Fuel Issues

Hi all.

I am flying from London to Rio de Janeiro in a Boeing 747-400
I took off with 80% fuel (more then enough, around 3 hours extra)
I am at FL360 flying at Mach 0.89
I have 72% fuel and 4860NM to go.
I am getting a red fuel warning saying I only have 8 hours of fuel left.

Mach 0.89 is much too fast. Slow down and then record the results.

M.85 is more acceptable.


You are too heavy.

Instead, start at FL340. Over time, you burn less fuel as you lighten up, and make sure to step-climb

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Refer to this

Also noticed that my aircraft is pitching at 5 degrees.

Where are you currently right now?

There are some strong headwinds over Europe and the west African coast

With big aircrafts on long hauls it’s good to step climb and fly at an appropriate cruise speed also check if you have retracted your flaps just in case

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Results after decrease to mach 0.85

Fuel Remaining: 72%
ETE Dest: 13:01 (Fuel warning)
Load: 76%
Dist to Dest: 4820nm
Airspeed: 258 kts
Fuel Flow: 13000-13400KG/hr

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What is the weather looking like?

The 747 does have inaccuracies in fuel measurements. That isn’t the only issue though as your speed and cruise is too high. Refer to this for step climbing and @ADDY28’s post above for cruise speeds

Another issue I noticed is that I am getting tail winds of 119kts

That’s not an issue. It should get you to your destination quicker

When you’re flying, you’re burning fuel. That results that you will be lighter and you will use less fuel. Normally you should arrive without any problem.

Yes but clearly not, as the average flight time for this flight is 11 and a half hours, and I am getting good tailwinds. but still getting 13:00 hours

Everything is retracted? Any trim?

Good tailwinds and flying westbound? That doesn’t make much sense.

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And for some reason I just stalled and fell to my death.

I think you are reading your wind indicator incorrectly. There are no tailwinds present, but there are strong headwinds in the path according to windy.com

I think a pic would be great for us to figure this out :)

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You probably didn’t have enough trim. It should have been set to at least +40%

Hmm. Based on the info provided, it’s likely as a result of the headwinds, cruising at 360 with heavy load, and possibly trim. Reducing your speed doesn’t help much; reducing altitude and raising trim is what you needed to do. Strong headwinds were also in the mix which makes cruising at higher altitudes worse

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