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Ramp "Etiquette" At EWR  
User currently offlineTraindoc From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 365 posts, RR: 0
Posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 8830 times:

On 9/2 I spent the better part of the afternoon at EWR waiting for my flight back to SAT while sitting in the Presidents Club located between the C-100's and C-120's piers. I got to observe close up the ramp operations.

My observations: 1) There seems to be no set protocol for marshaling a planes push back, ie; sometimes two wing walkers, sometimes one wing walker, and at other times just someone at the nose of the A/C. 2) There seems to be no control over all the vehicles driving around the ramp, ie; tugs cutting in front of A/C being pulled into a gate. Basically, everyone did their own thing and seemed to do OK avoiding a collision. The weather was clear and sunny. What about at night or during bad weather?

Certainly you have human safety issues as the ground equipment and airplanes are much bigger than the people working. Also, it is very costly to have to take an A/C out of service due to "ramp rash".

I would love the feedback from those who work the ramp. There is obviously more to the work than meets the eye.

Traindoc

20 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineT5towbar From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 584 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 8593 times:

That's very true.
As one who do works at EWR, I know all the dangers of working on the ramp. What you seen is the following: CO's policy is to have two wingwalkers along with the pushback operator on all mainline A/C.(and on the Colgan Q400's) Both wingwalkers must be within eyesight of the pushback operator. If he is turning the A/C on an angle (or spinning it around) you might have saw one of the wingwalkers toward the nose of the A/C. But that A/C does not leave or enter a gate without 2 wingwalkers and a marshaller. The pilot will not enter or leave a gate unless everyone is in place.
If you seen just one wingwalker, it was definitely an COEX (XJ) aircraft. usually Express operations are at Terminal A, but sometimes flights come and go out of Terminal C. They require only a pushback operator and one wingwalker, and just one marshaller and one wingwalker upon entrance to a gate. Violating these procedures will get you fired, that I know. One thing for sure, everyone has to be on their toes and have 360 degree vision, especially at tight gates. And also at bank times where a lot of A/C movement is going on.

As far as the vehicles driving by: I can't explain that one, but the aforementioned gates are near the bagroom, so you will see a lot of traffic buzzing by. What you saw that that day is what I would call "controlled chaos". It may look like a mess out there to the untrained eye, but believe me, with the ops going on, and all of the supervisors out there to get those planes out on time, we are working our butts out there.



A comment from an Ex CON: Work Hard.....Fly Standby!
User currently offlineDavescj From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 2307 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 8536 times:

Why does XJ use only 2 people? I can see mainline -- which is larger, so I can see 2. But why 2 for the Q400s?

Dave



Can I have a mojito on this flight?
User currently offlineMayor From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 10655 posts, RR: 14
Reply 3, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 8482 times:



Quoting Davescj (Reply 2):
But why 2 for the Q400s?

Perhaps because of the longer wingspan.



"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
User currently offlineRwy04LGA From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 3176 posts, RR: 8
Reply 4, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 8287 times:



Quoting T5towbar (Reply 1):

CO's policy is to have two wingwalkers along with the pushback operator on all mainline A/C.....Both wingwalkers must be within eyesight of the pushback operator. If he is turning the A/C on an angle (or spinning it around) you might have saw one of the wingwalkers toward the nose of the A/C. But that A/C does not leave or enter a gate without 2 wingwalkers and a marshaller. The pilot will not enter or leave a gate unless everyone is in place.

That's DL policy as well, mainline AND regional. We noticed that NW used to use one wingwalker, now DL's policy prevails.



Just accept that some days, you're the pigeon, and other days the statue
User currently offlineAndyinPIT From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 320 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 8194 times:

I think UA is the only airline that only uses 1 wing walker in the SOP for all pushbacks. I don't really see the need for 2, but maybe that's cause I've never used it. If there was a clearance issue on one side of the plane I'd have the wing walker stand on that side just to make sure, but I was always able to eyeball it pretty well.

User currently offlineSrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 8186 times:

The thing is that no matter what the policies and procedures are, there will be those who choose to ignore them or allow themselves to get so complacent that they allow these lapses to happen and eventually that could lead to an a/c getting damaged, GSE getting damaged, or worse, someone getting hurt or killed.

Some of the worst examples of neglecting the established ramp policies and procedures I experienced in the 18 months I was a ramper for two airlines was during the six months I worked for ASA. Wingwalkers who wouldn't use wands ever (Some of us would always have our wands in our back pockets at all times.), wingwalkers who when unhooking an E-120 during pushback, would approach the a/c on the starboard side (The #2 engine would be turning.). I lost count on how many times as a pushback driver that I would have to put my arm out to keep them from walking in that direction. We'd have guys that would park the beltloader right up against the a/c (when the policy was to leave a gap between the a/c and the beltloader) and when you'd tell them to back the beltloader up, they'd practically want to drop the gloves so to speak. We'd have rampers that would leave chocks inside of the containment area and there were times when the marshaller nearly tripped over them. Some would leave the carry-on cart in the containment area and on several occasions, they were damaged by a propeller because of where they were parked. This was commonplace on the entire ASA ramp @ ATL when I worked there and despite the creation of a safety team, this stuff was still going on.


User currently offlineCB97 From Canada, joined Mar 2008, 90 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 7556 times:



Quoting Traindoc (Thread starter):
There seems to be no control over all the vehicles driving around the ramp, ie; tugs cutting in front of A/C being pulled into a gate. Basically, everyone did their own thing and seemed to do OK avoiding a collision. The weather was clear and sunny. What about at night or during bad weather?

In order to get a licence to drive on airport property you need to take a test similar to the one you took for a regular drivers licence. You learn where you can and can not drive and who has the right of way (aircraft, emergency vehicles, snow removal, fuel trucks backing up, and then the rest of us is usually how it goes... ) as well as where the vehicle corridors are and what the speed limits are. Just like on public roads, not everyone follows the rules and some drivers like to take more risks than others so you have to be alert, especially when on foot.

Driving at night and in bad weather is not much different from what you would do on a regular road, the ramp is lit at night and all vehicles must have headlights as well as a beacon light so they are pretty visible. We also learn to identify the apron lighting so we know where the roads and taxiways intersect (red lights are for vehicle corridors) and where it is safe to drive. Snow storms are the most challenging just because it's harder to get traction when pulling or pushing everything from baggage to aircraft and a lot of the equipment, especially the loaders, are not designed for icy conditions. You also end up having to guess where a lot of the ground markings are since everything is covered by snow, especially with parking the bridges in their safety zones...

It may look like chaos, but it's more like a well choreographed dance number...


User currently offlineBrandonfs88 From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 177 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 6809 times:

XJ = Mesaba, XE = Expressjet

User currently offlineCentrair From Japan, joined Jan 2005, 3599 posts, RR: 20
Reply 9, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 6609 times:

wow!

Just thinking about how Japan is. Roads mapped on the tarmac, wing walkers in sets and then when the plan has turned and started to taxi, waving wing walkers.

Maybe that should be the standard.
Then again, here at Centrair there are only two ground working companies NH and JL.



Yes...I am not a KIX fan. Let's Japanese Aviation!
User currently offlineSwa4life From United States of America, joined Jul 2009, 388 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 5989 times:

Once you've done it for a while, it's not as chaotic as it looks from the terminal window.. The lines painted on the ground are not typically paid attention to in my experience, as far as driving a tug. I typically operate under the "shortest distance between two points is a straight line" school of thought. You really begin to develop a sixth sense about driving through the chaos, and also a keen ear (the whooshing sound of an approaching engine).

As far as regulations, they vary from airline to airline. Technically the FAA requirements are minimal. For planes pulling into the gate, the only thing required is a marshaller (the guy flagging him in). Some airlines require there to be either one or two guys standing at the end of the gate area to wingwalk. Southwest tends to roll with the least amount of manpower possible so you'll never see inbound wingwalkers. The only exception is if the plane needs to make a complicated turn to get into the gate then sometimes the "dual marshaller" technique is used, where you'll have a marshaller at the "apex" of the turn flagging him in then deferring to the main marshaller once they've reached the "apex" of the turn. As for the push back, all that is required is one wing walker. We sort of chuckle at the knuckle heads at some airlines for their "overkill" push back and marshaling procedures, and their self important posture as they try and convince everyone that they're west point academy graduates or something..


User currently offlineFlyboy1108 From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 94 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 4839 times:

As far as EWR goes, It's classic controlled chaos. Especially in the A2 and C (CO/COEX hub ops) terminals. Next time you travel (on any airline...not just CO) and you have a connection in one of their major hub cities, spend a few minutes and watch what's going on outside. I can pretty much guarantee you that you'll notice the same things you observed in EWR. I remember watching DL in ATL, and UA in ORD specifically and noticing the same things you commented on. There are 50+ movements an hour sometimes for hub airlines, and each flight has turn times that need to be met, weight issues to resolve, bags to transfer/drop, etc. So personel learn to work with and around each other to get done. I worked ramp at IAH for a day during my training with CO/XJT and at first I was sure I was going to get hit by something, lol. But once I got into it a bit, it wasn't any harder than working flights at ABE. (actually I found it easier because I was learning how to work an RJ, and at that time I had been turning full MD-80's for 2 years, haha) Just more planes. Same thing went on there though, that you commented on seeing in Newark. People, vehicles, catering trucks, GSE, aircraft, you name it, it was in the way. But I actually found it quite intriguing how everyone worked with and around each other, and ramp ops there went very smoothly.

NCB
ABE



"God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy"
User currently offline413x3 From United States of America, joined Jul 2008, 1983 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 4485 times:

What you are watching is mostly young and low paid workers. It's not going to be pretty, not going to be 100% safe, and always about saving time and money.

User currently offlineUAL747DEN From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2392 posts, RR: 11
Reply 13, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 4349 times:

This will not give you anymore information but its kind of a funny story! (Wasn't when it happened)

I was once on a employee bus going airside at DEN and a plane hit our bus. After that things got a little more strict and the bus drivers were not longer allowed to drive like freaks anymore!



/// UNITED AIRLINES
User currently offlineT5towbar From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 584 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 4224 times:



Quoting Srbmod (Reply 6):
The thing is that no matter what the policies and procedures are, there will be those who choose to ignore them or allow themselves to get so complacent that they allow these lapses to happen and eventually that could lead to an a/c getting damaged, GSE getting damaged, or worse, someone getting hurt or killed.

That's the biggest factor in all A/C mishaps: COMPLACENCY. Doing it so many times, it gets routine, but you can't take shortcuts out there.

Quoting Davescj (Reply 2):
But why 2 for the Q400s?

Longer wingspan and bigger aircraft.

Quoting AndyinPIT (Reply 5):
I think UA is the only airline that only uses 1 wing walker in the SOP for all pushbacks. I don't really see the need for 2, but maybe that's cause I've never used it. If there was a clearance issue on one side of the plane I'd have the wing walker stand on that side just to make sure, but I was always able to eyeball it pretty well.

That's where the second wingwalker comes into play. Plus when the aircraft is stopped, one wingwalker is the final marshaller who gives the hand signals while eyeballing the cockpit with the wands in the "X" position, while the other wingwalker disconnects the towbar and removes the bypass pin. Once done, the final marshaller sends the aircraft off.

Quoting Srbmod (Reply 6):
Wingwalkers who wouldn't use wands ever (Some of us would always have our wands in our back pockets at all times.), wingwalkers who when unhooking an E-120 during pushback, would approach the a/c on the starboard side

That's a major NO NO. No wands, during marshalling or pushback is a major violation which can lead to a major performance issue.

At Terminal C, there are so many cameras, and plus the control tower (CO OPS has its own operational control tower at C and they can see the whole ramp, so nothing escapes view.)



A comment from an Ex CON: Work Hard.....Fly Standby!
User currently offlineFiveholer From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 1013 posts, RR: 14
Reply 15, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 3215 times:



Quoting T5towbar (Reply 14):
That's where the second wingwalker comes into play. Plus when the aircraft is stopped, one wingwalker is the final marshaller who gives the hand signals while eyeballing the cockpit with the wands in the "X" position, while the other wingwalker disconnects the towbar and removes the bypass pin. Once done, the final marshaller sends the aircraft off.

Exactly, one to unhook and one for final marshal to the flightdeck. I think AA is the same way as UA. It seems here in TUL I see them push MD80s with 2 people.

Danny



Bring back Bethune!
User currently offlineBigPhilNYC From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 4077 posts, RR: 54
Reply 16, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 3189 times:

Unsafe ramp conditions are not so much FAA-monitored, but more so falls under the responsibility of Airport or Terminal Operations for enforcement.

I worked around the ramp at JFK's T4 for a while, and sometimes you'd of coruse see violations...speeding, driving outside the lines, disregarding stop signs, etc., but it was not uncommon to see IAT (International Arrival Terminal; aka T4) Ops people pulling over drivers and handing out summonses. These summonses would mean that the employee probably would get a talking to from their boss, a sit-down with an IAT exec to discuss the rules, and if there are two violations within a certain time perioud, your ID can be yanked, removing you ramp privileges, and probably meaning you lose your job.

It's also known to have the ramp controllers, 7 floors up the JFK Tower, spot violators and radio it to guys on the ground to tag the violators.

I even got a summons myself once for speeding. 22mph in a 10 zone. It happens.

The most dangerous thing that I would see regularly come from the guys that drive the baggage tractors. They zip around all over very fast, coming out of the baggage area without looking, and I've seen them hit cars a couple times.



Phil Derner Jr.
User currently offlineDualqual From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 793 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 3086 times:

As messy as EWR looks, the guys driving around on the ground down there are nothing compared to ATL.

User currently offlineMayor From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 10655 posts, RR: 14
Reply 18, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 3086 times:



Quoting Swa4life (Reply 10):
We sort of chuckle at the knuckle heads at some airlines for their "overkill" push back and marshaling procedures, and their self important posture as they try and convince everyone that they're west point academy graduates or something..

Being SAFE is never "overkill" in my experience.



"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
User currently offlineSrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 3035 times:



Quoting UAL747DEN (Reply 13):
I was once on a employee bus going airside at DEN and a plane hit our bus. After that things got a little more strict and the bus drivers were not longer allowed to drive like freaks anymore!

That happens at a lot of airports. A few years back, I was bored one day and starting going through the NTSB archives for ATL and there were several incidents in the files where either an employee bus, a concessionaire vehicle or an airline vehicle was involved in an incident with an aircraft.

I've found that the drivers for the passenger shuttles as just as bad or worse than the employee shuttle bus drivers. Thankfully those shuttles don't drive within the AOA.

Quoting Fiveholer (Reply 15):
Exactly, one to unhook and one for final marshal to the flightdeck. I think AA is the same way as UA. It seems here in TUL I see them push MD80s with 2 people.

When I worked for FL and for EV, three people were required for any pushback, powerback, or powerout. There would be times were we would have go with one wingwalker because of manpower (At one point when I was at FL, our gate crew was one of several who were working three gates instead of two [They added four additional gates but waited until the next bid to remedy the situation.] and at times, we would have to do things down a person because we'd have two flights come in within minutes and as a result, we'd have to press one of our other guys into service as an additional local or transfer bag driver because the assigned person was in the middle of handling that function. There would be times where we'd get the lav truck driver or the water truck driver to wingwalk for us.). When I worked for EV, my Zone would have two flights leaving out after 11:30 PM and there were times when there was two of us left because none of the guys who got off at 11:30 would volunteer to stay an extra 15-20 minutes to help out.

Quoting Dualqual (Reply 17):
As messy as EWR looks, the guys driving around on the ground down there are nothing compared to ATL.

My previous job was for a vendor that stocked the bookstores and newsstands @ ATL and the "organized chaos" of things really caught new employees by surprise and it was a bit intimidating for them at first. Having previously worked out there, I was used to driving around out there; I was more intimidated by the vehicle I was driving than I was the driving environment (At the time, I had never driven a box truck and it took some time to get used to it.). We had folks who avoided driving out there as much as possible and preferred being the passenger than the driver.


User currently offlineSkyway1 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 2946 times:

Having worked the ramp for years, it definitely is controlled chaos.

Take a seat in UA's or AA's terminal at ORD and watch their ramp operations. It makes me nervous....


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