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Descent:do You Plan To Use Spoilers?  
User currently offlineXXXX10 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2000, 777 posts, RR: 0
Posted (10 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 4947 times:

I did several flights last year on 777's and A330s on EK

On each descent the spoilers were used from top of climb for quite a while.

Do Pilots plan to use them in order to stay at cruise altitude for longer/ or are these particular birds just difficult to slow?

Many thanks

19 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineMiamiair From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (10 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 4815 times:

"Do Pilots plan to use them in order to stay at cruise altitude for longer/ or are these particular birds just difficult to slow?"

That doesn't make any sense...

Certain airplanes are plain slippery, and unless you are going to start a descent 150 miles away, usually speedbrakes are used. Especially when getting into congested areas where ATC can adjust your place "in the scheme of things" to get into a Terminal Area.

Remember, below 10,000 feet its 250 KIAS or below; and the use of speedbrakes is a necessity.


User currently offlineWing From Turkey, joined Oct 2000, 1575 posts, RR: 24
Reply 2, posted (10 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 4785 times:

Most pilots does not like using spoilers unless they are needed.As they are loud and disturbing for the passengers, not a preferred chooice most of the time.Descent planning is one of the crucial phases of the airline flying,invoves lots of variables and "thinking and planning ahead".A good descent planning does not require the use of speed brakes.Infact if you need to use the speed brakes it means a poor planning.

But in busy European airspace(same goes for the US airspace also) pilots doesn have the liberty of planning the compleate descent phase from TOD to the runway.There are a lot of traffic and therefore ATC requests(late descent clearence,keep different heading,a higher or slower speed than required etc.)which will intervane your normal descent planning.So the pilots constantly have to keep their alttitude/distance ratio and plan accordingly.If you feel like your not going to make an altitude at requested/required time you can use all equipment available speed brakes or even landing gears (which also creates a lot of drag).

Now I have to remind that the airline flying is all about money.So a descent earlier than you really want and flying low and slow(means high rpm setting more fuel consumption) all the way to the approach will really upset your fuel usage also.

737 is an airplane which is also famous with not descending and slowing down easily.As a result I always say to new starting FO friends "use everything available to descent when you need to ,even open the window and use your hands to slow down,if you can not to this on a 737 than use your head and plan" accordingly  Smile




Widen your world
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 3, posted (10 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 4768 times:

Really a situational thing, but no, I don't "plan" to use them. I'm not that good a pilot for one thing. What if I planned to use my last-ditch descent tool and misjudged? I'd have to ask for a 360 some time during the descent.

No we "plan" a normal descent which should be power off and "clean" until it is time to configure for landing.

Problem is ATC and other traffic play a large role. Often ATC will not let us descend when we need to and they will get is high. Some times we need to slow down in a hurry because of their sequencing needs. So we keep a tool or two in the box for these things. Speed brakes are a good tool.

I find the Airbus and the 737 were fairly slippery planes and their speed brakes get used quite a bit I'd guess. Another factor for the Airbus is that if the autopilot is engaged you only get half the speed brake deployment that you would get at the same handle position if you were hand flying. On the 'bus I like to use them just for slowing while in level flight. They are quite effective in that mode.

Descending into a quiet small-town airport can be fun if you are able to fly it the way you want. Once on a challenge from another pilot I pulled the throttles back at FL350 and did not touch them again until I went to the landing flap position at the marker. Every other energy management tool was used on the way down and I was able to get a visual approach which allowed me to turn in closer if I was low/slow or wider if I was high/fast. It was really fun.

But most of the time ATC needs some little deviations from the glide profile and that is where speed brakes (or adding power) may come into play.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineWing From Turkey, joined Oct 2000, 1575 posts, RR: 24
Reply 4, posted (10 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 4762 times:

Miamiair
"Do Pilots plan to use them in order to stay at cruise altitude for longer/ or are these particular birds just difficult to slow?"

That doesn't make any sense


Actually 737 is an airplane which is difficult to slow down and descent at the same time(Actually I wrote this on my previous post but you were qiucker to post before me  Smile )


Remember, below 10,000 feet its 250 KIAS or below; and the use of speedbrakes is a necessity

No its not necessary to use speed brakes to slow down to 250 or keep it below 10K.Normally we keep speed of 280 on approach to 10 K and if you reduce speed 1000-1500 feet earlier than 10 you will have 250 at 10000 feet.

Certain airplanes are plain slippery, and unless you are going to start a descent 150 miles away, usually speedbrakes are used.

Again No.Descent planning is usally calculated your altitude times 3.For example if you are flying at 30000 feet times 3,youl have to start 90 NMs before the airport,also add 10 NM to reduce speed its wise to start descent 100 NM away and most probably you'll be OK.But as I said in my first post ATC requests will effect your planning.  Smile Regards. WING



Widen your world
User currently offlineIndianguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (10 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 4710 times:

One pilot once told me that spoilers cannot be used until the speed comes down to below 290-300 knots or so depending on the specific aircraft. So can you really use speedbrakes at cruise altitude and speed?

-Roy


User currently offlineTs-ior From Tunisia, joined Oct 2001, 3492 posts, RR: 6
Reply 6, posted (10 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 4643 times:


I think that some pilots lower landing gears to create an extra drag and then reduce speed...confirm ?


User currently onlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17176 posts, RR: 66
Reply 7, posted (10 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 4591 times:

I don't know about the specific speeds but if you deploy flaps and/or gear above a certain airspeed you may damage them. Don't know about the spoilers but I assume they can be deployed at any speed.


"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlinePhilsquares From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (10 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 4580 times:

The use of speedbrakes isn't planned on in a "normal" descent. On "glass" cockpit aircraft, the FMS/FMGS does the computation for you, you can trick the system into starting down early by telling the computer the engine anti-ice will be on through the whole descent. That will add about 10 miles from a cruise altitude of 350+/-.

The problem is when ATC asks you to go down and slow down. Doing both is somewhat difficult. On the 744, an idle descent is going to produce a descent rate of around 2800fpm while maintaining cruise mach until intercepting 300 kias and then descending at 300kias. However, if ATC asks you to slow to 250 then you really have to shallow your descent rate. At heavy weights, say 290-300 tonnes, the airplane really wants to go fast and it really you might have to use speedbrakes. On the 744 at high IAS the speedbrakes really don't do to much other than shake the whole fuselage. At slower speeds 280 or so, the speedbrakes are much more effective.

Slowing to 250KIAS at 10000 normally starts 1500-2000' prior and generally takes about 10nm if you reduce your descent rate to about 1000fpm.

Personally, I avoid using the gear unless it is absolutely necessary. It's noisy and really adds a lot of drag. I will start to extend the flaps first, assuming I am below FL200. Using Flaps 20 and idle thrust, the VVI will be about 4500-5000fpm descending at 170-180kias.

Hope this helps.


User currently offlineSchooner From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 139 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (10 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 4561 times:

We don`t plan to use spoilers but I invariably end up doing so! Having said that managed not to use them for the first time last night but we had been cleared direct the centre fix 24R at MAN from 140nm so there weren`t any excuses!
Cheers.



Untouched and Alive
User currently offlineLAXinYYZ From Canada, joined Aug 2004, 41 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (10 years 3 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 4443 times:

A little OT, but I was once told by a pilot that spoilers can be part of a union job action. They would have the A/C loaded with extra fuel then use the spoilers to create drag burning the fuel. I am sure that no one will actually admit doing this, but it did sound interesting.

Chris



"Don't trust any statistic that you didn't falsify yourself"
User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31712 posts, RR: 56
Reply 11, posted (10 years 1 week 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 4059 times:

Speed Brakes,Flaps,Landing Gears all have Speed limitations prior to Deployment to avoid Damage.
regds
MEL



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineMandala499 From Indonesia, joined Aug 2001, 6965 posts, RR: 76
Reply 12, posted (10 years 1 week 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 4034 times:

Slowing and descending... Hmmm...

Well, they don't plan to use it... but if it's required to maintain your descent profile, well, it's there for a use, so use it!

AFAIK, there shouldn't a max speed for spoiler deployment (provided you are within the operating speed limits of the aircraft), because, it is also a tool to assist you in emergency descents such as decompression and whatever else that require it... U need to be below FL140 (FL100 recommended) as fast as you can in the event of a decompression. Doing this without spoilers will take AGES to get there...

Now with regards to using spoilers and flaps, limitations exist mainly for controlability issues... I know some who used it beyond a certain flap limit and yes, it dropped like a rock! However, on the 777 there no limitations to spoiler use with flaps... The FBW takes care of it... (when all the computers are working that is)...

Using landing gear for slowing down? Hey I've done it! As long as U're below the gear extension and gear extended speeds, it's OK...

Plan ahead, for comfort, but if things change, use the tools available... safely...

Mandala499



When losing situational awareness, pray Cumulus Granitus isn't nearby !
User currently offlineModesto2 From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 2819 posts, RR: 5
Reply 13, posted (10 years 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 3887 times:

SlamClick, are you saying that Airbus autopilots will automatically deploy spoilers in the descent? Or...moving the spoiler handle with an engaged autopilot will yield a smaller deployment compared to the same input without autopilot? Thanks.

User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 14, posted (10 years 1 week 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 3883 times:

Hey Modesto2 (no transition) the latter. I cannot find it at the moment in the PH but with the autopilot engaged, full flight spoiler selected gives half flight spoiler deployment. During a descent with full flight spoiler you can punch off the autopilot and feel the drag increase and watch the descent rate increase. My PH is not really well written but the IOE instructors and check airmen are sure to point this feature out.

If I run across the text description I'll post a copy.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineMiamiair From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (10 years 1 week 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 3873 times:

In regards to a post above, there is no such thing as FL 140 or FL100. FLs begin at FL180. Below that, it is sixteen or one-six-thousand...not FL160...

User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 16, posted (10 years 1 week 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 3873 times:

Miamiair you are talking about US airspace. That post was from Indonesia. Different rules.

Outside the United States it might not be uncommon to go to 29.92"hg/1013MB (and thus to "flight levels") as soon as you leave the airport traffic pattern. In an hour of flight you might transit the airspace of half a dozen soveriegn countries and never see another aiport or plane.




Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineA346Dude From Canada, joined Nov 2004, 1297 posts, RR: 7
Reply 17, posted (10 years 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 3823 times:

About using the gear to slow down a plane, would the gear normally be retracted once the plane has slowed and/or descended enough, or would it be left down until landing? I suppose it would depend on the distance left until landing?


You know the gear is up and locked when it takes full throttle to taxi to the terminal.
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 18, posted (10 years 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 3825 times:

A346Dude I've only re-retracted the gear a couple of times in a whole career. Takes extraordinary circumstances. Something like maybe there is an emergency in progress somewhere nearby and they need you down and slow five miles ago. Then with a long way left to fly, I'd pull the gear up. As I said, real rare event but certainly one more tool in your bag.

Don't like the way its flying - change something.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineSaab2000 From Switzerland, joined Jun 2001, 1619 posts, RR: 11
Reply 19, posted (10 years 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 3845 times:

Miamiair,

I used to fly in Europe (and hope to go back again) and there each airport has a different transition altitude while climbing and different transition level when descending.

The transition altitude in ZRH (where I used to fly a lot) is 5000 msl. That means that the next altitude is FL60....... so there!

Just kidding. But as Slamclick says, it is different everywhere. Not better, just different.



smrtrthnu
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