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How Low Can They Go? Pilots Fly Without Enough Fuel

The gas crisis has dangerous consequences, according to pilots who claim that airlines restrict airplane fuel to uncomfortably low amounts. Aggressive policies enacted by the financially struggling airline companies, attempt to reduce consumption and cost.

Three years ago NASA set up a confidential Aviation Safety Reporting System, which allows workers to anonymously report concerns. Some have reported that the airlines rank captains according to who can land using the least amount of gas.

Despite warnings from aviation workers, the FAA does not want to order airlines to keep fuel loads above the minimum required: enough for the trip, plus 45 minutes extra. The agency's spokesman says that the FAA can't "dabble in the business policies or the personnel policies of an airline." Thankfully, there hasn't been a low-fuel-related accident since the early '90s; but, do you think airline companies should listen to the pilots' growing concerns that the bottom line might compromise safety?


LadyAngel89 LadyAngel89 9 years
HAH! What are the pilots doing? Joyriding in the planes and wasting unnecessary fuel? Why do they care if they have extra gas in the tanks it's going to be used toward another trip that's going to be bringing in profits anyway. It's not like their saving much waiting to put the gas in for the next trip.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 9 years
:rotfl: UnDave! Thanks, this is the first thing I saw getting back to the office after lunch! Way to start my afternoon off right - with a chuckle! :-)
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
That reminds me of a joke.... These two guys are flying from NY to LA when the Pilot comes on and says: "Ladies and gentlemen, this is the Captain. I'm sorry to announce that one of our engines has stopped working. We have plenty of fuel, and the other three engines are strong enough to keep us going, but we're going to be an hour later than expected." A couple of minutes later, the pilot comes on and says that they've lost a second engine, and will now be two hours late. Half an hour later, the pilot comes on and announces that they've lost the third engine, and will be three hours late. At this, one guy leans over to the other and says: "I hope we don't lose the fourth engine, or we'll be up here all day." ;)
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
Um, I don't think an airplane in flight is a good thing on which to skimp on gas.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 9 years
I'd gladly pay a little extra too, after reading this!
janneth janneth 9 years
Prediction: airlines will start to charge extra for passengers who weigh more than a standard height/weight ratio.
True-Song True-Song 9 years
I'd rather pay extra or pay a fee for my bag and feel safer.
janneth janneth 9 years
It's the weight of the extra fuel that causes the plane to use more fuel, according to the article. So that means higher ticket prices and increased charges for luggage. So be it.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 9 years
Starlet, you said exactly what I was thinking - only better! :-)
stephley stephley 9 years
Please the FAA dabbles when it suits them - surely fuel can be considered an equipment matter and that does come under their jurisdiction. If there are any fatal low-fuel crashes, the airlines should face charges.
yesteryear yesteryear 9 years
hell yes they should - even just to keep the pilots relaxed and focused on flying the plane rather than having to be concerned about the fuel levels.
True-Song True-Song 9 years
>do you know how much that lawsuit will cost after the plane crashes? lawyer fees & a settlement or huge jury award will be a lot more than adding extra fuel Not to mention the drop off in business!
javsmav javsmav 9 years
no, I'd rather die when my plane falls out of the air. of course I want them to listen to the pilots. Why are companies so stupid? of course it costs more, but do you know how much that lawsuit will cost after the plane crashes? lawyer fees & a settlement or huge jury award will be a lot more than adding extra fuel--and your airline's reputation is shot after such a fiasco--who wants to fly the airline that doesn't fill up their planes. not even considering the risking lives issue, it just doesn't make good business sense.
millarci millarci 9 years
I completely 100% agree with starlet0000. Why would you want to put thousands of people in harms way? Really. I know gas prices are high but I would definitely op for the expensive ticket than risk lives.
amynah amynah 9 years
Obviously the gas prices are hitting everyone where it hurts: the checkbook (including the airlines). But this is no reason to put the safety of hundreds of thousands of people at risk. Not filling up the gas tank in your car is one thing: worst case scenario, you're stuck stranded somewhere; and we all have cell phones so help is only a few digits away. But not filling up the tanks of an airplane? The risks are ten-fold more with planes than regular transportation in regards to our current fuel-saving state-of-mind. After all, we're not talking about running out of fuel on the landing strip. We're talking about being suspended miles and miles above solid ground. We're talking about the off-chance that you might plummet to your death from an extremely high altitude. Are we really willing to risk the chance, even though it hasn't happened yet, that a plane might run out of fuel mid-air just to save some dollars? Are we willing to wait until hundreds die to recognize that there is a problem? Shouldn't we listen to those that know the situation first-hand, the pilots? Personally, I'd much rather pay a higher ticket price than allow the airline companies to gamble with our well-being. To wait until tragedy strikes to declare it a tragedy is a tragedy in and of itself.
rabidmoon rabidmoon 9 years
Yes, I think the pilots should be heard. To do the job they do requires such intense training and preparation (and ongoing testing) and I doubt very seriously that they would unnecessarily exaggerate such matters.
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