In the AA1420 crash in Little Rock, 1 June this year, one of the causes being focussed on in the accident investigation is that the crew forgot to arm the MD82's spoilers before landing in darkness and real rough weather.
Pilots say it may be a real unpleasant surprise if the spoilers are not deployed in a tough landing.
On the MD80, the spoilers, if armed, deploy automatically when the weight is evenly set on main landing gear or the nose gear has touched down, AND the engine thrust is low enough to indicate that a go-around is not in process.
In Little Rock, spoiler failure, or faulty procedure to use them, MAY be one of the causes that a plane was broken up, 86 people were injured and nine died, including the captain who flew the plane at the moment.
MD80 INTERNATIONAL FORUM