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Ramp Rats: Your Favorites

Tue Dec 09, 2003 6:22 am

To all you rampers out there-

What are your favorite aircraft to work?
(i.e. ease of access, etc)

What are your favorite airports to work at?
(i.e. facilities, layout, etc.)

What else do you do besides pull bags and other stereotypes?
There are too many self indulgent weiners in this town with too much bloody money" Randal Raines- Gone in 60 Seconds
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RE: Ramp Rats: Your Favorites

Tue Dec 09, 2003 7:28 am

Ex-ramp rat here. My favorite a/c to work was the ATR-72. It was a breeze to load and unload; I loaded one solo on several occassions, as it was quite easy to load the bags up in the front cargo bin. During my ramp rat days, I did the following jobs (other than throwing bags):

A/C cabin cleaner (for a time @ FL, the gate crews @ ATL were responsible for cleaning the cabins of the a/c between flights).

Mail runner. Ran local mail to the airport postal facility and ran outgoing mail to gates.

Worked in baggage transfer point.
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RE: Ramp Rats: Your Favorites

Tue Dec 09, 2003 7:39 am

When I worked at PWK, I loved working with Global Expresses (rare occurrence) and the Citation Excels and X's.

It looks so cool towing and moving around the Global and the Citations were a breeze to refuel.

Always dreaded the Lear's.

Never Trust Your Fuel Gauge
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RE: Ramp Rats: Your Favorites

Tue Dec 09, 2003 8:09 am

My favorite to work was the Airbus A319/320, although the 757 was cool because the bin floors moved so you could be at the cargo door, stack bags and then move the floor down to create more space for a new stack. Of course that was only possible when the damn retractable floors worked which was almost never on HP aircraft. In fact, some HP 757's had the system removed entirely.

My duties included:

Handling bags
Pushing back and towing of the aircraft
Emptying lavs
Cleaning out the cabin (on occasion)
Running cargo and mail between the cargo facility and gates
Weight and balance calculations
Assigning gates for arriving aircraft

The last two applied when working as the ops agent.

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RE: Ramp Rats: Your Favorites

Tue Dec 09, 2003 8:19 am

Any widebody is easiest to load, but for hand loading the 319/320's are nice to work, lots of space to move around.

I hate 757's, they have to be the worst designed plane ever for ground handling, they are too high off the ground to reach anything to plug in the GPU and such. And if you dont have any of the extra assistance accessories (moving floors, magic carpets, etc.) in the pits to help throw bags it is hell.

Dont like Fokker F28 or F100 either, pits are way to small.
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RE: Ramp Rats: Your Favorites

Tue Dec 09, 2003 8:27 am

I used to work the ramp in CYYC for ATS. Of the airlines we serviced, the Northwest A320's were my favourite. Not only to load and unload, but pushbacks were a breeze compared to the 737 or MD80. It was so easy to see where I was going especially with the front cab on the FMC.

I most disliked the Horizon F28s for 2 reasons. 1) the pits were so small that I had to lay on my back and shovel bags over me to get them stacked. 2) the APU exhaust was right by the rear door which was loud even with ear protection. Made communication difficult.

I also cleaned the Horizon planes and Alaska MD80s.

I really miss that job! Now I'm in school all of the time.
Fighting Absurdity with Absurdity!
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RE: Ramp Rats: Your Favorites

Tue Dec 09, 2003 9:06 am

For ease of loading, it would have to be the old DC-9's. Bin doors very low to the ground.

As for the worst, I agree with IlikeYYC on the F-28. The placement of the APU exhaust just above the aft bin door is insane. Not only is it way loud, but the exhaust blast is angled down and ends up blasting you directly in front of the door. Brilliant!

As for MD-80 series bin doors, when opening, always make double sure they are locked in place with those tabs on either side. I have been hit square in the damned head a few times by those SOB's when I thought I heard the "clicks."

727's are pretty much a breeze. That forward bin is as large as a small apartment. A breeze for HR's, freight and mail.

Everything above this, the K-loader takes care of!

I sure do miss it!
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RE: Ramp Rats: Your Favorites

Tue Dec 09, 2003 10:49 am

if i become a ramp rat, I want to drive those trucks that DL uses to load the bins of bags. They have the slide things and you push the bin on it and press a button and the mechine does the rest. Another job I would like to do would be the guy in charge of the light sticks who directs the planes in.

just as long as I'm in a warm city and NOT ATL, I'd like to try it! I still want to be a gate agent more!
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RE: Ramp Rats: Your Favorites

Tue Dec 09, 2003 12:50 pm

still want to be a gate agent more!

And put with people screaming at you when something goes wrong?? Screw that. Put me outside next to the plane. Bags don't bitch!

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RE: Ramp Rats: Your Favorites

Tue Dec 09, 2003 1:05 pm


we have it all good weather, no de-ice, 747 NW,JL, 737-800 CO DC-10-40 JL,767-300 -200, JL..757-200, NW Commuter ramp operates Cherokee 6 , I love to see the PA6 and the 747 operate off the same airport/ Runway..Good flights to NRT,MNL,GUM,NGO,KIX..Lots of flight for us to fly on CO from GUM to DPS,HKG,CNS..HNL..ROR..CO Is a great company to work for and we get to work the 747 for NW and JL also.. Smile and SPN is federal tax exempt...And we get the delivery flights to China and transit VIP's G5's and we had the prototype Boeing 777 line number one, overnite on its first flight to SIN for an airshow it flew non-stop to SPN..from Seattle
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RE: Ramp Rats: Your Favorites

Tue Dec 09, 2003 1:31 pm

Fav a/c, being WN, of course 737, but prefer -700,like the newer planes.
As for airport,only worked at BOI and MCI. MCI was 2 week temp,so it was kinda fun there. About 45% it seemed were on temp duty there,so you didn't know who was from MCI or other stations.
My favorite job is working in the bag room. I get a kick seeing where people are going to. Also some of the dumb routings people take. I call these "Orbitz trips" because these routings remind me of some of the dumb ones I've seen them offer on I saw this week: GEG-PDX,connect to BOI on QX,connect to F9 to DEN, then connect to BWI. How stupid is that.I hope they got a good deal!
I actually saw in a group going to Disneyland about 4 years ago a name tag and the address was THE house I grew up in near here! It was quite a surprise!
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RE: Ramp Rats: Your Favorites

Tue Dec 09, 2003 3:26 pm

Yeah, bag room was fun sprxflySWA... I was in DL's early one morning about 10-12 years ago...before the thermal bag-tag's were around...just the old elastic strap manual tags...

Anyway, in comes this real prick I went to HS and was currently in college with, complete with his new cow wife, off on their Hawaiian honeymoon. As I was hanging and chatting with the counter agents, he says to me..."Wow.. I see you're going far in this career after you finish school." I just smiled, and as their four max size bags proceeded on the belt to the bag room, I was already well on my way in selecting a new destination. LHR ...I figure a 2-3 day delay...

Yeah, yeah, yeah...and before anyone out there gets all bent out of shape about this...I actually informed the station manager, and he asked why I didn't send them to like JNB or CAI for some real fun...
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RE: Ramp Rats: Your Favorites

Tue Dec 09, 2003 3:41 pm

Im an ATA rat.
My fav. is the 757-300 since it has the Scandanavian sliding carpet plus all the headroom for moving around. My Second favorite in the 757-200 since it has all the head room. Even though it takes two people to stack bags as one person tosses the bags from the door to the stacker, who does all the stacking. Least favorite in 737-800. It has the sliding carpet but absolutley no head room. Nearly impossible to stack especially to Mexico bound flights like Guadalajara.
737 takes first place for easy access to valves and door etc. I still like the 752's the best since theyre old, adding character, and hae those bad a$$ RR engines. Smile/happy/getting dizzy
320 717 722 732 733 735 737 738 739 744 752 753 763 772 773 788 DC9 DC10 MD80 B1900 S340 E120 E145 E170 E175 CRJ CR7
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RE: Ramp Rats: Your Favorites

Tue Dec 09, 2003 4:30 pm

I am a former UA and ACA/UAX ramper and for ease of course 777's 767's and 747's because of the cans. I also found 757's easy but ONLY when the nesting system was working. On many occasions it would be inoperative and then the 57 would become just about the biggest pain in the ass to load, in my opinion only behind the BAe-146.
My favorite airport to work at was IAD. Its a really pretty airport (even with all of the construction) with all of the woods surounding it and the Blue Ridge in the distance. Also it was fun to drive the AOA because the roadways ,which surround all the terminals, are right behind the gates affording you great views of aicraft as you drive under their tails.
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RE: Ramp Rats: Your Favorites

Tue Dec 09, 2003 4:35 pm

Back in my ramp days i loved the 727 and the DC-9 the best...

The DC-9 was thought out for quick turns and easy ground handeling.. Low bins means no need for a belt loader...

Ground power on port side and low means easy hook up to jetway ... potable water on starboard means one less truck close to the jetway...

Pneumatic hookup again thoughtful and placed low

Im short and to me everyhing on the diesel 9 was setup wehre i wasnt stretching to reach it...

Now dont get me wrong, the dc-9 had its flaws.. had a few bin doors hit me in the head (explains how i am now)

The 727 though the back was noisy from APU exhaust was just roomy and easy to load....

737s were also a piece of cake but it doesnt seem Mr. Boeing had the same ideas as Mr. Douglas when he chose where to place ground service panels...

SOme of the diagrams douglas propeganda from the diesel 9 showed how air start, ground power, water truck mail truck catering truck and stairs can all fit nice and neat around the plane....

yeah the bins were small and tight.. but hell they were big compared to say an F-28 or F-100
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RE: Ramp Rats: Your Favorites

Tue Dec 09, 2003 5:29 pm

My Fav. aircrafts to work are the 757 and the 737. The 757 is big enough where you can cram a whole crap load of bags on and the 737 is low enough to the ground where you can jump down to the tarmac with ease. I work at ORD and it is my fav. airport thus far. My job duties are:
Load/unload bags,freight,mail,and the occasional dead body
Run bags from gate to gate
Although not trained for it yet, push back aircraft from gates, and wing walk.(cant wait till i do that!)
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RE: Ramp Rats: Your Favorites

Tue Dec 09, 2003 6:42 pm

Tasks I am responsible for: refueling, cleaning, potable water, and lav service.

Favorite? Gulfstreams. Everything is easy to access. Challengers/CRJ's are a close second.

Least Favorite: Lear 45's and Beech Jets. On the L45 the single point hookup is in an awkward spot. Refueling the fuselage tank on the beechjet is, quite literally, a pain in the neck.
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RE: Ramp Rats: Your Favorites

Tue Dec 09, 2003 7:32 pm

So I'm only a ramp rat 4 out of my 5 days a week, which makes me a happy camper since the gate and counter are my favorites. But of the three types of planes I work, the Dash 8-200, Dash 8-400 and CRJ-700, the 200 is my favorite by far. Very easy to load and unload, especially since there's just the one cargo compartment. I've worked a couple MD-80s and one or two 737s (emergency landings) and of the two, I liked the 737 best. Currently I'm on the closing crew, so we're responsible for bag claims, working baggage (delayed bags, setting up for delivery, etc.), cleaning the aircraft, lav, filling potable water, marshalling aircraft, push-backs, restocking FAB on every CRJ departure and overnight, completing weight and balance paperwork, and picking up and dropping off cargo. Its not really all that bad, but trust me, doing all this during an Oregon winter...NOT fun.
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RE: Ramp Rats: Your Favorites

Tue Dec 09, 2003 7:39 pm

C'mon, can't someone here say "I met my wife/girlfriend in the bin of a xxxx, we xxxx, that is why it is my favorite"?

I am a fan of the CRJ bin. Most of you will say I am on crack. But I can stand up in it and it is rare that we overweight a CRJ where I work. Standing outside the CRJ, that is much more rough. Inside is OK, provided you are not caved in with bags. I had an incident where I needed to pull out all the mail fast, it was real deep, I was stuck inside, I had about a 1 ft round escape hole out the door, I was positioned in a very awkward way, I had 5 mins, it was loud, very hot, I was panicked and it was really scary. Got almost closed in. Then pushing it back I get a bunch of usually (most of the time) laid-back pilots who put up with my banter on the headsets  Smile

Ich haben zwei Platzspielen und ein Microphone
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RE: Ramp Rats: Your Favorites

Tue Dec 09, 2003 10:43 pm

My absolute favorite is MD-80/90- series (except MD-87), because they are very easy to load/unload from the ground and the cargo doors are just in right height from ground. MD-87 isn't good, because aft cargo compartment has a little bit too high ground clearance. MD-80 series is very good too because of the easiness of fastening the external power after arrival. B757 is nice even the external power plug is located too high. B757 has enough capacity for the bags and enough headroom in the cargo compartment too. Also B757 freighters offers nice variation.

I don't like at all of DHC-8-Q400s, Saab 2000s and CRJs. Q400 has too limited room space and very much balance problems and therefore all compartments can't be used quite often. It has very limited space if compared to ATR-72 for example, even ATR is smaller aircraft. You also need a belt car (is that the right word?) for loading/unloading because the door is too high on the ground. I hate Saab 2000s mostly for the same reasons, but it is a little bit better because the floor of cargo compartment is flat and space not so limited. CRJs are bad because of the too small overhead bins in the cabin and therefore many baggages has DAA-stickers (Delivery At Aircraft) which means that passengers leaves those baggages in front of the aircrafts door prior boarding and we have to collect them and load in the cargo compartment. Same thing after arrival, passengers can't leave the aircraft before those DAA-baggages have been brought in front of the door. Not very nice especially now during the winter when the apron is very slippery!  Smile

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RE: Ramp Rats: Your Favorites

Wed Dec 10, 2003 12:29 am

As a Ex-Ramp Rat I can tell you that I have worked on many types with Boeing 737-200/300/400 being my favorites to work on.
Some of you guys said that DC-9 was easier to load because of the cargo bins low to the ground. Our policy (US Airways) at the time was that we could NOT load any piece of laguage without using loading belt.
I know, it was stupid. Sometimes we had just 1 bag on shuttle flight to LaGuardia and because there was one paying customer we had to use loading belt to put his 20lbs sutecase in the bin.
But still, DC-9's and MD-80 series aircrafts were pain in the ass for me to load bags on. I am 6'4", those damn bins were not higher than 3.1/2' (in 737-2/3/4 they are 4.1/2'+).

I took this picture seating on my ass with my knees beside my face  Smile
Front cargo bin

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Photo © Rafal Szczypek

Aft cargo bin (even smaller)

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Photo © Rafal Szczypek

Here you can see me awaiting pushback. The best part if you are wingwalker is to remove safety by-pass pin and show it to the captain  Smile

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Photo © Rafal Szczypek

Here you can see safety by-pass pin

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Photo © Rafal Szczypek

But the cake for the worst aircraft to work on goes to Fokker - 100  Smile
Yeap, people have to crawl inside to put bags in order. And if you have to load casket to the aft cargo bin you better know how to breakdance  Big grin

The best "Express" aircraft I worked on was DHC-8-102.

Ol' good times at IAD  Smile

BWIADCA - Nikon D100
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RE: Ramp Rats: Your Favorites

Wed Dec 10, 2003 12:46 am

Awww the memories. I must say working the ramp was the best job
I ever had. Really gave you a sense of accomplishment to button up a
B747 or DC10 or MD11 and send it on its way around the world.
I think my favorite part was working the Night flight from HNL. Standing
at the top of the airstairs waiting for all the pax to get off wearing nothing
but T-shirts and shorts and hearing them comment on how cool it was.
The views were pretty exciting if you know what I mean. I also give
operating the Maindeck loader on a Freighter or Combi high marks.
By far the worst experiences were the belly of the B707 of Ecuatoriana, and
the bulk pit/Hold 5 of the Philippine B747. Those bags had to be at least
100LBS each or more and they took everything including the Kitchen sink!
Anybody ever have to dump rear lavs on the B747 in the rain or wind?
Isnt that fun to be sitting 30ft in the air trying to dodge the honey bucket
dripping down on you
Cargo doesn't whine, moan, or complain
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RE: Ramp Rats: Your Favorites

Wed Dec 10, 2003 12:47 am



The 732 seemed to me to be a very easy aircraft to load and unload. Lavs (ugh!) weren't too difficult to do, unless you had the "donut" plugs. Still made me sick every time I went near them. Was a pain to drain the water every freezing night, though.

When we got MD-80s, I thought I was in heaven! Not because they were easy to load, but because the bin floors didn't have little bits sticking up into my knees! They weren't as easy to load as a 732, but overall, they were easier to work with. Belt-loaders were optional, even when tiny Jen Stodden was loading the plane (she was all of 5'1"--cute, though).

When the 727s came our way, well... Let's just say I didn't like loading the rear bin, which is all NJ ever loaded if TransMeridian could help it. They didn't want bags in their forward bins because that's where they kept all their spare parts. Like they didn't trust us or something...

Loaded one A320 during my tenure as a ramper. It was nothing special. Didn't like the fact that you needed belt loaders for both forward and rear bins (aircraft is just too high!).

When I went to ATL for training with FL, I had the pleasure of loading a 717. Bins were low to the ground (lower than the MD-80 or 732!), bin floors were smooth composite, didn't have to use blue-juice to flush the lavs, APU wasn't too loud. It really was a ramper's dream. Never got to push one back or pull one in, though. Guess they thought the ex-NJ CSAs who were there needed more training with hand-signals than someone who had been on the ramp for a couple of years.
Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it in summer school.
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RE: Ramp Rats: Your Favorites

Wed Dec 10, 2003 12:51 am

My favourite aircraft to work is the A321. At Air Canada they are containerized, and it's easy to drive the loader up to the back door unlike on the A320 where you are dodging the canoe fairings.
We marshall the flight onto the gate, chock it, plug in ground power and heat/airconditioning, unload, groom the cabin, assist disabled pax on/off, load, push the aircraft and deice it.

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From Dr. King's America to Nelson Mandela's Africa, the journey of equality moves on.
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RE: Ramp Rats: Your Favorites

Wed Dec 10, 2003 10:33 am

I'd have to agree with Lindy about the -88s........pain in the asses!!

To begin with, its just a nightmare for anyone over 6 feet to get inside the bin, as you have virtually no headroom to work with. Sure, the bins are low to the ground, but do you really want to toss all 125 bags up to the rear bins? Its just much easier to use a beltloader.

Also, anyone that has done weight and balance on one can tell you how fickle the airplane is. You'll have a beautiful CG, with it slightly tail heavy, when the gate clears all the nonrevs in first and suddenly your CG slides all the way to the front. You can only fit so many bags in the rear cargo bins to try and make your CG somewhat respectable. And never mind trying to plan out the flight when dispatch gives you a 36,000 lb fuel load with 142 pax. Weight restrictions up the wazoo.

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RE: Ramp Rats: Your Favorites

Wed Dec 10, 2003 10:54 am

I worked with CP and KI for a while, as well as on AA and a few other carriers, and preferred the Dash-8 above all. Easy to load and stand up in the rear pit - I'm a tall guy, so I prefer the height. I could often load them by myself.

Least favorite? KI's F28s. Laying on your back in a fibreglass pit was never fun. It was hot in the summer, cold as hell in the winter..... and often got bits of fibreglass all through your jacket, so you'd itch and scratch for hours.

I've worked 737s a lot.... they've always been a favorite of mine, in terms of all-round ease of loading.

To me, though, nothing compares with CP's A320s.... containerized with LD3-45s, so offloading and loading was a snap, even with just a couple of guys.

The containerized planes were also easier to load-plan. Being a lead for CP meant you often had to plan where each thing would go.... it's a lot easier to switch cans around than it is to move 40+ bags by hand.
"Talk to me, Goose..."
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RE: Ramp Rats: Your Favorites

Wed Dec 10, 2003 1:09 pm

I work for an int'l carrier, handle 2 long haul flights a day ... I'm the flight coordinator. I coordinate the entire turn around.

I have worked with the 763, A332, A343, and 777 (have done the 744 once).

I like the Airbuses better for loading ... every container loaded has to be secured in place with red locks. You can't miss them. Whereas the containers 777 are "line" loaded and locked only at the end of each "line". Can be kind of confusing. (Of course, all pallets are individually locked in place on both planes.)

Crews are in general nicer on the Boeings ... strange to read, but that's what it has been in my experience.

Clearly the smaller the aircraft, the easier / faster it is to turn it around, especially during tight turns.

Bonjour Chef!

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