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(Video) Running Low on Fuel: British Airways 747

A British Airways 747 approaching Singapore gets stuck in a hold and the flight crew become concerned that a diversion and fuel emergency will become necessary. This visualisation, which follows the 747, contains air traffic control audio recorded between 2:30PM and 3:40PM local time on Sunday, February 9th 2014. ( More...

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John Freschl 1
I found the video fascinating - both the graphics and the audio. Thanks to whoever assembled this.
Ric Wernicke 1
Was this a dramatization or actual ATC radio recordings? If it is actual recordings, how come the controllers voice cannot be heard?

If I was in the back listening on my TRF set and heard that exchange my beads would have taken on a nice polish by time we landed.

Singapore ATC has no problem communicating in English, but with some of the Asian neighbors you are never sure they understood what you said.
David Loh 2
Probably a dramatization. BA pilot reported on first contact "this is a B747" Really? I thought the correct term was "heavy"? And you mean you actually have to tell atc what type of aircraft you are flying?
30west 1
It would be interesting to know his actual landing fuel and fuel required to fly to alternate.
David Loh 1
Anyone knows what was the fuel remaining when the flight ended? Did it actually reach the point where it should have diverted while holding? If not, then how much longer would it had been able to hold before it had to divert from the current hold position? Since we are told flight landed "without incident" i presume it means they did not have any low fuel problem because if they had landed with less fuel remaining than is comfortable or mandated then i suppose it would been a reportable incident. Was there any incident report raised with Singapore atc or BA? Ok i agree it was a nice visualisation and will be fun to watch. But to title it with "low on fuel" needs proof. Don't overlook the fact that the pilot only said they would be low on fuel if they held for too long.
Ray Ondrejech 1
I'm not a pilot, but spent a lot of back end time in RC-135's, so I get some of the basics. And usually listen on on Ch 9 vs the movie when flying UAL. I was on a 767 from lax to ord in business class, and observed on the seat video as we headed north over N Dakota, then started to orbit. Ch 9 had the string of t-storms everywhere. Eventually we headed south to orbit over lake michigan. Pilot's voice was the clue - he was concerned. He left Ch 9 on to my surprize. Indy (our alt) and Milwaukie were both in the same crap. When told of another hour hold, the pilot said negative, what else is around here? We landed with a carrier style stop at Grand rapids.. stuck on the plane as they didn't have tall air stairs, and no means of removing the cans for bags... the field was closed when we landed, but eventually woke up. Taxis made a killing going to local hotels when finally got off - the whole town was abuzz. You just don't expect that, especially flying domestic us. Ord, what a place for an aerodrome!
joel wiley 1
So, who put this together, who is the target audience, and why did the publish?
Who benefits, who looks bad here? Just curious.
Cody Hill 1
We are the target audience. The captain is responsible for the fuel. The ATC was horrible, I would pull that controller as they new the aircraft was fuel critical, and couldn't vector appropriately. I was a little worried their for a second but the pilot did his job and the plane landed safely.
David Loh 1
You mean atc should have given clearance for EVERY move pilot wanted to make inspite of there being NO DECLARATION OF EMERGENCY BY PILOT? Was there a PAN PAN CALL? Was there a MAYCALL CALL? Did pilot actually transmit "I HAVE A FUEL EMERGENCY" or did he merely say he will (that is future not present) have fuel emergency if atc did not give in to his attempted bullying? In spite of the pilot's obvious attempt to cow atc into giving him his way it appears that atc did allow him to make certain moves as requested. is that not enough? If atc was at fault and caused a fuel emergency, you mean the pilot would have just shrug it off without making any report? Show me the link to this report. Come on lah, singapore may not be the most advanced country in the world, but our atc standard is not as bad as you make it out to be.
tim mitchell 1
Does anyone know what airport that was to their south whenever they requested their left hand turn toward their destination airport?
tim mitchell 1
Bandar Udara
Cody Hill 1
John Swallow 1
I can top that! I've actually diverted because of low fuel. But, it's no big deal. You go somewhere; the weather's bad, you hold until you reach your diversion fuel and then you go. Why would someone think this is worthy of being posted...?
KatzyBaby 1
As a passenger I don't care if it's a real low fuel or a potential low fuel, I want my plane and my fully intact body on the ground. The ATCs are there to coordinate all this. I didn't interpret the pilot as abusing the ATC resources. In fact he sounded pretty calm for a potential emergency. They were holding for quite awhile and then was told repeatedly to hold for longer. I understand the airlines desire to save every penny, but air crashes have occurred for exactly that reason. This is just another example of the growing problems with so many planes in the sky and limited or inadequate ATC and airport support. I always blame the airline itself, not it's pilots. Give them a bit extra to make sure they get the plane & the passengers there, but no, the airlines want to save every penny. If we don't have enough ATCs, then we shouldn't have planes flying in. The greedy push for profits from US airlines will eventually result in accidents and loss of life, but the airlines calculate the "anticipated cost" for lives lost and bet on the side of profits, not passengers.
David Loh 2
Pilot sounded pretty calm because there never was a potential emergency. If he reached his diversion fuel level then just go ahead and divert. Diversion is routine under certain circumstances. Nothing to flip your wig over about. Singapore is a tropical country and you have to see a heavy, i mean really heavy, thunderstorm to believe it. At those times, which are quite rare, it is possible to see many flights diverting. If BA had to divert so be it. Cannot expect atc to give him priority over others who are waiting also.
Who ever even said Changi does not have enough atcs? Dont fly into Changi? Half the world flies into Changi!
David Loh 0
Can someone, perhaps ex or current crew of BA, once and for all clear up this mess? Did this incident actually take place? Did the flight actually reach critical fuel level that required priority handling by atc? Was any report raised to complain that atc had handled the flight badly and endangered the aircraft? If this incident is nothing more than someone's imagination, then let's all stop throwing wild accusations at Changi atc.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

Glenal Morean 11
Mind your libellous tongue unless you can back this up, mate. If you are, by chance, a professional pilot, your comment is at best ill-informed and unprofessional.
matt jensen 0
Ease up bud - his opinion.

I've heard Speedbird pilots going over the top asking for weather conditions - I guess their windows must have fogged up.
As a retired 777 Capt listening to the BA low fuel landing it did not seem a non event. During the 1970's I sat right seat on our 747-100 a/c. The total fuel burn for the P/W engines was around 25000#/hour. It adds up quick holding a low altitude. Radio calls from BA asking for a tighter landing pattern would seem to confirm low fuel. Weather issues enroute likely increased fuel burn. Some time during mid winter around 1997 flying a 767 we left LAX at max gross weight enroute LHR with Jet A fuel (-43C). The UK was estimated low wx on arrival. Tail wind was less than flight plan and soon after coast out over the Atlantic we flew into very cold polar air. As fuel temp approached -43C we had to decend into warmer air and go to max range cruise. Our fuel burn was increasing cutting into our arrival fuel. First alternate weather went below min. Stansted was assigned and wasn't much better. Soon we had to get a closer alternate due to fuel on arrival. Gatwick was assigned and that was where most of the traffic was going to. We rolled into the top of the holding stack at Bovingdon and after two circuits we called for clearance to Gatwick with 7000# of fuel on board. LHR approach asked for our landing min and we declared 175 meters needed for CAT 3B. We then got a vector out of holding for landing on 9L. Luckily we had the lowest minimums required. It was going to get ugly if we went to Gatwick. Two things stand out. My memory serves because it was the closest we got to a fuel emergency during my 35 years with the airline. Second. The for real CAT 3B weather was such the FO made a 100 ft call before actually seeing approach lights. We were the only a/c moving on the airport. We had to "follow the greens" for terminal arrival.
David Loh 1
In this case they only said they may declare fuel emergency. Of course then we would be left to wonder why they did not divert instead. Best for everyone to remember that Changi is a VERY busy airport. If there is a requirement to hold due to weather then there will be an absolute stream of aircraft lining up to land when landings resume. What makes BA pilot thinks that he can get priority for Anything by merely mentioning that he May have a fuel emergency? How about all the other flights holding? They are also turning and burning!
David Loh -7
This is NEWS? look at the date on the video!
What about the date??? It's posted so those who never heard of it could view it. I never heard of it until now...
Exactly. Same here. I'm glad it was posted as well. Probably wouldn't have known about this otherwise.
David Loh 0
You did not hear of it because it was not news. It is still not news. I can not find any reference to this flight on google. Fuel low emergency was not declared. (I do not care what the person who made the visualisation wants to call it) Flight landed with no incident. So why should this flight be even considered as something "we ought to know about"?
joel wiley 1
I think the purpose may just be someone's pet project on data visualization and not necessarily the fear, fire, foes horn-call of Buckland.


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