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Chock

Nice A320, shame about the loading

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Posted (edited)

One of my favourite paint schemes is the replica vintage BEA paint scheme on an British Airways A320. The other day I was offloading/loading this aeroplane and took some snaps of it.

One interesting thing about the loading and unloading procedure, is that obviously it is important to load it properly, based on the calculated load plan so that it can be balanced properly, which enables it to be trimmed safely. Because of that, you have to sign a loadsheet (this is done digitally on an iPad on BA aeroplanes and on paper on some other airlines) to confirm you have loaded it safely. An important aspect of that, is that you ensure all of the stop locks on the cargo floor are locked up to prevent the ULDs from shifting position in flight, which would be potentially disastrous, so it's an important thing to get right. Because of that, if an aeroplane arrives and is not all locked up correctly when we check it before unloading, we have to document this and report it, and this was the case with this particular A320 on that day...

What had occurred, was that the canvas side sheet of a ULD had not been closed and fastened correctly at Heathrow by whomever loaded the ULDs. Tightening those canvas sides is done by ratcheting the straps tight, so with them in this case being loose, the suitcases within it were able to fall out. In this incident, a suitcase had slipped out and hit the floor next to the ULD, but worse, it landed right on top of the two stop locks which hold the ULD in place to prevent it from rolling to the back of the hold when the aircraft rotates, and it had unlocked both stops when it hit them! As luck would have it, part of the suitcase then wedged in the floor mechanism's rails by sheer luck, effectively holding the ULD in place. This was pure dumb luck. Actually this is a bit of a bad design aspect of the stop locks on A320s, that sort of thing probably could not occur with the stop locks on Boeings, because they fasten in a slightly different way. 

So here's the photo I took for reporting that incident, plus some pics of the aeroplane and loading it, although an interesting thing here too, is that the Union Flag on the livery is upside down. To be fair this might be because it is possibly a mirror image of the flag on the other side of the aeroplane, so it might be intentional, but I doubt it, as it wouldn't really serve much purpose to do it like that. Ooops!

The locks are the things with the anodised red finish. The lip nearest to the camera should be clicked up and locked in that position on both of them, but the bag has hit them and unlocked them both:

8iHGifo.jpg

The view from the driver's position of the high loader, with a ULD having just been unloaded onto the platform. The inverted lever on the open cargo door with the rubber shroud which looks a bit like a gear lever, is the lever which operates the roller system in the cargo hold. It was busted on this aeroplane, so I had to move all the ULDs manually, which is a bit tight and requires a bit of strength too. This one is the rear hold. You can also see the powered rollers on the loader's platform and some of the controls for those. Unfortunately for the person who did not load that can properly, you can also see the card in the pocket on the side of the ULD, and since that is signed, the CAA will know who didn't close it up properly and the person on the loader at Heathrow would also have signed the loadsheet, and should also have checked that, so they'll get some of the blame too, but then again, so they should, this could have caused a crash if it had not have been for some dumb luck with that bag jamming the can in place and preventing it from rolling back to the rearward CoG:

X08LkQw.jpg

A view from the loading platform looking over the top of a ULD and under the opened cargo door. You can see the rear cargo door is still open because we load the front first to prevent the thing from tail tipping. You can see a truck with two AKH containers ready to be driven up to the loading platform when I've finished loading the front and repositioned on the rear hold. Also visible are the rotating claws which hold the cargo door shut. The vehicle you can see at the rear hold is a belt loader, which is used to load any spare bags which arrive late into the loose bags bulk hold which is accessed on this Airbus via the same main cargo hold door. you can see the bags on the belt:

EYkFePw.jpg

The nice BEA livery, with that upside down Union Flag. I suppose if they roll the aeroplane inverted, it would be correct! Since there is someone on the headset, you can tell this is about to push back for departure off the stand, which in this case is stand 43 and the aeroplane is a shuttle, bound for Heathrow, where no doubt someone was gonna get in trouble over that bag incident. Behind it you can see some of the impounded FlyBe Dash 8s with steps blocking them in to prevent them from being repossessed without permission, which is unlikely, but is a requirement.

xtHwZNE.jpg

 

 

 

 

Edited by Chock

Alan Bradbury

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Union Jack upside down? 'er ladyship will 'ave a fit!


Jude Bradley
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7 minutes ago, Jude Bradley said:

Union Jack upside down? 'er ladyship will 'ave a fit!

Usually on most airplanes on the right side the flags are painted as if mast is in front and the flags is viewed as if the vessel is in motion so the staff or lanyard would always be to the front (nose) of the airplane. Thus you have to view the flag from right to left as opposed to left to right as most of us read. Think about how a flag looks suspended from the mast of a ship when the starboard side is passing.


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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, KenG said:

Usually on most airplanes on the right side the flags are painted as if mast is in front and the flags is viewed as if the vessel is in motion so the staff or lanyard would always be to the front (nose) of the airplane. Thus you have to view the flag from right to left as opposed to left to right as most of us read. Think about how a flag looks suspended from the mast of a ship when the starboard side is passing.

Hmm, guess you're right, if you consider the nose to be the pole-side of the aircraft.

 

 

Edited by Jude Bradley

Jude Bradley
Beech Baron: Uh, Tower, verify you want me to taxi in front of the 747?
ATC: Yeah, it's OK. He's not hungry.

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Based on the Wikipedia website you quoted it looks correct to me based on the hoist on the right view.

 

2560px-Union_Flag_on_staff_(hoist_right)


Ken

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Yup, as noted, I did say it might be intentional, as per how a flag appears, however, since it is painted on and so not limited by the same laws of physics a flag is forced into adhering to, there is in fact no reason not to have it the right way up.


Alan Bradbury

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Wow Alan, brings back more memories of my tenure way back when!

IIRC isnt EUPJ a 319?

I was working for the above mentioned when the first 319s were delivered, we were bulk loading them at the time,front and back - I cant remember why, the 320s that BA had at the time (BUSB-BUSK) were container loaded, BA had a strange loading sequence for those old 320s in order that there wouldnt be a massive CG shift or damage in the event the locks gave way, I cant find the old papers so I cant remember which way the loading was done.

As an aside, a 757 arrived at our station from LHR one day, when the loading staff opened the forward hold door, a tie down ring fell out (the type that slots into the compartment floor and secures cargo with rope etc) It had been lodged between the door and the frame. After reporting this to Head Office, were told " cant confirm, compartment door not opened before departure our end" although there was mail inside......

I asked the duty engineer if there would have been any consequences - pressurization etc, he said " nah - they wouldnt have noticed, these leak live sieves anyway...."

😯😯

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

 

4 hours ago, Major_Bloodnok said:

Wow Alan, brings back more memories of my tenure way back when!

IIRC isnt EUPJ a 319?

Yup, it is a 319. I typed 320 in the post title and typed out most of the post itself before I'd checked the pics on Imgur and edited things to add them, at which point I did notice it was of course a 319, but since I cannot edit the title of a post, it stays saying it is a 320. 😄

As you probably know, there's no mistaking either a 318 or a 319 when you are driving any GSE up to the cargo doors, especially the front one with a high loader platform because your vehicle gets very close to the engine and you have to be really careful not to hit it and it's already fairly difficult to get it lined up right so the cans will go on without you having to do the hokey cokey with them.

That about stuff falling out reminds me of when I opened the rear cargo door of a Thomas Cook A321 and had the access cover panel for the radar altimeter fall out. As you probably know, you always stand to the side whenever you open those doors, because they can drop a lot and if they hit you on the head it really hurts, so fortunately, that radar altimeter panel did not hit me. With the amount of bits that fall off airliners, I perhaps should have started collecting them, eventually I'd be able to make one for myself from the parts. 🤣

Not worked on 757s much; used to do the Condor ones when I was at Aviator and currently do the occasional Icelandair one these days. They are okay so long as they have a sliding carpet for the bulk, manually loading them is a bit of a pain otherwise. Being a short@rse, I can never reach the GPU socket either!

Edited by Chock

Alan Bradbury

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On 3/16/2020 at 12:58 PM, Chock said:

The locks are the things with the anodised red finish. The lip nearest to the camera should be clicked up and locked in that position on both of them, but the bag has hit them and unlocked them both

Interesting and concerning!


With regards to upside down or backwards-facing flags, it is a convention -likely based on the US Flag Code- that airlines (among others) displaying a flag 'always have it positioned to look like it is flying forward'.

4726703.jpg?v=v49fde75f256

On 3/16/2020 at 1:51 PM, Jude Bradley said:

Hmm, guess you're right, if you consider the nose to be the pole-side of the aircraft.

Yes, otherwise here's Ryanair, that famous Ivorian low-fares airline... 😄

1737310.jpg?v=v40


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Alan,

There were few who could reach the GPU socket on the 757...!!!

Regarding the loading carpets, my recollection was that the BA ones were regularly out of service, loaders, instead of unloading some, then moving the carpet along for the next batch of bags, just let the screwjack twist away, thus pushing the bags out and lightening the work, resulting in the screwjacks buckling and rendering the carpets useless.....

I seem to remember the CONDOR 757-300s didnt have this facility, loading staff were heard to groan all over the airport if they were allocated this plane, especially in the summer!!

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