Topic Author
Posts: 354
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 1:31 pm

Landing The MD-11

Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:35 pm

Is the way to land the MD-11?

Quoting Captain Michael Meiser:

I was lucky enough to fly the MD-11 from 2001 through 2006. I loved this airplane.

Quirky? Yes. Magic? Definitely. Impossible to land? Hardly.

There is no airplane that can't be wrecked. So, some landing rules that served me well and apply to most jet transports:

1. Easy does it: Do not over-control this or any other airplane. If you are making lots of big control inputs in rapid succession, that's a mistake. Remember your primary flight instructor's lesson that control pressures and not control movements are the secret to smooth, efficient flying. Breathe, Buddy. Breathe.

2. Fly a stable approach.
Corollary: If you're not stable, go around and get stable next time.

3. No airplane can take high sink rate landings. If the GPWS says "Sink Rate!", go around. By about 50' above the touchdown zone you should have slowed your sink rate to less than 600 fpm.

4. Land on speed and in the touchdown zone.
Corollary: If you are too fast or will be out of the touchdown zone, go around.

5. Land straight. No crab. No drift.
Corollary: If you are drifting or not aligned with the runway, go around.

6. After touchdown, confirm the ground spoilers deploy and autobrakes, LOWER the nose gear onto the ground GENTLY, and apply reverse thrust.
Corollary: No "aerodynamic" braking. It doesn't work, and it will bite you.

7. If you bounce, go around. Next landing get stable, land on speed, be straight, confirm ground spoilers and autobrakes, land the nose wheel gently, reverse, stop safely, and EAT WHATEVER CROW IS REQUIRED LATER.

To me, the MD-11 and the 727-200 landed pretty much the same. Everyone loved the 727. I don't get it why the MD gets such bad press. About the only difference is that the MD-11 lands faster, so the descent rate for a 3 degree glideslope is almost 1000'/minute. You gotta slow that descent rate to something reasonable in the last 50 feet, or it will hurt when you land.

I don't think any of those things require super airmanship to master.

About making go-arounds and eating crow: It's better to eat crow than have crows eat you.

Be nice to the MD-11. It's a great airplane.

[Edited 2011-07-26 13:37:00]
Posts: 2830
Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2003 3:26 pm

RE: Landing The MD-11

Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:43 pm

That sounds like just about every airplane I've flown. No magical suggestions there unique to the MD-11.
Posts: 7275
Joined: Sun Jun 20, 2004 12:21 am

RE: Landing The MD-11

Tue Jul 26, 2011 9:13 pm

Quoting pilotpip (Reply 1):
That sounds like just about every airplane I've flown. No magical suggestions there unique to the MD-11.

Exactly... I flew the MD11F 3.5 years and never had any issues at all. Just be ahead of the airplane and know what to do. No magic on the MD11...

I hope this won't be another war against the MD11. Has been discussed to death in my opinion...

Max Q
Posts: 5959
Joined: Wed May 09, 2001 12:40 pm

RE: Landing The MD-11

Wed Jul 27, 2011 4:29 am

All very good points Chamonix.

And I would add one other thing, something that is fairly common with hard landings is the Pilot not looking at the end of the runway as they cross the threshold.

This is such a basic mistake but quite common. Looking at the end of the runway provides the necessary cues to judge your sink rate and flare and cannot be over emphasised !
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.

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