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clickhappy
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What Would You Do In This Situation While Spotting

Fri Mar 18, 2005 10:34 am

I am leaving some details on this story vague, on purpose, as I don't want to get anyone in trouble.

Very recently, myself and another well known local photographer were down at BFI taking pictures. While we were there a MD-80 that was in on a charter fired up...and my friend said "Hey it looks like **** is getting ready to taxi" And I am like are you sure? The cargo door (front lower) was missing.

So, sure enough, the plane starts to taxi, and we are both in disbelief, maybe we were seeing a shadow or something...so it crosses the active and sure enough, the whole cargo door was missing. So the plane is *right* there in front of us, I am on a ladder over the fence snapping pictures, and we both give the pilots a "whats up?" kind of shurg/hand gesture...but the plane keeps going.

At this point both my friend and I are both like "Holy shit is there something we should do, someone we should call" and both wondering out loud how a plane could be heading for the active with a cargo door missing and/or not secured. We were also wondering what would happen to the plane if it took off in this condition...would things fly out of the cargo hold? If so would they go in the engine? Or damage the wing?

So the plane taxis down and gets clearance to position and hold. When the take off clearance is given one of the crew came over the radio and said "we have a warning light and need to get out and close some doors" so the plane taxi'd off the active and was sitting for about 10 minutes, they got out, did there thing, and the plane departed without incident.

So, my questions are many!

  • How could a plane taxi to an active runway with a door not attached? Surely there must be warning lights? And don't the crew do a pre-flight walk around?

  • What would have happened to the plane if it had taken off like this?

  • Have you ever seen anything like this? If so, did you feel a need to act? Would anyone even listen to you if you had chosen to act?

    Please, don't respond to this thread with something like "you were making a big deal about nothing" or something like that. Both myself and my friend are in our 30's, and we were both very upset with this. Imagine how someone would feel if they witnessed something tragic that maybe they could have prevented? It really gives me goosebumps to think about.

    Royal
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    isitsafenow
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    RE: What Would You Do In This Situation While Spotting

    Fri Mar 18, 2005 10:41 am

    If the plane would have taken off, the crew(and pax) would have experienced buffering on climbout. The crew would have turned around and landed.
    safe
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    dacman
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    RE: What Would You Do In This Situation While Spotting

    Fri Mar 18, 2005 10:55 am

    I saw an Alaska MD80 taxing for takeoff at LAX years ago while working a flight. I told our captain who then radioed the tower to advise Alaska of the open FWD bin door. The tower did and the aircraft returned to the gate immediately.

    It can happen, even with the warning lights in the cockpit, it can be as simple as a burned out light bulb in the panel.

    Mike
    Dacman
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    airtran737
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    RE: What Would You Do In This Situation While Spotting

    Fri Mar 18, 2005 10:55 am

    That's a pretty interesting scenario. At FL we are not allowed to close the L1 door until it is verified that all cargo doors are shut. Sounds like the crew was a little lax on their checklist.
    Nice Trip Report!!! Great Pics, thanks for posting!!!! B747Forever
     
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    LN-MOW
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    RE: What Would You Do In This Situation While Spotting

    Fri Mar 18, 2005 10:58 am

    In this instance, you should have called 911 and asked them to get hold of the BFI tower. There was probably no real danger to the plane, but the cargo net may have been loose and its buckles would cause damage to the skin if it's flapping outside.

    It is a big deal because someone obviously didn't do their job. There is a warning light in the cockpit signaling if there are any doors open. In addition the ground personell should do a walkaround before departure to ensure that there ar eno open doors or other safety issues.

    I remember a similiar case some years ago when a DC9 took off with an open door. They just went around and landed again, but the unsecured cargo net had caused some damage to the fuselage.
    - I am LN-MOW, and I approve this message.
     
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    CCA
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    RE: What Would You Do In This Situation While Spotting

    Fri Mar 18, 2005 10:59 am

    Quoting Clickhappy (Thread starter):
    I am on a ladder over the fence snapping pictures,

    Get them on Airliners.net ASAP  Smile

    Rgds CCA
    P1 in A330, A340, A346, B742, B744, B748.
     
    JUANR
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    RE: What Would You Do In This Situation While Spotting

    Fri Mar 18, 2005 11:07 am

    Nothing bad happened to this plane:


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    Photo © JetPix



    Juan
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    flyibaby
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    RE: What Would You Do In This Situation While Spotting

    Fri Mar 18, 2005 11:35 am

    Any ramp crew worth their salt should have notified the crew or their ops. I don't allow an A/C to push or taxi away without a final walk around by my ramp.
     
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    HAWK21M
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    RE: What Would You Do In This Situation While Spotting

    Fri Mar 18, 2005 1:24 pm

    Quoting Clickhappy (Thread starter):
    How could a plane taxi to an active runway with a door not attached? Surely there must be warning lights? And don't the crew do a pre-flight walk around?

    Yes Sure.But What was Mx doing prior to Start up.Also why wasn't the Door Warning light Illuminated.

    Quoting Clickhappy (Thread starter):
    What would have happened to the plane if it had taken off like this?

    Nothing much,After sensing Cabin not holding Pr accompanied with Turbulence/drag.They would land back.

    Quoting Clickhappy (Thread starter):
    Have you ever seen anything like this? If so, did you feel a need to act? Would anyone even listen to you if you had chosen to act?

    I did see an S2 B734 taxing out with a Fuel leak,Called up Apron Control,They Informed Tower & got the Aircraft back.
    It was a leaking seal leaving a trail of ATF.

    Although I got two extreme responses...Majority Appreciated it..A few told me I should not have interfered since it was not my Airline,What if it was not serious.

    regds
    MEL
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    greenguy01
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    RE: What Would You Do In This Situation While Spotting

    Fri Mar 18, 2005 1:31 pm

    clickhappy....

    Did you get any pics of this a/c before takeoff??
    Never argue with an idiot. They drag you to their level and beat you with experience.
     
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    clickhappy
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    RE: What Would You Do In This Situation While Spotting

    Fri Mar 18, 2005 1:34 pm

    Yes, pictures were taken.
     
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    zippyjet
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    RE: What Would You Do In This Situation While Spotting

    Fri Mar 18, 2005 1:41 pm

    YOU ALL DID THE RIGHT THING! CONGRATULATIONS If more of us listened to our intuitions. One never knows. Anything could have happened. I'd probably have done the same thing.  airplane 
    I'm Zippyjet & I approve of this message!
     
    N317AS
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    RE: What Would You Do In This Situation While Spotting

    Fri Mar 18, 2005 2:01 pm

    Royal,

    As observant as our friends in the BFI tower are, I am quite surprised they didn't notice it. I have a shot of a 732 with fuel streaming out of the right wing. I thought it was vapor until I got home, and clearly it wasn't. I notified our (Boeing's) rep and they notified the airlines rep, and it got pulled from service for repairs. It had been in D check and apparently a gasket had been put in backwards.

    Bill
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    RaginMav
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    RE: What Would You Do In This Situation While Spotting

    Fri Mar 18, 2005 2:19 pm

    The closest I've gotten to this situation involves checking pax names against the no-fly list for part 135 charter ops. Sometimes we don't get names until they are literally getting in the aircraft. So I hurry to my computer, run the no-fly list, and if I were to ever get a match I'd call the tower on the phone and hope to God they wouldn't think I was joking when I say 'DON'T LET N1234X TAKE OFF!!!'
     
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    malaysia
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    RE: What Would You Do In This Situation While Spotting

    Sat Mar 19, 2005 2:06 pm

    I once was aboard a DL 727-200 back in like 1997 from CVG-PHX and we pushed out and taxied out and I was lucky to have a window seat and I realized something dangling from the leading edge, and it was the fuel caps and the door! the fueler forgot to close the caps and close the panel door! and I alerted the F/A and they stopped the plane and had a fueler run out to close the panel and the nozzle caps. Maybe I should have just watched and seen what might have happened if we took off? hmm not worth the risk. probably the door would have ripped off or just closed, but the nozzed caps were dangling.
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    aviationwiz
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    RE: What Would You Do In This Situation While Spotting

    Sat Mar 19, 2005 2:35 pm

    What if you would have had, say, a Sporty's SP-200 Transceiver, or a similar device? http://www.sportys.com/pilotshop/sp-200.cfm

    Could you have tuned into the tower and explained the situation, or would they have just called the authorities and had you detained for disrupting ATC or something like that?
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    aviatortj
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    RE: What Would You Do In This Situation While Spotting

    Sat Mar 19, 2005 2:49 pm

    Quoting Aviationwiz (Reply 15):
    What if you would have had, say, a Sporty's SP-200 Transceiver, or a similar device? http://www.sportys.com/pilotshop/sp-200.cfm

    Could you have tuned into the tower and explained the situation, or would they have just called the authorities and had you detained for disrupting ATC or something like that?

    That is exactly what I was going to suggest. If you used it in an emergency situation such as this one, I am sure that the benefits of safety would take precedence over any legal issue that might come up. Saying something on the frequency would be sure to get the attention of the crew and the ATC.

    -TJ