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Reporter's notebook: On the tarmac at Dulles airport

FreightWaves reporter Eric Kulisch gets access to United Airlines' gate for cargo loading, a close view of an A380 taking off and other aspects of airport operations. ( More...

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mbrews 5
Good story. About the Lufthansa A340-600 stranded a few days. In the context, you mentioned expedited delivery of repair parts. The A340 would also need qualified technicians (No US carriers operate A340). And the A340 would need pilots rated on the type. All likely arriving from LH bases in FRA or MUC. Good article & photos.
alex hidveghy 1
Contract maintenance providers, perhaps. Many airports employ those where you have international flights but no airline specific or qualified staff. In my experience, it’s usually the amount of time to source the part and get it to the station that is the most critical. Then, of course, to fix it all by qualified persons.
As for the pilots, no problem. They are usually shipped in from home country and since IAD is a major international hub, that would not be a real issue.
Really enjoyed this off the cuff report!…hope to see an A340 in person some day but at least was fortunate enough to fly an Emirates A380 from YYZ to DXB and return…still the quietest, roomiest and most comfortable aircraft I’ve ever been in.
Ron Slater 1
Is a ramp, taxiway, overflow parking and runway all now considered the "tarmac"? Almost ever article written by non pilots, no matter where an incident they are describing takes place is always the "tarmac"! OK I'm done, just a retired boomer shaking his head
An alternate - patticukarly here in the UK - is the term "AIRSIDE": as distinct from landside (terminal, non-sterile area etc).
alex hidveghy 1
Yes, typical non-aviation hour is love that term!
There are many, much more accurate terms for the various parts of an airport where aircraft maneuver.
Some are apron or ramp which is the parking/service area. Another is the taxiways and then the runway itself. Tarmac is just a generic term and refers to the material, not the area itself. I can also tell you that at Part 139 large airports, the runways and taxiways are not made if either tarmac or asphalt, it’s concrete .
Other terms for the uninitiated are movement and non-movement areas controlled by FAA ATC and ramp control respectively (not the same entity).
And, as far as the terminals are concerned , you have the secure and non-secure sides, separated by security. I like the British terms - airside and landslide.
Eric Kulisch 1
Thanks mbrews. Interesting points about the techs, but wouldn't local MRO be able to do a fix since the A340s come to IAD regularly?
mbrews 1
For some repairs, yes. It’s not clear which systems of the A340 had a problem. Presumably LH has an interline maintenance agreement with Star Alliance partner United (at Dulles airport).
First pic is deffo not an A380. Short of one row of upper windows and the "Nxxxx" tail number is a giveaway.

Gave up at that point!
Colin Seftel 2
The Emirates A380 is on the left in the first photo.
Eric Kulisch 1
I mixed up up photo captions. Fixed now to show United Airlines 777 at the Dulles gate.
Thank you, sir. Will re-view on a larger screen later. MHE
Eric Kulisch 1
Thanks for pointing that out. Must have got my captions transposed from the one about the A380 further down in the story. Caption has been fixed to show it's United Airlines.


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