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View Full Version : ETOPS question...


Excargodog
04-17-2018, 09:02 PM
The un contained engine explosion and the tragic death on the Southwest flight today was an enormously improbable event, but it sort of made me wonder. What would have happened had this occurred on an ETOPS flight between Hawai'i and LAX or SEA?

I would assume that with a window missing and rents in the fuselage, the remaining single engine would be hard pressed to maintain much cabin pressurization. If not, I would again assume that the usual drift down scenario for maximizing range with an engine loss is now N/A, since the pax need to get down to an altitude where they won't require supplemental oxygen in 10-12 minutes.

Even so, if you were midway between Hawai'i and the US in flight time (allowing for winds), do you have reserve fuel enough to make it at - say - 12,500 MSL? Or is fuel consumption high enough at that altitude that you can't? Or at least, that you'd have to make a Hob's choice and fly at some higher altitude to make it, even knowing cabin pressurization might be above where you'd like it and more vulnerable people in the cabin, like those with COPD, might be placed at risk?

I realize most people are not going to see either an engine loss OR a rapid loss of cabin pressurization in their flying career, let alone the two as simultaneous events but I can't help but wonder how you ETOPS guys (and gals) would handle such a situation.


Cookie Puss
04-17-2018, 09:07 PM
All contingencies (worst case) are planned for in terms of fuel available to get to the nearest suitable airport.

flensr
04-17-2018, 09:21 PM
All contingencies (worst case) are planned for in terms of fuel available to get to the nearest suitable airport.

Does the planning consider continuing the flight at 10k altitude with uncontained engine damage possibly causing a fuel leak in one main wing tank? That could be a loss of several thousand pounds of fuel plus significantly higher fuel flow from low altitude, single engine ops, and higher drag around the damaged nacelle and past the busted-out window.

I'm not sure any aircraft doing ETOPS would fare well in that situation. That's one reason why a single-blade shedding event is supposed to remain contained, as part of the original certification process.


Rama
04-17-2018, 11:19 PM
ETOPS does factor in depressurizing and flying at 10,000' feet to destination or returning.

jcountry
04-18-2018, 04:14 AM
The critical fuel scenario required by the advisory circular (perhaps codified in FAR now?) requires the most restrictive fuel contingency to be protected. It is either 1EO (1 engine operating at MCT (maximum continuous thrust) driftdown level off altitude (in my experience 16-18,000 feet for a 767-300ER) or 1EO at 10,000 feet (depressurization scenario). Icing also has to be evaluated, though I've heard people argue that the drag created by a potential "frozen fan" on the dead engine was never accounted for. You can be negative fuel at ETP due to unplanned overburn in the early part of the flight but you cannot plan to be negative fuel at ETP.

Little known factoid: Some foreign carriers that have no regulatory requirement for Dispatch routinely plan their flights with negative fuel at ETP. This is due to "corporate bean counters" dictating fuel loads. If the public only knew. Imagine losing an engine at the equal time point and running out of fuel prior to reaching the diversion airport.

There are risks to everything.

ETOPS doesn’t account for fires-for example. In any major fire scenario, planes have become unflyable in 30 mins or less. In that sort of situation, you are in the water.

The folks who set out to design ETOPS knew there would eventually be non-good-outcome scenarios. They should be rare, but one day, one will happen.

The hole in fuel tank, extra drag scenarios, and other such events all have “in the water” as the outcome. Same can happen on a 3 or 4 engine plans.

Life has risk

rickair7777
04-18-2018, 04:15 AM
ETOPS accounts for engine out plus unpressurized cruise at 10k to the divert field. No engine/pack combo could maintain cabin pressure with a window out.

ETOPS does not account for excess drag due to structural failure... that would probably not work out with typical fuel loads.

captjns
04-18-2018, 04:17 AM
Little known factoid: Some foreign carriers that have no regulatory requirement for Dispatch routinely plan their flights with negative fuel at ETP. This is due to "corporate bean counters" dictating fuel loads. If the public only knew. Imagine losing an engine at the equal time point and running out of fuel prior to reaching the diversion airport.

I’ve flown with a few foreign ETOPs/EDto operators in 3 different continents. None have subscribed to the requirements you cite unless the airlines you cite are not ICAO members.

jcountry
04-18-2018, 08:05 AM
I’ve flown with a few foreign ETOPs/EDto operators in 3 different continents. None have subscribed to the requirements you cite unless the airlines you cite are not ICAO members.

I have heard exactly the same story from a guy who’s brother flies for one of the ME3

He said they regularly launch with about enough fuel to do a missed and flame out before a second attempt.

Those guys are on individual contracts which can be cancelled at any time. What do you expect them to do?

captjns
04-18-2018, 09:35 AM
I have heard exactly the same story from a guy who’s brother flies for one of the ME3

He said they regularly launch with about enough fuel to do a missed and flame out before a second attempt.

Those guys are on individual contracts which can be cancelled at any time. What do you expect them to do?

They’re grown ups... and can make decisions concerning their imminent threat to safety and careers. Been there done that, and have a few t-shirts.

LeeFXDWG
04-18-2018, 11:37 AM
There are risks to everything.

ETOPS doesn’t account for fires-for example. In any major fire scenario, planes have become unflyable in 30 mins or less. In that sort of situation, you are in the water.

The folks who set out to design ETOPS knew there would eventually be non-good-outcome scenarios. They should be rare, but one day, one will happen.

The hole in fuel tank, extra drag scenarios, and other such events all have “in the water” as the outcome. Same can happen on a 3 or 4 engine plans.

Life has risk

Couldn’t have said it better.

Lee

PerfInit
04-18-2018, 02:45 PM
For those into probability and stats, 1x10-7 is frequently used as a mathematical qualifier for risk assessments such as ETOPS emergency situations quantified as acceptable/very low/improbable. We wouldn’t want to over-regulate...

Excargodog
04-18-2018, 03:10 PM
For those into probability and stats, 1x10-7 is frequently used as a mathematical qualifier for risk assessments such as ETOPS emergency situations quantified as acceptable/very low/improbable. We wouldn’t want to over-regulate...
1x10-7 events per flight, per year, per passenger trip??

What units are you talking about here? I grant you that whatever the answer it is well within the bounds of what most rational people would consider safe, but if that is truly the number used there should be some units attached to it - for those of us into probability and statistics.

galaxy flyer
04-18-2018, 03:18 PM
I have heard exactly the same story from a guy who’s brother flies for one of the ME3

He said they regularly launch with about enough fuel to do a missed and flame out before a second attempt.

Those guys are on individual contracts which can be cancelled at any time. What do you expect them to do?

Yeah, right! You might as well heard from a flight attendant. Do you really believe a pilot would operate under those conditions?

GF

450knotOffice
04-18-2018, 03:24 PM
ETOPS accounts for engine out plus unpressurized cruise at 10k to the divert field. No engine/pack combo could maintain cabin pressure with a window out.

ETOPS does not account for excess drag due to structural failure... that would probably not work out with typical fuel loads.

And I’ll add for clarification that the engine failure and decompression are planned at equal time point. Blow an engine and lose cabin pressure just as you arrive at the ETP, descend to 10,000’ and fly on one engine all the way to your ETOPS alternates.

jcountry
04-18-2018, 06:10 PM
Yeah, right! You might as well heard from a flight attendant. Do you really believe a pilot would operate under those conditions?

GF

Absolutely.

When they will get fired for speaking out.

What do you think those individual contracts are for?

RemoveB4flght
04-18-2018, 07:11 PM
I have heard exactly the same story from a guy who’s brother flies for one of the ME3

He said they regularly launch with about enough fuel to do a missed and flame out before a second attempt.

Those guys are on individual contracts which can be cancelled at any time. What do you expect them to do?

Having flown here for nearly a decade I can quickly refute this claim. I have never been chastised nor threatened for adding fuel/changing ETOPS alternates.

It's also important to remember that ETOPS is a legality for dispatch, and what is planned and what is uplifted are two different things.

Once airborne the entry into ETOPS becomes a more mechanical/equipment/status issue. Once inside an ETOPS segment, the diversion plan is an emergency situation and up to the flight crew.

Airmanship and route experience dictate my fuel requirements at the dispatch stage. Typically ETOPS is considered as decision point between to airports over water, but I've had routes with a single alternate, and even ETOPS over land in Africa and China.

Dispatchers do consider economy/legality in their panning, but I ultimately decide what fuel is appropriate.

captjns
04-19-2018, 04:16 AM
I’ll dispute the original remark concerning ETOPs requirements. Other then when mutually agreed upon by the flight crew and dispatch/flight following, reducing taxi fuel, and increasing contingency fuel, I don’t know how a flight plan’s fuel summary, unless manually altered, could show such less than minimum fuel. Who in their right mind would sign such a release?

Friends and colleagues, nor myself, flying ETOPs operations, have never been called into management’s office for tea and biscuits, for leaving cargo behind for the sake of uplifting extra fuel.

There is no airman worth their salt that would take less than legal fuel. Fuel is directly proportionate the the life expectancy of an operation venturing over the water, with no suitable/adequate airport within 180/210 minutes of an ETP... especially transiting the ITZ, during cyclone season, dodging large areas of thunderstorms.

Non ICAO Member carriers? May be a different story.

captjns
04-19-2018, 05:25 AM
Not quite sure how you feel empowered to speak for so many people at so many carriers across the globe.

I, and others, have said that they have been a part of, or witnessed, operations at large and otherwise respected carriers where ETP fuel requirements were not met. This was as a result of corporate fuel mandates.

No others, other than you and Joe Country...

Now this is just a stretch... a flight plan/release, without the attached re-release may tally up to insufficient fuel. But that’s a partial picture without the full story.

CousinEddie
04-19-2018, 06:05 AM
When you have pilots at the ME3 “legally” flying 126 block hours in a single month, you begin to wonder about other aspects of the operation as well.

galaxy flyer
04-19-2018, 06:52 AM
So you don't even ensure that you have flight plan fuel prior to pushback?

Perhaps, the uplift is greater than FPL?

GF

trip
04-19-2018, 09:07 AM
So you don't even ensure that you have flight plan fuel prior to pushback?

Planned is always minimum "release fuel", are you an airline pilot?

RemoveB4flght
04-19-2018, 12:57 PM
So you don't even ensure that you have flight plan fuel prior to pushback?

That is most certainly NOT what I was saying.

1) At my carrier, if there is any deficiency in fuel at any ETOPS point, addendum fuel is added and clearly shown on the first page of the OFP in the required block fuel break down.

2) On a separate page each Entry, ETP (sometimes multiple in the same segment) and Exit is shown, along with planned fuel vs diversion requirement, whether an icing penalty is applied, what the more critical failure would be (engine failure, depressurization, or both) as well as diversion airport weather for all relevant windows of suitability.

3) My point is despite throrough planning, I will always uplift extra if I feel conditions of the route warrant it.

As a side note, when the ETOPs additional fuel is added to meet any deficiencies, it’s like free destination fuel, as you would only burn it should you divert in ETOPS. Good airmanship would mean I would subtract this from any holding/weather fuel I may need for the destination.

jcountry
04-20-2018, 03:48 AM
Having flown here for nearly a decade I can quickly refute this claim. I have never been chastised nor threatened for adding fuel/changing ETOPS alternates.

It's also important to remember that ETOPS is a legality for dispatch, and what is planned and what is uplifted are two different things.

Once airborne the entry into ETOPS becomes a more mechanical/equipment/status issue. Once inside an ETOPS segment, the diversion plan is an emergency situation and up to the flight crew.

Airmanship and route experience dictate my fuel requirements at the dispatch stage. Typically ETOPS is considered as decision point between to airports over water, but I've had routes with a single alternate, and even ETOPS over land in Africa and China.

Dispatchers do consider economy/legality in their panning, but I ultimately decide what fuel is appropriate.

So, you can speak for all 3 companies-and every member of their mgmt?

Interesting position to be in.

captjns
04-20-2018, 04:04 AM
When you have pilots at the ME3 “legally” flying 126 block hours in a single month, you begin to wonder about other aspects of the operation as well.

On the jet yes... in the seat no. Augmented crews.

If otherwise, share which ME3 you fly with and share first hand information? Second hand infor from the Publix Cashier doesn’t wash.

GogglesPisano
04-20-2018, 08:17 AM
On the jet yes... in the seat no. Augmented crews.

If otherwise, share which ME3 you fly with and share first hand information? Second hand infor from the Publix Cashier doesn’t wash.

Regardless. 126 hrs/month in an airplane is atrocious. No wonder guys bailing and can't be replaced.

captjns
04-20-2018, 08:40 AM
Regardless. 126 hrs/month in an airplane is atrocious. No wonder guys bailing and can't be replaced.

Atrococious? Very true. However, those who feel they are abused are adults. That said, no gun held to their head. No pictures, one can only hope, of pilots with small farm animals, to hold them hostage at their current place(s) of employment.

sailingfun
04-20-2018, 09:18 AM
The un contained engine explosion and the tragic death on the Southwest flight today was an enormously improbable event, but it sort of made me wonder. What would have happened had this occurred on an ETOPS flight between Hawai'i and LAX or SEA?

I would assume that with a window missing and rents in the fuselage, the remaining single engine would be hard pressed to maintain much cabin pressurization. If not, I would again assume that the usual drift down scenario for maximizing range with an engine loss is now N/A, since the pax need to get down to an altitude where they won't require supplemental oxygen in 10-12 minutes.

Even so, if you were midway between Hawai'i and the US in flight time (allowing for winds), do you have reserve fuel enough to make it at - say - 12,500 MSL? Or is fuel consumption high enough at that altitude that you can't? Or at least, that you'd have to make a Hob's choice and fly at some higher altitude to make it, even knowing cabin pressurization might be above where you'd like it and more vulnerable people in the cabin, like those with COPD, might be placed at risk?

I realize most people are not going to see either an engine loss OR a rapid loss of cabin pressurization in their flying career, let alone the two as simultaneous events but I can't help but wonder how you ETOPS guys (and gals) would handle such a situation.

All ETOPS flights including 3 and 4 engine aircraft have to plan for a Emergency decent to 10,000 and flight to the nearest suitable alternate. In practice there are normally other fuel issues that are more restrictive. USA to HNL is one segment where this may be the limiting fuel factor. I once had to divert on a L1011 because we were going to be below our decompression fuel but had plenty of fuel to reach HNL and divert to Hilo.

CousinEddie
04-20-2018, 01:10 PM
Atrococious? Very true. However, those who feel they are abused are adults. That said, no gun held to their head. No pictures, one can only hope, of pilots with small farm animals, to hold them hostage at their current place(s) of employment.

Yes I am referring to on the aircraft.

Here were some highlights of how you can get to 126:

SYD-DXB 14:20 block, but only counts as 6:30 towards the monthly cap.

DH 16 hours DXB-LAX. 12 hour layover at hotel. Fly red-eye LAX- Milan. Minimum layover again. DH back to DXB. Total of 6 hours towards the monthly cap.

Sounds miserable. I guess the ME3 would blame unions for FAR Part 117 rules. Never mind that it is science based.

captjns
04-21-2018, 03:33 AM
Yes I am referring to on the aircraft.

Here were some highlights of how you can get to 126:

SYD-DXB 14:20 block, but only counts as 6:30 towards the monthly cap.

DH 16 hours DXB-LAX. 12 hour layover at hotel. Fly red-eye LAX- Milan. Minimum layover again. DH back to DXB. Total of 6 hours towards the monthly cap.

Sounds miserable. I guess the ME3 would blame unions for FAR Part 117 rules. Never mind that it is science based.

While your observations are off topic... reviewing the EK website the flight from DXB arrives LAX 13:15. The return departs 16:40. About 24 hours off give or take. Two day would be better.

Not to be padentic, I could not find nonstop operations from LAX to Milan on their website. They do, however offer service to Milan, which is operated by Alaska Airlines (LAX - SFO - JFK), then onwards to Milan with EK. The itinerary shows the flight departing LAX at 06:15.

That said, 12 hour rest in a hotel may be a bit of an inaccurate statement, wouldn’t you agree?.

My last ultra long haul operation has been many years ago... no my cuppa. I opted contracts offering medium range flights. But then again, some enjoy the ULH flights. To each his their own, I guess.

CousinEddie
04-21-2018, 04:02 PM
Yes off topic. I re-read the post where this was discussed. US West Coast was mentioned, not LAX specifically. SEA may be what was referred to. The poster must have been talking about a DH to SEA followed by returning to DXB 12 hours later, not going to Europe from anywhere on the US West Coast. I assume two different trip types were being talked about. The end result is the same: miserable schedules and burnout because their regulations (or lack thereof) allow it.