7
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A total of 6 people in this pushback (2 in the truck)

This seems a bit wasteful. Is there a legal requirement for a minimum number of people and if so, on what basis does this vary? (airline, airport, aircraft type, etc)

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    $\begingroup$ If you don't have "wing/tail walkers" you get accidents. Better to waste some time than damage some aircraft. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Feb 16 at 15:51
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    $\begingroup$ BTW, when you ask if there is a "legal" requirement, you need to tell us what country you are talking about. This may be different for the US and Botswana, for example. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Feb 16 at 16:20
  • $\begingroup$ Hmm. I think I'd be curious to know even if there was a legal requirement in any country. $\endgroup$ – wireman Feb 16 at 16:23
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    $\begingroup$ @Ron Beyer standard pushback in my base (Helsinki, Finland) is done with one person on the ground, in the tractor to be exact. We haven't had any pushback accidents that I'm aware of. We have an excellent safety culture and very good training for everyone involved. Wing walkers might improve safety, but their absence does not automatically lead to accidents $\endgroup$ – Sami Feb 16 at 16:46
  • $\begingroup$ @Sami The stands at Helsinki are set up such that you aren't pushing back into other aircraft, so the chances of having those types of accidents are much lower. Look at an airport like O'Hare, where there are "alleys" that the aircraft park in, this pretty much requires it. Even my small airport has wing-walkers just for safety reasons. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Feb 16 at 18:13
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Depends on the airline. At minimum, you need one driving the tractor, and in unconfined areas with nothing to run into, this is sufficient. In confined areas operators almost always require wing walkers to clear the tips, and someone at the tail if backing into a confined space or to make sure the pushback stays within any boundaries.

So the answer is, anywhere from 1 to 4, depending on the situation and the airline's internal policy. Insurance requirements will have an influence on this in a lot of cases because the results of screw-ups are usually just insurance damage claims with nobody getting hurt.

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    $\begingroup$ One can easily cause damage worth a years salary of a wingwalker by not using one. $\endgroup$ – Jpe61 Feb 16 at 20:58

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