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Rough landings?

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Warks

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In the past 12 months or more I've noted how smooth aircraft landings in the big planes have become. Sometimes I've been hard pressed to notice the touchdown. However yesterday I took a 737 (QF) to MEL and a 767 back to SYD and both landings were loud and rough. Not an unbalanced one wheel hitting after the other type rough but just a loud bang and jolt as we hit the ground each time. Most people noticed!
Wondering if anyone else has had this experience lately and whether some new technology has improved landings in general (except these two!)
 

NM

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Any landing you walk away from is a good landing. If the aircraft can be used again, then its even better.
 

v8Statesman

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NM said:
Any landing you walk away from is a good landing. If the aircraft can be used again, then its even better.
My Father used to say "Every Landing is a crash. One is controlled, the other is not"
 

oz_mark

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Hadn't noticed any real change in the landings, although my perception is that the 767's seem to land harder than the other aircraft in the QF fleet.
 

infoworks

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Don't forget, they still have to "break" the "vacumn" to get out of the air and onto the ground (I am sure a technocrat will correct my explanation), so should expect a bump. A lot also depends on conditions, cross winds, etc at the time.

Some runways, like MNL are bumpy already, which doeasn't help!
 

NM

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And if you happen be on an aircraft that doing an auto-land, you will notice the bump! Both pilots and aircraft have to perform auto-land operations on a regular basis to ensure they remain accredited to do so in weather conditions that require it. So from time to time an auto-land will be undertaken in good weather conditions to ensure either pilot or aircraft remains current.
 

serfty

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-correction, not about auto land, more about "Rough Landings".


The 146's were really smooth in this regard; many time the only indcation of touch down was a vibration though the fueslage as the wheels started rolling along the runway.
 

NM

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serfty said:
The 146's were really smooth in this regard; many time the only indcation of touch down was a vibration though the fueslage as the wheels started rolling along the runway.
Don't know if I have ever experienced an auto-land in a 146. I didn't know they were certified for it, but really don't know much about them.

I did once have the pleasure of sitting in the flight deck of a QF 744 for an Autoland (into LAX). Initially the weather conditions were such that it was going to be a normal pilot-in-control type landing, but the clouds lifted and the captain radioed ATC to inform them he was going to do an auto-land (at least the aircraft was). He explained that when they boarded the aircraft, the records had indicated that this particular aircraft was going to lose its currency certification for auto-land soon, so he was relieved when the clouds lifted. Such tests need to be carried out in VFR conditions so the pilots can monitor and take over at any time if the computers are not doing it right.

The captain explained there are only a few airports around the world where they do the auto-land tests do to having the right category of ground equip for full auto-land capability. So if they were unable to do it that time at LAX, it would be possible that the aircraft would not be in a position to test again before its currency expired and that would mean they could not auto-land under weather/visibility conditions that may require it, and would have to divert to another airport with full auto-land was not required. Unfortunately, none of the Australian airports have the right equipment for full auto-lands in zero visibility (Cat III). Not sure what is in place in SYD and MEL and if they can be used for the aircraft currency testing???

It was a very interesting experience watching the controls, including yoke and thrust levers, moving themselves as the aircraft landed. I think the engine reverse thrust was still done manually, but wheel breaking is automatic. The captain lines it up on the ILS and then hit the button for the computer to take over, then sat back and watched.
 

Warks

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Remember that list of pilot's complaints and the corresponding engineer's comments? It was an email a few years back (post it if you have it someone!) One pilot comment was:
"Auto-land is exceedingly rough." To which the engineer replied:
"Auto-land not fitted on this aircraft" :D

Quick google...
Found it!

These are some entries from aircraft snag sheets.
This is where the pilots write down any problems they find with the aircraft and the engineers repair it and write down what the problem was and what was done about it.

( P = Pilot )
( E = Engineer )

P: Left inside tyre almost needs replacing
E: Almost replaced left inside tyre

P: Test flight OK but auto-landing system very rough
E: Auto-landing not installed on this aircraft

P: Something loose in cockpit
E: Something tightened in cockpit

P: Evidence of leak on right landing gear
E: Evidence removed

P: Number 3 engine missing
E: Number 3 engine found on right wing after brief search

P: Aircraft handles funny
E: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right and be serious

P: Radar hums
E: Reprogrammed radar with lyrics.

P: Mouse in cockpit
E: Cat installed
 

straitman

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NM said:
It was a very interesting experience watching the controls, including yoke and thrust levers, moving themselves as the aircraft landed. I think the engine reverse thrust was still done manually, but wheel breaking is automatic. The captain lines it up on the ILS and then hit the button for the computer to take over, then sat back and watched.
This is the same as any ILS performed by the flight director (which is nearly all approaches these days) just that the a/c is left on auto through the "Decision Height"

I sat through one such landing at LAX on a Pan Am 74? in 1982. The Captain pre warned the pax that it would be an auto landing and that they (the pilots) would be following through on the flight controls in the event that there was a problem. After landing the Captain came back on the PA and said something to the effect that anyone looking out the windows would have noticed that the auto landing didn't really go to plan and that the pilots had taken over.

It wasn't pretty to watch at all :!:
 

infoworks

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I have been in the cockpit a lot pre 9/11 and mostly takeoffs and landings were on auto. Generally it saves fuel and is smoother, etc, and I understand is mostly "company policy", although it's less fun for the pilots.

In fact the new planes they are designing now will only have a pilot and a dog in the cockpit. The dog is to bite the pilot if they touch anything!
 

bigjobs

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i have been on a Crash 8 that touched down a little too hard and bounced a couple of times down the run way...

The FA did not bat an eyelid, did her safety announcement and thanked us for choosing to fly QFLink.
 

NYCguy

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Rough landings

My 'roughest' landing ever was in an MD80 of 'Compass II' at TSV some 15 years ago. I was surprised that the cargo-doors didn't pop open that afternoon. Generally speaking, I would prefer that the pilots put the aircraft on the tarmac with a determined thud, rather than greasing along the runway in an attempt to make it 'smoother' for the pax. This is particularly so in wet/snowy/windy weather. A recent episode at a windy, icy ORD comes to mind, when I became a little disturbed about how far along we travelled before we actually made contact with terra-firma. One thing more upsetting than a hard landing is floating along a slippery runway and sliding off the end!
 

markis10

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Its ironic that the first full autoland system developed and adopted by ICAO was an Australian design - Interscan (you can stil see it on 27 at tulla). Its ironic because no airport in Australia has full 0 vis autoland and also because MLS is often been acccredited as an American invention, owing to the fact there were no Australian companies interested in the commercial production of the system.

One thing more upsetting than a hard landing is floating along a slippery runway and sliding off the end!
I am sure a QF crew that landed in BKK a few years ago would agree with that, golf anyone :shock:
 

infoworks

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I was told by one of the Syd Airport strategists they didn't instal the system to save money and on the basis that they would only use it maybe 5 times a year, when it was foggy, and for that they were happy to divert planes until it burned off.
 

oz_mark

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markis10 said:
One thing more upsetting than a hard landing is floating along a slippery runway and sliding off the end!
I am sure a QF crew that landed in BKK a few years ago would agree with that, golf anyone :shock:
Indeed a smooth landing and a good landing are not always the same thing.
 

markis10

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infoworks said:
I was told by one of the Syd Airport strategists they didn't instal the system to save money and on the basis that they would only use it maybe 5 times a year, when it was foggy, and for that they were happy to divert planes until it burned off.
For cat III ILS on 16 the container park on the approach interferred with the signal, for 34 you would need to put a navaid in the ocean off Cronulla which is expensive, and 07/25 is to short as the standard calls for a 1500 ft touchdown tolerance.

As for being too expensive, I remember speedbird doing a Mel-Syd flight, left Mel at 4AM with Sydney closed due fog, at 11AM it reached the point of no return and turned back to Mel, 15 minutes later Syd opened but it was too late, almost 8 hours of flying, most of it in circles. At an average of 8 tons of JetA1 an hour, that was 64 tons of fuel used for no real outcome.
 
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