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What Is The Most Difficult Airliner To Fly?  
User currently offlineUAL747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 12693 times:

Simple question, but expect some long answers. What is the most difficult airliner to fly? A long time ago, I think this topic was discussed, and I think the general census was that the MD-11 was very hard to fly. From what I understand, you constantly have to keep trimming the aircraft because it's like flying around a swimming pool full of water, the center of gravity is constantly changing, but I know there are more reasons as to why people thought it was hard to fly.

Anyway, what say you?

UAL

67 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinePilotaydin From Turkey, joined Sep 2004, 2539 posts, RR: 51
Reply 1, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 12670 times:

well, im sure the autopilot system takes care of the trim issues, when you're hand flying the bird, i doubt the cg shifts enough to trim within 5-10 mins of handflying....

i would say any aircraft with a elipse wing is hard to fly, as far as stalling and recovering goes...



The only time there is too much fuel onboard, is when you're on fire!
User currently offlineDeltaAVL From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 1893 posts, RR: 6
Reply 2, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 12509 times:

The Metroliner was always supposed to be pretty difficult...


"We break, We bend, With hand in hand, When hope is gone, Just hang on." -Guster
User currently offlineOHLHD From Finland, joined Dec 2004, 3962 posts, RR: 25
Reply 3, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 12516 times:



Quoting UAL747 (Thread starter):
A long time ago, I think this topic was discussed, and I think the general census was that the MD-11 was very hard to fly

A MD-11 is hard to land if it is empty and not heavy afaik. I am sure WILCO737 can give us an answer on this question.  Smile


User currently offlineWeb From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 427 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 12441 times:

I have heard that the 727 is very difficult to grease on landings. Something to do with the placement of the main gear, I think.


Next flight: GRR-ORD-PDX-SEA-ORD-GRR
User currently offlineGoldenshield From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 6014 posts, RR: 14
Reply 5, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 12383 times:

The Ford Tri-motor, from what I understand, is rather brutal (at today's standards) on the pilot.


Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
User currently offlineFerengi80 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2007, 690 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 12386 times:
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I don't know about in the air, but the A340-600 is difficult to manouveur when on the ground based on her massive length. I remember watching a DVD of a SAA A340 crew flying a delivery flight of an A346 routing TLS-JNB. The aircraft has a camera in the nose and a camera in the tail to enable the crew to see exactly where the airplane is at whilst taxiing.


AF1981 LHR-CDG A380-800 10 July 2010 / AF1980 CDG-LHR A380-800 11 July 2010
User currently offlineFritzi From United Arab Emirates, joined Jun 2001, 2762 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 12226 times:

I've never handled anything larger than a C206, but from what I've heard I'm guessing that the earliest models of the 707 are at the top of the list. Many of the surfaces lacked hydraulic motors which gave the pilots a real workout, especially during crosswind landings.

I've also heard that the Dash-8's are also a little bit tricker during landing because if you pull back on the yoke to flare low above the rwy you will smash the mains into the ground as they are behind the center of lift.

/Fritzi


User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 8, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 12216 times:



Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 5):
The Ford Tri-motor, from what I understand, is rather brutal (at today's standards) on the pilot.

 rotfl 
I was thinking about the same airplane. One problem, I've been told is that there is almost no vertical fin - it's all rudder. As a result it yaws back and forth 'til you must think you are riding a salmon. On the other hand the most graceful groundloop I ever witnessed was a Ford Trimotor. It just caught a minor gust and he ran completely out of rudder. It just swooped around, using the whole infield, then proceeded on its way.

I have only flown eight jetliners from the fairly antique to the very modern. Not one of them was difficult to fly. Some were high-workload. Some were quite complex from a system knowledge point of view, but all were designed from the beginning to be mastered by pilots just about like me.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineCosmicCruiser From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 2255 posts, RR: 15
Reply 9, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 12147 times:



Quoting UAL747 (Thread starter):
I think the general census was that the MD-11 was very hard to fly. From what I understand, you constantly have to keep trimming the aircraft because it's like flying around a swimming pool full of water, the center of gravity is constantly changing, but I know there are more reasons as to why people thought it was hard to fly.

That's not true at all. The MD-11 is quite nice to fly but like most bigger jets it isn't fun to hand fly at altitude. I never saw any bad characteristics when I transitioned from the DC-10 and in fact think it flies much nicer than the 10. It is sensitive but not really a problem. The CG isn't constantly changing either. People still can't let go with the fact that that early software load for the LSAS wasa bugger during ldg but that is long ago history.

When I've j/s on our Airbuses they seem "stiff legged" and ldg seem a little hard.

Quoting OHLHD (Reply 3):
A MD-11 is hard to land if it is empty and not heavy afaik

I haven't seen an airliner that wasn't a bigger challenge to land when light wgt including the lovable 727. There's always an optimum wgt that's perfect but heavier is better.


User currently offlineCosmicCruiser From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 2255 posts, RR: 15
Reply 10, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 12143 times:

I meant to finish my above post with : if I thought the MD-11 was that difficult to fly I would have bid out to another jet long ago. I always look forward to flying it.

User currently offlineMrChips From Canada, joined Mar 2005, 927 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 12086 times:

Compared to other aircraft in it's class, the King Air family (including the Beech 1900) is a rather difficult aircraft to fly, mostly because the control forces are rather enormous. Smaller pilots often need to use both hands on the control column to rotate the aircraft.

And I can categorically tell you that despite it's terrible reputation, the Mitsubishi MU-2 is an absolute joy to fly; it just requires you to be cognizant of it's idiosyncrasies.



Time...to un-pimp...ze auto!
User currently offlineUltimateDelta From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 2114 posts, RR: 6
Reply 12, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 12002 times:

Based on how the A321 on FSX handles, I'd say it ranks pretty high up there.


Midwest Airlines- 1984-2010
User currently offlineJetlagged From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 2546 posts, RR: 24
Reply 13, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 11961 times:

Quoting UltimateDelta (Reply 12):
Based on how the A321 on FSX handles, I'd say it ranks pretty high up there.

What makes you think the FSX A321 is anything like a real A321 to fly?

You can buy an add on version of the A321 which is more realistic, but still not very close in terms of handling.

[Edited 2008-05-18 17:32:42]


The glass isn't half empty, or half full, it's twice as big as it needs to be.
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 14, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 11901 times:



Quoting UltimateDelta (Reply 12):
Based on how the A321 on FSX handles

There is the limitation on computer games. The A320 series doesn't "handle" at all. At least not in flight control normal law. There is no feedback to the stick. It is stable in the same manner as a spacecraft is stable. You simply make small stick inputs to point the thing where it needs to go and it goes there. And that is while hand-flying. With the autopilot on even I begin to feel like a passenger.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlinePilotpip From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 3150 posts, RR: 11
Reply 15, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 11817 times:

The most difficult airliner to fly is the one with a deferred coffee maker.


DMI
User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6371 posts, RR: 3
Reply 16, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 11804 times:

Suprised no one has said the Concorde yet...the pilots referred to it's approach technique as "keeping a ball on a pinnacle."

Also, I hear that turbocompound engines, as featured in the DC-7C (Seven Seas) , L1049 Super Connie and Boeing Stratocruiser were rather hard to successfully manage, and that mismanagement of such powerplants often led to engine fires and/or in flight shutdowns.



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31679 posts, RR: 56
Reply 17, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 5 days ago) and read 11717 times:



Quoting Pilotpip (Reply 15):

The most difficult airliner to fly is the one with a deferred coffee maker.

I was thinking the same & to add u/s Autopilot  Smile

Older Aircraft would def be more difficult to fly in comparism to the more modern technological & automated new generation of Aircraft.

regds
MEL



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineWILCO737 From Greenland, joined Jun 2004, 8994 posts, RR: 76
Reply 18, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 11701 times:
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Quoting UAL747 (Thread starter):
MD-11 was very hard to fly.

I wouldn't say that! It's not too hard! Compared to a 737 yes, it's harder, but the CG doesn't shift every few seconds and if you trim your aircraft properly you can fly handfree  Wink

Quoting OHLHD (Reply 3):
A MD-11 is hard to land if it is empty and not heavy afaik. I am sure WILCO737 can give us an answer on this question. Smile



Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 9):
I haven't seen an airliner that wasn't a bigger challenge to land when light wgt

Oh yeah, the MD11 gets bitchy when she is light but even then it is possible but smooth touchdowns are nearly impossible then  Wink The heavier the MD11 is the better the landing will be! I did an overweight landing (in the Simulator) close to max take off weight, wow, that was good Big grin Stable in the air, smooth touchdown! but of course LONG runway required Big grin

WILCO737 (MD11F)
 airplane 



It it's not Boeing, I am not going.
User currently offlineQantas744ER From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1288 posts, RR: 4
Reply 19, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 11650 times:



Quoting UltimateDelta (Reply 12):
Based on how the A321 on FSX handles, I'd say it ranks pretty high up there.

How does your armchair handle?

Leo  Wink



Happiness is V1 in Lagos
User currently offline411A From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 1826 posts, RR: 8
Reply 20, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 11514 times:



Quoting KELPkid (Reply 16):
Also, I hear that turbocompound engines, as featured in the DC-7C (Seven Seas) , L1049 Super Connie and Boeing Stratocruiser were rather hard to successfully manage, and that mismanagement of such powerplants often led to engine fires and/or in flight shutdowns.

Having flown all three types mentioned, engine management was straight-forward, provided that the book was followed, without diviation.
The B377 did not have turbocompound engines, but they were very complicated, nevertheless, 28 cylinders, a supercharger and a turbosupercharger

Early B707 aircraft, those without fan engines could be a slight problem for those pilots not accustomed to flying a large heavy airplane, without powered control surfaces.
A few trips to the gym soon fixed that.
Especially leg exercises, for when an outboard engine failed at rotation, rudder forces exceeded 140 pounds...even with an hydraulic powered rudder.


User currently offlineDavid L From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 9524 posts, RR: 42
Reply 21, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 11504 times:



Quoting Jetlagged (Reply 13):
Quoting UltimateDelta (Reply 12):
Based on how the A321 on FSX handles, I'd say it ranks pretty high up there.

What makes you think the FSX A321 is anything like a real A321 to fly?

 checkmark  The FSX version is awful, a token gesture. I suspect we'd be hard pressed to find many real FBW Airbus pilots who say any of them are difficult to fly. That's just my guess, obviously but we do hear from some of them from time to time here.

Quoting Jetlagged (Reply 13):
You can buy an add on version of the A321 which is more realistic, but still not very close in terms of handling.

There are a couple of promising ones that have been in development for ages. Maybe one day...


User currently offlineMiamiair From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 11448 times:

I don't know about flying, they all have their idiosynchracies, but to get a squeaker in a 727 required luck, planetary alignment and a sacrificial virgin... Pulling the power levers to idle too soon in the flare was tantamount to dropping an anchor.

User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13187 posts, RR: 77
Reply 23, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 11431 times:

I understood, that with the specific training, Concorde was easy enough to land, however, I await Air Net member Bellerphon's thoughts on this, since he is the expert in this instance.

User currently offlineArniePie From Belgium, joined Aug 2005, 1265 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 11416 times:

I'm surprised nobody seems to think the Russian birds are hard to fly.
Certainly the Tu134/154, AN22/24/124/225 and the old IL62 must rank pretty high up there, no?
Seen they've practically all a 4 or 5 man cockpit the coordination and lack of automation must be pretty tough on the crew.

Nobody here has any more info on them?

[Edited 2008-05-19 11:34:57]


[edit post]
25 KELPkid : I think it's more a lack of knowledge on our parts than anything else. I do have a friend who's a US licensed commercial pilot (he was just a private
26 KELPkid : What, you mean boxes don't get up, en masse, after mealtime in flight to get in line to use the restrooms at the back of the economy section Maybe th
27 WILCO737 : It would scare the s*** out of me when I am sitting in my seat and all of a sudden someone is coming into the cockpit!! On the 737 if you were handfl
28 PGNCS : With the automation engaged, that is likely true, but hand flying will turn up exceptions to this, I think. I can think of no better flying aircraft
29 DashTrash : Very true. Adding to it is the tall main struts without much travel in the shock absorbing department. If you keep a constant pitch attitude througho
30 Nathanr : Why is the MD-11 hard to land when it is light weight?
31 WILCO737 : It is just somewhat unstable and every slightest control input you can feel and see with a slight turn or change in pitch. Every slight gust or wind
32 FlyASAGuy2005 : Everyone is going to laugh but I heard the CRJ isn't the easiet "modern" jet to fly. True? No?
33 WILCO737 : Modern?! nah, just kidding! I heard it's a bit weird during landing, the nose is pretty far down and it feels weird... Just been once on the jumpseat
34 SlamClick : I've worked with, and flown with people who have sampled almost the entire spectrum from the Jenny to the Concorde. I'd have to say that, based on wha
35 BAe146QT : I heard that too. Apparently, there's dozens of them still up there, just circling the pattern. I seem to recall you had some interesting comments ab
36 SlamClick : Actually I liked it very much. It wasn't much of a performer, other than its ability to slow down, descend, and stop. Admirable traits all, but rathe
37 Jetlagged : The nearest I will get to flying the real thing is in a full flight simulator. From my experience in an A320 sim, it's easier than any other sim I've
38 KELPkid : Do the EFIS screens flash "Game Over Insert Coins" when the session comes to an end?
39 WILCO737 : Sometimes when you take over an aircraft from another crew they put in the scratchpad of the MCDU: "Game over insert coin" but I never found the slot
40 CosmicCruiser : To me it was just like other jets that when light it wants to float, flare too early and it floats forever then drops, flare too late and you still s
41 DashTrash : I think that describes every swept wing airplane ever flown!
42 ThirtyEcho : How did this turn into an MSFS thread? The most difficult airplane for an MSFS "pilot" to fly? A real airplane.
43 Post contains images WILCO737 : This is the typical A.net phenomenon But SlamClick, CosmicCruiser, WILCO737 and some other were talking about the REAL stuff ! WILCO737 (MD11F) [Edit
44 David L : Come on - it was only a brief diversion.
45 Jetlagged : I was mainly talking about flying full flight sims (which, after all, should be very close to how the actual aircraft handles), but as MSFS was menti
46 DashTrash : Please don't take this as flame, but full motion flight sims don't fly like the real airplane in most cases. They give you an idea of how it handles
47 FlyASAGuy2005 : I've heard the same. Sometimes it works out in the crew's favor. An ATR captain told me that the sims at flight Safety (he's with ASA) are a little h
48 WILCO737 : because it is not the real thing! And everything (motion, acceleration) is only simulated! Believe it or not, the feeling and the hearing and seeing
49 SlamClick : I'd have to say that simulators work better for jets than for turboprops and better for glass cockpits than for steam gauges. Most modern jets have v
50 WILCO737 : Yeah, I didn't say it is bad or not realistic! I was once in the MD11 Sim and then I was flying it for real doing 3 traffic patterns and as you said:
51 BAe146QT : Referred to, of course, as "breaking the 4th wall", since it originated in the theatre where the notional fourth wall of the set/stage is the one tha
52 KELPkid : I know from experience that one thing the Frasca 142 cannot duplicate faithfully or accurately from a real Cessna 172 is the yaw effects that the pro
53 SlamClick : Expensive? Yes. A simulator may cost roughly the same as the airplane it represents. It is approximately the same level of complexity. It has the vir
54 CosmicCruiser : SlamClick, Sorry if I'm a bit confused; are you saying these "unreal" practices are good or bad. I feel like you swapped your point midway or I just
55 BAe146QT : I figured this might be the case when I investigated getting an hour in a 737 simulator of the sort that the public can book time on. * It worked out
56 CosmicCruiser : I must agree completely here!!
57 Post contains images BAe146QT : Before anyone bothers answering that, I have just realised how it sounds. The statement - particularly the "we" bit - is more to do with my industry,
58 Post contains images Jetlagged : You must have been in some bad ones then.   I certainly don't take that as a flame. Most pilots I know say the real aircraft is easier to fly than t
59 Starlionblue : Purist. If you would rather they speak Latin, fine. I think the challenge is that they need to be relevant to modern audiences. IMHO if a Roman foot
60 SlamClick : In comedy - not a problem. And let's face it, all James Bond movies are comedy; fast, furious and ridiculous. I'm not talking about them speaking mod
61 Miamiair : Not with my spyglass, sah!
62 BAe146QT : It was called 'Allo 'Allo, and it is still run as repeats over here on BBC2. It dates quite well and the cast even had a televised reunion recently (
63 Mastropiero : Listen very carefully, I shall say zis only once...... Sorry, could not resist What a great, great show!!!!
64 TWAL1011727 : Yes sirree...The main gear is behind the rotation when flaring. You think your coming down too fast and try to raise the nose to stop it, this action
65 CosmicCruiser : I heard that going around years ago from a F/O I was flying with. I told him to flare that way on every landing for the month and I would flare just
66 Jetlagged : That would apply to every tricycle undercarriage airplane, surely. The 727 is not alone in having main gear wheels behind the CG. Simple maths shows
67 CosmicCruiser : That's exactly what I was referring to, thanks for reaffirming it. The bottom line is; you flare late you smack the ground; you flare early you float
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