goinv
Posts: 255
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2005 11:16 pm

Unreliable Fleet Members?

Mon Jan 31, 2005 6:55 pm

Having spent a considerable length of my career working for the railway here in the UK, there were always locomotives that were "quirky" or unreliable. Some would have a reputation with train crews or maintenance people. One or two engines were even renumbered to try and end the bad "aura" or superstition that surrounded them. I also believe some ships have the same problem.

My question is this:- Do airliners suffer similar problems?

Are there any mechanics out there who know of any particular planes that always have problems? Are there any pilots who dread flying a particular registration because of it's quirks? Or, are all planes engineered and maintained to such a high standard, that this never happens?

Does anyone have stories concerning a particluar plane - be it current or past?

I refer to individual members of a fleet not makes / models. I.E.:- A FakeAir 767 (T-FAKE) may be more reliable than a FakeAir 767 (T-LIAR). This is not intended to be a debate as to whether 767's are more reliable than 737's etc.
Be who you are, The world was made to measure for your smile. So Smile.
 
N1120A
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RE: Unreliable Fleet Members?

Mon Jan 31, 2005 7:02 pm

The Spirit of Delta has always been known as a bit of a hangar queen. Probably DL brass sabotaging her to show how employee cooperation is a bad thing  Yeah sure
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
gkirk
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RE: Unreliable Fleet Members?

Mon Jan 31, 2005 7:14 pm

G-BNWH at BA, the 767 that flies MAN-JFK is also known as G-TECH  Wink/being sarcastic
When you hear the noise of the Tartan Army Boys, we'll be coming down the road!
 
David_itl
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RE: Unreliable Fleet Members?

Tue Feb 01, 2005 4:03 am


Last summer, it was quite common for BA to subcharter Titan/Flightline aircraft every day for MAN operations as various members of the based fleet decided that they'd prefer to remain on the ground rarther than go in the air; occasionally there were a couple of subchartered aircraft.

David
 
CF-CPI
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RE: Unreliable Fleet Members?

Tue Feb 01, 2005 4:10 am

I've heard NW employees refer to A320 N302US as "Christine - the Airbus from hell", but for all I know, her demons have be exorcised.
 
LAXintl
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RE: Unreliable Fleet Members?

Tue Feb 01, 2005 5:12 am

All airlines have certain aircraft that have higher ratio of technical snags versus their fleet mates.

Often these problems are of repetitive basis on that particular plane. For instance constant electrical problems, auto pilot issues, IFE issues, etc...

Just like anything mechanical its all subject to failure.

From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
andz
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RE: Unreliable Fleet Members?

Tue Feb 01, 2005 5:37 am

SAA had an A300 that seemed more trouble prone than the rest of the fleet, ZS-SDD was known in the airline as "double disaster".

My wife was an FA on board once CPT-JNB when the gear wasn't indicating three green for landing, they flew by the tower a couple of times before landing safely.

After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
 
bhxforever
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RE: Unreliable Fleet Members?

Tue Feb 01, 2005 5:58 am

Apparently its one of MONs A320s thats the most "jinxed" aircraft in the UK followed by one of its A300s. The A320 is G-MONX I think.

So not the much publicized G-BNWH

[Edited 2005-01-31 22:19:03]
 
717-200
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RE: Unreliable Fleet Members?

Tue Feb 01, 2005 6:39 am

I can remember when wew had the nine's at FL ship/tail #933 was one that
i tried to avoid. It was one of the nine DC9-32's that Valujet acquired from
THY Turkish Airlines.
72S 733 734 735 73G 738 742 752 763 E190 M82 M83
 
Argonaut
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RE: Unreliable Fleet Members?

Tue Feb 01, 2005 7:43 am

A slightly different twist to the same thread:

Some airlines appear to have their private superstitions. For example, around 25 years ago, one of Dan-Air's Boeing 727s flew into a mountain on Tenerife; sadly, all souls on board were lost. The particular aircraft was G-BDAN, which, for obvious reasons, the airline had specially registered with those letters.

Years later, BAe leased a BAe 146 to Dan-Air, and, thinking they were paying the airline a compliment, went to the trouble of re-registering the aircraft G-ODAN. Dan-Air coughed politely, then swiftly re-re-registered it. It seems they (or was it the crews?) were squeamish about having another Alpha November in the fleet....especially a Delta Alpha November.

I once heard from a retired BOAC/BA captain why the airline's VC10 registration sequence (G-ARVA to G-ARVM) conspicuously missed out "G-ARVD". The official reason was that "VD" was unseemly, since it stood for "Venereal Disease". The truth was that a previous Victor Delta--G-AOVD, a Britannia 312--had crashed on a post-maintenance check flight with the loss of all the crew, leaving the call-sign letters with "unhappy connotations." I'm inclined to believe the story, because my contact had been with the airline for decades and had flown both the Britannia and the VC10.

Turning the trouble-prone aircraft idea on its head: I recall correspondance in "Flight" magazine some time in the 1960s discussing a particular DC-4 (perhaps a C-54) that had been in service with British United Airways. It seems it flew rather better and with fewer problems than its peers. Its registration happened to be G-APID, so naturally its crews knew it as "Rapid Gapid."

Argonaut
'the rank is but the guinea stamp'
 
saxon
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RE: Unreliable Fleet Members?

Tue Feb 01, 2005 7:50 am

MYT had, and still have a few aircraft that were known to go tech quite a lot.

The DC10-10s they had were occaisionally getting delayed and had problems, as I experienced. Luckily they have moved on to another operator.

The Boeing 757 G-PIDS, again of MYT is known as being a bit of a beast and has had more than its fair share of techs in its time too.
I can see Paradise by the Runway lights!
 
fbgdavidson
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RE: Unreliable Fleet Members?

Tue Feb 01, 2005 8:11 am

G-BNLB - Bird Never Leaves Base. One of BAs earlier 744s. I found this out only to later discover I had been on board BNLB on a flight to SFO and we had a two hour delay leaving LHR because of a technical problem!
"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
 
Boeing7E7
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RE: Unreliable Fleet Members?

Tue Feb 01, 2005 8:42 am

Skywest - N198SW

Pain in the ass. Hangar queen POS if I ever saw one. But that was 10 years ago, so who knows.

She even survived an engine fire....

http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/brief.asp?ev_id=20001208X07943&key=1

 
AA737-823
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RE: Unreliable Fleet Members?

Tue Feb 01, 2005 9:52 am

Braniff had a DC-8... must have been a -30 series... that was called "little blue." The crews loved it... it had some problems, but nothing that would prevent the flight from leaving. A stewardess friend told me that the coffee pots would NEVER work right, you had to fool with them a lot and hope for the best. BUT- she says the flight crews loved her, because she flew great and never gave any mechanical trouble. As a consequence, she and her peers always hoped to see little blue at the gate for their flights.
R
 
fourstripe
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RE: Unreliable Fleet Members?

Tue Feb 01, 2005 2:25 pm

For American Eagle's DFW Saab fleet, N222NE is the POS. We also know her as "Christine, the plane from hell." Rumor has it she caught fire in the factory...

-fourstripe
“Aviation is proof that given, the will, we have the capacity to achieve the impossible.” - Edward Vernon Rickenbacker
 
RyanAFAMSP
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RE: Unreliable Fleet Members?

Tue Feb 01, 2005 2:58 pm

Hey there have got to be some United people on this thread that remember Christine, our DC-10-10 N1848U. For the insiders, she was the sole ex-Western series -10 that was overwater equipped with a lower lobe galley, making her a ""PG" series aircraft (as opposed to the overwater "PH" airplanes with main deck galleys and the non-overwater "PP" airplanes). I only worked her once, and the pilots told us to review our evac checklists with extra care because we rolled on departure. Lots of electrical problems and unexplained irregularities.

We retired her in late 1999. Don't miss those 0500 report LAS turns out of ORD that we did with Christine or one of the remaining, very beat up series 30s. In a way they all felt like Christine....
 
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aerorobnz
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RE: Unreliable Fleet Members?

Tue Feb 01, 2005 3:45 pm

So why are they all called Christine??? Thats AA/NW/UA that all have them called Christine
Flown to 120 Airports in 44 Countries on 73 Operators. Visited 55 Countries and counting. Wanderlust is like Syphilis, once you have the itch it's too late for treatment.
 
PA101
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RE: Unreliable Fleet Members?

Tue Feb 01, 2005 3:49 pm

So why are they all called Christine??? Thats AA/NW/UA that all have them called Christine

My guess: probably due to Stephen Kings book "Christine", where a classic car with that name has its own, mean personality.
 
CF-CPI
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RE: Unreliable Fleet Members?

Wed Feb 02, 2005 1:30 am

I did a web search for N1848U and came up with the info that it was the last DC-10-10 built. Delivered to UA in late September 1982, it would have arrived after the first 767s came along. I didn't see anything indicating a Western connection with N1848U, and one website indicated the plane left UA for FedEx in 1990. Anyway, good riddance maybe.
 
RyanAFAMSP
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RE: Unreliable Fleet Members?

Wed Feb 02, 2005 3:08 am

CF-CPI,

Huh, that is wierd. Maybe I am remembering the reg # wrong. I should go sort through my old flight manuals, because I could easily find the reg# because Christine was an oddball by the time I worked for United. She was the only series 10 that had a lower-lobe galley. That means she came to us after United converted all of the series 10s to main deck galleys, which I believe was in the mid-1980s. By my time, our four remaining -30s (of which I believe 1 was ex-Pan Am and 3 were ex-World Airways) and Christine had the lower lobe galleys. Try N1839U. The rings a bell as well. And I am almost sure Christine was sold to us by Delta after the Western aquisition. I would love to know the answer on this.
 
vatry
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RE: Unreliable Fleet Members?

Wed Feb 02, 2005 3:23 am

Try 1849U, arrived with United in 89 and now with Fed-Ex as N357FE and an MD10
 
nwafflyer
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RE: Unreliable Fleet Members?

Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:37 am

What about the everglades crash, where the co pilot kept re-appearing -- was that Eastern???
 
PA101
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RE: Unreliable Fleet Members?

Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:53 am

What about the everglades crash, where the co pilot kept re-appearing -- was that Eastern???

Yeah - that was Eastern. They used some surviving spares on other aircraft, and all of these L1011 were believed to get ghost appearences. One particular L1011 - that served later on with DL - got several items for the lower galley, and the legend went on for this particular ac even when it was flying for Delta.

I read a book once, where the author accompanied one DL L1011 for more than a week in the early Nineties, and it was that specific ac. He found out, it had a pretty bad incident in the 80s, I believe in LGA, with parts of the wing being ripped off, but fortunately no casualties. It went on flying for years after its repair.

I could check on the reg, but have to find that book first.
 
Flaps
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RE: Unreliable Fleet Members?

Wed Feb 02, 2005 2:21 pm

BN's Calder 727 carried the nickname "sneaky snake". It had originally been in Frontier's fleet and apparently had been handled roughly in their service. There is more info in the book "Flying Colors" and also I believe in some of author/pilot Len Morgan's writings. The bad reputation came from her squirrely handling qualities and the nickname from a snake shaped squiggle on one of her nacelles.
 
dc863
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RE: Unreliable Fleet Members?

Wed Feb 02, 2005 2:34 pm

One of PA's 747-123s from AA named Clipper Beacon Light had chronic mech trouble with her JT9s and hydraulic problems.
 
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ClassicLover
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RE: Unreliable Fleet Members?

Wed Feb 02, 2005 3:16 pm

Apparently Super VC10 G-ASGN had an error with the dopplar radios that were always 3 degrees off, and the ground checks showed nothing. This went on for several weeks. Everything that they could think of was changed, and the aircraft was dispatched again, and the error was still there.

The threat was to withdraw the aircraft from service until it was fixed, and jobs hung in the balance... when the aircraft was hijacked by the PLO and blown up at Dawson's Field.

The original story is from http://www.vc10.net/Memories/radio_development.html, by Chris Mitchell.

Trent.
I do quite enjoy a spot of flying - more so when it's not in Economy!
 
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eta unknown
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RE: Unreliable Fleet Members?

Wed Feb 02, 2005 4:49 pm

Don't know if the problems have been fixed now, but if a Royal Brunei 767 ever went tech, 90% chance it was V8-RBF. Oh the telexes we would receive- "aircraft on ground RBF".
 
PA101
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RE: Unreliable Fleet Members?

Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:23 pm

The threat was to withdraw the aircraft from service until it was fixed, and jobs hung in the balance... when the aircraft was hijacked by the PLO and blown up at Dawson's Field.

What a pity - even the worst "Christine" doesn't deserve such a fate...