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BmoreDriver
Active Member

USA
10 Posts

Posted - 12/01/2010 :  5:47:56 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi All,
I'm training to get my CDL with an air brakes endorsement. I trained to do the skills test on a hydraulic bus, and last weekend got behind the wheel of an air brakes bus. The first time I moved the bus and used the brakes, I almost threw myself through the windshield, but when I applied the brakes it didn't feel like the bus was slowing down unless I applied more pressure, but at that point it was clearly too much. From then on when doing maneuvers at slow speeds, it felt like my braking was really jerky rather than the smoothness I had gotten used to with hydraulic brakes.

Does anyone have any tips of advice for a rookie bus driver on how to bring the bus to a smooth stop using air brakes?

Thanks!

Bluebird62
Top Member

USA
530 Posts

Posted - 12/01/2010 :  6:51:48 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
You will get the feel for them and the only way is practice. When I started buying air brake buses in 2006, most of my drivers freaked. I learned real quick to hang on tight when I first started training them because of exactly what you described.

Give it time, practice, and before you know it you will love them and not want to drive hydraulics.
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Jared
Top Member

USA
1865 Posts

Posted - 12/02/2010 :  03:58:05 AM  Show Profile  Visit Jared's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by BmoreDriver

Hi All,
I'm training to get my CDL with an air brakes endorsement. I trained to do the skills test on a hydraulic bus, and last weekend got behind the wheel of an air brakes bus. The first time I moved the bus and used the brakes, I almost threw myself through the windshield, but when I applied the brakes it didn't feel like the bus was slowing down unless I applied more pressure, but at that point it was clearly too much. From then on when doing maneuvers at slow speeds, it felt like my braking was really jerky rather than the smoothness I had gotten used to with hydraulic brakes.

Does anyone have any tips of advice for a rookie bus driver on how to bring the bus to a smooth stop using air brakes?

Thanks!



Out of curiosity, do you live in Baltimore? Are you training to drive for Baltimore County?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaredg21/sets/
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bus724
Top Member

USA
1609 Posts

Posted - 12/02/2010 :  06:09:04 AM  Show Profile  Visit bus724's Homepage  Send bus724 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
It's very difficult to get air brakes to stop as smoothly as hydraulic. Air can be compressed, brake fluid can't. When you apply pressure at one end of a hydraulic brake line, the same amount of pressure is immediately transferred to the other end. When you apply pressure to an air brake line, it creates a pressure wave that has to travel along the line before it reaches the other end. Although it's minimized on newer vehicles, there's always a slight "lag" with air brakes. Most people using them for the first time panic when they don't feel the immediate response they're used to with hydraulic, and apply more pressure, causing the brakes to apply very forcefully.

You're doing it the right way, practicing in a safe environment where you can get used to the feel of the brakes (as opposed to waiting until there's a car stopping in front of you). Just take your time, understand that they're different from hydraulic brakes, and keep practicing until you get comfortable.
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BmoreDriver
Active Member

USA
10 Posts

Posted - 12/02/2010 :  12:53:42 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:


Out of curiosity, do you live in Baltimore? Are you training to drive for Baltimore County?



I live in Baltimore, but I'm training to get a job doing charter work. I teach full time but have always thought driving a bus would be fun. I drove limos for a while but got bored, so its time for something bigger :)
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flower route
Active Member

24 Posts

Posted - 12/02/2010 :  3:13:14 PM  Show Profile  Visit flower route's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Once you get the feel you will love it. I drive both school bus and charter bus.

Charter bus driving is a fun job but it is a way of life also. There are no sick days. If you are a thousand miles from home and you don't feel good, there is no calling in. You suck it up and go because there are no subs just a phone call away to take your place. About the only way you will get a company to get you a relief, is you are in the hospital near death.

There are no set hours, most runs start before the sun comes up. If you do "bumps" you may have to drive 500 miles down the road in a company car, go to bed for 8 hours and pick up the bus trip at a truck stop at 3:00 A.M... If that is the kind of life you want then this is the job for you.

If you think Limos are boreing, try this. I did a trip to NYC a couple of years back. Droped the group Sunday and did not have to pick them up until the following Sat. I had a week to kill in a Motel in Hackensac N.J... I did find a lot to do in NYC but that trip cost me more than I made on it. I just considered it my vacation.
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Jared
Top Member

USA
1865 Posts

Posted - 12/02/2010 :  4:06:59 PM  Show Profile  Visit Jared's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by BmoreDriver

quote:


Out of curiosity, do you live in Baltimore? Are you training to drive for Baltimore County?



I live in Baltimore, but I'm training to get a job doing charter work. I teach full time but have always thought driving a bus would be fun. I drove limos for a while but got bored, so its time for something bigger :)



I see. I live in Pikesville and also decided it would be fun to drive a school bus so I bought an old one. You can see it in my signature.

I've been on this forum since the late 90s and have never met anyone from my hometown so its cool to finally meet one. Good luck with the Air brakes.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaredg21/sets/
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BmoreDriver
Active Member

USA
10 Posts

Posted - 12/02/2010 :  5:39:51 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by flower route

Once you get the feel you will love it. I drive both school bus and charter bus.

Charter bus driving is a fun job but it is a way of life also. There are no sick days. If you are a thousand miles from home and you don't feel good, there is no calling in. You suck it up and go because there are no subs just a phone call away to take your place. About the only way you will get a company to get you a relief, is you are in the hospital near death.

There are no set hours, most runs start before the sun comes up. If you do "bumps" you may have to drive 500 miles down the road in a company car, go to bed for 8 hours and pick up the bus trip at a truck stop at 3:00 A.M... If that is the kind of life you want then this is the job for you.

If you think Limos are boreing, try this. I did a trip to NYC a couple of years back. Droped the group Sunday and did not have to pick them up until the following Sat. I had a week to kill in a Motel in Hackensac N.J... I did find a lot to do in NYC but that trip cost me more than I made on it. I just considered it my vacation.



I'm applying for a local company that does primarily day trips (36 school buses, 6 coach buses) so hopefully I won't be facing many overnight trips. :)
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BmoreDriver
Active Member

USA
10 Posts

Posted - 12/02/2010 :  5:42:27 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jared

quote:
Originally posted by BmoreDriver

quote:


Out of curiosity, do you live in Baltimore? Are you training to drive for Baltimore County?



I live in Baltimore, but I'm training to get a job doing charter work. I teach full time but have always thought driving a bus would be fun. I drove limos for a while but got bored, so its time for something bigger :)



I see. I live in Pikesville and also decided it would be fun to drive a school bus so I bought an old one. You can see it in my signature.

I've been on this forum since the late 90s and have never met anyone from my hometown so its cool to finally meet one. Good luck with the Air brakes.



Thanks! I lived in Pikesville when I first moved down here. Does your bus have air or hydraulic brakes?
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Jared
Top Member

USA
1865 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2010 :  04:09:37 AM  Show Profile  Visit Jared's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by BmoreDriver

quote:
Originally posted by Jared

quote:
Originally posted by BmoreDriver

quote:


Out of curiosity, do you live in Baltimore? Are you training to drive for Baltimore County?



I live in Baltimore, but I'm training to get a job doing charter work. I teach full time but have always thought driving a bus would be fun. I drove limos for a while but got bored, so its time for something bigger :)



I see. I live in Pikesville and also decided it would be fun to drive a school bus so I bought an old one. You can see it in my signature.

I've been on this forum since the late 90s and have never met anyone from my hometown so its cool to finally meet one. Good luck with the Air brakes.



Thanks! I lived in Pikesville when I first moved down here. Does your bus have air or hydraulic brakes?



Where do you live now? What charter company? Dillons? Woodlawn? My bus has air brakes.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaredg21/sets/

Edited by - Jared on 12/03/2010 04:13:27 AM
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BmoreDriver
Active Member

USA
10 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2010 :  1:57:40 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jared

quote:
Originally posted by BmoreDriver

quote:
Originally posted by Jared

quote:
Originally posted by BmoreDriver

quote:


Out of curiosity, do you live in Baltimore? Are you training to drive for Baltimore County?



I live in Baltimore, but I'm training to get a job doing charter work. I teach full time but have always thought driving a bus would be fun. I drove limos for a while but got bored, so its time for something bigger :)



I see. I live in Pikesville and also decided it would be fun to drive a school bus so I bought an old one. You can see it in my signature.

I've been on this forum since the late 90s and have never met anyone from my hometown so its cool to finally meet one. Good luck with the Air brakes.



Thanks! I lived in Pikesville when I first moved down here. Does your bus have air or hydraulic brakes?



Where do you live now? What charter company? Dillons? Woodlawn? My bus has air brakes.



I'm applying for a job with Chesapeake Charter in Annapolis once training is done.
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BmoreDriver
Active Member

USA
10 Posts

Posted - 05/03/2011 :  2:03:41 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I am happy to report that I LOVE driving with air brakes now. I didn't realize it until I drove a bus without air brakes recently. I was pushing the brake pedal as hard as I could and the bus was still rolling...you give air brakes that kind of pressure and your bus comes to a screeching halt.

I'm driving for American Limousines in Baltimore, so they have a fun fleet with a wide variety of buses to drive. I have to say my favorite are the Thomas C2s, the driver's area is unparalleled and the visibility is fantastic.

Thanks for the advice a few months back!
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Kodie
Top Member

United States
2028 Posts

Posted - 05/03/2011 :  3:12:58 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Glad you're enjoying it! I find air brakes to be a much more "fun" and easy braking system. I prefer air to hydraulic myself.
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Former School Bus M8
Senior Member

143 Posts

Posted - 05/03/2011 :  6:46:25 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I was in the same boat as you years ago. I love air brakes and would never want to go back to hydraulic.

School Bus M8
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bluebirdvision
Top Member

USA
1079 Posts

Posted - 05/04/2011 :  06:58:45 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I've always wondered how IC "Full Power" hyd brakes compare to air brakes.

Facebook Page: Blue Bird Corporation Fans
https://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_212311114614&ap=1


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Kodie
Top Member

United States
2028 Posts

Posted - 05/04/2011 :  2:07:37 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I find them to be more sensitive in some strange way.. A different feel than air though.
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C.HARDY
Advanced Member

354 Posts

Posted - 05/04/2011 :  2:56:09 PM  Show Profile  Click to see C.HARDY's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
I have found keeping your heel on the floor and pushing with the top of your foot does help a little.

"Hardybusman"
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BmoreDriver
Active Member

USA
10 Posts

Posted - 05/05/2011 :  2:07:12 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Kodie

I find them to be more sensitive in some strange way.. A different feel than air though.



Air brakes don't react as quickly, but once they do, the stopping distance seems to be way shorter, at least for the buses I drive. We have several 35 passenger mini-coaches and a few trolleys that have hydraulic brakes, and I was surprised at how hard I had to press to get them to stop compared to air brakes which slow down with even a little pressure applied.

I also have to say, I prefer the parking brake location. With air brakes, its usually a little diamond pull on/push off knob. With our hydraulic brake buses, its a stick that I almost always whack my knee on when getting into the driver's seat.
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08 Thomas EF
Top Member

533 Posts

Posted - 05/05/2011 :  5:17:48 PM  Show Profile  Visit 08 Thomas EF's Homepage  Reply with Quote
^ That stick can also be mounted to the floor to the right of the driver's seat with the lever vertical when parked in AmTran FEs, and TCs in the mid / late '90s have a pedal-style operated with the left foot. Not sure about the 2000s TCs. I think TCs cerca 1990 had them on the floor beside the driver's seat as well, but I'm not certain.
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