On average, every second and a half, some Boeing 737 takes off or lands at any of the world’s airports – that’s how popular this family of aircraft is. And it is it, the MAX version, that you will be able to take care of during its stay at the airport in AirportSim.
What is a Boeing 737 MAX 8?
It has to be said: the Boeing 737 family is truly huge, since 1967 the manufacturer has already built more than 10,000 units, which has guaranteed it a place in the Guinness Book of Records, in 2014 the rate of production of units was as high as 42 per month. In this aircraft family, one can distinguish such subgroups as 737 Original, Classic, Next Generation and just MAX.
How does the MAX differ from its predecessors? Without going into details (those for the willing at the end of this text*): A new generation of turbofan engines has been used, providing reduced fuel use, and lower decibels. The second change is improvements in the aircraft’s aerodynamics, with the most striking being the so-called “split tip,” a patent of the McDonnell Douglas company, which Boeing absorbed in 1997. What is a “split-tip”? As the name implies, it’s a change in the surface of the wings to a more “split” design, which results in fuel savings on flights of a full 1.5%.
Four variants of this machine allow carrying from 138 to 230 passengers.
Take care of your Boeing
Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are beautiful machines that look great in the air, but when they land at any of the airports available in the game, it is you who will get your hands on them. It will be up to you to properly maintain them. As an airport groundskeeper, you’ll be the one taking care of them and making sure they’re ready for their next adventures.
So what will be among your responsibilities? We will briefly outline three of the many tasks you will be able to undertake at AirportSim:
This is one of the tasks crucial to proper aircraft maintenance: you’ll need to charge the aircraft with electricity from the stand it’s standing at, or a special generator you’ll bring with you to the parking stand.
The procedure itself involves plugging in the ground and locating the port for plugging in the cable – on the 737 MAX it is located at the front of the fuselage near the bow, and to open it you have to push in one by one the three pins securing it. Then the cable is plugged in, power is transferred and the GPU device is unplugged and secured. What sounds simple now is actually a complicated procedure, which our supervisor will teach you during the mission in the tutorial.
During this task, you will push the 737 from the parking area to the taxiway. Remember to keep in touch with the airport staff at all times to receive reports that the aircrew is ready or the aircraft is entering the taxiway. The whole difficulty, however, lies in properly attaching the pushback to the aircraft, not forgetting the bypass pin, a special tool that will enable you to steer the aircraft. On the 737 you will install it on the front of the aircraft’s shin.
The next steps are to wait for the pushback permission from the airport, release the brakes and turn on the position lights, the aircraft also runs the lights in response, which must look amazing in the evening, or in the morning, during the morning drizzle at an airport such as Vagar.
When you start to push the plane out, at some point you will have to transmit an announcement about the possibility of starting the engines and you will hear the characteristic buzz, and then the roar of engines 1 and 2. The machine will wake up to life. The aircraft will stop and apply the parking brakes – then all that’s left for you to do is to exit behind the vehicle, disconnect the pushback from the aircraft and leave the danger zone.
We wrote about the procedure for refueling the aircraft in more detail in our previous article, so we won’t particularly elaborate: your task will be to carry the fuel tanker to a specific location near the aircraft, ground it and plug in the fuel cable, while carefully checking the speed and fill level of the tank in each wing.
The 737 MAX is a tall aircraft and you must remember that you will need a ladder to get to the panel. You’ll open this one by pushing in three safety pins, which will pop out and the flap will slowly drop supported by the actuator in its center.
The fuel panel may seem complicated to you at first, but you’ll quickly figure out what’s what – the gauges at the bottom show the fuel status of the left-wing, center tank and right-wing, above them are buttons for opening and closing the valves, and blue LEDs light up when a valve is open.
In fact, the most important thing you need to remember is not to focus only on one fuel tank located in the wing, because the aircraft could tilt dangerously.
That, and of course, not catching fire.
You’ll learn how to properly hook up and unhook a fuel line right here at AirportSim.
And in addition to the tasks outlined above, other tasks await you, such as inspecting the runway, transporting people, luggage and catering, or the system for guiding an aircraft to a parking spot known as “Marshal”.
Curious? Then we’ll see you at one of the airports in AirportSim!
*Here are details for those who are eager: in the case of engines, we are writing here about the LEAP-1B. Relative to the currently most popular 737 engine, the CFM56-7, the new product consumes at least 13-15 percent less aviation kerosene and generates 100 to 120 kN of thrust.