agarnett wrote: »
I think I would correct that to say that Southwest was an upstart startup with four aircraft in the early 1970s and less than a handful of routes, and they had to sell one to keep their financial heads above water. That meant they had to get the three remaining aircraft to cover the work of four.
To do this they apparently introduced a ten minute turnaround time although how the ten minutes was measured is not clear, and anyone who has regularly observed how long it now normally takes for passengers to disembark a full 737 under their own steam once the doors are opened will know that if it took 2 minutes to taxy from landing to apron, the supposed ten minutes will be up before the inbound passengers are clear of the apron i.e. before the outbound passengers are even released from their holding point at the gate or the bus.
So whether Southwest were queuing outbound passengers next to the steps the moment the doors opened and then shooing out the inbounds almost as fast as an emergency evacuation, and shooing in passengers just as fast as evacuating them, I don't know, but 10 mins sounds unsafe and totally unlikely to me.
Anyway, it's funny how history gets written especially when a company starts up survives against the odds and breaks a few moulds (as Southwest most definitely did and Ryanair definitely have too). So yes, the 1970s was when it is reported that some company beancounter decided 'quick turnarounds' were required to keep the Southwest business afloat, but the industry accepted standard didn't exactly catch up until much later, and is still catching up.
Sure, many have said that Southwest is the model that Michael O'Leary of Ryanair picked up and ran with when he was given the reins. Ryanair introduced 25 minute target turnarounds and loosely they can achieve it when the airport and handlers are motivated to work with them, and probably no disabled passengers to embark separately. However, and I kid you not, it took all of 25 minutes after touchdown just for me to let off a Ryanair flight at Stansted the other night because the aircraft was late (as usual for that flight - end of day) and the ramp rats had mostly gone home. The pair that did finally provide the rear steps weren't exactly following the rules either. I was sat in 30A and watched them and felt them as they bumped the stairs lip twice against the fuselage - largely because just one was lugging it manually into position, whilst the other failed to properly stabilise them as I discovered as I went down them. Lessons can be learned every day (and late night). Act in haste, repent at leisure. Safety doesn't stop when the engines are switched off and doors are opened.
Yes Ryanair is now gigantic, but it wasn't always so.
Ryanair started small with a few routes. I got close to aviation in the late 80s when Ryanair was an interesting small outfit and definitely Irish. I remember perusing the details of their small fleet at the time. I think it was when they operated some BAC111 aircraft. Noisy bloody things.
In the early noughties I remember flying with Ryanair on their sometimes less than confidence inspiring 737-200s, also noisy, smokey and smelly.
When you see water vapour streaming into the cabin under pressure from a pair of twin vents in the ceiling between you and the cockpit, it does make you wonder if that's how it is supposed to be!
I have since felt much happier on their 737-800s even though many of them are ageing a bit now (troublesome teenaged?) We shall see - we have watched as they expanded very rapidly from 2000 when they launched the website and ordered tens and tens of Boeings at a price that Michael O'Leary famously said he wouldn't even disclose to his priest! I have been flying very frequently with them ever since.
However, apart from the 737-200s, which they soon dumped in the early noughties, I wonder what their plans for culling some of the older 738s might be. They have probably see more action than most their age, but then again, they will have benefited from a pretty consistently managed operations regime, as opposed to aircraft in smaller fleets which have swapped hands many times since the early noughties.
Fact remains, when I was taken to reading 737 manuals in the early noughties, the quick-turnaround/hot brake issue was quite "organically" handled, as coffeehound might say, if that's partially what he meant about how regulation evolves after operations have evolved. I recall (possibly incorrectly) a 53 minute rule at one point with earlier model 737 perhaps, that said no take off within 53 minutes of a landing which involved heavy braking or some such.
But then there was a procedure in the manual for taking off again with hot brakes (if you really must!), retracting the possibly still hot brakes into the wheel well long enough to clean up the trim of the aircraft for initial climb-out, but when the excitement of take-off was done and dusted the written procedure for certain scenarios was to lower the undercarriage again into the breeze for a short period to cool any remaining heat before safely stowing the undercarriage again! I never heard of anyone actually doing it, but I am sure I am not dreaming that it was there in the manual
There are more recent warnings to be found if you read deeply enough into the subject - unsurprisingly the likely post landing temperature of the brakes varies with how worn they may be - up to 30% higher temperature for worn brakes versus new for example.
It may sound unlikely to the uninitiated, but hot brakes are a definite hazard in more ways than just fire. Ramp rats and pilots doing walk-around inspections are trained to only approach the wheels of recently landed aircraft from front or back and not from the side to minimise potential injury from any sudden hot tyre burst. It'll be one of the reasons that passengers are always directed round the wing and not under it to get to the back door.
Valujet 592 was a terrible fire loss of life. It wasn't a wheel well fire. It was a fire that seems to have been caused by some pretty stupid (in hindsight) uncontrolled risk taking by the company itself. If I read the report correctly, some ground staff were tidying some spare parts from a hangar where an important inspection was due to take place and if I read it right, where the parts were not supposed to be, so to get them out of the hangar to be inspected some bright spark decided to send the parts via own transport to the Valujet HQ for them to sort out. There seems to be suggestion that someone or maybe more than one knew they were breaking the rules and that the parts were hazardous to transport. The parts were spare cabin oxygen generators for a different aircraft type on their fleet. They are reckoned to have caused the fire that brought down the aircraft.
"Company cargo" is so easy NOT to question. I mean its your employer right? They must know what they are doing. Yes, so never mind CEOs. All managers right the way down the line take note. Question everything that raises a doubt.
There are many potential risks of fire that have to be totally under control every flight. Hot brake/quick-turnaround remains one. It hasn't gone away. It started as an observation of risk in the 70s perhaps or maybe earlier in the military who perhaps have the fastest quick turnarounds . It'll have been designed out to a large extent by now on the latest types. It is now a totally controlled risk we trust on all types, including 15 year old aircraft which may figure more often than marketing blurb admits, especially in smaller fleets carving a niche for themselves, they hope.
I do agree that Ryanair has a pretty good safety record. Not without incident, but without fatality I believe. However, Michael O'Leary is famous for saying his mind, and one thing he is reported as having once said sticks in my mind. I can't quote it - I'd have to hunt for it online - but it was a cool businessman's opinion of the effect on his business should they now have a crash (probably from the mid noughties when they were about half the size they now are). It'd be interesting to hear his current opinion on it, and his view on comparison between his own business and Easyjet, which I am reminded was the main business subject in the thread
Your answers are short Richard, and mine are long. All observers are not the same, are they?
PeacefulWaters wrote: »
Has anybody read this?
agarnett wrote: »
OK Richard, rambling it is then. And yours was ... ?...
k3lvc wrote: »
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