Questions tagged [ground-operations]

Servicing an aircraft on the ground before or after flight

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
63 votes
8 answers
91k views

Can a human get sucked into a jet engine?

Can a human get sucked into the jet engine of a normal modern airliner? if so has it ever happened and what is the minimum or maximum weight that these engines can suck? As a safety measure, wouldn't ...
securitydude5's user avatar
56 votes
8 answers
11k views

Why don’t airplanes use turn signals?

Why don’t airplanes use turn signals like cars do? Would this improve safety for ground operations at uncontrolled airports? Could a similar concept be used to indicate in air maneuvers? For example: ...
TayE's user avatar
  • 6,605
41 votes
2 answers
10k views

Why do some airports park the aircraft backwards at the gate?

(YouTube) Push-in at Dortmund Airport. While at most airports, aircraft park at the gate facing the building, there are some airports that park aircraft backwards, e.g., Dortmund Airport (shown above)...
Stefan's user avatar
  • 4,692
40 votes
8 answers
12k views

Is it OK to move a light aircraft by pushing or pulling the propeller?

It's very common to see pilots moving a light aircraft by pushing or pulling on the prop, either because there's no tow bar available or simply out of preference or convenience. Is this a reasonable ...
Pondlife's user avatar
  • 71.7k
39 votes
2 answers
7k views

What are the advantages of towbarless pushback tugs?

After watching the video below I wondered the reason for towbarless tugs. Lifting the front wheel of a 575 ton aircraft seems like it requires an awful lot of expensive and complex hydraulics when the ...
TomMcW's user avatar
  • 28.4k
39 votes
2 answers
9k views

Why don't El Al 747's stay at the gates at JFK?

I was recently travelling through JFK in New York City and saw the El Al 747, presumably arrived as ELY1 and departing as ELY4, sitting on the apron near terminal 4. What I saw was similar to as shown ...
user avatar
37 votes
3 answers
13k views

Why aren't planes loaded from both ends?

Related to this question about plane loading efficiency, if planes have multiple entrances (generally 6 or more) why are planes not loaded from both ends? I think I've seen it happen sometimes, but ...
David says Reinstate Monica's user avatar
34 votes
4 answers
28k views

What is the cable connected to a plane for?

I've seen that airplanes are connected to some wire like in the picture. What is it's name and what is it for?
ButterDog's user avatar
  • 495
32 votes
4 answers
5k views

Can large airliners be operated without ground support?

I'm wondering if large A3x0/B7x7 airliners could be operated without ground support. Short of using the inflatable slides, I guess at least stairs would be required to load/unload passengers. Apart ...
abey's user avatar
  • 2,150
31 votes
4 answers
8k views

What are the steep ramps often erected at large airports?

For example, the following white and orange striped ramp: I've seen these at a couple large airports but I've never seen them actually used for anything.
Billy ONeal's user avatar
30 votes
2 answers
7k views

How do tugs push back the Antonov 225?

How do tugs push back aircraft with 2 nose gears such as the Antonov 225?
TayE's user avatar
  • 6,605
28 votes
1 answer
5k views

Which (if any) is the "most major" airport / field / strip on Antarctica?

Which airport (/field, /strip, /skiway) is the "biggest", "most supported" on Antarctica? So, has the most permanent staff (do any?) has the most runway facilities such as say runway lights, ...
Fattie's user avatar
  • 1,792
27 votes
3 answers
5k views

How could the B-29 bomber back up under its own power?

I was watching some footage of the Enola gay I was interested in the part where the plane was backing up over the bomb (starts around 18:27). It appears to be doing ...
Machavity's user avatar
  • 6,003
26 votes
4 answers
11k views

Why are the aircraft in this image parked this way?

Why are these parked asymmetrically? And how can a plane owner get to their plane if it's on the farthest end? Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Noorul Quamar's user avatar
26 votes
1 answer
6k views

Are there any drawbacks to requesting progressive taxi every time?

Unless you know the airport like your own backyard, it seems like requesting progressive taxi would always be the safest option to essentially eliminate the possibility of taking a wrong turn or ...
Aaron Holmes's user avatar
  • 4,837
26 votes
1 answer
3k views

What is this device they bring on board from the jet bridge when we park?

Every time I deplane a Virgin America A320, I notice that they grab something from the jet bridge, and stuff it between the jump seats. I haven't seen any other commercial airlines with things like ...
Sargun Dhillon's user avatar
25 votes
2 answers
3k views

What item is a pushback operator holding up after pushback?

After a pushback I saw the operator of the pusback truck standing next to his truck and showing the pilots a "thumbs up" with his right hand. In his left hand he was holding something up. It looked ...
André Stannek's user avatar
25 votes
2 answers
4k views

How are airliners secured on the ground during hurricanes?

Say a major hurricane is expected to hit. Given that the weather is known beforehand, what can be done to avoid damage to the airliners sitting on the tarmac? Fly every plane away - not very ...
kevin's user avatar
  • 39.7k
24 votes
3 answers
12k views

Why do airliners park with the nose facing the terminal?

A few other questions have touched on why we don't board airliners from the front and back at the same time. My question is why is it that we choose to board at the front, rather than park the ...
Stuck's user avatar
  • 351
23 votes
2 answers
6k views

Do I need explicit clearance to taxi on an inactive runway?

I received taxi instructions from ground at a class D airport in the USA as follows (I was at ramp): Taxi to runway 04, Right on Bravo, left on 10, right on Alpha (no explicit clearance or hold short ...
Tom's user avatar
  • 397
23 votes
4 answers
30k views

How long does it take to refuel a big jumbo jet?

How long does it take to refuel a big jumbo jet? What about a smaller A320?
Gianni Alessandro's user avatar
23 votes
2 answers
4k views

How do passengers board the planes on this airport?

I found a quite "rare" layout on Munich airport. It has jetbridges but I don't see any terminal. Look: How do passengers make it to this point of the airport? By underground?
user13197's user avatar
  • 11.4k
22 votes
4 answers
8k views

How is an aircraft aligned at a jet bridge?

I see these jet bridges (or aerobridges) at nearly every new airport I go to. How are aircraft aligned with these bridges, particularly the A380 which has doors on both decks?
anshabhi's user avatar
  • 11.5k
22 votes
3 answers
7k views

Why does the headset man not get on the tractor?

As far as I can see, the pushback operation of a passenger aircraft is carried out by a similar application at many airports. It's a towbarless tractor and driver who pushes the aircraft together with ...
GolfCharlie's user avatar
22 votes
4 answers
15k views

How much force is needed to tow an airliner?

Airliners are often (almost always actually) pushed back by a tug or a tractor to leave the gate. The tug can also tow an aircraft that cannot taxi by itself. How much force is required to pull or ...
kevin's user avatar
  • 39.7k
20 votes
3 answers
6k views

How can two planes be on the same taxiway facing opposite to each other?

Curious to know how two planes can be on the same taxiway facing opposite to each other at the same time? Please have a look at the satellite view of the following coordinates in Google Maps: (-27....
Tejus's user avatar
  • 303
20 votes
3 answers
3k views

Why are airplanes sometimes led by a vehicle?

Airplanes are sometimes led by a vehicle on taxiways until they reach the runway or stand, why is this?
TayE's user avatar
  • 6,605
19 votes
3 answers
5k views

Can a completely drained battery be recharged via ground power on an airliner like the B737?

When accidentally leaving the battery switch or something powered by the hot battery bus on over night, an aircraft's battery could completely discharge. Normal startup, where the battery is switched ...
Bianfable's user avatar
  • 55.4k
19 votes
2 answers
4k views

What is this aircraft with pipes at the flight deck windows?

This image comes from a site about aircraft tractors: What could be the reasons for this old aircraft to have pipes at the flight deck windows and to be moved near a forest?
mins's user avatar
  • 71.8k
19 votes
2 answers
5k views

How much does the landing gear compress on a fully loaded airliner on the ground?

When an empty airliner is loaded with passengers, cargo and fuel, the extra weight compresses the gear strut and it sinks. Jet bridges are designed with this in mind. How much height does it actually ...
kevin's user avatar
  • 39.7k
18 votes
2 answers
9k views

Why is the de-icing fluid sprayed on jets coloured orange?

On a cold night or if it's been snowing, jets are sprayed with orange de-icing fluid: But why is it orange? If it's to see where's been sprayed and where you've missed a bit, black would be the most ...
Danny Beckett's user avatar
18 votes
1 answer
10k views

How often do runways need to have typical maintenance?

At a large airport (think Heathrow, JFK, O'Hare), I would imagine that the runways take a lot of abuse from all the huge planes landing on them. So, a quick multipart question: How do large ...
Jae Carr's user avatar
  • 24.1k
17 votes
3 answers
3k views

Is it common for aircraft tugs to work from under the aircraft?

I came across this photo showing a tug attached in a way I have never seen before. I assume it was used to allow the aircraft closer to the terminal. Did this require special equipment or ...
Mike Sowsun's user avatar
  • 37.7k
16 votes
3 answers
9k views

Why ground a plane while fueling?

Why does a plane need to be grounded while fueling, but we never ground our cars? Does the potential for a spark magically exist for an airborne vehicle but not for an earth bound one?
birdus's user avatar
  • 926
16 votes
1 answer
6k views

Helicopters with landing skids, no wheels; How are they taken in and out of a hangar?

I'm sure many helicopters also need/use Hangars frequently. How do you take them to a hangar and take them out of it without wheels? Specially when they have to be taken indoors for some maintenance ...
Hanky Panky's user avatar
  • 6,011
15 votes
5 answers
11k views

Which Aircraft Models need a Tripod Jack for tail support at airport?

Which are the aircraft models that need their tail to be supported by a jack when empty? Wikipedia says this: Aircraft Tripod Jack They are used to support a parked aircraft to prevent ...
curious_cat's user avatar
  • 8,436
15 votes
4 answers
2k views

Drop the rope or drag the rope?

I was the safety officer at a glider operation earlier this year and we had a new tow pilot who forgot to drop the rope. By radio, I instructed him to drop the rope before landing. The downsides of ...
Tyler Durden's user avatar
  • 13.3k
15 votes
2 answers
6k views

Do airliners have horns for use on the ground?

When an airliner is on the ground, does it have a way of making a noise that can be heard by other people on the ground? Something like a car horn?
isanae's user avatar
  • 461
15 votes
2 answers
3k views

Do I Set the Parking Brake On the Ramp?

Next week I am flying to an airport and going to have dinner. But I've never stepped out of my aircraft except at my home airport! When I park on their ramp, do I keep the parking brake on?
flyinghigh's user avatar
15 votes
3 answers
6k views

Why shouldn't you use HF radio while refueling?

FCOM limitations for many aircraft state: DO NOT USE HF RADIO WHILE REFUELING Why is this? I have heard from people that it's because most of the big airliners have a 'notch' antenna for HF; it's ...
Praveen Pillai's user avatar
15 votes
1 answer
2k views

How are airlines able to work out gate allocations so far in advance?

When flying on a long-haul flight, you can often see gate allocations for when you land a hour or two before actually arriving at the airport, including transfer information and connecting flights. ...
Qantas 94 Heavy's user avatar
14 votes
4 answers
4k views

Are there any models for planning aircraft placement in hangars?

I work alone at night doing line operations (fueling, tugging/towing, etc.) and emergency services (police, fire and EMS) at my airport. When a pilot/customer comes in and wants to know if we have ...
airportpopo's user avatar
14 votes
3 answers
21k views

How is passenger baggage transferred, and how does it happen so quickly?

I've always wondered how airlines transfer bags between connecting flights. At a hub, bags must be moved to any number of connecting flights throughout the airport - some with very short connecting ...
digitgopher's user avatar
  • 5,281
14 votes
1 answer
891 views

What's the plug used on airliners for ground power?

What's the plug pair called? What's the ISO/whatever standard involved? What do they look like close-up? Is it pretty standard today worldwide? Is the plug identical for the hugest airliners as for ...
Fattie's user avatar
  • 1,792
13 votes
4 answers
4k views

Why do some airports put 2 jetbridges on one aircraft?

At a gate in Denver Int'l there is a United plane with 2 jetbridges. Why do some airports put 2 jetbridges on a plane? Is it necessary?
user13197's user avatar
  • 11.4k
13 votes
3 answers
3k views

Why aren't there brake lights on aircraft?

Why don't aircraft have brake lights so you can see when an aircraft in front is slowing down? I know there are air traffic controllers to control aircraft but they cannot do much about an aircraft's ...
Harry Cameron's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
6k views

What is the process to disconnect ground electric power before pushback?

While commercial airliner are parked at the gate, they have electrical power connected to the aircraft (if available at the airport). This needs to be disconnected before pushback - what is the ...
Stefan's user avatar
  • 4,692
13 votes
2 answers
5k views

Why must some aircraft get permission to start their engines?

Some larger airliners must get ground control permission before starting their engines. Is this based on size? Does a Learjet need permission? Is this just turbines? For example does a DC3 or DC6 ...
jwzumwalt's user avatar
  • 11.4k
13 votes
1 answer
6k views

Why are only captains allowed to taxi the aircraft?

At most airlines, only the captains are allowed to taxi the aircraft (i.e. Lufthansa). Even if the copilot is pilot flying, the captain will taxi the aircraft to the runway, and later from the runway ...
Stefan's user avatar
  • 4,692
12 votes
4 answers
6k views

Cessna 172/182: Should I set the tank selector to the R.H. tank after parking the airplane?

The single-engine Cessna 172 and 182 aircraft models have a dual gravity-fed fuel system, where you can draw from both the LH and RH tank simultaneously in flight. I've heard it said that when you ...
Canuk's user avatar
  • 8,432