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Chapter 6. Flight preparation instructions

Table of Contents
6.1. Minimum flight altitudes
6.2. Usability of airports
6.3. Aerodrome Operating Minima
6.4. Selection of alternates
6.5. Pre-flight fuel planning
6.6. Weight and Balance
6.7. Operational Flight Plans
6.8. Aircraft Technical Log
6.9. Documents to be carried

6.1. Minimum flight altitudes

6.1.1. Definitions

Minimum Flight Altitude (MFA) is the generic term for the minimum altitude at which it is safe for an aircraft to fly.

When operating on a defined route segment, national authorities may have published the Minimum Enroute IFR Altitude (MEA) for that segment. This altitude (or flight level) ensures obstacle clearance and navaid reception. When available, MEA is published in black on the LIDO en-route charts below the airway designator. Alongside, in red, LIDO publishes Minimum Terrain Clearance Altitude (MTCA). This is a LIDO derived value, based on rounding up the elevation of the highest obstruction within 10nm of the airway to the nearest 100ft, then adding 1000ft tor terrain below 6000ft or 2000ft for terrain above. MTCA is always available.

LIDO OFPs present Route Minimum Off Route Altitude (Route MORA). This is a LIDO derived value based on the highest terrain within 20nm of a given route segment. For terrain up to 5000ft Route MORA provides 1000ft clearance; for higher elevations it provides 2000ft clearance.

When not operating on a defined route segment, LIDO presents area obstacle clearance data in the form of a Minimum Grid Altitude (MGA). MGA is calculated by rounding up the highest obstruction within the respective grid area to the next 100ft then adding either 1000ft for obstructions up to 6000ft or 2000ft if they are higher. The lowest indicated MGA on LIDO charts is 2000ft. MGA is shown in purple if it is less than 10000ft and in red if it is greater.

Minimum Sector Altitude (MSA) is the minimum altitude that provides 1000ft of obstacle clearance within 25nm (unless otherwise specified) of a specified navigation facility. It is published as a segmented circle on LIDO plates. It is for emergency use only, and does not necessarily guarantee navaid reception.

Additionally, various instrument flight procedure altitudes are calculated by national authorities when designing instrument procedures, and these are published on LIDO instrument plates. In particular Minimum Radar Vectoring Altitudes (MRVA) are provided to ATC and may be flown when the aircraft is under positive radar control. The LIDO MRC chart shows MRVAs to allow cross checking of ATC instructions.

[EOM-A 8.1.1, EOMA 8.1.1.4, LIDO route manual]

6.1.2. Corrections

All published minimum altitudes must be corrected for low temperatures. Altitudes within 5000ft of the elevation of the source of a QNH measurement can be corrected for temperatures below -10°C using the following table:

Table 6.1. Low temperature altitude corrections
 Height above QNH source (feet)
OAT20030040050010002000300040005000
-10°C20304050100200290390490
-20°C30506070140280420570710
-30°C406080100190380570760950


To correct higher altitudes for temperatures below ISA, a conservative rule of thumb is to add 1% of the altitude for every 2° that the actual temperature is below ISA, e.g for a 20,000ft MEA with ISA-20° add 200x20/2=2000ft.

When operating in low atmospheric pressure conditions with an altimeter setting of 1013, the aircraft will be ~30ft below the indicated altitude for every millibar that the QNH is below 1013. This can be applied as a positive increment to a published minimum altitude to calculate a minimum flight level.

A combination of high winds and high terrain can result in localised variations in atmospheric pressure; consideration should be given to increasing MFA under these conditions.

Note that the Route MORAs presented on the LIDO OFPs do not have any of these corrections applied.

[EOM-A 8.1.1.3]

6.1.3. Operational requirements

Obstacle clearance for take-off and initial climb phase is provided by a combination of LPC performance calculation and SID and EOSID design.

Engine failure or loss of pressurisation may lead to a requirement for en-route descent. Currently, the highest obstacle affecting easyJet routes is Mont Blanc at 15,771ft. This is at least 2000ft below the A319 green dot one engine ceiling assuming MTOW and ISA+20. Thus, there are currently no special drift down diversion procedures in place. In the case of emergency descent following loss of pressurisation, all obstacles must be cleared by at least 2000ft. It is worth noting that the time of useful consciousness without supplementary oxygen is 30 minutes at 18,000ft.

For the approach phase, unless in visual contact with the ground with flight visibility sufficient to identify all relevant obstacles, flight below MSA should only be conducted on promulgated routes or instrument approach procedures or when being vectored at levels not less than MVA.

[EOM-A 8.1.1.4]

6.2. Usability of airports

easyJet is responsible for ensuring that all airports selected as destinations or alternates are adequate in all respects, including runway dimensions, obstacles, ATS, lighting, approach procedures, weather reporting and emergency services.

Rescue and Fire Fighting Service (RFFS) category 6 is the normal minimum acceptable level of cover. For some destinations, category 5 is considered acceptable; this will be notified on the OFP. Temporary reductions to category 4 is permitted at departure and destination for a period of time not exceeding 72 hours. Downgrade to category 5 at UK alternates and category 4 at non-UK alternates is acceptable. If a downgrade occurs during flight, the Commander may elect to land at an aerodrome regardless of RFSS category if it is considered safer than diverting.

easyJet will categorise aerodromes from A to C in order of increasing difficulty. The category of an aerodrome is promulgated in its LIDO CCI page. Operation to a category B aerodrome requires self-briefing. Signing the OFP confirms that this has been done. Operation to a category C requires specific crew qualification.

[EOM-A 8.1.2.1, EOMA 8.1.2.5]

6.3. Aerodrome Operating Minima

All easyJet aircraftare Category C for the purpose of calculating operating minima.

Aerodrome specific take-off minima are presented on LIDO AOI charts. Pilot assessment of RVR for the initial part of the take-off run is permissable, but reported RVR must be considered for all other relevant reporting points.

Minima for instrument approaches (including circling approaches) are presented on the relevant LIDO approach plates. Where decision height is listed as “Company”, NO DH should be used for CAT3B and 50RA should be used for CAT3A. easyJet is not certified to use “Localiser Perfomance with Vertical guidance” (LPV) minimas. Only RVRs applicable to relevant segments of the runway need to be considered for landing. Required stop end RVR is always 75m and required mid-point RVR is always 125m unless ROLLOUT mode is used, in which case it is also 75m.

When RVR is not reported, and provided that required RVR ≥ 800m (after conversion), the following table may be used to convert Met Visibility to RVR for the purposes of complying with landing minima:

Table 6.2. Met Visibility to RVR conversion
Lighting Elements in OperationRVR = Met Visibility x
 DayNight
HI approach and runway lighting1.52.0
Any other type of lighting installation1.01.5
No lighting1.0N/A


Circling minima should be used unmodified. It is permissible to descend prior to the final turn. However, descent below circling minima should only occur once the landing threshold has been identified and all surrounding terrain is in sight.

If standby ILS transmitters, markers, meteorological measuring equipment or lighting systems are downgraded, approach minima may need to be modified. A table is presented at EOM-A 8.1.3.5 for this purpose.

A visual approach requires Met Visibility ≥ 5km and cloud base ≥ 2,500ft. Visual approaches at night are authorised unless prohibited in the relevant CCI. Visual circuits must be flown at a height greater than 1500ft that ensures at least 500ft separation from obstacles.

MDA and DA must always be above OCA and must therefore be adjusted if OCA is increased by NOTAM.

[EOM-A 8.1.3, EOM-A 8.1.5, EOM-A 8.4.2.1]

6.4. Selection of alternates

6.4.1. Take-off and destination alternates

Note

  1. Dispatch with no destination alternate should only be considered when payload or performance is limiting.

  2. Two destination alternates are required when landing performance cannot be assured due to wind or runway state or when no meteorological information is available for the destination.

  3. A table for interpretation of TAFs with regards these requirements can be found at EOM-A 8.1.2.4.

  4. Runways may be considered independent if each runway has a separate approach procedure based on a separate approach aid and no conceivable blockage of one runway would render the other unusable.

[EOM-A 8.1.2]

6.4.2. Cruise alternates

In the case of an engine failure at any point along the planned route an adequate aerodrome must be available within 60 minutes single engine flying time. The equivalent distances are:

Table 6.3. Cruise alternate distances
A319380nm
A320400nm


[EOM-B 5.1]

6.5. Pre-flight fuel planning

The OFP presents the following values for use in pre-flight fuel planning:

TAXI

Fuel expected to be used prior to takeoff, including engine start, taxi and APU consumption. This figure should be adjusted when significantly increased APU burn is likely (e.g. ATC slots) or when significantly increased taxi times may occur (e.g. remote de-icing).

TRIP

Fuel required for all phases from take-off at departure aerodrome to landing at destination aerodrome. The assumed runways and associated SIDs and STARs can be found on the OFP under "OFP ROUTE". This figure will need to be increased by 5kg per nm that actual routings are potentially longer than these assumed routings. The OFP also provides trip fuel corrections for carriage of more than minimum fuel and flight at non optimal levels.

CONT

The greater of 5% of planned trip fuel or 5 minutes holding over destination at 1500ft. If statistical contingency fuel (SCF) data is available, contingency fuel will be increased to either the 95th centile SCF or 99th centile SCF, depending on city pair, if applicable.

ALTN

Fuel for all phases from a go-around at applicable MDA/DA at destination to a landing at first alternate. The assumed runways and routings can be found on the OFP below the Nav Log block. This figure will need to be increased by 5kg for each nm that actual routings are potentially longer than these assumed routings. Where two alternates are required (see Section 6.4, “Selection of alternates”), this figure should be increased to the greater of the two alternate fuel burns. Note that this does not allow for flight to a second alternate after arriving at the first alternate.

FINRES

Final reserve fuel. This is the amount of fuel required to hold at 1500ft for 30 minutes assuming the tanks will be dry at the end of this period.

ADDNL

Usually zero. This is mainly used to add 15 minutes holding time when operating without a destination alternate under the terms of Section 6.4, “Selection of alternates”. It may also be used on routes where there will be insufficient trip fuel available to divert to an adequate alternate in the event of engine failure or loss of pressurisation at the most critical point.

EXTRA

Additional fuel loaded at the discretion of the flight crew. There is not much official guidance as to amounts; my personal ballpark figures for the A319/A320 are:

  • 40kg per minute of potential extra holding

  • 500kg per potential extra approach

  • 30 minutes extra holding when LVPs are expected at destination

  • 3kg per minute of extra anticipated anti-ice usage

  • 2kg per minute of extra anticipated APU usage

TANKER

Extra fuel that may be carried due to fuel price differential between origin and destination. Note that take-off and landing performance is not considered, and the planned margins against structural limits can reflect over-confidence in predicted ZFW data.

[EOM-A 8.1.7, EOM-B 5]

6.5.1. Reducing fuel loads to allow increased payload

Where payloads are such that the carriage of normal fuel loads results in exceedance of structural or performance limitations, EOM-A 8.1.7.6 presents a number of methods of reducing fuel requirements below those that would normally apply.

The simplest method is to reduce the trip fuel requirement once it is certain that the SID and/or STAR that will be flown requires less track mileage than those anticipated in the OFP route. The adjustment is 4kg per nm.

More significant reductions can be achieved when the conditions for not requiring a destination alternate (see Section 6.4, “Selection of alternates”) are met. In this case, the alternate fuel can be replaced with 15 minutes of holding at destination.

Finally, it is possible to reduce contingency fuel by declaring an “en-route alternate”. This procedure will, at most, allow contingency fuel to be reduced to 90th centile statistical contingency fuel (SCF), or, in the absence of SCF figures, 3% of trip fuel. The contingency can never be reduced below 5 minutes of holding at 1500ft at destination, and minimums of 204kg for A320 or 190kg for A319 also apply. Details of the procedure, including the somewhat complex determination of where an en-route alternate must be situated, may be found in EOM-A 8.1.7.6.4.

[EOM-A 8.1.7.6]

6.6. Weight and Balance

6.6.1. Structural weight limitations

The aircraft operating manual specifies maximum ramp, take-off, landing and zero fuel weights. The maximum take-off weight may also be reduced by easyJet to take advantage of reduced ATC charges; where this has been done, the new MTOW must be treated as a structural limit. These limitations are also presented in the weights block of the OFP.

The basis for calculations to determine compliance with these structural limits is the Dry Operating Weight (DOW). The DOW is the total weight of the aircraft with no usable fuel or payload. It is available at the top of the OFP, but the canonical value is that contained in the EFB database unless otherwise notified by a flight brief notice. Other weights are calculated as follows:

  • Zero Fuel Weight (ZFW) = DOW + payload

  • Ramp weight (RW) = ZFW + total fuel

  • Take-off weight (TOW) = RW - taxi fuel

  • Landing weight (LW) = TOW - trip fuel

In addition to the main structural weights, there are maximum load limits for the cargo compartments. These may be found in FCOM PER.LOD.CGO.

[EOM-A 8.1.8.1.1]

6.6.2. Payload calculation

The following standard weights may be used when calculating payload:

Table 6.4. Standard weights for passengers with hand baggage
TypeWeight
Male93kg
Female75kg
Child (Age 2-11 inclusive)35kg
Infant(Age<2)0kg


Table 6.5. Standard weights for checked baggage
Type of FlightWeight
Domestic[a]11 kg
Within the European Region13 kg
Intercontinental15 kg
All Other13 kg

[a] Domestic flights are those where origin and destination are within the same state


Table 6.6. Standard weights for crew
Crew PositionWeight
Flight Crew85 kg[a]
Cabin Crew75 kg[a]

[a] An allowance for hand baggage is included. Any additional crew baggage must be taken into account.


Table 6.7. Guide weights for other items
ItemWeight
Guide Dog35kg
Cello10kg


easyJet generally uses standard weights for passengers and crew and actual weights for baggage. It is not permissible to use standard weights for baggage if this leads to a value less than known actual weights. Freight must always be weighed.

[EOM-A 8.1.8]

6.6.3. Balance calculation

Compliance with balance limitations is achieved using the EFB Weight and Balance modules with actual seating positions. A “free seating contingency” is available at EOMB 7.5 for exceptional circumstances precluding the use of allocated seating data.

[EOM-B 7.1.1]

6.6.4. Last minute changes

An LMC involving +10/-20 Passengers requires new paperwork and a new performance calculation.

A change in CG greater than 2% requires a new performance calculation.

An increase of payload of more than 250kg requires a new performance calculation. If payload increases by less than 250kg, a 1° reduction in FLEX suffices, provided that the new FLEX remains above TREF and the increase is less than the underload before LMC. A decrease in payload does not require any action as long as the change in CG is less than 2%.

[EOM-B 7.4]

6.7. Operational Flight Plans

Operational Flight Plans (OFP) are usually obtained via the crew room computers. OCC also have the ability to provide OFPs by email, fax or SITA if required. OFPs may be modified by OCC without crew notification until 30 minutes before crew report. The status of OFPs must be checked prior to acceptance; contact OCC if the OFP status is not annotated "Final".

[EOM-A 8.1.10]

6.8. Aircraft Technical Log

6.8.1. Standard of entries

All entries must be completed in block capitals.

Any signature must be accompanied by a printed surname, the date and any applicable authorisation or approval numbers.

If an entry is changed, the incorrect entry must have a single line drawn through it, the reason for the alteration entered next to the original text and a signature.

The Tech Log must be cross checked for errors after the final sector of a duty.

[EOM-A 8.1.11.2, EOM-A 8.1.11.3, EOM-A 8.1.11.5]

6.8.2. Layout and usage

The tech log is divided into prologue pages and a main section.

The prologue pages include the Certificate of Release to Service, records of Acceptable Deferred Defects (ADD), the Damage Register and "Briefing Notes to Crew". These must all be checked prior to accepting an aircraft.

Each page in the main section is divided into a defect section and four tear-off sector record strips. Unused strips on the current page should be struck out if any entry has been made in the defect section or when a crew change occurs without a direct handover.

The top half of each sector record strip is for recording details of a sector after it has been completed. The "Log Time" and "Landings brought forward" boxes are no longer used and should be struck through. The "Full Rated Thrust T/O" and autoland reporting are only relevant to the 737 fleet. If the record of the previous sector is found to be incorrect or incomplete the duty pilot must be contacted for authorisation to continue.

The bottom half of the strip is used to record pre-departure data and acceptance of the aircraft. The "Oil Check" and APU oil level boxes are not relevant to flight crew and should be struck through. The ambient temperature fuel uplift should be recorded rather than the temperature corrected figure. To calculate approximate uplift in kg, multiply the uplift in litres by 0.8. If anti-icing has been carried out, the type of fluid, concentration and start and end times should be recorded. If anti-icing is carried out more than once it will be necessary to use multiple strips; each strip must have a copy of all the pre-departure data.

Each main section page has three coloured carbon copy sheets. The pink page is used to comply with regulations requiring retention of documentation at departure station. The pink strip with the commander's acceptance signature must always be left behind. The entire pink page should be left behind when there are no more usable strips, including when the strips have been struck out in accordance with the paragraph above. All other pages belong to engineering.

[EOM-A 8.1.11.5, EOM-A 8.1.11.6]

6.8.3. Defect management

All defects should, with the following exceptions, be immediately entered into the tech log:

  • Recording of ECAM maintenance status messages may be deferred until the aircraft is next at a "main base". Consultation of the MEL is still required.

  • Cabin defects must be immediately entered into the Cabin Defects Log. If the defect does not affect airworthiness (consult MOC if there is any doubt), then it does not need to be transferred to the tech log.

MOC must be contacted whenever a defect is entered in the tech log. Where possible MOC will arrange for engineering to rectify the defect or clear it to an ADD sheet in accordance with the MEL.

When no engineering support is available, MOC may request that flight crew either carry out certain limited engineering tasks in accordance with EOM-A 8.1.11.15 or clear a defect to the ADD pages. Deferral of defects by flight crew is only possible when the defect is assessed by MOC as having no effect on airworthiness or when the relevant MEL entry has no maintenance actions specified.

To defer a defect the commander should make an entry in the "ACTION TAKEN" column with the MEL reference, repair interval and ADD number (AMOS number available from MOC). The commander signs for this in the "ACTION TAKEN" column; MOC will arrange for the Release to Service column to be signed off by a licenced engineer at the earliest opportunity. The relevant ADD entry should then be completed on the Aircraft Status Report sheet. The complete tech log defect description should be transferred, along with the tech log page reference and item number, any MEL/CDL reference number and limiting criteria (e.g. expiry date). The ADD entry should not be signed by the commander; it will be signed off by the engineer who signs the release to service.

Successful computer resets should be recorded by making a suitable entry in the defect section, e.g.

CREW RESET: COM CIDS 1 + 2 FAULT ON THE GROUND, SUCCESSFUL RESET AS PER QRH

These entries do not count as open defects, so signatures should be placed below the entry and the associated "Action Taken" and RTS sections should be struck through.

Information that may be useful but which does not require immediate engineering action may, with MOC's agreement, be recorded as a "FOR INFO" entry in a similar way, e.g.

FOR INFO: FMGC1 FAILED. RECOVERED WITH NO CREW INTERVENTION.

Signatures should be placed below the entry, and the phrase “reviewed and nil defect confirmed” should be entered in the “Action Taken” column to indicate that MOC are aware.

Bird strikes that do not result in damage may be recorded as "For Info" entries, providing the restrictions in EOM-A 8.1.11.19 are observed.

In exceptional cases, where engineering cover is not available, the MEL allows for the Commander to carry out limited engineering related tasks in co-ordination with MOC under the Flight Crew Authorisation procedures. Details are in EOMA 8.1.11.15.

[EOM-A 8.1.11, EOM-B 2.3.25.2, EOM-B 3.3, EOM-A 8.1.11.19]

6.8.4. Recurrent engineering checks

The validity of recurrent engineering checks must be confirmed prior to accepting an aircraft. This is done for most checks by checking that the Certificate of Release to Service is valid. Completion of the daily check is recorded via an entry in the defect column; the earliest a daily inspection for a given calendar day may be certified is 18:00z on the previous day.

[EOM-A 8.1.11.4]

6.8.5. Cabin defect log

The SCCM enters details of cabin defects in the cabin defect log and presents it to the commander at the end of the flight. The commander must review the defects and transfer any airworthiness items to the technical log.

[EOM-A 8.1.11.17]

6.9. Documents to be carried

6.9.1. Certificates

  • Certificate of Registration (original)

  • Certificate of Airworthiness (original)

  • Certificate of Airworthiness Review (original)

  • Air Operator Certificate (electronic copy)

  • Noise Certificate (electronic copy)

  • Aircraft Radio Licence (electronic copy)

  • Third Party Liability Insurance Certificate (electronic copy)

  • Flight Crew Licences

6.9.2. Manuals and charts

All required manuals and charts are carried in electronic format on the EFB.

6.9.3. Flight Documentation

The following flight documentation must be carried in paper form:

  • Operational Flight Plan (includes ATS Flight Plan, weather and NOTAMS)

  • If ACARS is inoperative, a Journey Log

  • Load form

  • Technical Log

  • Forms to comply with reporting procedures

  • Notification of special loads (if applicable)

  • Notification of special passengers (e.g. deportees)

  • Any other documentation required by states concerned with the flight

  • Crew passports

[EOM-A 8.1.12]