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Overweight Landing

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Overweight Landing

Old 14th May 2023, 05:10
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Overweight Landing

Hi guysRecently an A320 after takeoff from Guangzhou had a pressurisation issue (exact snag not known) So they turned back and to avoid overweight landing kept flying for three hours in given area by the ATC. OEM gives the overweight landing procedure but no specific situations in which you do it or not to do it. Normally it's executed in LAND ASAP situation. So may be this wasn't. So can we have some opinions?
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Old 14th May 2023, 05:55
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Not a 320 pilot IRL (so take my opinion with a grain of salt )

Aren't most overweight landings (with F/CTL Systems nominal) considered rather trivial? Especially if it was a 320, and not a 321 for eg. with it's MUCH higher MLW?
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Old 14th May 2023, 06:47
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Our SOP has a blurb on overweight landings. It basically boils down to "don't do it unless safety of flight is compromised." Pressurisation failure per se wouldn't be a reason to land overweight for us but a hole in the side of the fuselage probably would be.
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Old 14th May 2023, 08:20
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Originally Posted by AerocatS2A
Our SOP has a blurb on overweight landings. It basically boils down to "don't do it unless safety of flight is compromised." Pressurisation failure per se wouldn't be a reason to land overweight for us but a hole in the side of the fuselage probably would be.
Overweight landings are not done routinely when you find you burnt less fuel and are overweight. You are supposed to hold and burn it off. But when you taxi on one engine, do Flap3 approaches to save fuel then hold for three hours to avoid OW landing how does that work out against overweight inspection or some other maintenance expense?
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Old 14th May 2023, 09:46
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Do it….or don’t! That’s why you get paid the big bucks!
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Old 14th May 2023, 11:26
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Originally Posted by vilas
Hi guysRecently an A320 after takeoff from Guangzhou had a pressurisation issue (exact snag not known) So they turned back and to avoid overweight landing kept flying for three hours in given area by the ATC. OEM gives the overweight landing procedure but no specific situations in which you do it or not to do it. Normally it's executed in LAND ASAP situation. So may be this wasn't. So can we have some opinions?
HiVilas,

An overweight landing can be done if conditions arise in such a way that the flight cannot continue as planned due to tech problems, sick passengers or any other abnormal condition, it does not necessarily mean a LAND ASAP. If the OVW landing is carried out according to the published procedure an entry will be made on the ATL and a minor engineer inspection will be carried out such as printing the LOAD 15 report and based on that assessing is structural checks are needed or not. It’s not a big deal unless the aircraft was slammed on the runway of course.
With the scenario you are presenting the crew could have turned back, landed back overweight at departure aerodrome (unless landing performance was an issue) and have another aircraft ready to take the pax to destination well within 3 hours…

With my operator if the overweight landing was carried out with a touchdown rate of less than 360ft/min (and 1.7G I believe but I am not sure on this one have to check), only a LOAD 15 report is to be printed and if confirmed the aircraft is good to go.

Last edited by sonicbum; 15th May 2023 at 09:42.
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Old 14th May 2023, 16:07
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I can think of three main issues: structural (energy absorption capability of the gear), aerodynamic (flap limiting speeds) and braking (will they be up to it?).

In terms of the gear, unless you slam it in (which you can do at less than MLW) there are some quite generous assumptions and safety factors involved, so more for awareness than anything else. Aerodynamic? All the types I know have a OEI flap setting which has plenty of headroom at MTOW and at weights not too far above MLW would be able to use any setting you needed. Braking - you have figures in the QRH, so can plan for max reverse and a low brake setting if you need to, and select a nice long runway into-wind if possible.

In summary, you are outside normal ops but its not the end of the world. I suppose if I was faced with the situation tomorrow, Id call up company/engineering and ask what they wanted me to do. If they said burn down to MLW, Id drop the gear and pull the speedbrake to get it over with a bit quicker. If you were the owner/operator, youd probably try and balance the likelihood of the aircraft getting broken (pretty low, never heard of this happening) against the cost in fuel, time, passenger redirection/slipping and engine hours to fly around until <MLW.
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Old 14th May 2023, 17:42
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Landed A320 overweight once, was very apprehensive, came to touchdown was nothing but a normal landing. Slight floating tendency that’s it.. Take it with a pinch of salt, we were only 1T overweight.
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Old 14th May 2023, 19:44
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Originally Posted by vilas
Overweight landings are not done routinely when you find you burnt less fuel and are overweight. You are supposed to hold and burn it off. But when you taxi on one engine, do Flap3 approaches to save fuel then hold for three hours to avoid OW landing how does that work out against overweight inspection or some other maintenance expense?
Asking the wrong person. We dont routinely do any of those fuel saving measures.
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Old 15th May 2023, 01:21
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Boeing used to put out a quarterly magazine called Aero. The 3rd quarter issue in 2007 had an article about over weight landings that you can find online. They say that if you took off from a runway you can land on it and meet all performance requirements. In addition the airplane is required to be able to land with a 6 foot a second rate of descent at MTOW with no damage. They say most landings are 2-3 foot per second rate of descent there shouldn’t be any issues. There will be a requirement for an overweight landing inspection but they say it is up to the pilots to decide what the best course of action would be for the situation.
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Old 15th May 2023, 13:38
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Maybe in China an overweight landing will automatically trigger an inspection from the CAAC (320 with a 0430 flight time destination and full load returning to departure aerodrome would always be overweight)? I could believe absolutely anything from the CAAC...
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Old 15th May 2023, 15:22
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Originally Posted by iggy
Maybe in China an overweight landing will automatically trigger an inspection from the CAAC (320 with a 0430 flight time destination and full load returning to departure aerodrome would always be overweight)? I could believe absolutely anything from the CAAC...
Very valid point. Maybe some folks with experience on that side of the world could share more insight on local customs in those kind of situations.
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Old 15th May 2023, 18:34
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Originally Posted by MarkerInbound
They say that if you took off from a runway you can land on it and meet all performance requirements.
Dry runway. Interesting note in performance is the (no) use of reverse thrust. But to conclude, landing performance isn't usually the issue on narrow body aircraft.

There is another threat (impact rate of descent), and the question if you are in such time critical event you need to challenge that threat. In case of pressurization problems, you don't. You can fly safely, you just can't climb safely.
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Old 15th May 2023, 19:07
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Originally Posted by MarkerInbound
Boeing used to put out a quarterly magazine called Aero. The 3rd quarter issue in 2007 had an article about over weight landings that you can find online. They say that if you took off from a runway you can land on it and meet all performance requirements. In addition the airplane is required to be able to land with a 6 foot a second rate of descent at MTOW with no damage. They say most landings are 2-3 foot per second rate of descent there shouldn’t be any issues. There will be a requirement for an overweight landing inspection but they say it is up to the pilots to decide what the best course of action would be for the situation.
I have twice landed a B767-300ER well over MLW. Once due to a Air Data computer failure and the other a Medical Emergency. Normal landings, using the whole 10.000ft runway to stop. Overweight landing logged, maintenance took care of the inspection and in both cases we left about an hour later. Minor event as long as you don’t plant it on the runway.

Last edited by oceancrosser; 15th May 2023 at 21:50.
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Old 15th May 2023, 20:52
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Originally Posted by MarkerInbound
They say that if you took off from a runway you can land on it and meet all performance requirements.
That's actually a certification requirement - it's called "Return to Land". Obviously for the scenario where you experience a major emergency during or right after takeoff.
Obviously you want the flight crew to be on their 'A' Game, and an overweight landing inspection will be required. But so long as you don't land long or 'plant' it on the runway it should be fine.

I was on a flight test 767 way back in the late 1980s - we'd been doing high gross weight stalls - and when were done we landed back at Boeing Field at about 375,000 pounds (IIRC, max landing weight was 320k) - no big deal (although we did fly back with the gear down to burn more fuel)...
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Old 16th May 2023, 08:22
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Originally Posted by sonicbum
Very valid point. Maybe some folks with experience on that side of the world could share more insight on local customs in those kind of situations.
The CAAC is very scientific. Problems are the multiple echelons between the regulator and the line crews, that - same as anywhere else - go out of their limb to please the boss about wishes they dream he may have had and then apply 30% CYOA margin. Results can be ridiculous.

True, when punishing which is the part of the feedback loop like that or not, CAAC are ruthless and spare no time for micromanagement. Also achieve their goals.
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Same as the Boeing article referenced already explains, Airbus has no technical objection for OVWT landing as long as performance figures are satisfied. The only dilemma is the legality of breaking the AFM LIM section.

Sad as this may sound, the best advice for today's aviator is to have the OPS/MX/FLEET take the decision jointly on the ground and have them deal with the fine print during their deliberations.

Safety margins are neither hurt nor improved by making an overweight landing on 10k+ runway.

For reasons beyond the scope here, it is completely unfathomable a B- registered
​​​​crew were not in contact with their AOC during any such event.
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Old 17th May 2023, 15:34
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Hi guys,
I did a landing on A300-600 frieghter with wieght equal to MTOW minus 3 tons (no emergency) and everything went OK except that the reason for returning wasnot admired by the chief pilot...

According to Airbus, the aircraft can be landed with wieghts up to MTOW as long as the "overweight LDG" C/L is performed..... The governing factor in this case is that the pilot has to determine the max GA wieght. If the GA wieght is not satisfied then fuel dump (other than A320) should be done to bring landing wieght down to GA wieght.....
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Old 17th May 2023, 16:03
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Operational decisions, because we deciced it is better to do so, is probably the only reason where overweight landing cannot be made legally. Deliberate breach of AFM.

Indeed, not a case over which the
​​​ C/P would like to go burn fingers unnecessarily. Under EASA is still a mandatory reporting occurrence.

Other then that, your experience and explanations match the Boeing Aero article 100%.
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Old 17th May 2023, 23:24
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Originally Posted by vilas
Hi guysRecently an A320 after takeoff from Guangzhou had a pressurisation issue (exact snag not known) So they turned back and to avoid overweight landing kept flying for three hours in given area by the ATC. OEM gives the overweight landing procedure but no specific situations in which you do it or not to do it. Normally it's executed in LAND ASAP situation. So may be this wasn't. So can we have some opinions?
I don’t have a copy of the AMM but Vilas is there any way you have access to it? I believe the guidance in the AMM for Overweight landings says that if an A320 lands overweight landing below 1.7G, it is considered as a normal overweight landing (above 1.7G is considered hard overweight) and there’s no maintenance actions required.

If the above is correct, I assume an overweight landing on the A320 series is not a critical issue provided it is carried out properly within limits.

I roughly recall from the performance charts flying at 10,000 feet with flaps 1 and the landing gear extended the aircraft burns roughly 4T an hour. If you’ve taken off at 77T or so it still takes at least 2.5 hours to get your weight down to assuming a MLW of 66T. It’s an awful lot of time to be flying around.
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Old 18th May 2023, 03:57
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Originally Posted by vilas
Hi guysRecently an A320 after takeoff from Guangzhou had a pressurisation issue (exact snag not known) So they turned back and to avoid overweight landing kept flying for three hours in given area by the ATC. OEM gives the overweight landing procedure but no specific situations in which you do it or not to do it. Normally it's executed in LAND ASAP situation. So may be this wasn't. So can we have some opinions?
In all of the countries I have flown in this would not justify an overweight landing in a bus or a boeing!
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