Finnair MD-11
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Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Wed Jan 14, 2004 4:20 am

What is in your opinnion the best/worst airplane to put the GPU plug in? In my opinnion the best are MD80 and A320.
MD80 is the easiest, because the socket is on the left hand side and the GPU plug is usually on the same side. The socket is also situated really low so it's easy to put the power plug on.
A320 is also quite easy, because the socket is situated in front of the nosegear behind a panel. It is not so high to put the plug in and there is also a place to put a hook from the GPU plug so the plug can't fall down from the socket.
737 would have been easier if the socket was in the other side. But no complains from me...

The worst planes are 757, A300 and Saab 340.
On 757 the socket is situated behind the nosegear on the right hand side next to the lavatory service panel. I have been opening the lavatory panel for a few times and nice blue fluid comes behind that panel  Big thumbs up. I for myself need a ladder to put the plug in and I'm quite tall. The socket isn't upwards, it's almost sidewards and that's the thing what makes it difficult to put the plug, because it does weight a bit..
A300 has a socket in the right hand side in the nose and it's really high from the ground. Why couldn't Airbus put that any higher?  Wink/being sarcastic
Saab 340 has a socket under the belly in the right hand side. When the plug is being inserted the number 2 engine is usually still running. Nice way to have some dirt into your face  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

These were only my thoughts. Now post your own thoughts!


Finnair MD-11
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FredT
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Wed Jan 14, 2004 4:38 am

Gotta second the SF34! Whoever designed that... well... I worked at Saab Aircraft and I kept trying to figure out who it was. I wanted to do something incredibly cruel to him! Big grin

The DC-10 is another runner-up for the worst title. I'm 6', but getting the GPU inserted without it falling right down on top of my head was not easy. Not much to do about the bottom of the fuselage being that high up, I guess... but that does not mean I have to like it!

The Fokker 50 is nice, well out of the way of everything and very accessible. Too bad the hatch mechanism likes to break. First flight I sent off, I ended up with the mechanism falling apart. That was a stressful situation.

There was something annoying about the Beech 1900 too... but I can't quite remember what. Been a few years. Well, if I remember the GPU connection wrong the aircraft deserves it anyway, for that ingenious cargo locker (No, not room nor bay. Locker!) door!

Cheers,
Fred

I thought I was doing good trying to avoid those airport hotels... and look at me now.
 
Mr Spaceman
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Wed Jan 14, 2004 7:31 am

Hi guys.

I will always consider the Fairchild Swearingen Metro III turboprop as having it's ground power socket in the most dangerous location, at least for the aircraft that I used to sevice at an FBO at Toronto's YYZ.

The socket is located on the right engine on the right side of the cowling, a few inches ahead & below the wing's leading edge. After startup or before shut down, a ramp worker has to walk between the spinning prop and the wing in order to pull the GPU's cord plug out of the socket. There's NO room for error. One wrong step and you're dead!!!

After chocking the wheels of a Metro III one night, I was given the signal from the Captain to connect the GPU. Without thinking, I walked in a direct line from the nose towards the engine to pull out the GPU plug. I don't know what stopped me, but, I stoped when my nose was about 1 inch from the propeller which I couldn't see because it was dark out, and the Metro III was parked in a poorly lit area of the ramp.

I was almost killed!

Chris  Smile


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Finnair MD-11
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Wed Jan 14, 2004 7:51 am

Mr Spaceman,

Really? Never worked with Metro III, but sounds REALLY dangerous... And I thought it was dangerous to put the plug in for a 737-600 where you can feel the engine's power of sucking air...  Smile/happy/getting dizzy Hope no one gets injured with Metro IIIs in the future.


Finnair MD-11
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Mr Spaceman
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Wed Jan 14, 2004 8:32 am

Hello Finnair MD-11.

Yes sir, it is really dangerous .......... but only if you're not paying attention.

After my close call, I always followed the same routine when ever connecting or disconnecting the GPU plug on a Metro III. I'd walk to the right wingtip, and then I'd slid the back of my neck and shoulders along the wing's leading edge as I moved towards the engine. This way I was facing the back of the prop while I pulled the plug with my left hand, while keeping my body less exposed to the tight area between the prop & wing.

The next day, the copilot told me that I had scared the living crap out of him the night before. We were good friends (his company, JetAll - with 9 Metro IIIs - was based at our FBO) and I apologized for what almost happened. Nothing more was needed to be said. We both knew how lucky I was/am.

About two weeks later, at 10 pm in the dark, another JetAll Metro III was being marshalled onto the Vista Cargo ramp over near YYZ's terminal 3. Once the marshaler stopped the aircraft, he realized that he'd left his wheel chocks on top of the GPU unit, which was now parked behind the right wingtip. Well, he did the exact same thing that I did, he walked in a staight line towards the right wingtip to get his chocks, didn't see the propeller, and walked right into it!!! He was chopped up really bad. Unfortunately he didn't die instantly. He lived untill 3 AM that night. He was only 18 years old, and had been on the job for only 3 weeks.

I was on the night shift that night at my FBO which is located at the north end of the airport. I remember watching the Metro III being towed onto our ramp while being escorted by the RCMP (the Police). I had to tow it into one of our hangars. I'll never foget how badly the propeller blade were bent, or the blood, etc, that was still on the fueslage even after the aircraft had been washed down.

You need to pay attention when working the GPU for a Metro III. You can't be day dreaming!


Chris  Smile
"Just a minute while I re-invent myself"
 
Guest

RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Wed Jan 14, 2004 8:56 am

"You need to pay attention when working the GPU for a Metro III. You can't be day dreaming!"

That actually goes for just about anything you do around just about any airplane.

There has been at least one Turbo Commander that has had a GPU induced engine meltdown caused by having a GPU drop off line during an engine start and in which the pilot had forgotten to "back up" the start with the aircraft battery. The engine had lit off, but it hadn't accelerated to the point that it was self sustaining. When the GPU dropped off line the starter dropped off and the engine quit accelerating with the resulting hot start from hell.

There is a funny story about why the early model Learjets had their GPU plugs installed on the fuselage at an angle. It seems that one day Bill Lear tried to taxi off with the GPU still attached. By the time he noticed that he was dragging a power cart down the ramp he had done some expensive damage. The fix? Mount the plug at an angle so when a pilot taxied out the angle of the plug allowed it to pull itself out.

Jetguy

[Edited 2004-01-14 00:57:38]
 
Mr Spaceman
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Wed Jan 14, 2004 9:40 am

Hi Jetguy.

When I worked for an FBO at Toronto Intl Airport (YYZ), my company (SkyCharter), owned 8 jets which it chartered out. We had 5 Falcon 20's, 1 Falcon 10 and 2 Learjet 35's.

I always enjoyed installing or removing the GPU plug from our Learjet 35's after their engines were started or before they were shut down because I had to wait on my knees for the marshaler to give me the signal to connect or disconnect, and while I'd be waiting, it would blow my mind that there was a jet engine screaming away only inches from my head!  Big thumbs up

Sometimes I would rest my head against the engine cowling while I was waiting for a signal. I was always surprised at how small the amount of vibration on the cowling was. Thank God my ear protection worked good!

In these photos you can see the Learjet 35's GPU socket on the fuselage right under the left engine pylon. It's the dark rectange.


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Chris  Smile
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Dalmd88
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Thu Jan 15, 2004 5:12 pm

Many of the Metros had the socket relocated to the belly just between the flaps. All of the Metro23 had it here. I worked on about 60 different Metros and most had been modified.
 
L-188
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Fri Jan 16, 2004 1:58 pm

Spaceman,

We have a metro with a plug in that exact same spot. It can get pretty spooky with that engine running and doing it on a icy ramp, slick with deice fluid from the wing.

I really prefered the under trailing edge location the other two aircraft have.

Beech Volpar conversions are also really spooky. The plug is in the nose just aft of the radome and the prop line is about a foot and half behind that also. Merlins are not much better.


All of those aircraft they tried to write the procedures manual so that the plug was pulled before starting the engine on that side. Of course in winter you always end up with an airplane with dead, or weak batteries that you have to get both turning on the same time. On that volpar when I had to do that I kept a hold of the forward edge of the NLG bay while I reached around with my other hand and pulled the plug.

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KAUSpilot
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Fri Jan 16, 2004 2:06 pm

I'll second the Merlin. Having disconneted GPU's from those several times, they are definitely the loudest, most annoying, and most dangerous. You're about 2 feet away from the spinning prop on the right engine, which is why most pilots are nice enough to let you disonnect after they start the left engine.

Runner up would probably go to any other small piston engine airplane where you have to be very close to the prop to connect/disconnect the GPU plug (cessna 100 and 200 series singles, 300 and 400 series twins, Piper singles and twins). Jets are really all the same.....plug in and out somewhere on the bottom of the tail and drive away. Some Flacon 20's and a few others have the sockets in the nose, but it's not much different than having it in the rear. Any way you slice it it's a lot harder to walk into a jet engine than it is a prop.

Also, on beechjets you will get jet blast in your face if you don't stay ducked down the whole time, since the GPU plug is actually aft of the engine's exhaust nozzles. Almost lost my glasses and cap one day because of that. (found them a few hundred feet behind the plane later).


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[Edited 2004-01-16 06:11:50]
 
L-188
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Fri Jan 16, 2004 4:05 pm

Actually I did leave one off the list.

I had to do an bottle start on Reeve Electra 1944C.

That aircraft had the air connection in the leading edge of the right wing, right next to the wing/cabin fairing.

Anyway for some reason, the flight engineer insisted on starting the #3 motor instead of the #4 like we usually did. I got to be the moron who had to go behind that spinning aeroproducts blade and disconnect.

SPOOOOOOOKKKKKKKKKYYYY!!!

You know they say with Herks that if their allisons are at ground idle, 1/3 of the prop is producing forward air, 1/3 mixed and 1/3 reverse.

After that experience I believe it isn't that much different with the Aeroproducts blades on the electra.

But I suppose and air connection doesn't count as a plug in  Laugh out loud
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OO-AOG
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Sun Jan 18, 2004 10:56 pm

The Saab 340 is a criminal concept in matter of GPUs while the A300 is a non sense concept in matter of GPUs. Gosh I remember these SF3 departures in the good old days where I was on the ramp ... we had a rule not allowing any Saab 340 to start NR2 before the GPU was disconnected (meaning Nr1/disconnect/Nr2).
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pilotpip
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Mon Jan 19, 2004 2:28 am

I'm in total agreement on the Metro. KAUS mentioned the Beechjet. Not only will you get blasted in the face if you get too close, many have them in different positions. I'm also not a fan of the location on the MU-2. The location of it puts you directly in line with the engine exhaust and makes for a noisy, windy experience. Add this to the pain in the tail fueling procedure and the horrendous noise that this flying hunk of junk makes and you get my most hated aircraft. I think they should be banned from the skies. But hey, at least they're fast?  Nuts

Piaggio Avantis are also pretty tricky. They are on the engine nacelle very close to the pusher prop. Most crews will only start one engine and wait until you're clear for this reason.
DMI
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Mon Jan 19, 2004 3:33 am

On the A300-600 the ground power receptacle got moved down into a position just aft of the NLG.

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
ground
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Thu Jan 22, 2004 9:22 am

The best aircraft I know to plug in the GPU is the Avro RJ.



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The socket is far enough from the engines and it is in a good height.


ground
 
EMBQA
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Thu Jan 22, 2004 10:02 am

Hey, the Saab 340 is not that bad when it's COLd outside.
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Finnair MD-11
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Thu Jan 22, 2004 8:11 pm

EMBQA, I agree with you when we look it on that way  Big thumbs up


Finnair MD-11
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L-188
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Fri Jan 23, 2004 2:59 pm

That is why I liked the Pnumatic connection on Reeve Electra's 68R and 78R.

It was in the tailcone, so you could park the bottle in just the right spot and catch just the side of the exhaust from the #3 motor, Since we started #3 and #4 before disconnect you actually had a few moments in relative warmth.

Which on the Aleutian Chain was a rare thing.
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T prop
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Fri Jan 23, 2004 3:34 pm

The Dash 8 IMO, has an excellent location for the DC plug. Its on the L/H side of the nose, about 4 feet off the ground. You're not to close to the props and the crew can see you almost all the time. When you disconnect you can pull the GPU plug with your left hand and the chocks away from the nose wheels with your right hand.

The AC power receptacle is different, it's on the right nacelle. This one is not usually connected to the aircraft when it's running, so there's no danger of walking into a prop there. It's about 7 feet off the ground so a step may be needed to reach it.

T prop.
 
atct
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Sun Jan 25, 2004 8:33 am

I never cared fo the CRJ especially in Winter. Its on the other side of the aircraft from the JetWay which just adds time, then its so low, so going down on your knees on a wet/snowy ramp makes it fun for the rest of the day while your pants are wet. Always fun  Smile I would agree with the Md-80 statement, great stuff.

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larspl
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Sun Jan 25, 2004 8:19 pm

best aircraft:

dc-3


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the ground crew had to crawl under the a/c from the back so that they can pull the gpu plug and the shocks,.. great place there between the engines


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L-188
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Sun Jan 25, 2004 8:31 pm

I had a buddy that had to pull the plug on a DC-3 once.

He said it was the spookiest thing he ever did.

The DC cart we had didn't have enough cord to reach from behind the aircraft, so he had to park in front.

The pilot was using the cart because he had left the master on and both batteries where dead, so he started both motors.

The guy had to walk up between the running motors, Like I said he said it was "spooky"
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dairbus
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Sun Feb 01, 2004 9:20 am

Hello All!

I have to agree with previous posts about the SF340 being bad as far as GPU plug location. Working BEX flights out off BWI several years ago we usually put the GPU behind the right wing outboard of the #2 engine and had the cable run to the plug which was under the fuselage by the right wing root. You had to remember to duck under the #2 engine exhaust to disconnect the plug or had to reach under the plane from the left side then walk around the tail (and behind the engine) to stow the cable and drive the GPU away. Once I was distracted and walked behind the exhaust when I went to disconnect the cable. Fortunately I ducked as soon as I felt the heat and I was not injured. I did have the hair on the right side of my head sticking up for a week as a result of the "blow dry". Laugh out loud

As for other aircraft, I hate the MD11 because it is high off the ground and the receptacle is a bad design. You have to manhandle the GPU plugs deep into the sockets in order for them to make contact and if they are loose from normal wear you have them fall out right onto your head.

The 757 is inconvenient due to the height but I got real good at jumping on the nose gear tire and holding on to the nose gear with my right hand while plugging in the cord with my left. The 777 is also very high off the ground and needs a ladder to access them but the receptacle itself is a good design.

Regards

DAirbus
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MD11Engineer
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Sun Feb 01, 2004 5:17 pm

That´s why the MD-11 sockets have the small clamp installed, push the cable in as fas as it will go and then pull the little lever down. We usualy use a baggage trolley to stand on to connect the plug.

Jan
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Airplanepics
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Sun Feb 01, 2004 8:17 pm

I think the 727 one is the best! Right near the nose, and no where near the engines!!!!!!


Cheers

Airplanepics
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L-188
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Sun Feb 01, 2004 9:00 pm

Ground Power socket on the 727 yes.

Pnumatic Air connection. no.

If you never had to start one off a bottle, it is located under the number three engine, just....I am going to get this wrong.......forward of the exterior airstair control handle.
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DeltaMD11
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Sun Feb 01, 2004 10:34 pm

Interestingly enough I watched US ground crew pitifully try to hook up the GPU to a US A321 (that I would later be departing out on). It took three of them to get it in there. The first attempt it wasnt fully inserted, the second person couldn't get it in period, and finally a lady ramper got up there and got under the aircraft and basically stood under the GPU plug and pushed it up with all of her might. While this was going on the Captain was in the cockpit looking around outside trying to figure out what was going on. Kept flipping switches on the overhead I guess for the air conditioning/heating units and things of that nature.
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HAWK21M
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Mon Feb 16, 2009 6:36 am

On the topic.I've noticed the B757 socket is more tough to plug in than the B737.Maybe the height & angled location contribute to this too.
regds
MEL
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Max Q
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Mon Feb 16, 2009 7:33 am

That Metro socket sounds criminally dangerous in Design, the manufacturer should have been forced to modify all the older aircraft.

It's amazing what is accepted as normal in aviation sometimes.

Glad you survived MrSpaceman !
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T prop
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Mon Feb 16, 2009 7:34 am

I thought I was going senile or something. I see I answered this post, but I don't remember it, then I look at the date I answered it. Blast from the past!  bigthumbsup 
 
boeing767mech
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Mon Feb 16, 2009 2:57 pm



Quoting Mr Spaceman (Reply 2):
I will always consider the Fairchild Swearingen Metro III turboprop as having it's ground power socket in the most dangerous location

I second the motion for the Metro being the worst GPU socket. I also want to add the JS31/32's for being 3 feet in front of a spinning prop. Nothing like having to worry about something getting sucked into the prop.

David
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G4Doc2004
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Mon Feb 16, 2009 3:22 pm

I concur about the early Metros and the Beechjets, but the King Air B100 was awful too. The GPU receptacle was just aft of the main gear on the lower RH side nacelle, and you were always right in the blast of the exhaust from the Garrett 331. The pilots always kept the props on the locks until you gave them the "GPU Pulled" signal, but for the rest of your work day your clothes and hair smelled like burnt kerosene. It was important as well to pull the GPU plug straight down and not wiggle it back and forth, as the sheet metal in the nacelle was weak. Eventully if you weren't careful the bracket that held the GPU socket would crack and would make it very hard to plug the GPU in. Getting access to do the sheet metal repair was miserable.

[Edited 2009-02-16 07:29:03]
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DC8FriendShip
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Mon Mar 02, 2009 11:14 pm



Quoting L-188 (Reply 25):
If you never had to start one off a bottle, it is located under the number three engine, just....I am going to get this wrong.......forward of the exterior airstair control handle

It's on the left side, the airstair handle is on the right. did many airstarts on the good ole' 27.  Smile
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twal1011727
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Tue Mar 03, 2009 9:59 pm



Quoting L-188 (Reply 25):
If you never had to start one off a bottle, it is located under the number three engine, just....I am going to get this wrong.......forward of the exterior airstair control handle.

Your right

Quoting DC8FriendShip (Reply 32):
It's on the left side, the airstair handle is on the right. did many airstarts on the good ole' 27.

Unless this was a modified 72....its right were L-188 said it was.

The MD80/DC9 is on the left side just to the left of the aft stair door control.

KD
 
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:48 pm



Quoting TWAL1011727 (Reply 33):
Unless this was a modified 72....its right were L-188 said it was.

The MD80/DC9 is on the left side just to the left of the aft stair door control


You may be right- I thought the airstair control was on the right side of the Airstairs, with the airstart socket and tail strut mount on the left.
It has been ten years, though.
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FlyDeltaJets
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Wed Mar 04, 2009 4:25 am

The worst is the CRJ. It is underneath the nose of the aircraft and there is nothing to hold it up but the size of the holes in the cable. If u try and use an old cable it will not stay connected.
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HAWK21M
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Wed Mar 04, 2009 8:02 am



Quoting FlyDeltaJets (Reply 35):
The worst is the CRJ. It is underneath the nose of the aircraft and there is nothing to hold it up but the size of the holes in the cable. If u try and use an old cable it will not stay connected

Any provision of providing a cable support chain?
regds
MEL.
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MX757
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Wed Mar 04, 2009 9:01 am

Best: DC-9/MD-80, great location especially if you are plugging in Jet Way power.

Worst: 757, if the retaining strap is broken we have to use a ladder to prop up the cord so the plug doesn't fall out.


I have a 787 Gen/Fam training CD from Boeing. From what I read it will take 3 to 4 (depending on model) external power cords to fully power up the A/C on the ground!

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DeltaGuy
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Wed Mar 04, 2009 4:07 pm

Old thread!

I second the 757 as the worst GPU socket ever...the 767 wasn't too too bad.

The Gulfstreams all are pretty easy to hook up, both AC and DC...why use DC if you can have AC for an AC aircraft?

DeltaGuy
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HAWK21M
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Thu Mar 05, 2009 2:07 am



Quoting MX757 (Reply 37):
Worst: 757, if the retaining strap is broken we have to use a ladder to prop up the cord so the plug doesn't fall out.

We use a chain with hook attachment to the cable as added support on the B752,as the metal support bracket is not perfect.
regds
MEL.
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cotparampguy
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RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Fri Mar 06, 2009 8:37 am

All 737 series have easy sockets to plug into. At TPA the cords are really worn so some of the gates have had them replaced and it makes it a lot easier to plug in.

The A320 series was a pain to plug in the ground power because we did not have a hook on our cord so we could hook it to the plane to keep it in place. Once we got that cord, it wasn't so bad.

The ERJ has a pretty easy one too, but you have the portable unit to do it with.

The 757 is by far the worst. It is quite a pain as mentioned to get to.
 
josekmlb
Posts: 195
Joined: Thu May 29, 2008 7:34 am

RE: Best/Worst GPU Sockets?

Mon Mar 09, 2009 4:15 am



Quoting FlyDeltaJets (Reply 35):
The worst is the CRJ. It is underneath the nose of the aircraft and there is nothing to hold it up but the size of the holes in the cable. If u try and use an old cable it will not stay connected.

You are 100% right there that damn CRJ is the worst one ever.

And the best is the MD-80s right there on the left side where it is nice and easy to hook up.

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