I'm new to this forum (a friend told me about it) and I'm hoping you guyts can help me prove to myself that I'm not going completely crazy.
I was walking down High Holborn in Central London today at around 1pm and happened to look up - I saw a 747 flying in the direction of Heathrow on what looked like an approach heading, nothing too unusual about that so far.
What was rather strange was that the plane had its gear down !
Now I've lived in London for a lot of years and that was at least seven miles too soon for a 747 on Heathrow approach to be lowering undercarriage.
I spoke to a friend of mine who is a pilot and he suggested that someone here might have a clue what was going on, anyone got any ideas ?
Sorry Gonzo, didn't mean to extract the you know what.
For those unfamiliar with the geography, High Holborn (depending which end of the street you are standing) is about 11-12 miles finals for Heathrow. Not that unusual to have gear down at this point I think.
I guess this type of situation is far more common than I realised.
Hippy, I don't think its that common to have gear down over the city as I live in Hammersmith (I'd guess about 6-7 miles from Heathrow) and virtually everyone coming in seems to put their wheels down over this side of town.
Also, thanks for the advice - In future, I'll try to make sure that planes I'm in always have their gear down when landing.
Congratulations. The newbie spots something that the pros don't seem to have switched on to.
Is there anything unusual about a 747 on long final with its wheels down? No.
How many of them are directly over High Holborn at the time? Very few. None that I know of in the last few months - and I work in High Holborn most days :-(, unless I'm flying :-).
How many flights go into LHR every day? Yet this one follows a route that gets it noticed. There HAS to be a reason for that.
Like Herod says, give GonzoXL5 a break. Hippy, I know the geography, but it happens very rarely that a 747 uses the Central Line as a PAPI (especially given the Central Line's safety record) - so why today? Either you know the answer to this question - in which case shoot - or you don't. If you don't, pipe down and stop putting down a newcomer for being bloody observant. Onan, I'm with you on this one.
Anyone got an answer for Gonzo (as opposed to an opinion)?
Last edited by UpDiddlyUpUp; 14th Aug 2003 at 07:53.
My money is on the excess of speed and/or height and ATC were probably helping out with a bit of extra track mileage, hence being seen in strange parts of London! (Or he could have been getting too close to a slower one in front).
(Had he intercepted the Glide Slope at 4000', which should equate to 12 miles from touch-down and had he been following a standard Boeing approach profile rather than a minimum noise profile then the gear would indeed be down).
Talking of gear down - I work in Knightsbridge and almost every day I see Concorde going past my office window, just starting her gear down and then ... her nose down (I don't think that it's an optical illusion) ... great fun !
I walk over Waterloo bridge every morning and evening and like to watch them all turning on to the ILS (knocked a few people over, not watching where I'm going ), they seem to put gear down at about 6 miles out.... I've seen the odd abnormal vector onto the ILS, a BA 757 came screaming in from the north once and almost did a wing-over with gear and flaps going down to get on the ILS and slow down, good to see Nigel letting his hair down a bit.
Simon- Nigel doesn't let his hair down that much! Very likely autopilot approach with bank angle limited to 30 degrees max. If a manual approach and exceeding 30 degrees, very likely a caning in the Flight managers office to follow. If the pilot had been flying level at about 4000' (and being naughty doing so), the nose would be well up then (and lots of noise over central London). We are encouraged/required to carry out a continual descent approach, constantly assessing distance to landing and trying to remain on roughly a 3 degree slope- 15 miles out = 4500' etc. If he was coming in a bit high, it can be difficult to slow the aeroplane down, and an early selection of landing gear does just that. Speedbrakes are not very effective below 250kts and not encouraged with flaps out because of vibration, so dropping the gear a shade early is good practice.
Being a Londoner myself I thought I'd seen pretty much everything when it came to the sequencing and approach into LHR. Then one day I was out under the Lambourne hold when I saw an Air China 747SP with its gear down!! Alright, it was coming off the hold heading (westerly is it?), but it still struck me as, well, WHY? She even called in her registration on the approach frequency?! Comments?