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AA Aircraft Technical, Mechanical etc. "ask" "how it works" (master thread)

AA Aircraft Technical, Mechanical etc. "ask" "how it works" (master thread)

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Old Aug 29, 17, 7:52 am   -   Wikipost
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AA Aircraft "CATs and RATs" Technical "How does that work" thread

This thread is for asking or discussing miscellaneous technical questions relating to AA aircraft and flying, such as changing tires, auxiliary power units, engines, navigation, weather phenomena and how they're dealt with, NAVAIDS, FMCs, maintenance, etc.


See post #48 for American Airlines Aircraft Maintenance Procedures

Where AA performs maintenance:

Line and routine maintenance

DFW West receives new aircraft (other than 737s) for final preparation prior to entering service. Some other line maintenance is performed here; 777s can be seen parked there, and there are always aircraft parked in the hangars.

TUL M&E: Much of AA routine maintenance is performed at the AA Maintenance and Engineering facility at TUL, Tulsa, OK. The M&E base includes "22 buildings on the main base, with 3.3 million square feet (306,580m2) of hangar and shop space stretching across 33 acres (13ha). It employs 5,200 people (about 5% of AA’s ~100,000 workforce) work around-the-clock in three shifts at the base. In 2013 alone, the M&E Center paid over $48 million to its over 110 local suppliers; in 2014, it provided $419 million in wages and benefits to the region." (airways Magazine - link)

Historic aircraft maintained here included Convair 990; Boeing 720, 707, 727, 747; Fokker 100; Douglas DC-3, -4, -6 and -7; Lockheed L-188 Electra; McDonnell Douglas DC-10, MD-11. The 777 was maintained here 2008-2010. Current aircraft maintained here include Boeing 737, 757, 767; McDonnell Douglas MD-80. New 737s are intakes here as well.

Legacy US aircraft continue to be maintained at CLT and PIT.

Heavy maintenance/ overhaul:

AA was the last of U.S. based airlines that performed all of its heavy maintenance. That ended when AA announced the closure of its Alliance maintenance and repair facility at Ft. Worth, TX as announced 12 Sep 2012.

NBC - TV 5 link

Airbus: unsure, possibly VT MAE, BFM, Mobile, Alabama?
A320 family -
A330 family -

Boeing:
737 - Tulsa M&E (newer -800 heavy C 15 days, in three shifts, up to 10,000 man-hours*)
757 - TIMCO, Greensboro, NC, a division of Swire - HAECO Americas
767 - Tulsa M&E (heavy ‘C’ check every 72 months, requiring 22 to 30 days and 17,000 to 22,000 man-hours*)
787 - AA has an agreement with Boeing?

McDonnell Douglas
MD-80 - Tulsa M&E

*Airways magazine

Links to related threads:

Link to AA Cat II / III ILS approach - Autoland: Turn off all electronics

Link to Turbulence incidents, reports, discussion master thread

Link to Aborted landing / unexpected go-around experiences and discussion

Link to AA 17 emergency landing JFK 4 Jan 2016 (compressor stall - engine out)

Link to N386AA AA71 FRA-DFW lost an engine today [7 May 2015]

Link to AA992 CNF-MIA has a catastrophic engine failure soon after takeoff (Nov 2014)

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Old Jun 9, 16, 9:42 am
  #1  
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AA Aircraft Technical, Mechanical etc. "ask" "how it works" (master thread)

Took AA 1227 on Sunday, flight was delayed due to missing crew, etc. Once we finally boarded, the captain came on to announce that the Auxiliary Power Unit was not functioning and therefore there would be no ground Air Conditioning (it was about 90 degrees in the cabin approx) and that the plane engines would need to be jump started (sounds scary).

Anyway, e-mailed AA service and got a canned response that still had brackets in it, not even remotely addressing my concerns.

Finally, today, after a back and forth email, I got a call from the rep I have been e-mailing basically saying that I'm entitled to my opinion but that no compensation is "due". To me, this is the problem with AA, it's all about what is "due" and there is no goodwill to customers.

I assume that I am not a super highly valued customer, but I will probably hit Platinum this year and have been Gold for past two years and fly more often than not on paid domestic F.

Looking for feedback on how to handle this, if it should be escalated (primarily just due to the awful customer support), etc? Or, for the more frequent travelers out there, is this just way too petty?

I am MIA based, so not like I can switch easily.

Last edited by JDiver; Aug 27, 16 at 4:00 pm Reason: Restore original post title
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Old Jun 9, 16, 9:56 am
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Originally Posted by mike814 View Post
... and that the plane engines would need to be jump started (sounds scary).
It's not scary or unsafe by any means. When the APU is down, they use an external compressor cart to start one engine (and the other is started with the power from the first). Perfectly routine.
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Old Jun 9, 16, 10:02 am
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(a) u/s APU is not scary, unsafe, or remotely concerning
(b) not worthy of complaint unless, for example you sat on the plane for 90 minutes or so without a/c... maybe then a complaint would be warranted.
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Old Jun 9, 16, 10:08 am
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Originally Posted by sombrachinesca View Post
(a) u/s APU is not scary, unsafe, or remotely concerning
(b) not worthy of complaint unless, for example you sat on the plane for 90 minutes or so without a/c... maybe then a complaint would be warranted.
At 90 degrees inside the plane, 10 minutes is too much.
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Old Jun 9, 16, 10:11 am
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No compensation is due for an inoperative APU alone, nor is it in and way dangerous.

The usual alternative is a ground start cart, and Bob's your uncle.

Every aircraft has a MEL - Minimum Equipment List - that assures no aircraft will go into service without components necessary to its safe operation. An APU is generally not. (A possible need for emergency in air power is even prepared for with the deployable RAT - Ram Air Turbine. Yes, AA has "RATs" on their planes. )

We will merge this into the compo thread soon. Hmm. Or, we might opt on starting an "ask" thread about these kinds of AA related mechanical and flight issues some may want to ask about? I'm a former pilot, but most of us are not. /Moderator
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Last edited by JDiver; Jun 9, 16 at 10:22 am
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Old Jun 9, 16, 10:16 am
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It sucks. That happened to me on a CRJ last month in DAY. It got warm - fast.

Luckily it wasnt the old, old US paint scheme...

Last edited by JDiver; Jun 9, 16 at 10:30 am Reason: Nothing done to this post
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Old Jun 9, 16, 10:30 am
  #7  
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Originally Posted by IADCAflyer View Post
It sucks. That happened to me on a CRJ last month in DAY. It got warm - fast.

Luckily it wasnt the old, old US paint scheme...
IMO, it's suckier to have one's flight delayed.

OT, but in norther Manitoba in cold weather (under -20 F) we were boarded on a dark, crewless 737-200QC on the ramp (no jetway, just boarding ladder and open door); we sat there in our parkas, exhaling vapor streams into a very cold cabin until the crew and power cart came. It would have never happened on a U.S. airline not operating under a charter license, but we were happy to be departing.
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Old Jun 9, 16, 10:47 am
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Anyone volunteer to fly the plane?
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Old Jun 9, 16, 10:51 am
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What should they have done re. the APU? Declared mechanical and you not got to where you were going? All up this sounds incredibly whiny.
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Old Jun 9, 16, 11:00 am
  #10  
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Originally Posted by Doc Savage View Post
At 90 degrees inside the plane, 10 minutes is too much.
Agree...but it was about an hour or more. Even after engines started, the cabin of the plane didn't cool until well above 10,000 feet.
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Old Jun 9, 16, 11:00 am
  #11  
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Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
No compensation is due for an inoperative APU alone, nor is it in and way dangerous.

The usual alternative is a ground start cart, and Bob's your uncle.

Every aircraft has a MEL - Minimum Equipment List - that assures no aircraft will go into service without components necessary to its safe operation. An APU is generally not. (A possible need for emergency in air power is even prepared for with the deployable RAT - Ram Air Turbine. Yes, AA has "RATs" on their planes. )

We will merge this into the compo thread soon. Hmm. Or, we might opt on starting an "ask" thread about these kinds of AA related mechanical and flight issues some may want to ask about? I'm a former pilot, but most of us are not. /Moderator
Great info, and somewhat comforting, thanks.
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Old Jun 9, 16, 11:03 am
  #12  
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Originally Posted by Productivity View Post
What should they have done re. the APU? Declared mechanical and you not got to where you were going? All up this sounds incredibly whiny.
Unsure, don't know a ton about airline ops, but possibly maintain aircraft better, especially the oldest of the old 737 v1, use the ground cart to fire up the air conditioner and other electronics at some point during the 1.5 hour delay that was before we boarded the aircraft....maybe just appologize for the issue instead of customer support using garbage canned responses with brackets still in plane....definitely not have a support rep call me to tell me that I'm entitled to my opinion but I'm not "due" anything for a bad experience and that their procedures are their procedures.
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Old Jun 9, 16, 11:36 am
  #13  
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Originally Posted by mike814 View Post
Agree...but it was about an hour or more. Even after engines started, the cabin of the plane didn't cool until well above 10,000 feet.
I feel for ya. Had a similar experience years ago, was flying CAI-LHR-LAX-LAS-DEN (long story, but I had to get back) and the America Worst plane in LAS had no AC as we sat on the tarmac for quite a while in 110+ heat for some reason or another....

Everybody was drenched with sweat, and I was pretty tired by that point.
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Old Jun 9, 16, 2:03 pm
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Originally Posted by mike814 View Post
Unsure, don't know a ton about airline ops, but possibly maintain aircraft better, especially the oldest of the old 737 v1,
IF your expectation is maintenance so good nothing ever breaks, no airline would ever be profitable. Hell, have a look at avherald.com to get a feel for how many majorish incidents there are daily - this doesn't even include minor stuff like an APU not working.
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Old Jun 9, 16, 2:49 pm
  #15  
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Originally Posted by Productivity View Post
IF your expectation is maintenance so good nothing ever breaks, no airline would ever be profitable. Hell, have a look at avherald.com to get a feel for how many majorish incidents there are daily - this doesn't even include minor stuff like an APU not working.
And that's with periodic preventive maintenance ranging from nearly daily "PS" checks to "Heavy C" checks, which calls for very extensive maintenance. See this post for AA periodic maintenance information.

www. aa. com/content/images/aboutUs/newsroom/fs_aircraft_maintenance_procedures.pdf
no longer works to AA periodic maintenance PDF.

Last edited by JDiver; Aug 29, 17 at 1:07 pm
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