View Full Version : No flap take off in a heavy 767?

Mario Plekker
17th Jul 2006, 19:45
Ok, here's a question for all of you. This happened to me about 2-3 years ago. I'm in a UsAirways 767-200ER, sitting in Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, and we're about to leave for KPHL. I am sitting coach, right by the window behind the wing. We taxi out, I see one of the pilots working the checklist (ailerons going up and down, spoilers going up and down) and then, as I normally would expect to see some flap activity: Nothing...

Now I know some of you will say that it's easy to miss a flap setting called (I believe) Flaps 5. But the trailing edge of the flap surfaces were exactly flush with the trailing edge of the rest of the wing....I can say for sure: zero degrees of flap. With the flaps still at zero, we continue to taxi. A long ride, because we're taking off from Amsterdam's newest (long) north bound runway 36L. We taxi past the new control tower especially built for this runway. Then, with the flaps still at zero, we thunder down 36L and take off. So here comes the question. And I know it's a stupid one, because I already know the answer, but here it is anyway: Can a heavily loaded 767-200ER take off with no flaps? Obviously it can. But what are the circumstances?

I will tell you some of the specifics:
Flight took about 8 hours, EHAM to KPHL, almost full with passengers. So it had to be pretty heavy.
Weather at EHAM was about 60 degrees, with reasonably stiff winds from the north. Maybe 15 kts.
Zero degree trailing edge flaps, leading edge slats could have been deployed, I couldn't see them.
Normal take off, seemingly.

Now I KNOW some airplanes can do this. I fly the little stuff, and of course no flaps are needed on a C172, as we all know. The Fokker F100 can take off with no flaps, also. But I also know that certain airplanes will crash because of a forgotten flap, like the crash at DTW in 1987, which was either a DC-9 or MD-80. So what is the deal with these 767's? Any 767 captains or first officers around to shed some light on the subject?

One webpage suggests it's possible to get a 767 off the ground with something called "flaps 1". Apparantly, this is no trailing edge flaps, but they do deploy the slats. Can this be done with a fully loaded 767 about to cross the Atlantic, though?

Let me know


Carnage Matey!
17th Jul 2006, 20:02
The first thing I find suspect about this scenario is that you expected to see the flaps move after you'd started taxying. Most airlines SOPs call for the flaps to be deployed before you start taxying, hence if you were looking for a change in the wing after you'd started taxying you wouldn't get one.The second thing I find suspect is that you took off. Most Boeings have a Config warning which would automatically have alerted the crew to the lack of flaps. The third thing which is suspect is that you are still here to ask the question. I don't fly the 767 but I'd be extremely surprised if a heavy 767 could get airborne without any flaps at all.

I suspect the most likely scenario here is that the flaps were deployed but maybe missed seeing them run.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
17th Jul 2006, 20:09
Also, early stages of flap don't include much, if any, downward deflection. More a straight run-out giving an increase in wing area.


Colonel Klink
17th Jul 2006, 20:16
It was probably a Flap 1 takeoff, which in the 767 is LE slats only. You would not have seen these deflected to the takeoff position if you were sitting in economy. The TE devices stay up in this position only. I hope this helps.


Jaun Huw Nose
17th Jul 2006, 20:25
Flap 1 only moves the leading edge slats, some 200 series aircraft can use a flap 1 setting for takeoff so you must have been on one of those!

Mario Plekker
17th Jul 2006, 20:45
Hmm...Thanks for the responses. Kind of similar to when I first posted a thread like this on a different forum. That was right after I returned from EHAM on that flight. Back then, the resposes were much the same. Some insisted that I was wrong, and that I had missed the flaps moving down, others saying that flaps 1 was a possible scenario....Strange. I'm hoping to get some clarity on this.

By the way, I may have written it wrong, but I wasn't suggesting that I was looking for the flaps to move after we started to taxi. What I meant is that, with my experience in flying, they usually push back, start the engines and do a check list. Usually the flaps are lowered (like you suggested) right before taxi, along with all kinds of other things you cannot see from a passenger seat. So no argument there. Also: You are right: I could definitely NOT see the leading edge gigh lift devices, meaning they were probably deployed.

The fact that most airplanes are equipped with configuration warning equipment (i.e. a warning would have gone off in that cockpit) means to me that the pilot elected to take off with that configuration. Hence my question about the possiblity of a "flaps 1" take off. There seems to be some disagreement here among some of you.

I guess we now need to find out whether "flaps 1" is a reasonably normal thing to do for a 767 crew? Perhaps they were doing a little demonstration, or a test?

Thanks for your replies, at any rate.


17th Jul 2006, 21:54
>>Most airlines SOPs call for the flaps to be deployed before you start taxying,...<<

Oddly enough, this is certainly not true.

Folks who have only worked for one carrier, oftentimes 'assume' that all others SOP's are the same.
Clearly, they are NOT.

Live and learn, eh?:=

17th Jul 2006, 22:01
I've flown both the 767-200 and -300 and both allow for a flaps 1 takeoff. With flaps 1 the slats are deployed and the trailing edge flaps extend out but don't droop down much at all. I'd have to check the aircraft manual to see the weights allowed with flaps 1 but it's also a function of the length of runway available for takeoff. Schipol has some pretty long runways, my guess is it was allowed and they did it by the book...a previous post says it all "You're still here to report the story".

Captain Capstan
17th Jul 2006, 22:04
Flap 1 is a normal take off setting on the 767-200 only. It is only used where there is a very long take off run. I have only ever used it at Singapore. It gives improved climb performance as there is less drag with no trailing edge flaps deployed.

Jetstream Rider
17th Jul 2006, 22:09
I can't believe that you would take off with the config warning blaring at you - it really is most distracting. Tripping the CB is a possibility, but it is akin to suicide, so I would rule this out.

A lower flap setting will generally mean longer on the runway, but a better climb, since AMS has a fairly long runway this is certainly a possibility, although a better climb would not be required since it is pretty flat around AMS.

In the 767-300 series, our normal take off settings are 5, 15 and 20. We certainly cannot take off at flaps 1 in my airline, but I think the 200 series can do (not sure as I don't fly it, but I do fly the 300ER). The 767 does not have flap 10, we have 1, 5, 15, 20, 25, 30.

25 and 30 are landing flap settings, with flap 20 as a single engine landing setting.

It is true that flap 1 does not move the TE flaps and that flap 5 is mostly rearwards movement rather than downwards movement.

411A - lots of airlines taxi with flaps set, it has been proven to reduce the number of incidents of attempted take off without flaps. Some still do set flaps during taxi, but not all that many.

17th Jul 2006, 22:45
Their 767s are, in fact, the 767-200-ER


17th Jul 2006, 22:59
Folks who have only worked for one carrier, oftentimes 'assume' that all others SOP's are the same.
Clearly, they are NOT.
No - 411A - you are trying to turn the point on its head - the point is not that one is assuming flaps are set before takeoff, but that most airlines now set them at that early point (prior to taxi) to prevent a situation in which they are later forgotten.

Schtum with the smart-ass points please, and answer the poster's questions!

Mario Yes, you could potentially get off the ground depending upon wind and runway as you know, however it is extremely remote that they would have taken off in an incorrect configuration. Since you arrived at your destination, and it is somewhat past the point that this happened, I would expect that the correct procedures were followed, whether it was flap 1 or 5 that was used!

Captain Capstan
17th Jul 2006, 23:06
Jetstream rider as the 767-200 has flap 1 as a certified take off setting it does not cause a take off configuration warning. The 767-300 does not use flap 1 for take off.

17th Jul 2006, 23:07
Be very careful how you make unfounded statements based on erroneous information such as:The fact that most airplanes are equipped with configuration warning equipment (i.e. a warning would have gone off in that cockpit) means to me that the pilot elected to take off with that configuration.
I only ever flew the B763 and am not familiar with any differences between that model and the B762. However, as some B762 pilots have stated, that a/c can use Flap 1 for improved climb performance which probably means that there would not be any CONFIG warning.

Therefore, please don't try and create an issue where there is none and this post is going where it should have gone in the first place, the Questions Forum. :rolleyes:

Monarch Man
17th Jul 2006, 23:10
You mean to say Danny that you flew a "real" aeroplane before that 4 hole gaz guzzler your on now??:}

Peter Wacker
17th Jul 2006, 23:15
Flaps 1 is an approved take off flap setting on the 200 only. THere are no T/E devices visible on that setting which sometimes invites concerned radio calls.

Flaps 5 is lowest authorized T/O setting on 763, which also deploys (droops) inboard ailerons as flaperons.

Peter Wacker
17th Jul 2006, 23:18
>>Most airlines SOPs call for the flaps to be deployed before you start taxying,...<<

Cannot speak for any airline other than my own (UAL) but no flight control surface deployment or flaps/slat extension until aircraft is released by ground crew and moving.

Mario Plekker
18th Jul 2006, 05:23
Ok, Danny, yours is the only thread I feel I have to respond to. As far as all the others go: thanks for your info....I believe you have told me that flaps 1 was the setting used, a perfectly normal procedure. As I base a large part of my life on professional aviation, I would have expected this. If I seemed as if I was second guessing: No, I wasn't...just confused and looking for an answer.

Now, Danny. Please understand that English is not my first native language. It is Dutch, as you may have suspected due to the references to Amsterdam, and all that. So my apologies for any English that seems out of the ordinary. By no means did I try to imply that the pilots took off with some sort of warning blaring in the cockpit. Nor did I try to demonstrate that they were not professional or anything of the sort. What I tried to say in that fragment was that:

A. There IS some sort of warning system in most commercial airliners about flap setting descrepancies.
B. No one in his or her right mind would ignore these warnings
C. Given all the facts above, the take off I experienced must have been
normal, routine and nothing out of the ordinary.

Now that sums up the trust I have in professional aviation. What I wanted was some sort of answer as to my experience regarding the flap setting, which I thought was odd. Call me crazy. And I got it here today. So......No more discussion....I'm satisfied. Thanks to all. Sorry for the confusion. My apologies also for posting in the wrong section of the forum.

Lucky Strike
18th Jul 2006, 08:28
If I remember correctly back to the dear old days of Dan Air, the policy there was to use the lowest numerical flap setting consistent with runway length available and performance.

I think we even set the flaps during taxi, as 411A suggests.

So doom mongers and jetsream drivers, it may have been a flap one take off.

18th Jul 2006, 10:30
Same with A300/310. 99% of takeoffs are with SLATS only.

18th Jul 2006, 14:19
While flying the DC-10 for Laker, a certain pilot I know happened to be positioning as a passenger on one of their new A300s. Seated behind the trailing edge, he was concerned to see no apparent takeoff flaps set as they approached the holding point. He rushed up to the flight-deck, yanked the door open and yelled "FLAPS!!" To which he got the reply "Flap if you want, John, we don't need 'em - only the leading edges!" Embarrassed, John returned to his seat - but what would you have done?

Makes you think that perhaps an explanatory p.a. to the passengers might be in order.

At least this was one bit of technical know-how that John had tucked away, when years later, with another airline, he found himself on the A300-600R!

18th Jul 2006, 17:25
Yep, probably a Flap 1 takeoff, heres a flap 1 takeoff from EHAM http://www.airliners.net/open.file/1000447/L/

19th Jul 2006, 09:14
Just ran the figures in the rerformance calculator for the 762ER. With Flaps 1 you can takeoff with less power than with flaps5 (45 degrees instead of 40degrees assumed). The program calls Flaps1 the optimum setting for 36L EHAM with 15kts headwind. :8