The March 2010 meeting featured a tour of the American Airlines Maintenance Operations Center. Areas toured included the Maintenance on Call (MOC) area, Landing Gear, CFM-56 Gantry, Pulse Line, 757 Winglet Mod and Hangar 6 where they work on the Boeing 777 aircraft.
Here is a brief overview of these areas:
MOC - The Maintenance on Call area features large screens depicting the status of aircraft around the country that are in need of repair. Information is provided indicating what airport the aircraft is located at, what repair needs to done, when the aircraft is expected to be back in service, etc. Landing Gear - As the name implies, this area is dedicated to working on the landing gear for American's fleet. CFM-56 Gantry Engine Shop - A state-of-the-art engine gantry system, this area is capable of servicing over 300 engines per year. In this area, jet engines move along the gantry system from position to position as mechanics work on different areas of the jet engines. Pulse Line - This area is an MD-80 heavy overhaul hangar. There are four positions in the Pulse Line and the aircraft moves from position to position staying for a certain number of days in each position, the first position being three days. 757 Winglet Mod - There was not a 757 in the hangar when we visited, but this is a hangar where the Boeing 757's are worked on. Hangar 6 - This is the hangar where they overhaul the Boeing 777 aircraft. Unfortunately, we were not cleared to go inside the plane, but were able to see the massive size of the aircraft and learn how it is stripped down and rebuilt. A few fun facts from the tour: For the most part, planes fly themselves. Test pilots take the aircraft up for a test run that have been worked on. These test runs could take place over somewhere like Owasso or they may fly as far as Wichita if the weather is bad in the Tulsa area. One of the aspects of the test flight is the "stall" where they get the plane to stall while in flight. Stalling can occur if the plane takes off at too steep an angle. The test pilots will also turn the aircraft sideways as well as turn it over. When was the last time you saw an aircraft over Tulsa twisting and turning?
SSBB - Suck, Squeeze, Bang, Blow - In short, how a jet engine works. Check out this web site - http://www.salvatoreaiello.com/main.shtml.
Boeing uses the number 7 on their aircraft for no other reason than they consider it a lucky number.
A brief history of the American Airlines Maintenance & Engineering Center:
- Opened in June, 1946
- It is one of the largest and most sophisticated facilities in the world
- Is the headquarters for all American Airlines maintenance and engineering worldwide Is the maintenance base for American's fleet of MD-80's, Boeing 757's, Airbus 300's and Boeing 737 aircraft.
- Nearly 6800 employees Occupies 260 acres and 3.3 million square feet of maintenance plant space
Special thanks to Wendyl Griffin with American Airlines for assisting in the tour and getting everything organized to allow the IFMA Tulsa chapter to have lunch and participate in the tour. Also, for donating some very nice American Airlines luggage tags that were given away as door prizes.