concord977
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WN 737-700 Hard Landing

Sat Mar 13, 2004 1:09 pm

Last night I flew from MHT to BWI on a WN 737-700.

I have been a 200,000 mile-per-year flyer for many years, and have even been involved in a few incidents. The point is that it takes a lot to surprise me.

But yesterday had to be the hardest landing I have ever experienced.

I was seated in the last row in a window seat on the left side. There is no window immediately beside the seat, but a 2nd one is about 14" forward. If you lean forward and sort of hunch over, you can see what's going on.

That is exactly what I was doing when we came over the threshold WAY too fast and it felt as if the pilot mis-judged the altitude by 20-30 feet and flew the plane into the runway.

Other people on the plane were sort saying "we're too fast" and "what's he doing?". When we hit the pavement, several people let out a brief yell.

Today, every muscle in my body is sore.

Anyone have any comments?
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American 767
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RE: WN 737-700 Hard Landing

Sat Mar 13, 2004 1:27 pm

Do you think the aircraft touched down on the three wheels at the same time without pitching up like it would do seconds before touchdown? I don't know if all gears touched the ground at the same time but the pilot certainly didn't raise the nose enough to slow down to final approach speed. Well of course he or she didn't have to raise it at a point to stall the aircraft but according to what I understand he or she didn't slow down enough, in other words the engines generated still too much power on short final. The pilot must have requested a visual approach because I don't see how a pilot would misjudge an altitude while paying attention to the glide slope on the ILS. Of course you as pilot in command are allowed to request ATC a visual, but it's your responsibility to judge your rate of descent visually.

Ben Soriano
Ben Soriano
 
Mr.BA
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RE: WN 737-700 Hard Landing

Sat Mar 13, 2004 1:37 pm

I would like to point out that you don't depend on flare to reduce your speed. Flaring doesn't decrease much of your airspeed. In most cases you will end up 'floating' over the runway if you attempt to flare more to reduce your speed should it be a little to high.

The purpose of flaring is to reduce the descent rate just before touchdown. And there is no fixed figure for how much you should flare. It depends on your speed. If you are a little too fast, you would tend to flare less and more if you are a little too slow.

I think in jets, pilots are assisted by the aircraft's computers which would call out "100" for example when you're passing a hundred feet then gradually "50" "40" "30" "20" "10" when nearing the ground.

Cheers!
Boeing747 万岁!
 
concord977
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RE: WN 737-700 Hard Landing

Sat Mar 13, 2004 2:07 pm

Although we made this landing extremely fast, we did land on the mains first and then he lowered the nose. It was not a flat (three-point) landing.

But there was definitely no "ground effect" which normally provides that cushion feeling just before touchdown.

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coa764
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RE: WN 737-700 Hard Landing

Sat Mar 13, 2004 2:38 pm

I have been in the jumpseat on LUV and felt the landing. I don't know if it is the short hops and frequent landings or the smaller fields they service but they are the only airline I have flown that has, more than once, touched down so hard bins pop open.
Please oh please Mr Moderator Nazi, dont delete my thread.
 
jutes85
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RE: WN 737-700 Hard Landing

Sat Mar 13, 2004 2:53 pm

That's what makes flying so fun.  Big thumbs up
nothing
 
ANA777Master
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RE: WN 737-700 Hard Landing

Sat Mar 13, 2004 3:47 pm

I once was flying into DCA on CO on a 767. I was half asleep when we violently slammed down on the runway. Halfway dazed, I looked out the window and could swear that the plane was in the initial stage of a cartwheel. It really freaked me out. Its amazing how much abuse these planes will take.
 
concord977
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RE: WN 737-700 Hard Landing

Sat Mar 13, 2004 3:51 pm

ANA777Master,

CO flew 767's into DCA ??? Or maybe this was a typo?

This sounds very unusual!
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coa764
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RE: WN 737-700 Hard Landing

Sat Mar 13, 2004 4:02 pm

COA only Begin the 767 program a few years ago and, as far as I know, the aircraft was never flown to DCA but hey , I could be wrong.

[Edited 2004-03-13 08:06:36]
Please oh please Mr Moderator Nazi, dont delete my thread.
 
Mr.BA
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RE: WN 737-700 Hard Landing

Sat Mar 13, 2004 6:36 pm

In this case maybe it's just one of the 'not so good' landings by the pilot... no one can land perfectly all the time I guess?  Smile

Cheers.
Boeing747 万岁!
 
GE
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RE: WN 737-700 Hard Landing

Sat Mar 13, 2004 6:49 pm

Hi Concord977:
Well if it seemed to you like the pilot was coming in very fast then he could possibly be landing in a tailwind, which explains why the landing was 'harder' than those you normally experience. Pilots tend to put the plane down firmer on the runway when coming in faster so as to not take up so much runway on landing and reduce the tendency of 'floating' while flaring.
As you describe that you didn't feel much of a 'ground effect', the flare was probably quite subtle to land the plane firmly.
Hope this helps!

Regards,
Russell
 
Mr.BA
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RE: WN 737-700 Hard Landing

Sat Mar 13, 2004 7:22 pm

Very high possibility of the tailwind factor which GE has pointed out. Fancy that not crossing my mind!
Boeing747 万岁!
 
goboeing
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RE: WN 737-700 Hard Landing

Sun Mar 14, 2004 1:18 am

What's really cool is that I know someone who was on this flight if it was the 8PM one. Was it? A kid in a baseball hat, if you noticed. I'm flying MHT to BWI tonight, it's really windy right now at MHT, I just did my instrument rating checkride into there.  Big grin

Nick
 
flyingbronco05
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RE: WN 737-700 Hard Landing

Sun Mar 14, 2004 1:39 am

Southwest is known for doing odd aproaches. They have a habit of staying high for as long as possible to save fuel then "dive" for the runway. We had a hard landing on our flight from MDW-HOU.

That's why I love Southwest though Laugh out loud

FB05
Never Trust Your Fuel Gauge
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: WN 737-700 Hard Landing

Sun Mar 14, 2004 2:00 am

Speed of approach is sort of hard to judge looking out of the side with no instruments.

As for the bump, there may have been a downdraft at the last minute. This happened to me with a 738 at lovely Santorini. For those of you not familiar, there is a large hill/small mountain (several hundred meters high) just left of the runway end. Combined with the steep drop-off to the sea on the right, and the fact that the hill stands alone, this creates some very nice bumps in the last 20 seconds. Our approach was bumpy but nominal until we fell down the last couple of meters. My back was in pain well into the next day. Ouch.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
OPNLguy
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RE: WN 737-700 Hard Landing

Sun Mar 14, 2004 2:17 am

>>>Speed of approach is sort of hard to judge looking out of the side with no instruments.

You beat me to it...  Big grin With all due respect, unless one somehow has an airspeed indicator and IVSI with them at their seat, the observations are subjective. They may have "felt" they were going faster than normal, but where they landing with a tailwind? Crosswinds? Where they landing with flaps-15, or 30 or 40? All of these are potential variables that may have contributed to the sensation of going faster than "normal". And maybe ther were going faster, but it may have been for a reason, but still a safe/legal operation.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
DutchFlyer
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RE: WN 737-700 Hard Landing

Sun Mar 14, 2004 2:29 am

A sudden gust of tailwind
Headwind dropping 10 kts
A heavier plane as usual
Wind direction changing

All can influence the final stages of the flight. Resulting in a harder than usual landing.

Was the runway wet? If so a plane is put a bit harder on the ground.

finally: the plane continued to taxi to the gate. Nothing happened. A hard landing is only in the mind of the beholder.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: WN 737-700 Hard Landing

Sun Mar 14, 2004 2:39 am

And in his back, sometimes  Big grin But the plane can take more than my vertebrae...
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
concord977
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RE: WN 737-700 Hard Landing

Sun Mar 14, 2004 3:28 am

Goboeing,

It was the 3:10pm departure, which actually left at 3:33pm.

Starlionblue / OPNLGuy,

You're correct to say that exact speed is hard to determine simply by looking out of the window. However, as a frequent-flyer with over 2,000,000 miles under my belt and as a private pilot, and as a lifelong enthusiast - I do believe I was accurate to say this landing was very fast.

Many other people on the plane (of far less experience) felt that something was wrong, too. I think it takes a lot to get a group of people's attention - and this landing surely did.

FlyingBronco05,

I had forgotten about the dramatic approaches that WN is known for. I lived in Dallas for 15 years and used to see WN 737's over the intersection of I-35 and I-635, and then they nosed down into DAL. Quite fun to watch.

In all my years of flying, I have only been on WN about 4 times. It is definitely different: fast gate turnaround, fast taxi, fast takeoffs, etc.
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fspilot747
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RE: WN 737-700 Hard Landing

Sun Mar 14, 2004 3:53 am

"with over 2,000,000 miles under my belt and as a private pilot, and as a lifelong enthusiast"

I'm a pilot, but I can't judge speed in an airliner in a backseat. I don't see how that makes a difference. 2,000.000 miles is impressive, but still doesn't give you that 6th sense.

You can never judge airspeed by sitting in your seat. Groudspeed on takeoff....you might be able to differentiate between overly fast and normal..maybe. If you had a tailwind, that may have definitely "felt" faster than normal on landing, but the airspeed may have been well within normal limits. It's a groundspeed vs. airspeed thing. You're groundspeed sense starts to pick up when you're close to ground (like on landing).

Methings its a tailwind. If the tailwind was strong enough for you and others to say "wow this is fast," then I'd say the pilots did a splendid job of getting her down with just a bump. I've seen worse.

Hope that makes any sense.

FSP
 
Silver1SWA
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RE: WN 737-700 Hard Landing

Sun Mar 14, 2004 9:18 am

As stated above, Soutwest pilots sometimes come off as "hot shots" with their landing and taxi techniques. I fly Southwest often and I usually make an attempt to talk to the crew before or after each flight and I have talked to a few of them about the differences among the 737 variants in their fleet. Every pilot I have spoken to that flies the 737-700 will compare it to the other variants by saying its a bit rougher on landing. It tends to "stick" or "hit harder" according to them, and takes a bit more effort to bring down gently. Maybe that had something to do with your experience.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
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RE: WN 737-700 Hard Landing

Sun Mar 14, 2004 9:48 am

Hey Goboeing,

I might be interviewing for a CFI job at DWC. We'll see what happens. Congrats on the instrument rating.

'Speed
 
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Bruce
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Re: 737 Hard Landing

Wed Mar 17, 2004 3:21 pm

If YOU thought the landing was hard then what do you think it was for the landing gear! All the force of hitting the runway has been a little cushioned by the seat, floor, etc but man, it must be major stress on those struts. And don't forget the fuselage which is essentially riveted together.

Like someone else said, it is amazing what these aircraft can take.
Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
 
JBirdAV8r
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RE: WN 737-700 Hard Landing

Thu Mar 18, 2004 6:22 am

FlyingBronco05 says:

They have a habit of staying high for as long as possible to save fuel then "dive" for the runway. We had a hard landing on our flight from MDW-HOU.

I don't see how what you're describing would result in a hard landing. I mean, yes, it's cost effective (and noise-reducing) to begin the approach to an aiport high and then make a continual descent instead of, say, leveling off periodically. I don't see nor think, though, that they would make a "slam-dunk" style final approach resulting in a hard landing. I have had many an airline "firm" landing in the rain--with audible grunts from passengers and even flight attendants. Would you rather the PF try to "grease" the aircraft on a 7500' rain-slicked runway? Heck no.

Concord977,

However, as a frequent-flyer with over 2,000,000 miles under my belt and as a private pilot, and as a lifelong enthusiast - I do believe I was accurate to say this landing was very fast.

I'm sorry, but these "qualifications" (flying light single piston-engine aircraft in fair weather) still give you no range to place judgement a landing from the passenger cabin with no experience flying the type of aircraft. Approach speeds for larger aircraft vary mich more widely, anyway, depending on conditions that you do not have to worry about as a "private" pilot.

If you feel you must write your complaint letter, well, go ahead, that's fine. But leave the criticism to the check airmen, okay?  Big grin
I got my head checked--by a jumbo jet

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