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Guest KHAOS

The Md-11f: From A Ramp Agent's Perspective.

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This is a long read, so I apologize in advance. But I just want to share my up-close and personal experience with the MD-11.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I've been a fan of the MD-11 ever since I can remember. As the son of an MD-11 Captain, the plane has a very personal meaning to me. It's been the way of our family's life for nearly the past 16 years. Before the MD-11, my dad had a 20 year career in the United States Air Force flying the KC-135 Stratotanker for 8 years, then the E-3 Sentry up until 1992. Aviation is in my blood. I eat, sleep, breathe and live it. It is all I have known, and I would not have it any other way.It has always been a dream of mine to get up close and personal with the MD-11, to know it more intimately than just a fleeting glance at a picture. Four years ago, the first part of my dream came true. I got the lucky chance to fly with my dad on a cargo run from Anchorage, AK (PANC) to Los Angeles, CA (KLAX) and back on a World Airways MD-11 under the callsign, "Dynasty 218 heavy." If there was ever a day in my life I could repeat over and over - that would be the one.Fast forward to the present. I am 24 years old, currently working as a contract ramp agent for the United Parcel Service (UPS) at the North Cargo ramp at Salt Lake City Int'l. It's been 10 months since I first set foot on the ramp, and there's never been a day that goes by where I have not regretted taking a pay cut to do this job. The hours suck, the work is physical, the pay is almost an insult and there are no benefits to speak of - but that's not why I'm there. In my previous jobs, there was no fulfillment. I was miserable sitting in an office chair overlooking the final approach on the south end of KSLC. Every day I'd look out the window and watch. I never thought I'd get closer.February '08. I saw the ramp for the first time. That day, an Airbus A300-600 freighter sat in its parking spot as a holdover with mechanical problems. I got good vibes. At the end of the month I was finally hired. I was happy. I was going to work on jets.Our normal compliment of aircraft coming into the ramp consisted of two Airbus A300-600 freighters, one from UPS's main hub at Lousiville, KY. This was our hot plane, requiring a normal turn around time from block-to-block of about 3 hours. Over the summer, sometimes with delays, we'd have to turn it in 45 minutes. In recent weeks, we had a two hour delay, and turned around the plane ahead of schedule. I told the UPS higher-ups with pride that night, "I don't care if you send me your jet 2 hours late, my crew will still send you out on time." Our other A300 came in from Boise, ID, bound for Ontario, CA after unloading its cargo at Salt Lake, then being reloaded with packages for the West Coast.During the middle of our shift, aircraft from feeder facilities within an hour's flight time of the field would stream in. Ten total aircraft, ranging from Fairchild Metroliner III's, Beech C-99's, Beech 1900D's and the occasional Mitsubishi MU-2 brought in loose packages from cities like Twin Falls, ID, Jackson Hole, WY, Elko, NV, St. George, UT and so on. With Christmas time coming up, the mentality of the monotonous shifted focus to getting everything into high gear. More package volume, more aircraft, more new people to handle the extra work, colder temperatures, bitter weather all add to the excitement we call - "PEAK."Last year for peak, I had heard we had gotten the Queen - a 747-200 that would rotate back and forth between KSDF and KSLC every 12 hours. This year would be different. We would be getting...an MD-11. When I heard this, my heart soared. My first taste of an MD-11 had actually come during May. Disasters overseas prompted religious organizations and UPS to team up and deliver medical aid to Myanmar. I volunteered to help load the plane on a Sunday. The local news came out, and we all became famous for a few minutes. My mug was even on TV for awhile. However, I was a bit disappointed. I never got to see the upper cargo hold, which was my specialty, which is where I shined, which is where I was assigned, but management dictated otherwise. Redemption would come later.As December hit, rumors of who the MD-11 crew would be began to circulate. I had a reputation on the ramp for taking pride in my work. I am thorough and expect nothing but the best effort out of my crew. We had been unloading Airbuses, DC-8's and 757's for months, and we were damn good at it. We got the job done professionally, got it done right, and got it done quick. Our crew would often get compliments from the flight crew as they would come up the crew stairs. "Thanks for the early turn, guys! We appreciate it. We love coming into Salt Lake because of you all." That right there will make any ramp agent's day. With the MD-11 coming, I was chomping at the bit to get in on the action. Like a kid hoping to make his cut at getting on the football team, I hoped and I prayed. Then word finally came. I, and several of the best people on the ramp had been selected to undergo training on aircraft procedures. It was pretty much my regular crew. I was pleased with who was selected. This is definitely a plane you do not want to mess around with.The aircraft is highly prone to tail-tipping, as there are no provisions for a tailstand, and the tri-engine setup with #2 being tail mounted are a few factors of many that put us all on a slight edge. This is not an Airbus. It's not a 757. It's the temperamental MD-11. As I've often heard, "It's a dream in the sky - and hell on the ground."As we went through training, we had to be certified on cargo door and L1 door operation, unloading and loading procedures, aircraft servicing and a few other things essential to performing our job. As the MD-11 can only be unloaded one section at a time, we wouldn't require many people on this plane. My best friend and I had hand-selected the crew that would be working with us. We wanted the best, and that was our crew. We've been called the "A-Team" by our superiors, and for very good reasons. The day of reckoning was nigh, and this was a new animal that was not one to be toyed with. Late into the night on December 9th, we finished up training. The rest of the week lay ahead. December 15th would be our D-day. UPS2844 ETA: 1730, local.The night before, being on setup crew, I had wrote down a list of changes that would be needed to certain areas of our ramp to accommodate the MD-11, and also what provisions we would be needing. When I arrived an hour earlier than normal the next day, I briefed my charges on setup crew on what we'd need.I checked the flight board in the office. Our plane was delayed by 30 minutes. ETA now 1805, local. This wasn't good; our plane had to block out at 2037 on the dot to avoid a delay. We now had 2-1/2 hours to turn this thing. We set up the ramp, got everything in place as best we possibly could. We waited. I checked my phone. "1757." "About 5 minutes to go." Right then, a call came out over the radio - "Plane's down!" I rushed out from the break room, down the stairs and onto the tarmac. Flight 2844 from SDF had landed on runway 16L, and was taxiing up taxiway H. I got out to the crew stairs, and with camera in hand - began to take video of the arrival. It was hard to see in the darkness, but as she strolled onto the ramp beneath the orange glow of the flood lights, I started to grin.N271UP was 100% full tonight. And only 4 people would be touching the cargo in the main sections - and I was one of them. We had a daunting task ahead of us.The unload procedure for the MD-11F consists of unloading 4 sections in a very specific order. The decks are marked out where containers go, and each section has a weight limitation. In order to avoid tail-tipping, we unload starting at the back and work our way up. When all else fails, our primary fall-back measure is to keep weight up front no matter what.After the aircraft shut down, and ground power was connected, our crew brought up the crew stairs from a staged position 45 feet away from the L1 door. Meanwhile, the plane was chocked and orange cones (pylons) were distributed around the plane. Eighteen total are required. Chocking procedures differ from every other aircraft we deal with - 4" clearance on the nose gear, and the mains must be chocked tight. The center gear never gets chocked - it is the pivot point, and must be allowed to move freely.A crowd had gathered near the center cargo door. Everybody had seemed to have forgotten that only the designated MD-11 crew was to touch the plane. A manager was heard saying, "Everybody get back, unless you're trained, you can't touch it." Murmurs of "#####" and "Awwwww..." were heard. I laughed a little, and I smiled to my crew. At about that time, a small set of stairs, 8 feet high, were brought up to the door. My name was called. "Can you get that door?" "Yeah, shouldn't be too hard."I punched open the locks on the cover over the door controls (there are 3 locks) and then reached over with my left hand to move the door vent lever to the "OPEN" position. On the control panel, I flipped the guarded power switch to "ON - LTS", , flipped the adjacent toggle to "OPEN." I started counting aloud to 5. "ONE...TWO...THREE...FOUR...FIVE." Right then, the door showed signs of life and begun to open. I held the power switch until the door stopped, then got off the ladder.The stairs were moved out of the way, and our ground lead marshalled up our loader (we call them K-loaders). Once staged and on the stabilizers, we climbed the ladder onto the loader deck and into the cargo hold. The belly of the aircraft has fire protection in the form of smoke detectors in the ceiling, along with very thin, very flexible panels on the walls near the top. We can't put any weight on these panels while we're working (it's hard not to), otherwise we'll damage the fire detection and suppression system. We must be gentle and conscientious, yet efficient in our work.There are 7 small containers in this rear section, which are designated as LD11's. They're stack loaded, which means only one set of locks holds the whole bunch in, there's no need to put up locks in between the "cans" - which is odd to us. Marked out from the forward to rear, positions P7 through P13 would be unloaded from door to aft, then door to front. P11, P12, P13. Then P10, P9, P8, P7. While that was going on, our 'relief' crew was in the AB (aft bulk) section behind us unloading the loose cargo onto a belt loader that would go into the awaiting arms of rampers loading them into a container to be hauled off for sorting.We finished the center compartment. Now, we ventured up to the top deck. This would be my first glimpse. Our k-loader was staged 8 feet away from the already open cargo door, poised on the ground and ready to go. Myself and my 3 compadres, plus our k-loader operator and a UPS rep "grabbed some rail", and up we went. We were marshalled up to within a foot of the door sill and a foot below, where we then flipped the door sill guards down, stepped back onto the loader, and proceeded up to the final point 2 inches and level with the sill."Holy ######" was all I could think of as I gazed into the hold. I honestly couldn't think of anything else. This was a different animal, much bigger than our A300's. N271UP was a clean ship - in service since 2002, you wouldn't think it was 6 years old. The locks and interior looked brand new. I felt like I was in a gymnasium, even with the 26 containers loaded on board. Weight distribution was paramount. We did not want to end up on our backs tonight. With our UPS rep, we confirmed unloading procedures and set to work. The deck is layed out in a standard configuration of 26 sections. They are labeled left, right or center. Ours would be 1L through 12L, and 1R through 12R, with 13 and 14 being centerline positioned aft of the 12's. Bit by bit, the containers came off. 2L and 2R, followed by the entire left side all the way until 12L. 12L would be our ballast, staged in position 4L, locked in place while we unloaded the entire right side. As the final right side cans were taken off, 13 and 14 were brought up front. 12L was sent out the door, followed by 13, 14, then the 1's came off. We were done with top deck.No rest for the wicked. Our front belly section was the last to be unloaded. Off the top deck k-loader we came, going underneath and over to the right side of the aircraft and up onto a smaller k-loader that would take us up to the front section.It was tight quarters in the belly. Being only 5'9", I had to crane my neck or bend my knees to be comfortable. My poor friend stood at 6'3", and didn't look too happy. Keeping the weight-in-the-nose mantra, we unloaded the 6 containers out of the forward section. Positions 1 through 6, with P1 being forward, were unloaded P4, P5, P6, P3, P2, P1. We would be re-loading 12,000 LBS of ballast after this to keep weight up front before loading the top deck. That was our minimum requirement. For this load, the plane will not be flyable without that ballast in the forward belly section.Within 5 minutes, our re-load began. Four containers designated as "L9's" were brought up one at a time into the cargo hold. Positions P1 and P6 would be voided - as in we would put nothing there. P2 was the first to come up. Inside was 3500 LBS of Quikrete brand ready-mix concrete, whose sole purpose was to exist as ballast. A red tag on the container told crews at SDF to return it back to us. After all, it was at least $500 worth of materials, haha. Three more containers came up, all relatively within the same weight. We finished the forward compartment, then made our way back up top.It was brightly lit and cavernous on the top deck. I wanted to call the place my home away from home, indeed it would be for the next 9 days until Christmas Eve, but I knew I had to enjoy it while it lasted. Working on the MD-11 felt like "going home." It is a sensation I cannot do justice with words. With this year being a tough one, looking out across the tarmac at "my plane", I felt redemption. I still could not believe what I was doing. My mother had passed away this summer very suddenly. I recall telling her in May how disappointed I was with my first MD-11 experience, being relegated to grunt work, transferring volume from pallets to containers, and hardly even touching the plane. She had told me - "You'll get another chance, don't worry." She passed away less than two months later.We were told in the training class that bringing the MD-11 to Salt Lake was a 1 in a million decision. "This was not supposed to happen." With some personal experiences after my mom's death being surreal and hard to explain, looking upon the MD-11 felt like a dream. My dad has even acknowledged her presence on the flight deck at some points. On that first night, I walked the centerline and thought of my mom. I kind of felt like she had a hand in this. I wished so badly that she could see what I was doing, and I knew how proud she would be. As I tread, I quietly said out loud, "Thanks, mom." My damage check and walk-through was complete. We began the upload. Positions 1L and 1R came up first, and surprisingly they were empty. I remarked to the UPS rep, "Isn't there supposed to be weight in these things?" He and I both came to the same conclusion that the load planner knew better than we did. We continued.Re-loading was backwards of unloading. Staging each container in the #4 section before proceeding with another can in the door, we slid 14 and 13 into place at the back of the plane. Our 12L can was locked into position 4, and we began to load the right side. A mixture of A1's, A2's and L9's came on board at a sluggish pace. The sorters inside the UPS facility a few hundred feet away were taking their sweet time cranking out our cargo. We were already behind the power curve, but not for our own lacking. External factors and the odds were against us. We were supposed to have 5 hours - instead we got half that.After finishing the right and left side, we were needed to finish the center cargo compartment. It was a short 125 foot sprint to the rear k-loader. Over the radios we heard, "Let's go! Let's go! GO GO GO!" My crew, the residential badasses, the so-called "A-Team", went from k-loader ladder to k-loader ladder in less than 20 seconds. Up we went. Empty LD11 containers were coming up as fast as the loader and operator could work. My team of 4 consisted of a load supervisor (a designee) and 3 people (myself included) working on the containers. We rushed to get everything in. Being empty, you wouldn't think they would be much of a problem. But with no weight, and the containers being slightly warped, a 1/2" clearance between the top of the containers and the ceiling, bad rollers and an unfamiliar plane, we had our work cut out for us. Less than 7 minutes later, we were finished. I was going to send this plane out. On the ramp, I've been admired with how I marshall, and the modest side of me doesn't know why. I guess I'm good at it. I always send out those flight crews with a sharp salute, and you don't know how good it makes me feel to get one back. I wanted this badly. We pulled chocks, cleared the aircraft of pylons and equipment. I grabbed my marshalling wands and went out to the left wingtip. With the temperature being in the teens tonight, frost was abundant. The flight crew requested to be de-iced and have anti-ice agent applied. A contract company was brought in with their own push tug to push our plane out, as our tug was only rated to push out at max 400,000 LBS. The MD-11 would surpass that. Things were done different tonight. Usually we push the jet back 10 feet out, then it is sprayed. Tonight, the plane was pushed back all the way out on to the taxi line leading out, then sprayed. I attributed the change-up to the contract pushback driver. After coming to a stop, I left my position at the wing and walked up to the front. A chilly southeast wind froze my uncovered hands. My friend, who was also my cameraman tonight, walked with me. I waited at a position roughly 150 feet off to the left of the nose, and 50 feet forward of that. The de-ice trucks sprayed the wings, then the tail. Then repeated the same process with the anti-ice fluid. Finally, after they cleared, the #3 engine was started. Light smoke poured out as it lit off. Engine one spooled up. In the agonizing cold, it seemed forever before #2 lit off. I handed my camera to my friend and told him it was rolling. The mechanic was disconnecting from his interphone, and hopped into an awaiting truck. The flight crew flashed their nose gear light right as the truck pulled away, indicating they were ready to go. I nodded, and waited until the mechanic's truck cleared the aircraft.As soon as the truck passed me, I sent up my right hand, giving the "ALL CLEAR", and knowing they were ready, I told them to "PROCEED." After a few seconds when they were in front of me, I signaled "PROCEED AS DIRECTED BY ATC" by crossing my right arm over my extended left arm. The Captain waved, his hand was barely visible. I snapped to attention, holding my wands in my left hand at my side, and gave him a crisp salute with my right. This was my trademark. I waved goodbye, and off I walked.It was a long stroll back to the facility, and all the way I walked, the MD-11 taxiied on taxiway H up to the end of 16L. I had my camera and took more video. Soon, she was rolling down the runway, achieving Vr about half way down the runway. "That's fast right there." One of my co-workers remarked."Yup. It's a rocket ship." And that was that. Off to home, living to fight another day, so to speak. Eight more days on this bird. UPDATE (19 DEC 08) - VIDEO FROM THAT NIGHT: Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13RenT4DS-APart 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rSoJaCaJPACAUTION! Some parts have a bit of language. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Sorry for the long read, but I hope some of you enjoy what I wrote. I'm including pictures of the plane and operations. I'll put up a few pictures, trying not to overload the thread with them. I hope that's alright. I'll have a link up to a YouTube video that I'll post up when I can. In regards to PMDG, their product and why I'm here in the first place: I just want to thank you guys for your marvelous product that you've worked hard on for so long. It's an amazing, beautiful and elegant aircraft, and I am so glad that somebody out there took the time to bring this bird to everybody. You have done it justice. Thank you...

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I'm fascinated with the view of the cargo bay. How are the pallets secured?I have many many hours on board military trash haulers (C130, C141, C5 but not newer) and noticed they use rails on each side that interlock with the pallets when the rails "squeeze" them. I don't see any such mechanism in the shot... in fact, you mention "lock into position" but how is that?Also, is there a "safety net" across the load to keep it from travelling into the cockpit during an accident?Again, thanks for the pics.

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I appreciate the questions, and I will try to provide more pictures to answer later on when I can.The lock system is very intricate. It would be easier to get a video and post it up, and explain it that way. But, in brief, the pallets (or containers, which we mostly see) are secured by hard rails on the outside of the containers, held in between by "butterfly" locks that we flip up by hand on the front and the back, and "scissor locks" on the centerline that are spring actuated. The containers have metal lips on the bottom that the locks clamp to.There is a hard bulkhead, with two access doors (dimensions 3.5' high x 2' wide) between the cargo hold and the forward galley on UPS freighters. On the World Airways bird I was on, it was instead a high-tensile strength net. So yes, there is something to keep the flight crew safe.I gotta get ready for work now, as I'm running late. It's almost 1400 local in Utah, and I have to be at KSLC in an hour. It's a 35 mile drive. Hopefully, our bird today will arrive on time at 1550. I'm kinda hoping we have a little extra leeway.If anyone is curious, the tail numbers we have had come in are N271UP and N285UP yesterday (that's the daylight shot). Flight number should be something like UPS2844 inbound, and UPS844 outbound to SDF.

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Our plane, N277UP, came in today around 1607L, fully loaded. We managed to get it unloaded in 42 minutes, beating our rivals on the AM shift by over 25 minutes. We hope to get it done in 35 minutes tomorrow. Everything went off without a hitch, and we blocked out on time tonight. Here's some better pictures to answer the questions previously asked.First pic is kind of blurry (the lighting conditions suck, as we work at twilight into the night, and it's hard to keep perfectly still) but you can see the bulkhead, with the two access doors on either side. We've given them the names "The Alice in Wonderland" door and "The Middle Finger Door." The former relating to how only Alice could fit through there, and the latter being we've been given the finger by the conversion company who put the damn things in. I could picture fitting through it in an emergency, but squeezing my fat &@($* through there under normal conditions would be a chore. :(

I'm fascinated with the view of the cargo bay. How are the pallets secured?
The lock system:There are locks all over the place of various sizes, shapes, orientations and purposes. Some are for alignment only, others serve as guide rails, and what not. There's a multitude of things we can adapt the floor to lock around. One of the pictures shows how the right side all slides into place (we load right side then left). The second picture shows the centerline, and a bit of the butterfly locks, which are colored red. In the middle row, the scissor locks in the center open up like a venus fly trap in a way. It only takes about 5-10 lbs of force to spread the lock apart. It will snap back shut under spring pressure. The slope and angles of the locks allow a container to roll right over it and press them down. Their main use however is as a guide rail when the can is in transit to its final position. When the container is locked in place, the guide rail now becomes a lock in itself, as it wraps over the edge of the container. The red butterfly locks are flipped up by hand when the container is in place. The two sides of the lock allow it to not only latch onto the container in front of it, but also latch on to the container behind it. All the locks you see running down the centerline in the third picture are spring loaded. You can step on them and they collapse with ease.....

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Very interesting post!it's always nice to see how the MD-11 is fitted outside the flight deck.I'm really jealous of you for working in/on this bird.I've been in the process of applying at my local airport (EBBR) for the same job you do but it takes ages before i get a reply and all the formalities are over...I hope we will see more posts/pictures of you in the future!Regards,Steven

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I agree, the pictures are great and I enjoy your sharing the "loadmaster" experience. The USAF cargo planes have a couple of officers in the cockpit but the guy in charge of the load is the Loadmaster, typically an E-6 or E-7 sergeant. Although I had 23 years it was mostly "ground pounder" work except for my last job where I was a Chief of Logistics for a combat communications unit and we (under supervision of the Loadmasters) loaded 43 aircraft full of equipment and people for deployment to Desert Storm. We did our own load planning. How is the load plan worked out for you guys? Does someone else marshall the load for you and provide a loading plan or do you take part in that?I flew the UPS2844 flight last evening about 30 min behind the real guy KSDF-KSLC. The approach into Salt Lake at night with snow on the mountains is awesome.

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Wow you love the MD-11 like I do, I felt the same way during my Douglas days when I worked on the MD-11 program. I worked on hydraulics and flight control rigging. I loved going to work on the MD-11, and after work I would fly the MD-11 sim if they weren't busy. I enjoyed having my hands on this beautiful doing various jobs in the assembly process. The aircraft is a beautiful aircraft. I rember the first MD-11 delivered was a Finnair that went out with a Camaro in the forward cargo bay that the copilot bought while here, he said they sell for big money in Finland.Michael P.

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Our plane, N277UP, came in today around 1607L, fully loaded. We managed to get it unloaded in 42 minutes, beating our rivals on the AM shift by over 25 minutes. We hope to get it done in 35 minutes tomorrow. Everything went off without a hitch, and we blocked out on time tonight. Here's some better pictures to answer the questions previously asked.First pic is kind of blurry (the lighting conditions suck, as we work at twilight into the night, and it's hard to keep perfectly still) but you can see the bulkhead, with the two access doors on either side. We've given them the names "The Alice in Wonderland" door and "The Middle Finger Door." The former relating to how only Alice could fit through there, and the latter being we've been given the finger by the conversion company who put the damn things in. I could picture fitting through it in an emergency, but squeezing my fat &@($* through there under normal conditions would be a chore. :( The lock system:There are locks all over the place of various sizes, shapes, orientations and purposes. Some are for alignment only, others serve as guide rails, and what not. There's a multitude of things we can adapt the floor to lock around. One of the pictures shows how the right side all slides into place (we load right side then left). The second picture shows the centerline, and a bit of the butterfly locks, which are colored red. In the middle row, the scissor locks in the center open up like a venus fly trap in a way. It only takes about 5-10 lbs of force to spread the lock apart. It will snap back shut under spring pressure. The slope and angles of the locks allow a container to roll right over it and press them down. Their main use however is as a guide rail when the can is in transit to its final position. When the container is locked in place, the guide rail now becomes a lock in itself, as it wraps over the edge of the container. The red butterfly locks are flipped up by hand when the container is in place. The two sides of the lock allow it to not only latch onto the container in front of it, but also latch on to the container behind it. All the locks you see running down the centerline in the third picture are spring loaded. You can step on them and they collapse with ease.....
When you load or unload an MD-11, I would think you would have to keep pallets ober the CG at all times, ie constantly moving pallets away from the aft section of the aircraft.Michael P.

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When you load or unload an MD-11, I would think you would have to keep pallets ober the CG at all times, ie constantly moving pallets away from the aft section of the aircraft.Michael P.
He actually gave a great description of the unloading process in his first post. Being as tail heavy as it is, the procedures for unloading the MD-11 are very specific. On the Lufthansa MD-11's that I used to work, the load crew was not to move any topside cans until the aft belly was empty. The aft belly was emptied from the door aft, then forward of the door. (The pallet position numbers escape me) Then topside positions 2L and 2R came out in order to clear the "ball mat". Then the left side positions came off, typically with 12L temporarily being spotted in 4L to provide additional ballast (along with 1L/R) to keep the CG well forward of the "tip axis" (which is actually marked inside the airplane). Then the right side of the airplane is brought forward, followed by the center positions. As 1L and 1R come off, the belly crew was allowed to empty the forward belly.We never had anything in the bulk compartment, so that was no factor for us. We also used to work the 747-200F, and we frequently did a simultaneous offload via both the side cargo door and the nose. Talk about a fast download.Probably the most fun of being a loadmaster is the variety of cool stuff you get to put on airplanes. I've personally loaded/unloaded a Ferrari F360 Challenge car, several Porshe 911GT2's, a Bentley Arnage, countless BMW's, Citroen's, and Benzo's. Not to mention the jet engines (CF-6) and helicopters (AS350, R22, B206).I don't miss the long nights of wrestling with jacknifed 20 foot pallets, broken pallet locks, missing side rails, inoperative cargo handling system wheels, warped cans, and my personal favorite: Dollies with frozen castors. It certainly was fun though.Regards,Nick

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hyenice shots and story my dream was to be cargo pilot as it is very special ambiance and particular more fun than px I believe !! hope the fs9 comes very soon do not hesitate to send us some nice shots and go to be md 11 pilot no possible for you ? cheerspatrick

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We did our own load planning. How is the load plan worked out for you guys? Does someone else marshall the load for you and provide a loading plan or do you take part in that?I flew the UPS2844 flight last evening about 30 min behind the real guy KSDF-KSLC. The approach into Salt Lake at night with snow on the mountains is awesome.
Our load plan is created by a designated UPS load planner inside the facility. Manifests are then printed out and given to our ground lead, and a UPS rep that stays with us plane-side. The ground lead marshalls up containers in the appropriate order to the plane. Our loadmaster on board (or "load supervisor", "designee", "writer"- he has many different names) is one of our own guys, and has a blank "Ramp Action Summary" sheet (pic attached). The load master is responsible for making sure that weight limitations are not exceeded for that given position, that the container is not going to a different destination than is intended, and is the ultimate authority on the plane itself. As a container comes on board, the load master writes down the container number, weight, and destination. On our SDF plane for example, our destinations include NRT, YYZ, various codes for Worldport, United States Postal Service volume (regular mail) and COMAT. Most of it is just coded "400", which is just SDF, basically. Containers that come to the plane are marshalled up by the ground lead. He and the UPS rep check the container's information before it's pushed off the dolly onto the k-loader. When the container is in position, the ground lead gives a thumbs up and the "raise elevator" signal to the k-loader operator. It's then brought up to us, the load master gets the info, and we push it into place.We have a triple-redundant check after the load is complete. All three manifests are compared to make sure each container is in the right place with the verified weights. The UPS rep, the load master and one of the supervisors all get together for a readback. The 2/3rds majority rule is in effect most of the time. However, there have been times where our load master has caught a mistake on the other two sheets. Nick described the unloading procedure a bit better than I did. We're always trying to maintain a forward CG to avoid a tail tip. In May 2004 at LAX, my dad was Captain of N275WA on a flight from ANC-LAX. The ground crew screwed up the unloading, and tipped the plane. The flight crew was stuck in the forward galley as the plane went up. At first they got the sensation as if the plane was rolling backwards, but a split second later they realized they were tipping. Fortunately, there was only minimal damage to the aircraft. The APU was running, and it would've been a major disaster had the APU caught fire. It took emergency crews 45 minutes to assess the situation and get appropriate equipment up to the plane to get the flight crew down. http://www.jetphotos.net/viewphoto.php?id=294169Ironically, I flew on N275WA a few months later...ended up parking in the same parking spot at LAX where the tip happened. The airport had since installed a tether system and ground anchors for the nose gear. I guess it's better than nothing.Anyway. It's about 4 hours to go before our plane is scheduled to land. I'm pretty tired, but excited. Last night my crew and I were run ragged. There were four aircraft on the ramp simultaneously last night, and between our unload and re-load on the MD-11, we helped unload the loose volume out of the bellies of our two 757's. I forget how many thousands of pounds it was, but they were all full to the max. I unloaded 3 of those 4 sections and afterward was screaming for water and taking off layers in the 19*F cold haha. I enjoyed it though. My back says otherwise. I'm gearing up for the same scenario today if the plane gets in on time.The pro for having the plane arrive on time is we have 5 hours to turn it. The con is, during that 5 hours, we'll have downtime, and we'll be press-ganged into doing other things to pass the time, such as grunt work. Oh well.

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and go to be md 11 pilot no possible for you ? cheerspatrick
I actually am working on getting my pilot's license at this time. My career goal is to be a pilot flying for the airlines or for the military. I would be thrilled if I could fly the MD-11, but that is many years away. We will see.

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I miss the smell of JP4 in the morning, I retired from USAF after Desert Storm.Do you ever run into special category loads such as hazmat, live animals and etc. or is everything in a brown box?

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We get alot of Hazmat, but only certain classes of it are allowed through the UPS air system. We do get strange things though...couple weeks ago we shipped out 200 lbs of TNT. Most common form of live animals we see are frogs..for what reason, I have no idea. I've loaded alot of money. About 3 or 4 times a week we'll load up containers with several thousand pounds of gold bars and currency. But usually it's all stuff in secured bags that goes into the AB section. An armed guard from Brinks security has to stand on the tarmac and watch it be loaded, and cannot leave the plane's side until the doors are closed.It's probably a good thing we can't see what's being shipped. I would not doubt it at all if the pallet I loaded 3 weeks ago with elongated, rectangular boxes on it contained bodies. I've seen boxes that say "medical emergency", "human tissue", etc.

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Besides biology class and French cooking, I think frogs are used for testing in research.You sparked a memory of standing on the flightline at Tan Son Nhut RVN in 1969 watching a load of caskets being put on board a C141 for their trip home. Bothers me as much today as it did then, maybe more.Thanks so much for sharing the excitement you have for your job. Man, having a job that excites you is one of the best things in the world to have.

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