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Aviation Safety Reporting System
|airport : sju.airport
|agl single value : 0
|common carrier : air carrier
|Make Model Name
|Operating Under FAR Part
|ground : parked
ground : preflight
|company : air carrier
|company : air carrier
|flight crew : captain
oversight : pic
|aircraft equipment problem : critical
maintenance problem : non compliance with mel
non adherence : published procedure
non adherence : far
non adherence : company policies
|aircraft equipment other aircraft equipment : trim tank fuel quantity indicator
other flight crewa
|contributing factor : schedule pressure
performance deficiency : non compliance with legal requirements
performance deficiency : repair
Flight Crew Human Performance
Prior to departure, station personnel at sju called and advised that the captain for flight had requested that the fueler put an additional 1500 pounds on board the aircraft above the required release fuel. When I discussed this request with the captain I discovered the following: 1) the aircraft had an MEL applied against the center of gravity control system. This MEL requires that if there is any fuel in the trim (tail) tank that fuel must be considered unusable ballast. 2) 1500 pounds of fuel was trapped in the trim tank from a previous flight and was accounted for in the weight and balance system as an empty operating weight exception. 3) this is the only aircraft in the fleet that accounts for ballast fuel as an empty operating weight exception. 4) as a result, this ballast fuel does not show up on the fuel slip provided to the fuelers. 5) the fueler in this case stopped fueling when the totalizer gauge equaled the fuel slip amount. 6) the captain caught the discrepancy and had the fueler put the minimum requirement on board prior to departure. 7) this was an exceptionally good catch on the captain's part since the weight and balance system doesn't show the ballast fuel in this case, contrary to the A300 am-performance section. 8) subsequent to the captain's actions, a mechanic was able to free the trapped fuel and pump it into the wings, creating usable fuel. However, without the captain actions, the flight may have departed without minimum usable fuel. The weight and balance procedure for this MEL are contrary to published procedures in the aircraft's operating manual.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: A300 CREW HAD AN MEL ITEM RENDERING THE TAIL TRIM TANK INOP. THERE WAS FUEL IN THE TRIM TANK IN NON COMPLIANCE WITH THE MEL. A MECH WAS ABLE TO RELEASE THE FUEL IN THE TRIM TANK.
Narrative: PRIOR TO DEP, STATION PERSONNEL AT SJU CALLED AND ADVISED THAT THE CAPT FOR FLT HAD REQUESTED THAT THE FUELER PUT AN ADDITIONAL 1500 LBS ON BOARD THE ACFT ABOVE THE REQUIRED RELEASE FUEL. WHEN I DISCUSSED THIS REQUEST WITH THE CAPT I DISCOVERED THE FOLLOWING: 1) THE ACFT HAD AN MEL APPLIED AGAINST THE CTR OF GRAVITY CTL SYS. THIS MEL REQUIRES THAT IF THERE IS ANY FUEL IN THE TRIM (TAIL) TANK THAT FUEL MUST BE CONSIDERED UNUSABLE BALLAST. 2) 1500 LBS OF FUEL WAS TRAPPED IN THE TRIM TANK FROM A PREVIOUS FLT AND WAS ACCOUNTED FOR IN THE WT AND BAL SYS AS AN EMPTY OPERATING WT EXCEPTION. 3) THIS IS THE ONLY ACFT IN THE FLEET THAT ACCOUNTS FOR BALLAST FUEL AS AN EMPTY OPERATING WT EXCEPTION. 4) AS A RESULT, THIS BALLAST FUEL DOES NOT SHOW UP ON THE FUEL SLIP PROVIDED TO THE FUELERS. 5) THE FUELER IN THIS CASE STOPPED FUELING WHEN THE TOTALIZER GAUGE EQUALED THE FUEL SLIP AMOUNT. 6) THE CAPT CAUGHT THE DISCREPANCY AND HAD THE FUELER PUT THE MINIMUM REQUIREMENT ON BOARD PRIOR TO DEP. 7) THIS WAS AN EXCEPTIONALLY GOOD CATCH ON THE CAPT'S PART SINCE THE WT AND BAL SYS DOESN'T SHOW THE BALLAST FUEL IN THIS CASE, CONTRARY TO THE A300 AM-PERFORMANCE SECTION. 8) SUBSEQUENT TO THE CAPT'S ACTIONS, A MECH WAS ABLE TO FREE THE TRAPPED FUEL AND PUMP IT INTO THE WINGS, CREATING USABLE FUEL. HOWEVER, WITHOUT THE CAPT ACTIONS, THE FLT MAY HAVE DEPARTED WITHOUT MINIMUM USABLE FUEL. THE WT AND BAL PROC FOR THIS MEL ARE CONTRARY TO PUBLISHED PROCS IN THE ACFT'S OPERATING MANUAL.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of July 2007 and automatically converted to unabbreviated mixed upper/lowercase text. This report is for informational purposes with no guarantee of accuracy. See NASA's ASRS site for official report.