Gerrits Tagebuch Vol. 29 - Space Shuttle, Bummel & Co.

Uploaded by MiWuLaTV on 14.09.2011

Welcome to a new episode of Gerrit's Diary.
Last episode was about accidents, this one isn't.
Not much happened, except that I was on vacation
and searched for many little software errors.
That's why there aren't any big topics this time
so I'll just start with the small ones.
There's one topic I've left out until now:
Our Visual Docking Guiding System.
In the past, airplanes were marshalled manually,
someone stood there and used signalling discs to guide the way.
Today, a camera is used
and the pilot sees information on a display at the terminal.
For example, if he has to slow down or accelerate, when to stop,
and if he has to correct course to the left or right,
so he'll always stay perfectly on the yellow line.
We've built these small displays, an arduous task.
The communication with the main computer
works with our previously shown bus system.
Now we are capable of guiding our pilots perfectly, just as it is in reality.
A few months ago, I visited our electronics technicians and mechanists
and they hid something from me.
In the coming weeks, I noticed that they were preparing a little prank.
I wasn't too keen on the idea at first, because
we were still under stress with the opening and I wanted 30 finished airplanes.
But luckily, we kept on building.
There were many technical issues to solve with the so-called "Bummel".
It's not a normal plane - that's what we were prepared for.
But the problems were all solved, she drives and flies flawlessly.
We weren't quite sure, if we wanted to disturb the appearance of the terminal,
and before a guest complains about it, we said that
every 60 to 90 minutes, a special or joke plane will land at the airport.
During Christmas time, that could be Santa's sleigh,
right now it's the "Bummel" that causes fun and excitement.
We often had the request to show the complete Space Shuttle procedure.
This is the whole procedure: It waits underground for us to start it.
Then it is sent off, drives onto the lift, because it has to reach the other side.
We only had room on one side to deploy two more airplanes underground.
It drives to the other side and waits.
At the same time, the fire brigade is activated.
I asked the chief of our fire department:
"What would you do, if NASA called and a Space Shuttle landed here?"
He said: "I'd send all I have."
That was exactly what I wanted to hear. We also do that.
The fire brigade comes out and gets ready.
I'll talk more about that specific topic later on.
After the fire brigade is ready and the airport is closed,
then the landing of the Space Shuttle begins.
Here we have to compromise with what we can actually do and what we can't.
A Space Shuttle usually has a brake parachute.
Perhaps we'll be able to implement that sometime.
But we'd rather use the Shuttle without the parachute than not fly at all.
After the machine has landed safely,
the airport's fire brigade has orders to inspect the Shuttle.
After they are sure that everything's fine,
the second train of vehicles may return home.
It's essential at an airport that the runway is clear for further air traffic.
That's why the large airfield fire engines drive to the freight terminal.
Then the Shuttle - as another compromise - drives all by itself to a waiting position
at the freight terminal, because it's less in the way there,
for further inspection by the airfield fire engines.
Sometime later, the airport's fire brigade has fulfilled its mission
so it can also go home.
As the last act, the Space Shuttle is pushed inside the hangar
for an extensive check up.
Then the doors close and it secretly returns to its place
to wait for the next emergency landing.
In one or two years, we'd like to do something that we've already prepared.
The Space Shuttle wouldn't drive over here to the hangar
but to the Lufthansa Technik Hall and vanish there.
Meanwhile, a 747 from NASA would land that also goes there.
Then the doors close and a lamp turns on behind the layout.
Then we wait for the next behind-the-scenes tour to come along.
They take the Shuttle and deploy it here
while they take a lighter, specially prepared version and put it with magnets
on top of the 747, press a button, and the 747 takes the Shuttle piggyback
to start towards Cape Canaveral, just as it would be in reality.
But that will certainly take another year or two.
I've often said that I do troubleshooting.
And people often asked me what that was and how it works.
Not every error is easy to solve, and
our pilots tell me about curious things that I can't make sense of.
Then I look for these things - a long time.
Just as with this example, that I have solved, thank goodness.
The Space Shuttle is supposed to land, the fire brigade is already waiting,
but doesn't enter the runway yet, where they stand next to each other,
because the system knows: We land to the left, so we have to check if any
airplanes still wish to land and drive past, so that
the wings won't hit the waiting fire trucks.
So they wait.
Works fine, except once a week.
I've found the error last night, after 20 to 30 hours of searching.
As soon as the plane starts the landing approach and everything's clear,
then the start direction may be switched.
The start direction switched exactly during the fire brigade's mission,
the plane is landing, but the system already knows the new starting direction
and checks this direction for incoming planes.
The fire brigade enters the runway, a plane comes from the other side
and hits the vehicles. Happens once a week.
It took 20 to 30 hours to find this constellation.
I just discovered it by accident last night.
I have another five to ten points on my list with similar symptoms that I'll never figure out.
Now for a completely different diary entry. A rather sad one.
Tobi has been instrumental in building the airport and aircraft technology
and has become the king of maintenance and construction.
He decided to leave us to start university.
It's probably a good decision on your side but what it's for us is anyone's guess.
Thank you so much for your work on the airport.
And for everyone out there who believes he's able to follow in his footsteps:
We are searching for a new precision mechanic or mechatronics technician.
There is more information on our homepage
that is shown down here -
let me turn that around, that's better -
and we'd be glad to receive numerous applications.
That's it for this episode.
I'm looking forward to the next one. Bye!