Flying as SLF about row 16 around 2200 last night into YSSY aboard a 737-400 heard odd resonance from around port main gear followed by about 102% N2 and a quick climb into the inky murk over the Pacific. Climbing through about 10,000 ft Capt Speaking advises slight problem with an indicator and they would be talking to Engineering... Then FO Dave comes down the aisle with his flashlight and starts ripping up carpet which seemed surreal. We then did the shake, rattle, half roll thing, presumably ring to shake free whatever was bothering them. Some time later after apparent attempts to recycle the gear and flaps several times, there's that nice thumping sound accompanied by customary slipstream whistle... sounded good, but Dave reappeared, counted windows past the exit and then ripped the carpet up some more, this time finding the insp hatch. Purser Mavis charges down and shouts into poor Dave's arse "he's got a green light and he wants you back!". Dave looks relieved, flustered. We land 40 min late.
Questions from this experience... What's the SOP if the gear is sticking? How often does this happen? I noted the rego and I'm not sure whether to avoid the equipment if I'm booked on it another time - or should I assume it will be all the safer for getting written up?
If the gear never came down, apart from praying, what is the advised procedure for bringing the SLF home?
Location: Over 250 posts so far. Perhaps I support Pprune by posting regularly.
Most punters seem to be unaware the B737 has a function whereby the entire cockpit section can be separated from the rest of the fuselage and come down under parachute. It 's a similar concept to what the F111 uses.
Boeing recommends use only "IF UNABLE TO LAND AT NEAREST SUITABLE AIRPORT".
As far as I know it's never ever been used.
I've never really thought about what happens to all the SLF though...
CS, the main gear viewer is simply a tube with two mirrors at the end, one looking at each main gear. If the gear is down and locked there is a straight red line visible on the lock strut. If the gear hasn't locked down the line has a stagger in it.
That's interesting. Is the tube inside the inspection hatch? The FO only had a flashlight wth him, and he really didn't seem to know what he was looking for. I don't reckon he had been in this situation before. Come to that, I hadn't either, and I think I've got quite a few thousand hours as SLF, in addition to my relatively low PIC PPL log hours over last 30 years or so.
Having seen a Navajo land on two legs rather than three at YMMB yesterday afternoon, just wondered what they do with a 737 that comes in without the requisite dangly bits? Do they cover the runway with foam?
And while all this was going on the PF was apparently at the controls alone - is that strictly legit?
Meanwhile I would imagine very few pax had the slightest idea of the potential gravity (sorry) of the situation.
Cheer Up, I don't fly the 737 but these are my generic thoughts on a landing gear problem.
- Go-Around! at some point advise ATC and request vectors to somewhere nice and quiet.
- Carry out the appropriate non-normal checklist in consultation with maintenance watch if available.
- Go back and land if all the wheels are down.
- If not, make a decision on where you want to land.
- Advise ATC (organise fire services, require XX runway), Company, Cabin Crew and Cabin (Pax). Nice calm briefing required to both cabin crew and pax.
- Jettison fuel as required to reduce landing speeds.
My belief is that you can land quite safely with various gear configurations. Of course, you're going to get sparks and fairly serious scrape marks on the paintwork but the aircraft should maintain its structural integrity without too many dramas.
As to whether it's legit or not to have one pilot at the controls, in a situation like this it's largely up to the PIC to determine what's legit or not. Command judgement in an emergency situation is paramount and most docs/ regulations will include a disclaimer to that effect in Non-Normal situations.
Saw this program on "DISCOVERY CHANNEL" a little while ago, about a 737 (think it was either a 200 or 300) which only had the nose gear down. In daylight, they flew past the tower who confirmed that. The pilot then tried everything to release the gear, which was stuck UP due some wheel chocks that were lodged in the wheel well.
ANYWAY, cut a long story short, the Captain starts climbing the a/c to 10'000 then doing HUGE dives to try an "G-Release" the wheels... is successful with the Left main only. so now, with left main, and nose wheel, tries BOUNCING the right main out by slamming a/c on runway a couple of times... still to no avail.
Final result is that he lands on two wheels, blows the tyres and keeps it on centreline... hailed a hero.
I saw the same show a couple of weeks ago. He only got one set of main wheels down. The little piece that I have retained is the fact that he had the experience and foresight to deselect the Anti-skid to blow the good tyre, resulting in the aircraft remaining perfectly on the centreline. Fortunately, the NG 737's have an improved method of checking the gear, hence no viewing window installed or required.