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Logistics Notes Addendum

Logistics Notes Addendum - Some Details Currently in Commentary Form.
Updated 5 December 2017 but nonetheless mostly obsolete - please bear with me as I update, restructure, and relocate this content.

The following notes are incomplete but may nonetheless be helpful for anyone who may become involved with this project.  As we progress notes like these will expand and evolve, and provide a basis for composition of task specific schedules and checklists:

  • A towing vehicle and a 747-400 rated nose gear towing bar must be available upon the aircraft's arrival at Miyazaki Kuukou, and for an extended time afterward to support barge loading and unloading operations.  The operator of the vehicle must be experienced with 747-400 towing requirements and limitations.

  • Superb logistics must be devised to reliably manage towing obstacles associated with the barge and dock both at Miyazaki Kuukou and the home site.  Strong gap filling blocks and steel or heavy wood panels will probably be required to lengthen and smooth elevation changes caused by such obstacles.  Heavy winches may be required on the barge and also at the home site to provide enough towing force to pull the aircraft over panel smoothed obstacles.  If the obstacles are substantial, strong cables and straps may have to be attached from the winches to the main landing gear because the nose gear isn't strong enough to pull the mass of the aircraft over significant obstacles.  The cables and straps will have to be rigged very carefully to insure that the main landing gear isn't damaged when force is applied.  Retention logistics must also be devised because the aircraft's brakes won't be functional.  Forklift type tractors will be required to move steel panels or other heavy objects if utilized.

    We must also devise a means to manage the problem of large mass concentration on one side of the barge as the aircraft's towed from the tarmac onto the barge. This problem must be studied....

    Miyazaki Kuukou flight operations are of course crucial.  Transfer of the aircraft to the barge must be conducted during the night shutdown period.  A NOTAM will probably have to be published advising that the airport will be partially obstructed for an extended overnight period.

    There must be no risk of failing to complete the transfer to the barge well within the night shutdown period.  Thus the transfer must be exceptionally well planned, including redundancies in both equipment and logistics to insure that no unforeseen difficulties can prevent the operation from either concluding or being successfully aborted by towing the aircraft back to a safe location before normal morning kuukou operations begin.

    Miyazaki Kuukou officials will be extremely strict with their requirements and expectations, and we must fully meet or exceed all of them with exceptionally high confidence - we must provide complete assurance that we will not impede normal Miyazaki Kuukou operations.

  • It may be preferable to operate the aircraft's navigation and anti-collision lights during transport operations as a safety measure.  If so sufficient electrical power must be provided for them and the cabin dehydrators described below.  Perhaps both the barge and the home site can provide enough electrical power.  But if not a gasoline powered generator, perhaps located in a landing gear bay or inside an engine nacelle (because they're well protected but also well ventilated locations), might be necessary to provide electrical power.  In addition a 60 Hz to 400 Hz power converter of sufficient capacity for the lights plus some ancillary loads must be provided since the aircraft's electrical systems require 400 Hz power.  These are readily available through well established vendors, but must be ordered and installed in advance of course.

  • Standard Boeing ramp connectors for water, sewer, and external electrical power must be available at both Miyazaki Kuukou and the home site.  They're almost certainly already available at Miyazaki Kuukou.  And I personally own at least one of each of these (they're spares from my 727 home project) which can be used at the home site.  However, my external power connector might be incompatible with the 747-400 - this will have to be investigated.

  • If not already accomplished, the aircraft's effluent tanks should be fully drained at Miyazaki Kuukou.  The water tanks should also be drained to minimize total mass.

  • A balance appraisal of the aircraft in fully empty and dry condition must be reviewed to assure that it won't tip onto its tail during transport operations.  If a tipping hazard seems possible, mass will have to be added forward of the main gear, or mass removed aft of the main gear.  Passenger seats could be removed from aft areas for example.  And if thought beneficial, they could be loaded into forward cargo bays.  Even if confident of our balance studies, we must remain vigilantly aware of a tipping possibility throughout all operations.

    Otherwise, if the aircraft arrives with a full complement of passenger seats, we may consider removing many of them prior to transport to the home site in order to reduce the aircraft's mass.  If so they can be transported separately by truck to whatever final destination seems appropriate.  But optionally all seats may be left in the aircraft. (However, tentatively I plan to permanently retain only very roughly 25% or fewer of the seats.)

  • Several bottles of compressed nitrogen plus hose, valves, and connectors should be readily available for possible use of the native landing gear struts as pneumatic jacks to raise or lower the aircraft.  There might be times when it's helpful to inflate the struts to raise the aircraft, then later deflate them to lower the aircraft.  In the case of the main landing gear, it might be possible to inflate one pair and deflate the other pair, then install support blocks under the deflated pair, then inflate those while deflating the first pair, then insert support blocks under the first pair, then repeat the process in succession to rather easily raise the aircraft.  This might prove helpful during the tow over the edge of the dock into the barge, and the reverse at the home site.  It might also be the most efficient means to raise the aircraft as it's winched onto its home site support pillars.

  • A generous supply of disposable absorbent mats and dam barriers must be available on the aircraft at all times in case of an unexpected toxic fluid leak, even after all toxic fluids are thought to have been drained.  It might be best to store them in the cargo bays, landing gear bays, or within the empty engine nacelles.  They must be quickly accessible and deployable.

  • The interior air of the aircraft must be kept dry at all times.  Generally an electrical dehydrator must operate often enough to maintain an internal humidity of 50% or less.  Due to the size of the aircraft, at least two domestic class electrical dehydrators may have to operate continuously.  They can drain via a small hose into any of the aircraft's lavatory or galley sinks or belly condensation drain valves.  Electrical power will have to be available to serve the dehydrators during barge transport and upon arrival at the home site.

    These are just some initial logistics considerations.  As work progresses, they'll become more thorough and refined.  I eagerly welcome thoughts from everyone about any aspect of the project's logistics of course.

    Bruce Campbell

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