It’s amazing what light weight, a straight wing and copious prop-wash will do to an propliner on final approach compared to a jet: it seems one could easily maintain significant negative pitch attitudes quite close to the ground without fear of dropping out of the sky like the proverbial anvil.
With performance like that available to propeller-driven airliners, was final approach also the riskiest phase of flight back before the jet age? If not what were most accidents/incidents attributable to in those days?
Arrow From Canada, joined Jun 2002, 2676 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (6 years 3 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 4819 times:
Quoting Faro (Thread starter): It’s amazing what light weight, a straight wing and copious prop-wash will do to an propliner on final approach compared to a jet:
Equally amazing what lack of leading-edge lift devices will do. For a demonstration, take a look at the approach angle of attack on a CRJ 1-200, just before the flare. It looks similar to that DC-7 (?), but not quite as pronounced. And if you want to see an aircraft really stand on its nose in a landing approach, watch a Buffalo or Caribou doing a short field landing demo.
I think landing and take-off poses the most risk for all aircraft, prop or jet. For the old propliners, you could add some risk to their cruise ceiling as well, because I think they were in the 20K-to-30K range and subject to a little more weather turmoil. And don't forget the rather stark difference in effectiveness of all the nav-aids present today, compared with what was available in the 50s-60s.
Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
411A From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 1826 posts, RR: 8
Reply 5, posted (6 years 3 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 4569 times:
Quoting Arrow (Reply 1): For the old propliners, you could add some risk to their cruise
ceiling as well, because I think they were in the 20K-to-30K range
4-engine piston airliners were all limited by regulation to FL250 because they had no automatic oxygen supply for passengers.
Normal cruise altitudes were 14,000 to FL210, or thereabouts.
Long transPacific or transAtlantic flights could get just a bit higher, if the payload was light.
VC10 From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1432 posts, RR: 15
Reply 6, posted (6 years 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 4403 times:
People often say that the piston engines were unreliable and prone to failure, which could lead to problems on take-off when every H.P was needed, but they forget that a prop problem could lead to quicker and even greater problems during Take-off as this Seaboard incident at New York shows
However I believe that the most dangerous phase of flight was during the descent especially during the night and /or bad weather as with the limited navigation aids available to aircraft in those days it could be difficult to pin point your actual position, which could result in you hitting the ground unexpectedly . This also I have to say applied to the early days of jet travel.
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