Dispatcher, Captain and First Officer ............. and nobody saw a problem until they got to the airport low on fuel!
An airline pilot had only a few minutes left of fuel before he reached officials at a North Dakota airport to coordinate an emergency landing and safely deliver the 150 people onboard.
The hectic conversation between the pilot of an Allegiant Air flight and air traffic control officials at an airport in Fargo, N.D., details the small window of time they had to land the plane before it was out of fuel, reports the Tampa Bay Times.
Flight 426 was scheduled to fly from Las Vegas to Fargo on Thursday and was delayed for an hour. By the time it reached its destination the airport was closed for the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels, who were preparing for an upcoming air show, the newspaper reported.
The recording between the pilot and air traffic controller reveal the pilot was told to go to another airport 70 miles away or to wait 20 minutes for the crew to open a window for them to land. But neither option was feasible for the plane that was running dangerously low on fuel.
"Yeah, I don't have 20 minutes," the pilot said. "Yeah, listen, we're bingo fuel here in about probably three to four minutes and I got to come in and land." Bingo fuel is a term used in military aviation that means the pilot must immediately return to base because of lack of gas.
He also let them know going to another location was not an option.
"We don't have … enough fuel to go anywhere else," the pilot said. "And our guys are trying to get in touch with the tower manager right now to coordinate our landing or I'm going to have to declare an emergency and come in and land."
The pilot did declare an emergency and landed safely at the airport, an airline spokesperson told the Daily News. There were 144 passengers and six crew members onboard, the airline said.
The company did not address why the aircraft was operating on such a low fuel level.
"At this time, we are coordinating with the FAA and the airport to investigate all channels of communication regarding the flight and the circumstances leading to the declaration of emergency," Allegiant said in a statement.
The pilot was also notified by the airport employee that the airline should have known about the scheduled closing for months.
"OK. Yeah. Just … we'll follow up on that," said the pilot who was fairly composed given the circumstances.