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-   -   Airline paperwork - clearance for take off (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/other-middle-eastern-african-airlines/1916270-airline-paperwork-clearance-take-off.html)

ironmouse Jun 25, 18 1:40 am

Airline paperwork - clearance for take off
 
Just flown Ethiopian TNR-MXP-GVA
at TNR we were all loaded and waiting to go but ended up sitting on the tarmac for over an hour. With the door open and the steps still there. A lot of airport people coming and going. When I asked what we were waiting for the crew said the paperwork hadn't been signed off. Eventually 1hr 20 mins later another high vis jacket came running up the steps with clipboard and disappeared into the cockpit, 2 mins later by he was out of there, door was closed steps taken away and we were good to go.
same in Milan, it's a 1hr stopover(for refuelling) lots of high vis jackets again in and out of the cockpit with clipboards.
My question is, what sort of paperwork and clearances need to be signed for planes to take off?
I'm intrigued.

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tinkicker Jun 25, 18 2:54 am


Originally Posted by ironmouse (Post 29903209)
Just flown Ethiopian TNR-MXP-GVA
at TNR we were all loaded and waiting to go but ended up sitting on the tarmac for over an hour. With the door open and the steps still there. A lot of airport people coming and going. When I asked what we were waiting for the crew said the paperwork hadn't been signed off. Eventually 1hr 20 mins later another high vis jacket came running up the steps with clipboard and disappeared into the cockpit, 2 mins later by he was out of there, door was closed steps taken away and we were good to go. same in Milan, it's a 1hr stopover(for refuelling) lots of high vis jackets again in and out of the cockpit with clipboards. My question is, what sort of paperwork and clearances need to be signed for planes to take off?
I'm intrigued.

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Depending on how computerised the airline is will vary this answer slightly. Before the aircraft departs the crew need to know where they are going, how much stuff is onboard, where it is and in some cases exactly what it is. Pre mobile internet airlines would send information to outstations and the local staff would take the paper copy to the flightdeck for confirmation. Many airlines continue to use this process as it's surprisingly resilient. Some documents still need to be signed by the commander for legal reasons. This isn't an exhaustive list as every airline has slightly different procedures but typically the captain will have to check and sign for the following and leave a copy on the ground at the point of departure (for obvious reasons):

The route plan which says what points the aircraft will fly over and how much fuel is needed as well as any alternate airfields.
The weather at start point, destination and along the route (usually not signed for)
The maintenance log to accept the aircraft and any carried forward defects
The load sheet telling how much weight is on the aircraft and how it is distributed (there are strict limits)
The notification for any dangerous or special air cargo
The fuel receipt to agree that was how much was loaded (also to stop the company getting defrauded by the fuel supplier)

In addition to passenger bags large airliners carry cargo, lots of cargo. The cargo can be normal cargo or 'dangerous' cargo (could be flammables, radioactive items etc) or stuff needing 'special handling' (say live animals or temperature controlled goods like flowers or vegetables). Some of this can only be loaded in particular places in the aircraft, some of it can't be loaded next to other stuff (so you might be able to carry chemical A and chemical B but if they mix it's really bad so you can't carry both of them in the same hold).

Cargo is a bit like passengers in that some will be pre-booked, have a space allocated and then not turn up. Others will be waiting in a shed at the airport for an opportunity space on an aircraft and some will be from clients who are so valuable that the aeroplane and all of it's passengers will wait for it. So when your truck full of urgent, pre-booked vegetables gets stuck in a traffic jam and misses the flight my pallet of non-perishable car parts that's waiting in the freight shed gets loaded, but the paperwork needs adjusting.

Basically there is a large book of what can be placed next to what and where and it will be of no surprise to you to find that errors do occur. So as the captain you (should) have a good look at the paperwork as you end up being responsible for everyone else mistakes.

B747-437B Jun 25, 18 3:39 am

Just to add to @tinkicker's excellent and comprehensive response, Madagascar can be extremely particular about some types of paperwork if the mood strikes them. They have been known to demand things like original signature of captain on General Declarations (usually agent signature/company stamp is acceptable), final AWB copies to be certified by Customs for purpose of calculating ACM cargo royalties/fees prior to aircraft departure, crew to be issued "temporary visas" if the flight number changes even if they don't disembark, etc.. depending on who is on duty and whether his coffee was cold this morning. Never done two flights to Madagascar which went the same way and everything works on island time.

ironmouse Jun 25, 18 4:59 am

Thanks tinkicker and B747, that's cleared up everything for me
Never realisedd how much more than just flying a Captain has to deal with.


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