Delta flying to OGG with the hurricane

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Old Aug 25, 18, 10:59 pm
  #31  
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Originally Posted by readywhenyouare View Post
The fanboys are in full force today. Saying that Delta has superior weather forecasts than any other airline is absolutely laughable. The other airlines simply act more responsibly. The weather can change very quickly and they would rather not put their planes and crews in danger.
How is DL acting irresponsible? They're not is the answer. Can argue over if DL does a better forecasting job or not. However can't argue they're being irresponsible.
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Old Aug 25, 18, 11:36 pm
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Originally Posted by flyerCO View Post
How is DL acting irresponsible? They're not is the answer. Can argue over if DL does a better forecasting job or not. However can't argue they're being irresponsible.
A matter of opinion I suppose. Flying into a hurricane last year was pretty dumb in my opinion. They're not the NOAA. And heck, even the NOAA almost lost a plane and crew flying through Hugo. And their crews are far better trained and the aircraft is much more robust than your standard 737. An airline with cowboys isn't good.
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Old Aug 26, 18, 12:27 am
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Originally Posted by readywhenyouare View Post


A matter of opinion I suppose. Flying into a hurricane last year was pretty dumb in my opinion. They're not the NOAA. And heck, even the NOAA almost lost a plane and crew flying through Hugo. And their crews are far better trained and the aircraft is much more robust than your standard 737. An airline with cowboys isn't good.
They didn't fly through Hugo. The skirted around the outter bands of rain. Planes fly in similar non-hurricane related weather all the time.
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Old Aug 26, 18, 12:53 am
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Thankfully, dispatchers release flights according to what's in the TAF, and don't just shut down a whole airline operation because Jim Cantore is on the scene on Waikiki Beach.
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Old Aug 26, 18, 1:34 am
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Originally Posted by readywhenyouare View Post


Maybe if Delta gave nature the respect it is owed they wouldn't have killed over 100 people in DFW.
Weirdly, I don't think an incident from 1985 has much bearing on Delta's current operations.
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Old Aug 26, 18, 9:00 am
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Originally Posted by readywhenyouare View Post
The fanboys are in full force today. Saying that Delta has superior weather forecasts than any other airline is absolutely laughable. The other airlines simply act more responsibly. The weather can change very quickly and they would rather not put their planes and crews in danger.
It is not laughable to suggest that one company may be better at something than another. Seriously, local TV channels are always running ads touting superior weather predictions, "turn to us in a storm" et al., although it does come down to weather predictions, and we all laugh at the historical inaccuracy of the "weatherman" it doesn't exclude the possibility of a company being better than an other.

I understand Delta fanboys may be biased, but the premise is certainly not laughable.

Originally Posted by HeadInTheClouds View Post

There was ~24 hours difference in the decisions. In the end, Delta may have made the same decision. They were just willing to take more time to let it all play out. Not sure how that is debatable or related to safety, thatís simply what happened.
+1
I would add, I am glad they do this. I have been in situations it made no difference it was a forgone conclusion, but times a break in the weather opens and it saves the day.

Originally Posted by PurdueFlyer View Post
Thankfully, dispatchers release flights according to what's in the TAF, and don't just shut down a whole airline operation because Jim Cantore is on the scene on Waikiki Beach.
lol
*gasp* the news is reporting and it is blown out of proportion? Pun intended. No disrespect to what is happening in Hawaii intended.
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Old Aug 26, 18, 12:07 pm
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Originally Posted by Lux Flyer View Post
This is pretty par for the course at Delta. Their weather team is usually spot on with their predictions which is why they "continue flying when everyone else has cancelled". This happens with major snow storms, and other weather events. If they know they can safely operate that flight, it will be going barring some other issue like mechanical, FAA restrictions, or crew problems.
Weather is the one thing that DL really has gotten down far better than other carriers indeed.
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Old Aug 26, 18, 7:26 pm
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Originally Posted by readywhenyouare View Post


Maybe if Delta gave nature the respect it is owed they wouldn't have killed over 100 people in DFW.
Seriously. That was over 30 years ago. They didn't even know how to detect for microbursts back then. Times have changed.
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Old Aug 26, 18, 7:28 pm
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Originally Posted by SJC ORD LDR View Post
Seriously. That was over 30 years ago. They didn't even know how to detect for microbursts back then. Times have changed.
You are right that the microburst was undetectable. But they should have known enough not to fly through a thunderstorm. Perhaps read the NTSB report.
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Old Aug 27, 18, 11:59 pm
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Originally Posted by readywhenyouare View Post


You are right that the microburst was undetectable. But they should have known enough not to fly through a thunderstorm. Perhaps read the NTSB report.
Wait, is that from before Boeing 777 existed? Hmm, has technology changed since then?

They didn't know enough because most of the brilliant people in the world today weren't even born back then
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Old Aug 28, 18, 3:27 am
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Originally Posted by readywhenyouare View Post


You are right that the microburst was undetectable. But they should have known enough not to fly through a thunderstorm. Perhaps read the NTSB report.
Perhaps you should read the NTSB report. Not the summary which briefly describes the "what", but the full report that goes into "why" the "what" happened.

Summertime convective activity in the mid/southeast USA has always been considered as volatile and unpredictable. Yet this specific storm defied all expectations of how fast a storm could develop, then collapse on its own weight.
Even on final approach, DFW still considered the airport to be VFR (visual flight rules). In layman's terms, pilots will find and fly to/land on the runway by looking out the window vs using instrument/radio beams to guide them down. To be issued a "visual approach" the pilots must be able to see the runway and the plane they're following. When DFW pointed out the Lear Jet ahead of DL191, the pilot's response was something along the lines of "unable, getting our wings washed". DFW was unaware of the rain on approach. Every indication given to the pilots was that this was a simple summertime shower. It wasn't until the First Officer noted lightning that they knew they were near (underneath) something more serious.
I haven't even begun to touch on all the factors involved.
For what it's worth, this crew spent the last 20 minutes or so of their life dodging small showers that were starting to develop around DFW. They did not later end their life by knowingly flying underneath a major convective thunderstorm.
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Old Aug 28, 18, 4:45 am
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Originally Posted by CALlegacy View Post
It would be a hypothetical. Here is one discussion of it: https://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=452893

This article claims California-Hawaii is the longest stretch in the world without alternates (aside from other Hawaiian airports) and the first alternate for 2/3 of the way LAX-HNL is SFO: What is the longest over-water route of flight with no alternates? Sawyer Aviation
In looking over your original question and replies, I think you're mixing 2 different flight planning concepts.

You 1st asked about "Point of No Return" and if it still exists.
At least at AA in the 1980-2000's (when I worked many operational positions with them) this concept was called "Equal Time Point" (ETP).
It is an enroute consideration. For mainland to Hawaii, the ETP "alternates" would always be SFO on the California side and ITO on the Hawaii side. Along the planned path of flight, the Flight Plan would indicate the ETP point. Note it's not the point on the route where you're equal distance between SFO and ITO, but the point where the flying time is equal (considering head/tail winds and such). It isn't so much a fuel calculation. If somewhere in the "middle of the flight" you need to divert for any reason (mechanical, medical, etc) Captain instantly knows if it's best to continue forward vs turning around.
For Trans-Atlantic flights it's much more complicated. The alternates are not as well defined as you do have choices enroute. IE: Greenland, Iceland, Bermuda, etc.. It also means you may have multiple ETP points. IE: "Canada or Greenland" then later "Greenland or Europe". This is why it's called ETP(s) vs "Point of No Return" which implies a single decision point (which Mainland to/from Hawaii is).

Later replies make me believe you're actually asking about "diversion alternates".
These are not enroute considerations, they are
arrival.
The short answer is that no airliner will ever takeoff unless they have enough fuel to fly to destination then divert and fly elsewhere, and still land "elsewhere" with an FAA mandated amount of fuel still in the tanks (I think it's 30 minutes worth of flying time, maybe it's 45).
You hypothetical situation I think is the case where say a HNL bound flight gets close and determines they can't land due to weather, yet all the other islands have the same weather. In that extreme case, most flights would get cancelled. Maybe a widebody that can hold enough fuel for "LAX to HNL, alternate LAX" could still operate (but unlikely as hauling that much fuel around would make the flight an economic disaster).

To clarify/expand a little .... forget about the Captain deciding "no go" while on approach. Take your thoughts back to the Flight Planning stage, a couple of hours before the flight's departure.
If the wether forecasts (or any other operational concerns) indicate there's the slightest chance the flight can't get in, then an alternate airport MUST be declared.
The Flight Plan must include the fuel to fly to destination, hold for "x" minutes (as estimated by the dispatcher), try an approach, go missed approach, fly towards the alternate, hold at the alternate for "y" minutes, then touchdown at alternate with 30/45 minutes of fuel remaining.
The Dispatcher can not chose any close by airport as the alternate. The chosen airport's weather forecast must be above specified minimums. As I said earlier, the airline MUST know they can land somewhere before they ever takeoff.
A real life scenario I can remember from my AA days is DFW-MIA, alternate Savannah, GA. I was the Load Agt (weight-n-balance) on this 727-200 flight. I guess the entire State of Florida was forecast to be "socked in". I don't remember the specifics, but I did have to deny a lot of revenue to lower the "payload" weight enough to accommodate the "fuel" weight. Freight and mail come off first, then passengers and/or bags. Have you ever had an "oversold" flight leave with empty seats ??
Note this doesn't mean the Captain must go to SAV if they decide to divert. But as they sit in the holding pattern near MIA, they will not let the fuel drop lower than that needed to get to SAV + reserve. The actual airport would be whatever is the best at the time.
Have you ever heard of a flight that even before departure, the airline is announcing "not enough fuel", so we're gonna land enroute ?? On a flight where the same plane type operates everyday, typically non-stop with no issues ???? The problem isn't getting enough fuel to fly to destination, though that fuel requirement is probably higher today due to higher than normal headwinds. The true problem is likely the weather forecast at the destination and close by alternates. The combo of headwinds and "far away" alternates is what's causing the issue.
To your point, west coast to Hawaii flights don't have the luxury of en-route fuel stops. In theory, they just get cancelled. In reality, I think your hypothetical situation of all Hawaii airports being below "alternate minimums" would be extremely rare.
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Old Aug 28, 18, 6:15 am
  #43  
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this whole thread hijack is insanely dumb and based on a even dumber premise (that delta somehow had a corporate policy of flying under microbursts in the 80s). Give me a ....ing break. Everyone even engaging with that idea should be ashamed of themselves.
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Old Aug 28, 18, 10:00 am
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Thank you for your excellent reply and clarifying for everyone the various issues in planning and executing a long overwater flight such as mainland US to Hawaii, which does appear to be a world extreme in terms of lack of intermediate points.

Yes, the chance all of the Hawaiian Islands are not acceptable destinations would be rare. Even in the last weather HNL flights were not much diverted even if OGG might be.

Originally Posted by steve64 View Post
In looking over your original question and replies, I think you're mixing 2 different flight planning concepts.
snip
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