Large airports can have complex and confusing taxiway layouts, while some airports simply have a runway and a ramp area.
Approaching the terminal, the pilots look for the flight's assigned gate and watch for the ramp team leader to start waving illuminated, bright orange batons. There could be a lead-in lighting system to help the pilots line up at the gate, or they might just follow the instructions from the ramp lead.
As the plane slows to a stop, the target for the nose wheel is a painted line on the ramp, matching the type of aircraft. That'll put the plane in the right spot for the passenger boarding bridge.
The plane's engines provide thrust and electrical power while in flight, but all passenger planes have a small jet engine which generates electricity when the plane is parked -- an Auxiliary Power Unit, or APU. The APU is in the tail cone, and the pilots start it up to feed power to the plane's systems.
But an APU uses costly fuel from the jet's tanks, so many airports provide a ground power system, or there's a generator cart parked at the gate.
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Once the plane's access panel is opened and the connection is made with a heavy-duty cable and plug, the source of power is switched, and the engines are shut down. The APU also energizes the plane's climate control systems, hopefully keeping the cabin at a nice temperature while parked. Like ground power, some airports provide conditioned air through large-diameter flexible ducts that plug into a port on the belly of the plane. Or you might see a truck-mounted unit doing the job, with a duct snaking to the plane.
Large, wide-body aircraft need two air connections to keep the cabin comfortable. The passengers inside the plane have jumped up, and they're waiting impatiently in the aisle to get off -- right now. If the gate is equipped, a passenger boarding bridge is positioned by the forward left-side doors. Otherwise, truck- or cart-mounted stairs roll up, and passengers experience the excitement of walking down the stairs and onto the ramp, being able to look back at their aircraft.
Smaller regional jets and turboprops sit close to the ground, and have stairs built into the inside of the plane's doors, with just a couple of steps to the ramp. Pods filled with passengers' bags are handled by a purpose-built machine. On the right side of the plane, the ramp team has swung into action.
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After opening the doors to the baggage and cargo holds, a belt-loader or a pod-loader is positioned, depending on the aircraft. The rampie inside the belly of a single-aisle plane places each piece of luggage onto the belt, and their partner takes it off the belt and puts it into a baggage cart. The carts head to the baggage room, and the luggage is dropped onto a conveyor, hopefully showing up on a carousel soon after you've arrived. Wide-body planes carrying hundreds of passengers needed an efficient way of handling luggage and cargo, so baggage and cargo pods were developed back when jumbo jets first appeared.
Pods are filled with passengers' bags, and handled by a purpose-built machine.
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One rampie can operate it, and make the pods dance on the loader's platform or in a plane's holds by activating powered wheels. Catering trucks join the crowd outside the plane's fuselage. Rising on a scissor lift, the truck's box matches the height of the plane's galley doors. We talked about the book I was reading, which was the Anh Do biography.
We did some cheeky flirting for a minute, if that, and she went off to do work duties.
Other fun ways to put on your digital hat at the airport:
As I got up, he just directed me toward a particular exit, and lo and behold, there she was. As he walked out the door, he said she stopped him and thanked him for flying. She shook his hand, but there was something in it. He went down the stairs and into the terminal before looking to see what it was. All it said was her name and phone number. It was definitely an ego boost for the day, although I was wearing my favourite outfit at the time, so maybe that helped.
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Luke was about to travel to America, and told news. I invited her along. This was only a couple of days after we started talking, maybe two weeks. He invited her on a snow trip to Mount Selwyn - with all his mates. We had a few drinks, there was a fire, and we walked around the farm.