BCAL
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Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 7:06 am

Thinking about the BA 747 that temporarily lost all engine power after flying into volcanic ash near Jakarta, and the AirTransat A330-243 that ran out of fuel near the Azores, yet both landed safely (the BA 747 after engine power was restored), I have been wondering if (heaven forbid) the same situation was to happen to an A380. Does the A380 have any Ram Air Turbine and would this provide sufficient amount of hydraulic and electrical power? Could an A380 sustain a glided flight lasting over 10-15 minutes?

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bennett123
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 7:10 am


There was also the Gimli B767, and that was 20 years ago.

It is hard to believe that the designers have not taken this into account.
 
airxliban
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 7:11 am

i guess if the A330 has a ram air turbine then the A380 might as well have one too.

just coz its big doesn't mean that it can't glide after loss of all engine power.

[Edited 2005-01-28 23:14:43]
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SWALoveField
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 7:14 am

I am not an aeronautical engineer and I don't know enough about the A380 to give a technical answer, but it IS called heavy metal for a reason. I seriously doubt it.

God forbid that this happen to any A380.
 
AAgent
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 7:22 am

I'm not an engineer, but I'd bet that if the aircraft were at cruising altitude that it would at the very minimum have several minutes of glide capability. I don't know if she'd be capable of a semi-controlled landing, but it would be an interesting piece of trivia to know the true answer. My gut feeling, drop the nose a little and let her soar! Now where's the nearest stretch of straight pavement?

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gigneil
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 7:47 am

I bet it doesn't have a RAT. The 747 doesn't.

N
 
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BALandorLivery
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 7:56 am

YES, OF COURSE.

The A380 is an aircraft just like any other and the same laws of physics/flight apply.

If all engines were lost, then the aircraft would have to pitch down in order to keep its speed up and maintain best glide speed i.e. begin to glide.

As for its rate of descent while its gliding, thats anybodies guess but I imagine it is high.

Maybe an engineer who knows more about its wing/weight could give us some figures.

BUT TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION, YES IT WOULD BE ABLE TO GLIDE. HOW FAR IT CAN GET IS A DIFFERENT QUESTION.

Regds
 
MidnightMike
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 8:00 am

The A380 has the basic theory of flight & should be able to be glided in for a landing in the event of all four engines failing. If not, then the JAA/FAA would demand that the be a back-up engine be installed in the event that all four engines fail.
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ZBBbird
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 8:00 am

I don't think it will have any problem gliding. It may not give you the longest glide of an airliner, but enough to get down safely. Any aircraft I have flown (not that many) has a listed max. glide speed in the POH, I'm pretty sure the A380 will as well.
 
mtnmanmakalu
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 8:03 am

I think it would drop like the big, fat rock that it is !!!!

Hope it never happens and the odds of it happening are almost nil....
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USAFHummer
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 10:14 am

No, it can't glide, but once all 4 engines flame out, it will do its best Looney Tunes "anvil" impression... Insane

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lnglive1011yyz
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 10:58 am

As if you all think it'll drop right out of the sky?

(I realize USAFHummer that you were joking, however haha)

The airplane has the same fundamentals of any other glidable aircraft.

Obviously you'd want to put the plane down as fast as possible, but it wouldn't just start doing a nose-dive to the ground haha.

If it was *that* heavy, it wouldn't even get off the ground.

(And NO, I don't wnat to hear that "it won't get off the ground..." argument. It'll get off the ground, and it'll fly gracefully too..)

1011yyz
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MD11LuxuryLinr
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 11:05 am

~"No, it can't glide, but once all 4 engines flame out, it will do its best Looney Tunes "anvil" impression... "~

Haha. I'm sure that we ALL know people that think that exact thing about aircraft.. Once all engine power is lost, the aircraft drops like a safe..

Silly people..
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lehpron
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 11:07 am

Yes, like any airplane with a high Lift/drag ratio, it will glide pretty far; multiply the altitude and the ratio and there you go.

The wing of A380 was designed for the larger stretch version (whenever it flies -- as opposed to the 747 which has it's wing and then got revamped over the years), it already has glider capablility well above any other powered machine.

The latter I supposed.  Smile
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nsfguy
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RE: Could An A Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 11:18 am

As the guy who came up with the 380 idea on a paper napkin after doing acid all night with some Apache Indians.... I designed a special "flame out" kit for the plane. It mixes the methane gas from the crappers with an outside RAM air, and blows an enormous torch out the rear apu outlet. This enables the craft to blissfully power up while the dwarf mechanics sleeping in the wings awake and head to the "engine room" to get they' fix on! All the while the happily bungling pax in the mile high rooms never have a clue!
 
B2707SST
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 11:33 am

I remember reading in Tech/Ops that heavier aircraft actually glide better than lighter aircraft, because the increased momentum more than offsets the higher wing loading. The A380 should be able to glide as far as most other large jets, maybe farther due to its mass, low wing loading, and advanced airfoil.

The A380 does have a ram air turbine:

http://www.designnews.com/article/CA455836.html

The 757, 767, and 777 all have ram air turbines, so I'd bet the 787 will as well.

--B2707SST
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cedarjet
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 11:39 am

The A380 will be able to glide for about 30 minutes, covering a distance of 110 miles from a starting point of 35,000 feet. Like many aspects of it's performance with the engines turning, it outperforms the 747 by about 10% in this regard.
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HAWK21M
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 11:59 am

Im sure the RAT would be Installed.Anyone with Inside Details.
regds
MEL
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pictues
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 12:00 pm

I've also heard people say, prior to the Air Transat A330, that the A#30/A340 could not glide, lucky for those passangers that they were wrong. The only way to tell is if it happens and of course we don't want that.
 
concord977
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 12:22 pm

According to an A380 article that appeared in Aviation Week in 2002, this aircraft is supposed to have a 10.6 to 1.0 glide ratio.

For every mile above ground in altitude, the A380 should be able to glide 10.6 miles forward.

I'm not an engineer either - just reporting what I read.
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gigneil
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 12:46 pm

The A380 does have a ram air turbine

Very interesting, thanks for that article.

The Azores really must have taught Airbus a lesson.

N
 
Super Em
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 2:13 pm

Are people on this site "player hating" on the A380? Give Airbus a break. They built a magnificent piece of machinery. It's their time to shine and enjoy their 15 minutes of fame. Someone always seem to find a fault about the A380. It seems like alot of people here want it to fail. This could only mean one thing: The Boeing fans are scared.
 
MD-90
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 2:17 pm

Of course it can glide, but what about hydraulic power? You're pretty much screwed if you have a complete powerplant failure on the 747.
 
Spaceman
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 3:08 pm

Yes, or if airbus engineers were caught dead or jerking off on the job.
 
Boeing7E7
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 3:50 pm

YES, OF COURSE.

The A380 is an aircraft just like any other and the same laws of physics/flight apply.


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daedaeg
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 4:19 pm

Yes it will be able to glide just like any other jetliner. It's weight and size only factor into the distance of gliding, but it still acts as an airplane even when the engines are disengaged. It will continue to fly at an optimum gliding speed probably descending at 2500 -3000 feet per minute.
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optionscle
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 5:11 pm

Please!!

Sure it's heavy, but the plane has a wing and an air resistance profile that support flight at nearly the same speeds as other jets. If all engines were to fail that same wing and the A380's inertia could support glide. Not sure of the specifics but someone mentioned 10.6 to 1.

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iwok
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 5:16 pm

Concord977 and CedarJet. You speak the truth. Glide ratio tells the whole story.

I could not find anything on the A380, but the 747 glide ratio is about 15. However, in order to achieve this ratio, the air speed must be maintained around 130kt.

Hence if you are cruising at 30,000ft, you would be able to glide for.. let see 30,000 x 15 = 450,000ft (neglecting of course the head or tail wind). This translates into 85miles (137km.)

http://hjem.get2net.dk/helmuth/data-diff.html

"According to an A380 article that appeared in Aviation Week in 2002, this aircraft is supposed to have a 10.6"

I would have expected the glide ratio to be higher for the A380. Since the article is relatively old, maybe the full systems analysis and CFD/windtunnel testing were not complete. Clearly, the A380 will have a decent glide ratio, at least greater than 10. The intersting thing is that the the weight of the plane has no bearing on how far you will glide, but how fast you will glide. hence a heavier plane will get down faster than a lighter plane, but will fly the same distance as the lighter plane, assuming they have the same glide ratio.
 
jacobin777
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 5:21 pm

it maybe be a ****(ass)ugly looking plane, but with such a monsterous wing span, it should be able to glide down........those wings have MASSIVE surface area to keep the plane's lift ...just as long as the plane is flying at a certain velocity (even if accleration = 0)..........hower, if the plane breaks apart, or goes nose down, or LOSES velocity (acceleration < 0), then the plane will be falling very rapidly.....

the plane might be fugly, but it will follow the basic laws of physics
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aer lingus
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 6:39 pm

According to my way of thinking. If all the engines fail on the A380 it will drop like a rock. The wing I think is too thick to glide without engines. If the wing is thick it would create less air flow to keep the aircraft in the air. The Air Transat A330 has very thin wings so it managed to stay up in the air without engines operating for about 30 minutes.
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schooner
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 8:22 pm

Well seeing as an ideal descent in an airliner involves the engines coming to idle at top of descent and only coming back up at about 1000` to stabilise for the approach then the answer is yes, of course it will glide. Yes, I do appreciate that with engines running there is residual thrust at idle so the glide distance would be less if the engines were genuinely kaput but the thing WILL glide! Air Lingus, what......?!?

As an aside I seem to remember one of my gliding mates saying that the reason gliders carry ballast is to increase the gliding speed, it does not actually effect the glide profile, just the rate at which the glider descends although I stand to be corrected on this point.

Cheers.
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trent900
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 8:28 pm

Apparently after the BA 747 volcanic ash incident the captain did say that the 747 did not glide as well as he thought it would, but with todays wing designs I should think aircraft glide much better now then how they used to 20 years back.
 
Alessandro
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 8:31 pm

Glide ratio, must be affected by a lot of things, how much fuel onboard, the airflow throu the engines, the weight of the cargo and how balanced it is
(CG), weather also, tail- or headwind, if landing-gear is out or not.
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av757
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 10:01 pm

All airplanes glide, specially when you consider that in normal flight conditions the descent from their cruise altitude is done power off at idle thrust to maximize fuel economy.

AV757
 
StanstedFlyer
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 10:19 pm

I don't think gliding from FL 350 is the issue! I think more of an issue would be engine failure on takeoff at or near v2. You would get some sweaty palms up front at that point. But then the same principles apply to all aircraft.
After all, that's why they gave this beast 4 engines.
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Richard28
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 11:28 pm

IIRC the A380 has a slower approach speed than the B744 - it needs this to meet the noise emission standards.

Assuming this is the case, then the A380 should have a lower stall speed, thus be a more capable glider than the B744?

The answer then should be, that it could glide with no problem whatsoever.
 
bar032
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 11:36 pm

All aircraft MUST be able to glide, PERIOD! Even when engine power is lost, through a RAT.
When in a descent, the engine power is usually lowered to the extent that the altitude loss itself generates more thrust forwards than the engines do.

/BAR032
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ltbewr
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 11:41 pm

Another issue is the amount of control a pilot would have in a engines out glide situation. The 'Gimgi glider' was over 22 years ago, in a previous generation and much smaller aircraft as well as having the luck of a pilot who recalled a former RCAF base within distance of their glide range. With today's electronic 'fly by wire' systems and the particular systems on Airbus a/c, how much control could there be available to the pilots to max the glide distance and bring the a/c down safely to an available airport? Another issue is not all large airports can handle the A380.
 
milan320
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 11:53 pm

Gigneil: Very interesting, thanks for that article.
The Azores really must have taught Airbus a lesson.


And what lesson would that be? It wasn't Airbus fault but rather the mechanics fault for installing an incorrect part in the engines. If anything it shows you that at least the A330 is one hell of a plane. The Azores Glider (as I like to call it) was the longest glide ever by a commercial plane. Now that's something!!!!

/Milan320
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APFPilot1985
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 11:54 pm

Couple of things, BAR032 the RAT has nothing to do with the gliding part of engines out.
Second thing Aer Lingus are you serious or were you just joking? Any wing will provide some amount of lift as long as there is airflow over it, the plane will still have foreward momentum and will glide quite aways. Pitching for Best Glide speed and then decending to a suitable landing site is one of the first things that every pilot learns
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pilotpip
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sat Jan 29, 2005 11:58 pm

It's not about how fat the wing is, or how heavy the aircraft is. The only thing a powerplant does in regards to making the aircraft come off the ground is provide the forward motion to move air over the wings and create lift. As long as the aircraft is moving, it will generate lift. It's not going to fall out of the sky like a rock as so many seem to think. The thickness of the wing has nothing to do with it. While it may have a huge chord, it's only proportional to the size of the aircraft. When engines fail, all aircraft become gliders. They may not be very efficient at this task but fall like a brick they will not.

All fly by wire aircraft have a ram air turbine to provide standby emergency power because without electricity the controls won't move.

[Edited 2005-01-29 16:12:00]
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SMcC
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sun Jan 30, 2005 12:07 am

It is interesting to see the gaps in aviation knowledge in this thread. Many actually know what a ram air turbine is, but something as fundamental as gliding is a mystery.
 
APFPilot1985
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sun Jan 30, 2005 12:12 am

SMcC,
i think that is the result of people seeing pictures and the like of aircraft with the RAT Deployed and asking what is.
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delta-flyer
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sun Jan 30, 2005 12:44 am

Allow me to try to fill at least some of the "gap" to which SMcC refers.

The RAT only helps a plane glide to the extent that it provides power to the avionics and flight controls, but it does not actually provide power for the plane to fly. A fly-by-wire aircraft requires powered flight controls because there is no mechanical link from the cockpit to the control surfaces - even if there were, the forces required to control such a large aircraft would require at least 2 Chewbaccas in the cockpit, and some very stout cables, pulleys and bellcranks.



Folks who said that the A380 will glide like any other aircraft are absolutely correct. The A380 obeys all the laws of physics, just like any other aircraft. The key parameters that determine glide capability are lift/drag ratio, and the wing loading (aircraft weight divided by wing area).

Cheers
Pete
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MD88Captain
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sun Jan 30, 2005 1:06 am

A Ram Air Turbine (RAT) is a little motor with a prop on it that will drop into the slipstream automatically or manually. The slipstream of the aircraft turns the prop which turns the motor. The motor will supply hydraulics and sometimes electricity. Hydraulics will allow the control surfaces to be moved and the electricity will supply basic instruments until the APU can be started. The RAT will normally drop when it senses something like a loss of power on the main busses (signifying loss of all engines). Or a button can be pushed to manually drop it. It cannot be retracted until on the ground. Many pilots have screwed something up (like depowering an electrical system) which resulted in the RAT being dropped needlessly. Most of the RAT equipped aircraft I've flown have a minimun speed (135 kts +or- 5kts) below which the RAT will not provide enough hydraulic pressure. Interestingly the RAT on the MD11 was high enough where it couldn't hit you in the head if it were deployed on the ground. The Boeing aircraft have the RAT near the gear doors but it deploys slowly. The L1011 was deployed by a big spring. If you were standing under it when it was deployed you'd never have a chance. Like a RAT trap it would spring open in an instance. I never stand under any RAT because of my L1011 training.

As for gliding: if it is an airplane it can glide. Here is a little known fact. We can and do get cleared for a visual at a high altitude, pull the throttles to idle, and glide all the way to the threshold in BIG airplanes like 767's. It's fun to see if you can do it and the old timers used to try to do it often. I recommend pushing the engines up close in, but the point is that we glide the airliners often.
 
bazzaldonbond
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sun Jan 30, 2005 1:07 am

What a stupid question.What did you think it was loaded with lead and was designed that when the engines stopped the plane would just plummet.
 
B777fan
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sun Jan 30, 2005 1:42 am

MD88Captain,

Thanks for your great description of the RAT trap on the L1011.

Ever hear of it accidentally deploying on the ground? That would be quite exciting for the ground crew.

A friendly poke in the ribs to some of the rest of you on this thread, I thought we all knew a little something about airplanes on this forum.
 
Trijetman
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sun Jan 30, 2005 1:50 am

Thanks to all of you who made a qualified point here, to explain that airliners don't just drop like a stone if all the engines are out.

How come there's always one or two who come up with a point that the Airbus engineers may have forgot to think about...

Couldn't they speak out while the A380 was still on the drawing board to warn Airbus? It's too late now and, if it ever gets of the ground, it will probably not fly well in many everyday situations and may even just drop from the sky...


 Wink/being sarcastic (I know it's not nice to be sarcastic, sorry!)

Many, many safe and enjoyable flights to all of you, in all sorts of airplanes!

 
bar032
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sun Jan 30, 2005 2:13 am

Couple of things, BAR032 the RAT has nothing to do with the gliding part of engines out.

What I meant was that a RAT generates power for the flight controls and the avionics system. In my mind it doesn't matter whether you can glide or not, if you can't fly the a/c. A super-stall or a high-speed dive is as bad as not being able to glide (if that was possible)...

/BAR032
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Adria
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RE: Could An A380 Glide After Loss Of All Engine Power

Sun Jan 30, 2005 2:38 am

"The Azores really must have taught Airbus a lesson."..........read the report before you blame someone!!

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