Saturday, July 19, 2008

Baggage compartment

Another thing I really like about the Citation X is the baggage compartment. I know, it's a strange think to like. No one says, "I really like my car's trunk." However, if you had come from the Beechjet, like I did, you would appreciate this statement. In the BE40, there was just a small compartment that you had to contort yourself near to get the bags in the luggage compartment which was angled back into the tail underneath the engine nacelle (mount). You could always tell a Beechjet pilot because invariably, the pilot would back up and stand right under the engine and get a smudge of dirty oil across his or her shoulder that would never wash out. They also usually had back problems.

The biggest thing I have to worry about with going to the baggage compartment in the X is, I'm afraid, hearing protection. Balling up little earplugs and sticking them in your ears is such a pain! You gotta put em in to walk back there, take em out to walk over to talk to people around you, and most importantly have a convenient place to store them (they are always dropping out of my pocket). However, being deaf would be much more inconvenient. Problem solved with some earplugs I can wear around my neck. Tension on the neckpiece keeps them deep enough in my ear to block the noise coming from the APU (the small engine to power the aircraft systems previously discussed). Pilots' hearing is checked periodically throughout the year. If you can't hear radio calls or little symptomatic signals from the airplane's systems, you won't make a very good pilot.

The trick to this compartment is this tri-fold ladder. I'm just tall enough to grab the top of the ladder and unfold it down. I am also just small enough to be able to completely crawl into the baggage compartment and move bags around in order to stack them in the best way possible. Some folks can bring a lot of bags! There is even a cut out up there so that you can stand golfclub bags upright. And a hanging bar, if anyone brings a garment bag. We also keep various covers for the airplane back there, along with extra water bottles and a toolbox with parts for any maintenance issues we experience on the road (we pilots don't/can't perform any maintenance on the airplane).
The pictures you see here are of me unloading the life raft that is usually stored in the baggage compartment and inaccessible during flight. However, if we are doing an overwater route, this raft is moved into the cabin, just in case. We were flying over water yesterday, from Michigan to Wisconsin, but the baggage compartment had to be empty because of a maintenance issue. The baggage compartment is pressurized using air directed from the cabin. However, since the pressurization system wasn't working as advertised, we couldn't fly to our maintenance base pressurized so we flew over below 10,000 ft (a safe altitude for human life). Our maintenance manual for the airplane says if the baggage compartment is unpressurized, it also must be empty, hence moving the raft into the cabin. It was also good training for me, to see how unwieldly, in fact, a 65 pound life raft can be!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Lynda, this particular thread helped me so much. I had pouring over the web looking for Citation X baggage door photos so that I could accurately model the ladder, and here you wrote an article about the baggage compartment, with photos! Thank you! How exciting it must be for you to fly that beautiful jet!