Frequently Asked Questions

Why are containers sometimes named differently for example sometimes AKE and sometimes LD3?

The 3 letter naming convention ( e.g. AKE) is the IATA system while the 2 letter+ 1 number ( e.g. LD3) is the old ATA system. The ULDR Appendix D contains a table which can be used to cross reference.

All ULD have a 9 or 10 digit identification code. Full details can be found in Section 4 of the ULDR, basic rules are that the first 3 characters define the type of ULD, its base dimension and its contour (container only), the next 4 or 5 characters are generally numeric but first one can be alpha, and are airline assigned and the final 2 characters are the owner identification.

A certified ULD has been designed and tested to meet the standards contained in TSO C90, and then after submission to a civil aviation authority has been approved for identification with a TSO marking. A non certified ULD has not been through such a process.

Every ULD has a limit to the amount of damage it can sustain before it must be taken out of service. The IATA Operational Damage Limits Notice (ODLN)  is a decal or label attached to the ULD which provides information on these limits for easy operator reference.

Unless the ULD has a forkliftable base then a forklift may be used, but otherwise loaded ULD may never be forklifted, empty ULD may be forklifted with care to prevent damage.

Some net OEM’s allow the use a short lengths of net braid with hooks at each end to carry out temporary repairs of a damaged net. This may only be done if approved by the OEM and using the OEM materials.

The CLS is the aircraft system that supports the ULD inside the aircraft hold, it maybe be powered or rely on manual force to move the ULD and includes the locks, guides and stoppers that secure the ULD during flight.

In the early days of ULD most containers were designed with provisions for lifting by forklift. These days that is much less common as these forklift provisions added weight and cost and used valuable cargo volume.

The contour of a container or a built up pallet  is its cross sectional shape. It is important that this is never exceeded as an out of contour ULD  may damage the aircraft structure, get stick in the hold, and/or prevent circulation of smoke and/or Halon in case of a fire.

A contour gauge is a simple piece of equipment used where pallets are built up to check if the load is within contour.

A slave pallet is a steel frame fitted with  rollers or similar devices that support a ULD. The frame is designed for lifting by forklift, so that an ULD whether empty or built up may be moved around a warehouse. Slave pallets can be of any size, suitable for the smallest to the largest ULD.

The TSO plate or tag or marking is the marking authorized by the respective aviation authority to the manufacturer to signify that the particular ULD carry that marking meets the standard of that TSO.

An FCC is a Fire Containment Cover. Designed for use over a built up pallet and fitting under a net its purpose is to contain an in flight fire for a period of time to enable the aircraft to land safety.

An FRC is a Fire Resistant Container. Having the same purpose as the FCC an FRC is designed to contain an in flight fire for a period of time to enable the aircraft to land safety.

A TCC is a Temperature Controlled Container. Used to carry pharmaceuticals and other products requiring stable temperatures for the duration of the transit a TCC will use heat and cooling systems, stored energy battery systems and advanced control systems to maintain the desired temperature range.

As the association of the airline industry IATA publishes many different standards to promote safety and efficiency. The IATA ULD Regulations provides extensive coverage of the many important aspects of ULD Operations and Handling.

ULD are lightweight aircraft equipment, requiring proper treatment and handling. They are designed to be stored in racking that provides proper support and easy in/out movement without damage. Also if ULD are not placed in a designated storage area they are at risk from damage by other equipment.

Almost all pallet loads are wrapped in plastic sheeting against bad weather. The sheeting can be both underneath and over the top of the load but it should always be underneath the cargo net and be held in place with tape or similar to prevent it coming loose. Containers are also often wrapped in plastic sheet and/or cling film, there are some guidelines on this under ULDR 6/08. Note also that the use of box cutters or similar knives to cut away the wrapping at breakdown can easily result in cuts to the container doors and panels.

The UCR is a " ULD Control Receipt", the document used by airlines to record the transfer of a ULD from one airline to another. It is also often used to record the transfer of ULD between other parties.

A LUC message is the message sent between 2 airlines containing data relating to the transfer of a ULD. The MUC message is similar to the LUC except it is sent to the ULD CARE IULDUG data processing system to record the transfer.