::[ kampungkai ]::

Wednesday, May 31

Flight Safety: No laughing matter

Another post about License Aircraft Engineers if u don’t mind. What to do, not many people know about us. Even some flight stewardess said “huh? What do they do?”

Me, being (soon-to-be actually) one of the LAEs, and also a blogger, of course i would take the opportunity of blogging to spread my words and make the world hear me, feel me, understand me, and most importantly: REMEMBER US AS LICENSE AIRCRAFT ENGINEERS.

Flying is not a funny business. But do you know that flying is the safest of all modes of transportation? You don’t believe me?

According to the US based National Transportation Safety Board in a survey couple of years ago, it stated that your chances of being killed in a motorcar accident is 1 in 5,000. Malaysians know that very well as come festive season, we always have statistics of death by motor vehicle topping each other every year.

The US survery also noted that if you decide to travel by train, the odds are reduced to 1 in 40,000. In an aeroplane, it varies from 1 in 400,000 to 10,000,000 depending on the REPUTATION on the airline. (MAS reputation = GOOD ;P)

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Effects when baggages are unevenly loaded into the plane.

Just like your car, maintenance is the key to transportation safety. In reality, the maintenance guys of aircrafts are not like your next door mechanics. The difference being that we are not usually in greasy overalls and we don't allow you to sit and watch us until we get impatient and hit you with either a spanner or a humongous bill!

For your info, LAEs have uniforms to wear too. Like pilots, we have white shirt, black trousers, and 3 golden bars on our shoulder (3.5 bars for Foreman). But then again, that wont happen until i grad. Thus for now, as a trainee engineer, i'll stil be wearing greasy overalls haha!

Aircraft maintenance is professionally done. It involves serious no-nonsense approach. Prior to every flight, the maintenance personnels conduct a thorough visual inspection on the aircraft, checking for dents, damange, or cracks on the body and and oil leaks from the systems. Once found, we'll start cracking our heads like opening a durian!

Think think think! Accurate and fast decisions have to made immediately. Notify the Lead Engineer/Foreman about the problem, and inform the airport staff the time needed to delay the flight. Better be quick, because Malaysians are never patient when it comes to paying RM2000-4000 for a ticket hahaha! They expect quality, true?

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Looks like an aborted take off. Tyres will automatically puncture when overheat.

Also, after 3-50 days, the plane's surface controls are thoroughly checked. This includes the landing gears, brakes, various fluid levels as well as the oxygen system.

On top of that, every eight months, the internal control system, all the emergency equipment and the hydraulic system are carefully checked. Of course, if your see emergency equipments being deployed during a flight, it's probably time to call your family and the insurance agent! LoL...

*Extra knowledge: The air inflated-slide during emergency use can be fully inflated in just 6 seconds (it's very huge). And it is inflated using nitrogen.

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Bird strike on the engine. It must be an ostrich to cause that dent!

Every 12-17 months, the maintenance crew do an even more detailed check, using devices to probe for wear and tear, corrosion, and cracks in components that are not visible to the eye.

Most importantly, after every 3-5 years, the aircraft is taken apart for a major overhaul. Major overhaul means stripping the planes until it is naked. For easier understanding, strip off your clothes, your skin, your hair, your muscles, your organs, but only leave your skeleton. Get it?

This entails the removal of major components that are life expired and replacing them with newer ones where applicable. Kinda like doing plastic surgery, except that the final outlook will still be the same.

Never feel scared while flying alright? The guys maintaining your flight are well trained and experience. And no aircraft manufacturer sets out to produce a faulty aircraft, because it doesn't kill a maximum of 5-6, but a minimum of 100-200 people.

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Don't u feel more comfy in MAS' flight, rather than Aasia's?

Chill, sit back, chew kacang, and watch the in-flight entertainment while enjoying your aircraft meal ok? U'll reach your destination in no time and it's gonna be all fine.

Friday, May 26

How To Differentiate a 737, 747, and 777

I'm back, from all the business. Preperation for practical training this coming July 2006 has kept me busy. Nevertheless, i'm looking forward towards it, as my real life will all start in July 2006. All the best to me, and sincere apologies for such a long stop of blogging from me.

Do u know what is a Boeing, and what is an Airbus? This two names are the names that u always hear of whenever people talk bout planes, isn't it? For those of u who donno, dun worry, let me teach u all about aeroplanes. Just sit back and read and learn cos it's pretty interesting hihihi....

Boeing and Airbus are aircraft manufacturers. Just like Toyota, Honda, BMW, Ferrari... which are car manufacturers. There are many other aircraft manufacturers too like McDonnell Douglas, Eagle, Cessna, Piper, Antonov... but Boeing and Airbus are the largest commercial aircaft manufacturer in the world. All the 737, 747, 777, 330, 340, 380 that u heard of are from this 2 companies.

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Boeing is an American company based in Seattle (if not mistaken); whereas Airbus is a French company based in Toulose. So this 2 companies are serious rivals in terms of doing business and also technology. Always trying to out-do each other.

To narrow down the topic, I'll explain about Boeing only. Boeing's aircraft models always start with a '7'. For instance B(Boeing) 737, B747, B777. Till today, they have produced many models namely from 707 all the way up to 777, and the upcoming B787 that will be released in year 2008.

Our national flag carrier - Malaysia Airlines, made a very wise choice of getting the 3 most popular models of Boeing: B737, B747, and B777. The 737 is the major work horse for the company, boasting a fleet of 39 of them. The 747 is the famous jumbo jet that fits the most people. And the 777 (also called T7 - Tripple 7) is the famous fully digital aircraft with the latest & highest technology.

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But do u know how to differentiate them? When u hear a plane flying above you, and you tilt your head upwards, shielding the sun with your hand to have a look at the plane, do you see it as just-an-aeroplane, or do u try to figure out what model it is like what i do?

It's the same like checking out cars while driving. U'll go like.."wahh BMW 5 series... wah Mazda RX-8... that car damn sleek" rite? haha... now here's the few things to look out for to differentiate the planes.

1st thing to check out is the SIZE.

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737 & 747

Size does matter. Having the 737 in the foreground and 747 in the background, it is obvious that the 737 is so much shorter in length (almost half), and so much shorter in height too (almost half too).

2nd thing to check out is the ENGINES.

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The 747 has 4 engines: 2 on each wing. Whereas the 737 has 2 engines: 1 on each wing. Also, pay attention to the shape of 737's engine. Instead of round, the 737's engine is rather flat at the bottom part. This is because the aircraft is not tall but the engine is very big, so the manufacturer decided to flatten the bottom part to increase clearance between the runway and engine (to prevent from sucking in debris/stones).

3rd thing to check out is the SHAPE.

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The 747 Jumbo Jet has its trademark of the swollen front part (double decker), so it is very easily noticed. The 737 is straight from nose to tail. Next, check out the vertical thingy at the end of the wings(wing tip) of the 747. It's called a winglet, and the 737 doesn't have winglets. Then, look at the tail section. The connecting section between the vertical tail and body of the 737 has 2 angles, whereas the 747 has only 1 angle.

The last thing to check out is the LANDING GEARS (wheels).

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The 747 has 18 wheels: 4 4 4 4 2. The 737 has only 6 wheels: 2 2 2. Knowing that the 747 is twice it's size, and 3 times its weight, more wheels are needed to distribute and absorb the impact of the plane.

And here's my all time favourite - The T7.

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Boeing 777
- Twin engine
- No winglet
- 14 wheels: 6 6 2
- Economy class seat configuration: 2 5 2

I've heard from my seniors who are already license aircraft engineers that they can even differentiate the aircraft models just by listening to the roaring of the turbine engines. Amazing! they must have reached the 'God-like Level'! :P