Re: Re:Falling from the sky

From: (Brian A. Reynolds)
Organization: Rockwell Avionics - Collins, Cedar Rapids, IA
Date:         14 Mar 95 11:54:43 
References:   1 2
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Ernie Fidgeon <> writes
	I'm told the Air Canada captain was fired for not checking fuel

In the book (sorry I really wish I had it here as a reference) some time is
spent on how the situation came to be.  There were several causes:

	1.	Lack of agreement on who could release the aircraft.  Control
		was moving from the flight crew to ground maintenance (?).
		Captain did not want to fly but as the aircraft was released
		by the maintenance folks it was a 'fly it or leave it.' 
		(I really hope this has changed!) (See note 1)

	2.	The one Fuel Quantity Gauging System (two installed) had a 
		problem which, while one processor was really dead, made the
		other think that it was alive, so the backup failed to drive
		the displays.  At one point, the circuit breaker was pulled
		and locked open and the gauging system worked.  HOWEVER another
		maintenance mechanic in attempting to fix the problem removed
		the lock and powered both computers up again.  Result - a blank
		fuel quantity display.  (No entry in the maintenace log as to
		why the CB was locked open?  I think that the problem was
		finally traced to a cold solder joint.)

	3.	After fueling, the tanks were dipped as the fuel quantity
		gauging system was INOP.  HOWEVER, as Canada was converting
		from Imperial Gallons to liters, the wrong conversion factor
		was used (converted to gallons as I recall).  Hence the
		calculated amount was sufficient (including margins) but the
		amount actually loaded was approximately half; hence the 

Note 1:  FAR 91.205(a) requires:  "No person may operate a powered civil
aircraft with a standard U.S. airworthiness certificate in any operation ...
unless that aircraft contains the instruments and equipemtne specified...
(b) For VFR flight during the day, the following instruments and equipment
are required: (c)Fuel gauge indicating the quantity for fuel in each tank."  As
Canada usually seems to follow the FAA requirements, how could this confusion
have come about as this aircraft would not be considered as meeting its
airworthiness certificate?  (Note that this is not an issue once in flight as
the Flight Management System can calculate fuel used/on board based on fuel
flow.  Getting the right numbers to put into the FMS was the issue.)

The opinions expressed are my own and not those of my employer. I take credit
for what is good and responsbility for what is in error.  Also, as this is
based on memory of a book, errors are indeed possible.