|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1201 To 1800|
|Locale Reference||airport : zzz.airport|
|Controlling Facilities||tower : gck.tower|
|Operator||common carrier : air carrier|
|Make Model Name||A319|
|Operating Under FAR Part||Part 121|
|Flight Phase||descent : intermediate altitude|
|Affiliation||company : air carrier|
|Function||flight crew : captain|
oversight : pic
|Qualification||pilot : atp|
|Anomaly||other anomaly other|
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||none taken : anomaly accepted|
The dispatcher; in order to save money on fuel; gave a planned re-release from mroc. We departed mroc and had to deviate over cuban airspace for WX. This lowered our estimated arrival fuel considerably. We adjusted our cruise speed to mach .76 to save fuel. The planned re-release at ZZZ1 was 7798 pounds and we estimated over ZZZ1 at 6900 pounds so dispatch changed re-release to 6688 pounds. On descent into ZZZ area declared minimum fuel to prevent any unusual vectoring. We landed with 4600 pounds. It is obvious to me that in order to save the high fuel price at mroc we were dispatched with a minimum fuel load. Dispatchers often cut it so close to save a couple hundred dollars and risk a diversion with the expenses of more fuel; missed connections; out of base customs; and longer crew days. A 1000 pound or 2000 pound cushion would be a much better plan since the payload easily allowed it in this case. I believe our fuel tankering and re-release policies need to be examined. I am all for saving money but I do not believe we should make the margins so narrow. Specifically; re-releases are cut too close and we often tanker fuel to places that have short runways (sub 7000 ft) in gusty and strong crosswind conditions. Recently dispatcher was advising me to land on 5600 ft of runway with 129000 pounds with winds 330 degrees at 16 KTS gusting to 25 KTS. I defueled 5000 pounds with 30 min delay. Yes; the airplane is capable; but if we put ourselves on the margin multiple times we increase the risk of overruns. In one case; I was dispatched with 50000 pounds fuel and when I arrived due to icing had to make flaps 3 degree approach with a 90 degree crosswind 15 KTS gusting to 25 KTS on an icy runway. My approach speed was 170 KTS. Let's make economical but wise decisions about fuel. Multiple challenges of short runways; high gross weight; strong gusty crosswind; at night in the WX seem unnecessary when easily mitigated. I realize I broadened the discussion from the original event but I think it is part of the overall problem -- overemphasis on economy to the detriment of safety.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: A319 CAPTAIN BELIEVES ECONOMICALLY DRIVEN COMPANY POLICY ON FUEL IMPACTS SAFETY IN MULTIPLE WAYS.
Narrative: THE DISPATCHER; IN ORDER TO SAVE MONEY ON FUEL; GAVE A PLANNED RE-RELEASE FROM MROC. WE DEPARTED MROC AND HAD TO DEVIATE OVER CUBAN AIRSPACE FOR WX. THIS LOWERED OUR ESTIMATED ARR FUEL CONSIDERABLY. WE ADJUSTED OUR CRUISE SPD TO MACH .76 TO SAVE FUEL. THE PLANNED RE-RELEASE AT ZZZ1 WAS 7798 LBS AND WE ESTIMATED OVER ZZZ1 AT 6900 LBS SO DISPATCH CHANGED RE-RELEASE TO 6688 LBS. ON DSCNT INTO ZZZ AREA DECLARED MINIMUM FUEL TO PREVENT ANY UNUSUAL VECTORING. WE LANDED WITH 4600 LBS. IT IS OBVIOUS TO ME THAT IN ORDER TO SAVE THE HIGH FUEL PRICE AT MROC WE WERE DISPATCHED WITH A MINIMUM FUEL LOAD. DISPATCHERS OFTEN CUT IT SO CLOSE TO SAVE A COUPLE HUNDRED DOLLARS AND RISK A DIVERSION WITH THE EXPENSES OF MORE FUEL; MISSED CONNECTIONS; OUT OF BASE CUSTOMS; AND LONGER CREW DAYS. A 1000 LB OR 2000 LB CUSHION WOULD BE A MUCH BETTER PLAN SINCE THE PAYLOAD EASILY ALLOWED IT IN THIS CASE. I BELIEVE OUR FUEL TANKERING AND RE-RELEASE POLICIES NEED TO BE EXAMINED. I AM ALL FOR SAVING MONEY BUT I DO NOT BELIEVE WE SHOULD MAKE THE MARGINS SO NARROW. SPECIFICALLY; RE-RELEASES ARE CUT TOO CLOSE AND WE OFTEN TANKER FUEL TO PLACES THAT HAVE SHORT RWYS (SUB 7000 FT) IN GUSTY AND STRONG XWIND CONDITIONS. RECENTLY DISPATCHER WAS ADVISING ME TO LAND ON 5600 FT OF RWY WITH 129000 LBS WITH WINDS 330 DEGS AT 16 KTS GUSTING TO 25 KTS. I DEFUELED 5000 LBS WITH 30 MIN DELAY. YES; THE AIRPLANE IS CAPABLE; BUT IF WE PUT OURSELVES ON THE MARGIN MULTIPLE TIMES WE INCREASE THE RISK OF OVERRUNS. IN ONE CASE; I WAS DISPATCHED WITH 50000 LBS FUEL AND WHEN I ARRIVED DUE TO ICING HAD TO MAKE FLAPS 3 DEG APCH WITH A 90 DEG XWIND 15 KTS GUSTING TO 25 KTS ON AN ICY RWY. MY APCH SPD WAS 170 KTS. LET'S MAKE ECONOMICAL BUT WISE DECISIONS ABOUT FUEL. MULTIPLE CHALLENGES OF SHORT RWYS; HIGH GROSS WT; STRONG GUSTY XWIND; AT NIGHT IN THE WX SEEM UNNECESSARY WHEN EASILY MITIGATED. I REALIZE I BROADENED THE DISCUSSION FROM THE ORIGINAL EVENT BUT I THINK IT IS PART OF THE OVERALL PROB -- OVEREMPHASIS ON ECONOMY TO THE DETRIMENT OF SAFETY.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of January 2009 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.