The Dh1.3-billion Emirates Engineering Centre, located on the north side of Dubai airport, is one of the largest civil aviation maintenance facilities in the world with eight hangars together covering an area equivalent to 17 soccer fields.
Each hangar has roof-mounted cranes and a mezzanine docking system for access to the aircraft, while two of them will be equipped with full fuselage docking systems designed for heavy maintenance. A third docking system, capable of accepting the new A380, will be commissioned in November 2006.
These two multi-million-dollar docks are smart systems that can adjust themselves automatically to the different aircraft types that Emirates operates but moving them across the airport requires a finely orchestrated operation.
First, the two docks had to be separated into eight pieces, which involved engineers removing electrical cables, air conditioning ducts, lighting, support frames and walkways. The first two pieces were moved two weeks ago. Six more are following, two at a time, to be reassembled in their new hangars. The target date for completion of the transfer of all engineering facilities is August 31st.
Moving the pieces requires four hydraulically-driven vehicles from Abu Dhabi which are designed to carry extremely heavy loads such as oilfield equipment.
The vehicles can take 600 tonnes on each axle and each one has 18 axles. All 288 wheels are steerable through 180 degrees which makes them very precise. They can cope with a gradient of up to 50 cms but their top speed is limited to walking speed when loaded.
“We had to get permission from Air Traffic Control to access the taxiways and cross the runway without causing delays to aircraft taking off and landing,” said Bob Lunn, Manager Engineering Facilities and project manager for the new Engineering Centre.
A group of 25 people from Dubai’s Department of Civil Aviation, Emirates Group Security and Emirates Engineering accompanied the first two pieces of the dock on their two-hour journey across the airport.
When the dock reached its new home, Hangar B, there was clearance of just 300 mms between the dock and the new hangar door. When all eight pieces have been moved, the docks will be put together again, tested and commissioned for work to start on the first C checks, a major aircraft overhaul, in the new facility.
Bob Lunn commented: “The move from the old to the new Engineering Centre started in April and will end on 31st August, but the maintenance of aircraft has to go on without interruption.”
Sunday, July 16- 2006 @ 12:36 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.