I have an interview in a couple of days and I am wondering when you need an alternate for your alternate. I apologize for any redundancy if this question has been asked before. Thank you for your help.
under some circumstances under part 121 you do (ex 3585?). From your profile it doesn't appear that you have 121 time, so I wouldn't worry about that. Under pt 91 you don't but it's a good idea to have a second alt in mind.
A second alternate is required under part 121 whenever destination and 1st alternate are "marginal" (dest at minimums/1st alt at derived mins) or when flight is dispatched under exemption 3585. (exemption used to dispatch a flight when conditional statement in the taf forcasts weather will go below mins)
When you have two marginal conditions from the first alternate and the original destination i.e. ( wx conditions are bad for both, 1 qualifier like vis OR ceiling for the destination is at or below the required AND 1 qualifier like vis OR ceiling for the first alternate is at or below the required for that airport for a total of 2 qualifiers being at or below the required) In a nutshell when you have a total of 2 marginal conditions between the destination AND first alternate then you need a second alternate. This is all for planning purposes though, i.e. for dispatch. You will fly the required wx for that approach. Also check into 3585 ! Might also be operations specific for your company.
Good luck, I know this is kinda unclear but I hope it helps.
Thanks for the posts, they are really helpful. I am still unclear on what a marginal condition would be for your 1st alternate though. If the wx is at or above the alternate minimums, then you can use it for an alternate. What could be a qualifier for the 1st alternate? Thanks.
Marginal is defined as "weather conditions for your alternate are AT the published minimums".
In other words, you need to add 200 feet and 1/2 a mile to the highest straight-in precision minimums (which are usually 200 and 1/2 for an ILS) if the airport has TWO seperate approach navaids. 400 and 1 mile if the airport only has one approach navaid/runway.
Since I've seldom seen an alternate chosen with only one ILS to one runway, we'll pick the standard two-navaid alternate minimums which require a forecast AT THE TIME OF ARRIVAL (1 hour before and after doesn't apply to the alternate), of at least a 400 foot ceiling and 1 mile visibility (standard ILS mins + 200 and 1/2).
If the forecast was for EXACTLY 400 AND 1 mile for your alternate, it would be "marginal" since it is AT the alternate minimums. Obviously this is pretty rare.
The other reasons to have a 2nd alternate are "Captain Breaks Wind", a pnemonic device to help you remember that a 2nd alternate may be listed if:
The Captain deems is appropriate.
Braking action is reported less than "good".
Crosswind exceeds a certain level, can vary depending on the company's FOM.
Another reason to have a 2nd alternate of YOUR chosing that's NOT in the books is if your dispatcher picks an alternate that's:
1. Close to your destination and a hurricane or tropical storm is bearing down on the entire area.
2. Back THROUGH the line of thunderstorms that you just came through.
3. On the other side of a line of thunderstorms that you can't get through to your destination anyway.
I run into these pretty regularly, and arguing for them to change the alternate is too difficult to explain when they don't have time, so I usually just request a 2nd alternate - it's easier for some of them to "get" I guess, go figure.
No offense Jay, but some of the new people down there need some serious "help"... Ran into 2 of those three last week when the leftovers of the hurricane hit BOS.
I am still unclear on what a marginal condition would be for your 1st alternate though. If the wx is at or above the alternate minimums, then you can use it for an alternate. What could be a qualifier for the 1st alternate? Thanks.
The definition of marginal depends on the particular operator and what they define as maginal. Some use the wording that if the weather is right at alternate mins as derived by Opsecs then it is marginal. Other operators might define "marginal" as being within a certain vis/ceiling, like 100 ft/ 1/2 mile.
The idea is not to have an alternate for your alternate, but rather two destination alternates. If you must divert you choose one of the two alternates as opposed to going to your first alternate then to your second alternate. The FAR's require you to have enough fuel to go to your destination, to the most distant alternate, then 45 minutes thereafter.
I doubt that you will be asked about this in an interview. Most likely you will be asked about your current operation.
I believe the way it works here is: 1 2 3 rule for dest to determine if you need first alt. If wx at dest is less than 1000/3 AND wx at the alt is below 600/2, you will need a second alt. You may need exm. 3585 if wx in the remarks section is bad.
Do not believe any of this stuff these people are making up.
You need a second alternate, if and only if the original alternate does not have a descent place to eat as you wait for the fuel truck and dispatch to figuire out where you are. If you have a good place to eat you can not go wrong, thus if you get an alternate such as PHF, you want to request a second one, of lets say RIC, as they have a good BBQ at the airport. I always reccommend DCA (Cheesecake Factory) as a second alternate. Another good second alternate is IND, they have a large selection of food products just waiting to be eaten. Once you have the second alternate if you have to bug out of a hold just choose the alternate with the best food. Clear as mud!
Now the only exception to the above rule is as follows, ACY should always be chosen when the Miss America pagent is in town. They do not have good food but for a couple of bucks you can head downtown and look at the pretty ladies.