747 forward cargo door

Date:         25 Nov 96 06:18:49 
From:         jmaddaus@gte.com (John S. Maddaus)
Organization: GTE Labs Inc
Followups:    1 2 3 4
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OK I have several questions.  I flew UA808 (747) from SFO to ORD on Friday.
My seat was right over the cargo door.  As the baggage handlers brought the
treadmill up to begin loading the plane, they must have mis-judged and hit the
plane with the treadmill.  The whole plane lurched and for the next 45 minutes
to an hour, I sat in my seat listening to some terrific banging (hammers I
presume) going on.  My whole seat shook each time.  A bit disconcerting to say
the least.  The pilot finally announced that the baggage crew had indeed hit
the edge of the cargo door opening and damaged it and they wanted to make
sure the seal wasn't damaged (I'm presuming here that the compartment is
pressurized).  My questions are:
1)  The gates were never brought back during
this time.  Wouldn't one of the crew want to look at this? and the fix?
2)  Who has final authority for verifying the fix is sufficient? Ground
personnel?  Having worked with hammers before, it didn't seem to be an overly
precise way of bending metal.
3) Given the history with the plane out of HI, wouldn't the crew want to
insure that things were OK personally?
4) Did the HI incident result in any mods to the cargo door system?

After opening and closing the door several times, we pushed back,  and as a
frequent listener to channel 9, I heard the pilot tell the tower we had to go
back to the gate.  This time it was to replace a burnt out strobe under the
belly.  Took only a few minutes, but we finally got off.  Tightest I've ever
worn my seat belt!

Also, where does security start and passenger piece of mind begin?  They
brought the gate back up for the bulb change, and one passenger deplaned
saying he only had carry-on.  The FA promptly notified the company.  Several
of us wanted to get off because we were now 2 1/2 hours late and new we would
miss our connections in ORD.  We were told by the FAs that if anyone so much
as placed a foot on the ramp, they would have security haul us away, whether
we had checked baggage or not.  Several people only wanted to use their
cellular phones since the phones on this plane all had stickers saying the
system had been disabled and to excuse the inconvenience. Yup, misssed my
connection.  Is this completely crew dependent or are there specific security
regs now in force that would force them to pull all the cargo for each
passenger that leaves (which is what they were really saying)?

Lastly, on the flight to SFO (another 747) the FA made quite a point of saying
that this was one of several "odd" 747s that UA had purchased from Qantas and
then went into detail where to find the handle to flush in the lav.  How many
did UA get from Qantas?  Did Qantas have Rolls engines?  These sure sounded
different on take off then the ones I'm used to hearing.  Would UA have
re-engined them if they were?

Thanks for any info.

John Maddaus
jmaddaus@gte.com