This is a planning thing. Partly. But also a thing about fuel monitoring and protecting your FRSV. Which can lead to a very big FK UP if you don’t do it right.
What are the rules all about?
The new rules are looking to provide a ‘balanced approach to operator fuel policies’, with the aim of more efficient fuel/energy management.
The schemes rely on 3 things:
Comprehensive, accurate and where possible predictive pre-flight planning: don’t leave it up to your crew to ‘manage it’. Try and help make this easy for them with good fuel planning
Proactive in-flight fuel management: 30/60 minute review and recording intervals
Pre-emptive flight crew action to protect final reserve fuel (FRSV): Crew must know what this means.
What are the Fuel Schemes in brief?
The new fuel/energy management regulations are applicable to any EASA registered operator.
There are three schemes – basic, basic with variations and individual. The primary differences are with the contingency fuel – the use of 5%, 3% or STATCON – and what the operator must have in place in order to apply for each of these.
The Basic and Basic+V require little extra from operators (Basic+V requires some changes to ERA and consumption monitoring programs). The Individual scheme has many more requirements.
For more information on this, check out the EASA website here, which links to the regulatory material.
Where can I find the Regulatory Material?
The official regulatory framework is in CAT.OP.MPA 185 (flight and fuel management), 180 (planning) and 182 (alternates)AMC 1,2 and 3 contain information on the fuel procedures
The Guidance (GM) documents contain info on data recording, delay info and min fuel and FRSV protection.
ICAO Doc 9976 Flight Planning and Fuel Management is a handy one to read as well.
What do I need to know about In-flight fuel/energy management?
The schemes rely on ‘continued validation of planning assumptions’. In other words, minor and if it dstarts to not look ok, think about how to fix it early on!
Plan Do Check Act
For crew to do this, they need reliable delay information. GM1 talks about integrity, availability, accuracy and continuity. This enables them to monitor, review and adjust the planned profile if and when they need to.
Recording: GM provides guidance on the frequency of checks (30 minute for short flights, 60 minutes for longer flights). ACARS/automatic recording is allowed, but doesn’t remove the requirement for crew to continuing analysing the data.
Checking: Crew should continually check and review their fuel requirements, and factors which might impact it.
Reporting: Crew should report when in a Minimum Fuel situation, or a MAYDAY fuel situation.
What do my crew need to know about Protecting FRSV?
This is the responsibility of the crew in-flight, but there is a BIG responsibility on the operator to ensure the pre-flight planning supports this as well.
Crew must understand the definitions in order to act:
Safe Landing: Defined in Annex 1, 104a. ‘Safe’ is at an adequate airport or operating site with not less than FRSV, and in compliance with SOPs and operating minimas.
Adequate Aerodrome: An aerodrome at which an aircraft can land, taking into account applicable performance requirements and runway characteristics.
Minimum Fuel: Where an aircraft is committed to land at a specific aerodrome, with no other safe landing option available, and where any change to the existing clearance may result in landing with less than FRSV.
Diverting to an alternate, Holding for the destination, Approaching a destination without an alternate
No priority handling, only ATC awareness
Mayday Fuel: Unable to reach an aerodrome and land safely, with FRSV intact.
Declare when it is clear a landing with less than FRSV is required
Receive priority handling
Some further explanations, answers and insights.
SCD fuel (discretionary) fuel: This is at the discretion of the commander, and must appear explicitly on a flight plan, and not be included in Extra or Additional Fuel
Basic/Basic+V: Wind Gusts must be included in the planning. All planning minma now have fixed increments
Planning Minima vs Landing minima: Planning minima has a fixed increment added on. Landing minima is the minima as per the charts.
Basic Scheme Planning Minima: Based on Type A and Type B approaches.
Type A: DA/H+200′ (ceiling – cloud base or vertical visibility), RVR/VIS +800m
Type B:DA/H or MDA/H+400′, RVR/VIS +1500m
Circling: MDA/H+400′, VIS +1500m
ETOPS, ERAs: Table 1 (AMC 3, 182) provides details on the use of TAFs during planning.
Planning for these must take into account TEMPO, PROB30, PROB40 and any other persistent conditions forecast
These are normally disregarded for destination aerodrome planning
It applies to ceiling, visibility and wind (mean wind is used)
Fuel Recording: Where operating over an area where waypoints are space at intervals greater than 30/60 minutes, flexibility on fuel recording is allowed. Crew should continue to check fuel at regular intervals though.
Destination Alterantes: An IFR flight must have at least one destination alternate specified on the flight plan, unless:
The safety margins for Met conditions and planning minima (MPA 182) cannot be met, or if not met info is available. Then 2 are required.
No alternate is required if:
The aerodrome is isolated, or
The duration of the flight is less than 6 hours and 2 separate useable runways are available at the destination and the weather reports +/- 1 hour ETA indicate the ceiling is at least 2 000 ft (600 m) or the circling height 500 ft (150 m), whichever is greater, and ground visibility is at least 5 km.