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Always check your rear-view mirror before backing up

Planes kissing at Logan Airport

See it larger (and check out the wing tip on the Southwest plane).

Melissa Desingco looked out the terminal window at Logan to see a Southwest plane getting way too into the personal space of a JetBlue plane that was scheduled to be headed to Chicago this morning.

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Comments

Ooops!

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"Wanna get away????"

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That damaged winglet is probably good for at least a couple of hundred grand, and that's before the horizontal stabilizer on the JetBlue aircraft is evaluated and presuming that there isn't additional damage to the structure of the Southwest wing.

Some tug driver is having a very, very bad day.

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to push back servicable aircraft about to depart on flights.

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Airliner wheels aren't powered; they move on engine power only. Some aircraft can power back from the gate using the thrust reversers if they have tail-mounted engines, but 737s are not among those.

The issue is that using the reversers on underwing engines to back up creates a lot of air movement, which can easily lift debris off the ramp and into the engine intake...which would make for a really, REALLY bad day.

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where they deploy the thrust reversers and use engine power to go backwards. (Some prop planes have reversible-pitch propellers.) However, there are concerns about foreign object damage to the engines and the aircraft, as well as blast damage to the terminal building and the ground. So in order to do a power back:

  • It has to be under circumstances allowed by FAA regulations.
  • The aircraft manufacturer has to have designated the maneuver as permitted under non-emergency circumstances in the aircraft in question.
  • The airport operator has to allow it at the gate in question, under the weather conditions prevailing at the time of departure.
  • The carrier's operating procedures have to allow it. (Often, they don't.)
  • It has to be advantageous to do a powerback as opposed to getting a tug to push the aircraft back. (The powerback is sometimes faster, but it uses fuel.)
  • A powerback runs the risk of tipping the aircraft back on its tail in the event the pilot brakes sharply.

With all those exceptions, it's no wonder that powerbacks are somewhat rare.

As an example of what can happen, Air Florida Flight 90 was a 737 that crashed shortly after takeoff from Washington National Airport in 1982. Because the tractor was having difficulty getting traction on the accumulated ice in the gate area to push the aircraft back, the crew attempted a powerback, despite Boeing's warnings against powering back in those weather conditions. Snow and ice were aspirated into the intake. The eventual NTSB report on the crash cited the improper use of powerback contrary to Boeing's recommendations as a contributing factor to the accident.

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It is appreciated.

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... Steve Urkel in the background?? "Did I do that?"

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Airplane! with the Zucker Brothers' cameo as ground workers guiding the 747 into the gate:

Hey Larry! Where's the fork lift?

Fork lift? Oh yeah, it's over there by the baggage loader

.

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Southwest just came into Logan not too long ago, I guess they need to retrain their Ramp Agents, How can you F"ck up something like that, especially when there is over 200 people's lives are at risk. Now everytime a plane at logan is ready to be pushed back they should assign a State police trooper to babysit these Ramp Agents..

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- excuse me - Troop F - to the rescue!

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Now everytime a plane at logan is ready to be pushed back they should assign a State police trooper to babysit these Ramp Agents.

FAA territory. Sorry. I guess then they could put "President Obama Unfair to Trooper Overtime" stickers on their SUVs, though.

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Scott Manley sent me here :D

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