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Virgin A340 at Schiphol

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Virgin A340 at Schiphol

Old 11th Sep 2007, 19:56
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Virgin A340 at Schiphol

Noticed a Virgin A340 on a remote stand at Schiphol today. They are not normally visitors so anyone know why?

Coincidentally, the AAIB have today published report 4/2007 on the Virgin A340 that arrived at the same airport last year on less that a full set of engines
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Old 11th Sep 2007, 20:03
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Vs A340

A/C diverted with a medical emergency..airport authorities parked the aircraft at a gate while they shud hv known that there is no towbar for a 340-600 at AMS airport..(same problem happende 2 years ago)....trying to find a solution the crew went out of hours so everybody in hotels and the a/c now to depart at 2100Z
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Old 11th Sep 2007, 21:51
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... lack of A3456 towbar...?!

Flap40, suppie,

The design deficiency in the A3456 fuel system is addressed by EAD 2006-0287. By the end of this year, you need to have installed Flight Load 8.1 s/w on the FCMCs, done the FWC MODs and amended the wiring in between these boxes; thatīll also cancel current crew procedures.

What surprises me more is the reported trouble caused by the lack of A346 tow bars. I heard about another A346 having diverted into LAS about a year ago, being trapped in a nose-in position with no bar available; that was then brought in by truck from LAX....
Question from a desk driver: Why donīt you name the whole situation an aircraft "recovery", attach whatever is required to the lugs at the MLG provided for TOWING - and tow the beast backwards for a few yards? Lack of strong enough "ropes"?
Cheers,
J.V.
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Old 11th Sep 2007, 22:08
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el, I am not a pilot so I may be wrong on this but I believe there are strong regulations against using reverse thrusters to back out of a gate owing to the amount of FOD that can get ingested into the engines and spat out at the terminal building. There was also a case a while back of an aircraft reversing on reverse thrust and the pilot tapped the toe brakes and the aircraft sat on the tail creating masses of paperwork!
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Old 11th Sep 2007, 22:27
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attaching ropes or what ever might damage the nose gear so that out of question.....today a towbarless tug was used to get the a/c from the gate...officially this tug was to light to lift the a/c but still....KLM has big towbarless tugs but didnt want to lift the a/c due insurance problems....2 years ago we had the same problem at AMS when VS diverted into AMS and then a B747 hopped in bringing a towbar and picking up the pax..on a dutch spotters site I read that the airport auth will buy a 340-600 towbar but thats something I can not believe..why spending a lot of money for an a/c which is normally not operating at AMS
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Old 11th Sep 2007, 22:30
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@ Alex....powerback is not allowed....many years ago we did it with the B727 of TWA here in AMS....but the apt auth were not too happey with it eventhough they agreed with it.
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Old 11th Sep 2007, 23:03
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I think economics of aviations and airport business are good enough to allow the airport to spend for servicing an unannounced a/c, thing for which they will be paid anyway.
I think it's reasonable to expect that in the biggest airport of a major European country.
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Old 12th Sep 2007, 04:36
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Approx. how much does the said piece of equipment cost??????
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Old 12th Sep 2007, 08:04
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I think there is a regulation at AMS saying something along the line of "Its each and every operators, operating in and out of AMS, responsibility to ensure that towing equipment is available at the airport". Reason I know? I have been stuck on a taxi way with tech prob. AC ended up sitting in the taxi way for about 6 hours. No towbar. The Airport Ops guys were everything but impressed.

Now I know VS is not normaly operating out of ams but with regards to an earlier post it seems to me that the airport will not invest in this equipment for a flight or two per year. But they will prob put you on a remote, no nose in, stand next time!
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Old 12th Sep 2007, 08:16
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I can't help feeling that there must be some space somewhere in the cavernous hull of an A346 to stow a towbar, but presumably these bars are seen as too heavy or valauble to haul around the world "just in case"?
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Old 12th Sep 2007, 08:22
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Seem to remember Aeroflot doing a reverse thrust off stand at LHR during a ground handlers strike a few years ago (apologies if it was a "work to rule"!)
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Old 12th Sep 2007, 10:27
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Also recall Eastern reversing off stand in Orlando to save paying for pushbacks [1990?] 727/DC9 and 757 !!! didnt do it with A300 though !!!
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Old 12th Sep 2007, 11:31
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Think the LHR/Aeroflot thing was because no one would push them back in the aftermath of the shooting down of the Korean 747.
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Old 12th Sep 2007, 11:56
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Reverse thrust usage for pushback (? what's the right term then) is SOP for NW DC-9 at MEM
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Old 12th Sep 2007, 13:42
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In their final months/years Eastern used reverse everywhere as far I remember. I was pax Atlanta - Tampa and it was used on all types at both airports.
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Old 12th Sep 2007, 14:31
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Recall a couple of years back an EK A345 operated to Beirut without checking whether a towbar was available. It wasn't. Ground engineer rounded up about 20 apron staff and they pushed the aircraft back by turning the wheels backwards. Apparently the apron there has a gentle slope down away from the gate, which helped.
As mentioned the risk would be in braking suddenly and tipping the aircraft over, although one could always offload the aft cargo ULDs for a more nose-heavy C of G, then reload them after the push is complete. ( or upgrade all economy pax to first!!!)
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Old 12th Sep 2007, 14:58
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The reason the aircraft was parked on that stand is because the handling agents advised they had an A340-600 towbar.
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Old 12th Sep 2007, 15:53
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I never cared much for reversing out of the gate on the 727. You had to spool up the engines in forward thrust then pop the reversers. There was an awkward moment as the aircraft started to roll forward, then the buckets popped and you finally started to back up. You couldn't use the brakes to stop moving backward lest you put the aircraft on its tail. You cycled back to forward thrust trying to judge the momentum just right for a smooth transition to normal taxi.

Inevitably perhaps, the head 727 check airman miscommunicated with the guy on the ground and initiated a powerback in MCO with the power cart still attached. Unfortunately, the plug was very robust and a strip of aluminum was torn off the fuselage, kinda like opening a can of sardines.
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Old 12th Sep 2007, 16:31
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Carrying a towbar on an aeroplane as part of equipment is a non-starter. The actual cost in fuel over a year and payload occasionally of carrying an item like this is unreal.

Powerbacks are actually a very difficult manoeuvre and fraught with incident potential. We were trained up on them and practised them years ago, before it was quickly decided they were simply too dangerous- a decision with which I fully agreed! As pointed out, enormous care was needed, and they are not easy. Big fans hate them, ingestion in ramp areas is a real problem, and woe betide you if you forget and apply brakes- you will take off vertically! And the cabin crew will not speak to you ever again- unless in court suing you! Many ramp areas have dips where wheels stand, making initial movement difficult. High thrust attracts all the rubbish that accumulates in ramps, and any upslope make it almost impossible.
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Old 12th Sep 2007, 18:02
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We have an A340-500/600 in MAN just incase ! Unfortunately its never seen any action.
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