lexkid12300
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Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Thu Jul 05, 2012 4:27 am

Hi everyone,

I'm planning another Delta DC9 day trip for this August and was hoping to catch some good footage. In one of my most recent trips (DTW-BWI-DTW), two of the flight attendants noticed me filming the boarding process, and stopped me upon exiting in BWI to talk about "our" interest in aviation! A few minutes later, i was chatting with the entire crew, and was later given permission to walk down with the first officer as he did his walk around of the plane before our return flight back to DTW. My girlfriend and myself were offered seats in first class (which i of course had to deny since i wanted to be in row 23 next to the JT8D's) and they later took us on a little tour of DTW to see their 747 and speak with other crew members. They were incredibly nice and really made us feel like VIP's!

Here are two videos i took that day- the first being a tour of the interior, and the second being the exterior walk around.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lu6I9gcziZw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGpqj1Jy32o

Anyway, to the point... Do you think Delta DC9 pilots have the ability to deny a tug and request to do a powerback upon exiting the jetway? I have seen many videos of Northwest pilots doing this routinely several years ago (i believe pre- 2008) but i have no idea if this is still acceptable in 2012. I would LOVE to get cabin footage of the thrust reversers being deployed for a pushback from row 23 or 24.

I know it's probably a stretch, but does anyone know if pilots can still do this? I've only met a few pilots, but i know if i were a pilot and had a fellow "aviation loving" passenger requesting something like this (that is really a thrill) i would definitely do it if i had the ability and the time!

What are your thoughts and opinions? Sorry if this seems like a stupid question, but i figured someone on here might know! I want to be able to experience a REAL airplane dropping it's buckets and doing a powerback as these new plastic airplanes and methods of doing everything "efficiently" just aren't smokey or loud enough!

PS i'm 23 years old (not a kid as my username might indicate) and i've been into aviation for a few years. Thanks for any input! I really appreciate the help!
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Thu Jul 05, 2012 5:18 am

Quoting lexkid12300 (Thread starter):
Do you think Delta DC9 pilots have the ability to deny a tug and request to do a powerback upon exiting the jetway?

I think that nowadays airport and company regs would negate any discretion the Captain might have. Powerbacks are noisy, use lots of fuel and carry some risk. I'd say Delta and the airport are mandating a tug at this point.
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September11
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:03 am

I think it depends on union contracts.
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HaveBlue
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:55 am

As I've stated before here on these forums, my very first flight on an airplane was on an Eastern L-1011 from MCO to Pittsburgh as a kid and we powered back from the gate. I don't recall it very well, but my father (also a pilot) said that it happened and, quite embarrisingly for me, frightened me at the time. I'm sure its much rarer nowadays.
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HAWK21M
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:38 am

Nice gesture by the crew to encourage an Aviation enthusiast.....
Unless there is no Tug/Pushbach truck available,the powerback is virtually ruled out for Noise/FOD/Life reducttion of Engine/Safety reasons.
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Cubsrule
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:54 pm

I ride (and have ridden) quite a few NW/DL DC-9s, and the powerback was dead as of about mid-2007. MEM was the last station that did any quantity of them, likely because of the highly banked structure of that hub.
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BoeingGuy
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:25 pm

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 5):
I ride (and have ridden) quite a few NW/DL DC-9s, and the powerback was dead as of about mid-2007. MEM was the last station that did any quantity of them, likely because of the highly banked structure of that hub.

AA, FL and NW were the last three airlines to do powerbacks on their DC9/MD80/717 airplanes. CO stopped it over 20 years ago, and AS and DL never did it AFAIK.

AA and FL stopped it in 2005 and NW in 2006-2007. I think I heard that AA may still do it on rare occasions if a tug isn't available but it's not standard practice.
 
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:46 pm

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 6):
and AS and DL never did it AFAIK.

It would be interesting to know if DL even permits it on DC-9s.
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KGRB
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Thu Jul 05, 2012 7:05 pm

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 5):
I ride (and have ridden) quite a few NW/DL DC-9s, and the powerback was dead as of about mid-2007.

  

I have read elsewhere that the fuel spikes that Summer are what ultimately killed the powerback at NW. Now the power-out on the other hand, is a different story. Many smaller stations still do them, even on mainline aircraft.
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BoeingGuy
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Thu Jul 05, 2012 7:55 pm

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 7):
Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 6):
and AS and DL never did it AFAIK.

It would be interesting to know if DL even permits it on DC-9s.

I was referring to pre-merger DL like on their old DC-9s and MD-80s. NW stopped doing Powerbacks before the DL merger.
 
Cubsrule
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:39 pm

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 9):
NW stopped doing Powerbacks before the DL merger.

Yes, which is why I think DL may not even a procedure for doing it.
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FlyASAGuy2005
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Thu Jul 05, 2012 9:26 pm

Quoting lexkid12300 (Thread starter):



Had to do a little digging but powerbacks are not authorized at Delta Air Lines. I thought a quick search through our intranet would have yielded something but it didn't Had to look through some of the DC9 SOPs for the ramp, mtc and flight OPS. Its strictly prohibited on the 88s/90s, and DC9s.
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BoeingGuy
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:26 pm

Quoting FlyASAGuy2005 (Reply 11):
Had to do a little digging but powerbacks are not authorized at Delta Air Lines. I thought a quick search through our intranet would have yielded something but it didn't Had to look through some of the DC9 SOPs for the ramp, mtc and flight OPS. Its strictly prohibited on the 88s/90s, and DC9s.

Not a surprise. Like I said, to the best of my knowledge, DL never did powerbacks with their heritage DC-9/MD-80/MD-90 fleets. NW had discontinued the practice before the merger anyway, so it stands to reason that DL wouldn't authorize them now.

The only US airlines I know of that have done powerbacks in the past are FL, AA, NW, Republic, Eastern and CO.
 
jetstar
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:08 am

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 12):
Not a surprise. Like I said, to the best of my knowledge, DL never did powerbacks with their heritage DC-9/MD-80/MD-90 fleets. NW had discontinued the practice before the merger anyway, so it stands to reason that DL wouldn't authorize them now.

The only US airlines I know of that have done powerbacks in the past are FL, AA, NW, Republic, Eastern and CO.

You can add TWA to the list, I have been on a few TWA flights where they powered back, I clearly remember doing a power back out of DFW.

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September11
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Sat Jul 07, 2012 5:17 pm

Eastern loves and lives powerback. I was on Eastern 757 that powerbacked in ATL. I think I saw Eastern powerback A-300s and L-1011s.
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HAWK21M
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Sat Jul 07, 2012 6:53 pm

Quoting September11 (Reply 14):
I was on Eastern 757 that powerbacked in ATL.

Always wanted to see a B757 Powerback.....Our company SOP disallows powerback for B757s.
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HaveBlue
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Sat Jul 07, 2012 6:59 pm

Quoting September11 (Reply 14):
Eastern loves and lives powerback. I was on Eastern 757 that powerbacked in ATL. I think I saw Eastern powerback A-300s and L-1011s.

I've been on an Eastern L-1011 that powered back.. was back in the 70's out of MCO but yes they did it.
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N243NW
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Sat Jul 07, 2012 7:05 pm

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 6):
I think I heard that AA may still do it on rare occasions if a tug isn't available but it's not standard practice.

As of a couple months ago, AA is removing all references to powerbacks from their DC-9 flight manuals. So even if there's no tug available, powerbacks will no longer be permitted.
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:36 pm

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 15):
Quoting September11 (Reply 14):
I was on Eastern 757 that powerbacked in ATL.

Always wanted to see a B757 Powerback.....Our company SOP disallows powerback for B757s.

As I've mentioned in another thread, the Boeing Airplane Flight Manual (AFM), which is FAA certified, does not prohibit powerbacks on the 757 or 737. It does however state for the 747, 767, 777 and 787 that "Backing the airplane using reverse thrust is prohibited".

As of several years ago, I saw a Supplementary Procedure in Brittannia's Ops Manual for 757 powerbacks. AA experimented with powerbacking their 757s, but decided it wasn't a good idea due to potential FOD. I'm told that they also couldn't reliably get the airplane moving backwards at higher gross weights. I worked with an ex-AA Tech Pilot who was tasked with investigating if AA should adopt powerbacks for the 757s.

I would like to see a photo of a 757 or L1011 doing a powerback. Anybody know of one?
 
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:39 pm

Quoting N243NW (Reply 17):
As of a couple months ago, AA is removing all references to powerbacks from their DC-9 flight manuals. So even if there's no tug available, powerbacks will no longer be permitted.

I'd like to see the procedure for it. Can you paste the old AA MD-80 Supplementary Procedure for Powerbacking?

I have the general gist: roll forward, pop the reversers, feet on the floor, use idle forward thrust to stop the airplane.
 
stratosphere
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 5:23 am

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 19):
I have the general gist: roll forward, pop the reversers, feet on the floor, use idle forward thrust to stop the airplane.

Thats pretty much it I was run/taxi on the DC-9 and 727 at NWA and used to powerback both a/c. The 727 you had to make sure you had enough fuel on board to keep the a/c from being too tail heavy but power forward to get off the flat spot since tires settle when sitting a while then stop pull reverse and do not hit the brakes to stop on a powerback or you will wind up on your tail looking at the sky..Just close the reversers and a little forward power to stop the roll.

[Edited 2012-07-08 22:24:03]

[Edited 2012-07-08 22:25:12]
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:13 am

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 19):
use idle forward thrust to stop the airplane.

Very important point.....

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 18):
As I've mentioned in another thread, the Boeing Airplane Flight Manual (AFM), which is FAA certified, does not prohibit powerbacks on the 757 or 737. It does however state for the 747, 767, 777 and 787 that "Backing the airplane using reverse thrust is prohibited".

Why FOD chances on B757 & NOT on B767.....
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FlyASAGuy2005
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 3:11 pm

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 21):
Why FOD chances on B757 & NOT on B767.....

You mean Why FOD chances on B767 & NOT on B757.....?

He said the AFM doesn't prohibit powerbacks on 757s and 737s but it is on the widebodies.

My only guess would be that the chance of FOD ingestion (and human or equipment for that matter) is much greater on the widerides. I can't even begin to imagine what the noise level would be if a T7 tried to power back. As it is during engine start I can hear a DL T7 start from a concourse and a half away.
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BoeingGuy
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 6:02 pm

Quoting FlyASAGuy2005 (Reply 22):
Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 21):
Why FOD chances on B757 & NOT on B767.....

You mean Why FOD chances on B767 & NOT on B757.....?

He said the AFM doesn't prohibit powerbacks on 757s and 737s but it is on the widebodies.

I don't know the basis for the AFM limitation that prohibits powerbacks on the 747, 767, 777 and 787 but not that 737 or 757. I'm guessing that FOD is not the reason though.

Quoting FlyASAGuy2005 (Reply 22):
I can't even begin to imagine what the noise level would be if a T7 tried to power back

I'll bet it would be quieter than an AA MD-80 doing a powerback, which was louder than h***.
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 6:44 pm

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 23):
I don't know the basis for the AFM limitation that prohibits powerbacks on the 747, 767, 777 and 787 but not that 737 or 757. I'm guessing that FOD is not the reason though.

Apart from FOD,Tilt or Noise....Would there be another reason.
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BoeingGuy
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 6:50 pm

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 24):
Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 23):
I don't know the basis for the AFM limitation that prohibits powerbacks on the 747, 767, 777 and 787 but not that 737 or 757. I'm guessing that FOD is not the reason though.

Apart from FOD,Tilt or Noise....Would there be another reason.

Let me see if I can find out.
 
lexkid12300
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Wed Jul 11, 2012 5:08 am

Damn...   Oh well...

Thanks for the answer everyone!
 
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tjwgrr
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:57 pm

Direct KNOBS, maintain 2700' until established on the localizer, cleared ILS runway 26 left approach.
 
FlyHossD
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Wed Jul 11, 2012 6:10 pm

I did two 727 power backs. Keeping your feet flat on the floor (i.e. not on the brakes) was heavily emphasized.

I recall that there were some airports that didn't permit power backs by any type.
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Wed Jul 11, 2012 7:03 pm

Quoting September11 (Reply 14):
I think I saw Eastern powerback A-300s and L-1011s.

Powerbacking of A300s wasn't done much if at all, it's not mentioned one way or the other in the EA references I have.
L1011 powerbacking was allowed only below a certain static air temp as i recall?

As an aside:

I remember watching 3 DC-9s powerback side by side at TPA when i was a kid, 2 EA and 1 I think was CO?. One after the other off the gate, almost a formation thing, must of been fun for the rampies LOL. Would of been late 80s.
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BoeingGuy
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:37 pm

Quoting NorthStarDC4M (Reply 29):
One after the other off the gate, almost a formation thing, must of been fun for the rampies LOL. Would of been late 80s.

I've seen two AA MD-80s powerback at the same time several gates apart at DFW.

Two things I most miss about modern day aviation: Powerbacks and the dramatic noise abatement procedure at SNA. Both are history or at least greatly watered down to the point of almost non-existence.
 
e38
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:45 pm

Quoting lexkid12300 (Thread starter), "Do you think Delta DC9 pilots have the ability to deny a tug and request to do a powerback upon exiting the jetway?"

Chris, as it has been pointed out in previous responses, the short answer is "No," the powerback procedure is not an approved maneuver at Delta and therefore, a Delta DC9 pilot is essentially "prohibited" from doing one because there is no guidance nor authorized procedure to follow.

Generally you ask very good questions, although sometimes your questions lead me to believe you think airline pilots have considerable latitude to "freestyle" operations. In fact, Chris, due to the complexity of operating modern jet equipment and the complexity of airport operations and the Air Traffic Control system, operations at a major airline are quite structured and formalized and flight crews adhere very closely to Standard Operating Procedures or Flight Operation Policies (or whatever the company may call them) during all phases of operations.

That being said, when Northwest Airlines DC9 crews did the powerback maneuver (when it was an approved procedure), the powerbacks were ONLY authorized at specific airports, ONLY at specific gates, and under very specific conditions--the ramp could not be wet or icy, there could not be a widebody aircraft at an adjacent gate, among others. If those conditions were met, the crew was "expected" to conduct a powerback maneuver to move away from the gate, although the Captain always had the authority to request NOT to do a powerback and request a tug if he/she thought it would be safer to do so. A pilot could not do a powerback just because "there's a passenger aboard who thinks doing a powerback would be really cool."

The powerback maneuver was an effective means of reducing the amount of ground equipment required and was an efficient means of moving the aircraft away from the terminal; however, as you mentioned, sometime in the mid-2000s (I don't remember the exact year), for a variety of reasons--particularly safety--Northwest completely eliminated the powerback as an approved procedure and as a result, flight crews were no longer authorized to conduct them.

Finally, with reference to your other comment, "I would LOVE to get cabin footage of the thrust reversers being deployed for a pushback from row 23 or 24," you wouldn't be able to see the thrust reversers being deployed from these rows (or any others). The thurst reversers on a DC9 are well behind the sight line from any of the cabin windows.

Chris, hope this helps.

e38
 
Cubsrule
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Fri Jul 13, 2012 12:40 pm

Quoting e38 (Reply 31):
however, as you mentioned, sometime in the mid-2000s (I don't remember the exact year), for a variety of reasons--particularly safety--Northwest completely eliminated the

It would have been some time in the second half of 2006 or early 2007. AFAIK, the gates on the south side of Concourse B at MEM were the last place they were permitted.
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N243NW
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Sat Jul 14, 2012 3:43 am

Quoting flyhossd (Reply 28):
Keeping your feet flat on the floor (i.e. not on the brakes) was heavily emphasized.

Also, the instructions to the ground crew at my airline were to stop the pilots from moving rearward by using the "come forward" gesture with the wands. I guess the reason was that if the marshaller crossed the wands in the "stop" gesture, the pilots were more prone to accidentally using the brakes instead of stowing the buckets.

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 32):
It would have been some time in the second half of 2006 or early 2007. AFAIK, the gates on the south side of Concourse B at MEM were the last place they were permitted.

Here's a video (with some terrific powerback music, I may add) that appears to have been filmed in early 2007: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ID3jfc39x3E&feature=related
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mcg
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Sun Jul 15, 2012 4:14 am

Nice video. It looks like that airplane started at North Central, thus I may have flown it between MSP and ORD nearly 40 years ago. Wow! I'd like to get another ride before they go to Arizona.
 
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tjwgrr
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Tue Jul 17, 2012 2:46 pm

Quoting mcg (Reply 34):
It looks like that airplane started at North Central

Nope, North Central never operated the -14 / -15 series. Those birds came from Southern or Hughes Airwest when Republic was formed.
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FI642
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:33 pm

Powerbacks are no longer permitted at BWI.
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mcg
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Wed Jul 18, 2012 11:03 pm

Quoting tjwgrr (Reply 35):

I'm pretty sure the airplane in the video is a DC-9-50. My understanding is that all remaining DC-9's in DL's fleet are -50's.
 
stratosphere
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:02 am

Quoting mcg (Reply 37):
I'm pretty sure the airplane in the video is a DC-9-50. My understanding is that all remaining DC-9's in DL's fleet are -50's.

Yes the only DC-9's left at DL are the -50's (DC-9-80's/MD-88 don't count)
 
Viscount724
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:41 pm

Quoting mcg (Reply 37):
Quoting tjwgrr (Reply 35):

I'm pretty sure the airplane in the video is a DC-9-50.

What video are you referring to? The aircraft in the video in Reply 33 is clearly a DC-9-14 or -15.
 
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longhauler
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RE: Can DC9 Pilots Choose Powerback Instead Of Tug?

Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:21 am

I would imagine several factors must be satisfied before a Captain would elect to do a power-back rather than a push-back with a tug.

The pilots would have to be trained, as well would the ground crew. And ... it would have to be included in the SOPs. Also, there must be a "need" to do such a procedure.

I mentioned on another thread, that I have done a couple power-backs in the B737-200. Once, in MCO, and once in DFW. It was included in our SOPs, and I was trained. And, as were being handled by AA, obviously the ground crew was very well trained and experienced with power-backs.

The "need" in both cases was that it was a B737 Combi with a gravel kit, and apparently the nose gear attachment for the tow bar is different than a regular B737. The handlers in both MCO and DFW did not have a compatible tow bar for a gravel equipped B737.
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