Qantas Captain
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Joined: Sat Sep 16, 2000 7:32 pm

Push Back Procedures

Tue Jul 03, 2001 11:47 pm

After a pilot has requested push and start from the tower, what does he say to the ground controller who actually uses the tug to push the aircraft back? (an example phrase would be appreciated)

How does the pilot know when to start using the rudder contol to turn the aircraft parallel to the jetway, how do they know even which way to turn the plane, does the tug controller actually tell the pilot over radio when to begin the turn.
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Joined: Tue May 29, 2001 9:51 am

RE: Push Back Procedures

Tue Jul 03, 2001 11:55 pm

I work on the ground crew for the summer doing this, here's what happens.

When the Jetway is disconnected and everything it set, chocks removed, etc.

Headset Person on Pushpack machine: Captain are you ready for pushpack?

Captain: Ready for pushback

H: Release brakes

C: Brakes released

H: commencing pushback

C: we're all set to push back, go ahead

H: ok

"Out on the ramp before everything is disconnected"

H: set brakes

C: brakes set

"Now the headset operator disconnects the towbar from the tug, then the nosegear and the driver drives off with it, while another person is holding the ornage wands making an "X" to sigaml to the pilot not to move because someone is still there."

H: towbar disconnected, bypass pin removed, I will show you the red flag momentarily

C: ok, thank you

H: have a good trip

C: roger, take care

"Now the headset operator waves the red flag and the pilot acknowledges with a thumbs up, the marshaller marshals the pilot, the captain releases his brakes, powers up a little, and he's off!
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Joined: Sat Jul 01, 2000 3:56 pm

RE: Push Back Procedures

Wed Jul 04, 2001 12:01 am


Well I was lucky enough to do work experience down at QF Domestic YMML and one of my jobs was to sit and watch pushbacks in the truck. In fact if you get work experience down there, the tug drivers are nice enough to offer you the chance of pushing the aircraft back for yourself! but i didn't take that up for liabilities sake...

The truck driver does the whole push back. When I was working in the cockpit the captain said they just did their preflights in that time. The tug driver just has to make sure the aircraft wheel follows the lines and thats pretty easy from ground level. The tug driver does not communicate. He or she just listens to when the captain radios the controller. So he has to be sitting in his tug, sometimes for a while.

Hope this helps!

RE: Push Back Procedures

Wed Jul 04, 2001 12:53 am

DC10 gave a nice rundown of the basic communication and procedure. Southern, maybe things are done differently in your part of the world, but your second paragraph made no sense at all.

To answer a few more questions: The FO will usually call either ramp or ground control for "Airline 123, push gate 9". The controller will then give clearance as appropriate, and then the captain will begin his communication with the tug driver.

The captain uses the tiller once the ground crew signals all is clear, after start procedures are complete in the cockpit, and the FO has called for and received taxi clearance from ATC. As for which way to turn, that's simply a matter of which way you're headed and where you're parked.

The tug driver will not tell the pilot when to turn, but will give hand signals that the ground crew is clear and immediate area safe to begin taxi. A quick flash of the taxi light is a common signal from the cockpit to the marshaller that the aiplane is now ready to taxi.

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Joined: Mon Sep 27, 1999 6:58 pm

RE: Push Back Procedures

Wed Jul 04, 2001 1:30 am

A standard "pushback"procedure is as follows:
-When the flightcrew has gotten "push&start clearance",the most commonly used fraseology goes something like this:
-"Ground to flightdeck.."
-"Go ahead"
-"We´ve got push&start clearance,final checks please,standing by on the brakes".
-"Departure check completed,no remarks..all doors&hatches closed,ground equipment removed,towbar&bypass pin inserted...please release brakes".
-Brakes released."
-"Commencing push,all engines clear,start at will".
-Afirm,starting sequence will be 2&1(i.e).Turning two."
-"Number two".

After the push is completed and the aircraft has been positioned according to airport regulations,the conversation is as follows:

-"Flightdeck to ground"
-"Go ahead."
-"Pushback completed,please set brakes".
-"Parking brake set,ok to start number one?"

Then a few moments of silence in the headset follows as the fightcrew monitors the engine start and the startleader on the ground disconnects the towbar and removes the bypass pin whilst keeping an eye on engine number one in case of tailpipe flames or any other abnormal stuff.

-"Ground to flightdeck,we´ve got two good starts,all´s ok,you may disconnect..see you on the side of your choise".
-"Ok,final clearance will be given (on your left/righthand side or in front),have a nice flight,bye."

After that,the startleader disconnects the headset and walks away from the a/c in the chosen direction...when at a safe distance he´ll turn around and give "thumbs up"holding the bypass pin in the same hand as he signals with.

This is,should I say,standard procedure here at ARN,it may be slightly different,pending on airport,but basically this is how it´s done.
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RE: Push Back Procedures

Wed Jul 04, 2001 2:00 am

And all this is much more difficult when your headset is connected to an old noisy starting up DC8...will always remember this Cargolion old eight on a night departure pushback. Despite the fact that I couldn't hear what the crew was saying, we had an engine that had an hung start twice. a limo but with wings
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Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2001 1:32 pm

RE: Push Back Procedures

Wed Jul 04, 2001 4:18 am

My experiences with pushbacks (I've done 200+) varied with the type of aircraft I was pushing out. General proceedure was the same, but with a few differences. If I was pushing out an EMB-120, we would start out with the PIC asking if they were clear to start the no. 2 engine, we would verify and say "Clear to start 2". Once we were cleared to push back, the PIC would say either, "Clear to pushback, mains on the line" or "Clear to pushback, tail North (or South)". I would respond, "Copy, clear to pushback....(whatever command they gave, mains on the line, etc.)." I would signal the wingwalkers that we were ready to pushback, and if we were going tail north or tail south, I would point which direction we were going. During the pushback, they would go through their preflight checks. Once we were on the taxiway, I would say "Pushback complete, set brakes." The PIC would respond, "Brakes set." My wingwalkers would remove the lockout pin and disconnect the strut strap from the nose wheel (we used pushback units that used a strap and a winch). One would either hand me the pin or step out the to port side, and I would ask, "Do you have the pin?" When the PIC saw the pin, the would respond, "I have the pin, Clear to start 1?" I would verify that they were clear to start one, answered, "Clear to start one." The PIC would respond "Copy clear to start one. You're cleared off headset, see you later (or something similar)." I would say, "Copy, clear off headset, have a good flight." Then I would pull forward of the aircraft and wait for the PIC to signal that they were cleared to taxi, I would then salute them, and return to the gate. Now if I was pushing out a CRJ, the proceedure was the same, except for the engines. Once we were out on the taxiway, the wingwalkers would reattach the tension scissors on the nose gear, and the same proceedure (sans engines) as the Brasilia would apply. Usually the crews started the engines during the pushback, thereby saving a few minutes on the taxiway.
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Joined: Thu Nov 25, 1999 12:24 pm

RE: Push Back Procedures

Wed Jul 04, 2001 5:31 am

I work for UPS Gateway ORF, and currently just finished training on the headset. Here is what we use for a NON-AIRSTART
C:Cockpit to ground
G:This is ground, stand-by.
At this point, I would give the signal to remove the front wheel chocks (the others and the cones are removed prior to communication).
G:Ok sir, all chocks and cones are removed and I confirm that all bay doors are closed. We are standing by for pushback.
C:Roger. You are cleared to push. Parking brake is released.
Now I would give the signal to begin pushback to the tug driver.
G:We are commencing pushback now, sir.
The tug pushes the plane out. Once the plane has cleared all the equipment:
G:You are cleared of the gate. Cleared to start right engine.
C:Starting right engine.
The tug continues to push the plane back, turns it, slows and stops.
G:Set paring brake.
C:Parking brake is set.
I unhook the tow bar and remove the steering pin.
G:You are cleared to start left engine.
C:Starting left
C:Ok, it looks like we have two good starts.
G:Roger that. Tow bar has been disconnected and steering pin has been removed.
C:Copy that. You are cleared off the headset. Have a good night.
G:Yes sir. Have a nice flight home and we will see you tomorrow. Please watch your left for my signal.
I unhook the headset and run out to a visible spot clear of the engines. I make sure that there is a marshaller positioned in front of the aircraft and all other personell are clear. The signals are: both wands straight up (all clear), then one wand across my chest pointing at the marshaller (hand-off signal), then a salute. Then I clear myself of the plane, wait for the landing light flash, look the plane over quickly as the engines throttle up, give the captain a thumbs up, and one more salute. Then we are all clear.
For an airstart, GPU stays connected, and the right engine is started before the chocks are removed, then I am cleared from the cockpit to disconnect. The air, GPU and chocks are all removed at that time and the left is started at the same time.
The above instructions are for a 757. There are slight differences in the 757, 727 and DC8, but the basics are the same. Hope this helps.
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RE: Push Back Procedures

Wed Jul 04, 2001 6:45 am

Hi all,

This is our communication procedures at Air Canada:
The tug driver will get in the tug approx 5-10 minutes before departure.
He/she will call the flightdeck and ask for a communication check to see if comm is ok.
The f/d will call back comm ok, brakes set.
Ground will say roger comm ok brakes set, removing chocks.
When we are ready for pushback, driver will call, ready for push, at which point, the pilots will get push clearance from the tower.
Then they will call back and advise the driver that they are cleared for push and that they have released the parking brake.
The driver will call back to the f/d and say starting push, cleared to start engines (usually starting from the right side).
Then when back to the stopping point, the driver will stop and ask the f/d for brakes set. The f/d will call back brakes set, at which point the wingwalkers will remove the towbar and bypass pin.
Then the f/d will call pins removed and the driver will say towbar and pins removed.
The pilot will then say roger, revert to hand signals.
The driver will say reverting to hand signals, have a nice day.
This is pretty much the standard for us at AC, however, things can change depending on weather conditions, ramp congestion, a/c type, pnuematic starts (airstarts), etc.

In life, some days you are the bug..... some days you are the windshield!

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