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American re-Grounds its MD-80s

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American re-Grounds its MD-80s

Old 9th Apr 2008, 22:08
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PBL

not sure how we got on to the subject of a train between LA and SF. But I've flown that route many times.

You just said it. Even with a super train, it would take two hours.

But a plane can do it in about 1 hour.


Having driven the route, there are concerns like earthquakes...even snow , yes snow, closed the main road (interstate five) for a couple of days this year.

But the planes kept flying.


I love trains...but not doable out west in the US.
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Old 9th Apr 2008, 22:52
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it's about time

Maybe it's about time to retire the MD-80's....
I wont fly on one...so at least I would not have had to deal with the delays......

and one response to groundbum.......fire on the ocean or in the sky is bad bad news and should be prevented at any measure....
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Old 9th Apr 2008, 23:17
  #23 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by sevenstrokeroll
not sure how we got on to the subject of a train between LA and SF.
That was me, free-associating from my preferred means of travel between the five European capitals closest to where I live. (Sorry for the distraction :-)

Originally Posted by sevenstrokeroll
But I've flown that route many times.
Me too, but in my own plane, which was both (a) faster door to door than flying commercially, and (b) much slower than a TGV.

Originally Posted by sevenstrokeroll
Even with a super train, it would take two hours.

But a plane can do it in about 1 hour.
Airport to airport, not door to door. Add an hour at each end for the journey to/from the airport. Or maybe an hour and a half to allow time to succumb to the tender mercies of the TSA.

Originally Posted by sevenstrokeroll
Having driven the route, there are concerns like earthquakes
...
Trivial, as the BART tube under the Bay showed during the 1989 7.2-er.

Originally Posted by sevenstrokeroll
even snow , yes snow, closed the main road (interstate five) for a couple of days this year.
Yes, well, our last snow here was two days ago. And a week ago I was travelling at 300 kph (186 mph for those of you who don't understand real units) all over northern Europe.

Originally Posted by sevenstrokeroll
But the planes kept flying.
Can't have been anything significant, then.

Originally Posted by sevenstrokeroll
I love trains...but not doable out west in the US.
All that space - a straight shot with no people in the way. If you were talking about a 300 kph line through the middle of Connecticut stockbroker country, comparable with what was just done in the south of England, maybe I would agree it would not be doable.

I think you missed the real clincher. Rail is monopoly economics. You have a line and somebody owns it. Any one of, say, ten unions can shut you down. Whereas the air belongs to anybody with a Boeing and a few dollars for a slot at Concorde and Orange County. And if you get shut down, your pal is up there with his Airbus instead.

PBL
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Old 10th Apr 2008, 00:22
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Would not one factor stopping high speed train service between San Fran and LA in the same manner as what the French have perhaps be the cost that our good friends from Gaul paid up to 11 million Euros per kilometer of new track in some sections of Eastern France?

Frankly I prefer the train, but not sure how that would cost out in CA.
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Old 10th Apr 2008, 00:36
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FAA Admin need a new 'Nader, ..unsafe at any altitude

Check out the movie here....

http://www.crooksandliars.com/2008/0...t-flight-club/

'Itís all sort of ironic, when you think about it. When you fly, you are inspected quite thoroughly. Whereas the plane itself is perhaps occasionally vacuumed. See, with this administration, if a passenger blows up a plane, itís a failure on the War on Terror. But if a plane just blows up on its own, eh, thatís the market self-regulating'

..NOT funny, ...really.
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Old 10th Apr 2008, 01:25
  #26 (permalink)  
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Now, it is up to nearly 1,100 flights canceled on Wednesday.

About 900 flights to be canceled on Thursday.

http://biz.yahoo.com/rb/080409/amr_c...ons.html?.v=17
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Old 10th Apr 2008, 01:42
  #27 (permalink)  
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Loom

To think all those wires were at one time unsheathed and un-bundled gives one pause. Rocks, slush, mud, water, ice, snow. I'd rather have my conductors in conduit or routed inside the wing, I'll pay the extra couple bucks to maintenance for the harder access to inspect, brrrrr. (Are those snap ties holding the sheath?)

Last edited by airfoilmod; 10th Apr 2008 at 02:12.
 
Old 10th Apr 2008, 01:56
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>You just said it. Even with a super train, it would take two hours.

True, but when you fly, consider the time to get to the airport, the hour at the airport before the flight , perhaps waiting for luggage, and then getting where you want to be from the destination airport. I'd say it's a wash at the very least, if not in favor of the train.
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Old 10th Apr 2008, 10:06
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The FAA has been getting a lot of flak recently about being too cosy with the big Airline Companies! I'd guess that they're making a point!
My first thoughts as well. Both the FAA and AA are giving a bit of a f-you to Congress.

PBL

Would not one factor stopping high speed train service between San Fran and LA in the same manner as what the French have perhaps be the cost that our good friends from Gaul paid up to 11 million Euros per kilometer of new track in some sections of Eastern France?

Frankly I prefer the train, but not sure how that would cost out in CA.
In the north east (Bos-Wash), Amtrak in the last few years (air and road congestion) is a serious alternative. Something could be made of that in future.

Elsewhere ... maybe, population density could be a problem. In terms of CA? Driving LA-SF 6hrs, LA-LV 4hrs - most pepole drive. Californians would probably support a train but there'd probably be constant legal action from nimbys when a route is figured out.
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Old 10th Apr 2008, 16:20
  #30 (permalink)  
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Putting trains aside

A suspicious person might remind us of the rumor re: AA banko, some time ago. Rather than seeing the FAA as the villain here, and the recent grounding of MD80 producing results that missed the mark by an apparent cm., could cries of BK be forthcoming? AMR/APA conflict produced the recent rumor, and if the "coziness" between FAA and AA is continuing, might it not be a foundation for soon to be heard cries of BK!!. ?
 
Old 10th Apr 2008, 17:16
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Wheel Well Fire Safety

Observation from AirfoilMod, about four slots above:
"... all those wires were at one time unsheathed and un-bundled gives one pause...."

You've just hit on a remaining weakness in the Douglas (DAC, DPD) design: Douglas jets never had Wheel Well Fire Detection nor Suppression (TBC began Wheel Well Fire Detection with the B377).

Without Wheel Well Fire Safety features, every effort must be made to prevent another Nation Air failure interaction (possible with the current DAC design).

After the ValuJet fire in 1996, industry worked hard to get FIRE SAFETY features retrofitted into narrow-body cargo bays (fore and aft the Wheel Wells). The DAC/DPD aircraft are still left WITHOUT any Wheel Well fire safety features.


Nationair / 11Jul91 Canadian registered DC-8-61 C-GMXQ, chartered ... inflight fire; impacted 1.75 miles short of runway 34C at Jeddah.... Flames visible in the left main gear until gear was retracted after T/O.

Taxi on under-inflated tires caused over-deflection, overheating and structural weakening of the tire. Friction created enough heat to start a self-sustaining fire; two wheels severely damaged, and piece of broken wheel rim struck the airframe (embedded in left flap). When gear retracted after T/O, burning rubber brought near hydraulic and electrical system components. Wheel well fire involved tires, hydraulic fluid, magnesium alloy and jet fuel (fire burned through center fuel tank). Fire spread from Wheel Well to Cargo Compartment, cabin floor was breached, control systems disabled. Cabin pressurization lost, hydraulic pressure lost.

Five minutes after brake release for T/O, F/A entered cockpit and reported, "smoke in the back, real bad."

CVR recorded F/O's comment, "I've got no ailerons!" Crew told ATC there was fire onboard, declared an emergency, and said they were returning to base. On final 11 miles out (suspected point that LG was extended) numerous pax bodies fell from the aircraft.

Airframe structural integrity lost, control lost prior to impact....

Lessons:
-- dangerous under-inflation of tire not discernible visually;
-- After T/O, gear should not have been retracted.
-- DACís tiny yellow ďBrake OverheatĒ lamp, with its sensors hidden inside the wheel/brake area, fails to alert pilots about any Wheel Well fire.

Last edited by IGh; 10th Apr 2008 at 17:47.
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Old 10th Apr 2008, 17:57
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About earthquakes: Yes, you'd need to make sure your tracks could withstand a major earthquake, and have a plan in place to deal with it.
I'd rather not be in a 9.0-quake, but I'd rather go through one emergency braking in an aluminum tube on a seismically-resistant high-speed train track than stuck in an aluminum tube with a mess of fuel, on landfill over the bay at SFO or OAK.

Trains and the US: two huge problems. SF-LA is something like 700 km without much in between in terms of urban centers, and to be honest, those in the Bay Area don't like Los Angeles very much. There are already rail connections in the denser parts of the US. That's the second problem. As the Eastern Seaboard has shown, you can have a railway, but you have to buy or rent the land over which it travels. And if you're renting (=the American Way), you ain't gonna pay cheap.

Heck, even in Europe it's cheaper to fly over Germany than take a train across it.
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Old 10th Apr 2008, 18:32
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I often fly the Newark/Boston stretch. It is 4.5 to 5 hours of driving. train is a hair over 3 hours for the amtrak bullet train and ~5 hours for the ordinary commuter train.

To fly... 30min drive to EWR. Park and take monorail to terminal 20min
60min arrival before takeoff. Listed as about an 1.5 to 1.75 hour flight. ~35min flight time. Time to deboard etc 0.5hr. Total travel time of ~3 to 3.5 hrs, if the congestion allows. Usually at EWR, waiting to take off can be an hour or more.
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Old 11th Apr 2008, 00:55
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Another 922 cancellations today, and projecting more than 500 Friday with more over the weekend.
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Old 11th Apr 2008, 01:43
  #35 (permalink)  
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Rebooking canceled flights is turning into a nightmare, as is trying to find hotel rooms. One passenger was quoted as having his outgoing flight rebooked easily, only to discover that they hadn't rebooked his return flight, so he was scheduled to land on the return flight two hours before reaching his destination...

Time travel anyone?

American should partner with local Tourist Bureaus and arrange cheap bus tours of local cities. Give the pax something fun to remember (at least those with children) rather than the tedium and frustration.
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Old 11th Apr 2008, 03:14
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About earthquakes: Yes, you'd need to make sure your tracks could withstand a major earthquake, and have a plan in place to deal with it.
Ask the japanese for help.
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Old 11th Apr 2008, 07:58
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I guess the train thing has tickled more people's fancy than just mine. Please indulge me in a couple more observations.

I don't underestimate the difficulties (not just the physical but the contractual, thinking of the various travails of the LA subway system development). But then I commuted Berkeley-Palo Alto for some 7 years and saw the time go from 50 minutes to 1.5 hours, and there was no effective way to do it on public transportation. And, besides me, there were all those people living in Modesto and working in Santa Clara. Living in Sacramento and working in SF. That is one of the reasons I came back to Europe. Now I can do the 90km in 50 minutes between the two nearest major cities every hour between about 4.30 am and midnight, 7 days (if I need to; actually, I commute by bicycle). Comfortably, and work while I am doing it. And that's not even a high-speed track. It's hard for me to believe there wouldn't be a market for bullet trains on these SFBA commuter routes.

I think Dinger hit the mark on the crucial constraint on SF-LA. People in Europe are looking for the train to be competitive for journeys up to 500-600 km, and SF-LA is further than that. So there is no physical model as yet.

But I am not sure about the population-density argument. One shouldn't forget that Santa Monica came to be because the Pacific Electric Railroad put a station out there in what was the middle of nowhere (granted, it would exist now even if they hadn't). A bullet train down the route of Highway 101 might well lead to different growth patterns; or even down Highway 5. I mean, why not live in Parkfield if you can get to San Jose in an hour in the morning and back in the evening?

I think Dinger is off the mark on prices. When all costs are factored in, train is for me almost always less expensive, and only takes 20-25% more time, even from Bielefeld to GB. And allows me to work almost the entire time.

I really don't have much more to say on this. But I do wonder whether the extreme inconveniences suffered regularly by US air travellers would not occur quite as often if air travel were not a monopoly mode.

PBL

Last edited by PBL; 11th Apr 2008 at 08:08.
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Old 11th Apr 2008, 08:15
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Good train connections have actually killed commercial flights for some high density connections in Europe.

Take Berlin - Hamburg, 290 km driving distance. This used to be a high density air connection. Now with the bullettrain line you cannot find any direct flight from one of the three Berlin airports to Hamburg.

Why? Hourly train service, 2 trains/hour during peak times, 1 hour 33 min from main station to main station, for 62Ä one way (local transport included depending on booking mode), less if you reserve well in advance, have a company account or buy a personal 25 or 50% reduction card that is valid for a year on all German connections and usually pays off after 1 - 2 trips.

You can arrive at the train station 2 minutes before departure, and you can conveniently reach both main stations by subway/bus/local commuter train or park your car in a garage really close to the station.

Every second train will additionally stop in Berlin-Spandau which is more convenient for those living in the Western outskirts. Also, in Hamburg, all trains start resp. continue to Hamburg-Altona via Hamburg-Dammtor, giving people from that half of the city more convenient access.

Compare that to driving to any of the Berlin airports and getting into the city from Hamburg airport and you know why there are no longer any commercial flights.



Now, if you don't live close to on of those train lines, the story can be quite different. I live about 120 km from the closest station for a northwards high speed line, and while east-est train connections are quite ok, getting to that particular station from my home station takes 2.5 hours, so to Hamburg I can beat trains by driving when I look at the total travelling time.

Last edited by BRE; 11th Apr 2008 at 08:34.
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Old 11th Apr 2008, 10:34
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I know that these inspections have been called for by the FAA in the US.... But what are the chances we will soon see AZ, SK, and other European airlines grounding their MD-80's for checks?????

Any info appreciated!


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Old 11th Apr 2008, 10:47
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Cable Binders

I was just wondring: how seriously did those aircraft fail the inspection?

Did FAA inspectors get out their Micrometers and discover that binders were 1.1 inch apart instead of the regulation 1 inch?

Were they 3 feet apart, or not tied down at all?

Thinking about it, securing wire bundles every inch seems very, well some expressions come to mind, but let's just say it seems very very secure...

I too am wondering if the FAA has come out to show that "We are on top of the Problem!"

OORW
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