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Joined: Fri Sep 17, 1999 12:04 pm


Thu Mar 29, 2001 4:52 am

I just read some very informative responses about the various procedures during pushback.

This brings me to another question:
Is powerbacking (backing a plane up using its thrust reversers) still used often? Where it is used, what is the usual procedure? I appreciate any responses from all you "ramp rats."  Wink/being sarcastic

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RE: Powerbacking

Thu Mar 29, 2001 5:34 am

Hi Rapo,

There is much information on this site regarding powerbacks that has been recently discussed. Try a search using the words powerback and/or reverse thrust. Look back about a month or so.

If you do not find what you need, I would be happy to help.

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ATA L1011
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RE: Powerbacking

Thu Mar 29, 2001 10:21 am

It is used in certain locations still like Memphis,and DFW for sure. They use it when space isnt an issue and to cut down on cost. Only certain aircraft do this procedure the MD-80,DC-9, 727,F-100, and the 737-200. I have yet to see anything but these do that procedure.
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RE: Powerbacking

Thu Mar 29, 2001 2:53 pm

I tried getting an accumulating list in the past.

Airlines that do it (Confirmed)


Feel free to add any
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RE: Powerbacking

Fri Mar 30, 2001 6:03 am

An airline must have FAA approval to powerback. Each aircraft, each airport and each gate must be approved and the pilot and ground crew trained in powerback operations. Also, at some gates, powerbacks may be permitted straight back only, no turns. At AirTran, only the dc9 and 717 are permitted to powerback. I don't think any jet aircraft with wing mounted engines has powerback approval.

Powerbacks can't be performed during periods of heavy precip, with a reverser inop, with contaminants on the ramp that may accumulate on the wings (snow,slush) or cause a hazzard to the people on the ramp and the ramp folks must wear eye protection.

The procedure is simple. The engines are started at the gate. On signal from the ground crew and clearance from ground/ramp control the airplane moves forward a few feet. This moves the aircraft off the flat spots on the tires so the thrust required to back up is reduced. The brakes are applied to stop the aircraft and the engines are put into reverse targeting a power setting of about 1.2 EPR (dc9). Once the aircraft gets moving your heels go to the floor to prevent inadvertently applying the brakes, which may cause the nosewheel to leave the ground. To stop the engines are taken out of reverse and forward thrust applied.

It saves time and the need for alot of ground equpt. The ramp area is kept clean so FOD is at a minimum.

Happy Flying.
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RE: Powerbacking

Fri Mar 30, 2001 9:05 am

All of AA's MD80s and 727s powerback at IAD. I have never seen any planes with the engines mounted on the wings powerback, so I don't they they are powerback approved by the FAA since the engines are closer to the ground and to the ground crew.

Thanks for the procedures ME. I have always enjoy watching planes powerbacking. It's quite a fun experience to watch them.

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RE: Powerbacking

Fri Mar 30, 2001 1:55 pm

It was brought up before that AA tried to powerback their 757s when they first came online, and fodded up enough engines to give the idea up... It was apparently pretty much the only way Eastern got any aircraft 757 and below out of thier gates due to the fact that union rules required the mechanics to do the pushes... (WN has the same rule)

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RE: Powerbacking

Sat Mar 31, 2001 2:23 pm

Intersting.. FL started power backs @ MCO today... Captain got a fax with the paperwork, and our 717 left gate 103 @ MCO under its own power...
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RE: Powerbacking

Sat Mar 31, 2001 5:01 pm

I know at AE we powerback some of our EMB-135/145's at certain stations. I'm not 100% sure we still do or not.
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