|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||0601 To 1200|
|Locale Reference||airport : fll.airport|
|Altitude||agl single value : 0|
|Operator||common carrier : air carrier|
|Make Model Name||A320|
|Operating Under FAR Part||Part 121|
|Flight Phase||ground : preflight|
|Affiliation||company : air carrier|
|Function||flight crew : first officer|
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 260|
flight time total : 11500
flight time type : 5000
|Affiliation||company : air carrier|
|Function||flight crew : captain|
oversight : pic
|Anomaly||inflight encounter : weather|
non adherence : company policies
non adherence : far
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
other flight crewb
Flight Crew Human Performance
We arrived at fll and the gate agent opened the jetway for us to get to the aircraft. When she did; she told us that there was no one in operations and that if we needed anything to come back out the jetway and let her know. She also handed us our papers for the flight. We looked them over and since dispatch had already given us hold and extra fuel; we agreed we were happy with the fuel at 22.6 since we might have to deviate around storms enroute; but the WX in ord was great. After fully loading the box; release 2 printed on its own saying it was an ATC reroute. I looked at the hold and extra; saw we still had plenty for enroute deviations; and started loading the new route. I failed to realize that the fuel had been increased to 24.1; so made no effort to track anything down. Apparently; since no one works in fll operations; the new fuel load was never noticed by fll and the fueler never called to come back. It was not until the before start checklist that when we read 'fuel quantity' and looked at the actual versus flight plan did we notice the increase in fuel. We called station operations; and I don't know who answered but they said they would call the fuelers. I heard them call on the radio to someone else who said the fueler had left to go fuel another aircraft and would not be available for 15-20 minutes. Shortly thereafter fll operations called on the radio and said dispatch was happy with the original fuel load; and dispatch was going to contact us to release with the original release 1 fuel load. The captain and I discussed it and said no; we want the hold and extra. We called fll operations and told them this; and they said we would take a crew induced late departure for us increasing the fuel. We tried to point out to them that we had not increased the fuel; that dispatch had; and if they had had someone in operations to receive release 2 they would have known that. It didn't matter to them; they said we were going to take the late; and we said we didn't care; we wanted the fuel. Well; on its own release 3 prints out with the fuel at 22.6 (original rls 1 fuel) and said we were going to fly the exact same rls 2 route; but down 2000 ft at FL340 instead of rls 2 altitude of FL360; we were going to fly at .79 instead of rls 2 mach of .78; the route distance was somehow magically 1226 NM instead of 1288 NM as rls 2 said; the weight was within 1000 pounds; and we would still have the .8 hold and 1.0 extra fuel. To us someone had fudged the flight plan. You can't go lower and faster on the same filed route and burn less. We said we did not accept that and wanted the original dispatch generated rls 2 fuel of 24.1; and we waited for it. Release 4 arrived thereafter with the appropriate fuel. Next; we pushed and taxied. Taxiing out dispatch sent us an ACARS saying we were never released. The captain said she had handed a signed copy of the flight plan to the gate agent as she had asked us to do when we originally showed up; but there not being an operations person at fll; it was never input into the computer. So there I am; taxiing at fll where we had our most recent runway incursion and where 2 weeks ago I wrote a report about taxi problems at fll and how we are getting set up for another runway incursion; as I am heads down having to send for the release and then releasing the flight because fll has no one working in operations! We finally got airborne; but as is the case more times than not; if ATC has rerouted you once for WX enroute; they very likely will reroute you again; and they did. 80 miles and 10 minutes were added as a result of the second reroute; which used about 800 pounds more fuel. We ended up about 300 pounds above minimum fuel as we flew by stl; which we had discussed enroute with dispatch as our enroute refuel alternate if we needed it. Had we not insisted on the increased fuel we would have diverted; or barring that; been emergency fuel into ord. The singular cause of every issue we encountered on this flight (the delayed fueling/departure; the pressure to go with the inadequate fuel of release 1; the 'fudged' relase 3; the flight not being released until in the middle of taxiing out; and the near refuel divert into stl) was the understaffing of fll operations. Having gate agents perform the operations functions did not work. This airline has been cut to the bone. There is a fine line between being above the margin and being below the margin. At times on this flight people in the chain of events were dipping below that line. Luckily there were 2 pilots unwilling to compromise; even in the face of pressure; who pulled everyone else back above the line. We have been put in a bad position; and the management of this airline needs to stop financially managing us to the biggest profit for their bank accounts and start leading us to the best; safest operation.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: A320 FLT CREW RELATES NUMEROUS DISPATCH ISSUES REGARDING MARGINAL FUEL; BAD WX AND INADEQUATE HUMAN RESOURCES.
Narrative: WE ARRIVED AT FLL AND THE GATE AGENT OPENED THE JETWAY FOR US TO GET TO THE ACFT. WHEN SHE DID; SHE TOLD US THAT THERE WAS NO ONE IN OPS AND THAT IF WE NEEDED ANYTHING TO COME BACK OUT THE JETWAY AND LET HER KNOW. SHE ALSO HANDED US OUR PAPERS FOR THE FLT. WE LOOKED THEM OVER AND SINCE DISPATCH HAD ALREADY GIVEN US HOLD AND EXTRA FUEL; WE AGREED WE WERE HAPPY WITH THE FUEL AT 22.6 SINCE WE MIGHT HAVE TO DEVIATE AROUND STORMS ENROUTE; BUT THE WX IN ORD WAS GREAT. AFTER FULLY LOADING THE BOX; RELEASE 2 PRINTED ON ITS OWN SAYING IT WAS AN ATC REROUTE. I LOOKED AT THE HOLD AND EXTRA; SAW WE STILL HAD PLENTY FOR ENROUTE DEVIATIONS; AND STARTED LOADING THE NEW ROUTE. I FAILED TO REALIZE THAT THE FUEL HAD BEEN INCREASED TO 24.1; SO MADE NO EFFORT TO TRACK ANYTHING DOWN. APPARENTLY; SINCE NO ONE WORKS IN FLL OPS; THE NEW FUEL LOAD WAS NEVER NOTICED BY FLL AND THE FUELER NEVER CALLED TO COME BACK. IT WAS NOT UNTIL THE BEFORE START CHECKLIST THAT WHEN WE READ 'FUEL QUANTITY' AND LOOKED AT THE ACTUAL VERSUS FLT PLAN DID WE NOTICE THE INCREASE IN FUEL. WE CALLED STATION OPS; AND I DON'T KNOW WHO ANSWERED BUT THEY SAID THEY WOULD CALL THE FUELERS. I HEARD THEM CALL ON THE RADIO TO SOMEONE ELSE WHO SAID THE FUELER HAD LEFT TO GO FUEL ANOTHER ACFT AND WOULD NOT BE AVAILABLE FOR 15-20 MINUTES. SHORTLY THEREAFTER FLL OPS CALLED ON THE RADIO AND SAID DISPATCH WAS HAPPY WITH THE ORIGINAL FUEL LOAD; AND DISPATCH WAS GOING TO CONTACT US TO RELEASE WITH THE ORIGINAL RELEASE 1 FUEL LOAD. THE CAPT AND I DISCUSSED IT AND SAID NO; WE WANT THE HOLD AND EXTRA. WE CALLED FLL OPS AND TOLD THEM THIS; AND THEY SAID WE WOULD TAKE A CREW INDUCED LATE DEP FOR US INCREASING THE FUEL. WE TRIED TO POINT OUT TO THEM THAT WE HAD NOT INCREASED THE FUEL; THAT DISPATCH HAD; AND IF THEY HAD HAD SOMEONE IN OPS TO RECEIVE RELEASE 2 THEY WOULD HAVE KNOWN THAT. IT DIDN'T MATTER TO THEM; THEY SAID WE WERE GOING TO TAKE THE LATE; AND WE SAID WE DIDN'T CARE; WE WANTED THE FUEL. WELL; ON ITS OWN RELEASE 3 PRINTS OUT WITH THE FUEL AT 22.6 (ORIGINAL RLS 1 FUEL) AND SAID WE WERE GOING TO FLY THE EXACT SAME RLS 2 RTE; BUT DOWN 2000 FT AT FL340 INSTEAD OF RLS 2 ALTITUDE OF FL360; WE WERE GOING TO FLY AT .79 INSTEAD OF RLS 2 MACH OF .78; THE RTE DISTANCE WAS SOMEHOW MAGICALLY 1226 NM INSTEAD OF 1288 NM AS RLS 2 SAID; THE WEIGHT WAS WITHIN 1000 LBS; AND WE WOULD STILL HAVE THE .8 HOLD AND 1.0 EXTRA FUEL. TO US SOMEONE HAD FUDGED THE FLT PLAN. YOU CAN'T GO LOWER AND FASTER ON THE SAME FILED RTE AND BURN LESS. WE SAID WE DID NOT ACCEPT THAT AND WANTED THE ORIGINAL DISPATCH GENERATED RLS 2 FUEL OF 24.1; AND WE WAITED FOR IT. RELEASE 4 ARRIVED THEREAFTER WITH THE APPROPRIATE FUEL. NEXT; WE PUSHED AND TAXIED. TAXIING OUT DISPATCH SENT US AN ACARS SAYING WE WERE NEVER RELEASED. THE CAPT SAID SHE HAD HANDED A SIGNED COPY OF THE FLT PLAN TO THE GATE AGENT AS SHE HAD ASKED US TO DO WHEN WE ORIGINALLY SHOWED UP; BUT THERE NOT BEING AN OPS PERSON AT FLL; IT WAS NEVER INPUT INTO THE COMPUTER. SO THERE I AM; TAXIING AT FLL WHERE WE HAD OUR MOST RECENT RWY INCURSION AND WHERE 2 WEEKS AGO I WROTE A RPT ABOUT TAXI PROBLEMS AT FLL AND HOW WE ARE GETTING SET UP FOR ANOTHER RWY INCURSION; AS I AM HEADS DOWN HAVING TO SEND FOR THE RELEASE AND THEN RELEASING THE FLT BECAUSE FLL HAS NO ONE WORKING IN OPS! WE FINALLY GOT AIRBORNE; BUT AS IS THE CASE MORE TIMES THAN NOT; IF ATC HAS REROUTED YOU ONCE FOR WX ENROUTE; THEY VERY LIKELY WILL REROUTE YOU AGAIN; AND THEY DID. 80 MILES AND 10 MINUTES WERE ADDED AS A RESULT OF THE SECOND REROUTE; WHICH USED ABOUT 800 LBS MORE FUEL. WE ENDED UP ABOUT 300 LBS ABOVE MINIMUM FUEL AS WE FLEW BY STL; WHICH WE HAD DISCUSSED ENROUTE WITH DISPATCH AS OUR ENROUTE REFUEL ALTERNATE IF WE NEEDED IT. HAD WE NOT INSISTED ON THE INCREASED FUEL WE WOULD HAVE DIVERTED; OR BARRING THAT; BEEN EMER FUEL INTO ORD. THE SINGULAR CAUSE OF EVERY ISSUE WE ENCOUNTERED ON THIS FLT (THE DELAYED FUELING/DEP; THE PRESSURE TO GO WITH THE INADEQUATE FUEL OF RELEASE 1; THE 'FUDGED' RELASE 3; THE FLT NOT BEING RELEASED UNTIL IN THE MIDDLE OF TAXIING OUT; AND THE NEAR REFUEL DIVERT INTO STL) WAS THE UNDERSTAFFING OF FLL OPS. HAVING GATE AGENTS PERFORM THE OPS FUNCTIONS DID NOT WORK. THIS AIRLINE HAS BEEN CUT TO THE BONE. THERE IS A FINE LINE BETWEEN BEING ABOVE THE MARGIN AND BEING BELOW THE MARGIN. AT TIMES ON THIS FLT PEOPLE IN THE CHAIN OF EVENTS WERE DIPPING BELOW THAT LINE. LUCKILY THERE WERE 2 PLTS UNWILLING TO COMPROMISE; EVEN IN THE FACE OF PRESSURE; WHO PULLED EVERYONE ELSE BACK ABOVE THE LINE. WE HAVE BEEN PUT IN A BAD POSITION; AND THE MANAGEMENT OF THIS AIRLINE NEEDS TO STOP FINANCIALLY MANAGING US TO THE BIGGEST PROFIT FOR THEIR BANK ACCOUNTS AND START LEADING US TO THE BEST; SAFEST OPERATION.
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.