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Usually, the engine starts after pushback. but if the pilot requsests two(both) engines startup before pushback, can the controller approve it?

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This can be done, and can be approved when needed.

The most common case would be an inoperative APU, requiring the use of external high pressure air to start an engine. Once one engine is started, you can push back and perform a "crossbleed" start for the other engine, using bleed air from the operating engine to start the other one. That does require power above idle on the operating engine, and sometimes it's easier to just use the external air to start both engines at the gate before pushback.

It's important to keep vehicles, especially large, high profile vehicles like catering trucks, away from the tail while the engines are running; that's accomplished with marshallers with lighted wands. ATC would protect the area behind the aircraft from light aircraft for the same reason; on a big airline ramp, that isn't so much concern, but at a smaller airport with a taxiway close behind the gate, it could be.

So you tell Ground Control what you need to do, they wait for (or create) a break in traffic flow behind you, and then they approve it. And when the engines are started, you request clearance for pushback as normal, and go on with your day.

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    $\begingroup$ Ramp space is usually not controlled by ATC. $\endgroup$
    – RetiredATC
    Commented Mar 13, 2023 at 21:06
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    $\begingroup$ @RetiredATC Technically not, but Ramp Control (when operating) functions as such and issues startup/pushback clearances the same way that Ground Control would. In some contexts, the distinction between actual ATC and Ramp Control matters, but when you're in the cockpit requesting clearance to push back or start engines at the gate, the distinction is basically lost. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Commented Mar 13, 2023 at 21:17
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    $\begingroup$ Is ramp control regulatory or advisory? If a pilot pushed back w/o ramp control permission, could a Pilot Deviation be filed? $\endgroup$
    – RetiredATC
    Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 2:16
  • $\begingroup$ Reality: get permission from Ramp Control before you push (assuming they're operating & issuing those). Can they file a PD? AFAIK, no, but that doesn't change the fact that, de facto, they do control movement on the ramp. (Besides, a pilot who doesn't follow the published procedures for getting permission from Ramp opens himself up to delays, or in the bad case, "careless & reckless" possibilities.) $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 3:04

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