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Old 7th Jun 2015, 18:35
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old,not bold
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: uk
Posts: 827
Gulf Air carried a passenger one day ('70s) from Doha to Abu Dhabi, in a Fokker F27-400.

Subsequent investigation showed that he (a European) was concerned about his suitcase to the point of obsession. At check-in he wanted to take it in the cabin; when this was refused he wanted assurances from all concerned that it would be safe, and he was visibly distressed by losing control of the bag.

Nowadays he would have been hauled off by security for a thorough going-over, but we weren't so sophisticated then.

In GF F27s ( and most others) the baggage was loaded via a freight door into a compartment forward of the cabin, and offloaded by the same route. Passengers embarked and disembarked via a rear door, using a small set of steps wheeled up by hand.

As soon as the aircraft came to a halt in Abu Dhabi, he was out of his seat to be first in the queue to get off. The door was opened, and the steps appeared. He ran down them, and immediately ran under the wing and nacelle. The conclusion drawn later was that he did that to check on his suitcase.

Unfortunately, he could not assist with the enquiry because the engine was still running down. So the propeller was rotating, perhaps at about 200 RPM, and he was terminally sliced.

For the sake of quick turnrounds it was the practice until that time to place the stairs and start disembarkation even if the port prop. was still turning.

Our SOPs were changed swiftly to forbid any ground activity until both props were motionless, and the UK CAA (Gulf Air was still regulated by CAA at the time) then introduced the rule about placing a tape from the doors to the port-side wingtip on all propeller aircraft before any disembarkation could start.

As they say, most aviation rules are written in blood, and I can personally assure you that there was plenty of that.

On another occasion, a loader lost all the fingers on one hand trying to stop a very slowly rotating prop by grabbing a blade. The F27-400 had the square ended, very sharp tips on the blades. My maths is not what it was, but even at 30 RPM, with a disc of, say, 12M circumference, each tip is moving at 6m/sec (21.6 KPH, I think) with an enormous amount of energy behind it, but will appear to be almost stopped.

Last edited by old,not bold; 7th Jun 2015 at 18:50.
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