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Hard Landings, USA Vs Europe.

Sun Mar 30, 2003 8:13 am

hello, i'm on a trip to Norfolk:va via Atlanta from Amsterdam, the netherlands.
i'm flying with delta and on the inbound flight at atlanta and the one inbound norfolk int I got the impression that Delta (or i think: american carriers) land or approach with a very high rate of descent.
it can be us airport approach policy, but does any one else think in america landings go down with a higher rate of descent?

greets Lars from Eham
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RE: Hard Landings, USA Vs Europe.

Sun Mar 30, 2003 9:49 am

Some may. At one time years back airlines began expirementing with a high rate of descent to conserve as much fuel as possible due to high prices. I had a friend who flew MD-80's and asked him the same question. Plus most like to get from point A to point B the fastest way possible and try and avoid as many level offs as possible. I have not noticed it as much lately though. On the other hand there are many other factors and procedures that may affect the descent for that particular airport.
Propeller, we don't need no stinkin propeller
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RE: Hard Landings, USA Vs Europe.

Sun Mar 30, 2003 9:54 am

The standard rate of descent, USA or Europe, is a 3 degree glideslope.
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RE: Hard Landings, USA Vs Europe.

Sun Mar 30, 2003 2:21 pm

As a pilot (but not for an airline) my guess is that it's just coincidence.
I got my head checked--by a jumbo jet
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RE: Hard Landings, USA Vs Europe.

Sun Mar 30, 2003 6:22 pm

MD88captain is right. The 3° descent profile is what we strive for here in Europe as well. Basically, you try to know your track miles to touchdown, mulitply by 3, add the field elevation and you have the altitude you should have at any given point in descent. The rate of descent then is based on ground speed. We descend then with a rate equal to ground speed divided by 2. For example, if the ground speed is 400 knots, you descend with 2000 fpm. This sounds complicated but it is not in practice. You request descent based on altitude. For example, if I am cruising at FL310 I will multiply that by 3 and get 93. So between 100 and 90 miles out I will request descent.

But the fact is that normally the controllers know this too and they tell you when to descend and sometimes they even specify the rate of descent. This makes the descent planning pretty simple.  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
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RE: Hard Landings, USA Vs Europe.

Sun Mar 30, 2003 9:43 pm

It can also vary according to local topography; some airports - such as Salzburg and (notably) London City - require steeper descent rates.

Personally, I much prefer a curved, complicated approach to the standard straight in . . . no surprise in the name I chose, then!