flytriman

Airline Operational Procedures Question

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For those of you that have Airline Experience I have the following questions concerning status of the aircraft before the crew shows up for a flight.

Yesterday I did a flight from KMDW (Midway Chicago) to KDFW (Dallas, Ft. Worth).  Set the flight to leave early, 6:30am, so it was dark and, if you’ve seen the news, very cold.  The aircraft, B737-200, arrived that night before and was left parked at the gate all night.

Now my question is, just before the pilots show up to board the aircraft…what state would the aircraft be in?

·       Would the jetway be attached?

·       Would the front passenger door be open or closed?

·       Would the baggage doors have been left open?

·       Would the external electrical power have been left connected with the aircraft battery ON?

o   If connected would there be any lights left on in the aircraft?  When you look at our AI aircraft parked at night all the cabin and logo lights are on.

·       Would the external air have been left connected (or connected before the pilots arrive) with the aircom packs on to keep the aircraft warm?  I know I’ve gotten on a few aircraft for 1st flights of the day and found them either chilly or warm.

·       Would the fueling have been completed by the ground crew?

·       Does any of this change depending on the temperature…i.e. if it’s mild, would there be no heat/air conditioning?

Any way…thanks for any insight you can provide.

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16 hours ago, flytriman said:

Would the jetway be attached?

I would hope so. The pilots definitely aren't teleporting onto the plane. In all seriousness, though, every time I've gone to the airport for the first flight of the day, I've always noticed the jetway already attached by the time I got to the gate.

16 hours ago, flytriman said:

Would the external electrical power have been left connected with the aircraft battery ON?

I'm going to go ahead and assume that it is since I've always noticed the navigation lights on.

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As with everything, the answer is, 'it depends'. I'll give you some examples, and these are based on my experiences of real world operations at Manchester Airport (EGCC).

First up, you've got the 'fast spins' i.e. the rapid turnaround of an aeroplane where it lands and taxies in, gets offloaded, then gets onloaded and goes out, all in the space of less than one hour. This is the kind of stuff Easyjet, Ryanair, Southwest etc do, since they want their aeroplanes in the air making money rather than sat on the ground doing nothing, although it would be a mistake to think that their aeroplanes never get parked up and left for the night because they quite often do and certainly moreso at this time of year when less holiday flights are taking place.

Next you've got the aeroplanes which come in, park on a stand and may sit there for very many hours before they make their next flight.

Then you've got tow ons and tow offs. An example of this would be: Let's say an A330-200 arrives at Manchester on Stand 31, which is a Stand equipped with a dual airbridge (i.e. it can connect to two doors at the front of the aeroplane), so it's great for boarding passengers and deboarding them, and it also has a FEP installation (fixed electrical power), so that's good too. FEP does the same as a mobile GPU (ground power unit), but instead of one of those needing to be towed up to the aeroplane and connected, there is a power connector installation built into the stand which is mounted on a pantograph with castoring wheels so it can be extended out to the aircraft to provide power. So, our A330 arrives, and is unloaded of its passengers and cargo, and left there for a while. But later on the stand is likely to be needed by other aeroplanes, so the A330 will be towed off the stand and put on a remote stand (typically this would be Stands 64 through to 71 at Manchester), probably one where there is no FEP.

If it needs to be cleaned, or the engineers need to work on it, it would have a mobile GPU taken to it to provide power for the lights and systems whilst that work is done, but if the engineers or cleaners are not working on it, or have finished, then there is a good chance that the GPU will either be shut down or even towed off elsewhere to be used on another aeroplane, which means it will be left completely shut down, with no power at all. Now when it comes time to use the aeroplane again for its next flight, that remote stand is less than ideal for the purpose, since you'd have to take steps out to it, take power out to it, and bus the passengers out to it as well. This is sometimes done, but it is more likely that it would be towed back onto a better equipped stand at some point in preparation for it being made ready for its next flight. This means the crew will board it and find that it is completely shut down.

So, let's look at a typical spin flight and what happens, and in this case we will use the example of  a Scandinavian Airline Services Airbus A320 making a flight between Copenhagen and Manchester...

SAS Flight SK541 departs from Copenhagen at GMT 16:30 and heads for Manchester. It will average approximately one and a half hours of flight time to do this, give or take about ten minutes either way depending on winds. At Manchester where we are awaiting its arrival so we can service it, we know it is supposed to arrive on Stand at 18:00 hours, but at this point we only know a few things about it. We know how many bags it has on board, and we know how many passengers it has on board, we know what fuel it had on board when it departed and we know if there is any cargo on it and what that cargo might be, so that if it requires any specialist handling, for example, some radioactive goods, or a firearm, or a live animal, or some company mail, we will be ready for that and have the appropriate equipment to hand with which to transport that cargo. We will also know it there are any passengers on board who require wheelchair assistance and whether they have a specialised wheelchair or mobility scooter on board, since these occasionally have batteries which require specialist handling and sometimes an elevator might be needed to assist the passengers off, in which case it might connect to the front starboard door.

What we don't know yet, is exactly when it will arrive, or what Stand it will be assigned to. However, we have a computer system (Chroma) which includes a list of flights we have to deal with that day (it looks a bit like an Excel Spreadsheet). In the various columns of information, it will tell us all of the info I listed above, but since it is linked to Eurocontrol ATC and NATS, some of the information is live and updates on the fly, so as SK541 gets nearer to Manchester on its flight, we get more information updating on the screen. We could also be contacted by the airline, or the crew of the aeroplane via radio or ACARS, and they might update us with information, i.e. if they had an unruly passenger, or someone who was taken ill, they could let us know to alert the emergency services to be ready upon its arrival. As SK541 flight gets nearer to Manchester, its ETA is updated on the screen and the Stand it was provisionally assigned will eventually be confirmed as the one it is definitely going to taxy to (the text changes colour to indicate this).

So, let's say that at 17:35 (25 minutes before it is due to be on Stand at 18:00), we get it confirmed that it will be coming on Stand 27. We already know that it has (for example) 100 bags on board and 120 passengers from having looked at our screen. And we know that it will be going back out with 50 bags on board and 60 passengers since we have made the load plan. We know too that it is supposed to leave the Stand at no later than 19:00 when it departs from our end. So, we already have the Manchester departure passenger's bags loaded up onto a couple of baggage trailers sat there waiting (since you can fit about 40-50 bags on one of those trailers). This is why when you travel, you have to check your bags in with plenty of time, so they can be loaded up onto one of those trailers. We know it will be arriving with 120 passengers and 100 bags on board, and since we know you can fit 40-50 bags on a trailer, we know we will need at least two, and more preferably three empty baggage trailers to be able to offload the bags.

But we also need a lot of other equipment too. Since the bags on this flight will not be in ULD 'cans' (they are sometimes, it depends on how the aircraft is configured). We will need two belt conveyor vehicles (one for the front and one for the back) because it is a 'spin' and so we'll do the back and the front of the aircraft simultaneously in order to speed things up. But we will also need a set of steps because even though Stand 27 has a jetway airbridge, on a spin, the aircraft has to have a quick clean, and the cleaners will board and disembark via the rear entrance door on the port side of the aircraft via some portable steps which we will place on the aircraft. This also serves as an additional safegaurd if the aeroplane is going to be fuelled because if something goes wrong and it has to be evacuated, this is going to be quicker if people can get off via two exits. The rules for cabin crew also state that there has to be at least one cabin crew member on board for every fifty passengers on board. Generally speaking, aircraft are fuelled when there are no passengers on board for obvious reasons, but it is not unknown for them to be fuelled up with passengers on board.

So, now we know the Stand it will go on (27), we can take the equipment to that stand and park it at the side. So we have one EBT (electric baggage tractor) tow a set of steps there, we have one EBT tow the trailers with the bags which are to loaded to that Stand, we have another EBT tow three empty trailers to the Stand, then we have two conveyor belts driven there as well. Each Stand at the airport has what is called an inter-stand clearway between it and the Stand next to it, and this is where you can park this GSE (ground service equipment), but of course things can be a bit tight, so you make sure they are well inside the zig-zag lines which mark this clearway area. We will also need some chocks and cones for it too, so we place these at the head of the Stand.

Now we wait for SK541 to arrive. About ten minutes before it will be on stand, we are informed by ATC that it is cleared for Finals, although we can (and do) in fact monitor it on a moving map and see this anyway. So now the team (ideally about 5-6 people, but sometimes as few as three) who will be servicing SK541 head to Stand 27 and double check to make sure it is all set up properly with the necessary equipment. They will perform a 'FOD plod', which is where you walk up and back down the centreline of the stand to and from the point where the airliner taxies onto it, to make sure there is no Foreign Object Debris (FOD) on the stand. There almost always is something, usually it is little padlocks, bits of zips, castors etc, which have fallen off suitcases from the luggage being loaded onto the flight which was previously on that Stand. This is all picked up and put in a FOD bin at the head of the stand.

The TCO (Turnaround Coordinator) who is also sometimes referred to as the Dispatcher, will also arrive at the Stand now and it will usually be them who switches on the Safedock sytem, but anyone who has their security pass enabled as a swipe card to unlock the Safedock system can do this. The TCO knows it is an A320-200 which is expected, and so they select that aircraft type for the Stand and it will now be all set to guide flight SK541 onto Stand 27 automatically, however, Stand 27 at Manchester is a bit unusual; it is at a slight angle to the pier, and so there will usually be a 'Follow Me' car which initially guides the airliner on its turn into the Stand. The car will drive onto the Stand to indicate to the pilots where to turn their aeroplane in order to intercept the centreline of the stand properly (this is unusual, most Stands do not require that, but Stand 27 is one of the few which can do if the weather is bad and it is difficult to see the yellow taxiway line).

So, here comes SK541 taxying up to the stand. It turns and heads down the centreline of Stand 27, the ramp service people are waiting at the head of the Stand with their ear defenders on. The Safedock tells the pilots which way to steer in order to stay on the centreline and how many meters they have left to go. For the last few meters, it displays fractions of a meter too, so it can get the pilots to stop very accurately on the mark. If they go past it, the Safedock will Display 'Too Far' (this is embarrassing for pilots, so they will do their best to avoid that, as it will mean that a tug will have to be attached to push the airliner back a few feet so the jetway can be aligned properly and attached to the door). If the pilots do it properly, the Safedock will display the word 'Stop' when they should apply the brakes and come to a halt.

At this point, they will then shut down the engine(s) but leave the APU running (this is unless the APU is out of action, in which case they will leave an engine running and await the connection of ground power). So, with both engines shutdown, but the APU still running, SK541's crew monitors the N1 fan speed until it is at a low RPM, and then they switch off the anti-collision beacon. They do it this way so ground personnel know that the engines are not spooling at a high speed, since to approach the engines then would risk being ingested into them, and that will definitely spoil your day.

So, now the anti-collision lights are off, the ramp team put 2 chocks on the nose wheel and 2 chocks on just one of the main wheels (SAS are unusual in that they only require one main wheel to be chocked, other airlines have different preferences). A cone is placed 1 meter in front of each engine, another is placed 1 meter out from each wingtip, and another 1 meter out from the tail (so you need five cones). This is to help prevent vehicles from colliding with the aeroplane and to stop passengers going near the engines if they are disembarking via steps. Whilst this is being done, someone will do a quick walkaround check of the aeroplane to make sure it has no obvious damage. Someone else will open the panel near the nose door and connect the FEP (fixed electrical power) plug to the aircraft to provide it with ground power. They will then knock on the fuselage and step out to the side so the pilots can see them and give them the signal to indicate ground power is connected. The pilots might then choose to use ground power, or they make elect to keep the APU running (probably they'll stay with the APU).

At this point since there is definitely power to the aircraft, someone will flip open the panels on the underside of the aircraft which have the switch to open the cargo doors, and they'll flip up the latch on the doors, then open both the front and rear cargo doors. On an A320, you need the hydraulic system to be powered to open the doors with those switches, but there is also a flip open panel with a hand crank on the right side of the belly of an Airbus A320 just near the back of the wing fairing, which can be used to crank open the cargo doors. This is a pain in the @ss to do; fortunately it is rare, but it does happen sometimes

Meanwhile, someone is placing the steps on the port rear door for the cleaners. Now because the aircraft is chocked, the pilot might release the parking brake to prevent it from seizing because the brakes will be hot from the landing and taxy in. When the brakes have cooled down a bit, they stick the parking brake back on. Meanwhile, the TCO has gone up the outside steps of the jetway and put the jetway on the front port door for the passengers to disembark. Whilst this is happening, someone will stand near each cargo door and guide the driver of the conveyor belts up to the cargo hatch using hand signals. When a belt is in position, they will chock it and then the driver can dismount from the vehicle, then someone will drive the empty baggage trailers up to the belt, but they will have to turn sharply away once the first trailer is in place, since they will want to be clear of the wing in case a fuel truck needs to get there to refuel the aircraft. The TCO will have called for the fuel truck if it is needed, and the driver will know how much to put in the aircraft, but sometimes, the pilots will signal the fueller and confirm this, often with an illuminated signal board held up to the window (this looks a bit like those boards they hold up at football matches to signal players who are to come off for a substitution). The fuel truck has a 'bonding strap' clip connected to some metal part of the airliner (usually the undercarriage leg or some such) in order to earth it, and then the fuel nozzle is connected to the aircraft and also connected to a fuel outlet in the ground which has a manhole cover on it, since it is not a 'tanker', it is just a pumping truck, so it works a bit like a fire engine. Under the starboard wing of the aeroplane is a flip open panel door which has the fuel control panel on it with gauge readouts and such. The fueller will monitor this and can have his pump automatically shut off when the correct amount has been pumped aboard the aeroplane, but he will still keep an eye on it.

Someone will have climbed up the belt and undone the cargo net which is fastened across the open cargo hatch entrance, and they will start offloading bags onto the conveyor. When they have removed a few bags from the doorway entrance, there will be enough room for them to step into the hold and so someone at the bottom of the belt will then start the conveyor when they can see he is no longer stood on the belt and the bags will start coming down, usually with two people taking them off and stacking them simultaneously at the front and rear of the trailer, until it is full, at which point they will drive the EBT forward a bit to line up the next empty trailer. Since the hold on an airliner can be quite long, whilst this is happening, the belt will be stopped and someone will join the first guy in the hold. One of them will slide bags to the doorway, the other will place them onto the conveyor. Some aircraft have a sliding powered floor which allows just one person to do this job. Some very long aeroplanes, for example the Boeing 757 and the DC-8 will have three people up there, since it is hard to slide a suitcase all the way from near the wing to the door along the floor of the cargo hold.

Whilst this is going on, the same thing will be occurring with the other hold on the aeroplane although sometimes we would wait until the rear hold was unloaded before emptying the front hold to avoid the possibility of an out of balance aeroplane tipping onto its tail. If there are any pets or special wheelchairs etc, they will usually be in the doorway of the forward hold.

Once all the bags are offloaded, they will be driven to the bag hall and unloaded from the trailer onto the carousel, where they disappear through the little rubber flap that you see them emerging from when you collect your bag at the airport. What usually occurs is that just the first two full trailers will be quickly driven to the carousel as soon as possible, so that passengers can start getting bags quickly, and then as the other bags are offloaded, they will follow close behind on the remaining trailers. Staggering them like this avoids the possibility of the carousel being overloaded with bags and also ensure that the first 'bag time' occurs ASAP.

All airlines have target 'bag times', where they expect the ground personnel to have the last bag to come off the airliner and be on the carousel ready to be collected by its owner within a specific time. Because of this, when you take the first bags in from the aeroplane, you tap a screen to record the time, and doing this automatically starts the carousel moving. When you drop the last bag onto the carousel, you tap the screen to record that time too and this gives you your 'bag times', these are logged to monitor performance. For big airliners, the maximum bag time allowable could be as much as 40 minutes, but for small airliners such as the 737 and A320, it's likely to be 20 minutes. We can usually get all the bags off any airliner and into the bag hall within about 15 minutes, and if it is a very lightly loaded flight, we might manage it in less than 10 minutes. The company I work for (Aviator) actually had the fastest bag times recorded for last year at EGCC, although all we got for having managed that feat was a thank you note pinned up on our crew room notice board; we would have preferred a bonus in our wage packets lol!

So, having offloaded all the bags, now the outgoing bags are loaded onto SK541 according to the load plan to ensure the aeroplane is in trim. Generally speaking, most bags which are loaded in either the front or rear cargo holds of something like an A320 are placed 'into the wing', i.e. they are stacked against a bulkhead as close as possible to the centre of the aircraft. If they are only going in one hold, it would usually be the rear one.

Sometimes late check in bags come down a little helter skelter chute at the head of the stand, and these have to be manually checked on the BRS (baggage recognition system), which is a small computer screen at the head of the stand under a waterproof hood. It has a little zapper 'gun' similar to the thing they sometimes use at supermarket checkouts to read barcodes on stuff, but in this case the BRS 'gun' can read luggage tags. Once these have been checked (if there are any), they can be loaded and the tally of bags is checked against the load plan to make sure the numbers match. This is an additional security measure to ensure no bags can be 'sneaked on'.

Once we know all the bags are loaded onto SK541, the cargo doors are closed and latched. By this time, hopefully the cleaners have been and gone and the passengers for the outbound flight will have boarded, since we are aiming to have everything done from start to finish in 25 minutes. However, even if the passengers are all on and the cleaners are gone, we still keep the stairs on the rear whilst the fueller is connected as an additional safeguard. Once the fuel truck is off, we can take the steps off and make sure all the other GSE is out of the way. 

At this point the jetway airbridge is still connected, so we don't remove the chocks, but what we do whilst waiting for the bridge to come off, is connect the towbar to the nose gear, having first made sure a steering bypass pin is inserted into the nose gear to isolate the tiller from the nose gear. When the towbar is on, we then connect the pushback tractor to the towbar. Now we can remove the chocks from the main gear, but we keep the nose chocks on until the jetway airbridge is off the aircraft as an additional precaution.

At this point, a headset is connected to the aeroplane in preparation for the pushback and we speak to the flight deck to check it is working. Now we perform a walkaround check of the aeroplane to make sure it is okay after having been worked on and let the crew know we've done this and that all GSE is clear of the aeroplane. When the airbridge is off, we remove the nose chocks and hold the aeroplane on the pushback tug's brakes.

Once this is done, we listen out for the aircraft being cleared to push and we confirm that with the crew on the headset and then if all is good, we ask the crew to release the brakes and we push it out. The person on the headset is in charge of the engine start up sequence at this point, not the pilots, since they cannot see the engines (technically, they are called the Engine Start Master, but we never call them that, we just say were doing the headset). The headset person is looking for the engine back blast area to be clear and when they are sure it is, they'll give the crew permission to crank the engines and watch to see if they get a good start on them both. The aircraft is pushed out, turned and backs up to that Stand's designated TRP (tug release point). The headset guy signals the tug driver to stick the brakes on and tells the pilots to put their brakes on. Then he puts a chock on the nose and releases the towbar, and wheels it clear, the tug driver backs the tug out of the way and then connects the towbar to the tug and tows it clear. The headset guy removes the bypass pin and lastly the chock and then walks off to the side and shows the pilots the bypass pin to confirm their steering is no longer bypassed and then gives them a wave. The aircraft can then call for permission to taxi.

So you can see that on a spin, it's quite often the case than the power is never shut off, and often the APU will be left running throughout the procedure. But on tow offs and when aeroplanes are left on stand connected to the FEP, the FEP is quite often shut down, since FEP use is not a free service, the airport charges by the hour for its use, so if you left an airliner sat there all night on FEP power, it would cost the airline a few hundred quid, which they don't really want to have to pay.

Hope that helps.

Edited by Chock
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Great read, Alan.  I provided this same type of ramp service at KJFK International Terminal in the 1970s while attending school for a degree and an A&P license.  Truly loved being around aircraft in that setting.  Thanks for bringing back all those memories.

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Likewise here as I too studied for an Electrical Licence at nearby Slough College in late-70s.

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As Chock already said there is a lot of "it depends". It differs even on which country you are in and on which airport and which airline, because especially the airlines have different demands and regulations.

I guess you already know the state "cold & dark" which means the Plane is shut down with no lights, no air conditioning or heating. This is the normal "sleep modus" of an airliner because they don´t have a key which turns of the plane completely like a car. So the airliner is obviously complete off but the computer systems are still running in a standby mode. Off means that there is no light in the plane even not in the flightdeck and the screens are off aswell and even the navigation equipment like INRS, gyro etc. and the plane seems to be dead. Just like in modern cars where its turned off by key and locked on the street but it isn´t complete off because at least the clock is running and the engine-electronics are still in standby, waiting for the next drive. But an airliner has no doorlock like a car. On many airports in Germany, where an airliner stays overnight at the gate, usually the plane will be secured with at least the aircraft ist "cold & dark", exits are all closed and in most cases the passenger bridge will be disconnected and will be connected by the rampstaff the next morning. This is described in the Pilotsmanual for the aircraft and in regulations that came from the airline and/or the airport authoritys.

At Lufthansa in Germany for instance it´s very unusual that the pilots even wake up the plane from cold & dark nor shut it down at the and of the day. This is usually done by a technician of the company in the morning who will have a look on the most important systems and check them while they are running up. Because he has to make some significant technical notices into the logbook of the plane which are just not important for the flightcrew to know, but for the maintenance department of the company. At this time the pilots are usually on their way from home to the airport, or already in the operation center the get the weather briefing and flight plan informations for their workday.

The company technician is usually also the last person in the plane for the night because the pilots went already for another flight or left for home. In many cases the plane will be transferred from the gate to the workshop for a quick pit stop over the night to check oil, make some systemupdates and, yes, for a shower because the plane really get dirty on a usual operation day and the plane it should shine quite clean once it goes back into operation. Of course this is very important for a long lasting lifecycle of the plane and not just for eye candy. I would even say that 80 to 90 % of all the planes which are parked over night at the airport, are getting technical treatments in which ever way, even if they stay at the gate. Because this is the only chance for the technical staff to keep an eye of the many very expensive and sensible systems of a modern airliner. In addition usually an airliner need some kind of service action every 5.000, 10.000 miles anyway and those service intervals are easily reached every day while going from Hamburg to Munich then back to Hamburg, then to Palma de Mallorca and back to Hamburg and then another short trip from Hamburg to Cologne and back, which is usually a normal day leg of a Lufthansa A 320.   

reg. Bernd 

Edited by BerndB

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26 minutes ago, BerndB said:

kind of service action every 5.000, 10.000 miles

We used tom call them 'A', 'B', and 'C' Checks at BA. A 'C' Check usually involved a complete strip-down overhaul and rebuild.

Thank heavens for top-quality British-made in Sheffield Britools and US-made Snap-on Tools. And servicing the 707, VC-10, and Concorde fleets overnight was called 'The Ghoster Shift'. Memories evoked.

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...but come back to your questions....

18 hours ago, flytriman said:

·       Would the jetway be attached?

It depends on if its usefull because technical staff needs to get in and out while the night. On many airports in Germany where no humans need to get into the plane at night the jetways will be disconnected and the doors are closed for security reasons.

 

18 hours ago, flytriman said:

·       Would the front passenger door be open or closed?

See first answer

 

18 hours ago, flytriman said:

·       Would the baggage doors have been left open?

Usually closed because of security. (think you'll find some ducklings in the compartment next morning)

 

18 hours ago, flytriman said:

·       Would the external electrical power have been left connected with the aircraft battery ON?

It depends if power is needed over night for systemcheks etc.

 

18 hours ago, flytriman said:

o   If connected would there be any lights left on in the aircraft?  When you look at our AI aircraft parked at night all the cabin and logo lights are on.

usually only the navigation lights (green and red at the wings) if any. But not the cabin and flight deck.

 

18 hours ago, flytriman said:

·       Would the fueling have been completed by the ground crew?

No, because refuelling depends on the next leg and is usually calculated right before depending on paxload and weather conditions.

 

18 hours ago, flytriman said:

·       Does any of this change depending on the temperature…i.e. if it’s mild, would there be no heat/air conditioning?

Well in extreme areas like Alaska or Siberia I think the plane need to be heated to prevent damages of systems. But usually not.

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18 minutes ago, vc10man said:

We used tom call them 'A', 'B', and 'C' Checks at BA. A 'C' Check usually involved a complete strip-down overhaul and rebuild.

Affirmative. This is the worldwide naming I think, not only at Britisch Airways.:wink: I was talking about the A-checks.

 

21 minutes ago, vc10man said:

Thank heavens for top-quality British-made in Sheffield Britools and US-made Snap-on Tools.

...using them on top quality GERMAN Airbus components... LOL:biggrin:

No, I know Airbus is mainly French but British an Germans are have also a big portion of engineering on it. :rolleyes:

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Our Line Supervisor(a lovely affable man called Mr Churchill---no, not that one!) used to check our tool boxes start of our Shift, and if they were not these 2 manufacturers, we'd not be allowed onto the gantries to service the aircraft our job-sheet assigned us to.🤣 

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Thanks much group...this was very informative.  Alan's post was great...learned a lot about something I really had never thought about until now.  All we normally hear about are the pilots...however it's obvious the ground crew work is highly organized, well choreographed and, especially, very efficient to turn those flight so quickly...all while maintaining a high level of safety.  After reading Alan's response I think fsdt has an opportunity to create GSX V3, with more ground support people, handlers climbing the belt and disappearing into the baggage compartment, someone walking the area to inspect the aircraft, etc.  For myself, I'm going to change a couple of my procedures to better fit the real world.  It seems funny that we in flight siming crave realism from the developers...yet we often miss some things we have control over.  I, almost always, start a flight from "cold & dark"...yet, obviously, if it's a flight that leaves, other than early morning, it's a turn around and would not be in a "cold & dark" state.

Again...thanks guys...really appreciate the responses.

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You know, I never cease to be amazed at the wealth of information available here. Although it is a flight SIM related site, our members have such diverse backgrounds in and out of aviation and are always eager to share their expertise.

Very informative thread!

Vic

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On 2/2/2019 at 4:58 PM, vgbaron said:

You know, I never cease to be amazed at the wealth of information available here. Although it is a flight SIM related site, our members have such diverse backgrounds in and out of aviation and are always eager to share their expertise.

Very informative thread!

Vic

As I said before a million times you should come and sit in my ops occ office for an hour, you'd be amazed. after 19 years  in aviation, there's still stuff that amazes me. 

Edited by tooting

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1 hour ago, tooting said:

As I said before a million times you should come and sit in my ops occ office for an hour, you'd be amazed. after 19 years  in aviation, there's still stuff that amazes me. 

Yup. Get this one which we did last night...

Some dipstick spilled a bit off coffee on the centre pedestal of a Thomas Cook A330 which was at Shannon. So what happens? A small replacement part, which you could carry in one hand, was placed on board a Thomas Cook Airbus A321 and flown all the way there from Manchester, and then that same A321 turned around and flew straight back, empty. Yes really, a 114 million dollar 200+ seat airliner was used on a 700 mile round trip to deliver something you could fit in the side door pocket of a Cessna 172, just to replace a part which could probably have been sorted out by a quick squirt of Mister Sheen and a wipe over with a damp cloth.

You couldn't make it up, could you?

Edited by Chock
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7 hours ago, Chock said:

Yup. Get this one which we did last night...

Some dipstick spilled a bit off coffee on the centre pedestal of a Thomas Cook A330 which was at Shannon. So what happens? A small replacement part, which you could carry in one hand, was placed on board a Thomas Cook Airbus A321 and flown all the way there from Manchester, and then that same A321 turned around and flew straight back, empty. Yes really, a 114 million dollar 200+ seat airliner was used on a 700 mile round trip to deliver something you could fit in the side door pocket of a Cessna 172, just to replace a part which could probably have been sorted out by a quick squirt of Mister Sheen and a wipe over with a damp cloth.

You couldn't make it up, could you?

noooo, I guess you just missed that in fact it was an A321 of UPS or FedEx which was on a normal parcel leg to deliver many packages all around the UK and it was just the last package left when he came to you. That´s absolutely usual on the roads everywhere in the world where you notice all the parcel cars of UPS, DHL, FedEx TNT etc. Someone has to be the last one getting his box and then the car is just empty and drive home to the base. In fact it´s a good sign, because if it´s empty at some point means everything reached the waiting customer and the mission is accomplished.:tongue:

By the way, Chock, I really appreciate your briefly explanation about what the ground crew is on duty for. Many of us are doing this hobby not just interested in flying. The fascination for me at least is the whole "System Airliner" with all the technical stuff in and about the aircraftsystems, navigation, planning, weather, handling on the airports, in the air, etc. etc. So we easily forget that what´s happening at the gates on ground is a major part of the whole system "Airliner" aswell but there´s much less of information about it or it isn´t been seen.

Now I know who are all the little figures in my GSX-addon. :wink::rolleyes:

Edited by BerndB

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1.We recently  had a 6 hour delay once because the first officers tie pin fell into throttle quadrant. Had to get an engineer to take it apart and find it. (virgin atlantic) 

2. I've delayed a flight 4 hours because the captain split his trousers sitting down and we had to send a replacement pair up to EGPF (easyjet) 

3.Ive had to delay a flight 6 hours because the captain put all his passport, license and even the bar money in the hotel safe in the room in Inverness, when he got up early the next morning of course he'd forgotten the code and the nightporter couldn't master key into it. We had to send a lock Smith in a taxi to the hotel. (easyjet) 

4. I had to delay a flight 10 hours because a f/o came off the back of the jetski in St lucia and dislocated his knee. Had to pax another one from BGI   (virgin) 

5. I've had to delay a flight 3 hours because we sent a taxi to a captains house in Edinburgh at 5am we called him up to tell him it was a home pick up.  The guy then refused and said the taxi would wake up his 4 dogs so he refused the duty (easyjet) 

6.Ive delayed a flight 10 hours because the FSM (pursuer) on a flight fell over on a night out in Joburg and smashed her teeth up. (virgin) 

7.Ive delayed a flight 12 hours because a crew decided to go skiing in Stowe (Boston)  and lost the hire van keys on the chair lift out of his pocket. Had to call avis to send a replacement set up to Stowe. (virgin) 

8.Ive delayed countless flights because girls uniforms are at the ex boyfriends house and he won't let her have it back. (both virgin and easyjet)  this one I've must of had 20 plus times. 

9. I've had a training captain acars me half way across the Atlantic to tell me they have left their suitcase in the hotel and can we get the late crew to bring it. (virgin)

10. I'd had to delay a flight 3 hours  because the crew didn't have orange juice and a brewer in-op  .  Virgin 

I could probably give you 100 stories with ease. 

Recently I had ASRs for 'hotels not doing eggs at 0500am for breakfast' 

Another ASR for 'the new hotel couldnt do a wake up call for me, so I had to use my own alarm clock' 

I've had ASRs for lumpy pillows in crew rest. 

And you guys wonder why crew are my top of the pops 😉😃

Id say on a busy weekend in July or August we get stuff like this every hour on average.  Good innit 

 

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On 2/7/2019 at 9:24 AM, Chock said:

Yup. Get this one which we did last night...

Some dipstick spilled a bit off coffee on the centre pedestal of a Thomas Cook A330 which was at Shannon. So what happens? A small replacement part, which you could carry in one hand, was placed on board a Thomas Cook Airbus A321 and flown all the way there from Manchester, and then that same A321 turned around and flew straight back, empty. Yes really, a 114 million dollar 200+ seat airliner was used on a 700 mile round trip to deliver something you could fit in the side door pocket of a Cessna 172, just to replace a part which could probably have been sorted out by a quick squirt of Mister Sheen and a wipe over with a damp cloth.

You couldn't make it up, could you?

whys that EK 380,dxb-lgw   7700 into Manchester today chock ?  wind at EGKK ??  im guessing

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5 hours ago, tooting said:

whys that EK 380,dxb-lgw   7700 into Manchester today chock ?  wind at EGKK ??  im guessing

Yup, it couldn't get into Gatwick because of the wind warnings in place in Southern England. It had a few tries, but eventually decided to divert to Manchester. The 7700 squawk is because it would want priority for an approach, having burned off a fair bit of fuel in taking a couple of tries at Gatwick then having to go up to Manchester. It probably still had enough fuel to not be a worry, it's simply prudent to be on the radar scope with a desire to be not put at the back of a queue when on reserve fuel.

Manchester is probably its designated alternate for that flight because it's far enough away from Gatwick to mean the weather will be different. Manchester does handle Emirates 380s, although currently because of construction work in progress, it only has two stands which can fir them on, those being 62 and 12 if I recall correctly, it changes around a bit what with all the building work there is on taxiways and stuff in preparation for the new terminal.

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Thought that was the reason. 

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