Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Flight Deck Forums > Rumours & News
Reload this Page >

DC9 Tug crew depart aircraft with covered up fuselage damage.

Rumours & News Reporting Points that may affect our jobs or lives as professional pilots. Also, items that may be of interest to professional pilots.

DC9 Tug crew depart aircraft with covered up fuselage damage.

Old 26th Dec 2008, 22:15
  #41 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: devon
Age: 80
Posts: 366
It's a long time since I was on a long lead and headset seeing an aircraft off, I guess that this job has been downgraded to a member of the tug team, not an engineer. The intention of the engineer on the lead was to ensure that the aircraft was serviceable when it left the ramp and in so doing checking the safe removal of the service vehicles from the aircraft without damaging the structure. The aircrew have to do their checks on accepting the aircraft well before the service vehicles are disconnected.
Oldlae is offline  
Old 27th Dec 2008, 06:23
  #42 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Down south, USA.
Posts: 1,589
This happened many months ago, and the media just now discovered it?

We call it outsourcing. This has been the corporate mantra for quite a while.
Here in the US it does not matter if they save a lot of money.

Years ago, only mechanics/engineers were allowed to perform pushbacks.
Even if a jet crashes and many people die, the 'hull loss insurance' absolves the corporation and Upper Mgmt from any blame, in a legal and financial sense.
Too bad that we can't outsource some Upper Managements.
We would save large piles of money.
No 'golden parachutes' with 'zero-zero ejection seats'.
Ignition Override is offline  
Old 27th Dec 2008, 08:05
  #43 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: South East
Age: 50
Posts: 40
In the last week i've had to deal with several incidents of structural damage, one requiring Airbus input. Both caused down route, both during loading. Unfortunately with engineers / mechanics being removed from the headset / final pre push back walkround this type of incident occurs regularly.

On UK departures the push back teams from the hadling companies are very good at spotting any abnormalities but at outstations, for what ever reasons, this is just missed or ignored.

It is no fault of the flight crews. They carry out their pre flight inspection on arriving at the aircraft (longhaul) or as soon as passengers are off (shorthaul turnrounds) due to time constraints on their work in the flight deck. I'm also not sure that the awareness to possible damage present to aircraft structure is taught to flight crews on pre flight checks as much as it could be.

Seems to me that several problems need to addressed by airlines/handling companies/CAA's... better training for all concerned, engineers at each arrival/deprture station and bigger bump strips on steps ang baggage loading vehicles!

Roll on the plastic Boeing with bandaid structural repairs to the fuselage.
Alwaysairbus is offline  
Old 27th Dec 2008, 14:10
  #44 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: London
Posts: 153
Thanks Ferrydude - I have looked at the link you gave in #37 about composites, but I would say that concerns ARE still warranted, when even CompositesWorld.com admit: "Damage will occur, however, and when it does, the first step is to assess if and how much internal damage there is within the laminate.... Yet, when a small dent is noticed during visual inspection at the gate...". I wish it was that simple.

The point is that dropping a tool onto a wing may well leave no mark - after all the composite is tough - so no walk-round check will find it. However, significant damage may well still have occurred in the load-bearing structure which could endanger safety long before the next Check, when you would still need to NDT the entire wing surface to find it!

So safety with composites is largely reliant on the honesty of individuals, which was the point of this thread in the first place.

I can see that Boeing are indeed doing a lot of work re the repair of composites, but they all seem to be either metal patches on composite, or actually only apply to unstressed panels etc, not primary structure. How do they propose to do quality assurance on the hot-bonded scarf repair in load bearing structure? Are you going to be happy to fly with such a repair, or is ignorance of the damage bliss?
possel is offline  
Old 27th Dec 2008, 15:22
  #45 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Near LOACH intersection
Posts: 497
I stand by my statement, your concerns are unwarranted. As you noted, ignorance is at play here. There is plenty of info available concerning the advancement of composites beyond what someones grandpa recalls hearing third hand years ago. Simply "what iffing" due to a lack of knowledge.
ferrydude is offline  
Old 27th Dec 2008, 17:09
  #46 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: London
Posts: 153
Well, ferrydude, I don't think it's ignorance, nor is it my grandpa's memory. I'm not a commercial pilot but I am a qualified Chartered Engineer with a PPL, a degree in aeronautical engineering and years of experience of aircraft maintenance which specifically includes the problems encountered with the Harrier GR5 on its introduction to service.

I would like to hear if anyone else thinks the concerns of unreported damage are unwarranted. It's bad enough if people do not report visible damage, but when it is invisible I think the concerns are still valid. There is no guarantee that a loader will leave a mark but it could certainly do damage. I always looked at this sort of issue in isolation to the commercial influences, which is why I'm glad I was in the RAF, I guess.

I say again, all of the Boeing "fixes" mentioned in the link on post #37 are just sticking plaster over the real problem which is that damage can be invisible, so must be reported when it happens.

So tell me, what action do you expect if you see a guy drop a spanner on a composite wing or a loader hit the composite fuselage? How do you know it's safe to fly?
possel is offline  
Old 27th Dec 2008, 17:33
  #47 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Near LOACH intersection
Posts: 497
Did you not read the post mentioning inbedded strain gauges?

Do you actually the think both Boeing and the airlines who have ordered the 787
are not aware of ramp rash and the possibility of unreported damage?

Do you know anything about the extensive use of composites in load bearing structure?

What do suppose happens on existing airplanes and rotorcraft when unreported damage occurs on composite structure? It's not exactly unheard of.
ferrydude is offline  
Old 29th Dec 2008, 17:16
  #48 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: West Sussex
Posts: 1,770
Carbon Fibre NDT


I'm with you all the way on this one, and would be interested to know what sort of 'strain guages' might detect the sort of sharp impact composites particularly dislike ( and hide ).

Like you, I was involved in the development of the GR5, and even a hint of a strike was enough to cause grounding & ultrasonic testing.

A particular worry was link strikes on the horizontal stabiliser; so we painted the aft fuselage ( yes, the metal bit ) white on ZD319 to show any near misses.

We also had 14 heated cine cameras from various pods,

including wide angle looking forward from the airbrake etc running at 200 frames per second.

This problem soon solved itself, as the 25mm Aden guns proved hopeless so were deleted !

As an Instrumentation/ technical photographer, I also had to go to Wittering one day after a GR5 was in a serious lightning strike - ultra
sound people were all over it scratching their heads...

A recent tv programme was not at all reassuring about carbon fibre & lightning either - a fine material for a fighter requiring top performance, with 'only' 1-2 lives at risk, both with 0-0 seats, but not a great move when transporting hundreds of people whose only protection is the in-flight magazine.

I also helped with a few photo's for an ex- Flight Test chum for his thesis on carbon fibre repair schemes.

I won't say where he works now, but it's a job most of us could only dream of.

I think the dye marker idea sounds quite a good one - and the 'no blame - or very little - regime' if one owns up to type of dog-up is common sense.

Otherwise, one is faced with things like the old, supposedly true story about a night security guard in ' a Middle Eastern air force ' who practised fitness pull-ups on a fighter pitot probe - on finding he'd bent it, the solution was simple - he went and bent the probes on the other flight line aircraft so they all looked the same !

Last edited by Double Zero; 30th Dec 2008 at 15:41.
Double Zero is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.