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Mike89406
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Airport Baggage Tug Towing Question

Thu Jul 23, 2015 3:09 am

Let me preface this by saying I'm a pretty new Ramp Agent. I recently got my SIDA badge and am fairly comfortable driving the belt loader, pushback tug, and baggage tugs under normal operations that don't require tight spaces.
I hookup the pushback to the Towbar/Aircraft, drive the belt loader up to the pits before uploading.

That all said I was asked to ride along to pickup cargo before the first morning flights. After pickup the ramper asked me to drive... Except it had the maximum 4 carts hooked up. We get to the first aircraft to drop off some cargo and the ramper asked me to do a u-turn between the 2 aircraft and jetways however there wasn't much room and I turned a little too sharp where 2 trailers edges got really close and the ramper helped me back it up and guide me out.

Another ramper asked if I could drive some trailers to drop off to our bag room drop offpick up point, however when you drive inside you can't back up and have to do a u-turn to get out. At that point one of the carts got close again to the carousel so I stopped and asked a lead for help getting around just to be safe. The lead and I unhooked the trailers and hand pushed them next to the carousel.

My question is... what's the best way to execute a turn with the baggage tug in tight spaces/u-turns? I feel that I did the best I could considering the circumstances and played safe, however I'm still uncomfortable in that situation.
 
N353SK
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RE: Airport Baggage Tug Towing Question

Thu Jul 23, 2015 3:56 am

Honestly, four carts is too much for you right now. Start with two and your way up.
 
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Classa64
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RE: Airport Baggage Tug Towing Question

Thu Jul 23, 2015 2:13 pm

Practice makes perfect, is there a time or place that you could set up some cones and practice? Curious that's all.
I was asked to back a friends trailer with his boat on it into the water down a tight launch, 10 min later it was in but stressed me out and that was with his help!.   Good Luck.
"Freedom is the miles i'm rolling on"
 
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litz
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RE: Airport Baggage Tug Towing Question

Thu Jul 23, 2015 5:41 pm

This is why I prefer the railroad ... we don't have to steer ...

but seriously - this is going to take learning and practice.

You're already doing the best thing possible : you recognized you need help, and you ask for it.

That's far preferable to either getting yourself/someone else hurt, or damaging equipment.
 
nomadd22
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RE: Airport Baggage Tug Towing Question

Thu Jul 23, 2015 6:55 pm

Depends on you. Some people can glance at a space and gauge it perfectly every time. Some can't and have to rely on practice in that space or keep a larger margin. It's not something you can really get from step by step directions.
Anon
 
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KLASM83
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RE: Airport Baggage Tug Towing Question

Thu Jul 23, 2015 7:48 pm

As a former ramper, now FBO guy, everything is about gauging your space and what you can do with and in it. Practicing is really going to be your best friend.

Do note, however, that once you do get it, that the turning radius of those bag carts can be quite impressive, if done carefully. That's down the road.

Good luck, happy ramping!
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Mike89406
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RE: Airport Baggage Tug Towing Question

Thu Jul 23, 2015 7:55 pm

Now that I think about it my concern would be specifically the turning radius when towing multiple trailers in tight spaces. I'm assuming you'd steer to the outside track and follow the turn slowly since the carts/trailers would steer towards the inside track taking physics into consideration.
I know it will take experience and getting used to since the other rampers seem to do it with ease.
 
wn676
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RE: Airport Baggage Tug Towing Question

Thu Jul 23, 2015 10:04 pm

Quoting Mike89406 (Reply 6):
I'm assuming you'd steer to the outside track and follow the turn slowly since the carts/trailers would steer towards the inside track taking physics into consideration.

Figuring out the sweep path of the carts will take practice. One thing to remember, at least with bag carts, is that they'll never track the same as the tug; they'll progressively track inwards from your initial turn radius. I'd tow six around a lot, and even with something like coming around an end gate where you have a lot of wide-open space, those last couple of carts would eat up a lot of real estate coming around a gentle curve. Always take the widest turn you can for that reason. And take it slow...I've seen too many people misjudge a U-turn and end up either twisting tongues or flipping carts over entirely.

Like one poster said above, you'll be surprised at how sharp some carts can turn. You just have to know the limits of your equipment.

[Edited 2015-07-23 15:12:19]
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lpdal
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RE: Airport Baggage Tug Towing Question

Fri Jul 24, 2015 8:12 pm

Quoting Mike89406 (Thread starter):
Let me preface this by saying I'm a pretty new Ramp Agent.

Congrats! I just graduated a few months ago and applied to a bunch of ramp jobs today. Shooting for the stars!  
Quoting Mike89406 (Thread starter):

I hookup the pushback to the Towbar/Aircraft, drive the belt loader up to the pits before uploading.

Is that exciting?

-LPDAL
TWU represented. All of my views and posted content are mine alone, and should not be viewed as official communication from my employer, its subsidiaries thereof, or any other entities or airlines.
 
alasizon
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RE: Airport Baggage Tug Towing Question

Sat Jul 25, 2015 12:41 am

On thing you should find out is how far the tongue will move on the bag cart. I've always used ones that give me around 120 degrees or so but recently the company bought some that lock at 90 and I struggle to turn those around in the same places I could with the other ones.

But like everyone else says, practice is key and there is a reason why airports have their own limits to make it easier to turn. My rule of thumb is I always try to turn to my right because I tend to find it easier.
Airport (noun) - A construction site which airplanes tend to frequent
 
AST1Driver
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RE: Airport Baggage Tug Towing Question

Sat Jul 25, 2015 3:16 am

As the others have said, practice. Remember, every cart will track differently. Freight and bag carts tend to move to the inside of your turn, while can transporters will follow the same track as the tug. Then your pallet transporters require a very wide turn radius. It really gets fun when you have a combination of them all behind you. As you have figured out, sometimes the only thing you can do is disconnect and move the carts by hand. Honestly, I am very surprised that your supervisor would turn you loose on the ramp without another person being with you for training. The last thing you want as a new employee is to be in a situation to damage an aircraft or hurt yourself or someone else because your weren't sure how to properly operate the equipment. If you ever get in a situation your not comfortable with, STOP and get some help.
 
nws2002
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RE: Airport Baggage Tug Towing Question

Sun Jul 26, 2015 4:05 am

We're limited to three carts where I work, but like others have said, practice is the key. We setup cones and move them progressively closer for new hires. If you run over cones it won't really hurt anything.

At our inbound bag dropoff you have to make a u-turn to get out because another airline always parks their carts in the area where you are supposed to go out. It is a tight fit between the belts, but it can be done with three carts. I always tell new employees to take it slow and stop if they get stuck. Sometimes the best or only way is to disconnect and hand pull the carts around.
 
wn676
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RE: Airport Baggage Tug Towing Question

Mon Jul 27, 2015 4:58 pm

Quoting LPDAL (Reply 8):
Is that exciting?

-LPDAL

Won't speak for them but I always found pushbacks to be one of the most enjoyable parts of my shift. Though, I also derived a lot of excitement from stacking clean and tight in the bin. It's the little things.   
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readytotaxi
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RE: Airport Baggage Tug Towing Question

Mon Jul 27, 2015 5:22 pm

Quoting wn676 (Reply 7):
You just have to know the limits of your equipment.

Have you been speaking to my wife.
 
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