I have the pleasure of training RJ
100/146 pilots to operate at London City/LCY
with its 1199 meter runway. Don't have any performance manuals with me, so from memory - no landing weight restriction, although there will be for take-off.
The aircraft has to be configured flap 24 (settings are 0, 18, 24, 30 which is not routinely used, and 33) and gear down in level flight before descending on the glideslope. A dot and a half before the glideslope, i.e. just about to nose over, flap 33 is selected and airbrake extended.
The speed flown is exactly that for a "normal" approach, as mentioned in previous replies, except we would only add a max of 5 knots for gusts, as opposed to the normal 10.
If you can find a photo of the approach at LCY
, note the white lights in the runway approx 1/4 of the way down, at the end of the touchdown zone markings. The deal is that if you're not on the ground by then a go-around is mandatory.
In practice, at "average" weight, we can stop with reasonable braking in what seems like half the runway, but in the simulator, programming max weight and a wet runway teaches the trainees that touching down even slightly past the lights is going to be embarrassing. Standing on the brakes stops you about an aircraft's length from the other end.
A few years ago another operator ran one off the end when the co-pilot instinctively used the procedure from his previous aircraft, (called reverting to type), and pushed the control column forward of neutral. Standard for some aircraft, on the 146 this reduces the weight on the main gear. Braking was reduced and it luckily stopped before going into the water. I suspect there were more contributing factors in that incident though, as there are substantial safety margins built in to the procedures.
The glideslope angle at LCY
is 5.5 degrees. The 146/RJ is capable of 6.0. Normal is 3.0. LCY
was 7.5 when it opened, only DHC Dash 7s could do it.
Crosswind limit for LCY
is 25 knots, normally its 35. Tailwind limit is zero, normally its 15. We fly the approaches manually or automatically, auto or manual throttle, visually or on the ILS (PAPI lights replicate the ILS glideslope) depending on experience level, weather, workload and serviceability of the ILS or auto throttle.
On three engines we'd divert. The 146/RJ isn't certified for a three engined take-off at LCY
. I'm not surprised. All stopping aids must be serviceable (Spoilers, anti-skid, air brake). If used, autopilot must be disengaged by 160 feet. We select Steep Approach mode on the GPWS to de-sensitise it. Otherwise it would be calling "SINK RATE" as we approached the ground.
Autoland isn't an option! Usually ours are Cat 3B capable, 150 meters vis and 50 feet Decision. Hey, we're in Europe - meters and feet!
Trying to grease it on, as most of us instinctively try to do all the time unless the weather dictates otherwise, takes second place to getting it down before the white lights. One has to adopt a carrier landing philosophy, but after a few tries pleasant landings are easy. The 146 was designed for rough strips and abuse so has very accommodating landing gear. You have to try really hard to bounce one, and greasers are easy.
Its over a month till I'm next in there for real, I'll have to make do with a couple of simulator visits between now and then. That'll be it, as I'm scheduled for a 737 course shortly after. Since ours aren't new generation, its a bit of a sideways step at best. They're a bit primitive compared to the RJ
, which I'll miss, apart from its unreliable APUs!
Short take-offs on other types I've seen - took off (in the jumpseat) at Cape Town from the half way point in a 747-300 bound for Jo'burg. Pitch angle was about 20 degrees.
In case anyone remembers the old Singapore Airport at Paya Lebar, DC-10-30s bound for Jakarta (1 1/2 hours away) started on 02 and were airborne abeam the terminal. Can't remember the distances involved, but it was impressive.
But as said previously, anything will be impressive if its lightly loaded, particularly a long haul type, with such a high proportion of its max weight taken up by fuel.
Regards - Musang