Question on the significance of a plane's weight

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January 14th, 2018 at 7:37:02 PM permalink
beachbumbabs
Member since: Sep 3, 2013
Threads: 5
Posts: 1465
Very sorry to hear this happened. IMO, the pilot was probably not telling you the whole story.

There's a fair chance some of it was a work slowdown. No idea whether Jet Blue has a pilot contract under negotiation at the moment, but some of this is similar to past actions.

Company policy is also in play here. Most air carriers now have Operations calculate their fuel and weight and balance. The pilots aren't allowed to do it for themselves, though they all know how. But pilots have to wait for "the numbers" often.

I guess it's possible the training can be from aerospace engineering. Certainly a person who has that degree could do the calcs. But there is also a Bachelor or Master of Aeronautical Science that is likely to be more pertinent to the job as a career. (My Masters study). A person interested would still want to take one or two elective classes in mathematics within the BAS/MAS coursework, though one requirement is usually a statistics and probability course.

Aeronautical engineers would be designing engines, airframes, wiring and hydraulic systems, avionics, things like that. Subject matter experts in same for accident investigations or certification of new equipment. Operations would be seriously low-tech for someone who can earn that degree, and much worse paying.

Back to your situation.

Correct about them not having the route from Orlando to Ft. Lauderdale stored. Still should not have taken hours to calculate an unknown route. There are these things called computers now...and JBL has all the numbers for both airports, as they have scheduled daily service. Brings me back to suspected work action.

So, probably that leaves the idiots who got off to thank. Big security no-no. They probably had a long argument, then had to go through a 100% full airplane's luggage to get those people's stuff off, because even though it was a completely unpredictable diversion, your luggage can't fly without you.

FWIW, we had extremely dense fog that entire week. We could look up what conditions were during your delay, but it was unusual along all coasts, heavy and lingering. You wouldn't have seen it in Orlando even if the coasts are fogged in. FLL is right on the Intercoastal Waterway, with only a thin barrier island to the ocean.

I'm surprised your crew didn't time out, waiting that long on the ground after a 4+hour flight. It's particularly disheartening to hear they didn't care how badly they screwed you up. Just because they had an excuse (fog and TSA requirements ) doesn't mean they should have allowed you to be stuck.

However, you don't say if you were flying Jet Blue all the way to Aruba. If you changed airlines in FLL, that would make a big difference.

Too bad they couldn't connect you out of MCO. I would think there are several flights from there to Aruba daily.
Never doubt a small group of concerned citizens can change the world; it's the only thing ever has
January 14th, 2018 at 8:03:22 PM permalink
Fleastiff
Member since: Oct 27, 2012
Threads: 54
Posts: 6500
Some airlines are notorious for not carrying 'extra' fuel and only the company calculated fuel can be added even though its hardly a question of weight or extra work with a slide rule.
Jet operates other airlines and I think there was a move afoot to fire a lot of them from Air India and to keep planes from being seized by creditors of some foreign airline, then the lawyers got it all straightened out.
Unloading a deplaned passenger's luggage may not take much time, but FINDING it can be a real problem of shuffling containers.

In short, if you fly too cheaply, don't expect the truth.
January 14th, 2018 at 8:26:19 PM permalink
beachbumbabs
Member since: Sep 3, 2013
Threads: 5
Posts: 1465
Quote: Fleastiff
Some airlines are notorious for not carrying 'extra' fuel and only the company calculated fuel can be added even though its hardly a question of weight or extra work with a slide rule.
Jet operates other airlines and I think there was a move afoot to fire a lot of them from Air India and to keep planes from being seized by creditors of some foreign airline, then the lawyers got it all straightened out.
Unloading a deplaned passenger's luggage may not take much time, but FINDING it can be a real problem of shuffling containers.

In short, if you fly too cheaply, don't expect the truth.


A 100% full flight LAS-FLL might not even be able to carry max fuel. Depends on the plane. But.

Any extra fuel you push across the sky is paid for by burning more fuel than needed. So standard is exactly what you need to reach your destination +45 minutes flying time reserve. (FAA minimums). It's not standard even for same plane type, same destination. Depends on planned altitude, head/tailwinds, known convective conditions and weather en route, cargo and passenger load, runway configuration, etc. Most take in more than the required reserve, but it's a job metric measured by too conservative vs. too risky. Either, consistently, will get you unwanted attention.

Back 30 years ago, we had a somewhat regular diversion into Yakima, my first posting. A USAir B737 was flying a non-stop from Charlotte to Seattle. We were 104 miles from SEA, directly under that route. About twice a week they couldn't make it, usually due to headwinds, and would land with us to refuel.

After about 6 months, the FAA forced them to discontinue the flight because they were operating on too thin a fuel margin.
Never doubt a small group of concerned citizens can change the world; it's the only thing ever has
January 14th, 2018 at 8:56:52 PM permalink
Wizard
Administrator
Member since: Oct 23, 2012
Threads: 206
Posts: 4884
Quote: Aussie
They spent half an hour unloading fuel by which time the crew were out of hours and the flight was cancelled.


I wrote about this before but once I was waiting hours on a delayed flight from Seattle to Vegas (coincidentally to your story). There was a plane all along but they needed a pilot to fly it. So finally a flight flew in from somewhere and they told the pilot to rush over to our plane and fly it to Vegas. However, when a flight attendant took a head count it differed from some other source so they had to recount. To make a long story short, by the time they managed to correctly count the passengers on the plane (I know, a complicated task) I heard the pilot say (I was in the front row), "Damn it! I just timed out." He then explained over the speaker that due to FAA regulations he couldn't work more than x hours and because of a short delay over the confusion of the passenger count he couldn't begin the flight. So we then had to sit there and wait for another pilot to land from elsewhere and fly us to Vegas. This was Southwest by the way. There is a post about this somewhere.
Knowledge is Good -- Emil Faber
January 14th, 2018 at 9:05:17 PM permalink
Wizard
Administrator
Member since: Oct 23, 2012
Threads: 206
Posts: 4884
Thanks Barb for your take on this. I never considered this whole thing might have been deliberate as a pilot protest over something. As for the particular day, this would have been Dec 29. I remember because I called to wish my mother happy birthday from Fort Lauderdale. Yes, the flight to Aruba was on Jet Blue too. There were two screw ups on the flight back to Vegas too but not as interesting. Just delayed flights over unknown circumstances, although the recent blizzard to hit the east cost may have had ripple effects causing the delays.
Knowledge is Good -- Emil Faber
January 14th, 2018 at 10:10:10 PM permalink
beachbumbabs
Member since: Sep 3, 2013
Threads: 5
Posts: 1465
Quote: Wizard
Thanks Barb for your take on this. I never considered this whole thing might have been deliberate as a pilot protest over something. As for the particular day, this would have been Dec 29. I remember because I called to wish my mother happy birthday from Fort Lauderdale. Yes, the flight to Aruba was on Jet Blue too. There were two screw ups on the flight back to Vegas too but not as interesting. Just delayed flights over unknown circumstances, although the recent blizzard to hit the east cost may have had ripple effects causing the delays.


Would shoulda coulda does you no good now, I know, but if you had called I would have come and gotten you from MCO and driven you to FLL. it's only about 2.5 hours, all turnpike.

Glad you had a good time anyway.
Never doubt a small group of concerned citizens can change the world; it's the only thing ever has
January 16th, 2018 at 6:26:24 AM permalink
DRich
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 22
Posts: 1016
Quote: Wizard
I hope you don't get the same pilot I had. If so, volunteer your services if they need a mathematician.


Somewhere in one of my closets I probably still have my old Jeppesen calculator.

Hopefully they will let me fly it too.

I fantasize about being in a position like the movie Airplane. i want to be the hero and land the commercial jetliner. I have no doubt that I could do it even though I have flown nothing bigger than a Cessna and that was 25 years ago.
January 16th, 2018 at 6:41:57 AM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 345
Posts: 12536
Quote: DRich
I fantasize about being in a position like the movie Airplane.


Shirley you're not serious.
Donald Trump is a fucking liar
January 16th, 2018 at 10:15:35 AM permalink
Pacomartin
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 859
Posts: 10231
Quote: Wizard
I asked a few people in Fort Lauderdale when I finally got there if it was unusually foggy that day in the morning. They said not that they noticed. I say this as corroborating evidence that maybe this pilot was not at the top of his field.


weather report for Fort Lauderdale on 29 December show about fog and low visibility from 6:23AM until 9:53 AM.
3:53 am Passing clouds. 66 °F Passing clouds. 5 mph ↑ 100% 30.11 "Hg 10 mi
4:53 am Passing clouds. 65 °F Passing clouds. 6 mph ↑ 100% 30.11 "Hg 10 mi
5:53 am Passing clouds. 65 °F Passing clouds. 7 mph ↑ 100% 30.12 "Hg 10 mi
6:23 am Fog. 65 °F Fog. 9 mph ↑ 100% 30.13 "Hg 1 mi
6:32 am Fog. 64 °F Fog. 8 mph ↑ 100% 30.13 "Hg 1 mi
6:53 am Fog. 64 °F Fog. 9 mph ↑ 100% 30.14 "Hg 1 mi
7:53 am Fog. 62 °F Fog. 9 mph ↑ 100% 30.16 "Hg 1 mi
8:37 am Fog. 63 °F Fog. 8 mph ↑ 100% 30.17 "Hg 2 mi
8:53 am Fog. 63 °F Fog. 9 mph ↑ 100% 30.17 "Hg 2 mi
9:23 am Fog. 65 °F Fog. 8 mph ↑ 100% 30.18 "Hg 4 mi
9:53 am Fog. 67 °F Fog. 5 mph ↑ 93% 30.18 "Hg 6 mi
10:53 am Passing clouds. 69 °F Passing clouds. 9 mph ↑ 84% 30.18 "Hg 10 mi

but the weather report for Fort Lauderdale on 30 December show about fog and low visibility from 4:03AM until 9:53 AM.
3:53 am Low clouds. 61 °F Low clouds. 6 mph ↑ 100% 30.11 "Hg 10 mi
4:03 am Low clouds. 61 °F Low clouds. 6 mph ↑ 100% 30.12 "Hg 2 mi
4:53 am Fog. 61 °F Fog. 5 mph ↑ 100% 30.12 "Hg 1 mi
5:53 am Fog. 60 °F Fog. 5 mph ↑ 100% 30.13 "Hg 1 mi
6:53 am Low clouds. 60 °F Low clouds. 7 mph ↑ 100% 30.14 "Hg 1 mi
7:53 am Fog. 60 °F Fog. 6 mph ↑ 100% 30.15 "Hg 1 mi
8:53 am Fog. 60 °F Fog. 8 mph ↑ 100% 30.16 "Hg 1 mi
9:53 am Fog. 61 °F Fog. 8 mph ↑ 97% 30.17 "Hg 4 mi
10:53 am Low clouds. 59 °F Low clouds. 8 mph ↑ 100% 30.17 "Hg 10 mi
11:53 am Low clouds. 59 °F Low clouds. 9 mph ↑ 96% 30.15 "Hg 7 mi
12:53 pm Low clouds. 60 °F Low clouds. 9 mph ↑ 93% 30.11 "Hg 10 mi

I seriously question the characterization as "unusually foggy". The pilot's story sounds like total BS to me. Also if the plane had not left an hour late you would probably have beaten the fog.

=================================
The Federal Aviation Administration sets an average weight per traveler and carry-on luggage to estimate how much weight planes will carry. According to "The New York Times," the average weight assigned to each passenger by the FAA is 200 pounds for men, 179 pounds for women and 76 pounds for children under 13. These estimates include 16 pounds per person of carry-on luggage and averages in the weight of winter and summer clothing.

An A320
Maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) 172,000 lb
Maximum landing weight (MLW) 146,000 lb

Since the flight is only 177 miles, and passengers have already disembarked, logically you would think you would put enough fuel in so that the plane weights 145,000 lbs at takeoff assuming original passenger load. An A320 burns about 11 lb/mile so you are going to burn about 2000 lbs on the flight. But if you are starting with less than MLW then you are going to be lower when you land.

=========================
https://flightaware.com/live/flight/JBU8/history/20171229/0634Z/KLAS/KFLL

LAS LAS VEGAS, NV MCO ORLANDO, FL left GATE E9 McCarran Intl - LAS landed at Orlando Intl - MCO
THURSDAY 28-DEC-2017 11:37PM PST left (1 hour 3 minutes late)
FRIDAY 29-DEC-2017 07:46AM EST (1 hour 51 minutes late)
January 16th, 2018 at 10:57:21 AM permalink
Fleastiff
Member since: Oct 27, 2012
Threads: 54
Posts: 6500
Quote: DRich
i want to be the hero and land the commercial jetliner. I have no doubt that I could do it even though I have flown nothing bigger than a Cessna and that was 25 years ago.
I hope you get some simulator time and find out. Sure hope you don't have to find out for real,.

There was a Captain who died of a heart attack and a First Officer who asked for licensed pilots to make themselves known to cabin personnel. All she really needed was a switch flipper to set up the radios for navigation and communication to a nearby emergency airport. A military pilot who presently flew helicopters but previously had flown tankers was onboard and took over the workload but not the flying. Made the tv news even though he was current,. Would be a real nightmare for '25 years ago'.

Even that recent incident of a female pilot leaving the cockpit afterhaving her face slapped made headlines on a London to Mumbai flight but strange things do happen,. And more and more, it seems that the truth emerging is becoming very rare.
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