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Weather Effects On The Ramp  
User currently offlineCOTPARampGuy From United States of America, joined Jul 2008, 224 posts, RR: 0
Posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 3710 times:

What are your airport's procedures for closing the ramp during inclement weather? In TPA a loud horn sounds to warn of lightning detected within 5 miles and the ramp is closed.

Also I have been wondering, has there ever been a case of a ramper being hit by lightning?

27 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineBuyantUkhaa From Mongolia, joined May 2004, 2828 posts, RR: 3
Reply 1, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 3687 times:



Quoting COTPARampGuy (Thread starter):
Also I have been wondering, has there ever been a case of a ramper being hit by lightning?

Slightly off-topic, but when I visited the USS Intrepid museum some years ago, it started pouring down and I sheltered under the SR-71, then I saw lightning strike within a few hundred metres, in the Hudson river. I wonder if they had earthened the plane or not - either way, I guess I was very very lucky that lightning didn't strike "my" Blackbird...

Which brings me to the question, what if lightning strikes a parked plane?



I scratch my head, therefore I am.
User currently offlineFlyDeltaJets From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 1787 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 3680 times:

Planes when on the ground are earthened by thier tires. The lightning strikes the plane and goes into the gound through the tires or anything else that is touching the aircraft and ground at the same time.


The only valid opinions are those based in facts
User currently offlineTristarSteve From Sweden, joined Nov 2005, 3930 posts, RR: 34
Reply 3, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 3681 times:



Quoting FlyDeltaJets (Reply 2):
The lightning strikes the plane and goes into the gound through the tires or anything else that is touching the aircraft and ground at the same time.

Like the headset of the guy doing the pushback.

I am amazed that radio pushback headsets are not in common use yet. One day someone will get killed using one in a storm.


User currently offlineVirginFlyer From New Zealand, joined Sep 2000, 4537 posts, RR: 42
Reply 4, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 3646 times:



Quoting TristarSteve (Reply 3):
I am amazed that radio pushback headsets are not in common use yet. One day someone will get killed using one in a storm.

A number of years ago a bloke at Sydney did get zapped. Very lucky not to die, but sadly I believe he suffered serious and permanent disability as a result. I believe after that there was a change in procedures when storms were in the vicinity.

V/F



"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth." - Bahá'u'lláh
User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 13797 posts, RR: 63
Reply 5, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 3590 times:



Quoting COTPARampGuy (Thread starter):
What are your airport's procedures for closing the ramp during inclement weather? In TPA a loud horn sounds to warn of lightning detected within 5 miles and the ramp is closed.

Also I have been wondering, has there ever been a case of a ramper being hit by lightning?

I have indirectly witnessed two incidents where people on the ramp got injured by lightning.
The first case was a former colleague of at a previous job. He was walking out a 727 while being on the headset when lightning struck nearby. He went down like a poleaxed ox and had to be brought to hospital. He recovered fully though and was back at work a fewdays later.

The second case happened at the airport I'm currently working on. While unloading a DC-10 a ramper, who was operating a high lifter, got struck by lightning. He also had to spend several days in hospital, but returned to work about a week later. This incident caused some sparks with the ramper's union and the health and safety people, because the ramp manager had insisted that his workers should be loading the aircraft while a thunderstorm was overhead , to make up for a delayed arrival of the aircraft, even though operations suggested that he'd stop loading while the storm was in progress.

For myself, as a shiftleader, none of my mechanics will be working outside if a thunderstorm is within 10km / 5 miles of the airport.

Jan


User currently offlineJetstar From United States of America, joined May 2003, 1616 posts, RR: 10
Reply 6, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 3559 times:
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Two years ago I was on an AA MD-80, we were headed for TPA, but because a line of thunderstorms was approaching TPA we diverted to MCO to wait it out, because of refueling delays the same line of thunderstorms came through MCO just before we were to be refueled.

Before the line of thunderstorms came through, I heard an announcement over the ramp PA system that the ramp was closed, so everyone headed indoors until the thunderstorms were well past.

JetStar


User currently offlineDaBuzzard From Canada, joined Sep 2007, 135 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 3554 times:



Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 5):
This incident caused some sparks with the ramper's union and the health and safety people, because the ramp manager had insisted that his workers should be loading the aircraft while a thunderstorm was overhead , to make up for a delayed arrival of the aircraft

That kind of thing has never made sense to me...if the storm is ON the field, nothing is going to be coming or going anyways! Not going to save anybody any time at all.

Would you land / take off in the teeth of a thunderstorm? Would any sane pilot?


User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31573 posts, RR: 57
Reply 8, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 3485 times:

A Circular/Telephone call is issued to the Admin officer of the Airlines concerned.Also alert is flashed by the airports authority & monitored by the FDO of each airline.

Rains can be tough in Mumbai accompanied by Thunder & lightening.
I still remember the chilling nights in rain awaiting pushback & talking to the crew on the headset while they sipped away on their coffee in the dryness of the flight deck.
The coffee in our hands get diluted with rain water in minutes  Smile

regds
MEL



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 13797 posts, RR: 63
Reply 9, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 3479 times:



Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 8):
I still remember the chilling nights in rain awaiting pushback & talking to the crew on the headset while they sipped away on their coffee in the dryness of the flight deck.
The coffee in our hands get diluted with rain water in minutes Smile

Try this in a northern European winter at night. If there was a longer delay I would ask the pilots to let me disconnect to either sit in the van until they would flash the taxilights when they got their clearance or (on a 757 or bigger) would stand under the aircon pack heat exchanger exhaust vents until they would call me with the ground call horn.

Jan


User currently offlineEireRock From Ireland, joined Nov 2007, 301 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 3396 times:



Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 9):
would stand under the aircon pack heat exchanger exhaust vents until they would call me with the ground call horn.

Always a nice place to stand on a cold morning/night!!

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 5):
This incident caused some sparks

Good use of comedy here!


User currently offlineCFV2 From Canada, joined Feb 2009, 12 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 3384 times:

A number of the airports in the National Airports System in Canada use a lightning early-warning system built by Thorguard. Procedures are a bit different for each airport - In YYZ, when the system is activated a strobe light will begin to flash and the ramp guys all scurry inside. I think YYC just has a general call-out when the system indicates incoming lightning, and it's up to the airlines and ground handlers to get their people inside, usually through their crew radios.

I was told a few years ago that these systems became the norm after a couple of fuellers at YYZ were killed by lightning in separate incidents.



I just do what I'm told.
User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31573 posts, RR: 57
Reply 12, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 3344 times:



Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 9):
heat exchanger exhaust vents

Thats where it gets crowded on a rainy day/night,especially a B737.The ideal drier.As it even dries out the tarmac.
The B757 is much higher.so the ground is still not dried.
regds
MEL



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineJoseKMLB From United States of America, joined May 2008, 493 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 3297 times:



Quoting COTPARampGuy (Thread starter):
Also I have been wondering, has there ever been a case of a ramper being hit by lightning?

Yes on the east coast out here in MLB we were pushing out a DL737-800 from the gate and Lightning hit the tail of the A/C went threw to the nose where we had to ramp agents taking off the tow bar and the lightning came out the tow bar and hit them both. They went to the ER with no Major problems, And one of them was like in his 60's and he is fine.

Quoting BuyantUkhaa (Reply 1):
Which brings me to the question, what if lightning strikes a parked plane?

During the push back on that 737-800 when the lightning hit the plane it fried everything in the cockpit.

Quoting TristarSteve (Reply 3):
Like the headset of the guy doing the pushback.

I am amazed that radio pushback headsets are not in common use yet. One day someone will get killed using one in a storm.

Same flight the pushback driver had his headset grounded to the tug which saved his life since he got nothing from that strike.


User currently offlineJoseKMLB From United States of America, joined May 2008, 493 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 3294 times:



Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 8):
I still remember the chilling nights in rain awaiting pushback & talking to the crew on the headset while they sipped away on their coffee in the dryness of the flight deck.
The coffee in our hands get diluted with rain water in minutes

Don't you just love that when its raining hard and your out in the rain waiting to push them out, and the pilots take there sweet ass time to say cleared to push. I know they are waiting on the F/As or push clearance but still it sucks to see them nice and dry while you are getting the flu waiting for them to tell you to push us out.


User currently offlineStratosphere From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 1647 posts, RR: 4
Reply 15, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 3224 times:



Quoting TristarSteve (Reply 3):
Like the headset of the guy doing the pushback.

I am amazed that radio pushback headsets are not in common use yet. One day someone will get killed using one in a storm.

It actually has happened...I can't remember how many years ago or the details but I believe it was a USAIR mechanic was killed when he was on a headset and lightning struck the a/c. Maybe someone on here has the particulars.



NWA THE TRUE EVIL EMPIRE
User currently offlineCloudyapple From Hong Kong, joined Jul 2005, 2453 posts, RR: 9
Reply 16, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 22 hours ago) and read 3190 times:



Quoting COTPARampGuy (Thread starter):
Also I have been wondering, has there ever been a case of a ramper being hit by lightning?

Every summer we have tropical storms that come with lightning. We had a number of fatalities in more than one occasions where maintenance crew were stuck. We had the lightning warning system installed since then and we have not had any more injuries or deaths. But that does mean the airport grinds to a complete halt for as long as the system thinks there may be a possibility of lightning strikes. The art has been to adjust its sensitivity to reduce the number of false alarms.



A310/A319/20/21/A332/3/A343/6/A388/B732/5/7/8/B742/S/4/B752/B763/B772/3/W/E145/J41/MD11/83/90
User currently offlineFlyASAGuy2005 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 7004 posts, RR: 11
Reply 17, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 14 hours ago) and read 3136 times:



Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 5):
because the ramp manager had insisted that his workers should be loading the aircraft while a thunderstorm was overhead , to make up for a delayed arrival of the aircraft, even though operations suggested that he'd stop loading while the storm was in progress.

Wow! With us, when OPS makes the call that the ramp is closed, the ramp is closed. The ramp manager or supervisors has no say so.



What gets measured gets done.
User currently offlineWn676 From Djibouti, joined Jun 2005, 994 posts, RR: 5
Reply 18, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 5 hours ago) and read 3069 times:

They call out ramp closures over the radio and the PA system in the breakrooms here. The criteria for closing the ramp due to lightning is, IIRC, any strike within 7 miles. We re-open after 5 minutes of no activity. The thing that always gets me is that there can be cloud-to-cloud lightning directly overhead, but we'll all be out working. It's slightly unnerving.

I've seen some pretty wicked storms blow through. Last summer we had a cell pass overhead that managed to push an Aeromexico plane into a jetway. Winds were upwards of 70 mph as I recall.

I've never heard of a guy getting fried out here though.



Tiny, unreadable text leaves ample room for interpretation.
User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31573 posts, RR: 57
Reply 19, posted (4 years 11 months 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 2939 times:



Quoting JoseKMLB (Reply 14):
Don't you just love that when its raining hard and your out in the rain waiting to push them out, and the pilots take there sweet ass time to say cleared to push. I know they are waiting on the F/As or push clearance but still it sucks to see them nice and dry while you are getting the flu waiting for them to tell you to push us out.

The Flight/Cabin crew do offer us some warm coffee too,unfortunately its too heavy rain that reduces the enjoyment of that warm drink  Smile

At BOM the rains can get very heavy....It would start raining in a couple of weeks too.

regds
MEL.



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineWestJetForLife From Canada, joined Jun 2005, 814 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (4 years 11 months 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 2798 times:



Quoting DaBuzzard (Reply 7):

Would you land / take off in the teeth of a thunderstorm? Would any sane pilot?

Someone should have asked that question to the crews of DL191, EA66 and PA759.  Sad

In regards to the OP: when I was working on the ramp at YYC for Air Cadets (doing volunteer work washing planes, etc.), it was mid-June and a thunderstorm was coming in from the northwest. These types of "nor-westers" as I call 'em come with rain, thunder, lightning and hail.

Our Squadron Liaison Sgt. told us to book ass inside when he saw two flashes of lightning about 4-6km away from the field. The ramp supervisor at Shell Aerocenter called a "red alert" and got everyone inside the Aerocenter for about an hour. Coffee and refreshments were served to us poor Air Cadets who got soaked in the rain. Big grin

Nik



I need a drink.
User currently offlineJoseKMLB From United States of America, joined May 2008, 493 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (4 years 11 months 8 hours ago) and read 2675 times:

Well all of Florida has been under the gun for about a week now from these storms. Anything other than the MCO fuel problems go on at any other stations?

User currently offlineDXing From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (4 years 11 months 7 hours ago) and read 2657 times:



Quoting TristarSteve (Reply 3):
I am amazed that radio pushback headsets are not in common use yet. One day someone will get killed using one in a storm.

Why use even those when tried and true hand signals will suffice?


User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31573 posts, RR: 57
Reply 23, posted (4 years 10 months 4 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 2593 times:



Quoting JoseKMLB (Reply 21):
Anything other than the MCO fuel problems go on at any other stations?

Visibility can get really bad during heavy rains at BOM in minutes.
regds
MEL



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineJoseKMLB From United States of America, joined May 2008, 493 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (4 years 10 months 4 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 2570 times:



Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 23):
Visibility can get really bad during heavy rains at BOM in minutes.
regds

Its been like that all week here in Florida and I even think MCO was down to 1/4th of a mile yesterday 5/24, we got luck out here in MLB as the storm just by passed us.


25 Wn676 : Well, at least where I work, we'd run into a staffing problem since most gates only have a lead and two assists.
26 JoseKMLB : Hand signals do just fine as long as you dont forget to tell the pilot, because we forgot to tell the capt of this one flight out here and he was piss
27 HAWK21M : As long as the message is relayed properly,hand signs are adequate.We always use the Headset unless there is a last minute snag with the existing set
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