may2022 - 12

Industry Expert Column
Key Considerations for
Effective Ramp Communication
How wireless headset systems improve ramp communications
for enhanced safety and incident avoidance.
o the casual observer, the airside environment at
busy airports can seem like a chaotic choreography
of aircraft, ground support equipment (GSE)
and a variety of support vehicles.
For ground support personnel, the ramp is a dangerous
place, e.g., that catering truck in the wrong place at the wrong
time. Once the command from the flight deck of " brakes
released " is given, it is the ground crew that becomes temporarily
responsible for the safe maneuvering of aircraft, ensuring
that no part of the aircraft structure will impact other aircraft,
support vehicle or fixed object.
This is no easy task based on data from the International Air
Transport Association (IATA) as reported by the Flight Safety Foundation
(FSF) website:
" The Foundation estimates that 27,000 ramp accidents and
incidents - one per 1,000 departures - occur worldwide every
year. About 243,000 people are injured each year in these accidents
and incidents; the injury rate is nine per 1,000 departures.
" Ramp accidents cost major airlines worldwide at least $10
billion a year. These accidents affect airport operations, result
in personnel injuries and damage aircraft, facilities and ground
support equipment. "
Given these sobering statistics, forward-thinking airlines are
constantly looking for new technology to make the ramp environment
a safer place, and ground personnel more productive.
Headset Communication Systems on the Ramp
Communication headsets are common in the ramp environment.
Wired headset systems are primarily used during aircraft
pushback and deicing/anti-icing operations. Traditionally during
pushback, the tug operator communicates with the flight deck
via a headset and cable connected to the aircraft interphone,
or in the case of deicing operations, from the deicing vehicle
intercom to the bucket. While wired headsets provide clear
communication and hearing protection from the roar of jet
engines and other sources of ambient noise on the apron, they
have limitations:
* Wired headsets require users to be tethered to the aircraft,
limiting the mobility of ground support personnel to move
freely around the aircraft.
* Wired headset systems are not designed for multiple users,
e.g., wing-walkers, critical to the safe movement of the aircraft,
are left out of the communication loop.
12 || Ground Support Worldwide || May 2022
* The wires and
cables required
for wired headset
systems can get
entangled with
other equipment
and are subject
to damage,
wear and the
cost of frequent
Finally, there is the ever-present danger of lightning strikes.
Should the aircraft be struck by lightning, the wire or cable connecting
the aircraft to the push tug and driver becomes a ready
conduit for injury and electrocution. The abstract: Lightning
Threats and Enhancements of Safety for Airside Operations (published
in May 2017), cites that, " Usage of headsets with connecting
wire between the aircraft and the headset worn by the user
account for 51.9 percent of lightning-related injuries. "
The Advent of Wireless Systems
The introduction of wireless headset systems to the airline
industry around 2010 has dramatically improved ground operations,
enabling effective communication between the person
in charge of the flight deck and the marshalling agent or person
in charge of the ground crew, as well as between ground crew
members. Because many wireless systems have a range of up
to 300 feet (approx. 100 meters), wing-walkers are transformed
into " wing-talkers " - no longer having to rely exclusively on hand
signals and visual cues to communicate with the tug driver.
This is particularly important for any pushback requiring multiple
turns and pushing in a tight area, close to airport buildings,
GSE and other aircraft.
Most wireless headset systems accommodate multiple users
(up to four with some systems) per wireless gateway or base
station. Rather than a single user communicating only with
the flight deck, as with a wired headset system, there are more
eyes and ears working on a pushback deployment, significantly
reducing the potential of an accident and subsequent personal
injury or damage to aircraft and other ramp equipment.
Additional benefits of wireless systems on the ramp include:
* Hands-free, full-duplex communication - critical for tug
and deicing truck drivers/bucket operators to perform


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of may2022

Editor's Note: How Should We Address the Labor Shortage?
Business Buzz
Key Considerations for Effective Ramp Communication
Stinar LLC: 2022 Product Leader of the Year
Kenny Gibson: 2022 Team Leader of the Year
Rudy Yates: 2022 Lifetime Achievement
Water Barrier Filters Drop In
Africa's Business Aviation Potential
PCA Hose Extending and Retracting Made Easy
Product Hangar
Historical Highlights of the GSE Industry
may2022 - 1
may2022 - 2
may2022 - 3
may2022 - 4
may2022 - 5
may2022 - Editor's Note: How Should We Address the Labor Shortage?
may2022 - 7
may2022 - Business Buzz
may2022 - 9
may2022 - 10
may2022 - 11
may2022 - Key Considerations for Effective Ramp Communication
may2022 - 13
may2022 - Stinar LLC: 2022 Product Leader of the Year
may2022 - 15
may2022 - 16
may2022 - 17
may2022 - Kenny Gibson: 2022 Team Leader of the Year
may2022 - 19
may2022 - 20
may2022 - 21
may2022 - Rudy Yates: 2022 Lifetime Achievement
may2022 - 23
may2022 - 24
may2022 - 25
may2022 - Water Barrier Filters Drop In
may2022 - 27
may2022 - 28
may2022 - Africa's Business Aviation Potential
may2022 - 30
may2022 - 31
may2022 - PCA Hose Extending and Retracting Made Easy
may2022 - 33
may2022 - Product Hangar
may2022 - 35
may2022 - 36
may2022 - 37
may2022 - 38
may2022 - 39
may2022 - 40
may2022 - 41
may2022 - Historical Highlights of the GSE Industry
may2022 - 43
may2022 - 44