Tell the pax as little as possible…Mostly …Never tell them anything…


#6

I flew a G200 from SRQ to HYA on the 15th and I can tell you I was seeing 120kts on the nose, it was never forecasted to that strong.
To make matters worse for the first time ever I reported Severe Turbulence over South Carolina.
The Fuel stop might have been do to those winds and the super bad ride above FL300 most airlines were down below FL280 to avoid the bumps, meaning they were burning more fuel.


#7

I once took a flight from Los Angeles to Frankfurt which landed ten minutes short of its destination in Bonn to refuel. It’s kind of silly that a transatlantic flight comes up 70 miles short on fuel.


#8

It’s better than the plane landing at its destination and having to be towed to the gate due to lack of fuel.


#9

Or worse, half way between the two.


#10

Pretty sure that not the case, If they land with less then 45min of Fuel and have also used the fuel needed to get to their ALT they’d be in a world of trouble.
So most of the time its a save my ass fuel stop


#11

On a recent Air Canada flight from Houston to Calgary, I collected this information from the back of the seat: the digital map and the in flight magazine. The Bombardier CRJ705 is listed there as having a range of 1722 miles. The map says the distance between the two cities is 1750 miles. The aircraft must have been equipped with extra fuel tanks. However, I wonder how much fuel was in them when we landed in Calgary. You don’t suppose Air Canada is pushing the limits of regional aircraft in order to satisfy the shareholders, do you?


#12

The Jazz website lists the CRJ-705’s range at 1800 miles with a full load. If it wasn’t full, it can go farther. Bombardier shows the range of the lowest-range version of the CRJ-705 as being 1951 miles and the longest range version being 2317 miles WITH A FULL PAYLOAD.


#13

The ‘range value’ may also allow for the tanks to still have the safety margin still available rather than empty.

Gary


#14

In order to get that range you need to take off with full fuel, They don’t do all the time. There are several reasons why- including performance issues, fuel cost etc.