Low fuel emergency requests

I recently flew between active ATC regions: Around the world from Casablanca > Melboune > Seattle.

I noticed a recurring theme at these very busy airfields. Many users were declaring “emergency fuel,” with some repeating multiple times. All of these flights were jets which originated less than two hours from the destination airfield (e.g. Sydney to Melbourne). In my view, this is an abuse of the emergency declaration feature. Advanced users should know that fuel planning is part of flight planning.

I had been in an approach hold for 20+ minutes, so I was pleased to see that ATC controllers did not allow the offending aircraft to cut in line. In an ideal world (again, my view), ATC would command the aircraft to divert to a nearby, less congested airfield.

Let me be clear, I have used the fuel emergency declaration in the past on extremely long haul flights (e.g. Brisbane to Mexico City), so I recognize its value. I just sympathize for the controllers who have to deal with incessant emergency fuel requests when they have 40+ other aircraft patiently waiting for their slot to land.

Happy flying,


I do agree that users who are low on fuel and know they won’t make it should divert immediately. Fuel planning is key. I suggest people pack at least 45 minutes of reserve fuel so even if there is an emergency they can still divert in time.


Anyway, I noticed a lot of TS1 pilots think that just because they have 25 minutes of extra fuel means that they can’t go around. It is not funny TS1 pilots. Please follow instructions to a good controller who try to vector you to an open runway as quickly as possible. Do not land at a closed runway without permission just because you have 25 minutes of fuel left. That is perfectly enough to go around. It only takes like 2-3 minutes!

Really the only aircradt where emergency fuel should be declared are these aircraft due to poor flight physics and broken fuel flow


Outside of those whenever you use other aircraft in simbrief you get more fuel than you need.

1 Like

You flew from Casablanca to Melbourne!!!
Thats impressive, its like 9500nm.

How long did it take and what aircraft did u use?

I was going to do that, but decided against it as it would have taken too long!

you forgot the Boeing 767!

The Boeing 767 doesnt have a problem with fuel flow. You get more fuel than needed with it when using Simbrief correctly.


You forgot the 747-8

1 Like

The 747-8 also does not have that problem if you step climb correctly.

I mean, since we have no simulated emergencies I can imagine some pilots have fun when starting with less fuel than needed.

1 Like

No need to list every aircraft…

There are rules in place that prevents pilots from over using the command. But some may use it when they shouldn’t.

Keep in mind that ATC cannot expedite you if you are already on a straight in path. If you are truly low, you need to divert.

If you experience a low fuel situation, it may help to look back and find out why. Was it a lack of planning, burning too much climbing, etc.


787-8. Stopped for fuel at the majestic Mayotte airport by the Indian Ocean.

1 Like

I’ve said it before and I say it again. Everyone should use simbrief, not only for fuel but for accurate flight path altitudes and speeds.

We would never need the emergency fuel if people used simbrief


To clarify, I don’t think is as much an issue of flight planning as it is users knowingly attempting to cut in line in busy airspace by starting with minimum fuel.

I agree, I always pack on an extra hour for short hauls and atleast 2 for long hauls, especially overnight flights when I sleep, it gives me a good peice or mind

1 Like

Yes it’s good to pack at least 2 hours of reserve fuel for overnight flights incase you overshoot your destination.

Matter of fact…the system should ghost you from an active ATC and make you invisible from the controller and nearby aircraft and unable to contact the ATC controller. It should be strictly used for Unicom only. But I don’t really see this as a serious problem.

I have been out of the cockpit for a few decades. It used to be including expected taxi times including average delays, that you would carry enough fuel to fly to your destination, descend, fly an approach, executed a missed approach, then climb and fly to an alternate. Descend fly an approach at your alternate airport. Execute a missed approach at your alternate airport, and still have enough fuel to fly 30 additional minutes (day time) or 45 additional minutes if it was night time. And if it was a multi engine you needed to be able to do that on 1 engine out.
Any current pilots feel free to correct me with today’s FAA rules


Can someone tell me how to do that?? I really don’t know. Not to be a noob or anything

It’s just annoying when I have to use it but don’t know how