ContinentalGuy
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Nose Dive!

Thu Jun 15, 2006 9:34 am

I was on Continental flight 228 from Newark to Denver on a B737-800. I noticed that we were still at a high altitude while very close to denver. All of a sudden the plane went into atimid nose dive. But noticeable enough that everybody panicked and the flight attendants ran to their seats while collecting garbage. Is this normal or was this an isolated incident?
 
Asturias
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RE: Nose Dive!

Thu Jun 15, 2006 9:45 am

Strangely, I have had the exact same experience. It was a night-flight in very good weather and good visibility. I noticed that according to the ETA we should have already arrived and then the plane begins a steep nose-dive, making a sound like a WWII fighter in the movies!  Wow!

This was on an F-50. Then after a seemingly long long time in a 30°+ descent the plane levels, takes a tight 180° and lands smoothly.

This was never explained by the crew, but the pax were quite concerned while we were diving. Even I wasn't sure what was happening. I had flown a zillion times the same route and never experienced this kind of approach.

Maybe the pilot suddenly realized he had a cake in the oven?

cheers

Asturias
Tonight we fly
 
jhooper
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RE: Nose Dive!

Thu Jun 15, 2006 9:58 am

probably nothing to worry about. What do you mean by "nosedive"? Surely the nose wasn't pointed straight at the ground. The pilot probably was high an had an altitude restriction to meet.
Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
 
nopeotone
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RE: Nose Dive!

Thu Jun 15, 2006 10:03 am

I've experienced the exact same thing. It was early morning and we were going to land in a few minutes. Looking out the window, I saw a plane coming in also for the parallel runway. Except he was MUCH lower than our flight, but I could Identify it was a UAX plane. Then we start decending rapidly. Not a full out nose dive, but your upperbody fell forward. THe plane made a loud and obnoxious noise, the flight attendants ran to their seats, some people screamed, and then about a minute later we were down where the other plane was. And landed a head of it on a different runway.
 
SkyexRamper
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RE: Nose Dive!

Thu Jun 15, 2006 10:30 am

A few things could have happened. One thought comes to mind, avoiding other traffic or ATC was sleeping and forgot about you guys and the crew had to slam dunk it into DEN.
Good Luck to all Skyway Pilots! It's been great working with you!
 
DCrawley
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RE: Nose Dive!

Thu Jun 15, 2006 12:22 pm

Quoting Asturias (Reply 1):
30°+ descent

Just out of curiousity friend, how you could tell it was over 30 degrees?
"Weather at our destination is 50 degrees with some broken clouds, but they'll try to have them fixed before we arrive."
 
CRGsFuture
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RE: Nose Dive!

Thu Jun 15, 2006 12:37 pm

Yea especially if the average normal decent angle is 3 degrees. Maybe 15?
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N766UA
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RE: Nose Dive!

Thu Jun 15, 2006 12:46 pm

Quoting Dcrawley (Reply 5):
Just out of curiousity friend, how you could tell it was over 30 degrees?

LOL no kidding, 30 degrees nose down is extreme in an airliner.
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Asturias
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RE: Nose Dive!

Thu Jun 15, 2006 12:52 pm

Quoting Dcrawley (Reply 5):
Just out of curiousity friend, how you could tell it was over 30 degrees?

Because I held a flask of water on the armrest. It was a very steep and a very fast descent. Less than 45°, but not that much less.. I had to push myself back so my torso wouldn't slump forward on the seat in front.

This was in an F-50, not a B747. Still, very memorable.

cheers

Asturias
Tonight we fly
 
DLKAPA
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RE: Nose Dive!

Thu Jun 15, 2006 12:53 pm

Quoting CRGsFuture (Reply 6):
Yea especially if the average normal decent angle is 3 degrees. Maybe 15?

Especially if you can't accurately judge past 20 degrees because at that point your body registers only straight down?
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AirWillie6475
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RE: Nose Dive!

Thu Jun 15, 2006 1:44 pm

Not all flights are going to be picture perfect. Sometimes things happen and pilots have to deal with it. Like poor approach flying by pilots or maybe ATC mistakes. As long as the pilot doesn't come on the P.A saying "OH $hit, we're gonna die!", I wouldn't worry about it and enjoy the ride.
 
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alaskaqantas
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RE: Nose Dive!

Thu Jun 15, 2006 1:45 pm

A friend who is a pilot for AS answered this for me when I asked him. he said that because of a lot of reasons but mostly since fuel is so expensive the airline doesn't want to waste precious fuel, sure it might not sound like a lot for each flight, but airlines have a lot of flights each day... it adds up. not every pilot does this, but some do.
~Cheers-
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cptspeaking
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RE: Nose Dive!

Thu Jun 15, 2006 1:54 pm

Quoting Skyexramper (Reply 4):
and the crew had to slam dunk it into DEN.

I've always loved that expression...a buddy of mine that flys a Citation says he almost always gets the Slam Dunk 1 arrival to rwy 23L at RDU...

Quoting Asturias (Reply 1):
30°+ descent

I HIGHLY doubt this...in the United States, to go past 30 degrees of pitch legally, all occupants of the airplane need a parachute (the boundaries for what is considered aerobatics, in which case you'd also need a plane certified for such maneuvers)...same with going over 60 degrees of bank. As mentioned further up, it is quite hard to tell specific pitch angle when you're sitting in the backseat, mostly due to your inner ear getting cunfused with itself (spatial disorientation, happens quite often in hard IFR).

With all due respect, I wouldn't doubt you were hitting 15-20 degrees, which is still quite a bit for an airliner, but I can all but guaruntee you that plane wasn't past 30.

Your CptSpeaking
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nosedive
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RE: Nose Dive!

Thu Jun 15, 2006 4:59 pm

WHAT!


Your post should be relevant to the topic discussed.   

[Edited 2006-06-15 10:02:52]
 
BigJimFX
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RE: Nose Dive!

Thu Jun 15, 2006 5:24 pm

Quoting CptSpeaking (Reply 12):
I HIGHLY doubt this...in the United States, to go past 30 degrees of pitch legally, all occupants of the airplane need a parachute (the boundaries for what is considered aerobatics, in which case you'd also need a plane certified for such maneuvers)...same with going over 60 degrees of bank.

Technically the regs dont specify angles, only G-Loads. Though a comercial pilot friend of mine always used to rage about flights without pax onboard where they got to bank the plane at over 30 degrees. The reg # escapes me. This has more to do with company policy than FAA regs.
I'd like to thank me for flying Me Airways...
 
sevenair
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RE: Nose Dive!

Thu Jun 15, 2006 5:40 pm

Same happened to me approaching PIK on a 738. Even for me the senation of plumetting was very frightening. Could see almost full airbrakes deployed, and a sharp nose down attitude. I think it may be to keep the plane where up high where it burns less fuel up until the last minute.
 
pilotaydin
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RE: Nose Dive!

Thu Jun 15, 2006 5:42 pm

since i fly the 737, i think that the only thing i can think of is that maybe you switched from path descent to speed descent, or level change, same thing as speed descent. The speed would have to be very high, the plane noses over to maintain, im talking around 300-320 knots. That's where the throttles are at idle, and the Flight Director commands your speed with aircraft pitch. Were the speed brakes up, because it would make sense for them to from what you describe.....
The only time there is too much fuel onboard, is when you're on fire!
 
cptspeaking
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RE: Nose Dive!

Fri Jun 16, 2006 10:48 am

Quoting BigJimFX (Reply 14):
Technically the regs dont specify angles, only G-Loads.

Really? hmmm...

FAR 91.307:
(c) Unless each occupant of the aircraft is wearing an approved parachute, no pilot of a civil aircraft carrying any person (other than a crewmember) may execute any intentional maneuver that exceeds�

(1) A bank of 60 degrees relative to the horizon; or

(2) A nose-up or nose-down attitude of 30 degrees relative to the horizon.
...and don't call me Shirley!!
 
F9Animal
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RE: Nose Dive!

Fri Jun 16, 2006 3:22 pm

Been into Denver alot. I have had the same experience on several flights. Good thing is that our pilot usually warns us ahead of time though. I guess it is just a DEN thing. Were you coming from South to North by chance? This is when I have noticed this particular bank.
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larspl
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RE: Nose Dive!

Fri Jun 16, 2006 5:04 pm

Quoting Skyexramper (Reply 4):
A few things could have happened. One thought comes to mind, avoiding other traffic or ATC was sleeping and forgot about you guys and the crew had to slam dunk it into DEN.

atc sleeping? there are two people controlling the aircraft, atc and the pilots. if atc forgets about me or wants me up at the time i want to get my aircraft down i call them up, with a very polite and friendly "klm 7910, standing by for descent". i try to let the aircraft do what i want it to do, what atc wants me two is second. (this not meaning to disobey clearances, regulations etcetera, but as a pilot you need to be in control).

on topic: a 30degree downangle that just didn't happen. that would lead to such high rate of descent the pressurization system probably couldn't cought up  Wink.
a bottle of water is not a very good measurement system (if it would we would use bottles of water in the cockpit instead of artificial horizons: a lot cheaper).
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GBan
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RE: Nose Dive!

Fri Jun 16, 2006 7:26 pm

Quoting Asturias (Reply 8):
Because I held a flask of water on the armrest. It was a very steep and a very fast descent. Less than 45°, but not that much less...

Well, if you have a flask of water in a car. The driver accelerates or stops the car. What does the water show? Do you assume the car is doing a 45° nose dive?

See what I mean?

 Wink
 
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tjwgrr
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RE: Nose Dive!

Fri Jun 16, 2006 9:11 pm

Quoting CptSpeaking (Reply 17):
A nose-up or nose-down attitude of 30 degrees relative to the horizon.

Wow- I think I've experienced some 757 takeoff's that exceed 30 degrees....... gotta luv 'em though!
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BigJimFX
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RE: Nose Dive!

Fri Jun 16, 2006 10:25 pm

Quoting CptSpeaking (Reply 17):
Quoting BigJimFX (Reply 14):
Technically the regs dont specify angles, only G-Loads.

Really? hmmm...

FAR 91.307:
(c) Unless each occupant of the aircraft is wearing an approved parachute, no pilot of a civil aircraft carrying any person (other than a crewmember) may execute any intentional maneuver that exceeds�

(1) A bank of 60 degrees relative to the horizon; or

(2) A nose-up or nose-down attitude of 30 degrees relative to the horizon.

Thats FAR 91... Commercial airlines operate on a different set of regs. I think 121 but I'm not sure but hey.... I've been wrong before.

Quoting GBan (Reply 20):
Well, if you have a flask of water in a car. The driver accelerates or stops the car. What does the water show? Do you assume the car is doing a 45° nose dive?

Very interesting... If there was a sudden deceleration, (speed brakes) with a nose down attitude. That could make a 15 degree nose down look like a 30 degree in the bottle... Just a possibility.
I'd like to thank me for flying Me Airways...
 
turnit56N
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RE: Nose Dive!

Fri Jun 16, 2006 11:08 pm

I think that the legendary Bob Hoover has demonstrated that a container of liquid is not a trustworthy representation of the aircraft's actual attitude.

As others have pointed out, a quick deceleration coupled with a quick transition into a descent can give the illusion of going into a steep descent.
Aviation is not so much a profession as it is a disease.
 
474218
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RE: Nose Dive!

Fri Jun 16, 2006 11:52 pm

Quoting CptSpeaking (Reply 17):
Really? hmmm...

FAR 91.307:
(c) Unless each occupant of the aircraft is wearing an approved parachute, no pilot of a civil aircraft carrying any person (other than a crewmember) may execute any intentional maneuver that exceeds�

(1) A bank of 60 degrees relative to the horizon; or

(2) A nose-up or nose-down attitude of 30 degrees relative to the horizon.

I can see a commerical aircraft banking to 60 degrees, since ailerons nornally have about 20 degrees deflection (one up/one down) and you held it there for a long time. Tex Johnson rolling the Dash 80 is an example.

But I don't think any commerical aircraft has enough elevator authority to get the nose down to 30 degrees.
 
havaloc
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RE: Nose Dive!

Sat Jun 17, 2006 1:20 am

I noticed this sensation on an Airtran 737 flight, I think it's just a combination of a reduction in speed and a slight downward angle that feels more than it actually is. Northwest doesn't fly like that, however.
DC-9
 
cptspeaking
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RE: Nose Dive!

Sat Jun 17, 2006 4:00 am

Quoting BigJimFX (Reply 22):
Thats FAR 91... Commercial airlines operate on a different set of regs. I think 121 but I'm not sure but hey.... I've been wrong before.

You're right, commercial airlines do operate under part 121, which is labeled "Operating Requirements: Domestic, Flag, and Supplemental Operations". Part 91 is "General Operating and Flight Rules". Although airlines are under the rules for 121, they still have to abide by the rules in part 91...this is where all the oxygen requirements, flotation device stuff, preflight inspections, airspace, VFR and IFR rules, etc. are. I've been wrong before too, don't worry about it  Wink

Quoting 474218 (Reply 24):

But I don't think any commerical aircraft has enough elevator authority to get the nose down to 30 degrees.

They definitely do have the elevator authority to do so...especally going down. The only time control authority really becomes an issue in some airliners (or any plane for that matter...) is when you're slow (thats what Vmc demos show), and obviously, when you're descending at 30+ degrees, you're most likely gaining speed, making that a non-issue. They can get there, they're just not allowed to, plus it wouldn't be so good for passenger comfort  Smile

Your CptSpeaking
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spacecadet
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RE: Nose Dive!

Sat Jun 17, 2006 4:12 am

Quoting GBan (Reply 20):
Well, if you have a flask of water in a car. The driver accelerates or stops the car. What does the water show? Do you assume the car is doing a 45° nose dive?

Yeah, my guess is this airplane entered into a basically normal (but possibly fairly steep) descent at the same time as applying the air brakes. That would make for both a bumpy ride and would exaggerate the feeling of descent, since inertia would be forcing you (and your water) ahead, which in this case would also mean down (since the nose is pointed down).

I have had this happen as well - I once had a descent into JFK in an ANA 747 where we were holding at around 14,000 feet only about 15 miles from the airport (we weren't flying straight in, but still), and suddenly the pilot put the plane in a bank, started his final descent and applied the air brakes all at once. I gotta tell you, it was pretty scary because you just don't really expect such a violent maneuver when you're stuck in a level attitude for so long. But to the pilots, I'm sure it was pretty routine.
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JAAlbert
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RE: Nose Dive!

Sat Jun 17, 2006 4:35 am

I onced experienced this flying on America West (remember them?) into Phoenix. We were still very high as we flew over Phoenix from the East. As we began the turn back to Sky Harbor (we were landing from the west) the plane took a dive so severe that we passengers were holding onto our seats and bracing ourselves against the seats in front of us to keep from sliding to the bulkhead. We could here the contents of the overhead bins falling forward.

At the same time, the pilot began a steep turn back towards Sky Harbor. It seemed to go on for an eternity. At first we thought it interesting, then didn't know whether to laugh or pray.

The plane then evened out and we landed without incident. When we opened the overhead bins, however, upon disembarking everything fell out onto the seats and floors.

I think we were flying in late May.
 
ContinentalGuy
Topic Author
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RE: Nose Dive!

Sat Jun 17, 2006 8:15 am

Quoting F9Animal (Reply 18):

It was coming in from the south.
 
galapagapop
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RE: Nose Dive!

Sat Jun 17, 2006 9:56 am

Isn't that type of decent and in more cases type of ascent used to reduce noise? Although I'd doubt that'd be the reason to use it at DEN.
 
F9Animal
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RE: Nose Dive!

Sat Jun 17, 2006 10:37 am

Quoting ContinentalGuy (Reply 29):
It was coming in from the south.

Interesting. Maybe it is just the mountains that are causing this need to descend more rapidly. I noticed this on a few flights. I guess the pilot either forgot to say or something. Yeah, it is a gut wrencher sometimes. Plus you get a few good bumps inbound.
I Am A Different Animal!!
 
AC773
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RE: Nose Dive!

Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:15 pm

Quoting Jhooper (Reply 2):
The pilot probably was high

He said it was Continental, not KLM!  silly 
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mandargb
Posts: 188
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RE: Nose Dive!

Sat Jun 17, 2006 3:15 pm

I dont see any problem why this should be an issue,
As long as the speeds and meanuvers were in acceptable limits.
You can get photos on .net here where people are descending at 3500 fpm.

I have had that experience too in a United 757 a year ago.
We were flying at FL 410 and pilot refused to come down to any level between 25 and 40 when we were to land in chicago. This was because lot of turbulance was reported.
He told ATC please clear me thru below FL 240. And ATC co-operated.
Ones we were cleared below that we did a good descend and usualy landing after that.
(Thanks to CH 9)
 
cloudyapple
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RE: Nose Dive!

Sat Jun 17, 2006 4:05 pm

Please note the angle of attack of an aircraft does not equal the climb/decent angle. The aircraft maybe pointing 15deg head down but the actual decent profile is far less than that.

Say in a TMA environment an aircraft is doing 300kt, say =~ 500ft/s.

If the descent angle was really 15deg, this would roughly be equivalent to a 26% gradient. At speed 500ft/s this is = 7900fpm rate of descent which is 4 times the normal value!

At 300kt, normal 2000fpm rate of descent, the actual descent angle would be =~ 4deg - but the nose can be pointing more than 4deg downwards.
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