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Good Landings in a 727

Old 17th Aug 2020, 21:26
  #21 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Brisbane
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Dora-9 I never flew with him but I have plenty of stories in the memory bank.

This post has led me to dig up my old performance notes because this flap 25 thing has me intrigued. On a ISA day, nil wind, sea level ( all the usual 50 ft height 1.67 buffer and reverse not considered) flap 30 landing on the 727 is 1700m and flap 40 is 1400m. Flap 25 is an extra 300m to the flap 40 figure. So 2000m compared to 1400m with flap 40. I suppose in America with nice long runways that is fine, but some extra for no good reason. The other problem with the 727 was the high 'footprint' with a relatively high ACN number. We were eventually banned from Hamilton Island because we were damaging the runway ends doing a u-turn.
In India they have modified A320's with four wheel trucks so they can get into their low strength fields. The Russian TU154 (their 727 category aeroplane) also had four wheels per leg. I wonder why Boeing never went down this path. A previous poster mentioned the nose wheel brakes. My notes show a weight penalty of 2,000kg if they were unserviceable. A magic aeroplane built like a brick outhouse, but at 5,000kg per hour fuel burn with 158 pax (Ansett configuration 158 plus 9 crew) doomed by the bean counters as a gas gurgler.
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Old 18th Aug 2020, 01:25
  #22 (permalink)  
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The Russian TU154 (their 727 category aeroplane)

Now that brings back memories.

Many years ago, I headed off to Laos, via Bankok, to do a brief task with Lao Aviation. Transit via a 154M operated at the time on contract by Balkan Bulgarian. Ended up in the cockpit somehow during cruise for the remainder of the trip outbound to Vientiane. Pretty straightforward, a bit like an AN 727 flight (not sure, though, if "check essential" was part of their protocols, nor did the crew have any functional English - sign language worked fine, nor did they bother with those pesky seat belts). Absolutely a thoroughly nice bunch of chaps, though, the sort of folk with whom one would enjoy a beer on an overnight - and, as with any overnight, language problems disappear once everyone gets to the stage of conversing in that wonderful tongue leveller, Gibberish, after numerous beers.

Moving forward, a couple of weeks later on the return journey, same crew. The captain spotted me during boarding, whereupon I was whisked into the cockpit for the sector back to Bankok.

Rough as anything weather on the way into Bangkok (still no seat belts) but the thing which stays with me was the flare and touchdown. Without knowing what was going on, the procedure was along the lines of flare, then there was a call of some sort whereupon the boards were pulled. However, on this occasion it was patently obvious that we were still several yards or more above the runway. With the benefit of a 727 upbringing, my heart sank as my stomach leaped into my mouth and my pulse rate soared in abject terror. This beast, however, just waffled down from on high with a silken smooth touchdown .. quite an undercarriage, methinks, with its three axle GA. That landing will stay with me until my last breath.

As to 727s, the -100 was a delight, while the -200 I never quite worked out really what was going on in the landing, which was a bit of a shock after having a good run with landings since my first foray into the air. When I checked out in the RHS, still with next to no idea how reliably to land the -200, I bid a couple of blocks with dear old Standish whose flare and touchdown technique I was determined to emulate. He sort of bored down to the ground and then the aircraft magically just ran along the surface without any fuss or apparent actions/effort on his part. I never did figure whatever it was that he did but it sure worked fine. Eventually I just gave up and landed it like a C150 and that seemed to work as well as any other technique. As to greasers, I had one (and only one) satin smooth greaser on the -200. Clearly, the event had little, if anything, to do with whatever I was doing but, nonetheless, the aircraft mysteriously (accidentally ?) completed the flare no more than a cigarette paper's thickness above the runway. The result was that we heard nothing, felt nothing, and the ASI reading just started decreasing ...

Absolutely the eeriest and most uncomfortable sensation I have ever experienced in an aeroplane. I knew we were pretty close to the ground. Were we on the ground, all would be well. If not, then everyone would know all about it in a second or two. In any event, as the ASI kept on decreasing, it was obvious that we were on the ground, all was well, and we went through the usual boards, reversers, etc., routine.

At the gate, the purser dropped in and demanded to know "who did that". Neither of us wanted to claim a reputation neither could emulate in future so, naturally enough, we just blamed the FE.

doomed by the bean counters as a gas gurgler.

But, wasn't it fun racing the Ta-Ta opposition around the countryside at 0.8-whatever .... more than a few stories lie therein.
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Old 18th Aug 2020, 01:51
  #23 (permalink)  
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As a kid who grew up around DC-9s, 727s, 737-200s, F27/28s - and was privileged to do a few mystery flights & jumpseat landings - I love these threads. Please keep the anecdotes coming!
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Old 18th Aug 2020, 02:01
  #24 (permalink)  
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BTW, I learned that a daughter of Len Morgan is married to a very senior pilot at the airline from which I just retired
I seem to recall his writing that his son was a 727 skipper. Following Len handing in his wings for a set supplied by the All Mighty his daughter offered up his library collection to whosoever might be interested in obtaining a particular item. Seem to recall she sent out the details by way of email. Have to admire Len's panache, who turns up to an airline interview flying a P-51?

Quotes from Len.

"The way I see it, you can either work for a living or you can fly airplanes. Me, I'd rather fly.""An airplane might disappoint any pilot, but it'll never surprise a good one."

"Watching the Dallas Cowboys perform, it is not difficult to believe that coach Tom Landry flew four-engine bombers during World War II. He was in B-17 Flying Fortresses out of England, they say. His cautious, conservative approach to every situation and the complexity of the plays he sends in do seem to reflect the philosophy of a pilot trained to doggedly press on according to plans laid down before takeoff. I sometimes wonder how the Cowboys would have fared all these years had Tom flown fighters in combat situations which dictated continually changing tactics."

"Margaret [is] the loving centerpiece of all that matters. Her love and encouragement for 60 years are the foundation of anything I have accomplished. I have been truly blessed."

"There are two kinds of men in this world: the selfish ones that just want to make a name for themselves, and the generous people that just want to make a difference."

"True, there was no teenager sport to equal tumbling about the glistening cumulus on a summer morning, rolling, looping, stalling, spinning (while supposedly practicing steep turns), then cruising back to our little grass field with its single hangar and neat rows of yellow biplane trainers. Check the windsock, follow the landing drill exactly and join the downwind leg at 800 feet, reduce speed and look for other planes, turn base, chop the power and descend to 400 feet. Then the slow glide down final with the engine muttering in idle to cross the fence and level off with wheels skimming the wet clover. Finally, the moment of truth: bump...bump...and slowing to a walk. Taxi to the flight line, shut down, hear the ticking of the cooling engine and inhale the exotic aroma of gasoline and dope and leather --- aware of being truly blessed. You never forget such moments."

Given where the world is now here's to a new beginning.
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Old 18th Aug 2020, 11:56
  #25 (permalink)  
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It’s nice to read a good thread....
Thanks fellas...
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Old 19th Aug 2020, 08:53
  #26 (permalink)  
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turn base, chop the power and descend to 400 feet. Then the slow glide down final with the engine muttering in idle to cross the fence
Pity that skill has been consigned to the history books. Glide approaches were the norm in those days. Nowadays just about every flying school teaches powered approaches. For a practice glide approach it becomes "clear the circuit - I am coming in on a practice glide approach - ATC advised, other aircraft advised as nauseum..

For low powered training aircraft like the Cessna 172, Warrior etc, glide approaches should be taught from the very first flight to build up skill and judgement. By the time the student has been solo and back in the training area for practice forced landngs, he will have already attained the skills to judge the glide with a dead engine which is what a forced landing is
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Old 20th Aug 2020, 05:04
  #27 (permalink)  
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glide approaches should be taught from the very first flight to build up skill and judgement
There was a time (1930's?) when spot landings were a requirement for issue of a PPL. Procedure as I recall was climb to a given height, close throttle, and touch down on a pre nominated spot. Accuracy determined if you got a tick.
Pity that skill has been consigned to the history books. Glide approaches were the norm in those days
You can do them in a jet, just don't forget the gear.

Checking I found Len did put his "Flying" magazine articles into a book. Also a book on the 727 in company with his son.

Amazon Amazon
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Old 20th Aug 2020, 05:40
  #28 (permalink)  
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Something we piston drivers never appreciated until we lost it was the braking provided by idling props. The turbojet developed considerable shove even with thrust levers back against the stops. Precise speed on final was extremely important. The 707 floated 1,000 feet for every 10 knots of excess speed over the fence. This could get you into trouble at a marginal field like Kansas City Municipal when braking action was reported as fair to poor.

If I remember without looking up prang history in the late 60s,70s B707s were the vulnerable one in doing overruns at JFK NY and Logan Boston
during the cold snowy Dec/Jan period. About to put one together Airfix 1:144 scale 707-436 BOAC just to kill some covid time.
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Old 20th Aug 2020, 09:48
  #29 (permalink)  
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G'day Megan,

"There was a time (1930's?) when spot landings were a requirement for issue of a PPL"

It goes back earlier than that. I found this in a Digger's service records who was accepted into the AFC in 1918 ...

"Climbed to 10,000 feet, remained there for at least 15 minutes, after which he will land with his engine stopped, the aeroplane first touching the ground and coming to a halt within a marked circle 150 yards in diameter."
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Old 21st Aug 2020, 04:34
  #30 (permalink)  
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...learnt & regularly did flight idle approaches in a jet, but it was a C550 (Near jet?)

As far as the 72’ was concerned, idle approach from ToD to 800’ agl , when you’d bring the power up to be in the slot @ 700’ agl with 3x 70%N2 across the ship... and, as Len stated , about 20’ off the deck just break the descent rate and slightly release the back pressure , it was pilot judgment all the way (no RA callouts) and MOST times it’d go on bewdeefully ...but every now & again it’d bight, just to let you know that you were a mere mortal.
BTW, you could come in at 320IAS, 3000’agl @ 13nm from touch(0 TWC) ,throw everything out at -10kts on limits & still be in the slot & stable at 700’ agl.

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Old 22nd Aug 2020, 01:17
  #31 (permalink)  
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Most of Len Morgan’s Vectors columns are published in his book “Vectors” and “View from the cockpit”.
i found them on Amazon.
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Old 22nd Aug 2020, 07:30
  #32 (permalink)  
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At most airports, our passengers knew when the flight ended.
I love that quote - most of my pax know when we've "arrived"...
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Old 23rd Aug 2020, 11:54
  #33 (permalink)  
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Discussion about landing the 727-200 bought back memories of October 1973 when ten of us young F/Os off F27s and L188s were sent to United Airlines for our simulator and aircraft endorsement. After completion of the sim detail we all paxed from Denver to Salt Lake City for our first go at the real thing. It was carried out at night with pretty ordinary weather prevailing at the time and our poor instructor had to endure ten circuits with us jet newbies. To add to his and our woes it was a -200. Needless to say none of us covered ourselves with glory that night but I don’t think we achieved any rubber jungles. The 727 was N7641U which surprisingly survived several years after her ordeal on that night but was last seen scrapped at Shelton Airport in Washington State. Tom Quinn was the poor soul who had to endure the ten amateurish attempts to alight that night and, Tom, if you’re still around my belated apologies from all of us. The remainder of our aircraft training was done on the -100 with Al Long and Tom Branch and was a delightful experience.

The landing technique favoured in my time as an F/O with AN was flare and roll but by the time I returned as a skipper that seemed to have gone out of fashion. Nevertheless I found it worked most of the time for me. Still remember it as a great machine to fly – definitely the most stable on approach that I have flown.
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Old 24th Aug 2020, 10:40
  #34 (permalink)  
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What a lovely read. A number of Captains who taught me how to do proper energy management and thrust idle descents had learnt their craft in the 727. It was awesome to learn it from them and something I prided myself on in the jet.

It was a great shame that once I started to get my own first officers, a lot had very little interest in actually learning the lost art of energy management and they never understood the best techniques and procedures for flying the jet. Frustrated me to no end.
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Old 24th Aug 2020, 20:22
  #35 (permalink)  
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The smoothest landing I have ever had was in a Libyan Arab B727-200 from Tripoli to Zurich. I did not realise we had touched down until I felt the braking. To say I was impressed was an understatement.
The biggest bone shaker accompanied by the rubber jungle was an SAA B747 from Zurich to Johannesburg. I was looking out the window and waiting for the flare which did not happen and was blamed on a faulty auto land.
In my days at TAA I always enjoyed getting a supernumerary seat in the B727 as some FEs were of my apprentice intake. They were great times.
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Old 31st Aug 2020, 08:44
  #36 (permalink)  
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I think I first became aware of the 727 in the mid1960's. I worked in a timber yard right under the YMEN 26 LOC and inbound aircraft passed overhead at about 600feet on the GS just as many were spooling up. Looked fantastic from that view., we thought it was the ultimate aluminium overcast. The most exciting part was the unseen early morning departures on cold spring morning, must have been bleeds off, max EPR and hold on the brakes for a time and the crackle from the JT8Ds made the loose tin on the sheds rattle. It got me interested and after finding you didn't need to be a rocket scientist to become a pilot I went for it. Four years later I got to travel on the jump seat of a 727 from Melbourne to Darwin to start my first flying job. Sadly never got to fly a 727 though.
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Old 31st Aug 2020, 09:09
  #37 (permalink)  
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Back at Technical University of Berlin we once had an old, retired Lufthansa 727 simulator for some time. No visual and no motion except for some "stall buffet" effect. But still fun to ride. However it became a true pain to repair especially when it's old technicians were all retired. We had some more basic DC-9 (Swissair handbooks) and a Fokker F28 as well. Finally we got some fantastic A330/A340 (interchangeable) full flight sim that was shared for actual LH pilot training and some research work.
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Old 31st Aug 2020, 23:43
  #38 (permalink)  
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JT8Ds made the loose tin on the sheds rattle
When the Great Australian Air Race started at 06:00 each morning at BN, the glass louvres at Gallipolli Barracks at Enoggera would rattle with each 727 departure.
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