Re: 747 forward cargo door

Date:         02 Dec 96 01:44:35 
From:         "john r." <>
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In article <airliners.1996.2572@ohare.Chicago.COM>, "John S. Maddaus"
<> writes

I work on the ramp as a ground engineer at Heathrow on 747,s "getting
them away", so I am on the other side !

>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) Wouldn't one of the crew want to look at this? and the fix?

The crew do not need to see the damage though I would be very suprised
if they did not come out to look.
Engineering would need access to the aircraft tech.log to make and clear
entries, detailing damage and the fix. If you could feel the initial,
and susequent, bashes it must have been of consequence. Its usually the
metal seal strip on the door frame that gets damaged. The rubber seal is
pressed against the metal seal by air pressure . This always leaks a
little though a big leak is noisy and uses more fuel to maintain press.

> The gates were never brought back during
>this time.

They have used steps that you did not see.

>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.

The crew involvment is limited to making an entry in the tech log, then
engineering decide on a fix.
Some of the noise could have been a stuck container, they need a heavy
hand somtimes.

>3) Given the history with the plane out of HI, wouldn't the crew want to
>insure that things were OK personally?

This is during the handover period, engineering still own some functions
but crew are responsible for the pax and their wellbeing so there is a
lot of flexibility, we would clear a noisy operation with the crew and
get them to brief the pax.

>4) Did the HI incident result in any mods to the cargo door system?

Green warning light by close S/W to show latches closed. Previously
closed latches only shown by stowing the handle that closed blowin doors
and allowed press. of a/c.
This worked well and was only defeated by an unapproved procedure to
manually close a door with u/s power drive and winding back the latches
against stops. There was no reaason to do this.

>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!

This is when a good briefing by the crew would help. Tower may have sent
him back. There is often one flight that gets all the problems, but we
dont tell the pax that !

>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.

And you believed that ? We use all the charm we can to keep them on but
if they want to, they walk and off come their bags.

>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?

Odd to them they meant, almost certainly a good plane. We used to have a
few oddballs in our fleet and they could give you a bad time, most
things are the same except the system you are on !

Remember we also stop them flying if we dont like what we see !