DC9 - throw it in reverse?

 

Old Apr 16, 02, 2:38 am
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DC9 - throw it in reverse?

I saw a first yesterday on a flight out of BWI. The pilot used thrust reversers to back out of the gate. I don't usually pay attention to how we're backing out, but I was wondering why the engines were running up so high right next to the building...then we just backed out. Anyone else ever seen this?
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Old Apr 16, 02, 5:11 am
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by srodr:
I saw a first yesterday on a flight out of BWI. The pilot used thrust reversers to back out of the gate. I don't usually pay attention to how we're backing out, but I was wondering why the engines were running up so high right next to the building...then we just backed out. Anyone else ever seen this?</font>
Yep...seen them do it in the past at BWI...lately every DC-9 flight I've had out of DTW's new terminal has done it
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Old Apr 16, 02, 5:17 am
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by srodr:
I saw a first yesterday on a flight out of BWI. The pilot used thrust reversers to back out of the gate. I don't usually pay attention to how we're backing out, but I was wondering why the engines were running up so high right next to the building...then we just backed out. Anyone else ever seen this?</font>

Yep...the DC-9 does this. I've already had a couple of them out of the WorldGateway in Detroit. In fact there was a DC-9 doing (I think it's called) a reverse thrust pushback (I could be wrong on this though) this morning out of DTW. Although uncommon...it's not an extreme rarity. There are several additional safety requirements that must be met in order to attempt these types of pushbacks. I'll do a search for additional information and post a link when I get a chance.
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Old Apr 16, 02, 5:50 am
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...and at DTW, why does the aircraft go FORWARD before it backs out? I am always afraid that it will plow into the terminal!
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Old Apr 16, 02, 7:13 am
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by remedy:
...and at DTW, why does the aircraft go FORWARD before it backs out? I am always afraid that it will plow into the terminal!</font>
To put the engines into reverse, they have to release the brakes first. Thus, the aircraft goes forward in idle until the reverses kick in (takes a second or two).
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Old Apr 16, 02, 7:36 am
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AA uses this technique with its super80s (newer DC-9 variants) at DFW, and at other stations. Saves time waiting for a pushback.
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Old Apr 16, 02, 8:49 am
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It's my understanding that tail-mount aircraft with reversers can do this. I know that the 717 and DC9 do it, and I would presume that the MD-xx can as well. AirTran does it regularly in ATL, and I was on a couple of NW DC9's this weekend in MEM and DTW that did it.

Wing-mount aircraft can not do it due to the possibility of sucking in tarmac debris kicked up by the reverse thrust.
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Old Apr 16, 02, 8:52 am
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I asked a pilot at DTW about that. He said it was not unusual and done when a Tug is not available. He said it was a really safe procedure and would keep the schedule of the flight on track
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Old Apr 16, 02, 10:00 am
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The DC9, 717, MD80 and 727 are presently certified to perform reverse thrust pushbacks.
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Old Apr 16, 02, 1:13 pm
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It's called a "powerback," as opposed to a "pushback."

The pilot will tell us FAs that this is going to happen. Usually we wait with the safety announcements until this is over. We might fall over in the cabin!

It's very common, but seems to be even more common at the new terminal.

Less ground people working = less tugs in use, and less groundpeople to signal the plane into "brakes up" at the gate.
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Old Apr 16, 02, 2:55 pm
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AA does this all the time with their Super-80's. I've only experienced it once on NW, at MEM when the pilot apparently got tired of waiting for a pushback. We were delayed 2 hours due to a mechanical and when we took off, there were literally 0 NW planes on the ground at the airport. It was weird seeing MEM with only 2 aircraft (both DL if I recall) parked at gates.
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Old Apr 16, 02, 3:53 pm
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A Delta pilot sitting next to me once said that DL does not allow this because it thinks the high revs wear out the engines.
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Old Apr 16, 02, 4:29 pm
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Braniff used to have their 727's powerback in TUS. Pilots liked it because they did not have to wait for a pushback; however, it is incredibly noisy. There is a controversy as to whether it "taxes" the engines or not.

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Old Apr 16, 02, 6:36 pm
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They don't perform any push/power-back in Duluth MN (DLH). They swing the jetway ALL THE WAY back so it is against the building & clear all vechicles from the area. Then the DC9 will go forward a few feet and make a HARD right until it turns all the way around. I guess it helps that there is rarely any other activity going on around there.
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Old Apr 16, 02, 7:56 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by B747-437B:
The DC9, 717, MD80 and 727 are presently certified to perform reverse thrust pushbacks.</font>
AA does this with their F100's all the time. For NWA customers in Minnesota, you can see this at the AA gates in MSP every day.

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