Re: ETOPS 240 mins

Date:         11 Mar 99 03:54:22 
From:         kls@ohare.Chicago.COM (Karl Swartz)
Organization: Chicago Software Works, Menlo Park, California
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>What will determine a increase from 180 mins to 240mins for ETOPS FLTS for
>the 777.
...
>Will the increase in time be solely on the data collect from engine
>reliability or will it be a collective input from airline flight crews and
>A/C manufacturers and the FAA?

Most parties seem to be in agreement that engine reliability isn't the
primary factor at this point.  More important is what happens if there
is an on-board fire, someone in dire need of medical attention, or some
similar problem.  Obviously this applies to ALL aircraft, not just
twins.

ALPA (the Air Line Pilots Association, which represents pilots at 51
North American airlines including most or all US majors other than
American) recently issued a press release reiterating the union's
support for 207-minute ETOPS (a 15% increase above 180-minute ETOPS)
on an exception basis provided certain conditions are met.  Key points:

   The proposal would only allow the 207-minute limit to be authorized
   as needed on an "exception" basis, if and only if a normally
   available diversion airport required for 180-minute operations is not
   available and there is another diversion airport within the
   207-minute radius. There also is a mechanism for FAA and industry
   review in order to keep the use of the exception to an acceptable
   minimum.

   It is ALPA's view that any further extension of ETOPS limits will
   require an overhaul of current rules. ALPA also got specific
   agreement from Boeing and ATA that the 207-minute authority would not
   be used as a basis to close transpacific diversionary airports, which
   could have been done under a 207-minute rule. Keeping those airports
   open will provide an available diversion not only for ETOPS
   emergencies, but also for any kind of inflight emergency for any
   model of aircraft. ATA, Boeing, and ALPA also agreed to send a joint
   letter to FAA Administrator Garvey asking FAA to do all that it can
   to ensure that those airports remain open for all long-range
   operations.

Full text of this press release can be found at

   http://www.alpa.org/internet/news/NR99017.HTM

>I assume this time extension would only be needed for flts over the
>Pacific.

The North Pacific is the major driving factor since that's where the
lion's share of the potential >180 minute ETOPS traffic lies.  South
Atlantic flights could also benfit, however.  The direct route for
GIG-JNB requires 207-minute ETOPS, for example.  Even this isn't
sufficient for some flights over the far southern reaches of the
Pacific -- EZE-AKL via the shortest distance path looks to be about
360 minutes from the nearest suitable airport at mid-point!

--
Karl Swartz	|Home	kls@chicago.com		http://www.chicago.com/~kls/
		|Work	kls@netapp.com		http://www.netapp.com/
"The average dog is a nicer person than the average person."
  - Andrew A. Rooney