hivue
Topic Author
Posts: 1940
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2013 2:26 am

Stuck two nights in LIT: Can't push back

Thu Jun 20, 2019 8:17 pm

My apologies for the lack of detail, but I heard this story from someone while riding in a car with him and a number of other people. I could squeeze in only so many tech type questions during breaks in the conversation.

This person was, within the last couple of weeks, flying AA Puerto Rico to DFW. There possibly was a stop in MIA, and, if so, I'm not sure if it was through to DFW or a plane change. The flight diverted to KLIT, I have to assume for wx based on the number of storms we've had in the DFW area in the past few weeks. The pax had to overnight in Little Rock, I assume due to the lateness of the divert and crew duty time restrictions.

When the pax got to the airport the next morning they were told the flight could not depart because the airport had no tow bar robust enough to push back the airplane. There supposedly was talk of reversing out of the gate, but that idea seems to have been dropped. A tow bar would be flown in from Tulsa.

The (I assume regularly scheduled) flight from TUL turned up with no tow bar. The pax seem to have been told that there was a safety issue with transporting the tow bar on the flight. The tow bar was trucked in from Tulsa, resulting in the pax having to do another overnight in Little Rock (I imagine at least some were accommodated on other flights).

I'm interested in how possible/plausible this all sounds (the person telling the story is definitely not the type to make up something like this). I'm making the assumption that the airplane in question was a 787 or 777 (the person telling the story didn’t know the type). That's would be an expensive airplane to be RON 2 nights in succession unscheduled. Would LIT really not have a tow bar to handle a 787/777? Surely AA must realize that LIT would be a prime location for DFW diverts. What about problems with transporting a tow bar on a regularly scheduled flight? I mean, it's not hazmat stuff. Space restrictions?

Any opinions? (This is NOT a post to criticize AA. Airline operations is a topic that interests me but that I know almost nothing about.)
"You're sitting. In a chair. In the SKY!!" ~ Louis C.K.
 
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AirKevin
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Re: Stuck two nights in LIT: Can't push back

Thu Jun 20, 2019 9:28 pm

There's a flight that runs from SJU to DFW, that would be American 1591, a Boeing 757-200. Looks like there's several from MIA to DFW with variances between the Boeing 737-800, Airbus A321, Boeing 757-200, and Boeing 777-200ER. There's also the occasional Boeing 767-300ER.
Captain Kevin
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Stuck two nights in LIT: Can't push back

Thu Jun 20, 2019 9:36 pm

I’d like to see a link to the story, this doesn’t pass the smile test. Probably a 757 or 737.
 
hivue
Topic Author
Posts: 1940
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2013 2:26 am

Re: Stuck two nights in LIT: Can't push back

Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:13 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
I’d like to see a link to the story, this doesn’t pass the smile test. Probably a 757 or 737.


The story was told by the person I mentioned under the circumstances I noted. There is no link.

It's hard to imagine that LIT wouldn't have a tow bar that could handle a 757 (let alone a 737).
"You're sitting. In a chair. In the SKY!!" ~ Louis C.K.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Stuck two nights in LIT: Can't push back

Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:20 pm

While I agree on not having tow capability at LIT be implausible; it’s a five hour drive. If I woke up without a flight to DFW and told that, Avis would be my next stop. Tell AA to book me out of DFW on arrival.

GF
 
catdaddy63
Posts: 212
Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2007 8:27 am

Re: Stuck two nights in LIT: Can't push back

Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:59 pm

There are some legs to this story: AA1276, a B752 diverted to LIT on 6/16 arriving at 1728L, operated by N191AN. This aircraft left LIT on 6/17 at 2144L completing the flight to DFW. What actually transpired in those 28 hours is anyone's guess.

https://www.flightradar24.com/data/aircraft/n191an
 
TUGMASTER
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Re: Stuck two nights in LIT: Can't push back

Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:21 am

Bizarrely, AA 752’s have the old A300 towbar connection , as in the 2 side lugs, not the common over the top grip type bar..
 
Dalmd88
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Re: Stuck two nights in LIT: Can't push back

Fri Jun 21, 2019 2:04 pm

It does make sense with the AA A300 tow bar config. There are many different towbar connection configs and of course weight ratings. Usually most airlines have at least one of every possible diversion available for a given station. Why they didn't have one is a big mystery. Also throwing one for a 757 in a cargo bin is not a safety issue. Someone screwed up and forgot to get it on the flight. If it had been the case they would have sent on on a truck as soon as the flight landed in LIT and the issue was noticed.
 
747fan
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Re: Stuck two nights in LIT: Can't push back

Fri Jun 21, 2019 4:42 pm

This is correct; aircraft in question was a 757. Initially the flight RON’d due to the crew timing out (initially delayed to something like an 11am departure for the recovery to DFW). The additional delay was due to the towbar having to be trucked in from Tulsa. Supposedly, this issue wasn’t discovered until the flight was almost ready for pushback, etc...oops.
 
Pontius
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Re: Stuck two nights in LIT: Can't push back

Fri Jun 21, 2019 4:49 pm

Seems totally legit. I saw the 757 on gate 10 in LIT on the morning of the 17th. At 0900 local it was sitting there with the beacon turning for most of an hour, buttoned up but never moved. Perhaps this was the moment of discovery. Meanwhile AA’s operation was a mess with multiple gateless E175s in the penalty box.
 
747fan
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Re: Stuck two nights in LIT: Can't push back

Fri Jun 21, 2019 4:51 pm

I’ll add that typically AUS/IAH/OKC/TUL/SAT get the widebody diversions during these DFW storm events. However LIT gets its fair share of diversions too, so surprised they didn’t have a 757 towbar. I would think they’ve had multiple AA 757 diverts in the past but the crew timeout definitely changed things up (usually gas and go that could be parked remotely)
 
Tristarsteve
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Re: Stuck two nights in LIT: Can't push back

Fri Jun 21, 2019 7:51 pm

So you still use towbars??. Nearly all the tractors here are TBL. A TBL can handle nearly all aircraft up to its weight limit. Get a big one and a small one and you handle anything.
 
Natflyer
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Re: Stuck two nights in LIT: Can't push back

Sat Jun 22, 2019 12:00 am

Tristarsteve wrote:
So you still use towbars??. Nearly all the tractors here are TBL. A TBL can handle nearly all aircraft up to its weight limit. Get a big one and a small one and you handle anything.


That will be the day in that part of the world. Few and far between and called “supertugs”. But quite ridiculous is that a 757 can have 3 different towbar attachment types.
 
TTailedTiger
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Re: Stuck two nights in LIT: Can't push back

Sat Jun 22, 2019 2:17 am

There are no flights from TUL-LIT.
 
WPvsMW
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Re: Stuck two nights in LIT: Can't push back

Sat Jun 22, 2019 4:35 am

Sooo... DFW rampers unloaded the towbar inbound from TUL and the outbound flight to LIT flight left without it? No baggage tag on the towbar is my guess.
 
charlienorth
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Re: Stuck two nights in LIT: Can't push back

Sat Jun 22, 2019 4:37 pm

Driving it down was probably the best option, probably too big to fit in a cargo compartment and is probable considered HAZMAT for shipping.
Work hard fly right..don't understand it
 
Wacker1000
Posts: 181
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Re: Stuck two nights in LIT: Can't push back

Sat Jun 22, 2019 11:20 pm

TUGMASTER wrote:
Bizarrely, AA 752’s have the old A300 towbar connection , as in the 2 side lugs, not the common over the top grip type bar..


"We did something for the sake of being different and it worked out wonderfully".....said no AA employee ever.
 
trijetsonly
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Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 10:38 pm

Re: Stuck two nights in LIT: Can't push back

Thu Jun 27, 2019 9:49 am

Dalmd88 wrote:
It does make sense with the AA A300 tow bar config. There are many different towbar connection configs and of course weight ratings. Usually most airlines have at least one of every possible diversion available for a given station. Why they didn't have one is a big mystery. Also throwing one for a 757 in a cargo bin is not a safety issue. Someone screwed up and forgot to get it on the flight. If it had been the case they would have sent on on a truck as soon as the flight landed in LIT and the issue was noticed.


Actually, a towbar is "uncrushable piercing cargo" and therefore qualifies as HAZMAT.
So it's not easy to fly one in a cargo hold without decent preparation or a qualifying transport case.
Happy Landings
 
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zeke
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Re: Stuck two nights in LIT: Can't push back

Thu Jun 27, 2019 10:27 am

hivue wrote:
There supposedly was talk of reversing out of the gate, but that idea seems to have been dropped.


Most aircraft that I know of with high bypass engines it is an aircraft limitation that prohibits the use of reverse to actually revers the aircraft. You would be going back to a DC-9 or similar for that sort of capability.
Human rights lawyers are "ambulance chasers of the very worst kind.'" - Sky News
 
strfyr51
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Re: Stuck two nights in LIT: Can't push back

Thu Jun 27, 2019 10:39 am

hivue wrote:
My apologies for the lack of detail, but I heard this story from someone while riding in a car with him and a number of other people. I could squeeze in only so many tech type questions during breaks in the conversation.

This person was, within the last couple of weeks, flying AA Puerto Rico to DFW. There possibly was a stop in MIA, and, if so, I'm not sure if it was through to DFW or a plane change. The flight diverted to KLIT, I have to assume for wx based on the number of storms we've had in the DFW area in the past few weeks. The pax had to overnight in Little Rock, I assume due to the lateness of the divert and crew duty time restrictions.

When the pax got to the airport the next morning they were told the flight could not depart because the airport had no tow bar robust enough to push back the airplane. There supposedly was talk of reversing out of the gate, but that idea seems to have been dropped. A tow bar would be flown in from Tulsa.

The (I assume regularly scheduled) flight from TUL turned up with no tow bar. The pax seem to have been told that there was a safety issue with transporting the tow bar on the flight. The tow bar was trucked in from Tulsa, resulting in the pax having to do another overnight in Little Rock (I imagine at least some were accommodated on other flights).

I'm interested in how possible/plausible this all sounds (the person telling the story is definitely not the type to make up something like this). I'm making the assumption that the airplane in question was a 787 or 777 (the person telling the story didn’t know the type). That's would be an expensive airplane to be RON 2 nights in succession unscheduled. Would LIT really not have a tow bar to handle a 787/777? Surely AA must realize that LIT would be a prime location for DFW diverts. What about problems with transporting a tow bar on a regularly scheduled flight? I mean, it's not hazmat stuff. Space restrictions?

Any opinions? (This is NOT a post to criticize AA. Airline operations is a topic that interests me but that I know almost nothing about.)

This is TOTALY Plausible. I've seen it happen at United where we had to divert for one reason or another and there was no support equipment available for the particular airplane, It turned into a Cluster [email protected]#$! Luckily? it doesn't happen very often now, as we list diversion airports and their capabilities and Equipment.
 
futureatp
Posts: 195
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Re: Stuck two nights in LIT: Can't push back

Thu Jun 27, 2019 1:53 pm

This very thing almost happened in PHX in 2010 or so. An AA 777 diverted to PHX (pre US merger it should be noted) due to a couple getting into a fight and the authorities having to arrest one person on the plane. As it was getting ready to taxi on to the AA ramp someone on their ramp realized they had no way to push the plane back out and stopped it in time. To complicate things further, AA at the time still fueled their own planes at PHX and was the only carrier that did at time. Everyone else used Swissport. AA had to call up Swissport as they did not have fuel tanker truck and the city of PHX had to escort one of their tankers out on to the taxiway and the diversion was fueled there instead. Luckily it happened in the evening before the last US bank so the field was not busy at all.


*PS Edit/add: Re-Reading through some of the posts about equipment reminded me. For some reason once AA (Pre US) stopped flying scheduled 757s into PHX and were down to 737/S80 they got rid of their tall fueling stand. I know this as one time a 767 showed up and I had to fuel it with a Swissport hydrant truck. So at least ten years ago, sometimes a station may have had capability to handle a specific aircraft but later on may not have.
 
26point2
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Re: Stuck two nights in LIT: Can't push back

Fri Jun 28, 2019 1:56 pm

This is hard to believe. 2 nights? Why not rent a car and drive LIT-DFW? Laying in bed the first night I would have already made this conclusion if not sooner. There was a story during the 9/11 nationwide grounding of a group of pax stranded somewhere in the Midwest who pooled their money together, bought a used car, and continued to the west coast by road. A clever solution.

Also, if no towing capabilities why would the flight crew/ground crew park the plane in a position that left no way to turn out under its own power. I fly a large corporate jet and we are faced with this situation from time to time...it’s all part of good planning and forethought.
 
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AirKevin
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Re: Stuck two nights in LIT: Can't push back

Fri Jun 28, 2019 2:06 pm

26point2 wrote:
Also, if no towing capabilities why would the flight crew/ground crew park the plane in a position that left no way to turn out under its own power.

Did the flight crew even know there was no towing capability?
Captain Kevin
 
n92r03
Posts: 495
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Re: Stuck two nights in LIT: Can't push back

Fri Jun 28, 2019 6:05 pm

Renting a car and driving is certainly a viable solution, I've had to do it a few times thanks to hurricanes causing cancellations and the good ole days of AirTran issues in ATL. Anyway, my guess is had they known this was going to be two days, many would have rented a car, but like many delays that go on and on, they were most likely scheduled in a timely manner, then the cascading started.....

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