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Reversing From A Gate  
User currently offlineCaptainsimon From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2006, 127 posts, RR: 0
Posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 4963 times:

It seems to me that waiting for ground tug for reversing aircraft from gates to the start up area on the apron wastes so much time and manpower and cost airlines millions a year.

I did once here that Boeing were developing a system where a 737 could reverse from an gate using its own power supplied by electric motors in the landing gear wheels.

This system would be a big advantage to the low cost airlines.

Is this development still going ahead?

56 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineMkorpal From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 90 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 4956 times:

It doesn't take that much time or effort to push back. The only advantage I could see is for very remote locations.

User currently offlineCaptainsimon From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2006, 127 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 4940 times:

It did when I was at London Stansted this morning, Flying to Milan (LIME).
We were on time for our slot but was delayed for 15 mins waiting for a tug, this 15 minute delay meant that we lost our T/O slot. We were delayed for 40 minutes in total.


User currently offlineRDUDDJI From Lesotho, joined Jun 2004, 1483 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 4920 times:

Yes, it would save money, but at with a risk to safety. Airplanes aren't made to "drive" in reverse. Some carriers already practice this (although usually only with clam shell reversers). It still usually requires a guideperson to keep the aircraft from hitting any obstructions. We used this practice when I worked at JI years ago (with our F100's). It's not without it's risks though. It sprays FOD towards the ramp crew and the terminal area. A small piece of crumbled concrete or something at that speed could critically injure someone or a piece of equipment. At JI the person guiding the aircraft back was required to wear safety goggles for that reason.


Sometimes we don't realize the good times when we're in them
User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6383 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 4792 times:

Many DC-9's are fully capable of a "powerback" (using reverse thrust to get out of a gate). NW airlines used to be a big proponent of this...wonder if they still do with fuel costs the way they are now  Wink


Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineMDorBust From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 4778 times:

AA used to powerback all of it's MD's at DFW.

It wears engines out faster and isn't fuel efficient. Not to mention, it's dangerous.

Ice ingestion during the powerback of an Air Florida 732 brought it into the Potomac.


User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6383 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 3 days ago) and read 4769 times:

Quoting MDorBust (Reply 5):
Ice ingestion during the powerback of an Air Florida 732 brought it into the Potomac.

You sure about that? Everything I read on the Air Florida Potomac accident indicates that the fatal flaw was not turning on the engine inlet de-icinig, which allowed some important probes (EPR?) to ice over, thereby giving innacurate readings. The Aircraft Flight Manual recommended turning the probe de-icing on in any sort of freezing conditions...



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineMDorBust From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 4756 times:

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 6):
You sure about that?

Yup. Page 80 of the NTSB report mentions it in the findings of the investigation.

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 6):
...not turning on the engine inlet de-icinig

Not activating the de-icing was a major contributing factor to the crash. So was parking too close behing a DC-9. All three were contributing factors to the crash.


User currently offlineCaptainsimon From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2006, 127 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 4737 times:

I think we are going slightly off topic here, I asked about the Boeing programme of motors in the landing gear wheels in the 737 that was launched with the request of no frill carriers not DC9s.

User currently offlineJayDub From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 4735 times:

Just about any aircraft with tail mounted engines can do a powerback. It's just not a good practice economically unless there is no other option.

Even if Boeing puts together a "reverse gear" on 737's, it likely wouldn't be used to back from a gate. Too much traffic, too much ground service equipment that could be hit. It would likely be used in a situation where an aircraft needed to back away from another aircraft on a taxiway.


User currently offlineMDorBust From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 4731 times:

Quoting Captainsimon (Reply 8):
...I asked about the Boeing programme of motors in the landing gear wheels in the 737 that was launched with the request of no frill carriers not DC9s.

Right, nevermind the discussion about self propelled pushback then.

Fine, you're into engineering. You should know why such a proposal is a no go from the start.

Have a nice day.


User currently offlineJetlagged From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 2556 posts, RR: 24
Reply 11, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 4707 times:

Quoting MDorBust (Reply 10):
Fine, you're into engineering. You should know why such a proposal is a no go from the start.

Have a nice day.

Not so fast. As long as the electric motor doing the driving has something else to do, such as providing normal braking, it might just be feasible. It doesn't take much force to get an airliner rolling. Self reversing might not be practical on a busy ramp though.

Alternatively, what if each gate had a conveyor belt ...... perhaps let's not go there again  Smile



The glass isn't half empty, or half full, it's twice as big as it needs to be.
User currently offlineMDorBust From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 4690 times:

Okay then, lets take a look at this.

Someone wants to create a drive motor system that can allow 737s to do self powered pushbacks, and they're going to offset the use of this device by combining it as a braking system. We'll just assume as given that it's even technologically feasible to build such a system into a 737s landing gear.. Alright, now they need to do integration work. They need to develop an in cockpit control system for the pushback sequence and route all the wires and cables to connect it, as well as redevelop the control logic for the 737 brake controls. They are also going to have to get all of this new equipment certified and approved by the various controlling agencies then refit it into the 737s. At some point, they will also have to retrain all of your pilots for it's use. Don't forget to refit the simulators while you are at it.

There won't ever be a cost benefit analysis that will find this program favorable.

We've pretty much seen agreement that you aren't going to see self powered pushbacks at a busy airports as you are going to at least need a wing team to avoid collisions, leaving us with the low density market where you could just do turn outs instead of pushbacks anyways.


User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31684 posts, RR: 56
Reply 13, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 4634 times:

Quoting Captainsimon (Thread starter):
did once here that Boeing were developing a system where a 737 could reverse from an gate using its own power supplied by electric motors in the landing gear wheels.

Never heard of this.

And remember during Powerbacking a B737 DO NOT USE THE BRAKES to stop.
 Smile
regds
MEL



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6383 posts, RR: 3
Reply 14, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 4617 times:

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 13):
And remember during Powerbacking a B737 DO NOT USE THE BRAKES to stop.

regds
MEL

Wow, had no idea a B737 could powerback  Smile

What happens if you tap the brakes, do you end up on the tail?



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineRwessel From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 2351 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 4611 times:
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Quoting Jetlagged (Reply 11):
Not so fast. As long as the electric motor doing the driving has something else to do, such as providing normal braking, it might just be feasible. It doesn't take much force to get an airliner rolling. Self reversing might not be practical on a busy ramp though.

The system that's been proposed would add a modest sized (and heavily geared) electric motor to the nose gear only. The only link I could find on short notice:

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/235015_air03.html


User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 4609 times:

[threadcreep]

Quoting MDorBust (Reply 5):
Ice ingestion during the powerback of an Air Florida 732 brought it into the Potomac.



Quoting KELPkid (Reply 6):
You sure about that? Everything I read on the Air Florida Potomac accident indicates that the fatal flaw was not turning on the engine inlet de-icing, which allowed some important probes (EPR?) to ice over, thereby giving innacurate readings. The Aircraft Flight Manual recommended turning the probe de-icing on in any sort of freezing conditions...



Quoting MDorBust (Reply 7):
Yup. Page 80 of the NTSB report mentions it in the findings of the investigation.



Quoting MDorBust (Reply 7):
Not activating the de-icing was a major contributing factor to the crash. So was parking too close behing a DC-9. All three were contributing factors to the crash.

As a former QH employee there at the time, I have to say that it's more than a little disingenuous to state "Ice ingestion during the powerback of an Air Florida 732 brought it into the Potomac" and infer that was a sole cause of the accident--there were many factors.

[/threadcreep]

Back to the subject, IMHO, installing some type of self-propelling mechanism on the aircraft itself would hardly be cost-effective. Sure, at some airports, there's wait for an available pushback tug/towbar, but more often than not, there isn't any wait, or only a minor one. Any self-propelling mechanism is going to add weight to the aircraft, and that means additional fuel burned, whenever the aircraft flies, including into airports where its use is not needed. It'd be far more cost-effective for an airline to acquire additional pushback tugs/towbars where they're needed so that delays (if any) awaiting them were minimal.

As far as the additional weight goes, let's assume a new-fangled self-propelling mechanism adds 200 bs. of weight to the aircraft. Doesn't sound like much, but whatever weight is added costs you about 2.5% of the weight in fuel consumption. (The exact percentage varies by stage length, but 2.5% is conservative). So:

200 lbs
x .025
= 5 lbs. of fuel wasted per flight
x 8 flts a day
40 lbs of fuel wasted per day, per aircraft
Divided by 6.7 lbs-to-gals
=5.97 gals, rounded up to 6.0 gallons
x $2.20 a gallon
=$ 13.20 a day wasted, per aircraft
x 365
= $4,818 wasted per year, per aircraft
x 100 aircraft fleet
= $481,800 wasted per year, feet-wide

That nearly $500,000 a year is a recurring cost, and over 10 years, that'd be nearly $5,000,000. Not included in any of that is the cost of acquiring/installing such a self-propelling mechanism, and the lost revenue from the aircraft downtime for installation.

Bottomline (literally), is that even at $481,800, or even half that, an airine could buy a shitload of additional pushback tugs/towbars for precisely the locations where they're needed.


User currently offlineReins485 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 136 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 4605 times:

http://www.boeing.com/news/releases/2005/q3/nr_050801a.html

That is the press release talking about the 767 test. I think if Boeing wanted to it would not be very difficult to integrate it into the 787 program and with a few engineering modifications more airplanes could be integrated.

Quoting MDorBust (Reply 12):
There won't ever be a cost benefit analysis that will find this program favorable.

Well if it is used to taxi the airplane to the runway from the gate and less fuel is required then it would be as well as the fact that there would be less ware and tear on the engines. Plus, instead of starting an engine to a move a plane during a ground delay all they would have to do is kick the motor in gear, because the apu is most likely running anyways to keep people happy. Thus, as long as the apu is more efficient than an engine even if its not very large obviously that would mean less fuel that would have to be bought and burned just moving around an airport.

Quoting MDorBust (Reply 5):
ice ingestion during the powerback of an Air Florida 732 brought it into the Potomac.

Actually you just pulled that from a finding and not a conclusion of the report.
According to page 59 of the report "The Safety Board cannot conclusively determine whether the use of reverse
thrust affected the amount or character of the contaminant which subsequently adhered
to the aircraft. An American Airlines mechanic stated that he did examine the engines
following the use of reverse thrust and other personnel in the area stated that they did not
See any water or slush on the wings. However, heat developed from the engines and
reversers and the blowing snow and slush could have deposited a wet mixture, particularly
on the wing leading edge, which was not significant to observers, but which subsequently
froze and increased the leading edge area’s susceptibility to further accretions during the
continuing precipitation"
And there is no mention of the power back in the probable cause of the report causing the accident.
http://amelia.db.erau.edu/reports/ntsb/aar/AAR82-08.pdf


User currently offlineGQfluffy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 4601 times:

Quoting Mkorpal (Reply 1):
The only advantage I could see is for very remote locations.

If a location is that remote, odds are the aircraft just turn out without hitting any buildings. Again, because this is a remote location, there probably won't be any ground equipment to worry about.

Quoting RDUDDJI (Reply 3):
Airplanes aren't made to "drive" in reverse.

True to an extent. Our (GQ) Metroliners could powerback rather easily, and the wasted fuel was marginal. The only trick was you had to make sure the a/c didn't get moving to quick, otherwise if the pilots touch the brakes, or they swap the props back to forward thrust too quickly, the Metro will sit on it's ass quicker then a blink of the eye.


User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31684 posts, RR: 56
Reply 19, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 4530 times:

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 14):
What happens if you tap the brakes, do you end up on the tail

Exactly.Remember the MLG has the Brakes  Smile
The procedure is to use Fwd trust to stop.
Not Advisable using Powerbacks on Wingmounted Engines though.


regds
MEL



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineMDorBust From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 4513 times:

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 16):
and infer that was a sole cause of the accident--there were many factors.

Never meant to imply it as the sole cause of the incident. There is almost never an accident caused by a single point of failure.

Quoting Reins485 (Reply 17):
And there is no mention of the power back in the probable cause of the report causing the accident.

Section 3: Conclusions, subsection 3.1 Findings, Item 9.

As I said, page 80.

By the way, good cherry picking from the report there. Accidentally forget the significant portions of the entry?

Let's try the whole selection:

Quote:
Use of Reverse Thrust During Pushback.-The surface condition in the gate
area was slippery and the tug which was connected to the aircraft for the pushback after
the aircraft was deiced could not develop the traction needed to move the aircraft. After
it was apparent that the aircraft could not be moved with the tug, the flightcrew started
the engines and used reverse thrust to help pushback, contrary to advice from the tug
operator that the use of reverse thrust was prohibited by American Airlines' policy.
Witnesses estimated that the engines were operated for 30 to 90 seconds during which
time snow and slush were blown around the aircraft. The aircraft failed to move even
with the combined effort of reverse thrust and the tug, and the engines were shut down.

During its investigation, the Safety Board determined that Boeing Operations
Bulletins warning against the use of reverse thrust because of occurrences of takeoff
pitch control anomalies with the B-737 aircraft after ground operation in freezing
conditions, had been incorporated into Air Florida flightcrew's manuals.

The Safety Board cannot conclusively determine whether the use of reverse
thrust affected the amount or character of the contaminant which subsequently adhered
to the aircraft. An American Airlines mechanic stated that he did examine the engines
following the use of reverse thrust and other personnel in the area stated that they did not
See any water or slush on the wings. However, heat developed from the engines and
reversers and the blowing snow and slush could have deposited a wet mixture, particularly
on the wing leading edge, which was not significant to observers, but which subsequently
froze and increased the leading edge area's susceptibility to further accretions during the
continuing precipitation.

The Safety Board believes that the flightcrew was influenced by the prolonged
airport closure and by additional delays at pushback, leading them to use reverse thrust to
expedite operations. Regardless, the Safety Board concludes that the flightcrew's actions
in using reverse thrust contrary to advice and guidance provided indicates a lack of
Professional judgment consistent with their total performance. Whether the flightcrew
Was familiar with the guidance in the Operations Manual and consciously disregarded it
Cannot be determined.


User currently offlineKalvado From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 491 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 4502 times:

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 16):

200 lbs
x .025
= 5 lbs. of fuel wasted per flight
x 8 flts a day
40 lbs of fuel wasted per day, per aircraft
Divided by 6.7 lbs-to-gals
=5.97 gals, rounded up to 6.0 gallons
x $2.20 a gallon
=$ 13.20 a day wasted, per aircraft
x 365
= $4,818 wasted per year, per aircraft
x 100 aircraft fleet
= $481,800 wasted per year, feet-wide

That nearly $500,000 a year is a recurring cost, and over 10 years, that'd be nearly $5,000,000. Not included in any of that is the cost of acquiring/installing such a self-propelling mechanism, and the lost revenue from the aircraft downtime for installation.

Bottomline (literally), is that even at $481,800, or even half that, an airine could buy a shitload of additional pushback tugs/towbars for precisely the locations where they're needed.

Sounds like you suggest removing a single olive from the salad...  Yeah sure

back to numbers:
If you have 100 planes going to 100 outstations, you must have 100 tugs sitting there. Just a guess, a tug would cost about the same as a new car - 25-30 k$, so that's $2.5-3M of saved expenses right away, if tug lifetime is the same as a plane.
I'm not so sure what the bottom line would be with everything being put in equation - rampers hours, tug delays, MX for tugs and pushback motors.

Since 737 replacement is discussed daily, fitting something new on a new type of a plane does not sound unreasonable, and pilots need to be re-trained anyways.

So crazyness doesn't look obvious to me - maybe I'm missing something here?


User currently offlineDH106 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 626 posts, RR: 1
Reply 22, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 4492 times:

Quoting MDorBust (Reply 5):
Ice ingestion during the powerback of an Air Florida 732 brought it into the Potomac.



Quoting MDorBust (Reply 7):
Quoting KELPkid (Reply 6):
You sure about that?

Yup. Page 80 of the NTSB report mentions it in the findings of the investigation



Quoting MDorBust (Reply 20):
The Safety Board cannot conclusively determine whether the use of reverse
thrust affected the amount or character of the contaminant which subsequently adhered
to the aircraft

The report mentions it but cannot "conclusively determine" that it contributed to the accident.



...I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tanhauser Gate....
User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 4478 times:

Quoting Kalvado (Reply 21):
Sounds like you suggest removing a single olive from the salad...

My airline doesn't serve salads (or meals), but the principle remains the same, namely what seems like a "minor" expense on a per-flight basis can often be huge one on an annual fleet-wide basis.


User currently offlineCaptainsimon From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2006, 127 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 4471 times:

I heard in the grape vine that Ryanair are interested in this system as it would save money that they pay to ground handling companies and help keep flights ontime and keep fares down.

25 AvConsultant : The price of a new tugs push close to $100,000 with some tugs over million. Not including maintenance cost and registering the vehicle with airports,
26 Jetlagged : Any system which drives through the aircraft wheels, especially the nosewheel, is going to be very low on traction, compared to a specialised pushback
27 Reins485 : This statement makes it look like you are saying this was the main and maybe the only cause, when it didn't even mention it in the probable cause. We
28 Kalvado : Agreed, but there is a very fine line between actually saving something, and showing savings in accounting. In both cases we're talking about somethi
29 LHRBFSTrident : i saw something at JNB last week that I have never seen before - 'driverless' tugs pulling the a/c back to the taxiway from the stand. Saw it in actio
30 Speedracer1407 : Is that true though? Can't tugs be driven from gate to gate? All 100 planes don't leave at the same time, and while I know nothing about airport grou
31 Mr AirNZ : When I was still working for Air NZ we would sometimes have ATR's reverse themselves out of a gate if for whatever reason their was not enough room to
32 HAWK21M : Powerpush in Operation. regds MEL
33 LHRBFSTrident : yeah - that's the one MEL, thanks! - so officially it's called 'powerpush'?
34 Western727 : Thanks, MEL. That is fascinating! Here's the description from the video you posted: [paste] Jetstar A320 pushing back using the PPS (power push syste
35 Post contains links and images HAWK21M : http://www.schopf-gse.com/products/tractors/powerpush.php regds MEL
36 Western727 : Much gratitude, MEL. I hope to see this more widespread in the near future, including the United States.
37 Electech6299 : I have to agree with you... a mechanism like this installed on the nose gear would fall into the category of "underdesigned but functional". Just bec
38 HAWK21M : Very neat Powerback. regds MEL
39 Post contains images Western727 : Thanks, MEL, for making me drool at that classic DC-9-10! Living in MSP, I fondly remember all the 9 pushbacks I either watched or rode. I do have a
40 HAWK21M : Is it possible for it to be uploaded on maybe Youtube. regds MEL
41 Western727 : Certainly. I do need to get a new A/V cable for my camcorder (cannot find the one I had) to be able to import from the VHS videotape, before I can th
42 HAWK21M : Thanks.Looking fwd to it. regds MEL
43 Gib : I'll never forget the time where this dude I worked with backed an AA MD-82 right into the mud. The right main sunk real good. Not a good day.
44 Western727 : MEL and others: I apologize for I am not able to transfer the video to the PC yet, and I have to fly to AUS this afternoon, and I return on 2 April,
45 HAWK21M : No pressure.Take your time. regds MEL
46 Post contains images Starglider : Honestly, i believe this idea will be shelved right next to the idea of wheel spin-up prior to landing, for the same reasons: weight, maintenance cos
47 DH106 : I've often thought of a much simpler 'wheel spin up' system - smallish angled vanes or shapes on the wheels hubs that aerodynamically spin the wheels
48 Starglider : That idea has surfaced before as well and was shelved too for most of the same reasons. Mainly maintenance and reliability in this case. Ice accumula
49 Starglider : Asymmetric application of de-icing fluid/water mixture between left and right side of the aircraft due to a shift change during the de-icing / anti-i
50 HAWK21M : Any progress. regds MEL
51 BAW2198 : How about this. Utilize one of the a/c's hydraulic systems and have a hydraulic powered motor engage the tire, much like the old bicycle generators fo
52 HAWK21M : What about Weight & added complications to go wrong. regds MEL
53 Baw2198 : weight, taking a guess from the hydraulic motors that power our tampers at the museum, about 50-75 pounds and about 2-5 pounds for the hydraulic swit
54 Aaden : they still do
55 Uscgc130 : I once stood in a departure lounge at Tucson while a Republic DC-9 powered back from the gate. Whatever the advantages and disadvantages or the practi
56 HAWK21M : Also Safety & Engine life too. regds MEL
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