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Lowering landing gear whilst enroute?

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Lowering landing gear whilst enroute?

Old 2nd Apr 2023, 10:18
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Lowering landing gear whilst enroute?

Hi All,

Not a pilot, but SLF with hundreds of flights flown. I have also worked in aviation (atc and airports) for the last 25 years.

I was on a flight yesterday, where 1hr into a 4hr flight I heard a noise and felt a vibration (for about 1minute) that felt like the spoliers had been deployed (but they weren't, I was sitting behind the wing). I asked the steward about this, and he told me that they had to lower and reraise the landing gear because the gear bay door did not close properly after departure and was causing drag. Apparently a "feature" on this particular aircraft he told me.

In all my flights I have never come across such a procedure. Is this something that still qualifies as "normal" action, or is this highly unusual. Most of all - is it safe to lower gear at this flight stage?

Thanks for your time reading - would be very interested to hear your views.

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Old 2nd Apr 2023, 10:21
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I should add, it was an A320-200.
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Old 2nd Apr 2023, 11:55
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It is an unusual failure to have (most failures are unusual, we don't fly around having regular failures), but the response is correct, cycle the landing gear. Yes it is safe to lower the landing gear provided the appropriate speed is flown.

In all my flights I have never come across such a procedure.
​​​​​​​Most airline pilots will go their entire careers without having any major failures. Aircraft are reliable, you wouldn't expect, as a passenger or even a pilot, to experience much in the way of failures and their associated procedures.
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Old 2nd Apr 2023, 14:48
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I don't know about Airbus, but in the Boeing I fly you can put the gear down in cruise up to Mach .82 /270 knots.

I've never heard of anyone having a gear problem on departure then climbing to cruise altitude and waiting an hour to fix the issue, so it sounds like the steward was talking out of they/their ass...
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Old 2nd Apr 2023, 15:41
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Originally Posted by NotaLOT
I was on a flight yesterday, where 1hr into a 4hr flight I heard a noise and felt a vibration (for about 1minute) that felt like the spoliers had been deployed (but they weren't, I was sitting behind the wing). I asked the steward about this, and he told me that they had to lower and reraise the landing gear because the gear bay door did not close properly after departure and was causing drag.
Was an announcement made from the cockpit before they did this ?
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Old 2nd Apr 2023, 16:33
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Thanks for all your responses. It was a bit disconcerting as there was no announcement from the cockpit either before or after, which is why I asked the cabin crew (it was a wet lease aircraft, maybe pax experience isn't something they care about as much as the regular airline would).

I was also wondering why they would do such a thing so far into the flight, would it be noticeable that the fuel burn was off only after a while? What was also troubling is that the crew seemed to accept this as "normal" - and that they have done the same procedure before on this particular aircraft.
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Old 2nd Apr 2023, 17:46
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Originally Posted by rudestuff
I don't know about Airbus, but in the Boeing I fly you can put the gear down in cruise up to Mach .82 /270 knots.

I've never heard of anyone having a gear problem on departure then climbing to cruise altitude and waiting an hour to fix the issue, so it sounds like the steward was talking out of they/their ass...
Did exactly that during one flight. Discovered during the flight that the computed fuel burn on the OFP was way too high and that we would land overweight, so we dropped the gear (same limits you quote), and burned a ton extra in just a few minutes and then raised it again. Not a gear problem, just a flight planning system getting confused by the same trip number on two consecutive sectors, tankering and thus leading us to have too much fuel on board.
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Old 2nd Apr 2023, 18:08
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Why a gear event in cruise? Could be the door simply did not latch completely, and after an hour or so of being buffeted by slipstream, popped open a few cms. Probably in itself not even noticeable - but would trigger a GEAR DOOR warning on the cockpit displays.

Pilots followed "normal" procedures (as listed in ECAM or FCOM) to deal with this abnormal event. Slow to Vlo (speed for moving the landing gear) of 250 kts or mach 0.60 - cycle gear down and up.

Why not gab to the passengers about it? You happened to be awake and alert and noticed the gear noise. How many of the other passengers (possibly napping, or wearing headsets to work on their computers or watch a movie) noticed it?

I'd expect an actual announcement ("Houston, we have a problem...") would have disturbed more passengers than saying nothing and simply fixing the problem.

Never forget the priorities for pilots - Aviate, Navigate - and last, and therefore least - Communicate. Forty years of improving CRM (cockpit resource management) have taught us to beware of, and avoid, unnecessary distractions when dealing with a problem, or in any other critical phase of flight.

If the problem could not be solved, and would, perhaps, require a diversion - then (and only then) would the SLF have "a need to know."
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Old 2nd Apr 2023, 19:07
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Originally Posted by Denti
Did exactly that during one flight. Discovered during the flight that the computed fuel burn on the OFP was way too high and that we would land overweight, so we dropped the gear (same limits you quote), and burned a ton extra in just a few minutes and then raised it again. Not a gear problem, just a flight planning system getting confused by the same trip number on two consecutive sectors, tankering and thus leading us to have too much fuel on board.
I can't imagine a scenario where gear doors didn't latch (never heard of that as a known 320 habit...) nor that it's an hour later in the cruise that this is rectified. Why not asap as soon as the SID is out of the way, or even during it if things are quiet?
However an hour into the flight is just the right timescale for PNF to discover you're going to land overweight, for PF to verify the figures, a discusson to occur and some serious drag to be deployed. I've done it.
I know which theory I support.
And if so shame on the flightdeck for being so cowardly as to lie to the cabin crew about it, an action with all too much likelyhood of being found out - as seems to have happened.

It might be useful for the OP to tell what the route was, the diffferential in fuel prices might well be a driver for over-enthusiastic tankering.
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Old 2nd Apr 2023, 20:02
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Originally Posted by meleagertoo
However an hour into the flight is just the right timescale for PNF to discover you're going to land overweight, for PF to verify the figures, a discusson to occur and some serious drag to be deployed. I've done it.
Did you find that a minute with the gear down was sufficient to have the desired effect ?
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Old 2nd Apr 2023, 21:23
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Originally Posted by pattern_is_full
Why a gear event in cruise?

I'd expect an actual announcement ("Houston, we have a problem...") would have disturbed more passengers than saying nothing and simply fixing the problem.

If the problem could not be solved, and would, perhaps, require a diversion - then (and only then) would the SLF have "a need to know."
Thanks, this sounds rational to me. I guess I am more aware than your typical passenger, and most didn't notice, as you say.
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Old 2nd Apr 2023, 23:33
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Originally Posted by rudestuff

I've never heard of anyone having a gear problem on departure then climbing to cruise altitude and waiting an hour to fix the issue, so it sounds like the steward was talking out of they/their ass...
It might not have presented until later. I've had a gear unsafe light come on about an hour into the cruise in a BAe146.
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Old 3rd Apr 2023, 09:41
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Pardon my ignorance, but what is SLF? From the context, I would think something like Self loading Cargo, but then, what is the F?
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Old 3rd Apr 2023, 10:07
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Exactly. "Self Loading Freight". It is a derogatory term used to describe passengers. I expect the PC/Woke brigade will be outraged.
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Old 3rd Apr 2023, 10:09
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F = Freight.
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Old 3rd Apr 2023, 12:51
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Originally Posted by dixi188
Exactly. "Self Loading Freight". It is a derogatory term used to describe passengers. I expect the PC/Woke brigade will be outraged.
No, just amazed at how childish grown people can be.
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Old 3rd Apr 2023, 14:17
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What do you expect when the chosen few are given the odd hundred thousand to play with a multi million dollar toy set with dolly birds waiting to massage their egos!
From one who has never grown up.
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Old 3rd Apr 2023, 14:31
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How easy is to be over Max Landing Weight in an A320 after a 4 hour sector?
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Old 4th Apr 2023, 05:30
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Originally Posted by dixi188
Exactly. "Self Loading Freight". It is a derogatory term used to describe passengers. I expect the PC/Woke brigade will be outraged.
Not a derogatory term - just a reference to passengers. See also “Punters”.
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Old 4th Apr 2023, 19:51
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Smile

Originally Posted by ScepticalOptomist
Not a derogatory term - just a reference to passengers. See also “Punters”.
I think it is detogatory.
I used to fly cargo and we often had up to 6 Pax/ Jumpseaters. I used to check the tickets or authority to fly and usually referred to them as SLF in a derogatory fashion. ( They were mostly other crew or company staff).
My safety briefings were very brief. " Seat belt, Doors, Oxy mask, Life Jacket and Coffee maker".
Usually had them smiling.
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