SEPilot
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737-200 Arctic Operations

Sat Feb 26, 2011 2:18 pm

I just watched the Discovery program Flying Wild Alaska, and it showed a 737-200 in Barrow, Alaska (the northernmost town in North America.) I recall reading that the Jurassics work better in arctic conditions than the Classics or NG's, but have forgotten why. I know that the Jurassics had an optional gravel kit that helped reduce the amount of FOD the engines injested, but my recollection is that this wasn't the only reason, or was it?. Since the runway at Barrow is paved now, and most other Alaskan runways are as well, if that was the only reason it does not seem logical that someone would still be flying a 732 up there. Any info?
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
 
413X3
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RE: 737-200 Arctic Operations

Sat Feb 26, 2011 3:33 pm

It is logical when you realize that the airplane is probably paid off. Even though it's a gas guzzler, a gas bill is cheaper than a lease on a newer airplane.
 
HAL9k
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RE: 737-200 Arctic Operations

Sat Feb 26, 2011 5:18 pm

The "Jurassics" normally requires much maintenance, have a lot of corrosion problems, but on the other side, they are quite reliable on the day-by-day. And in certain situations (mostly electrical) if you don't have the right spare part you can always arrange something to bypass the problem and get out of the desert...

I remember in a maintenance course of a "Jurassic" aircraft (but the course was actually 10 years ago) the instructor told us how to bypass a lot of electrical failures (switches, relays....) to get the aircraft home....

if you have a broken FADEC or a printed circuit board... no way.....

And, with old planes you can have much more parts at stok as this are notmally cheaper...

Moreover old good metal airframes are more cheap to repair (and easy to) than composite parts. If a FOD damages a composite panel in a ground roll, even if you have the repair scheme I doubt you can to repair it in the middle of Alaska...

But of course the latest generations planes can do the job as well... take a look at the Skytrader's A319LR flying in Antrartica
 
coopdogyo
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RE: 737-200 Arctic Operations

Sat Feb 26, 2011 5:37 pm

Was the plane an Alaska Airlines 737-200 if so the footage they used is old. Alaska retired their last 737-200 when all the runways of the airports they fly to in Alaska were paved. I would assume that the main reason that 737-200's are flying in the artic is because of the gravel mod.
 
peterpuck
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RE: 737-200 Arctic Operations

Sat Feb 26, 2011 5:40 pm

Older aircraft are more mechanical (cable flight controls, analogue instruments etc) therefore generally more reliable in extreme cold. Electronics, computers, electric servos, hydralics etc tend to quit as the mercury falls.
 
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longhauler
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RE: 737-200 Arctic Operations

Sat Feb 26, 2011 5:42 pm

I have many thousand hours flying B737-200s in Canada's arctic. In my opinion there is no better ship to do the job.

While some runways have been paved, you have to realize that is simply not possible for a lot of places because of the terrain. The tundra and permafrost is always "moving" if you were to pave it, it would look like an earthquake victim within months.

As far as I know, there is no other jet transport aircraft built with a "gravel kit". I used to land on gravel runways, and even ice runways during certain times of the year. Often, we were the only link to the south for months, for a lot of these communities.

Our aircraft were equipped with Omega Navigation, as INS could not align that far north. Toward the end, they were equipped with GPS as well. Also, Transport Canada required we were adept at using the Astro Compass, and were tested on its use often. Before, you roll your eyes ... this was only 12 years or so ago. I am not sure if it is required now.

The newer jet transports use IRS/laser gyros, not just for position, but for attitude and heading information for the primary flight instruments. Every aircraft I have flown that is so equipped, had restrictions on its use that far north, to a maximum of 73 degrees north. I don't know if that is because that is all it was tested for, or if it really didn't work ... but that too would restrict newer B737s from use up there.


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DiamondFlyer
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RE: 737-200 Arctic Operations

Sat Feb 26, 2011 6:50 pm

Quoting coopdogyo (Reply 3):
Was the plane an Alaska Airlines 737-200 if so the footage they used is old. Alaska retired their last 737-200 when all the runways of the airports they fly to in Alaska were paved.

No, it looked to be the paint scheme of the Northern Air Cargo 737-200's to me. It was on the show for maybe 2 seconds, so I didn't get a good look, but that's what it looked like to me.

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Viscount724
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RE: 737-200 Arctic Operations

Sun Feb 27, 2011 2:07 am

Quoting SEPilot (Thread starter):
Barrow, Alaska (the northernmost town in North America.)

In the USA, not North America. Barrow is about 71 deg. N. There are communities in Canada further north than that, for example Resolute Bay (YRB) at over 74 deg. N.

YRB (6,000 ft. gravel runway) once had 737 and 727 combi service. I think the largest scheduled type there now is the ATR-42.

Photos below of Canadian North 732C and Pacific Western 721C at YRB.


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Quoting LongHauler (Reply 5):
I used to land on gravel runways, and even ice runways during certain times of the year.

Pacific Western 732C below on a floating ice island (77 deg. N) in March 1986, delivering workers and supplies to an oil exploration site. Temperature -46C at the time.

http://www.pwareunion.com/images/aircraft/B737-WestCornwall.JPG
 
XaraB
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RE: 737-200 Arctic Operations

Sun Feb 27, 2011 11:59 am

Quoting LongHauler (Reply 5):
Every aircraft I have flown that is so equipped, had restrictions on its use that far north, to a maximum of 73 degrees north. I don't know if that is because that is all it was tested for, or if it really didn't work ... but that too would restrict newer B737s from use up there.

I know that SK are using 738's to Longyearbyen (LYR), Svalbard, which is at 78 degrees north. I don't know if they are equipped with extra navigational equipment to counter such limitations.
An open mind is not an empty one
 
SEPilot
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RE: 737-200 Arctic Operations

Sun Feb 27, 2011 12:44 pm

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 7):
In the USA, not North America. Barrow is about 71 deg. N. There are communities in Canada further north than that, for example Resolute Bay (YRB) at over 74 deg. N.

Thanks for the info, I did not realize that.
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
 
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longhauler
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RE: 737-200 Arctic Operations

Sun Feb 27, 2011 2:41 pm

Quoting XaraB (Reply 8):
I know that SK are using 738's to Longyearbyen (LYR), Svalbard, which is at 78 degrees north. I don't know if they are equipped with extra navigational equipment to counter such limitations.


I pulled out my B767 manual, (similar setup to the newer B737s with respect to IRS), and it says that "Ground Alignment will be satisfactory up to 73 degrees North". So that makes me think, as long as they are aligned, and they would be when flying in there, as long as you don't have to align them on the ground you are good to go. So I imagine that SK only fly there as a ground stop/turn, not an overnight. (I don't know, just a guess.)

Then it mentions that in NAV mode, the IRS will not provide a valid magnetic heading north of 73N, or south of 60S. That makes sense though, as up there you don't use magnetic heading anyway, everything is done in Degrees True, with associated SOPs for its use. In the B737-200, we used to "unslave" our heading instruments, and use conversion cards for take off and landing. In the B767, we can do the same, showing all heading in degrees True. (We used to do this on the Atlantic, when we first got the planes).

I would guess, SK, with decades and decades of service in the far north, has similar SOPs in force.
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XaraB
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RE: 737-200 Arctic Operations

Sun Feb 27, 2011 7:14 pm

Quoting LongHauler (Reply 10):
So I imagine that SK only fly there as a ground stop/turn, not an overnight. (I don't know, just a guess.)

Sounds plausible. I don't have inside knowledge of SK's ops, but flights to LYR are frequently held at TOS if there are indications of bad weather en route (both ways), possibly because they want to avoid aircraft being "stuck" overnight at LYR.

Quoting LongHauler (Reply 10):
I would guess, SK, with decades and decades of service in the far north, has similar SOPs in force.

Probably. However, I know DY has had scheduled flights to and from LYR with both 733's and 738's (pulled both times due to low traffic volumes), and they do not have nearly the same experience flying jets that far north as SK does. I would therefore guess that operations to LYR probably aren't particularly difficult.
An open mind is not an empty one
 
chuchoteur
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RE: 737-200 Arctic Operations

Mon Feb 28, 2011 8:04 am

Quoting XaraB (Reply 8):
Quoting LongHauler (Reply 5):
Every aircraft I have flown that is so equipped, had restrictions on its use that far north, to a maximum of 73 degrees north. I don't know if that is because that is all it was tested for, or if it really didn't work ... but that too would restrict newer B737s from use up there.

I know that SK are using 738's to Longyearbyen (LYR), Svalbard, which is at 78 degrees north. I don't know if they are equipped with extra navigational equipment to counter such limitations.

Funnily enough, was up there a couple of weeks ago with the SAS crews.
Aircraft are GPS-equipped, IRS alignment takes 17 minutes!

It's run as a ground-stop only as there are no hangars big enough for the 738 up there, but smaller aircraft are based up there...
 
Clydenairways
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RE: 737-200 Arctic Operations

Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:12 pm

Quoting XaraB (Reply 11):
Probably. However, I know DY has had scheduled flights to and from LYR with both 733's and 738's (pulled both times due to low traffic volumes), and they do not have nearly the same experience flying jets that far north as SK does. I would therefore guess that operations to LYR probably aren't particularly difficult.

West Air Cargo also have a daily fright from Tromso to LYR with a CRJ.
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: 737-200 Arctic Operations

Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:17 pm

Quoting HAL9k (Reply 2):
The "Jurassics" normally requires much maintenance, have a lot of corrosion problems, but on the other side, they are quite reliable on the day-by-day

Not on Freighters,As the main source of corrosion on the B732s were Water seepage from the Toilet & Galleys.

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MEL.
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