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737-200 Arctic Operations  
User currently offlineSEPilot From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 6910 posts, RR: 46
Posted (3 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 6002 times:

I just watched the Discovery program Flying Wild Alaska, and it showed a 737-200 in Barrow, Alaska (the northernmost town in North America.) I recall reading that the Jurassics work better in arctic conditions than the Classics or NG's, but have forgotten why. I know that the Jurassics had an optional gravel kit that helped reduce the amount of FOD the engines injested, but my recollection is that this wasn't the only reason, or was it?. Since the runway at Barrow is paved now, and most other Alaskan runways are as well, if that was the only reason it does not seem logical that someone would still be flying a 732 up there. Any info?


The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
14 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offline413X3 From United States of America, joined Jul 2008, 1983 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (3 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 5980 times:

It is logical when you realize that the airplane is probably paid off. Even though it's a gas guzzler, a gas bill is cheaper than a lease on a newer airplane.

User currently offlineHAL9k From Norway, joined Feb 2011, 34 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (3 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 5920 times:

The "Jurassics" normally requires much maintenance, have a lot of corrosion problems, but on the other side, they are quite reliable on the day-by-day. And in certain situations (mostly electrical) if you don't have the right spare part you can always arrange something to bypass the problem and get out of the desert...

I remember in a maintenance course of a "Jurassic" aircraft (but the course was actually 10 years ago) the instructor told us how to bypass a lot of electrical failures (switches, relays....) to get the aircraft home....

if you have a broken FADEC or a printed circuit board... no way.....

And, with old planes you can have much more parts at stok as this are notmally cheaper...

Moreover old good metal airframes are more cheap to repair (and easy to) than composite parts. If a FOD damages a composite panel in a ground roll, even if you have the repair scheme I doubt you can to repair it in the middle of Alaska...

But of course the latest generations planes can do the job as well... take a look at the Skytrader's A319LR flying in Antrartica


User currently offlinecoopdogyo From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 189 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (3 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 5908 times:

Was the plane an Alaska Airlines 737-200 if so the footage they used is old. Alaska retired their last 737-200 when all the runways of the airports they fly to in Alaska were paved. I would assume that the main reason that 737-200's are flying in the artic is because of the gravel mod.

User currently offlinePeterPuck From Canada, joined Jun 2004, 323 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (3 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 5907 times:

Older aircraft are more mechanical (cable flight controls, analogue instruments etc) therefore generally more reliable in extreme cold. Electronics, computers, electric servos, hydralics etc tend to quit as the mercury falls.

User currently offlineLongHauler From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 4992 posts, RR: 42
Reply 5, posted (3 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 5906 times:

I have many thousand hours flying B737-200s in Canada's arctic. In my opinion there is no better ship to do the job.

While some runways have been paved, you have to realize that is simply not possible for a lot of places because of the terrain. The tundra and permafrost is always "moving" if you were to pave it, it would look like an earthquake victim within months.

As far as I know, there is no other jet transport aircraft built with a "gravel kit". I used to land on gravel runways, and even ice runways during certain times of the year. Often, we were the only link to the south for months, for a lot of these communities.

Our aircraft were equipped with Omega Navigation, as INS could not align that far north. Toward the end, they were equipped with GPS as well. Also, Transport Canada required we were adept at using the Astro Compass, and were tested on its use often. Before, you roll your eyes ... this was only 12 years or so ago. I am not sure if it is required now.

The newer jet transports use IRS/laser gyros, not just for position, but for attitude and heading information for the primary flight instruments. Every aircraft I have flown that is so equipped, had restrictions on its use that far north, to a maximum of 73 degrees north. I don't know if that is because that is all it was tested for, or if it really didn't work ... but that too would restrict newer B737s from use up there.


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Never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down .... Barefoot Blue Jean Night
User currently offlineDiamondFlyer From United States of America, joined Oct 2008, 1547 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (3 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 5876 times:

Quoting coopdogyo (Reply 3):
Was the plane an Alaska Airlines 737-200 if so the footage they used is old. Alaska retired their last 737-200 when all the runways of the airports they fly to in Alaska were paved.

No, it looked to be the paint scheme of the Northern Air Cargo 737-200's to me. It was on the show for maybe 2 seconds, so I didn't get a good look, but that's what it looked like to me.

-DiamondFlyer


User currently onlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25356 posts, RR: 22
Reply 7, posted (3 years 6 months 4 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 5715 times:

Quoting SEPilot (Thread starter):
Barrow, Alaska (the northernmost town in North America.)

In the USA, not North America. Barrow is about 71 deg. N. There are communities in Canada further north than that, for example Resolute Bay (YRB) at over 74 deg. N.

YRB (6,000 ft. gravel runway) once had 737 and 727 combi service. I think the largest scheduled type there now is the ATR-42.

Photos below of Canadian North 732C and Pacific Western 721C at YRB.


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Photo © Robert M. Campbell

http://www.pwareunion.com/images/aircraft/B727-YRB.jpg

Quoting LongHauler (Reply 5):
I used to land on gravel runways, and even ice runways during certain times of the year.

Pacific Western 732C below on a floating ice island (77 deg. N) in March 1986, delivering workers and supplies to an oil exploration site. Temperature -46C at the time.

http://www.pwareunion.com/images/aircraft/B737-WestCornwall.JPG


User currently offlineXaraB From Norway, joined Aug 2007, 210 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (3 years 6 months 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 5550 times:

Quoting LongHauler (Reply 5):
Every aircraft I have flown that is so equipped, had restrictions on its use that far north, to a maximum of 73 degrees north. I don't know if that is because that is all it was tested for, or if it really didn't work ... but that too would restrict newer B737s from use up there.

I know that SK are using 738's to Longyearbyen (LYR), Svalbard, which is at 78 degrees north. I don't know if they are equipped with extra navigational equipment to counter such limitations.



An open mind is not an empty one
User currently offlineSEPilot From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 6910 posts, RR: 46
Reply 9, posted (3 years 6 months 4 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 5538 times:

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 7):
In the USA, not North America. Barrow is about 71 deg. N. There are communities in Canada further north than that, for example Resolute Bay (YRB) at over 74 deg. N.

Thanks for the info, I did not realize that.



The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
User currently offlineLongHauler From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 4992 posts, RR: 42
Reply 10, posted (3 years 6 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 5511 times:

Quoting XaraB (Reply 8):
I know that SK are using 738's to Longyearbyen (LYR), Svalbard, which is at 78 degrees north. I don't know if they are equipped with extra navigational equipment to counter such limitations.


I pulled out my B767 manual, (similar setup to the newer B737s with respect to IRS), and it says that "Ground Alignment will be satisfactory up to 73 degrees North". So that makes me think, as long as they are aligned, and they would be when flying in there, as long as you don't have to align them on the ground you are good to go. So I imagine that SK only fly there as a ground stop/turn, not an overnight. (I don't know, just a guess.)

Then it mentions that in NAV mode, the IRS will not provide a valid magnetic heading north of 73N, or south of 60S. That makes sense though, as up there you don't use magnetic heading anyway, everything is done in Degrees True, with associated SOPs for its use. In the B737-200, we used to "unslave" our heading instruments, and use conversion cards for take off and landing. In the B767, we can do the same, showing all heading in degrees True. (We used to do this on the Atlantic, when we first got the planes).

I would guess, SK, with decades and decades of service in the far north, has similar SOPs in force.



Never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down .... Barefoot Blue Jean Night
User currently offlineXaraB From Norway, joined Aug 2007, 210 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (3 years 6 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 5422 times:

Quoting LongHauler (Reply 10):
So I imagine that SK only fly there as a ground stop/turn, not an overnight. (I don't know, just a guess.)

Sounds plausible. I don't have inside knowledge of SK's ops, but flights to LYR are frequently held at TOS if there are indications of bad weather en route (both ways), possibly because they want to avoid aircraft being "stuck" overnight at LYR.

Quoting LongHauler (Reply 10):
I would guess, SK, with decades and decades of service in the far north, has similar SOPs in force.

Probably. However, I know DY has had scheduled flights to and from LYR with both 733's and 738's (pulled both times due to low traffic volumes), and they do not have nearly the same experience flying jets that far north as SK does. I would therefore guess that operations to LYR probably aren't particularly difficult.



An open mind is not an empty one
User currently offlinechuchoteur From France, joined Sep 2006, 764 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (3 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 5284 times:

Quoting XaraB (Reply 8):
Quoting LongHauler (Reply 5):
Every aircraft I have flown that is so equipped, had restrictions on its use that far north, to a maximum of 73 degrees north. I don't know if that is because that is all it was tested for, or if it really didn't work ... but that too would restrict newer B737s from use up there.

I know that SK are using 738's to Longyearbyen (LYR), Svalbard, which is at 78 degrees north. I don't know if they are equipped with extra navigational equipment to counter such limitations.

Funnily enough, was up there a couple of weeks ago with the SAS crews.
Aircraft are GPS-equipped, IRS alignment takes 17 minutes!

It's run as a ground-stop only as there are no hangars big enough for the 738 up there, but smaller aircraft are based up there...


User currently offlineclydenairways From Ireland, joined Jan 2007, 1234 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (3 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 4439 times:

Quoting XaraB (Reply 11):
Probably. However, I know DY has had scheduled flights to and from LYR with both 733's and 738's (pulled both times due to low traffic volumes), and they do not have nearly the same experience flying jets that far north as SK does. I would therefore guess that operations to LYR probably aren't particularly difficult.

West Air Cargo also have a daily fright from Tromso to LYR with a CRJ.


User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31684 posts, RR: 56
Reply 14, posted (3 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 4326 times:

Quoting HAL9k (Reply 2):
The "Jurassics" normally requires much maintenance, have a lot of corrosion problems, but on the other side, they are quite reliable on the day-by-day

Not on Freighters,As the main source of corrosion on the B732s were Water seepage from the Toilet & Galleys.

regds
MEL.



Think of the brighter side!
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