Re: Canadian 757 out of fuel incident?

From:         kls@ohare.Chicago.COM (Karl Swartz)
Organization: Chicago Software Works, Menlo Park, California
Date:         29 Jun 94 01:00:43 
References:   1
Followups:    1 2 3
Next article
View raw article
  or MIME structure

>Someone just told me about an airliner running out of fuel in flight.
>Can any of you experts in this group confirm this and add more details?

I suspect you're referring to the incident known as the Gimli Glider,
which involved an Air Canada 767 (not 757) on a flight from Toronto or
Montreal to the western part of Canada, probably Vancouver.  There was
some confusion over the units (liters, gallons, imperial gallons) used
to measure the amount of fuel loaded, and the aircraft ended up with a
lot less fuel than it should have had.  They ran out over Manitoba.

Two bits of serendipity helped avert disaster.  First, the captain was
an experienced glider pilot.  Second, while no obvious airports were
within their range, the first officer had flown out of an RCAF field
(it might have been recently retired, I can't quite recall the exact
details) at Gimli and was pretty sure they could land there.

I could have sworn this had been discussed in this newsgroup, but the
archives certainly don't have any record of it.  If someone has more
details -- beyond recommending the book The Gimli Glider, which is all
about the incident -- could they please post them?

>If the amount of fuel on board was way too low, wouldn't they notice
>that the plane was much lighter than it should be?

Good question.  Given the range of the 767, and that they were short
by enough fuel for maybe 1500 miles, the difference may not have been
distinguishable from lighter passengers and baggage than normal.

Karl Swartz	|INet
1-415/854-3409	|UUCP	uunet!decwrl!ditka!kls
		|Snail	2144 Sand Hill Rd., Menlo Park CA 94025, USA
 Send sci.aeronautics.airliners submissions to