Credit to the photographs

I would like to thank Brian Losisto (Air Canada's photographer) for always allowing me to post his pictures. (The above thrust lever pic is his). Then there is Kelly Paterson from Calgary and plane spotter "Erik" from Germany. Of course, I have lots myself. On that note, if you feel a photo(s) may be in appropriate or the content I post a bit dubious by all means send me an email. I will ratify it! That's all I ask.

...I hope you enjoy the blog...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

"Brakes Set"

"Brakes Set"

This short video was sent by a co-worker who works the ramp and teaches safety. This picture (funny he took this picture as well) is not the B747 in question. I used it for clarity.

When you watch the short clip it shows the lead in the foreground trying to get confirmation from the flight deck the brakes are set. Many things seem a bit odd. It occurs at JFK and a tow was required onto the gate. Some airports still do this but it's rare. Another thing is all the engines are running. And thirdly, a headset was not used to converse with the flight deck. It's one thing we do on the "heavy fleet."

It goes to show how dangerous a ramp can be. This tow truck weighs 6o tons. I've seen it where the marshaller was directing me, while walking backwards, he fell over another tow bar. I've also seen a small vehicle come behind the marshaller and the marshaller almost walked backwards into the vehicle.

As one pilot told me, the park brake is your friend. If you have an issue, set the brake and deal with it. When I come to the gate I have a routine I do. For one thing I say everything out loud.

After I stop, I set the parking brake but wait until it actually shows on the screen and the pressure gauge by saying, "brakes set." I immediately turn #2 engine off by saying, "two is off," "seat belt sign off." Pause...wait for the electrical transfer on the engine and say "number one is off," "beacon is off" and then watch the "rampie" give me the sign the chocks are in and I return with a "brakes set" signal with two closed fists.


WILLO2D said...


You beat me to it, Doug;)

So what WAS going on there?


carlton said...

'Brakes Set' will be of no use to me tommorow as I take to the skies in a 1930's Tiger Moth - and the last I read, no brakes are fitted :s

If I dont comment on your blog ever again after tommorow - you will know why lol!

From the Flight Deck said...

IanH. I just checked the JFK Jeppeson charts to give me a clue for "gate" procedures. Nothing.
I did a little surfing and it's normal procedure because the gates are fixed. Meaning no lateral movement, so aircraft positions must be exact. I still don't know why a headset was not used. Trying to get "brakes set" confirmation from a pilot sitting up three stories with possible glare or sun in the eyes is looking for trouble.

It was a DELTA 747 and someone also alluded to a mixed crew from a merger. Like most incidents, there is always more than one thing.

Thanks Ian


From the Flight Deck said...

Carlton. Boy, you will be going back in time. You must have great contacts.

Hey, take some pictures and send them my way. I'll post them.



mikeyyc said...

When I was a lead in YYC I had A330 roll back on me. After plugging in the headset, which is right behind the nose wheel, I called for confirmation of the brakes set. As I was doing this the aircraft started rolling. The reply was "brakes are set". By this time I was trotting beside the nose wheel yelling to set the brakes each time getting the "brakes set" reply. I finally said look out the window, at which time the brakes come on very quickly. Pretty scary, always made me nervous when I watched guys trying trying to plug in the ground power while the aircraft is still moving.

From the Flight Deck said...

MikeYYC. Thanks for sharing your story. The A330 probably came in from either LHR or FRA so the guys were tired. But that's what SOPs are there for, to help alleviate situations. However, incidents you described still happen.

Stay safe, and again, thanks for your sending your comments.

Captain Doug

Daniel said...

Seen that, looked pretty scary.

WILLO2D said...

Hi Doug,

Thanks for the info. I thought the gate could have been a "fixed pier", i.e., up/down with a little bit of in/out to take in the slack, as it were.

Agree about the headsets; I rarely needed to use one, just ear foam plugs and ear defenders, though they
were available if needed when the aircraft was fitted with a ground mic/tel socket.

One other comment: aircraft ops that I worked on - jet trainers, 1/2 seat fast jets - once the wheels were chocked, brakes were released to "ease" the load on the hydraulic system. You leave the brakes applied whilst the wheels are chocked?

Flightglobal link that I was intending to put on my blog:

Thanks again,

Kind regards,


From the Flight Deck said...

IanH. Your link looks good. At least there is a write up to describe a little as to what is happening.

As far as our SOPs, we leave the brakes set except if the brakes are really "toasty" then we release them for quicker cooling. At A.C we try to use the brakes (they are leased) instead of deploying the thrust reversers. That is, if conditions allow it.
It's more cost effective because of less wear and tear on the engine and less gas consumed.

Another silver lining...passengers don't hear the loud rumbling noise which alarmed many.
Now they feel slight braking i.e a much quieter landing roll.

Translation, we pilots get more "nice landings" from the passengers. It's not that they are smoother, but they are perceived as such.

Just my observation.

Thanks Ian H


carlton said...

Unfortunately the 'brakes WERE set' for me today - thanks to the blooming English weather my flying lesson in the Moth didn't go ahead.

Still better safe than sorry and will try again next Tuesday (fingers crossed I will send you and your readers some vinstage style aviation photo's)

From the Flight Deck said...

Carlton. Sorry to hear the weather went against you.
I think blue skies, light winds and endless visibility is fitting for the "Moth."

Next week for sure!

Thanks for the update.