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Airbus A380 Only Has Two Thrust Reversers?  
User currently offlineReggaebird From Jamaica, joined Nov 1999, 1174 posts, RR: 0
Posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 10841 times:

I recently filmed an Air France A380 landing ( http://www.youtube.com/user/tbird209#p/u/1/LsKa_eq3eGE ) and noted that the pilots only deployed two thrust reversers on landing. Someone replied that the aircraft only has two. That surprised me. Shouldn't it have four available for maximum stopping power in emergency or slippery conditions? Also, I then began wondering if the outboard engines are devoid of the reverse thrust mechanisms altogether or if they are just disabled when installed in the outboard positions. If the former, does that mean that operators have to stock "inboard and outboard engines" as opposed to just "engines"?

56 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offline9V-SPJ From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 748 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 10833 times:

Airbus decided to forgo the reversers on engines 1 and 4 to save weight.

9V-SPJ


User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 29656 posts, RR: 84
Reply 2, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 10774 times:
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Quoting 9V-SPJ (Reply 1):
Airbus decided to forgo the reversers on engines 1 and 4 to save weight.

I also believe it is to help prevent debris being kicked up from the sides of the runway onto the runway itself.

The A380-800 with the standard 16 main wheel brakes successfully landed at a weight of 590t - 195t above her certified Maximum Landing Weight, so she has no problems coming to a stop with only two reversers and only having two reversers does not tax her braking system.


User currently offlineQslinger From India, joined Apr 2006, 258 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 10774 times:

This link will answer your question.

Cheers

Aborted Landing: 747 Vs A380 (by Qslinger Dec 25 2007 in Tech Ops)



Raj Koona
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 16908 posts, RR: 67
Reply 4, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 10707 times:

Quoting Reggaebird (Thread starter):
does that mean that operators have to stock "inboard and outboard engines" as opposed to just "engines"?

Not really. I mean the engine is the same on the "inside" if you will. Just has different parts on the outside. My guess is the pylons aren't all the same either.

Quoting Reggaebird (Thread starter):
Shouldn't it have four available for maximum stopping power in emergency or slippery conditions?

Reversers help, but the brakes are by far the most powerful devices available to stop the aircraft. Airbus even considered skipping the reversers altogether.

Even in slippery conditions, sixteen multi-disk brakes with ABS will stop you fast.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineStarAC17 From Canada, joined Aug 2003, 3329 posts, RR: 9
Reply 5, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 10702 times:

I don't know if I read this on this site or somewhere else but because of the braking power available on the A380 when it was designed I believe that Airbus didn't need them but the FAA disagreed and accepted them to have 2 on the plane.


Engineers Rule The World!!!!!
User currently offlineslz396 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 10587 times:

Quoting Reggaebird (Thread starter):
Shouldn't it have four available for maximum stopping power in emergency or slippery conditions?

No, because reverse thrust is not to be taken into account in stopping distance calculations.

This may look weird at first, but it actually makes sense:
ever considered WHY you might be making an emergency stop? Because an engine failed during take-off roll, for instance....
They how are you going to reverse your thrust, if your engine just failed?
See the point?

Obviously, if you have them you may use them, but you don't need to have them, nor use them.

Reverse thrust shortens your stopping distance, but if you can achieve a safe stop without them, then you're fine as well.
As others have already pointed out, the outboard engines of an A380 are very close to the runway edges on runways of only 45M, so to avoid problems with debris, Airbus decided not to give the outboard engines reversers and just install them on the inboard engines.


Quoting StarAC17 (Reply 5):
I don't know if I read this on this site or somewhere else but because of the braking power available on the A380 when it was designed I believe that Airbus didn't need them but the FAA disagreed and accepted them to have 2 on the plane.

Another unfounded rumour.

There are 4 engined jet planes without reverse thrust, the Bae146/RJ comes to mind and many operators have opted to remove the reversers from their E-jets too. Airbus could have omitted the reversers on the inboard engines too, but they have decided not to do so, one of them is to reduce the use and thus wear of the brakes.

However, you can dispatch the A380 with a reverser inop should there be a technical problem with one of them...


User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 16908 posts, RR: 67
Reply 7, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 10575 times:

Regarding the FAA rumor, I would think regulatory bodies only care about stopping distance, not method. Whether that is achieved with reversers, brakes, braking parachute or The Force is not relevant as long as the method is safe, reliable, within noise regs and within pollution regs.


"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineslz396 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 10526 times:

Indeed, not to mention the FAA only has a secondary role when it comes to the A380.

Although the A380 is also certified under FAA standards, the lead certification authority for the A380 really is EASA and whatever the FAA thinks of the A380 is secundary only.

Remember that for as long as nobody wants to register an A380 in the US, officially it needn't even have FAA certification to operate worldwide, including to/from US airports!

[Edited 2010-06-27 01:59:25]

User currently offlinetdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 9, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 10399 times:

Quoting Reggaebird (Thread starter):
Shouldn't it have four available for maximum stopping power in emergency or slippery conditions?

Not necessary...it just needs to meet the stopping performance requirements. *How* it does that is largely up to the airframer.

Quoting Reggaebird (Thread starter):
Also, I then began wondering if the outboard engines are devoid of the reverse thrust mechanisms altogether or if they are just disabled when installed in the outboard positions.

They're not there. It's a different nacelle.

Quoting Reggaebird (Thread starter):
If the former, does that mean that operators have to stock "inboard and outboard engines" as opposed to just "engines"?

No. The engine is the same, it's just the nacelle that's different, and you don't normally change the nacelle when you swap engines (except for a few unique RR designs that don't apply to the A380).

Quoting slz396 (Reply 6):
No, because reverse thrust is not to be taken into account in stopping distance calculations.

That's generally, but not universally, true. There are a couple of 737 cases (for landing only) where you do include reverse thrust.

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 7):
Regarding the FAA rumor, I would think regulatory bodies only care about stopping distance, not method.

That's how it's supposed to be, but there are a several regulators (in all the bodies) who will just say "You need to do it this way or we're not certifying it." Sort of like arguing with border guards, it doesn't matter how right you are when they hold all the cards.

Tom.


User currently offlineslz396 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 10364 times:

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 9):
That's generally, but not universally, true. There are a couple of 737 cases (for landing only) where you do include reverse thrust.

In case of a landing on a contaminated surface for instance...

it has more to do with the fact the 737's brakes alone can't do the job under those conditions and hence the manufacturer is relying also on the reversers too to bring the plane to a full stop within reasonable distance and without overheating the brakes. The consequence is that you're obviously not able to dispatch a 737 with a reverser inop under those conditions then, which is a limitation on the plane.

The A380 doesn't have reverser inop dispatch limitations, hence is not relying on it for stopping distance.
No wonder, given the fact it has a lot of wheels with a lot of brakes... It's not the typical tricicle like mose planes.

[Edited 2010-06-27 07:17:20]

User currently offlineOldAeroGuy From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 3423 posts, RR: 67
Reply 11, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 10336 times:

Quoting slz396 (Reply 6):
No, because reverse thrust is not to be taken into account in stopping distance calculations.

True for landing distance calculations on dry or wet runways. However, the takeoff distance calculations for the A380 Certification Basis do allow reverse thrust use. It does make a difference, particularly on wet runways.

For runways contaminated with snow, slush or ice, you want all the stopping power you can get, including reverse thrust.

Quoting slz396 (Reply 8):
Although the A380 is also certified under FAA standards, the lead certification authority for the A380 really is EASA and whatever the FAA thinks of the A380 is secundary only.

Remember that for as long as nobody wants to register an A380 in the US, officially it needn't even have FAA certification to operate worldwide, including to/from US airports!

Not necessarily. Many smaller nations base their certification process on the FAR's. That's why Airbus and Boeing make a practice of getting concurrent EASA/FAA Type Certification. Both OEM's need to meet the unique cert requirements of both agencies.

Quoting slz396 (Reply 10):
The A380 doesn't have reverser inop dispatch limitations, hence is not relying on it for stopping distance.
No wonder, given the fact it has a lot of wheels with a lot of brakes

Stopping power with wheel brakes is more related to the force available to each wheel. The A380 has sixteen braked wheels while the 737 has four braked wheels, a ratio of 4:1. However, the A380 MTOW is six times higher than the largest 737. It's not a given the A380 has a greater wheel brake only deceleration rate than the 737.

For icy runway operation (takeoff or landing), pilots of both airplanes will be happy to have whatever reverse thrust is available to aid stopping capability.



Airplane design is easy, the difficulty is getting them to fly - Barnes Wallis
User currently offlineslz396 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 10291 times:

Quoting OldAeroGuy (Reply 11):
The A380 has sixteen braked wheels while the 737 has four braked wheels, a ratio of 4:1. However, the A380 MTOW is six times higher than the largest 737. It's not a given the A380 has a greater wheel brake only deceleration rate than the 737.

Although my remark about the large number of wheels and thus also brakes was largely anecdotical, I'd like to point out that comparing the number of brakes to the total weight like you're doing isn't really proving anything either, as a single A380 brake is far bigger and thus capable of far more individual energy dissipation than a single 737 brake.

Anyway, as others have said, the A380 has demonstrated landings at 190t ABOVE MLW, with just 2 reversers (don't even know if they have been used on that landing), so obviously, its brakes are capable of quite some energy dissipation, to say the least, and it is said Airbus could add more brakes for future weight growth even.

I'd wonder what it would take to turn this plane in a STOL-plane? 

Imagine that: an A380 at LCY... wouldn't that be great?

[Edited 2010-06-27 09:48:01]

User currently offlinetdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 13, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 10156 times:

Quoting slz396 (Reply 12):
Anyway, as others have said, the A380 has demonstrated landings at 190t ABOVE MLW, with just 2 reversers (don't even know if they have been used on that landing), so obviously, its brakes are capable of quite some energy dissipation

Landing is very rarely the critical brake situation for energy dissipation...that's a rejected takeoff at MTOW. Compared to that, essentially any landing isn't a big deal for energy (it may be for field length though).

Tom.


User currently offline413X3 From United States of America, joined Jul 2008, 1983 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 10147 times:

it's quite simple. The outboard engines hang over so far over the runway. So if it had reverser's it would kick up a lot of debris.

User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 16908 posts, RR: 67
Reply 15, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 10101 times:

Regarding wheel to weight ratio with the 737, the 380 has bigger wheels and more powerful brakes. More importantly though, more weight on the wheel enables harder braking since there is less risk of sliding. Compare with a motorbike where brake pressure on the front wheel is increased (well, should be if you're doing it right) as the braking action progresses and the suspension loads the front wheel more.


"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineWingscrubber From UK - England, joined Sep 2001, 845 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 10062 times:

FYI, the world's largest airplane - the Antonov 225, has thrust reversers on all six of its engines, and the last two are hung way out - easily over the edge of some narrower runways. Although admittedly they are smaller individual engines than the a380 mills- the reverse thrust of two RR trents probably isn't much less than 6 D-18s.

http://www.air-and-space.com/19930905%20Zhukovsky/934080%20An-225%20right%20front%20landing%20l.jpg

Speaking from experience, I can tell you thrust reversers are also very thirsty where hydraulics are concerned; you can reduce the hydraulic flow demand from your engine driven pumps a great deal by eliminating them where possible, they require a large amount of fluid in a very short amount of time which the entire system has to be sized for. By getting rid of the extra TRs you do save weight in terms of the thrust reverser itself, but can you reduce the required hydraulic plumbing, your pumps can theoritically be smaller, your system accumulators can shrink and your electric motor pumps and ram air turbine can potentially be smaller too.

I was surprised myself when I found out the A380 only has two reversers, but with a great deal of braking power and an awful lot of reverse thrust available from just two engines alone, I think the Airbus engineers made a good compromise.



Resident TechOps Troll
User currently offlinegemuser From Australia, joined Nov 2003, 5551 posts, RR: 6
Reply 17, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 10030 times:

Quoting OldAeroGuy (Reply 11):
Not necessarily. Many smaller nations base their certification process on the FAR's.

Actually MOST ICAO members give the person applying for type certification the option of using the FARs or EASA requirements as their design basis.

I wonder which QF used in getting their A330 & A380s on the Oz register?

Gemuser



DC23468910;B72172273373G73873H74374475275376377L77W;A319 320321332333343;BAe146;C402;DHC6;F27;L188;MD80MD85
User currently offlinetdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 18, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 10006 times:

Quoting Wingscrubber (Reply 16):
FYI, the world's largest airplane - the Antonov 225, has thrust reversers on all six of its engines, and the last two are hung way out - easily over the edge of some narrower runways

Yes, but it's a high-wing. It's a lot harder for an An225 to suck up FOD than an A380.

Tom.


User currently offlineastuteman From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 9834 posts, RR: 96
Reply 19, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 9996 times:
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Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 13):
Landing is very rarely the critical brake situation for energy dissipation...that's a rejected takeoff at MTOW. Compared to that, essentially any landing isn't a big deal for energy (it may be for field length though).

I suspect that landing at 590t might have been one of those "rare" cases, Tom  

Rgds


User currently offlineOldAeroGuy From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 3423 posts, RR: 67
Reply 20, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 9844 times:

Quoting slz396 (Reply 12):
Although my remark about the large number of wheels and thus also brakes was largely anecdotical, I'd like to point out that comparing the number of brakes to the total weight like you're doing isn't really proving anything either, as a single A380 brake is far bigger and thus capable of far more individual energy dissipation than a single 737 brake.

You're off base in your reference to brake energy. It is not the important factor in determing deceleration due to brakes. The critical factors are the contact area between tire and runway, the loading in that contact area (unit of force/unit of surface area), and the torque the brake is capable of creating on the axle to slow wheel rotation.

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 15):
Regarding wheel to weight ratio with the 737, the 380 has bigger wheels and more powerful brakes. More importantly though, more weight on the wheel enables harder braking since there is less risk of sliding.

This is closer to the mark. Not sure what you mean by more powerful though. Do you mean how much brake torque is available?

I'll try to do a little reasearch to compare A380 and 737 tire/runway loading. The A380 does have an interesting situation in that there are 20 main gear wheels but only 16 of them are braked. The 4 wheels that aren't braked will detract somewhat from overall brake performance since they will share the runway loading with the braked wheels but will provide only rolling friction as a retarding force.



Airplane design is easy, the difficulty is getting them to fly - Barnes Wallis
User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 29656 posts, RR: 84
Reply 21, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 9754 times:
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Quoting astuteman (Reply 19):
I suspect that landing at 590t might have been one of those "rare" cases, Tom.  

True, but a customer A380-800 would never land at that weight unless the situation was so dire that they could not afford to dump fuel to reach MLW prior to landing (and even then, it would require an MTOW beyond 590t which the passenger model is not currently certified for).

Still, nice to know you have the ability.  Smile

[Edited 2010-06-28 09:15:22]

User currently offlineFly2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 9700 times:

Quoting Wingscrubber (Reply 16):
FYI, the world's largest airplane - the Antonov 225, has thrust reversers on all six of its engines, and the last two are hung way out - easily over the edge of some narrower runways

Well that's not surprising, it is designed to land on runways much smaller planes can fly into and it's a high wing, so there's a reduced risk of FOD ingestion.


User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6264 posts, RR: 4
Reply 23, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 9684 times:

Quoting slz396 (Reply 12):
I'd wonder what it would take to turn this plane in a STOL-plane?

Imagine that: an A380 at LCY... wouldn't that be great?

Pilot's words of wisdom #172:

You can land an airplane in places where you couldn't take it off from again  

United Airlines did this one day in 1962, when they landed a DC-8 at TTD instead of PDX (a much shorter field!).

They managed to get it off again on its own, after removing the aircraft's interior and getting an FAA ferry permit to fly it to PDX on the minimum amount of fuel to get from TTD to PDX  Wow!



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineastuteman From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 9834 posts, RR: 96
Reply 24, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 9599 times:
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Quoting Stitch (Reply 21):
True, but a customer A380-800 would never land at that weight unless the situation was so dire that they could not afford to dump fuel to reach MLW prior to landing

A rare occurrence indeed  

Rgds


25 slz396 : Let's not start a pissing contest here, shall we? An inextinguishable engire fire on take-off for instance... not that far-fetched at all... it's an
26 bikerthai : So are these specific cases in relation to the capability of some of the older 737 to operate on un-improved (contaminated) surfaces? In my days deal
27 tdscanuck : Contaminated is no the same as un-improved...a perfectly good runway can be contaminated by slush, water, snow, etc. And it's not just older 737's, 7
28 Post contains images mrocktor : There is no requirement that an aircraft have thrust reversers, so there is really nothing for the FAA to agree to in this case. The E-jets (Embraer
29 OldAeroGuy : I fail to see how stating the relevant factors in wheel brake stopping force is starting a "pissing contest". Please be more specific about what is t
30 474218 : The EASA and the FAA and an working agreement, aircraft certified by one agency are considered certified by the other.
31 Max Q : It's a bad idea, period. There are times when you need every available stopping device working to it's utmost for you to stop the Aircraft. You simply
32 tdscanuck : So you feel that all engines should have reversers, all wheels should have brakes (including nose wheels), and all aircraft should have retro-rockets
33 Max Q : Tds, I don't know your real background or how much experience you have in Command of Large Jets. You are quite good at picking apart statements regard
34 Stitch : The A380-800 has successfully performed an RTO at 575t, which is a WV that will become available within the next couple of years. So even 16 worn-to-
35 TravelAVNut : I dont have the exact numbers, but with the already low approach speed and the facts mentioned by Stich I dont see how Airbus has "removed redudancy"
36 tdscanuck : That statement was actually from an engineering, not pilot, standpoint. As a pilot, my background is partial completion of private pilot training. As
37 David L : That's what I was wondering. As long as you know what's available, does it matter how many engines have reversers? It's not as though A380 crews woul
38 tdscanuck : I think MaxQ's issue is that you don't really *know* what's available until you actually try to use it. A T/R might fail to deploy, the runway might
39 bikerthai : Tom, Were you able to receive my "off-line" messages? I was curious on whether the 787 T/R reverser have insulation blankets on them. bikerthai
40 HAWK21M : Occured with a B747 at MAA a few yrs ago,the crew landed on an airbase,a few km away from the actual airport.They then offloaded all seats & unai
41 Post contains links and images Wingscrubber : Canuck, Fly2hmo, with the steep anhedral of the AN225 and the steep dihedral of the A380, I don't think there's really much difference between the hei
42 Aesma : The AN-225 is irrelevant. The A380 is an airliner, meaning it's half the time flying, and has to make money, so maintenance, availability, engine life
43 Starlionblue : You can always argue for more stopping power. You can argue for a lot of extra safety features. In the end, though, aircraft design is a compromise.
44 Larshjort : I haven't seen the AN-225 with a brake shute? Every aircraft design is a compromise, and both FAA and EASA found the braking power available enough f
45 mrocktor : This is not true. Not by a long shot. There have been several cycles of harmonization but an FAA type certificate and an EASA type certificate are ve
46 OldAeroGuy : Partially true. Reversers can be used for certified takeoff field length credit on wet runways.. Please see FAR 25.109 Amend 92 Accelerate-stop dista
47 Max Q : All the wheels and brakes in the world won't help you much on a slippery runway. More stopping power of any kind is better, period.
48 Starlionblue : The stopping distance calculations will take a wet runway into account.
49 AutothrustBlue : Isn't the A380 fitted with runway overrun warning/protection that will alert the pilots if a runway is too short (either wet or dry)?
50 Starlionblue : How would that work? I can see it now. Aircraft flares... sinks to the runway... main gear down... nose gear down... Warning voice calmly intones. "U
51 tdscanuck : Yes, but was on vacation...catching up now. 787 uses insulation blankets...as far as I know, the spray-on red stuff, though an excellent insulator, i
52 mrocktor : Right, but incomplete. Reversers add weight, weight adds energy to every landing - whether the reverser is operational, MEL'd or fails in that flight
53 Aesma : Interesting point, would the A380 survive an in-flight deployment of its reversers ?
54 tdscanuck : Based on a the only really comparable case (Lauda 767) probably not. Turbofans that large don't spin down fast enough to not be putting out significa
55 Wingscrubber : With regard to my previous post(s), the AN225 is relevant because of it's size. Good aircraft designers will always consider the merits and pitfalls o
56 Starlionblue : Sure, the size is there, but the 380 is way more similar to a 747 or a 340 (or heck, a DC-8 with retrofitted turbofans) than to an An-225. Sure, thos
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