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Old 4th Feb 2008, 20:11
  #41 (permalink)  
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There a lot of things to remember with high altitude airports and especially the A346.

GS times 5 gives you a very high sinkrate of almost 1000fpm. In my company this is the max allowed anyway (1000fpm).

Next problem is the pitch at touchdown without a tailstrike. If you try to continue on the visual glide and try to dugunder in no time your sink rate is at 1400 fpm. Reducing or breaking the sinkrate is the next problem. if you adjust the pitch to an +2 or more degrees over the normal attitude of your approach attitude. You just lost almost all of your pitch you got for doing a break and also beforehand your thrust was decreasing, because you are leaving the G/S to dugunder and the A/T systems things you got access power and reduces thrust. The autothrust is very slow in the reaction and I wouldn´t have used it in such an enviroment. ( But airbus thinks different about it )

So maybe the thrustsetting was not very high at touchdown and just the weight of the a/c was still pushing.

Do you know your powersetting by heart at 10.000 feet PA and please do not forget the adjustment for the DA ?
The power setting should have been way higher then a normal powersetting at the regular approaches. To ensure a safe touchdown this is an imminent information you got to think about beforehand.

You pull the power at 50 feet, the engine is spooling down faster then normal and your break because of the thin air has to be stronger or earlier. Stronger break means higher tailstrike risk. Powercut too early or too fast means hard landing. Too late means more landing distance.

The time between early or late is maybe a second.

If they did the break as normal, the a/c had to hit the runway hard.

I would like to know, if they have high altitude operation training in the sim missions at Iberia ?

This operation has definetely a very difficult landing and would have made me grey hair during my trip to the destination.

I just checked the data for my current jet and had to find out, that we do not have data for it. It stops at 8000feetPA.
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Old 4th Feb 2008, 20:20
  #42 (permalink)  
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if you fly the 346 all the time - fly the approach it in the sim.

Afterwards tell me, if the "sink rate" came on or not.

It seems you lost the respect for your aircraft, this is a dangerous thing to do.

By the way, I had been flying the A346, A333, A342 A343 and 333 and I am well aware of the dangers, but I believe it is a very safe aircraft which keeps you far away from the edges from the envelope.

But sometimes you get there also damn close to the boundary and might not be aware about it.
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Old 4th Feb 2008, 23:37
  #43 (permalink)  
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[Sorry for the bad pun.] Quote from Check Airman:
I entirely agree that the plane could have been "smarter" so that it could sense that it was on the ground (pilot applying brakes, selecting reversers, nosewheel weight etc...), but I wonder if a Boeing would be any smarter? In either event, I'm not trying to start an Airbus/Boeing debate. Remember that with each added level of complexity to the air/ground sensing, there's something else to go wrong.
I wonder what people think of having a reverser override, or air/ground override switch? It would obviously have to be guarded, but I think it may have saved the day (if not the tires) in Quito.

Bring the Boeing/Airbus debate on, I say. Let you operational people (and even us ROFs) call both the megaplane companies to account. But let's leave out rhetoric and stereotyping, please, not to mention cheap jibes. Many of us have earned our crusts flying products from both sides of the pond. We might knock some sense into both of them... Actually, I won't be surprised if there's little difference in their ground/flight sensing, and how it affects this incident.

A guarded and wire-locked ground/flight switch would be difficult to reach and select on a bumpy runway. It took them 5 seconds after touchdown to recognise that autobrake had not kicked in on schedule, and to apply the brakes manually. A switch would take much longer.

In those circumstances, waiting for the IAS to reduce from 150 to 120 kts would use a lot of runway, and, when it became available, its deceleration force would already be lower than at (say) IAS 145. Fan reverse is not very effective anyway (but at least you're not getting forward thrust).

Quote from Mad (Flt) Scientist:
The existing systems for determining the "on ground" state are intentionally complex in order to minimise the risk of inadvertent in-air deployment, even in the event of (possibly dormant) system failures. The hazard associated with in-air deployment is, for most types, severe. The hazard of failure to deploy on-ground is IN GENERAL small - because normal planning factors have sufficient margin to account for failure (or non-use) of reversers.

True. The three things missing were autobrake, reverser capability, and ground-idle. Ground-spoilers deployed, because the main-wheel spin-up sensors worked (luckily). Can someone remind us why main-wheel spin-up triggers ground spoilers, but is not used to enable reverser selection?

If any relaxation is warranted, perhaps it could involve vertical g and alpha. Once the nose is down, let's assume alpha stabilises at about zero (not like the B707...). In normal flight, wings level, this would inevitably involve a dramatic fall in vertical g from 1 towards 0. [Like the vomit-comet.] This wouldn't happen on the ground. Bumps could be averaged out, and humps do not drop the g that much.

Airbus might also consider using the existing nose-gear weight switches, which I don't think are used for this purpose. But the pilot would initially have to use forward stick to ensure the nose gear remained firmly on the ground, and might this reduce the effectiveness of the (main-gear) brakes on a wet runway?
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Old 5th Feb 2008, 06:50
  #44 (permalink)  
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but I wonder if a Boeing would be any smarter?
I know nothing about this airport and do not fly airbus aircraft but since the question has been asked...on the B737 reverse thrust can be engaged with the air/ground sensor in ground mode *or* rad altitude < 10 feet. So in that respect my answer would be yes, smarter. Can't comment on other Boeing types.

However this accident will no doubt be found to have multiple contributing factors. Let's face it the 'error producing conditions' were numerous - high altitude airport, high weight, tailwind, night, wet runway, low visibility, ILS G/S not aligned to normal aiming point. And those are only some of the ones we already know about. Glad I don't fly there.
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Old 5th Feb 2008, 07:52
  #45 (permalink)  
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"Is true, I work for a company that operates A320 and I have received the same AIT, but mine have some lines less.

I dont have anything about "The THS froze at 100 ft..." and "The A/THR commanded IDLE pwr..."

Just wondering why an Airbus operator would delete the above from an AIT?

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Old 5th Feb 2008, 08:43
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I know from my friends in Iberia that they train a lot in Quito, but only with tha A340-300, because they dont have a sim of the -600.

The Pilots Union and the Safety Dep. of the company have requested that one of the two sesions of each year will be on a A340-600 sim, but the company response is that another sim of the -600 is very expensive.

One of the Sims of Iberia is compatible with the A340-600, but the conversion and the new software costs 3 Millions of Euro, also expensive in terms of the company.

They prefer to risk another plane in places like Bogotá (SKBO) San Jose (MROC) and Guatemala (MGGT) rather than pay the 3 Million Euros. I think that maybe the cost of the insurance is less, and they will be earning money if the lost another plane.
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Old 5th Feb 2008, 18:37
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I know very little about the A340, or Iberia operating procedures, or Quito airport. But imho one thing sticks out here: the PAPI seems not to follow the same approach path as the ILS glidepath on this runway. So breaking cloud at DH, previously aiming for a displaced threshold, pilot now looking out and the aircraft is 'high' on approach according to PAPI which are now directing the landing onto the real threshold. Can one be surprised that a heavy landing might follow?
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Old 6th Feb 2008, 09:13
  #48 (permalink)  
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Excuse me,

but if these numbers are correct:

RWY 35 SLOPE +0,4% LDA ILS 2610m LDA PAPI 3120m
A340E MLW IS 190.0 (X 1000 KG.)

How could he attempt to land at 249tons ? Or are these wrong?
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Old 6th Feb 2008, 13:06
  #49 (permalink)  
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Because those numbers give an interesting comparison between ILS and PAPI perf, but apply to a quite different type.
A 346 can be almost 100 tons heavier than a 340E
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Old 6th Feb 2008, 13:30
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Thumbs up

Hey guys and girls;

I am entering the discussion late, yet my two cents on this is that Quito it is an hard place to land in good condition with a good app. No matter who you are coming into Quito you will always get all the good alarm about terrain in short final because of the building coming up. I have flown several times there with several different ways of doing and there is no easy way. While wainting in line for take off we would always make jokes of the aircraft approaching and talked that one day one would be off the runway.

My two cents
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Old 6th Feb 2008, 14:14
  #51 (permalink)  
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The thrust reversers were selected but did not deploy because the GROUND condition monitored by the Engines Control Computers was not fulfilled due to the above mentioned sensors loom damage. For the same reason, engines stayed at FLIGHT IDLE instead of GROUND IDLE.

There seem to be a design oversight here in that a failed sensor (loom) is allowed to prevent a critical system from functioning.

It strikes me as a case of 'fail unsafe'.
Old 6th Feb 2008, 15:05
  #52 (permalink)  
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Quote from pasoundman:
There seem to be a design oversight here in that a failed sensor (loom) is allowed to prevent a critical system from functioning.
It strikes me as a case of 'fail unsafe'.

Can I refer you, and other newcomers to this aspect of the debate, to the following posts, which give various opinions: #8, #9, #18-20, #22, #27, #37-40,#45 and #46. It's worth the effort.

Hope this helps...
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Old 6th Feb 2008, 22:36
  #53 (permalink)  
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C-17's can put all four engines in reverse idle for tactical descents....If you ever get a chance to experiance it go for it. Some DC-8's can reverse engines 2 and 3 inflight. And of course the Shuttle Simulator Gulfstream does it also.....
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Old 6th Feb 2008, 22:49
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On the C5 you could also put the inboard reversers out in flight...no one did it, because the possibility they would stay out.
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Old 7th Feb 2008, 09:21
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I triying to obtain the Iberia Landing Tables of the IBE A340-600 in Quito.
Meanwhile I have the procedure from the Flight Manual to calculate the RLD.
I been using round numbers.


WEIGHT 249 Tons.
.................................................DRY........ ................ WET
Sea Level ................................2034,6m.................. 2339,5m
Incr 8% 6 KTS Tail Wind .............2196,0m.................. 2526,6m
Incr 36% 9100´ Quito Alt. ..........2987,5m .................3436,1m
W Rev. Decr 7%Dry/19%Wet ......2792,0m .................2783,2m

As you can see the Iberia Max Landing Weight in Quito with 5Kts, Wet RWY is far beyond 249 Tons (But no so far), as they make the calculations with reversers, and apply a LDA of 3120m.
Also, as you can see is impossible to land this A/C following the ILS App. LDA 2610m.

Following the QRH procedure, the Actual Landing Distances for 249 Tons are:

DRY 1797,0m the procedure has a correction for rev use 1679,4m
WET 2679,6m with the correction for reversers use 2251,7m

Also is not possible to use de ILS LDA for an emergency landing.
I dont know why, but RLD doesnt mach with the ALD applying the 1,67 increase for Req Landing Dist, and the 1,15 incrs for Wet Rwy. They are very similar in Dry Rwy, but differs a lot in Wet Rwy.

Is well clear that if Iberia/Airbus tables and charts doesnt lie, this is a very difficult landing with this kind of A/C. Is just a boundary operation in landing performance, and this is also a boundary operation in final approach performance, meaning the high rate of descente, the high GS, high elevation and altitude of the A/C, A/THR operation, and how this is going to affect the transitions between the Normal and Direct flght Laws of the FBW Control System during the flare.
As someone has said, you cant expect a normal response of this A/C in this situation. Probably Airbus needs to establish new procedures, as flying this aircraft in final approach manually and without A/THR, and planning a Go Around if you have Tail wind and the Rwy is wet.
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Old 7th Feb 2008, 10:31
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Originally Posted by Chris Scott
Ah, the pointy one. And the car alarms going off. Halcyon days... Never would have guessed I was in such distinguished (analog) company.
But reverse in the air?
Yes, but only on the two inboards, and at little more than flight idle. Enough for over 10,000 ft/min descent rate, though.
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Old 10th Feb 2008, 14:09
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YouTube have quite a number of Quito cockpit videos. This one http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=0zku7Z...eature=related (KLM Cockpit Video #1 - Bonaire-Quito) is instructive despite the music and jerky filming; note the height callouts just prior to touchdown.
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Old 10th Feb 2008, 16:29
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This video is absolutely fantastic. Be aware, however, that the approach to Quito that is shown is not the ILS to rwy 35 but the circling to rwy 17. First overhead the field from QIT VOR, then the ILS-letdown, then the LH circling to rwy 17. Fantastic flying.
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Old 10th Feb 2008, 16:52
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Oh, and re Concorde in-flight reverse.
Whoever wrote the entry for the flying manual must have had a sense of humour....

"Maximum period of use, 4 minutes."
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Old 11th Feb 2008, 02:19
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Not to be slow or nothing, but why is that ChristianJ? After 4 minutes, you'd be down at ground level?
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