Sunday, September 26, 2010

Them's the Brakes...!!!

Right outer main brake job.

Them's the brakes.

These four bands are the carbon brakes. The entire
assembly is squeezed together hydraulically which slows the wheel.

Our routing took us over the state of Washington. During the descent into Vancouver one can see a green lake which formed in a volcano crater.

Departure time for Vancouver was 10:00 a.m. Our mission was to fly from CYYZ to Vancouver and then to Ottawa for the night. This meant 9:26 of flight time and 21 minutes under our max duty day of 13 hours. Also, we noted MOT will be gracing us with their presence on the leg to Ottawa...oh great. This may have meant doing the backcourse onto 25 after a long day with "our guest" in the jumpseat. Luckily the F/O graciously offered to do the second leg.

As the F/O went to "kick the tires" he noticed we were actually jacked up with maintenance replacing a tire. All is well. But maintenance noted deterioration in the carbon brake pads. Looks like a brake job. Can you say an hour delay?

Captain inquisitive took a few pictures of them changing the brakes plus I got a lesson on how they actually worked. However, I did know we leased our brakes as well as our engines and tires.

Now comes the shocker. I assume a worst case scenario brake job for a car would cost maximum 1500-2000 dollars. Okay think BMW. :) Now lets multiply the aviation factor of four into the equation to guesstimate what brakes for half of an Airbus main would cost. Maybe $8000 max? Well the guys showed me the evaluation value....are you ready?... a whopping $50,499.82!!! Starting salary for a pilot at Air Canada is $37,000. They saying, "if you want to make a small fortune in the airline industry, start with a large one" hits the nail on the head. We would've had to of charged each passenger about $350 each to pay for the brakes only... let alone anything else.

We pushed back one hour late and on time to Ottawa by eating into the down time in Vancouver. Both flights were lumpy, but the good news was no MOT! They stood us up.

Now sitting here in Ottawa with an incredibly long layover. I might as well enjoy it. Because all next month is minimum crew rest pit stops.


Andrew said...

an hour delay

by the way, thanks for the responses, really appreciated it


Scote1992 said...

An hour delay doesn't sound that bad for replacing a tire and the brakes. But how do you have the time to take the pictures, was the FMC already programmed by the FO?

WILLO2D said...

Good morning Doug,

$50K+ for a Brake Unit? Not too over the top, but... That is the "Environmental" Price, whatever that is. As your Brake Units are leased, I am sure that that value will include elements of storage, shipping, repair/recon, etc., and a disposal factor for the carbon discs, residual hydraulic fluid, etc. The individual cost %ages per element will be very commercially sensitive.

What I find interesting is the thought of the In-Charge going down the cabin requesting another $320 from the SLF, err, customers, before the aircraft is allowed to take-off. Having said that, there have been more than a few instances of the aircraft captain having to dig out his/her gold card to pay for fuel in some less than sophisticated African countries!


From the Flight Deck said...

Will02D Good points about the "extras" regarding the brake evaluation price. I also think it should include wining and dining the captain at a swank restaurant on his layover. :)
But for an Airbus 320, this translates into 4 X $ 50,500 = $202,000 worth of brakes. But what are the options? Shopping around for cheaper parts? Having said that, Airbus would
declare the warranty null and void.

It's like my "run flat" tires on my BMW. I had three flats and each time BMW wanted $300 to replace the tire They claim run flat tires are unfixable. I found out it was B.S and had the last tire fixed at a cost of $50. I've been driving on it for a year and a half.

I hear you about whipping out the credit card. I flew with many F/O's who had to do that exact same thing and it wasn't just limited to Africa. :)

That's happened here in Canada when a charter company was on the brink of bankruptcy.

Again, thanks for your in-depth insight from across the pond!

Captain Doug

From the Flight Deck said...

Scote1992. An hour delay translates into tons of time. It only took 10 minutes to take the pictures. We can ready the flight deck in 15 to 20 minutes.
Heck, I even bought the F/O a coffee (I try to avoid the airplane stuff).

Captain Doug

Tim said...

Best job in the world! Really enjoying your blog, cheers.

From the Flight Deck said...

Tim. I always appreciate your kind words. Happy flying Tim! Doug

Chris Gardner said...
This post has been removed by the author.
From the Flight Deck said...

Chris. Yes, we need a "Canadian Tire" for aviation. :)

That's why I mentioned starting salary for an AC pilot. Puts everything in perspective or exemplifies how
everything is whacked out of proportion. I don't know which one to chose????

(Oops looks like you deleted your comment).

Aviatrix said...

An undertrained or incautious pilot can cost the company several times her annual salary by mishandling brakes, engines or any controls really, and it's not pinpointable damage like someone scratching the company truck. It makes sense to pay someone enough that they feel that they are paid enough to care.

I also want to assert that, despite allegations, I wrote, named and queued my identically-titled blog entry at least a month ago!

From the Flight Deck said...


I concur about under-trained/underpaid/incautious employees. It doesn't stop at the pilot.
A few years ago we were about 15 minutes prior to push back for LHR (London, England) in our A330.
The tug driver inadvertently forgot to set the park brake on the tug. It rolled by our nose wheel (damage to the gear door) but luckily
it ran into the commissary truck which saved damage occurring to the #2 engine. Funny they couldn't find the driver. I went down to take a look, but the looks I received insinuated I better return to the flight deck. The flight was cancelled.

As far as titles, it only confirms one thing, we are on the same wavelength when it comes to aviation. :)

Did you send your letter in to AC? By all means, use me as a reference!

Off to Vancouver tomorrow morning and then to Montreal.