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View Full Version : Ryanair 737-800 Over Wing Pre-Flight Reset?


rmcfarlane
13th Nov 2006, 21:44
Found this one interesting, on the FR8397 from Jerez to London Stanstead last Wednesday - minutes after taking our seats we were asked to move for a second so they could check the doors.

After obliging the cabin attendant poked at it for a minute and then popped it open - virtually standing on the wing to have a look at the door seals. He did it with both doors on the starboard side. (one of which I was stuck sitting beside for the flight!)

It was especially interesting however as he struggled to reset it, struggled when he had help from a colleague and even after the captain had come back for a look and asked them not to open them again - they did. All very weird.

Just wondering if this is normal procedure - maybe an alarm had gone off in the cockpit or something.

Check out two pics of the boys in action at:
http://www.robbiemcfarlane.com/pprune/picture006.jpg
http://www.robbiemcfarlane.com/pprune/picture007.jpg

stator vane
14th Nov 2006, 09:06
possible for a micro switch to go awry, the light will come on in flt deck, and perhaps they had that, and it was an attempt to reset. that must have corrected the item, or they wouldn't have taken off.

it is a healthy door and it is spring loaded to open like there is no tomorrow. the older -2/3/4/500's had doors you had to bring back into the aircraft and put them somewhere before exit. these just fly up and out. and it takes quite a bit of work to get back in. especially when we don't get to practice it that often.

but once the other doors are closed and thrust levers advanced for takeoff, the doors electrically lock so that no one can open them nor can they open on their own.

late developer
15th Nov 2006, 16:01
Would any Ryanair person like to comment on
1) What exactly was going on here?
2) What qualification / authority does a captain presented with this once-opened and then apparently closed door have, and then an independently operating member of the cabin crew have, to declare this door fit to fly?
3) Was there actual insubordination ? (the cabin crew are said in this thread to have re-opened this door after the captain told them not to)

It has left me wondering if this perhaps is one of the most frequent warning light 'nuiscances' seen on a 738 flightdeck? I often sit in these rows and have noticed three or four times that the velcro'd covers are hanging off or mispositioned. Kids don't sit in these seats so grown ups evidently leave them like it sometimes ...

and finally, for anyone that knows how the overwing exits are armed, what parameters determine whether overwing chutes deploy?

omnidirectional737
15th Nov 2006, 16:21
It has left me wondering if this perhaps is one of the most frequent warning light 'nuiscances' seen on a 738 flightdeck? I often sit in these rows and have noticed three or four times that the velcro'd covers are hanging off or mispositioned. Kids don't sit in these seats so grown ups evidently leave them like it sometimes ...

and finally, for anyone that knows how the overwing exits are armed, what parameters determine whether overwing chutes deploy?


I have never had any problem with overwing exit lights on flight deck. There are not any slides on the overwing exits, you have to clamber down the wing, hopefully with the flaps down and engines off.

stator vane
15th Nov 2006, 16:28
i suppose you would have to talk to the individual pilot involved.

if i had been there, it would be a simple thing to call MX and see what they say. it is perfectly legal to do minor things like that with a clearance from MX. it is just another door. and if the light stays out, then all is well. you're just reaching when you say, the lights might come on often. i have flown the 800 for 2800 hours and haven't seen it once. maybe i'm just lucky. yes some of the older models have looked a bit worn but that could be from abuse from the pax rather than frequent openning and closing as you suggest. the plastic bits are simply cosmetic.

as for authority, there is the MEL book, the authorization from MX, and the same authority that allows us to start the engines and determine that the aircraft is safe to fly before each takeoff.

there might have been communication between the captain and the cabin crew that you were not aware of. they do have intercoms at front and back.

from where i sit, it could all be above board. or it could be a viscious plot by insurgents. it's a bit like the Dihydromonoxide threat.

late developer
15th Nov 2006, 17:03
It is perfectly legal to do minor things like that with a clearance from MX. it is just another door. and if the light stays out, then all is well. Doesn't seem like it's just another door if it becomes throwaway because it isn't fixed to the fuselage and it isn't designed to be popped and refixed by cabin crew, and if they are not trained to refix them securely. Rather than call it a door, why not look upon these loose ones as potentially problematic pressure seals? I am sure the designers did. you're just reaching when you say, the lights might come on often. No I am not. I have returned to ramp three times in 738s with an unexpected warning light given as the reason. With your experience, you will no doubt be aware what lights cause returns to ramp most often in 738si have flown the 800 for 2800 hours and haven't seen it once. maybe i'm just lucky.maybeyes some of the older models have looked a bit worn but that could be from abuse from the pax rather than frequent openning and closing as you suggest....could be. But I am talking average age 2 years, aren't I? I agree that the internal fittings get tired - but I have often wondered how so many end up put back together out of true, like replaced body panels on a resprayed Mondeo. Pure cosmetics I guess?
as for authority, there is the MEL book, the authorization from MX, and the same authority that allows us to start the engines and determine that the aircraft is safe to fly before each takeoff.That's for pilots, right? ... but are these particular doors ever part of the cabin crews remit?
there might have been communication between the captain and the cabin crew that you were not aware of. they do have intercoms at front and back....but not the middle, eh?...and where did you say you sit?

-8AS
15th Nov 2006, 17:11
The Boeing 737-800 has four overwing emergency exit doors. These are canopy-type doors and are held in place by mechanical locks and aeroplane cabin pressure.

The doors can be opened from either inside or outside of the aeroplane by a spring-loaded handle at the top of the door. A flight lock system is incorporated so that the doors will automatically lock during takeoff, in flight, and landing and unlock on the ground to allow for opening of the door in emergency situations. The doors will be locked when three of the four entry doors are closed and either engine is running. They are also locked when the thrust levers are advanced for takeoff and when the aeroplane is airborne.

On the ground a warning light on the overhead panel in the flight deck will illuminte when an emergency exit door is not fully closed and locked. Unfortunately just giving the door a gentle pull will not reset the door. It must be opened and reclosed which is not an easy job but is something all crews are trained to do during recurrent aircraft safety training. If the light remains illluminated and is unable to be reset, engineering support is required. Now we are starting to get into Proximity Switch Electronis Unit and I don't think we want to go there.

There are no escape slides attached to the overwing emergency exits, only escape straps to aid passenger evacuation during a ditching, which is just not worth thinking about.

I have also never had a problem with the emergency exit doors on the -800, and to be honest haven't met anyone personaly who has. Its a very good system.

late developer
15th Nov 2006, 17:18
I have also never had a problem with the emergency exit doors on the -800, and to be honest haven't met anyone personaly who has. Its a very good system.Ah but we have some pictures now that indicate something else!

As for the total lack of anything much that floats in the middle except maybe the springloaded door in my hands, I'll certainly rethink my exit strategy for my next flight over the 'oggin!

stator vane
15th Nov 2006, 18:02
i sit up front in the left seat. and yes i am currently flying the blue line of aircraft under inspection in this thread. all i can tell you is what i would have done. it is a door. period. there is nothing written yet that says it cannot be reset. especially if the captain had called before coming back there. there is no way for you to know whether that happened or not. as for what happened after the captain left the exit area i cannot say. it wasn't me. perhaps you should have said something then. or went to the flight deck after the next landing.


i have returned to the gate for a defective standby horizon-once at STN. a starter failure-once at LHR. lots of yellow lights can come on after push back is started and not necessary to return to the gate. two other times i can remember returning to the gate in korea, but nothing to do with yellow lights or doors.

total time on the 737=10209 of which 8277 are captain.

it is a rare event for me to have ANY malfunction on that model aircraft!!!!

if you have come back to the gate that many times, i must be very lucky indeed.

that's all i can add to the subject.

late developer
15th Nov 2006, 19:32
Yep back to gate 3 times last 3 years 737-800 maybe total of around 100 flights. I'll admit first two were same aircraft about three years ago...three take off rolls were attempted inside about 90 minutes from a remote airfield back to STN - third one lucky. Some light came on when take off thrust was applied on first two.

Third back to gate was at STN following engine start up after push back about two months ago.

All three (both) were eventually settled on a phone call/radio call after the captain told us he would get an engineer to inspect and then changed his mind.

What is it with these lights? You've mentioned yellows (plural) that don't seem to cause the flight to be abandoned, the PSEU as mentioned earlier is apprently another source of entertainment/can of worms...I have a 1990 Citroen XM that behaves like this and being practically-minded, I DO have a very good idea what causes each warning malfunction, but then again my Citroen has no CofA.

Ryanaircabincrew
3rd Dec 2006, 20:21
Would any Ryanair person like to comment on


I was operating on that flight as the cabin supervisor so i can tell you exactly what happened:( a captain told me few days ago when i told him the story that he has seen it here)

1) What exactly was going on here?


The captain opened the overwing exit to check if there is any ice on the wings.He couldnt close it so asked No.3 to help him(its quite difficult to close it alone as the spring is very strong,especially on the newer aircrafts)They did it and we started boarding.During boarding No.4 called me and said that something is wrong at the door as its not like the other.

As someone has to check the boarding cards at all time,i asked the flight deck to take my possition so i can go and have a look.The captain volunteered so i went.i saw the cosmetic cover on the inside was down,so removed the passengers from row 16DEF and opened the door to have a look if something is broken at the door the captain opened or why the cover is not on place.as this door was working perfectly we closed it with No.4(you need 3 hands to close it,one to pull,one to hold the handle and one to hold the cover).I told the captain that i think is just a cosmetic thing and he came down,had a look and said to leave it like that.He called Dublin Ops on his phone from the f/d but in the meantime i asked him if i could try to close it again as i think i know how to do it.(we are trained to open/close the door but i never had to put the cosmetic cover up as there were people after me who had to open and close it again and at the end it was always engineers who took over).He said that i can try and we did it with No.4.I informed him(he was still on the phone with Dublin)and he went down to the nosegear to reset something(i have no idea what,im just a cabin crew).When we finished we close up and went...

In my private opinion he was stupid to open the overwing exit as there are other ways to check the icing and we were delayed a lot because of this,but im sure he will never do it again!)


2) What qualification / authority does a captain presented with this once-opened and then apparently closed door have, and then an independently operating member of the cabin crew have, to declare this door fit to fly?

If i wasnt sure its closed completely,i would refuse to fly,you can believe me!



3) Was there actual insubordination ? (the cabin crew are said in this thread to have re-opened this door after the captain told them not to)


Answered above.


It has left me wondering if this perhaps is one of the most frequent warning light 'nuiscances' seen on a 738 flightdeck? I often sit in these rows and have noticed three or four times that the velcro'd covers are hanging off or mispositioned. Kids don't sit in these seats so grown ups evidently leave them like it sometimes ...

and finally, for anyone that knows how the overwing exits are armed, what parameters determine whether overwing chutes deploy?

if there are any further questions,do not hesitate :)

late developer
6th Dec 2006, 23:43
if there are any further questions,do not hesitate :)No further questions, Sir! Just a little extra commentary, if your employers and others can stand it...

I do hope you don't cop any flack for posting here, as I think it is important that such non-routine events get aired, no matter how trivial some people might attempt to label them afterwards. It is the non-routine which has to be controlled in aviation to keep it safe. Computers and designed-in systems parameters handle much of the routine. Less standard human 'control units' are more often to be found at the centre of the non-routine events as we saw:-)

Fast turnarounds used not to be routine, and I am sure they are responsible for many more additional pressures on human performance than have yet been documented.

As you are completely aware, I am sure, fast turnarounds should not be allowed to threaten safety... A number of non-original 737 routines/procedures were devised/modified/documented to accommodate and manage typical fast-turnaround type events linked to hardware performance and limitations, but one wonders how many new ones linked to human performance and limitations were devised and documented. There seem to be rather a lot of fast-turnaround pressures exerted down the line to company engineers, don't there, with ad hoc documentation we presume?

I don't mean to insult the ultimate authority in this case, but what's now been candidly described here, all looks slightly flakey around the edges.

It was linked (as usual with flakey stuff in aviation) to something that is obviously not-routine (you mentioned 'strong springs and 'three hands' - surely never routine except to an engineer and his co-signing partner). The non-routine event arose out of something which should be routine (icing inspections) but was not done in the usual manner.

Furthermore, if I understand it correctly, cabin crew felt that after the captain had resealed the door that he had not done it quite right. The door was then unsealed and again resealed but this second operation was not overseen by the captain, just acknowledged.

The aircraft then 'went' with the cosmetic covers not refitted (which others in this thread have said was/is perhaps always permissible if it is the only problem with the door).

Despite what I've read here, an uncertainty (for me) arises in whether all possible alignments and partial latchings of this apparently closed door are designed 'fail-safe' with effective positive action bolts like a bank-vault door, or whether the automatic locking is achieved (or not) using something less substantial e.g. silent and unseen solenoids with perhaps as a last resort one or more proximity contacts which detect some misalignments and/or some mis-latchings.

I am too easily tempted to interpret all the information we have now been given as a 'line of least-resistance' outcome, which maybe reflected the potential further embarassment OF both flight deck and cabin crew, and possibly BETWEEN flight deck and flight crew.

With the extra information, I now wonder about the ice inspection itself - a wonder (in oh so clever glorious hindsight!) about whether both wings were given the same (symmetric) close inspection before departure. As a non-routine door closing problem may have interrupted the planned inspection, one might be forgiven for guessing that a similar attempt at inspecting the other wing via the opposite overwing exit was NOT attempted.

We aren't told whether the inspection led to a decision to de-ice, or whether it was a casual not an imperative inspection in the first place, but as we are told there was no time to refit the cosmetic latch cover before the aircraft 'went', we can again be forgiven for assuming there wasn't time for any de-icing either.

I accept it is always very easy to be wise after the event...but I think it is fair to say that lessons might be learned by some PPs and other directors/reviewers/approvers of fast-turnarounds from reading this thread, some of which I probably haven't even thought of.

For myself, I have learned from this thread that if I ever want any chance of paddling anything that floats from a 738 in the North Sea, I'd better sit right at the front or right at the back from now on!

PS I flew in the back of an F100 today which had at least one of the four overwing doors apparently out of alignment. Certainly the entire internal surface of it was out of alignment. We were already cruising when I noticed it, and when I started analysing other 'lines' inside the cabin as I would if I was buying a used Mondeo, I quickly gave up any intention of ever buying it when we landed, and settled into a totally resigned 'well I've started so I'll finish mode' :hmm:

PPS Actually, on another F100 at the weekend, I noticed something else I thought was a bit flakey - yer actual paint delamination and perhaps even sub-surface corrosion around numerous rivet heads - something hopefully I'd never see on a 2y old 738:). I wouldn't accept that on a used Mondeo either! What I saw (from a range of about 50cm) was on a engine cover panel immediately adjoining the horizontal stalk that holds the bloody hoover thing on:\ ... one wonders whether any engineer ever looks out of the window on row 20 on an F100 as part of his inspection ... I am now certain that no self-respecting engineer with any hearing left would ever book himself a ride in an F100 behind about row 12 ...

I noticed that the rear cabin crew wasn't as daft or as devoid of options as me, and spent as little time as possible during the flight between the two hoovers. I am sure all this is fodder for a couple of other 'seen on a loco' threads perhaps ... just don't tempt me!

stator vane
7th Dec 2006, 08:03
i am perfectly sober, having only coffee at this stage of the day,

but i just wanted to say to "late developer"--thank you!

posts and replies like your last is the only reason that drives me to read these threads.

yes, i live and work in "the trenches" and it is so easy to get engulfed by the rush and targets that press us on all sides. but to read a thread like yours enables us to "see" the job we do from another perspective. it is too easy to get tunnel vision in the flow of work.

and when one can see such intelligence and balanced perceptions embedded into a post such as yours, we are stopped in our tracks and gladly read and listen.

thanks again

howflytrg
7th Dec 2006, 12:14
Where did all this opening the overwing exit to check for icing come from? Or am i blind from reading to many threads?

And why would there be a need to check for icing in Jerez in November????? Its southern spain where even a few days ago the temp just just around dawn ( the coolest time of night) was 14 degs?

Sure on the turnaround there may be some small patches of hoar frost on the UNDERSIDE of the wing from fuel coldsoaking. However a nice uplift of JET A1 will remove this.

Also with a wing inspection light and a set of steps there really would be no apparent need to open the exits for an icing inspection.

PENKO
7th Dec 2006, 12:49
Where did all this opening the overwing exit to check for icing come from? Or am i blind from reading to many threads?

And why would there be a need to check for icing in Jerez in November????? Its southern spain where even a few days ago the temp just just around dawn ( the coolest time of night) was 14 degs?

Sure on the turnaround there may be some small patches of hoar frost on the UNDERSIDE of the wing from fuel coldsoaking. However a nice uplift of JET A1 will remove this.

Also with a wing inspection light and a set of steps there really would be no apparent need to open the exits for an icing inspection.

If they landed with a lot of fuel in the wings, then there is certainly a possibility of frost on TOP of the wings. It gets even worse when there is a little rain: now you have no way of seeing if the shiny film on top of a freezing cold wing is water or water mixed with a layer of thick thick ice.

So you use your hands. (and a step if you are not allowed to open the exits)

Drop The Dunlops
7th Dec 2006, 14:10
In my Company (not RYR), there is one particular NG with a recurring problem of the right overwing exit light coming on.

Apparently it is something to do with condensation occasionally getting to the microswitch circuitry within the door unit itself.

I have spoken at length with Maint about the issue when it has happened. They are adamant that the crew MUST NOT operate this door and try to reset it themselves. An engineer MUST be called.

I find it surprising (if true) that the Capt. would let the Cabin Crew open the overwing doors, especially ask them to reset them, but I have no knowledge of Ryanair's procedures so it would be unfair to comment. If the CC did this without the Capt's permission then this is a serious issue.

TheKabaka
7th Dec 2006, 14:17
[/QUOTE]
As for the total lack of anything much that floats in the middle except maybe the springloaded door in my hands, I'll certainly rethink my exit strategy for my next flight over the 'oggin!
For myself, I have learned from this thread that if I ever want any chance of paddling anything that floats from a 738 in the North Sea, I'd better sit right at the front or right at the back from now on!
In the event of ditching the main doors will not be opened as the aircraft would then quickly fill with water:eek:. So you are still better off by the over wing. Also you have a life jacket under your seat. The slides from the main doors are removable so a crew member may well bring one off the airplane if it is still in one piece (the aiplane not the slide).


Finally I would would be more worried about cold water than floating when crossing water, I expect you are more likley to freeze than drown.

late developer
8th Dec 2006, 10:34
In the event of ditching the main doors will not be opened as the aircraft would then quickly fill with water:eek:. So you are still better off by the over wing. Also you have a life jacket under your seat. The slides from the main doors are removable so a crew member may well bring one off the airplane if it is still in one piece (the aiplane not the slide).
Finally I would would be more worried about cold water than floating when crossing water, I expect you are more likley to freeze than drown.If what you say is true then it makes a bit of a joke out of any mandatory requirements for liferafts. I've forgotten how the jacket and raft requirement works anyway. It's another one of those and/or jobs I think.

A liferaft would as you imply, be the only way to survive more than a few minutes in the North Sea without a survival suit. No way am I going to rely on loco cabin-crew to bring one out with them. I even had to remind one to arm the main entry door chute before take-off once at Skavsta - I wasn't convinced he'd be able to do it after he was strapped in so I suggested he unstrap himself and arm the bloody thing! Seems cabin crew duties often get 'rushed' at Skavsta when the runway in use is the one closest to the terminal.

So, if I want a raft from a 738, do I have to unhook a chute from a front or rear main door without triggering it, or are there others?

Very interesting that some airlines clearly understand that resetting the overwing exits on 738s is an engineering item - that's what any practically-minded person would expect isn't it? So then, either it is, or it isn't, and in the latter case it must form part of the pass or fail type training of those allowed to attempt it. There's no half way. It looks now to me like this incident should be reported to the relevant aviation authority by the crew. It's only a few weeks since the event :ok:

captjns
8th Dec 2006, 13:01
No way am I going to rely on loco cabin-crew to bring one out with them. I even had to remind one to arm the main entry door chute before take-off once at Skavsta - I wasn't convinced he'd be able to do it after he was strapped in so I suggested he unstrap himself and arm the bloody thing! Seems cabin crew duties often get 'rushed' at Skavsta when the runway in use is the one closest to the terminal.

I am curious to know... were you a passenger on the aircraft, and also what was the response from his number one? Because from the cockpit you are not able to know the status of the door slides.

late developer
8th Dec 2006, 13:28
I am curious to know... were you a passenger on the aircraft, and also what was the response from his number one? Because from the cockpit you are not able to know the status of the door slides.The Skavsta incident you mean? Yes I was in the front row closest to the door. It was another Human Performance fast turnaround syndrome problem. The flight was already slightly delayed by a bit of a kerfuffle getting a wheelchair passenger installed in the second row behind me. The guy I told was strapping himself in directly opposite me i.e. also next to the door. Is he number one? Anyway he just said "Oh sh*t" and sorted it and we pretty much immediately rolled onto the runway and went. I was discreet in pointing it out to him so the possibly similarly stressed-out crew sat next to him might have just thought he remembered it himself (or whatever).

I have told this story a few times before with the next bit always added on and it goes back about 3 years now so my memory is not 100%. I am aware that my mind (probably other peoples too) plays games with recall when I dare to say again that I am pretty damn sure there was no safety briefing either. Which might explain if the "doors armed and crosschecked" bit was also not announced (I'd be guessing now if you asked me if it was announced but not actioned).

That particular taxi at Skavsta is amazingly short.

Does any of that help?

captjns
8th Dec 2006, 13:39
Does any of that help?

Yes it does... thanks. The problem is that in a challenge/response environment, the action in some cases, rarely thank goodness, is not backed up by a visual check before the response.

Ryanair is not unique to this, nor is the aviation industry for that matter either.

late developer
8th Dec 2006, 14:19
Ryanair is not unique to this, nor is the aviation industry for that matter either.I agree. But unlike most others, Ryanair does have a remarkable 'achievement' record with its 25 minute turnarounds. They are sometimes less than 25 minutes even when the plane is pretty full. It is often exacerbated perhaps when using remote fields with highly motivated Ground Services and Dispatch operating with the efficiency of Formula One pit crews. Reminds me of the races we used to have loading the hay barn in summers long ago from a conveyor/elevator. Two guys loading bales at the bottom try to slaughter the two guys stacking at the top! Boy did we build fast stacks and we were damned fit too by the end of the summer. Taught us loads about efficient stacking methods and how to build big ones without them falling over and hurting anyone. Even devised a method of going eleven bales high on a moving trailer without ropes. We used to rib neighbouring farmers who tried to copy us and ended up in untidy heaps in the field next door .... We were the best. I'd like to think Ryanair want to be as excellent. They are certainly fast and whichever way you look at it they are the pathfinders now. But there the analogy ends ... untidy heaps in any fields are not laughing matters in aviation.

At one remote airfield I use regularly the outbound passengers are actually standing in line (not sitting) at apron level just 20 metres from the nose before the aircraft arrives. All 189 passports are already checked. They are just waiting for the door to the apron to be opened. It is then just 8 minutes from the time first inbound pax set foot on terra firma to first outbound set foot on stairs. I can almost set my watch by it, every time. Must be a hell of a pressure on the crew. I have never made eye contact with anyone in the cockpit at the remote airfield end - they are almost always head down and tasked up especially if it is the last sector of the day.