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Chock

Droning on...

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6 hours ago, tooting said:

Alan like I said earlier up the thread.  In my Occ its been a NIGHTMARE. We've crew all over the shop. 

A/C that are due in the LHR/LGW hangers for engineering checks and rectification checks have missed their time in the hanger so their Mels are about to expire and thenfore the 'a/c drops dead' etc at midnight zulu on the expiry day making it aog till its rectified.  Having an AOG on an expired Mel in say St Lucia is a NIGHTMARE. 

We've got crews due In the sim next week for opcs/lpcs but their stuck In The USA and need the 3 local nights days off afterwards coming back into lhr/lgw so hence missing their sim slots.

Same with cabin crew going on recurrents, there all stuck away in the usa and have to have 3 or 4*days off when they land back   therefore missing their annual recurrents, CRM, security courses, first aid, if it was rostered this week. you name it, Stuff like this hits everything,i mean everything, as i always say people underestimate the knock on and bigger picture of what goes on behind the scenes when stuff like this happens. This is what happens at an airline that people, (even pilots and crew) never think off behind the scenes. This is why we bang onto the crew about 'the bigger picture'  when they make decesions on the line it has a knock on effect to loads of other aspects of the business. Engineering hanger slots being a huge one. 

And then not to mention the cost in eu complaint payments its going to be a nightmare in that respect too. 

I'm just glad to be going onto days off now.  Phew

Yup, for example: We had a Thomas Cook A330-200 stuck on stand 27 at EGCC last night for several hours before we eventually had to just tow it off and dump it on the remote stands (one of several we had come onto that stand that shift, we had to keep either pushing them off to remote stands or getting em pushed out to leave). This particular A330 had been slated to fly some displaced passengers to their intended destination that night, from which they had been diverted the day before. So, the preceding night they had to be put up in hotels, then bussed to the airport for the flight, but because of further disruptions, the crew which had supposed to be manning that 330 went out of hours, so the flight had to be cancelled. This meant the passengers had to be bussed back to hotels and put up in them again and the aeroplane just had to be towed off out of the way and plonked on one of the 60s remote stands to make way for yet another diversion flight from Gatwick.

This is why I ended up soaking wet on that shift, I was all over the airport all night and barely got a chance to sit down for about 12 hours cause I was too busy looking for spare ground service equipment to use, pushing aircraft out, marshaling them onto stands, sticking steps on them, sticking chocks, cones and GPUs on them, uploading bags and cargo, offloading bags and cargo, tipping stuff at the carousels, finding spare cans, dumping stuff we did not need on remote stands, helping passengers out, charging and fueling vehicles up, doing paperwork etc etc, which is normally what I do, but I usually end up with at least a bit of downtime lol. But beyond it being a pain in the @ss personally, the bigger issue is...

To give people an idea of how much just this one incident will have cost the airline, I once had a guy from Thomas Cook tell me that if one of their A330s gets delayed by just over three hours and therefore gets into that EU compensation zone, it costs the airline about £183,000. That's for just a three hour delay. So you can imagine how much it has cost for just this single airliner to not make a flight and all of the resultant monies related to just one plane-load of passengers. This doesn't even get into the costs of paying for aircraft to be parked up, using ground power all night, being out of position, not earning revenue whilst sat on the ground, etc, etc.

This is why we can be certain that the person(s) responsible for causing this with that drone will be found and will be looking at some serious jail time: When someone causes that amount of financial damage to so many companies, it's peanuts for a bit more money to be thrown at an investigation from an insurance company to find the culprit. All they will need to do is wave a big cash reward about for anyone who can identify the culprit, and you can be certain someone who knows them will see the £££ signs and be making that phone call to the authorities to claim the reward. Some twit will brag about it in a pub, or let slip something about it to a mate or whatever and as we know, there's no honour among thieves.

Edited by Chock
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Alan Bradbury

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16 minutes ago, Chock said:

This is why we can be certain that the person(s) responsible for causing this with that drone will be found and will be looking at some serious jail time:

If, indeed, it turns out to be someone "local".

With the evident high level of organisation and lack of any group claiming responsibility  (and if it is in fact environmental protesters you'd think they'd be dining out on the publicity), I wouldn't totally rule out it being state-sponsored.

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Just now, skelsey said:

If, indeed, it turns out to be someone "local".

With the evident high level of organisation and lack of any group claiming responsibility  (and if it is in fact environmental protesters you'd think they'd be dining out on the publicity), I wouldn't totally rule out it being state-sponsored.

Yup, it's a possibility. But even for state sponsored stuff, there is usually a patsy who takes the fall for it, and if that is the case, that person is going to be looking at some long jail time.


Alan Bradbury

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I believe the CAA has deemed this to be an extraordinary event and so EU compensation rules won’t apply, which for some airlines could have literally been the last straw.

My wife is cabin crew currently in the US, I’m hoping she makes it back tonight otherwise I’ll be left to cook the turkey, although I’m comfortable handling a large jet ,cooking Christmas dinner is way beyond my skill set.

Edited by jon b
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787 captain.  

Previously 24 years on 747-400.Technical advisor on PMDG 747 legacy versions QOTS 1 , FS9 and Aerowinx PS1. 

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2 hours ago, jon b said:

I believe the CAA has deemed this to be an extraordinary event and so EU compensation rules won’t apply, which for some airlines could have literally been the last straw.

My wife is cabin crew currently in the US, I’m hoping she makes it back tonight otherwise I’ll be left to cook the turkey, although I’m comfortable handling a large jet ,cooking Christmas dinner is way beyond my skill set.

Well the CAA might have made that ruling, but this does not mean it will be upheld by the EU. This is where the lawyers start making money too. 🤣

On a lighter note. Here's one which will make you laugh which happened to me last night, not that I found it very amusing at the time...

Anyone who knows how the big airliners operate will know that up in the rear bulk hold of the aeroplane (colloquially known as the @rse to us), there are a few things. First up there is a big metal box which has a repair kit full of stuff for if something breaks when the aeroplane is at a remote location. We don't put too many bags in there, the baggage is usually in big 'cans' (ULDs) loaded into the main front and rear holds, but the crew's bags, any late check in bags, prams and such are indeed placed in that rear bulk hold, but what also gets chucked in there very often, is all the spare blankets and pillows. Often they are being transported to be laundered after having been used. They are usually placed in pathetically thin polythene bags which break open if you even dare to look at them, so it's regularly the case that we have loose pillows and blankets rolling down the conveyor belt and blowing about all over the ramp as we try to round them up and throw them onto a baggage trailer, however, what they are supposed to go in (and usually do) is a special wheeled cage which has wire mesh small enough to prevent them falling out.

But last night because we were in unusual circumstances, someone had thrown loads of these pilows and stuff into a standard baggage curtain trailer on stand 62L at EGCC, and we were rushing to get an A330 off that stand for departure. So the TCO (turnaround coordinator) said 'screw it, this thing needs to go in six minute's time, forget that stuff, we won't bother loading it, just tow the trailer out of the way'. So, I connected the trailer full of these pillows and blankets to a baggage tractor and pulled it to the head of the stand (probably about 200 feet distance) so that we could push the thing out for departure. Now even pulling this thing 200 feet in a straight line resulted in loads of the pillows and blankets falling off it since it isn't designed for carry that kind of loose stuff, it's for suitcases, thus we had to quickly collect up that stuff then sling it back onto the thing.

So, with that trailer out of the way, we pushed the aeroplane out for departure. Then of course after the aeroplane was off the stand, we had to get any ground service equipment off the stand so it was clear for the next aircraft coming onto it, so I connected two big can trailers together, then carefully back up the tractor with the trailer full of pillows to that lot (not easy in the rain and dark when it is hard to see stuff and line up the towbar as anyone who's ever backed up an articulated lorry will know). Now, being on a remote stand as I was, to get this stuff over to Stand 81 where we often leave our equipment, I would have to tow that lot across a taxiway and make several turns along the way, which meant that there was a good chance lots of those pillows and blankets would fall off the thing as the turns impart their force on the cargo and it wasn't exactly very secure in the first place with the thing sitting still, so I spent a good while jamming stuff in good and tight as best I could, but whilst I was busy tightening up the curtains on the trailer to help them hold the stuff in place, I heard someone disconnect the tractor and bugger off with it, and this after my beautifully careful reversing manuever. So I was not happy and more importantly, was now stranded on stand 62L because there is no route back to pier C which you can walk, only vehicles are allowed to cross the taxiway between 62L and the main apron. Fortunately, it turned out that the person who had nicked my tractor was using it to move the steps we'd taken off that A330, and so when they'd done that, they came back to get the tug and I got my tractor back, but of course had to connect it up again and in the meantime was stood out their in the pouring rain. Then, I had to carefully drive that lot across to Stand 81 trying not to have any pillows or blankets fall off it onto the taxiway and create a FOD hazard.

I did actually have some of them drop off the trailer, but fortunately on part of the road system and not when I was crossing the taxiway, so I was able to stop and throw the offending (and now very wet) stuff into the cab of the tractor. You are not allowed to stop a vehicle on the taxiways, or walk on them unless the vehicle is a pushback tug or if you are on foot doing the headset and disconnect the towbar, so if I'd have dropped something on the taxiway it would have been annoying and embarrassing to have to call up the tower and have airfield ops go and retrieve it.

It's quite comical to recount this, but at the time I was effing and jeffing away in that tractor with its steamed up windows and wet pillows and blankets falling off the seat next to me and making me even more wet than I already was.

See how much fun it is to do this airport ramp stuff? 🤣

Here's a couple of pics of that very occasion which I took whilst sitting in the cab of the driveable steps, waiting for the rest of the people to turn up on the stand with the pushback tug. This was just before it started absolutely chucking it down with rain. Tango Zulu has knackered engines, it really needs two new ones fitting:

JIEjZe7.jpg

FRTGGRy.jpg

Edited by Chock

Alan Bradbury

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I see Gatwick is back open after the "Army" came in with a "high-tech tracking system".  It will be some time before things get back to normal (whatever that is).


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The police say they have a few 'persons of interest'.  That means it's a stone cold 'whodunit'  

Ill wager they don't have any hard core evidence against any person and no arrests are forthcoming 

 


 
 
 
 
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5 hours ago, simbol said:

Crist, well @tooting, @Chock I want to express my gratitude to you and your colleagues for all the hard work put in place, and on behalf of many families that I know you were able to help during this massive disruption, THANKS YOU.

As I always say, real heros are always behind the scenes.

For the people responsible for these drone attack, I am sure we will catch you and you will pay for the consequences of your actions.

Regards 

Simbol 

Try telling that to pilots who want to strike simbol. But thanks for the compliment id not seen our occ in a mess like that since that bloody Ash cloud

 

Edited by tooting

 
 
 
 
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On 12/19/2018 at 8:45 PM, Chock said:

Heathrow Airport was closed down for a few hours last night because of a drone flying on the approach. Apparently there was a police helicopter trying to locate the operator, but I don't know how that ended. Because of the closure, Gatwick got a lot of diversionary traffic to the point where it could not take any more flights, and then they started coming up to us at Manchester and to a few other airports, forcing us to deal with some flights we were not expecting as well as causing us to tow off some aircraft from the stands on pier C to make way for other potential diversionary traffic. Then of course the passengers had to be catered for, transported by buses etc. So thanks for that, whoever the dumbass operating that drone was.

I used to operate a radio controlled powered sailplane, the Horizon Radian, excellent for gaining 500 feet to 1500 feet in thermals after an initial 500 foot climb at full power.  But I quit flying, even though we were just outside Luke's five mile limit, their jets would still come over in groups of three or four, too close to my flying area.  I also flew a kite there on a 500 foot, 100 pound test line, but I quit flying that because the pull was so hard, my arms would ache hauling it in.  Switched to a smaller six foot kite (the original was an eight footer) which I flew on 200 feet of line, was much easier to handle, and in my park if it went down due to a bad thermal, it would just land 200 feet away in the grass.  I hoisted a camera on the eight footer, I called it "Kitecam", and I found a hack for it that allowed it to take continuous pics, one second apart, as soon as one clicked the shutter.  Although nine out of ten shots were blurry and lousy, one out of ten were sharp and showed off the Phoenix West Valley well, one could see Luke and downtown Phoenix in the distance, 20 miles away and five miles for Luke.  The Luke pilots would almost always give me a wing wave if I was flying the kite, they were 500 feet higher at the 1000 foot pattern altitude.  Friendly they were, Luke was and is a great contributor to the local economy and sometimes I would have a beer with their pilots at a lounge they hung out at, or a beer with their enlisted pp, and we would talk Luke.  One of my IT colleagues was former Air Force and went to Luke for his VA care.  Wonderful guy who like all military pp served his country and gave us great memories of the Air Force.  My brother and also a best friend served in the Air Force, my brother an electrician and my friend in hydraulics.  My friend serviced B52's near Merced CA and serviced jets in Phoenix, he was the one who talked me into moving to Phoenix although he stayed in Napa after getting out of the Air Force.  He taught me how to fly RC aircraft and flying basics in general in our friends Cessna 170 and another friends rented 172, which we both chipped in on rental (only $40.00 an hour back in the 80's) so our friend, Tim Hurley, could build airtime.  Tim flew us all over the SF Bay area on about a dozen flights, give or take, in the mid 80's, my last GA flights until I started taking Light Sport Microlight lessons.

John

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27 minutes ago, simbol said:

They had to close Gatwick again today because another drone incident, unbelievable..

S.

I think Drone's should be made with a hidden self destruct, that way the airports can zap them if they interfere with traffic and teach their operators a lesson.  Drones are too nosy, and too annoying, and too dangerous, so are many RC aircraft if flown in the wrong places.  So are ultralight aircraft and powered parachutes in the US, if flown over congested areas or in congested airspace.  I would rather fly RC fixed wing, like the motorglider I used to fly, more fun than a drone, they fly faster and can penetrate the wind faster.   My RC glider could easily hit 25-30 knots, it was so hard to land, its glide ratio was crazy, it would easily take up 300 feet of soccer field from a 10 ft approach altitude, the only way I could land the thing was to get it to stall in the grass.  I would have to circle it down from one thousand feet to get it to land before the battery drained and I lost control.  It was capable of 20-25 minute flights and would still have engine power left over in case I needed a little boost for landing.  I miss RC flying but Phoenix is too congested for it.  There are only one or two places to fly RC and they are not big enough to handle RC soaring.  Take my word for it, soaring is so much better than a drone, even two axis is fun, using rudder and dihedral to turn the aircraft, and the combination turns a soaring motorglider well.  I could even do rolls with just rudder, and loops with the glider as well.

John

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Boeing is currently developing an onboard drone detection system using a forward looking camera and motion shift sensing.  It will probably be a several years before it makes it into production aircraft though. 
There are also ground based systems in development that will be potentially be able to take control of a rogue drone if it enters a restricted area. The tech is fairly expensive right now though and will most likely only be adopted after a serious accident, or it becomes cheaper.

Here's an example:
 

 

Edited by BrianW
added video

Brian W

KPAE

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3 hours ago, simbol said:

They had to close Gatwick again today because another drone incident, unbelievable..

S.

They got an army jammer thing, I believe its all back to normal again now 


 
 
 
 
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23 hours ago, Chock said:

Just finished a shift at EGCC. Had to work 4 hours extra to cover all the diversions from Gatwick. Currently Sat on the staff bus to the car park absolutely soaking wet from the rain. I hope they send the person responsible for all this to jail. They have caused a major disruption to passengers and airlines all across Europe. There are loads of aircraft out of position. We've even got a Norwegian 787 here at Mcr, and that never normally comes here.

 

I was in Gatwick just once, in 1984, on a British Caledonian BAC-111, my only time on the aircraft and airline.  I was on my way to Amsterdam.  I liked Gatwick, bustling place, but still prefer Heathrow, where I was at in 84 and last year, it's the crossroads of the world.  Sadly on my way to Heathrow last year the limo driver pointed out the apartment building that had the terrible fire.  I had passed it, intact, exactly one month earlier on my way from Heathrow to my hotel, the Thistle Euston near King's Cross.  I was in London right after the Ariana Grande concert, who my daughter saw here in Phoenix.  Security was all over the place, undercover and in uniform.  One of our city tour members fell and hurt herself, a poor older lady.  In seconds police were there, near Buckingham palace, to help her and get her into an ambulance.  Amazing in their compassion and first response, as I found so many in the UK.  I loved the British Airways service in Premium Economy on my 747-400.  My video was broke but I did not have the heart to bother the crew with it, I got it fixed by some gentle banging, a little IT trick I learned in my career, lol.  Too bad you can't bang your sim that way if your fps tanks for some odd reason, lol.

What amazes me about drones are the human size drones being made, like the Ehang 184 out of China.  If solid state batteries get marketable soon (they will sooner or later) we could see flight times of 90 minutes and recharge times of minutes, and that will change electric aviation together, and make flight training in fixed wing cheaper.  Imagine a Tesla with a 500 mile range and recharge times in minutes.  No more gas stations, no more fumes, no more car fires or vehicle fires.  Gas products would be used for fast jets and would last forever, and greenhouse gas emissions would go down.  If it sounds like Utopia, not quite, we will still need employment and jobs.  In heaven, someone has to trim the verge...

John

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