|AFA Council 66 eCommunication - Wednesday, May 30, 2012
"Rising Temperatures in Phoenix: What's Being Done to Keep You Cool and Safe"
Last Fall, the Air Safety, Health and Security Committee met with Inflight Services and Phoenix Operations to discuss the hot aircraft problem in Phoenix. This month we continued discussions with ground operations and Inflight. The following are procedures they have put into place as well as a simplified description of how our aircraft and jet bridges are cooled:
First, due to the fluctuations of temperatures, especially seen here in Phoenix, the Summer Readiness program will begin when the temperature reaches 80 degrees. In the past, the program always started April 21st. This year we had temperatures that reached 100 degrees before that start date. Inflight has modified this procedure going forward.
How are the jet bridges/aircraft cooled?
US Airways owns and operates two mechanical plants that cool our jet bridges and aircraft. Each chiller unit in the plant produces a cold water mixture that is sent through tubes to an air handler at the jet bridges. The air handler is similar to the radiator/fan unit in your car. It is not a freon based air conditioning system. The N1 plant feeds 14 gates and the N2 plant feeds 28 gates. As we utilize more gates and larger aircraft, the plants are unable to keep up. They are now at the end of their life expectancy. The Company does have a plan in place and is waiting for final approval for the funds to replace the outdated cooling systems. Construction to replace both of the systems is slated to begin in October of this year and be completed by Spring of 2013. In the meantime, Ground Services have already repaired all of the expandable tubing at the jet bridges. All bearing and seals have been replaced to prevent them from sucking in hot air. They will also be changing out the air hoses that run to the aircraft with an insulated type. Both of these fixes may reduce the temperatures by at least 5 degrees. Every few degrees saved can add up to a cooler aircraft cabin.
Measures are in place to try to keep our aircraft cool:
- FA/s will make our Warm Weather Cabin Announcement to lower window shades, open air vents and turn off reading lamps
- Jet bridge way air hooked up to all aircraft upon arrival
- All A/C at the Hanger will have air supplied to prevent heat soaked aircraft events
- Flight Deck window shade installation at gate by Ramp Agents
- A/C Cooling Team (2 Ground Agents with temp guns) to monitor all RON, long ground time, hanger A/C temps.
- Acquire additional portable air units to bring us to 6 portable units. We also have an agreement with US Airways Express to borrow units if needed.
- Aircraft temperature monitoring by Gate Manager (temp laser guns) to prevent passenger/crew discomfort prior to boarding. Temperatures will be taken in the forward and aft in the aircraft.
- Lower the roller doors on all jet bridges to try to trap the cool air in.
- If it becomes hot on board the aircraft, you may ask the Pilots to turn on the APU. According to Pilot policies and procedures, they are allowed to turn on the APU prior to the 15 minute target time.
||Last week your Air Safety, Health and Security Committee took temperature readings of several US Airways aircraft and jet bridges in PHX. Temperatures ranged from 75 plus or minus in the front and 75-80 in the back. One jet bridge was about 109 degrees!!! Air flow on all the aircraft sampled seemed better than air flow in the past. With the exception of the one jet bridge, temperatures were within a working range, the roller door was not closed resulting in the 109 reading. The new measures do seem to be working. Yes, there will be days when procedures fail. But, we can help lower cabin temperatures by ensuring we make the Warm Weather Cabin Announcement and checking if shades are closed, gasper vents are open and reading lights out.
If you get to an aircraft that is sweltering and there is no Flight Deck, call Inflight and tell the gate agent. They will inform our Operations Tower. Operations can call the ramp to ensure all systems are functioning. If it is too hot on the aircraft, wait in the boarding area. If its cooler in the jet bridge, wait there. Don't assume that anyone will know it is too hot on the aircraft. You must report it! Remember, as a First Responder review signs and symptoms of heat related illnesses, and be prepared. A review of heat related illnesses can be found in the FAM in the First Aid Chapter and on the Air Safety Homepage. As always please submit a Safety Event Report and send a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org
||Fly Safe and Hydrated,
Association of Flight Attendants
Committee Chair: Air Safety, Health and Security
AFA Council 66 Website www.afa66.org