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In-flight fuel management
From 8 November 2018, all pilots must conduct in-flight fuel management, including in-flight fuel quantity checks at regular intervals.
When conducting these checks, you may discover that you would be landing at your original planned destination without sufficient fuel, that is, your fixed fuel reserve remaining.
If this occurs, make an alternate plan to land safely with sufficient fuel at a different location than you had originally planned. Your new safe landing location will depend on your aircraft capabilities and the conditions.
However, if a safe landing location is not an option and you are landing with less than your fixed fuel reserve, then you must declare Mayday Fuel.
Preserving fixed fuel reserve is the foundation for in-flight fuel decision making which in-turn leads to safer operations.
That doesn't mean that in all instances preserving your fixed fuel reserve is the highest priority. There may be occasions where it is more important to exercise your judgement to determine the safest outcome, which may include landing with less than fixed fuel reserve remaining.
Mayday Fuel declaration and safety
The Mayday Fuel declaration aims to increase safety. It alerts other airspace users to a potential fuel problem facing an aircraft in their vicinity and ensures priority is given to that aircraft to reduce the chances of an accident.
The declaration is an internationally recognised standard aligning Australia with the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization that are designed to assist in the management of aviation safety risks.
Mayday Fuel is not aimed at setting conditions to prosecute pilots or operators and a declaration does not automatically mean that emergency services will be mobilised.
Explaining the rules
We have released guidance material to help explain how the changes work in practice.
For private pilots operating under visual flight rules (VFR) only, there’s a draft of the fuel pages that will appear in the revised Visual Flight Rules Guide (VFRG).
CAAP 234-1(2) covers aircraft fuel requirements and sample calculations:
There is also guidance for preparing or amending operations manuals – revised pages of the advisory material CAAP 215-1(3):
Please note: This material is in 'advanced copy (not yet in force)' form. It is anticipated the amendment as CAAP 215-1(3) will be issued on 8 November 2018, incorporating the fuel related changes.
View the full rules Civil Aviation (Fuel Requirements) Instrument 2018.