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saab2000
Topic Author
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Let's Talk About RJs!

Thu Aug 26, 2004 5:56 am

I have to make a few comments. Lately there has been a lot of trash talking about RJs and how awful they are and how they are the source of all the problems in aviation, etc.

I am newly based at IAD. The situation there right now is bad. I would agree that there are too many RJs but they are not the source of the problem. We are often parked at the new "G" terminal at IAD and it is THE worst thing I have ever seen in my entire aviation career.

The parking alleys are too narrow to expiditiously get planes moved in and out and the ground crews are badly trained and the the companies which operate the ground handling are invariably the ones which bid the lowest, etc. The ground control frequencies and the ramp control frequencies have zero coordination. It is a CF.

Everything about the RJ experience is to be as cheap as possible, with seemingly no common sense.

Is this the reason they have such a bad name?

Sorry for the rant..... But I am hopeful that things improve at IAD. The United "mainline" seems to have their operations really together and we get blamed for the problems of missed connections and delays. But the fault has to lie with management for hiring the lowest bidder, regardless of known quality deficiencies.

Any thoughts?
smrtrthnu
 
flybyguy
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RE: Let's Talk About RJs!

Thu Aug 26, 2004 6:07 am

This is a very frightening revelation... It is my opinion that a majority of scheduling problems at IAD and in particular ORD are due to airline regional affiliates. The government should systematically HACK these very cluttered schedules down for the safety of the flying public... all those tiny regional jets and commuter planes whizzing back and forth like flies on a turd cannot be safe to handle in ATC especially as airlines find them to be the cheap alternative to mainline services. I tell you we could be in for a SWARM!

Just my two cents.
"Are you a pretender... or a thoroughbred?!" - Professor Matt Miller
 
saab2000
Topic Author
Posts: 1251
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2001 6:19 pm

RE: Let's Talk About RJs!

Thu Aug 26, 2004 6:17 am

I am not saying that the operations are unsafe. Don't be mislead. But the organisation of the operation is generally not as slick as with the larger planes.

But the pilots flying are operating safely. That much I can say.

In Europe the airlines had to request time slots which were given out only if the airport knew they would have capacity to handle it all. I don't know if that goes on here or not, but it seems like some of the larger airports have WAY too many flights planned at any given time.

This is becoming a big problem at ORD. The whole thing makes me wonder if the era of the RJ has peaked.....
smrtrthnu
 
BH346
Posts: 3164
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RE: Let's Talk About RJs!

Thu Aug 26, 2004 6:21 am

Flying on the regionals can be very inconsistent. The experience between two carriers or two airports can be night and day, even if they're flying for the same airline. For example, my experience really differed between United Express and American Eagle at ORD. United has an outdated and congested terminal at ORD while American Eagle's operation across the ramp at Concourse G was excellent with a clean and modern concourse, jetways, and one gate for each flight (if I remember correctly). This isn't meant to be a slam against United, I really enjoyed my mainline flights. At Delta Connection, I was pleased with my experiences flying through CVG with Comair. On the other hand, ASA at ATL was a headache. Other examples of good regional operations I can think of are Northwest Airlink at MSP and American Eagle at DFW.
I'm not so crazy about all the RJs, the experience can be very inconsistent not to mention the planes are just cramped. Sometimes the experience can be great on certain airlines while others leave you feeling like the flight was given out to the lowest bidder. However, living in a smaller city, I pretty much learned to get used to it.
Northwest Airlines - Some People Just Know How to Fly
 
xjramper
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RE: Let's Talk About RJs!

Thu Aug 26, 2004 6:28 am

You have to remember mainline flights have a large space around them to operate because you could have anywhere from a 737 to a 757 all that vary in size between the same type of aircraft. Now, with RJs excluding the EMB170 and the A318, they are all relatively the same size. With a little bit more maneuvering area to work with, you can have up to four aircraft leaving the same gate. Why? Because there are no jet bridges to connect to the aircraft.

Off to class...

XJr
Look ma' no hands!
 
dan2002
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RE: Let's Talk About RJs!

Thu Aug 26, 2004 6:40 am

You should see CLE, almost all RJ, from ERJ-XXX to CRJ and a slew of D328Jets. Plus the NW Airlink RJ85's here too. Just saw an I-Jet land, beautiful.

-Dan
A guy asks 'What's Punk?'. I kick over a trash can and its punk. He knocks over a trash can and its trendy.
 
lowrider
Posts: 2542
Joined: Wed Jun 30, 2004 3:09 am

RE: Let's Talk About RJs!

Thu Aug 26, 2004 7:28 am

As one who makes is living from, and therefore spends a lot of time with RJ's, I see no inherent problem with the aircraft. The problem is with the utilization. When employed in the manner they were designed for, they are quite efficient, useful tools. The problem comes when you use them for things they weren't intended for. Example, the 50 seat CRJ was not meant to do 3 1/2 hour legs in the configuration used by most US operations. Just because it can does not mean it should. They are also not cheap. Do not confuse low cost with poor quality. While every aircraft has its strength and weaknesses, I don't think any of the current selection of RJ's is low quality. If there is "cheapness" then I would argue it comes from factors surrounding the aircraft and not the aircraft itself. As for schedules, you can either restrict the number of operations or add capacity. If you do neither, then you deserve what ever mess you get. My personal opinion, if you have a growing population and a growing economy, you should add capacity. Restricting the number of operations at an airport is an excellent way to artificially inflate fares.

For the record, I would not classify the E170 as a regional jet. Compare the statistics to the A318 or the B717. Each has a MTOW of over 100,000 lbs and a range of equal to or greater than 2000 nm. Being built by Embraer does not automatically make it an RJ. The other side of the coin is, what defines a region. If North America is a region, then the 757 is a regional jet.
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saab2000
Topic Author
Posts: 1251
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2001 6:19 pm

RE: Let's Talk About RJs!

Thu Aug 26, 2004 8:18 am

Lowrider hits the nail on the head. "Regional" is a word I am not comfortable with.

The 170 from Embraer is in my opinion definitely NOT a "regional" jet and it is not marketed as such either. It sure blurs the traditional definition though.

Also, the CRJ I fly can hardly be called a cheap airplane. I don't know what it costs, but I guess most of the R&D was paid for ahead of time with the design of the Challenger corporate jet. Anyway, we have all the features of any big plane and fly just as fast and just as high. Well, almost anyway, if we weren't a bit underpowered. Big grin

smrtrthnu
 
xjramper
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RE: Let's Talk About RJs!

Thu Aug 26, 2004 8:22 am

Saab,

what type of aircraft are there where you are observing this activity?

XJR
Look ma' no hands!
 
N766UA
Posts: 8387
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 1999 3:50 am

RE: Let's Talk About RJs!

Thu Aug 26, 2004 8:23 am

You should see CLE, almost all RJ, from ERJ-XXX to CRJ and a slew of D328Jets.

And CLE pulls it off beautifully. Hundreds of daily RJs and virtually no delays caused by anything but weather. Mainline and regionals... everyone's happy.
 
saab2000
Topic Author
Posts: 1251
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2001 6:19 pm

RE: Let's Talk About RJs!

Thu Aug 26, 2004 9:29 am

XJRamper,

Saab 340
CRJ 200
CRJ 700
ERJ 145
ERJ 135
Do 328

Etc

The real chaos has been at IAD and ORD

I am sure it will improve with time. All the outstations, including CLE, have been super duper. But the main hubs have not been.
smrtrthnu
 
Greg
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RE: Let's Talk About RJs!

Thu Aug 26, 2004 10:08 am

The EMB170 was marketed as a regional jet during it's inception and preliminary design--that has not changed. While a bit roomier than the current competition---it is also more costly (AVITAS has the preliminary operting costs as being somewhat higher than the CRJ700)--albeit it a very immature product (since dispatch reliability is also far from target).

While the EMB170 looks like a nice bird, the EMB190/195's are the ones to watch.
 
Boeing7E7
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RE: Let's Talk About RJs!

Thu Aug 26, 2004 11:09 am

Hopefully the Embraer jets push the comfort level up which in turn would come down the line to the smaller 50 seaters in the next generation of them. They'll always be out there replacing 30 and 40 seat TP's on small markets, I just wish they had more butt and leg room.
 
Cory6188
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RE: Let's Talk About RJs!

Thu Aug 26, 2004 11:10 am

I would say that CO does a pretty good job handling its COEx operations in EWR. The entire C-2 concourse is dedicated to Continental Express, and each gate has a double jetway attached to it - for example, gate 111 splits into an "A" side and a "B" side once you walk about halfway down the jetway. Since the ERJ's have such a small footprint, a gate that would normally accomodate one 757 or 737 can now take two ERJs. Every aircraft almost always has a jetway attached to it, and because the pax numbers are so low, the departure area seating can handle two ERJs per gate.
 
flymia
Posts: 7136
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2001 6:33 am

RE: Let's Talk About RJs!

Thu Aug 26, 2004 11:14 am

I love RJ's! I have only flown in a Bae-146 once. But I love them because the more RJ's there are out there the better I have a chance for a job in 10 years! I hope more and more come.
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
 
Bicoastal
Posts: 2446
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 1999 5:56 am

RE: Let's Talk About RJs!

Thu Aug 26, 2004 11:29 am

How does a Swiss citizen get employed in the United States and at an airline? Are you dual national or have a green card?

IAD is a huge problem right now. The switch from ACA (now known as low loads Independence Air) to Mesa, Air Wisconsin, Chautauqua, and Trans States has not been smooth at Dulles. Many "suits" from United HQ in Chicago have been at Dulles to try to straighten out the problem. Tons of missed bags and lost luggage (at about $80 per bag to be delivered to the upset passenger) The problem is the ground handling contractor, Delta Global Services (DGS). If you have a pulse, you can work for DGS. 10 year background check? Literate in English? Speak English? Not a problem at DGS! Osama himself could get hired at DGS.

Of course the union guys at United won't help non union DSG. Who cares if United goes down the drain....unionism is all that matters.

Ugh! It's frightening at Dulles. It's not the regional aircraft per se, it's the management and employees at the Express airlines that's causing the problems.

[Edited 2004-08-26 04:31:24]
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ny-jfk-lga
Posts: 331
Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2000 2:09 am

RE: Let's Talk About RJs!

Thu Aug 26, 2004 12:50 pm

low loads independence air? Hello? We've been here for only 2 months. Jeeze.
Bring back McDonnell Douglas & T W A!!
 
flybyguy
Posts: 1420
Joined: Sun Jun 27, 2004 12:52 pm

RE: Let's Talk About RJs!

Thu Aug 26, 2004 1:11 pm

Lowrider - Do not confuse low cost with poor quality.

I agree with this. I am not saying that regional jets are inherently unsafe, (in fact they are probably some of the most sophisticated and efficient passenger aircraft around) but I feel that the frequencies at which airlines have them fly at are dangerous.

"Are you a pretender... or a thoroughbred?!" - Professor Matt Miller
 
saab2000
Topic Author
Posts: 1251
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2001 6:19 pm

RE: Let's Talk About RJs!

Thu Aug 26, 2004 9:35 pm

Bicoastal,

I am allowed to work both in the US and in Switzerland. Additionally, I have both FAA and JAA licenses. Cost a lot of money and was a lot of hard work, but it has been worth it.

Both places have their positive points and their negative points. So far I might like flying in Europe more, but they have issues there too. The organisation there is generally better, but they are much less flexible and not as willing to improvise to get the job done. Things in Europe are more standardised according the ICAO standards. Here in the US it seems like every airport has their own way of doing things and until you learn that way at each airport you are treated like a dunce.

I am speaking of differences in clearance delivery procedures and taxi procedures and frequency changes on the ground. In the air it is nearly the same, with a few important differences. For example, here they might issue a clearance which would go like this: "Cross XXXXX intersection at 10,000 feet", without ever issuing an actual, "cleared to descend" clearance. This was confusing for me at first.

But basically the controllers here are very good and try hard to do a good job. I am lucky with my situation being able to work in Europe or the US. I used to work for SWISS and despite all the bad press, the organisation and operation there is pretty good. I would love to go back, but they have big problems financially and there will be more departures from that airline before there will be more arrivals unfortunately.

smrtrthnu
 
lowrider
Posts: 2542
Joined: Wed Jun 30, 2004 3:09 am

RE: Let's Talk About RJs!

Thu Aug 26, 2004 10:34 pm

Flybyguy,
I know of no reason why RJ's cannot be operated at a high tempo without comprimising safety. They were built to fly. Frequency should be as high as possible. That is where they make money. The shorter time you can do turns in, the better it is. Historically, the aircraft are at more risk on the ground then any place else. The amount of damage done as a result of being struck by ground equipment is huge and staggeringly exspensive. It is quite possible to get 10 to 11 flying hours per day out of one CRJ, weather and ATC loads permitting. Frequency is not an issue.
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