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MO11
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Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Sat Dec 26, 2020 2:39 pm

Spacepope wrote:
MO11 wrote:
While everyone was busy on Wednesday, Amazon bought N1610D, N1611B, and N1612T.


Are these 3 parked at ILN? Very young birds compared to the ex-AA fleet, these 3 all have fewer than 90k hours.



All 3 at VCV since March.
 
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Spacepope
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Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Sat Dec 26, 2020 2:56 pm

MO11 wrote:
Spacepope wrote:
MO11 wrote:
While everyone was busy on Wednesday, Amazon bought N1610D, N1611B, and N1612T.


Are these 3 parked at ILN? Very young birds compared to the ex-AA fleet, these 3 all have fewer than 90k hours.



All 3 at VCV since March.


Thanks, I checked the usual sources an they just saild "parked", not.....where.
The last of the famous international playboys
 
mcg
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Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Sat Dec 26, 2020 3:07 pm

Where did these three 767 come from? Thanks.
 
jeffrey0032j
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Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Sat Dec 26, 2020 3:29 pm

mcg wrote:
Where did these three 767 come from? Thanks.

Delta.
 
jbs2886
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Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Sat Dec 26, 2020 7:37 pm

Boof02671 wrote:
jbs2886 wrote:
Boof02671 wrote:
An airport and aircraft loading and handling is nothing like a self driving car.


You can keep arguing, but Amazon finds ways to automate things no one else thought of/could. Go look at a video of a FC, the level of automation is unbelievable. But, there still is labor. No one is saying there won’t be (significant) human elements in cargo handling, but you can bet there will be automation innovation especially where the fleet hits a critical mass that it becomes economic to develop those technologies. Again, no one is saying humans will be gone.

Not arguing. I guess you are another one who never worked the ramp, nor ground handled an passenger or cargo plane.

Way too many variables.

https://youtu.be/0JBHigPpkr0

https://youtu.be/9K-IrOsHCSI

And even Amazon still uses people to pack their boxes and such it’s not fully automated


Did you read my post? I said FCs still have a large human operation, but have a lot of automation. I said there would be automation but still significant human element.

Innovation and automation is in the blood of Amazon, you can certainly expect it to translate to Amazon Air.
 
Boof02671
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Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Sat Dec 26, 2020 7:59 pm

jbs2886 wrote:
Boof02671 wrote:
jbs2886 wrote:

You can keep arguing, but Amazon finds ways to automate things no one else thought of/could. Go look at a video of a FC, the level of automation is unbelievable. But, there still is labor. No one is saying there won’t be (significant) human elements in cargo handling, but you can bet there will be automation innovation especially where the fleet hits a critical mass that it becomes economic to develop those technologies. Again, no one is saying humans will be gone.

Not arguing. I guess you are another one who never worked the ramp, nor ground handled an passenger or cargo plane.

Way too many variables.

https://youtu.be/0JBHigPpkr0

https://youtu.be/9K-IrOsHCSI

And even Amazon still uses people to pack their boxes and such it’s not fully automated


Did you read my post? I said FCs still have a large human operation, but have a lot of automation. I said there would be automation but still significant human element.

Innovation and automation is in the blood of Amazon, you can certainly expect it to translate to Amazon Air.

I seriously doubt it. Way to many variables. You ever work the ramp? Load or unload a passenger or civilian jet? I have many many times.
 
jbs2886
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Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Sat Dec 26, 2020 9:01 pm

Boof02671 wrote:
jbs2886 wrote:
Boof02671 wrote:
Not arguing. I guess you are another one who never worked the ramp, nor ground handled an passenger or cargo plane.

Way too many variables.

https://youtu.be/0JBHigPpkr0

https://youtu.be/9K-IrOsHCSI

And even Amazon still uses people to pack their boxes and such it’s not fully automated


Did you read my post? I said FCs still have a large human operation, but have a lot of automation. I said there would be automation but still significant human element.

Innovation and automation is in the blood of Amazon, you can certainly expect it to translate to Amazon Air.

I seriously doubt it. Way to many variables. You ever work the ramp? Load or unload a passenger or civilian jet? I have many many times.


Pretty obvious your seriously doubt it, but you clearly wouldn’t do well at Amazon with that attitude. Amazon doesn’t take no innovation. Anyways, it’s coming whether you believe it or not.
 
Boof02671
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Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Sat Dec 26, 2020 11:12 pm

jbs2886 wrote:
Boof02671 wrote:
jbs2886 wrote:

Did you read my post? I said FCs still have a large human operation, but have a lot of automation. I said there would be automation but still significant human element.

Innovation and automation is in the blood of Amazon, you can certainly expect it to translate to Amazon Air.

I seriously doubt it. Way to many variables. You ever work the ramp? Load or unload a passenger or civilian jet? I have many many times.


Pretty obvious your seriously doubt it, but you clearly wouldn’t do well at Amazon with that attitude. Amazon doesn’t take no innovation. Anyways, it’s coming whether you believe it or not.

You ignored what I asked? I’m telling it’s a near impossibility with all the variables, you clearly never replied irked the ramp at an airport. I’m speaking from experience. The ramp is a very dangerous place.
 
stretch8
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Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Sun Dec 27, 2020 1:19 am

If Amazon bought DL B763s - N1610D N1611B & N1612T, I geuss they will be showing up at ILN soon? Happy New Year all!
 
MO11
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Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Sun Dec 27, 2020 2:23 am

stretch8 wrote:
If Amazon bought DL B763s - N1610D N1611B & N1612T, I geuss they will be showing up at ILN soon? Happy New Year all!


It did. Why would you think they would go to ILN? The airplanes that were purchased from WestJet were processed through HAECO at LCQ, before proceeding to BEDEK.
 
stretch8
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Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Sun Dec 27, 2020 2:52 am

I'm understood that N1610D N1611B & N1612T ex-DL B763's were currently stored at VCV. Wasn't aware they were, if they are, the 3 ex-WestJet birds. I thought those 3 were stored by DL due to COVID-19.
 
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Spacepope
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Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Sun Dec 27, 2020 3:11 am

stretch8 wrote:
I'm understood that N1610D N1611B & N1612T ex-DL B763's were currently stored at VCV. Wasn't aware they were, if they are, the 3 ex-WestJet birds. I thought those 3 were stored by DL due to COVID-19.

I think the slight difference is that these 3 were purchased by amazon proper, not ATSG, so there is no reason for them to go to ILN.
The last of the famous international playboys
 
Boof02671
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Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Sun Dec 27, 2020 3:15 am

stretch8 wrote:
I'm understood that N1610D N1611B & N1612T ex-DL B763's were currently stored at VCV. Wasn't aware they were, if they are, the 3 ex-WestJet birds. I thought those 3 were stored by DL due to COVID-19.

N1611B was Delta, as was 1612T as well as 1610D per the FAA database
 
wjcandee
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Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Sun Dec 27, 2020 3:23 am

Geez, I walked away for a few days to get my head together, not sure if I would return, but now looking at what happens when I'm not here, I realize that the tone of the whole thread changes, so I'm back. (Of course, while typing this lengthy post, I now realize that two members came in with short and sweet explanations and restored the tone, so...)

Just a little misunderstanding on the Amazon-purchased Delta birds. As Spacepope and Boof02671 have now pointed out, the situation is that they are DL aircraft presently stored at VCV. No reason for anyone to know this except MO11 (and some regular readers), but Amazon cut ATSG totally-out of that purchase of the Westjet aircraft a few months ago. What I mean by that is that not only did they not use CAM as the lessor, they did not use ANY of the other services that ATSG usually provides, like inspecting and prepping the aircraft to fly over to TLV.

Instead, Amazon used HAECO, and had Westjet deliver the aircraft to the HAECO shop at LCQ, after which Amazon sent the first two over to IAI in TLV, and the second two to IAI's additional line at MexicanaMRO in MEX.

Moreover, instead of using ATSG-affiliated ferry pilots, they used a different crew, which might or might not have been from JetTest (there are indicators that it might have been, and there are indicators that it was not).

So what MO11 is saying is that we might see Amazon do the same thing this time: send the aircraft not to ILN but rather to GSP or LCQ (HAECO facilities) or somewhere else for the return-to-service inspection and prep to ferry over to TLV or down to MEX. (Or, frankly, we might not.) For that matter, we might see them send the aircraft to one of the Boeing touch facilities (ST Aero in QPG or EGAT in TPE, for example) and have them made into BCFs.

What is noticeable is that Amazon isn't straying too far from the ATSG playbook so far; they're just doing things themselves. That is, they're using IAI (which sort of seems to have dropped the Bedek name for its civil operations) as their conversion house so far, which ATSG has done exclusively for decades, although ATSG has never sent an airframe to IAI's MEX facility, which Amazon is doing with 2 of them.

Similarly staying close-to-ATSG, Amazon used HAECO, which ATSG also sometimes uses to C-check some of the ABX Air 767s. ATSG used HAECO to recently C-check two of the Amazon-leased 767-200s flown by ABX.

We will see who Amazon uses to paint its aircraft. ATSG used Dean Baldwin Painting exclusively for years, and has more-recently occasionally-used Landlocked Aviation at CWF.

So it wasn't crazy of stretch8 to think that the aircraft might go to ILN, but because Amazon bought them rather than leasing them from ATSG/CAM, they might very well end up at HAECO or somewhere else before heading off to the conversion house, which might or might not be IAI.

ATSG has a long relationship with IAI, and has people on the ground in TLV who know how to get what they want and what to look for. Those people certainly exist outside of ATSG, but Amazon will either find that obtaining certain services itself (or using an in-house person) is equivalent or better than ATSG does, or it will find that it might be worth paying ATSG to act on its behalf with respect to certain services and steps in the process, which ATSG would be smart to do if asked. We will see what happens.
 
gdavis003
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Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Sun Dec 27, 2020 3:44 am

Surprises me that Amazon is purchasing three younger 763s and not the two former Gulf Air 763s that were retired this summer and are stored at SBD currently. Although they're a bit older, they're about the same age as the WestJet 763s. Of course, I'm not sure what the cycles are at on those two frames, and that is most definitely a determining factor. However, IIRC, CAM did purchase a few of the Gulf Air/DL 763s that were retired a few years back, and I think they're flying for ATI now. Would think that the two that were retired to SBD this summer would be substantially cheaper. Just surprised to see Amazon snagging up 763s directly that were built after the turn of the century, but as I mentioned before, there's tons of other factors that play into said decisions
 
USAirKid
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Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Sun Dec 27, 2020 3:45 am

Boof02671 wrote:
USAirKid wrote:
Boof02671 wrote:
Not arguing. I guess you are another one who never worked the ramp, nor ground handled an passenger or cargo plane.

Way too many variables.

https://youtu.be/0JBHigPpkr0

https://youtu.be/9K-IrOsHCSI

And even Amazon still uses people to pack their boxes and such it’s not fully automated


There are more variables to having a self driving car on a public street than on the ramp. Yes, the ramp is complex, but so is driving in a city street with pedestrians who don't communicate what they're going to do. More paramount of which is there is no training required to walk anywhere near a public street, there is training required to walk on the ramp.

When I looked at the video of the cans being unloaded from the UPS plane, I quickly thought of Amazon's automated warehouse:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUx-ljgB-5Q
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_waZrhOZVWY

In CVG, I can see Amazon replacing the tugs with beefier versions of the existing robots and having the cans be self navigated around a specific portion of the airport. They'd of course have specific lanes that they would follow. This'd enable cans that are being cross-sorted to go directly to the plane they're supposed to go on, or if necessary they'd be automatically stored at a warehouse. Perhaps they'd even have a mobile version of that huge robotic forklift pull up to the plane to remove the cans.

It probably doesn't make sense cost wise to automate the outstations, but I can see this being a huge savings at CVG.

While we're speaking about cans, theres the ISO Containers that go on ships, trains, and trucks, and those ports have been automated:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQ8WI3nc1l0

There is no way a robot can do what the operation entails. I’ve worked the ramp, I’ve worked cargo also. Your not even taking weather into account. It would force airports to rip up infrastructure and you obviously don’t understand the complexity of a ramp operation. I’ve been in self driving cars they use radar and tons of sensors. No way would it ever work in an airport environment.

If it would, it would have been in the works already. Years ago Airbus and a few European airports dud some self-taxing tests with sensors and such on the taxiways and apron. It was abandoned.


I'll admit I don't understand the complexity of a ramp operation, but I do understand the tenacity of Amazon to innovate.

As for the self taxing tests, why was the project abandoned? That'll tell you important details. In tech projects tend to keep coming back after being refined. Yes one version of the self taxing test was abandoned, but learnings from it were definitely cycled into this:

Airbus' self-flying plane just completed successful taxi, take-off, and landing tests, opening the door for fully autonomous flight

Boof02671, you're missing how technology works, yes right now it seems impossible, but the technology we have today makes science fiction from 35 years ago look kinda quaint. The development process with software, which would run the robots, embraces failure and experimentation much more. Theres an old joke that I think illustrates the problem.. and I've updated it for this situation:

There was a civil engineer, an aerospace engineer, and a software engineer driving down a steep mountain road. The brakes failed and the car careened down the road out of control. Right before the car careened over a cliff they all bailed out of the car, shaken by their narrow escape from death, but otherwise unharmed.

The civil said "We should go and measure the skid marks, investigate the possibility of adding guard rails, and present a plan to the county road department!"

The aerospace engineer said "No we should call up the NTSB to fully investigate, but if they won't, I have my trusty pen knife here and will take apart the brake system, isolate the problem and correct it."

The software engineer said "I think you're both wrong! I think we go get another car, put it on the road, and see if it happens again."


Software engineering, which Amazon excels at embraces failure and tries again.

And FWIW, I firmly agree with JBS2886.

jbs2886 wrote:
Innovation and automation is in the blood of Amazon, you can certainly expect it to translate to Amazon Air.
 
wjcandee
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Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Sun Dec 27, 2020 4:01 am

gdavis003 wrote:
Surprises me that Amazon is purchasing three younger 763s


It's also interesting that DL chose to retire them instead of some significantly-older frames. These are among the absolutely-youngest DL 763s. My guess is that they were coming up on a heavy check -- maybe even a D-check? -- and DL parked them in favor of aircraft that can do the job without the capital investment. Maybe that affected the purchase price, too.

Or maybe Amazon thought it would be safer to buy newer; it took guts and a lot of experience (although others might describe it differently) for ATSG to pull those thoroughly-used DL frames from SBD and convert them a couple of years back. Heck, until the planes headed to TLV, Spacepope was convinced they were for parts! (And that was a pretty-reasonable expectation!) But they've worked out fine.

The Amazon folks might be trying to keep it straightforward for their earliest efforts in this space, and maybe the reason DL retired the aircraft caused them to be available at a favorable-enough price.

I also don't know if Amazon is trying to standardize on GE engines; some of the parked DL aircraft are running Pratts. It appears that these 3 have 80C2B6Fs (i.e. FADEC GEs). The Westjet ones were non-FADEC GEs.
 
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sunking737
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Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Sun Dec 27, 2020 4:24 am

I think of this as a high stakes porker game. Amazon is keeping its cards close to their vest...
"Don't believe it unless its parked on the ramp, or printed in the schedule...SUBJECT TO CHANGE"
Retired MSP Ramper
 
CX747
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Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Sun Dec 27, 2020 4:28 am

wjcandee wrote:
gdavis003 wrote:
Surprises me that Amazon is purchasing three younger 763s


It's also interesting that DL chose to retire them instead of some significantly-older frames. These are among the absolutely-youngest DL 763s. My guess is that they were coming up on a heavy check -- maybe even a D-check? -- and DL parked them in favor of aircraft that can do the job without the capital investment. Maybe that affected the purchase price, too.

Or maybe Amazon thought it would be safer to buy newer; it took guts and a lot of experience (although others might describe it differently) for ATSG to pull those thoroughly-used DL frames from SBD and convert them a couple of years back. Heck, until the planes headed to TLV, Spacepope was convinced they were for parts! (And that was a pretty-reasonable expectation!) But they've worked out fine.

The Amazon folks might be trying to keep it straightforward for their earliest efforts in this space, and maybe the reason DL retired the aircraft caused them to be available at a favorable-enough price.


Again spot on analysis of the ongoing developments!!!

Not sure on other's senses but this may be a tip of the hand by Amazon regarding our 737/767/A321 discussion. If I have done the math correctly, Amazon has now gone out and bought MORE COWBELL for a total of 7 Amazon procured 767 frames. All by themselves, with no hand holding and going with the 767 for the growth and mission set they are focused on.

In the pax sector, the A321 at times over the past few years has been spoken about as the widebody killer. Hey, you can fly an A321 instead of a 767 or 787/A330. The exact opposite could be true in the cargo sector....The 767 does everything and more that a 757 or A321 does. So, don't buy the jet that will box out earlier, buy the jet that does more, at a capital cost/performance guarantee that is a true sweet spot.
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower
 
gdavis003
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Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Sun Dec 27, 2020 4:37 am

CX747 wrote:
wjcandee wrote:
gdavis003 wrote:
Surprises me that Amazon is purchasing three younger 763s


It's also interesting that DL chose to retire them instead of some significantly-older frames. These are among the absolutely-youngest DL 763s. My guess is that they were coming up on a heavy check -- maybe even a D-check? -- and DL parked them in favor of aircraft that can do the job without the capital investment. Maybe that affected the purchase price, too.

Or maybe Amazon thought it would be safer to buy newer; it took guts and a lot of experience (although others might describe it differently) for ATSG to pull those thoroughly-used DL frames from SBD and convert them a couple of years back. Heck, until the planes headed to TLV, Spacepope was convinced they were for parts! (And that was a pretty-reasonable expectation!) But they've worked out fine.

The Amazon folks might be trying to keep it straightforward for their earliest efforts in this space, and maybe the reason DL retired the aircraft caused them to be available at a favorable-enough price.


Again spot on analysis of the ongoing developments!!!

Not sure on other's senses but this may be a tip of the hand by Amazon regarding our 737/767/A321 discussion. If I have done the math correctly, Amazon has now gone out and bought MORE COWBELL for a total of 7 Amazon procured 767 frames. All by themselves, with no hand holding and going with the 767 for the growth and mission set they are focused on.

In the pax sector, the A321 at times over the past few years has been spoken about as the widebody killer. Hey, you can fly an A321 instead of a 767 or 787/A330. The exact opposite could be true in the cargo sector....The 767 does everything and more that a 757 or A321 does. So, don't buy the jet that will box out earlier, buy the jet that does more, at a capital cost/performance guarantee that is a true sweet spot.


Agreed. My biggest question in all of this is how they will handle crews for these 7 new 763s. Do they begin to start their own crews, or do they continue to roll with ATSG for crews? ATSG folks might not be too happy about Amazon buying them straight up without CAM, but Amazon is what is keeping them running, that's for sure. I am also curious about, as mentioned earlier, if Amazon did indeed use Jet Test. I could totally see it. I didn't see anything on Steve's Twitter or Bob's TikTok/Instagram (both of them have great social media accounts that detail some of what they do, they've been ferrying old Jet Airways 777-300ERs from India to Tupelo, MS and ferrying new A320s to Air Sial in Pakistan among many, many other things. It's a fascinating operation)
 
wjcandee
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Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Sun Dec 27, 2020 4:38 am

CX747: Thank you. Agreed. Also interesting in your analysis is the idea that the 767 (and 737?) are the foundational pieces of Amazon GLOBAL Air.

That is, we don't really know where the now-7 Amazon-owned 767s are going to fly. There's talk of Cargojet and Canada for the first 3, but unclear how official that is. Could Amazon give 7 to Cargojet? Sure. Depends on what they want Cargojet to do with them. Could some of these go to Europe? Yes again. Beyond Europe? Eventually, why not? We could also see them at CVG, with any number of operators.

I had been expecting that following this Peak, with all the CAM aircraft coming onboard and CVG hub opening, we would be seeing some interesting and remarkable things. Now with this additional 7, even more so.
 
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Spacepope
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Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Sun Dec 27, 2020 4:59 am

wjcandee wrote:
gdavis003 wrote:
Surprises me that Amazon is purchasing three younger 763s


It's also interesting that DL chose to retire them instead of some significantly-older frames. These are among the absolutely-youngest DL 763s. My guess is that they were coming up on a heavy check -- maybe even a D-check? -- and DL parked them in favor of aircraft that can do the job without the capital investment. Maybe that affected the purchase price, too.

Or maybe Amazon thought it would be safer to buy newer; it took guts and a lot of experience (although others might describe it differently) for ATSG to pull those thoroughly-used DL frames from SBD and convert them a couple of years back. Heck, until the planes headed to TLV, Spacepope was convinced they were for parts! (And that was a pretty-reasonable expectation!) But they've worked out fine.

The Amazon folks might be trying to keep it straightforward for their earliest efforts in this space, and maybe the reason DL retired the aircraft caused them to be available at a favorable-enough price.

I also don't know if Amazon is trying to standardize on GE engines; some of the parked DL aircraft are running Pratts. It appears that these 3 have 80C2B6Fs (i.e. FADEC GEs). The Westjet ones were non-FADEC GEs.

Good to see you back!

Delta was parking the “76T” fleet of 7 aircraft first, could be that these are of a different interior configuration or they were the next batch up for heavy checks. In any case, Delta wasn’t going to run them out to end of life anyway so why not get a good price for prime airframes.

Let’s sit back and see what happens. Maybe Amazon isn’t biting on CAM’s 20 year post conversion guarantee for their (currently quite sturdy) but geriatric conversions. They are using their leased equipment really well, but it’s always best to burn up someone else’s gear first.
The last of the famous international playboys
 
Boof02671
Posts: 2492
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2016 12:15 am

Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Sun Dec 27, 2020 7:54 am

USAirKid wrote:
Boof02671 wrote:
USAirKid wrote:

There are more variables to having a self driving car on a public street than on the ramp. Yes, the ramp is complex, but so is driving in a city street with pedestrians who don't communicate what they're going to do. More paramount of which is there is no training required to walk anywhere near a public street, there is training required to walk on the ramp.

When I looked at the video of the cans being unloaded from the UPS plane, I quickly thought of Amazon's automated warehouse:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUx-ljgB-5Q
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_waZrhOZVWY

In CVG, I can see Amazon replacing the tugs with beefier versions of the existing robots and having the cans be self navigated around a specific portion of the airport. They'd of course have specific lanes that they would follow. This'd enable cans that are being cross-sorted to go directly to the plane they're supposed to go on, or if necessary they'd be automatically stored at a warehouse. Perhaps they'd even have a mobile version of that huge robotic forklift pull up to the plane to remove the cans.

It probably doesn't make sense cost wise to automate the outstations, but I can see this being a huge savings at CVG.

While we're speaking about cans, theres the ISO Containers that go on ships, trains, and trucks, and those ports have been automated:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQ8WI3nc1l0

There is no way a robot can do what the operation entails. I’ve worked the ramp, I’ve worked cargo also. Your not even taking weather into account. It would force airports to rip up infrastructure and you obviously don’t understand the complexity of a ramp operation. I’ve been in self driving cars they use radar and tons of sensors. No way would it ever work in an airport environment.

If it would, it would have been in the works already. Years ago Airbus and a few European airports dud some self-taxing tests with sensors and such on the taxiways and apron. It was abandoned.


I'll admit I don't understand the complexity of a ramp operation, but I do understand the tenacity of Amazon to innovate.

As for the self taxing tests, why was the project abandoned? That'll tell you important details. In tech projects tend to keep coming back after being refined. Yes one version of the self taxing test was abandoned, but learnings from it were definitely cycled into this:

Airbus' self-flying plane just completed successful taxi, take-off, and landing tests, opening the door for fully autonomous flight

Boof02671, you're missing how technology works, yes right now it seems impossible, but the technology we have today makes science fiction from 35 years ago look kinda quaint. The development process with software, which would run the robots, embraces failure and experimentation much more. Theres an old joke that I think illustrates the problem.. and I've updated it for this situation:

There was a civil engineer, an aerospace engineer, and a software engineer driving down a steep mountain road. The brakes failed and the car careened down the road out of control. Right before the car careened over a cliff they all bailed out of the car, shaken by their narrow escape from death, but otherwise unharmed.

The civil said "We should go and measure the skid marks, investigate the possibility of adding guard rails, and present a plan to the county road department!"

The aerospace engineer said "No we should call up the NTSB to fully investigate, but if they won't, I have my trusty pen knife here and will take apart the brake system, isolate the problem and correct it."

The software engineer said "I think you're both wrong! I think we go get another car, put it on the road, and see if it happens again."


Software engineering, which Amazon excels at embraces failure and tries again.

And FWIW, I firmly agree with JBS2886.

jbs2886 wrote:
Innovation and automation is in the blood of Amazon, you can certainly expect it to translate to Amazon Air.

And your missing how the ramp and an airport works. An airport won’t spend the money to disrupt the whole airport for several flights a day.

The airport is a complex and dangerous place. There are way too many variables for such a feat to be accomplished. You have no idea what an airport and airplane operation works
 
wjcandee
Posts: 10281
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 12:50 am

Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Sun Dec 27, 2020 9:05 am

GDavis003: Interesting points! FWIW, the last time ATSG said anything publicly about the 4 Westjet aircraft, they were talking about those plus the 6 aircraft they're leasing to Amazon later in 2021 that haven't been assigned to a carrier yet (the first 5 are all to be up and running at ATI before the end of March). Their observation was that Amazon keeps them on their toes by rewarding performance and not just handing ATI 11 aircraft to fly. They were delighted to get the first 5 to fly. They'd like to fly the remaining 6, but they know they have to earn it. On the Amazon-purchased Westjet aircraft, they said they didn't know exactly what Amazon's plans were; they said in a lighthearted way that Amazon doesn't consult them about things like that, but that they'd be happy to fly them if Amazon wished, and they hoped they would have a chance to do so. That is, I think, the right way to approach it.

What I found interesting about that is that they had just spent the previous X minutes talking about how their business model is to start with an airplane lease and then to hang additional value-added services to that, from soup to nuts. Here they are offering to fly several aircraft that they're not leasing to Amazon. However, I think they're smart enough to know that once you have a relationship with an Amazon, you do what you need to do to keep them as a customer. People seem always to forget that Amazon's mission is customer delight -- to go above and beyond for their customers -- and way beyond merely "satisfied" as a goal. If that's what Amazon does for its customers, it stands to reason that their tolerance for stupidity from their vendors is going to be pretty-low: if Amazon does it for their customers, why aren't you doing that for them? This may explain some of why ATI gets more aircraft while other carriers haven't, and performers like Sun Country will likely, in my view, get a disproportionate share of any additional 737-800s that come into service for Amazon in the US. But I also wouldn't be surprised if Amazon, having grown ATI to 32 Amazon aircraft by March 31, decides to spread future operations around a little and reduce concentration in one carrier. Thirty-two 767s is a sizeable airline -- and that's just what Amazon is giving them to operate.

In a sense, the diversity of ATI's customer base (or, the non-diversity of it) at this point is pretty-frightening, but they have no choice but to focus like a laser on Amazon. And as long as they continue to perform, and to do so with no drama, I think they're in adequate shape.

We have heard nothing about Amazon wanting to start their own airline, which I think would be a mistake for a billion reasons, but we'll see. What we have heard is that the first 4 aircraft may be going to Cargojet, but we'll see about that as well. As to these three -- we know even less. Hope that helps.
 
Boof02671
Posts: 2492
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2016 12:15 am

Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Sun Dec 27, 2020 12:36 pm

USAirKid wrote:
Boof02671 wrote:
USAirKid wrote:

There are more variables to having a self driving car on a public street than on the ramp. Yes, the ramp is complex, but so is driving in a city street with pedestrians who don't communicate what they're going to do. More paramount of which is there is no training required to walk anywhere near a public street, there is training required to walk on the ramp.

When I looked at the video of the cans being unloaded from the UPS plane, I quickly thought of Amazon's automated warehouse:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUx-ljgB-5Q
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_waZrhOZVWY

In CVG, I can see Amazon replacing the tugs with beefier versions of the existing robots and having the cans be self navigated around a specific portion of the airport. They'd of course have specific lanes that they would follow. This'd enable cans that are being cross-sorted to go directly to the plane they're supposed to go on, or if necessary they'd be automatically stored at a warehouse. Perhaps they'd even have a mobile version of that huge robotic forklift pull up to the plane to remove the cans.

It probably doesn't make sense cost wise to automate the outstations, but I can see this being a huge savings at CVG.

While we're speaking about cans, theres the ISO Containers that go on ships, trains, and trucks, and those ports have been automated:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQ8WI3nc1l0

There is no way a robot can do what the operation entails. I’ve worked the ramp, I’ve worked cargo also. Your not even taking weather into account. It would force airports to rip up infrastructure and you obviously don’t understand the complexity of a ramp operation. I’ve been in self driving cars they use radar and tons of sensors. No way would it ever work in an airport environment.

If it would, it would have been in the works already. Years ago Airbus and a few European airports dud some self-taxing tests with sensors and such on the taxiways and apron. It was abandoned.


I'll admit I don't understand the complexity of a ramp operation, but I do understand the tenacity of Amazon to innovate.

As for the self taxing tests, why was the project abandoned? That'll tell you important details. In tech projects tend to keep coming back after being refined. Yes one version of the self taxing test was abandoned, but learnings from it were definitely cycled into this:

Airbus' self-flying plane just completed successful taxi, take-off, and landing tests, opening the door for fully autonomous flight

Boof02671, you're missing how technology works, yes right now it seems impossible, but the technology we have today makes science fiction from 35 years ago look kinda quaint. The development process with software, which would run the robots, embraces failure and experimentation much more. Theres an old joke that I think illustrates the problem.. and I've updated it for this situation:

There was a civil engineer, an aerospace engineer, and a software engineer driving down a steep mountain road. The brakes failed and the car careened down the road out of control. Right before the car careened over a cliff they all bailed out of the car, shaken by their narrow escape from death, but otherwise unharmed.

The civil said "We should go and measure the skid marks, investigate the possibility of adding guard rails, and present a plan to the county road department!"

The aerospace engineer said "No we should call up the NTSB to fully investigate, but if they won't, I have my trusty pen knife here and will take apart the brake system, isolate the problem and correct it."

The software engineer said "I think you're both wrong! I think we go get another car, put it on the road, and see if it happens again."


Software engineering, which Amazon excels at embraces failure and tries again.

And FWIW, I firmly agree with JBS2886.

jbs2886 wrote:
Innovation and automation is in the blood of Amazon, you can certainly expect it to translate to Amazon Air.

Read this especially starting at Section III at the bottom of page 9

https://hal-enac.archives-ouvertes.fr/h ... 9/document
 
gdavis003
Posts: 866
Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2019 4:59 am

Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Sun Dec 27, 2020 3:55 pm

wjcandee wrote:
GDavis003: Interesting points! FWIW, the last time ATSG said anything publicly about the 4 Westjet aircraft, they were talking about those plus the 6 aircraft they're leasing to Amazon later in 2021 that haven't been assigned to a carrier yet (the first 5 are all to be up and running at ATI before the end of March). Their observation was that Amazon keeps them on their toes by rewarding performance and not just handing ATI 11 aircraft to fly. They were delighted to get the first 5 to fly. They'd like to fly the remaining 6, but they know they have to earn it. On the Amazon-purchased Westjet aircraft, they said they didn't know exactly what Amazon's plans were; they said in a lighthearted way that Amazon doesn't consult them about things like that, but that they'd be happy to fly them if Amazon wished, and they hoped they would have a chance to do so. That is, I think, the right way to approach it.

What I found interesting about that is that they had just spent the previous X minutes talking about how their business model is to start with an airplane lease and then to hang additional value-added services to that, from soup to nuts. Here they are offering to fly several aircraft that they're not leasing to Amazon. However, I think they're smart enough to know that once you have a relationship with an Amazon, you do what you need to do to keep them as a customer. People seem always to forget that Amazon's mission is customer delight -- to go above and beyond for their customers -- and way beyond merely "satisfied" as a goal. If that's what Amazon does for its customers, it stands to reason that their tolerance for stupidity from their vendors is going to be pretty-low: if Amazon does it for their customers, why aren't you doing that for them? This may explain some of why ATI gets more aircraft while other carriers haven't, and performers like Sun Country will likely, in my view, get a disproportionate share of any additional 737-800s that come into service for Amazon in the US. But I also wouldn't be surprised if Amazon, having grown ATI to 32 Amazon aircraft by March 31, decides to spread future operations around a little and reduce concentration in one carrier. Thirty-two 767s is a sizeable airline -- and that's just what Amazon is giving them to operate.

In a sense, the diversity of ATI's customer base (or, the non-diversity of it) at this point is pretty-frightening, but they have no choice but to focus like a laser on Amazon. And as long as they continue to perform, and to do so with no drama, I think they're in adequate shape.

We have heard nothing about Amazon wanting to start their own airline, which I think would be a mistake for a billion reasons, but we'll see. What we have heard is that the first 4 aircraft may be going to Cargojet, but we'll see about that as well. As to these three -- we know even less. Hope that helps.


Great points as well. Seems like ATSG has the right mindset about these TBD frames, in that they’ll go with the flow, which is a great mindset to hold. As you noted though, they do have a sizable operation right now and adding more could add more stress to that operation. They haven’t been strained yet by it, but we’ll have to see.

Another wild thought is that these could go to iAero/Swift. I know I’ll sound crazy for throwing this out there, but they are bringing on 3 pax 767-300s in the near future. They’ve done reliable work for DHL and Amerijet with their 737s. It seems unlikely at the moment, but once iAero gets these 767s up and running, I suspect they’ll try to expand their ops even more. Again, chances seem very slim for the near future, especially with these upcoming 2021 Amazon owned frames, but can’t hurt to throw out the idea.

Totally agree regarding Amazon bringing in their own crews. Seems unlikely and would certainly be a mistake. On the simple side of things, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
 
User avatar
sunking737
Posts: 1730
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Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Sun Dec 27, 2020 4:02 pm

OK I will toss this idea into the mix..Eastern 3.0?? or another carrier that has 767's???
"Don't believe it unless its parked on the ramp, or printed in the schedule...SUBJECT TO CHANGE"
Retired MSP Ramper
 
mcg
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Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2003 11:49 am

Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Sun Dec 27, 2020 4:39 pm

Imagine how happy the 'Director of Aircraft Disposal' (or some such title) at Delta was when his or her phone beeped and the caller ID was "Amazon".
 
stretch8
Posts: 89
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Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Sun Dec 27, 2020 7:01 pm

Thanks "wjcandee" for clarification, & additional info. Cheers, & a very Happy New Year!
 
jbs2886
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Joined: Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:07 pm

Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Sun Dec 27, 2020 8:56 pm

So I may have missed this, but if Amazon bought 3 of DL’s 6 76Ts, do we know what the status of the other 3 is? Just wondering if we will see a second purchase like with the WestJet birds.
 
wjcandee
Posts: 10281
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 12:50 am

Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Sun Dec 27, 2020 11:02 pm

stretch8 wrote:
Thanks "wjcandee" for clarification, & additional info. Cheers, & a very Happy New Year!


Happy New Year to you, stretch8, and thanks for all the information you have been providing!
 
757flyer
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Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Mon Dec 28, 2020 2:42 pm

Speaking of paint, how many of the painted Amazon aircraft (763s and 738s) have been named? I found three 737s - 5693 (Aurora), 7907 (Bias for Altitude) and DAC (Ode to Fly). For 767s, there were four - 1997 (Amazon One), 1487 (Valor), 311 (Peculi'Air) and 1217 (CustomAir Obsession - sadly lost outside IAH). Are there any others?
 
ILNFlyer
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Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 8:34 pm

Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Mon Dec 28, 2020 7:32 pm

wjcandee wrote:
Geez, I walked away for a few days to get my head together, not sure if I would return, but now looking at what happens when I'm not here, I realize that the tone of the whole thread changes, so I'm back. (Of course, while typing this lengthy post, I now realize that two members came in with short and sweet explanations and restored the tone, so...)

Just a little misunderstanding on the Amazon-purchased Delta birds. As Spacepope and Boof02671 have now pointed out, the situation is that they are DL aircraft presently stored at VCV. No reason for anyone to know this except MO11 (and some regular readers), but Amazon cut ATSG totally-out of that purchase of the Westjet aircraft a few months ago. What I mean by that is that not only did they not use CAM as the lessor, they did not use ANY of the other services that ATSG usually provides, like inspecting and prepping the aircraft to fly over to TLV.

Instead, Amazon used HAECO, and had Westjet deliver the aircraft to the HAECO shop at LCQ, after which Amazon sent the first two over to IAI in TLV, and the second two to IAI's additional line at MexicanaMRO in MEX.

Moreover, instead of using ATSG-affiliated ferry pilots, they used a different crew, which might or might not have been from JetTest (there are indicators that it might have been, and there are indicators that it was not).

So what MO11 is saying is that we might see Amazon do the same thing this time: send the aircraft not to ILN but rather to GSP or LCQ (HAECO facilities) or somewhere else for the return-to-service inspection and prep to ferry over to TLV or down to MEX. (Or, frankly, we might not.) For that matter, we might see them send the aircraft to one of the Boeing touch facilities (ST Aero in QPG or EGAT in TPE, for example) and have them made into BCFs.

What is noticeable is that Amazon isn't straying too far from the ATSG playbook so far; they're just doing things themselves. That is, they're using IAI (which sort of seems to have dropped the Bedek name for its civil operations) as their conversion house so far, which ATSG has done exclusively for decades, although ATSG has never sent an airframe to IAI's MEX facility, which Amazon is doing with 2 of them.

Similarly staying close-to-ATSG, Amazon used HAECO, which ATSG also sometimes uses to C-check some of the ABX Air 767s. ATSG used HAECO to recently C-check two of the Amazon-leased 767-200s flown by ABX.

We will see who Amazon uses to paint its aircraft. ATSG used Dean Baldwin Painting exclusively for years, and has more-recently occasionally-used Landlocked Aviation at CWF.

So it wasn't crazy of stretch8 to think that the aircraft might go to ILN, but because Amazon bought them rather than leasing them from ATSG/CAM, they might very well end up at HAECO or somewhere else before heading off to the conversion house, which might or might not be IAI.

ATSG has a long relationship with IAI, and has people on the ground in TLV who know how to get what they want and what to look for. Those people certainly exist outside of ATSG, but Amazon will either find that obtaining certain services itself (or using an in-house person) is equivalent or better than ATSG does, or it will find that it might be worth paying ATSG to act on its behalf with respect to certain services and steps in the process, which ATSG would be smart to do if asked. We will see what happens.


It is entirely possible that ATSG and other current providers of Amazon Air lift may find themselves out of a job in 10 years when current leases expire.....IF Amazon can get an AOC in that time. This has always been the biggest fly in the soup for Amazon. It is by no means unachievable, and it's likely the long term goal of Amazon Air. All it takes is the expertise and the money. One they can get, and the other they already have.
 
USAirKid
Posts: 790
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2016 5:42 am

Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Mon Dec 28, 2020 8:52 pm

ILNFlyer wrote:
wjcandee wrote:
Geez, I walked away for a few days to get my head together, not sure if I would return, but now looking at what happens when I'm not here, I realize that the tone of the whole thread changes, so I'm back. (Of course, while typing this lengthy post, I now realize that two members came in with short and sweet explanations and restored the tone, so...)

Just a little misunderstanding on the Amazon-purchased Delta birds. As Spacepope and Boof02671 have now pointed out, the situation is that they are DL aircraft presently stored at VCV. No reason for anyone to know this except MO11 (and some regular readers), but Amazon cut ATSG totally-out of that purchase of the Westjet aircraft a few months ago. What I mean by that is that not only did they not use CAM as the lessor, they did not use ANY of the other services that ATSG usually provides, like inspecting and prepping the aircraft to fly over to TLV.

Instead, Amazon used HAECO, and had Westjet deliver the aircraft to the HAECO shop at LCQ, after which Amazon sent the first two over to IAI in TLV, and the second two to IAI's additional line at MexicanaMRO in MEX.

Moreover, instead of using ATSG-affiliated ferry pilots, they used a different crew, which might or might not have been from JetTest (there are indicators that it might have been, and there are indicators that it was not).

So what MO11 is saying is that we might see Amazon do the same thing this time: send the aircraft not to ILN but rather to GSP or LCQ (HAECO facilities) or somewhere else for the return-to-service inspection and prep to ferry over to TLV or down to MEX. (Or, frankly, we might not.) For that matter, we might see them send the aircraft to one of the Boeing touch facilities (ST Aero in QPG or EGAT in TPE, for example) and have them made into BCFs.

What is noticeable is that Amazon isn't straying too far from the ATSG playbook so far; they're just doing things themselves. That is, they're using IAI (which sort of seems to have dropped the Bedek name for its civil operations) as their conversion house so far, which ATSG has done exclusively for decades, although ATSG has never sent an airframe to IAI's MEX facility, which Amazon is doing with 2 of them.

Similarly staying close-to-ATSG, Amazon used HAECO, which ATSG also sometimes uses to C-check some of the ABX Air 767s. ATSG used HAECO to recently C-check two of the Amazon-leased 767-200s flown by ABX.

We will see who Amazon uses to paint its aircraft. ATSG used Dean Baldwin Painting exclusively for years, and has more-recently occasionally-used Landlocked Aviation at CWF.

So it wasn't crazy of stretch8 to think that the aircraft might go to ILN, but because Amazon bought them rather than leasing them from ATSG/CAM, they might very well end up at HAECO or somewhere else before heading off to the conversion house, which might or might not be IAI.

ATSG has a long relationship with IAI, and has people on the ground in TLV who know how to get what they want and what to look for. Those people certainly exist outside of ATSG, but Amazon will either find that obtaining certain services itself (or using an in-house person) is equivalent or better than ATSG does, or it will find that it might be worth paying ATSG to act on its behalf with respect to certain services and steps in the process, which ATSG would be smart to do if asked. We will see what happens.


It is entirely possible that ATSG and other current providers of Amazon Air lift may find themselves out of a job in 10 years when current leases expire.....IF Amazon can get an AOC in that time. This has always been the biggest fly in the soup for Amazon. It is by no means unachievable, and it's likely the long term goal of Amazon Air. All it takes is the expertise and the money. One they can get, and the other they already have.


Possible. But they also don’t have their own trucking company, and that is simpler than having their own airline. But we’ll see.
 
LightningZ71
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Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2016 10:59 pm

Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Mon Dec 28, 2020 10:35 pm

As averse as Amazon seems to be to dealing directly with unions, in my opinion, It would seem to me that the absolute last thing that they would want is for their entire air freight resource to be under the gun from a single unionized group. It's far better, again, in my opinion, from Amazon's point of view, to have multiple, independent, air freight companies, under flexible delivery contracts actively competing with each other. That way, each union has a lot of pressure against disruptive job actions because the actual freight runs can be reasonably quickly reprioritized and moved from one carrier to another.

I could see Amazon acquiring a smaller air freight company to provide themselves with a sort of "ace in the hole" capability to provide short notice freight capacity to guard against such things and provide for additional lift for route proving that then gets contracted out if it proves sustainable.
 
f18raider
Posts: 173
Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2013 5:32 am

Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Mon Dec 28, 2020 11:08 pm

757flyer wrote:
Speaking of paint, how many of the painted Amazon aircraft (763s and 738s) have been named? I found three 737s - 5693 (Aurora), 7907 (Bias for Altitude) and DAC (Ode to Fly). For 767s, there were four - 1997 (Amazon One), 1487 (Valor), 311 (Peculi'Air) and 1217 (CustomAir Obsession - sadly lost outside IAH). Are there any others?


Yep there’s more.

Relentless - N443AZ
Excelsior - N1321A
 
wjcandee
Posts: 10281
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Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Tue Dec 29, 2020 12:13 am

f18raider:

Thanks for the additional names!

The reason I'm sitting here giggling about "Excelsior" is because of South Park. I keep hearing it being pronounced the way one particular character does in at least one episode.

I pretty much imagine it pronounced like that every time I see it now, which sucks because they have now put that word on our license plates here in NY. So now I'm riding down the road hearing "ex-THELTH-eeeorrre!" every time I look at the back of another car.

One episode of South Park, and centuries of dignified associations of a word -- poof! -- gone.
 
User avatar
Spacepope
Posts: 5176
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Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Tue Dec 29, 2020 12:24 am

wjcandee wrote:
f18raider:

Thanks for the additional names!

The reason I'm sitting here giggling about "Excelsior" is because of South Park. I keep hearing it being pronounced the way one particular character does in at least one episode.

I pretty much imagine it pronounced like that every time I see it now, which sucks because they have now put that word on our license plates here in NY. So now I'm riding down the road hearing "ex-THELTH-eeeorrre!" every time I look at the back of another car.

One episode of South Park, and centuries of dignified associations of a word -- poof! -- gone.


Yes, that episode, set about 2 miles from my home, also ruined all the positive connotations for ManBearPig for me as well.

Now that Peak is settling down for Amazon (and returns aren't really their thing) when does the schedule freeze get broken and the first of the 2021 aircraft head to paint?
The last of the famous international playboys
 
757flyer
Posts: 3
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Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Tue Dec 29, 2020 12:57 am

Indeed, many thanks for the additional name info F18raider!

wjcandee - interesting how we all have different TV associations for words. I saw Excelsior and immediately thought of Stan Lee's cameos on Big Bang Theory...
 
enplaned
Posts: 224
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Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Tue Dec 29, 2020 2:48 am

ILNFlyer wrote:
It is entirely possible that ATSG and other current providers of Amazon Air lift may find themselves out of a job in 10 years when current leases expire.....IF Amazon can get an AOC in that time. This has always been the biggest fly in the soup for Amazon. It is by no means unachievable, and it's likely the long term goal of Amazon Air. All it takes is the expertise and the money. One they can get, and the other they already have.


I think that would be a mistake, though I know for a fact that some at Amazon want that outcome. Probably the best outcome for Amazon is to own the aircraft and farm them out to ATSG, etc. You could transition to a world where Amazon is paying for (1) aircraft (2) fuel (3) heavy MX directly. ATSG, et al, provide the pilots, line MX. Amazon can directly contract ground handling (or not). Point being, ATSG et al then get paid a margin on a smaller bundle of services they are providing to Amazon. So the operating margin for ATSG, et al, looks good, while Amazon is not paying a profit on the aircraft, fuel, heavy MX, ground handling, etc. No one has a lower cost of capital than Amazon - therefore, Amazon ought to own the aircraft and it appears they finally are becoming comfortable with that.

The important thing is for Amazon to never be in the crosshairs of airline unionization. Let that be a problem for ATSG, etc. Outside of SkyWest, there are no airlines that have escaped pilot unionization, and for Amazon, unions are anathema.
 
JRadier
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Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Tue Dec 29, 2020 9:59 am

Boof02671 wrote:
And your missing how the ramp and an airport works. An airport won’t spend the money to disrupt the whole airport for several flights a day.

The airport is a complex and dangerous place. There are way too many variables for such a feat to be accomplished. You have no idea what an airport and airplane operation works

I, and I believe many there with me, agree with you that a full automation of the ramp process is not viable in the short term, as it's too complex a situation. What I think what most (including myself here) are expecting is that Amazon will try to automate part of it, given their background.

Granted, I haven't been a ramprat, but I have spent enough time on the ramp supervising turnarounds to have an incling of what is going on. At the same time it's interesting to see what Amazon is doing to automate where it can, and I expect the ramp to be no different. Since they will own the ramp in CVG, they can optimize it suiting their needs. Some of the things I can imagine that Amazon would look at:
  • trucking to/from the plane, which could be replaced by something like a roller bed. The maindeck and FWD lower deck cargo door are always roughly in the same place, especially if you have a sh*tload of the same a/c type. This would enable automatic transportation to/from the warehouse
  • positioning of the loader. Currently it's driven out of the way, but why does it need to be? If it can be on the side, and only be driven fwd towards the plane (with some margin to account for the exact stop position of the aircraft). You can have a person doing this, but as long as it's a simple forward/aft, with a bit of left/right to account for the final parking position, that can be automated.
  • fuel truck can be replaced by a hydrant system (in place at many airports in Europe, for example), together with a fixed dispenser placed on the ramp. A person will still need to connect the hose though.

None of these will come without their challenges, and I'm sure it will take some hard work, blood, sweat, tears and aircraft damage. Plenty of humans will still be involved loading the aircraft, but likely less than today.
 
Boof02671
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Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Tue Dec 29, 2020 12:19 pm

JRadier wrote:
Boof02671 wrote:
And your missing how the ramp and an airport works. An airport won’t spend the money to disrupt the whole airport for several flights a day.

The airport is a complex and dangerous place. There are way too many variables for such a feat to be accomplished. You have no idea what an airport and airplane operation works

I, and I believe many there with me, agree with you that a full automation of the ramp process is not viable in the short term, as it's too complex a situation. What I think what most (including myself here) are expecting is that Amazon will try to automate part of it, given their background.

Granted, I haven't been a ramprat, but I have spent enough time on the ramp supervising turnarounds to have an incling of what is going on. At the same time it's interesting to see what Amazon is doing to automate where it can, and I expect the ramp to be no different. Since they will own the ramp in CVG, they can optimize it suiting their needs. Some of the things I can imagine that Amazon would look at:
  • trucking to/from the plane, which could be replaced by something like a roller bed. The maindeck and FWD lower deck cargo door are always roughly in the same place, especially if you have a sh*tload of the same a/c type. This would enable automatic transportation to/from the warehouse
  • positioning of the loader. Currently it's driven out of the way, but why does it need to be? If it can be on the side, and only be driven fwd towards the plane (with some margin to account for the exact stop position of the aircraft). You can have a person doing this, but as long as it's a simple forward/aft, with a bit of left/right to account for the final parking position, that can be automated.
  • fuel truck can be replaced by a hydrant system (in place at many airports in Europe, for example), together with a fixed dispenser placed on the ramp. A person will still need to connect the hose though.

None of these will come without their challenges, and I'm sure it will take some hard work, blood, sweat, tears and aircraft damage. Plenty of humans will still be involved loading the aircraft, but likely less than today.

Your not even taking weather into account , a hydrant is not automated and many airports already use that.

How is a K loader going to drive to the main cabin cargo door?

How is the dollies going to precisely line up with the K loader?

You are not taking into effect the complexities of a ramp operation with all the variables and with multiple planes and equipment needed to be used.
 
HPRamper
Posts: 5144
Joined: Sat May 14, 2005 4:22 am

Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Tue Dec 29, 2020 2:06 pm

Boof02671 wrote:
JRadier wrote:
Boof02671 wrote:
And your missing how the ramp and an airport works. An airport won’t spend the money to disrupt the whole airport for several flights a day.

The airport is a complex and dangerous place. There are way too many variables for such a feat to be accomplished. You have no idea what an airport and airplane operation works

I, and I believe many there with me, agree with you that a full automation of the ramp process is not viable in the short term, as it's too complex a situation. What I think what most (including myself here) are expecting is that Amazon will try to automate part of it, given their background.

Granted, I haven't been a ramprat, but I have spent enough time on the ramp supervising turnarounds to have an incling of what is going on. At the same time it's interesting to see what Amazon is doing to automate where it can, and I expect the ramp to be no different. Since they will own the ramp in CVG, they can optimize it suiting their needs. Some of the things I can imagine that Amazon would look at:
  • trucking to/from the plane, which could be replaced by something like a roller bed. The maindeck and FWD lower deck cargo door are always roughly in the same place, especially if you have a sh*tload of the same a/c type. This would enable automatic transportation to/from the warehouse
  • positioning of the loader. Currently it's driven out of the way, but why does it need to be? If it can be on the side, and only be driven fwd towards the plane (with some margin to account for the exact stop position of the aircraft). You can have a person doing this, but as long as it's a simple forward/aft, with a bit of left/right to account for the final parking position, that can be automated.
  • fuel truck can be replaced by a hydrant system (in place at many airports in Europe, for example), together with a fixed dispenser placed on the ramp. A person will still need to connect the hose though.

None of these will come without their challenges, and I'm sure it will take some hard work, blood, sweat, tears and aircraft damage. Plenty of humans will still be involved loading the aircraft, but likely less than today.

Your not even taking weather into account , a hydrant is not automated and many airports already use that.

How is a K loader going to drive to the main cabin cargo door?

How is the dollies going to precisely line up with the K loader?

You are not taking into effect the complexities of a ramp operation with all the variables and with multiple planes and equipment needed to be used.


The vast majority of my career at FedEx has been working on the ramp and I can speak from experience and, I'd modestly call expertise.
First, K-loaders. As of a couple years ago, FedEx was in advanced testing for self-guiding loaders. They would mate themselves to the proper spot on the plane - important especially for 767s which have the most precise mating required of any of the planes in the fleet. If FX was working on it, with how sluggish they move with new tech I can just about guarantee Amazon has already looked at that and has made a decision on going in that direction or not. Amazon is nothing if not cost-sensitive, so if the numbers don't look right (and I believe the number was something like $50k per loader in conversion costs as it's an aftermarket mod) they will stick with the human factor.
AQF containers are already the best option for 767 bellies, now currently the 737 bellies are bulk loaded, but they could certainly be modified to accept containers as other airlines have done with the 757 in the past. Either way you will always need a human overseeing the operation, as things happen, containers get stuck, floor sensors malfunction, etc. No amount of automation will solve that. You can just cut down the number necessary to 1 person, from 3-4.
Upper deck, well that is manual pushing but look at the newer cargo widebodies, all automated movement with really just a couple people needed to move switches. Technically you can do it with one person but it takes longer. Again, same issue as bellies. You'll always need someone to supervise it.

As for the driving. Is it currently feasible no. Is it possible with a huge capital investment, sure. If over-the-road trucking can be automated - and it's happening - it's certainly possible for ramp driving to be. The ramp has well-defined lanes with fewer possible anomalies than the open road would. It would be, again, massively expensive. But the one company with the money to do it is Amazon. The tech is already around for it.
In my estimation even with maximum automation you'll still need two or three humans on the plane, but that's a lot fewer than the 10-12 needed now.
 
JRadier
Posts: 3964
Joined: Mon Sep 27, 2004 11:36 pm

Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Tue Dec 29, 2020 2:20 pm

Boof02671 wrote:
Your not even taking weather into account , a hydrant is not automated and many airports already use that.

How is a K loader going to drive to the main cabin cargo door?

How is the dollies going to precisely line up with the K loader?

You are not taking into effect the complexities of a ramp operation with all the variables and with multiple planes and equipment needed to be used.

Boof, I have the feeling that you're not open to wanting to see different ways of doing things. Am I correct in that? No worries if that is the case, but then I'm going to leave it at this :).

You are correct that I didn't take weather into account, and a technical solution will be required and might very well be complicated. As you said, a hydrant is not automated, nor did I say it was. I just said it could be done with less manual intervention. In fact, as I said, I still think that a fair part of the work currently being done on the ramp will still be done by humans, as it is just not possible or effective to fully automate it. Just like warehouses with Amazon currently still have humans working in them, although in different roles than in a traditional warehouse.

To answer some of your specific questions:
- A K-loader can be parked in the same line of the main cargo door, making sure it only has to drive forward until sensors see the fuselage coming up, slowing it to a stop at exactly the right point. Of course the aircraft can park a bit more forward and aft, and the loader will have to be able to compensate for it. They already have this at GOT airport, but for pax:
Image

- The dollies are not needed anymore, you can have a rollerbed in place, that slightly extends to the K-loader that is in place. You could even elevate it all to the main (or lower) deck hight, eliminating the lifting part, just rolling them out. At that point you in essence have a gate which is the same that is in place for pax at this moment. Extendable roller beds already exist, although they need some serious beefing up fo handle ULD's.

Image

-On your point of it having to work with multiple aircraft types, that's the good part, Amazon has full control over this. For the main deck they essentially have 2 aircraft types (767 and 738), as cargo door is in the same position relative to the nose. Same thing for the equipment, it's built for their specs. That means that they have full info and control over all hardware for these topics. The only thing they need to fix is the exact positioning of the aircraft, as that varies a bit all the time.

That said, this isn't going to be an easy task, and is not coming overnight. Perhaps it will never come, but I think there are possibilities. As you rightfully say the ramp is a complex area, and things like weather make it even harder. For sure humans will remain involved in the process, and some tasks will just not benefit from automating them. For others, a business case is possible, and it will be interesting to see what Amazon will do :)
 
Boof02671
Posts: 2492
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2016 12:15 am

Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Tue Dec 29, 2020 2:38 pm

JRadier wrote:
Boof02671 wrote:
Your not even taking weather into account , a hydrant is not automated and many airports already use that.

How is a K loader going to drive to the main cabin cargo door?

How is the dollies going to precisely line up with the K loader?

You are not taking into effect the complexities of a ramp operation with all the variables and with multiple planes and equipment needed to be used.

Boof, I have the feeling that you're not open to wanting to see different ways of doing things. Am I correct in that? No worries if that is the case, but then I'm going to leave it at this :).

You are correct that I didn't take weather into account, and a technical solution will be required and might very well be complicated. As you said, a hydrant is not automated, nor did I say it was. I just said it could be done with less manual intervention. In fact, as I said, I still think that a fair part of the work currently being done on the ramp will still be done by humans, as it is just not possible or effective to fully automate it. Just like warehouses with Amazon currently still have humans working in them, although in different roles than in a traditional warehouse.

To answer some of your specific questions:
- A K-loader can be parked in the same line of the main cargo door, making sure it only has to drive forward until sensors see the fuselage coming up, slowing it to a stop at exactly the right point. Of course the aircraft can park a bit more forward and aft, and the loader will have to be able to compensate for it. They already have this at GOT airport, but for pax:
Image

- The dollies are not needed anymore, you can have a rollerbed in place, that slightly extends to the K-loader that is in place. You could even elevate it all to the main (or lower) deck hight, eliminating the lifting part, just rolling them out. At that point you in essence have a gate which is the same that is in place for pax at this moment. Extendable roller beds already exist, although they need some serious beefing up fo handle ULD's.

Image

-On your point of it having to work with multiple aircraft types, that's the good part, Amazon has full control over this. For the main deck they essentially have 2 aircraft types (767 and 738), as cargo door is in the same position relative to the nose. Same thing for the equipment, it's built for their specs. That means that they have full info and control over all hardware for these topics. The only thing they need to fix is the exact positioning of the aircraft, as that varies a bit all the time.

That said, this isn't going to be an easy task, and is not coming overnight. Perhaps it will never come, but I think there are possibilities. As you rightfully say the ramp is a complex area, and things like weather make it even harder. For sure humans will remain involved in the process, and some tasks will just not benefit from automating them. For others, a business case is possible, and it will be interesting to see what Amazon will do :)

Just a realist and your conveyor belt won’t hold a ULD
 
JRadier
Posts: 3964
Joined: Mon Sep 27, 2004 11:36 pm

Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Tue Dec 29, 2020 2:49 pm

Boof02671 wrote:
Just a realist and your conveyor belt won’t hold a ULD

As already said....
JRadier wrote:
Extendable roller beds already exist, although they need some serious beefing up fo handle ULD's.
 
HPRamper
Posts: 5144
Joined: Sat May 14, 2005 4:22 am

Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Tue Dec 29, 2020 2:50 pm

Ok, in what scenario are dollies not needed anymore? You have to have dolly strings to move the containers from sort to aircraft, unless you have a nose dock but those are few and far between. The only alternative is to have trucks back directly up to the loader, but that's a very inefficient way to operate. It would be exceedingly rare to have the aircraft so close to the sort building that a single conveyor system could move the containers all the way from sort to the plane.
 
JRadier
Posts: 3964
Joined: Mon Sep 27, 2004 11:36 pm

Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Tue Dec 29, 2020 2:55 pm

HPRamper wrote:
Ok, in what scenario are dollies not needed anymore? You have to have dolly strings to move the containers from sort to aircraft, unless you have a nose dock but those are few and far between. The only alternative is to have trucks back directly up to the loader, but that's a very inefficient way to operate. It would be exceedingly rare to have the aircraft so close to the sort building that a single conveyor system could move the containers all the way from sort to the plane.


Only in a system where you indeed have a roller bed system in place, if that would be viable. I'm not sure it would be though, but it's something that could be looked at.
 
HPRamper
Posts: 5144
Joined: Sat May 14, 2005 4:22 am

Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Tue Dec 29, 2020 3:08 pm

JRadier wrote:
HPRamper wrote:
Ok, in what scenario are dollies not needed anymore? You have to have dolly strings to move the containers from sort to aircraft, unless you have a nose dock but those are few and far between. The only alternative is to have trucks back directly up to the loader, but that's a very inefficient way to operate. It would be exceedingly rare to have the aircraft so close to the sort building that a single conveyor system could move the containers all the way from sort to the plane.


Only in a system where you indeed have a roller bed system in place, if that would be viable. I'm not sure it would be though, but it's something that could be looked at.

There are some ramp facilities where they have built-in bridges that connect from sort building directly to the plane so no dolly OR loader is needed. For instance look at the Google Earth or maps satellite view at the FedEx EWR hub building on the left (main deck) side of the gates. It's not common, but it's technically doable. As I generally say about Amazon, they are very good at determining value versus cost, and if they decide a system is worth the investment, their pockets are very, very deep.
 
Boof02671
Posts: 2492
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2016 12:15 am

Re: Amazon Fleet Discussion - 2020

Tue Dec 29, 2020 3:18 pm

HPRamper wrote:
Ok, in what scenario are dollies not needed anymore? You have to have dolly strings to move the containers from sort to aircraft, unless you have a nose dock but those are few and far between. The only alternative is to have trucks back directly up to the loader, but that's a very inefficient way to operate. It would be exceedingly rare to have the aircraft so close to the sort building that a single conveyor system could move the containers all the way from sort to the plane.

Exactly. These people whom never had worked the ramp nor live planes don’t have a clue. Plus it’s like a symphony with no many moving parts and variables.

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