Topic Author
Posts: 448
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 1999 12:01 pm

Odd Landing At MCO

Tue Sep 19, 2000 6:07 am

This afternoon I was on a Delta 767-300 from Atlanta to Orlando. I am not sure if we experienced what could be technically called an emergency landing, but all of the emergency equipment was waiting for us as we touched down.

The flight actually left Atlanta two minutes early and was ahead of schedule. As the lead flight attendant told us that we have been cleared to land, we were all ready to get to MCO a few minutes early.

But it was odd because it seemed as if we were not descending. We circled for about 25 minutes before quickly descending. I thought that something was wrong because I have never had any delays into Orlando before (and I live there.) I figured that we were circling to get rid of excess fuel or because the pilots were trying to solve a problem.

We came in for the landing faster than I have usually experienced. As we touched down, we noticed several emergency vehicles waiting for us. Our landing took the entire runway. We then simply stopped as the emerengu equipment rushed towards us.

The pilot then came on the itercom and explained what had happened. We experienced an "alternate flap landing." A hydrolic problem was to blame. Once the plane came to a stop, the emergency crews surrounded the plane and checked it out. The plane was now powered down and we had to wait about 15 minutes for a tow to lead us to our gate.

I would like to praise Delta for their handling of the situation. As I mentioned, we were on par for an early arrival. But because we kept circling and because of the ground delay and slow tow to the gate, we deboarded the plane fifty minutes late. While we were waiting, the pilot came on the intercome several times and apologized, thanked us for our patience, and explained what the problem was (in laymans terms.) His constant explanations impressed most of us passengers. Even though we were nearly an hour late and had to sit on a hot airplane for an extended period of time, as we left everyone thanked the pilot. Delta agents were apologizing and handing out comment cards. The 767 was about 90% full, and yet I heard no complaints. To the contrary, the pilot's updates and genuiness impressed everyone.

It was an interesting flight, but it was handled extremely well. They did not, however, ask us to get into crash position. In fact, the pilot never explained what was going on until after we landed.

The plane was scheduled to depart back to ATL about 45 minutes later, so what was Delta going to do about that flight?

Posts: 1059
Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 4:41 am

RE: Odd Landing At MCO

Tue Sep 19, 2000 6:42 am

Notifying the passengers was probably the last thing on the pilots mind at that moment. Hydraulic problems can lead to more serious things in an aircraft, but probably not the 767. Delta pilots are usually praised for how they handle emergency situations. A few years back Larry King's Boeing 757 Flight lost an engine in mid-flight. The pilot explained what had happened and that they could continue on to their destination, but instead he had chosen to divert. Larry King expressed his thanks as well as told everyone how professional everyone was.

As for the other flight. Delta usually has a 777. 767, or L-1011 standing by in Orlando that can be flown anywhere in Florida in case of a situation like this. Nowadays it is usually a 767 since the L-1011s are being retired and the 777s are prime property at the airline and rarely are unspoken for.

RE: Odd Landing At MCO

Tue Sep 19, 2000 7:53 am

Sounds like the crew lost the "center" hydraulic system. The 767 has 3 hydraulic systems (left, center and right) but only needs one to operate safely.

The center system controls the flaps/slats among other things. If this system is lost then the crew uses an alternate system which uses small electric motors to drive the Flaps/slats. The speed at which the flaps/slats extend is reduced substantially and extra time is needed to get them set in place. It can take up to 2-3 minutes to get the flaps to 20 degrees. This is slow compared to normal hydraulic power.

If it was a center hydraulic system failure, the crew would also have to lower the gear using the alternate system. In this case the landing gear doors would have remained down after the gear was extended.
Did you notice that?

The extra 25 min of flying around was due to the crew going through several checklist including the hyd failure checklist, alternate flap checklist, and alternate gear extension checklist as well as normal checklist. They also had to allow extra time to lower the flaps and slats.

The faster speed on the approach is due to the fact that a lessor flap setting (20 degrees vs. 30 degrees) is used with a center system failure. This has to do with go-around performance criteria and the fact you've got small, SLOOOW electric motors driving the flaps.

Sounds like the crew did well!

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