Reverse Thrust

From: (Mike Galat)
Date:         06 Jan 94 01:54:09 PST
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>>I saw one AMR's 727 at Rochester airport pushing it self in reverse        
>>direction just by its own engines.                                         
>This has been discussed on the net in the past, maybe here, maybe in        
> or one of the rec.aviation.* groups.  The bottom line        
>is that yes, some jets are capable of pushing themselves back, but the      
>practice doesn't seem to be all that common.  I recall mention of both      
>American and Southwest doing this, with American most frequently doing      
>it with MD-80s.                                                             
I first encountered this, if memory serves me, flying aboard Eastern DC9's.  
It seems to me that they could do this only at certain airports, but         
I believe the practice is more common than eluded to.                        
I now live near Minneapolis/St. Paul airport (MSP), and own a scanner.       
Very often I hear pilots requesting clearance to 'Powerback'.  I figure it   
must save some money for the airline, since they don't have to pay someone   
to drive the tug.  It also seems to be a faster way to clear out of a gate,  
no need to wait for the tug to be unhooked, just nugde the reversers out     
of reverse, and give it some thrust!                                         
On the downside, I don't know if there are problems with engine wear, due to 
stuff being thrown up from the tarmac, and being sucked into the engines.