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rjsampson
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Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:10 pm

I was watching the (extremely hilarious) "Livin' the Dream!" videos about all the annoying things that pilots experience (highly recommended). Here's a part of one I found interesting:

https://youtu.be/5-knyUBbpgI?t=108

Gist of it is: Captains frequently admonish FOs for using the speed brake on decent, suggesting that using it, reflects poor descent planning.

Checked it out further on other pprune: There are some salty Captains that sure agree! "I plan my descents correctly. So I never need the speed brake!".

No obviously, if a controller requires a quicker descent than planned, no arguments there.

Outside of that situation: Does using the speed brake usually reflect poor descent planning? Is using the speed brake really that big of a deal?
"..your eyes will be forever turned skyward, for there.." yeah we know the DaVinci quote. But GA is so dang expensive these days! :(
 
Woodreau
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:56 pm

There are some pilots out there that agree with that statement.

However you don’t gain much more descent rate by using the speed brake.

If you need to use the brake, use the brake. If you don’t, you don’t. However, There is the sense of satisfaction though if you can get from cruise to final with thrust at idle the from top of descent until final configuration just before landing. But these days with controllers giving instructions of sequencing and spacing down the final it’s not often you can do this.

The only example of poor descent planning that I see is planning an idle descent at .80/340kts from top of descent.
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
 
MaxGlide
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:27 am

There are morons (some Captains) who do not realize; neither do they have a Clue, that the 'Speed-brakes' - Spoilers - are THERE FOR A REASON!
Time and again I (as FO) I saw these morons using it repeatedly...and then simply announcing that '...oh well, they kept us high'.
When that moron 'admonishes' you, you should simply announce that this 'Effing' LEVER is there for a reason.
Anyone moron who as much as makes a little sound about using an aircraft equipment not being used improperly should be reported to 'Flight Operations'.
Keep a record.
Talk to the morons...and tell him to 'mind 'his/her' own business!
When 'they' use is; do not EVER hesitate to tell them they that are the Hypocrite!
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Sat Jul 06, 2019 1:20 am

As Woodreau says, due to ATC the speedbrake is often necessary. Also, winds aren't always as predicted. If there's a 30 knot tailwind at 8000 feet, the old speedbrake can come in handy.

Besides, nobody is perfect. Sometimes things just don't go to plan, and lessons are learned. It might happen less frequently to Captains, but typically they have more experience...


Digression follows:

Some Captains just think of themselves as Skygods (TM). They'll find some way to criticize you while stoking their own ego, whether there is a valid reason or not. Mind you, I do welcome constructive criticism that helps me become a better pilot.

A related favourite is "the namedrop". "On the [insert name of military fast jet or 1970s widebody here], we did it like this."

To be fair, the majority of captains are rather chilled. I've flown with guys who flew combat, or were involved in hair-raising incidents, or flew in national aerobatics teams, but they never mention any of that unless you bring it up.

Like any other job, in other words. :D
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
TTailedTiger
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Sat Jul 06, 2019 1:46 am

Seems rather petty. Do pilots know the stats of the person sitting at the controls next to them? The FO could very well have been a captain with lots of hours at an airline that failed or perhaps they wanted to change companies. And that captain could find themselves in the right seat again if an economic downtown occurrs and furloughs are required. Always be humble.
 
gloom
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Sat Jul 06, 2019 5:49 am

Yeah, and there are also these approaches where descend rate is high. Throw in some shortcuts or speed reductions, have a "good glider" like 787 or 350, and I can't see anyone planning a proper descend. I remember coming into Narita, on SWAMP N app to 16L. Limit at SWAMP (33 miles DME from NRT, approx 50nm on STAR/TRANS) : F210. Finnair's A350. Nearly continuous brakes for minutes rather, than seconds. No way to go clean, I think.

Cheers,
Adam
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Sat Jul 06, 2019 6:19 am

gloom wrote:
Yeah, and there are also these approaches where descend rate is high. Throw in some shortcuts or speed reductions, have a "good glider" like 787 or 350, and I can't see anyone planning a proper descend. I remember coming into Narita, on SWAMP N app to 16L. Limit at SWAMP (33 miles DME from NRT, approx 50nm on STAR/TRANS) : F210. Finnair's A350. Nearly continuous brakes for minutes rather, than seconds. No way to go clean, I think.

Cheers,
Adam


Tru' dat...

Yes, Incheon, I'm looking at you....
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
Avgeek21
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Sat Jul 06, 2019 6:43 am

The Speedbrake - Spoilers are there to be used when needed, even if it's for 5 seconds. I would criticize my FO for not using it when it's obviously required. You can't plan for every situation. How do you slow down and descent on a 737NG/MAX? What if ATC gives a descent rate of 1500 ft/min minimum for traffic seperation and you've got a nice tailwind or at max landing weight and you can't use the speed increase method or aconfig change? Or what if you operate into hostile areas? I flew into a warzone the other day. Even the best planning and experience can't negate the fact you have to use it. So what!? Came in gear down, Flaps 10, full speedbrake yesterday at 20 miles out. Why? Max landing weight, tailwind, very hot, high elevation and a steep glideslope. I need to be stable no later than 4 miles. If I don't use it AND LAND I will end up oposite my boss with tea, without biscuts, and a warning letter. When he then asks me: "why did you not use all tools to begin with and you let it develop?" What do I say? How do I tell me wife and kids I have been demoted or fired for refusing to use a tool to my disposal that is there to be used. Yet I pressed on... Doesn't matter if you are PF or PNF. What do I say when I keep ending up in missed approaches because I'm a skygod? Aviation is incredibly dynamic. I get paid to deal with that to the best of my knowledge, training. Safety first, then comfort and efficiency.

What does piss me off is when pilots use it when it's not required.

I work on the principle that I cannot plan for every situation. It's there to be used when it's required. Work backwards from that meeting afterwards with your Chief Pilot and work yourself out of trouble going up the chain of events.
 
BravoOne
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Sat Jul 06, 2019 2:55 pm

MaxGlide wrote:
There are morons (some Captains) who do not realize; neither do they have a Clue, that the 'Speed-brakes' - Spoilers - are THERE FOR A REASON!
Time and again I (as FO) I saw these morons using it repeatedly...and then simply announcing that '...oh well, they kept us high'.
When that moron 'admonishes' you, you should simply announce that this 'Effing' LEVER is there for a reason.
Anyone moron who as much as makes a little sound about using an aircraft equipment not being used improperly should be reported to 'Flight Operations'.
Keep a record.
Talk to the morons...and tell him to 'mind 'his/her' own business!
When 'they' use is; do not EVER hesitate to tell them they that are the Hypocrite!



Wow, I bet you're fun to fly with. Sort of spring loaded to the pissed off position from the get go:)
 
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rjsampson
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:49 pm

I noticed on the pprune forums that pilots were especially annoyed in these situations in the 757, describing the wing as the "cleanest" airplane you'll fly. Didn't check the time stamp on it... I'm sure there are "cleaner" airplanes nowadays... Forgive my ignorance: How do "clean" aircraft factor into more / less use of the Speed Brake?
"..your eyes will be forever turned skyward, for there.." yeah we know the DaVinci quote. But GA is so dang expensive these days! :(
 
BravoOne
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Sat Jul 06, 2019 4:08 pm

Both the 757 and MD11 have a hard time slowing >250, and going down at the same time. Crews simply adapt to these nuances and fly accordingly. Nothing that difficult about it as long as one plans ahead. I think that's what's known as airmanship:) The 777 and 787 with FBW technology have slightly better speed barke characteristics and don't generate as much rumble when speed brakes are used FWIW.

Programing the FMC with engine heat on during descent, or inserting a tail wind will create a earlier Top of Descent point. Some crews use this, and others don't. It's not a procedure as opposed to a technique. Nothing wrong with using speedbrakes for the most part. The only caveat is using them in a timely fashion as opposed to some least minute action to make a crossing restriction. Keep in mind that restriction my be published, or on the other had it may be a pop-up that ATC has mandated. Either way do what is necessary and fly the airplane.
 
Armadillo1
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Sat Jul 06, 2019 6:18 pm

DME for example, ATC send to descent late enough for brakes
 
TTailedTiger
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:08 pm

Having never been at the controls of an aircraft equipped with speed breaks, why exactly is there any debate on whether they should be used? It's not like it's hurting the aircraft. And if one pilot has any criticism for the other I would think it should be discussed on the ground.
 
WPvsMW
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:32 pm

TTailedTiger wrote:
... I would think it should be discussed on the ground.


Not if the PNF is a SkyGod.
 
triple3driver
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Sun Jul 07, 2019 2:06 am

Use it when you need it, don' t use it when it' s not needed, that' s the basic principle. If my F/O uses it when its not required then I will tell him so, and if he doesn't use it when we need it, then I will tell him so. And I encourage F/Os to do the same when the Captain is PF. Sometimes captains are wrong, it happens, and things don't always go according to plan, again, it happens. But the cockpit is no place to be so unprofessional and to display your ego, there' s always a chance that you're the one in the wrong, and such attitudes can and have led to accidents.
I have no special talents, just a passion for flying
 
Zeke2517
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Sun Jul 07, 2019 2:18 am

MaxGlide wrote:
There are morons (some Captains) who do not realize; neither do they have a Clue, that the 'Speed-brakes' - Spoilers - are THERE FOR A REASON!
Time and again I (as FO) I saw these morons using it repeatedly...and then simply announcing that '...oh well, they kept us high'.
When that moron 'admonishes' you, you should simply announce that this 'Effing' LEVER is there for a reason.
Anyone moron who as much as makes a little sound about using an aircraft equipment not being used improperly should be reported to 'Flight Operations'.
Keep a record.
Talk to the morons...and tell him to 'mind 'his/her' own business!
When 'they' use is; do not EVER hesitate to tell them they that are the Hypocrite!


I think you might be a little crazy.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Sun Jul 07, 2019 3:58 am

rjsampson wrote:
I noticed on the pprune forums that pilots were especially annoyed in these situations in the 757, describing the wing as the "cleanest" airplane you'll fly. Didn't check the time stamp on it... I'm sure there are "cleaner" airplanes nowadays... Forgive my ignorance: How do "clean" aircraft factor into more / less use of the Speed Brake?


Swept wing jets tend to be good gliders. The "cleaner" the aircraft, the more you're likely to have to use speedbrake in case you get track shortening, unexpected tailwind, etc...

You're at FL350 feet at 300 knots. As a rule of thumb above 15000 feet, count on four times the altitude for the descent, in this case 140 miles. If your descent starts at 100 miles, or you have lots of tailwind, you'll probably need the speedbrake in order to increase your descent rate.

Slowing down takes time also. Rule of thumb, 10 knots per mile in level flight and still air below 10000 feet. Without using the speedbrake.

The saying is "you can go down or slow down, but not both". You can descend from FL200 to 10000 feet while doing 280 knots. In still air, this will take around 43 miles (3x 10 + 1 miles per every 10 knots over 150). If ATC also asks you to slow to 220 knots, you'll have to count on a good 10 more track miles.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
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tb727
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Sun Jul 07, 2019 2:44 pm

Woodreau wrote:
The only example of poor descent planning that I see is planning an idle descent at .80/340kts from top of descent.


We were CI99, oooops!

I used them a lot more as a newer FO on the A320 series than I do now that I have more time in them. It was far more slippery than all the other planes I've ever flown. I don't care if guys use them now. I do care when they use them and the thrust is up and we have the flashing amber speedbrakes going on the ECAM.
Too lazy to work, too scared to steal!
 
e38
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:09 pm

rjsampson, with regard to your general subject matter, “Captains admonishing FO’s for using speed brake on descent,” keep in mind while the entire “livin’ the dream” series is quite humorous, it is not completely accurate and most situations have been substantially enhanced for entertainment purposes.

Personally I have never been admonished, nor admonished anyone, for using speedbrakes to assist with a descent.

e38
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:28 pm

tb727 wrote:
Woodreau wrote:
The only example of poor descent planning that I see is planning an idle descent at .80/340kts from top of descent.


We were CI99, oooops!

I used them a lot more as a newer FO on the A320 series than I do now that I have more time in them. It was far more slippery than all the other planes I've ever flown. I don't care if guys use them now. I do care when they use them and the thrust is up and we have the flashing amber speedbrakes going on the ECAM.


Thrust against speedbrake. At that point, the admonishment "READ THE MODES!" is rather justified. :D
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
CosmicCruiser
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Mon Jul 08, 2019 2:26 am

I was thinking the post was about a normal standard descent. Yes you should be able to calculate the descent point so as not to use the speed brakes. Does it happen every time? Of course not. There are a lot of variables but if you start out with a good plan it will show. I'm reminded of a couple of times when it was obvious the f/o hadn't a clue. They were both from another airline but didn't have a lot of standardization. One was going into ATL where I saw every combination of throttles and speedbrakes you can imagine. The other in to SMF. He asked to start down so I got a clearance to descend. Our policy at the time was throttles idle for the descent to 10,000. Well we hadn't descended 3000' before he pushed the throttles up. I asked why and he said we'll be short. I asked why did we start down so early and he said because he wanted to.
 
CosmicCruiser
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Mon Jul 08, 2019 2:26 am

this was on a 727
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:41 am

Woodreau wrote:
If you need to use the brake, use the brake. If you don’t, you don’t. However, There is the sense of satisfaction though if you can get from cruise to final with thrust at idle the from top of descent until final configuration just before landing. But these days with controllers giving instructions of sequencing and spacing down the final it’s not often you can do this.


When you say "sense of satisfaction" the company hears "less fuel burn".

To the extent possible, the company would rather you either be as high as efficient, and then make one gradual decent for as long as possible on idle thrust. This profile minimized fuel burn.

Now if ATC does you wrong ....
 
BravoOne
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Mon Jul 08, 2019 2:20 pm

kitplane01 wrote:
Woodreau wrote:
If you need to use the brake, use the brake. If you don’t, you don’t. However, There is the sense of satisfaction though if you can get from cruise to final with thrust at idle the from top of descent until final configuration just before landing. But these days with controllers giving instructions of sequencing and spacing down the final it’s not often you can do this.


When you say "sense of satisfaction" the company hears "less fuel burn".

To the extent possible, the company would rather you either be as high as efficient, and then make one gradual decent for as long as possible on idle thrust. This profile minimized fuel burn.

Now if ATC does you wrong ....


Controller to AJAX 99 Heavy: Descend so as to cross BUTT at 8000, maintain 8000.
AJAX 99 Heavy to Controller: Roger, desecnd and maintain 8000, cross BUTT at 8000.
AJAX 99 Heavy to Controller: We may not be able to make 8000 by BUTT.
Controller to AJAX 99 Heavy: (In a sarcastic tone or voice) Use you speed brakes.
AJAX 99 Heavy to controller: (equally sarcastic reply) Those are for my mistakes, not yours.
 
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rjsampson
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Mon Jul 08, 2019 4:42 pm

e38 wrote:
rjsampson, with regard to your general subject matter, “Captains admonishing FO’s for using speed brake on descent,” keep in mind while the entire “livin’ the dream” series is quite humorous, it is not completely accurate and most situations have been substantially enhanced for entertainment purposes.
e38


It's pretty obvious to me that there are certain embellishments to enhance the humor (ie, I highly doubt the pilot shuttle to the hotel enters warp speed). For those pilots on here whom haven't seen these three videos, take 9 minutes to kill for a great laugh. They're incredibly well-done. Three parts:


I'd love to hear everyone's comments, as to how accurate some of these "annoyances" come up in your day-to-day!
"..your eyes will be forever turned skyward, for there.." yeah we know the DaVinci quote. But GA is so dang expensive these days! :(
 
Alias1024
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:55 pm

Pilots getting all wound up over a wait for a hotel van is all too common. So is someone stopping suddenly in the terminal and people behind nearly falling like bowling pins.
It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems with just potatoes.
 
triple3driver
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:20 pm

rjsampson wrote:
e38 wrote:
rjsampson, with regard to your general subject matter, “Captains admonishing FO’s for using speed brake on descent,” keep in mind while the entire “livin’ the dream” series is quite humorous, it is not completely accurate and most situations have been substantially enhanced for entertainment purposes.
e38


It's pretty obvious to me that there are certain embellishments to enhance the humor (ie, I highly doubt the pilot shuttle to the hotel enters warp speed). For those pilots on here whom haven't seen these three videos, take 9 minutes to kill for a great laugh. They're incredibly well-done. Three parts:


I'd love to hear everyone's comments, as to how accurate some of these "annoyances" come up in your day-to-day!

As someone who does redeyes to Europe slightly more often then I fill up my car with gas, I can definitely relate to that bit. And don't be so sure about certain aspects being exaggerated, the shuttle drivers in Europe, especially Italian ones, well Im pretty sure that those things actually do enter warp speeds :shock:
I have no special talents, just a passion for flying
 
N766UA
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:07 pm

Last guy I flew with would wait until well past TOD then yank the speedbrake lever as hard as he could and plummet the airplane at 3000fpm to make the restrictions. In his case, yes, poor planning / not giving a turkey.

That said, some places will always slam dunk you, so you need the speedbrakes. Same goes for CRJ-200’s in the winter when you need engine bleed air for the anti-ice so you have to descend at 70% power with the boards out.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Mon Jul 08, 2019 11:28 pm

rjsampson wrote:
e38 wrote:
rjsampson, with regard to your general subject matter, “Captains admonishing FO’s for using speed brake on descent,” keep in mind while the entire “livin’ the dream” series is quite humorous, it is not completely accurate and most situations have been substantially enhanced for entertainment purposes.
e38


It's pretty obvious to me that there are certain embellishments to enhance the humor (ie, I highly doubt the pilot shuttle to the hotel enters warp speed). For those pilots on here whom haven't seen these three videos, take 9 minutes to kill for a great laugh. They're incredibly well-done. Three parts:


I'd love to hear everyone's comments, as to how accurate some of these "annoyances" come up in your day-to-day!


- Guard police: Mostly in North America.
- Housekeeping trying to enter your room despite you being crew and the do not disturb sign: It happens.
- Crew getting all riled up about the contract/company: Yes we have those guys.
- The moaner/mumbler on the radio: yep!
- Talk about work, work, work, approaches, work, work: True!
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
greg85
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Tue Jul 09, 2019 10:43 am

“The lever of shame”
 
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rjsampson
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:23 am

Across various types: How do the effectiveness of speed brakes vary on different aircraft? (I'm guessing they're all next to useless < 220kn). Any more/less effective than others?
"..your eyes will be forever turned skyward, for there.." yeah we know the DaVinci quote. But GA is so dang expensive these days! :(
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Wed Jul 10, 2019 10:11 am

rjsampson wrote:
Across various types: How do the effectiveness of speed brakes vary on different aircraft? (I'm guessing they're all next to useless < 220kn). Any more/less effective than others?


I've read that the Avro146/RJ100 speedbrake is ridiculously effective. Split tail design.

Not quite next to useless, but yeah. Effectiveness goes way down at low speed. If you really need to slow down fast below 220 knots, in many cases you might as well lower the gear early. But then, once you extend the second step of flap, you start getting enough drag to slow you down anyway. All dependent on the steepness of the profile of course. At flaps 2 with gear up, thrust idle, the A330 can be found to accelerate on a standard glideslope.

"Proper prior planning prevents piss poor performance." ;)
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
Avgeek21
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:01 am

Flown the RJ series for a number of years and yes, if you want to go down/slow down these speedbrakes are amazingly effective!

If you really need to get down quickly on a 737 then drop the gear, flaps 40 and LVL CHG. Holy cow. Or Gear DWN, Flaps 10 and speedbrakes works too. Had an FO show that to me once as I never done that and he was right. And yes we needed that as we were 50nm out at FL280 for a straight in. Dangerous airspace due to ATC request. Had to use a small dog leg but it was so effective we had to raise the gear again and just glide in at idle. Saved a lot of fuel if timed right.

Below 210kts or so the speedbrakes are more effective in conjunction with other methods in my opinion. Real effectiveness comes at high altitudes and high speeds.
Boeing states that for a 737-800; Target SPD 0.78M / 280 knts - Clean 2200fpm or with speedbrakes 3100 fpm. At 250 kts it's 1700 fpm clean and 2300 fpm with speedbrakes and for Flaps UP speed it's 1100 fpm clean and 1400 fpm with seedbrakes. So you can see you'll get about 1000 fpm extra at high speeds, 500 at medium speeds and 300 fpm towards the bottom end. (clean wing) The 737 MAX 8 will actually give you less fpm at any level as that wing is so slippery. Especially at high speed/levels the MAX speedbrakes effectiveness is reduced by 1/3rd compared to the NG.

I might be the Captain but I've not done everything nor seen everything my aircraft can do. Some FO's are just more experienced and it's my role to use that experience and judge if 'whats suggested fits the crime'. Ultimately I am responsible for the aircrafts safety and those around it. I will never scold anyone. Wrt to flying you have to use CRM and the ASIT model.

ASIT;
Ask - Are you going to make that restriction? He/she might not be doing anything or enough. Or perhaps too much.
Suggest - I'd suggest doing x,y,z now or shortly. You can also drop in a subtle hint...'he'll cut you in in 5 miles giving you 30 track miles.' Lets see if he/she does the mental calculations and takes action if required.
Insist - "You have to get down now or I'll have to ask for a dog leg to loose height" or state "...I'd use full reverse now." Etc etc.
Take over - I have control.

Then whenever something changes, run the model again. And again. Always take a step back and ask yourself; "can I accept this and justify enough it to my Chief Pilot and not get fired, demoted or be given a warning letter?"
 
T54A
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:55 am

Speed Brake for Capt: Precision Planning Lever
Speed Brake for FO: Poor Planning Lever
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Weatherwatcher1
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:27 pm

CosmicCruiser wrote:
I was thinking the post was about a normal standard descent. Yes you should be able to calculate the descent point so as not to use the speed brakes. Does it happen every time? Of course not. There are a lot of variables but if you start out with a good plan it will show. I'm reminded of a couple of times when it was obvious the f/o hadn't a clue. They were both from another airline but didn't have a lot of standardization. One was going into ATL where I saw every combination of throttles and speedbrakes you can imagine. The other in to SMF. He asked to start down so I got a clearance to descend. Our policy at the time was throttles idle for the descent to 10,000. Well we hadn't descended 3000' before he pushed the throttles up. I asked why and he said we'll be short. I asked why did we start down so early and he said because he wanted to.


Good post. One thing not to forget is that not all planes are the same. Newer generation FMCs can calculate wind differences in descent. Older FMCs cannot. It makes quite a big difference if you have a 100 knot tailwind at cruise.

I’d like to see if the crusty veteran pilot can always correctly calculate the descent point on an MD80 with a 100 plus knot tailwind turning into a headwind and moving in all sorts of directions on an approach without ever using speedbrakes and keeping the throttle idle until 10,000ft.
 
DiamondFlyer
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:50 pm

N766UA wrote:
Last guy I flew with would wait until well past TOD then yank the speedbrake lever as hard as he could and plummet the airplane at 3000fpm to make the restrictions. In his case, yes, poor planning / not giving a turkey.

That said, some places will always slam dunk you, so you need the speedbrakes. Same goes for CRJ-200’s in the winter when you need engine bleed air for the anti-ice so you have to descend at 70% power with the boards out.


Say what? The yellow arcs for anti-ice on a CR2 are not a limitation, they're advisory in nature only. Keep as much power as you need to keep the wings green, no more.
From my cold, dead hands
 
PGNCS
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Thu Jul 11, 2019 12:27 am

rjsampson wrote:
I was watching the (extremely hilarious) "Livin' the Dream!" videos about all the annoying things that pilots experience (highly recommended). Here's a part of one I found interesting:

https://youtu.be/5-knyUBbpgI?t=108

Gist of it is: Captains frequently admonish FOs for using the speed brake on decent, suggesting that using it, reflects poor descent planning.

Checked it out further on other pprune: There are some salty Captains that sure agree! "I plan my descents correctly. So I never need the speed brake!".


I was never admonished when I used the speedbrake as an FO. I have never admonished an FO for using the speedbrake.

I'd rather be down 5 miles early than miss a restriction. Some aircraft are very easy to get down with (B-727), others are almost impossible, especially if there are multiple speed restrictions on a STAR (B-757, A-321). Not all planes are the same, and if somebody told me they plan all their descents correctly (which I have never heard once during 29 years at my airline) I would openly laugh in their face because their plan is frequently not the same as ATC's.
 
WPvsMW
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:45 am

Avgeek21 wrote:
Flown the RJ series for a number of years and yes, if you want to go down/slow down these speedbrakes are amazingly effective!

If you really need to get down quickly on a 737 then drop the gear, flaps 40 and LVL CHG. Holy cow. Or Gear DWN, Flaps 10 and speedbrakes works too. Had an FO show that to me once as I never done that and he was right. And yes we needed that as we were 50nm out at FL280 for a straight in. Dangerous airspace due to ATC request. Had to use a small dog leg but it was so effective we had to raise the gear again and just glide in at idle. Saved a lot of fuel if timed right.

Below 210kts or so the speedbrakes are more effective in conjunction with other methods in my opinion. Real effectiveness comes at high altitudes and high speeds.
Boeing states that for a 737-800; Target SPD 0.78M / 280 knts - Clean 2200fpm or with speedbrakes 3100 fpm. At 250 kts it's 1700 fpm clean and 2300 fpm with speedbrakes and for Flaps UP speed it's 1100 fpm clean and 1400 fpm with seedbrakes. So you can see you'll get about 1000 fpm extra at high speeds, 500 at medium speeds and 300 fpm towards the bottom end. (clean wing) The 737 MAX 8 will actually give you less fpm at any level as that wing is so slippery. Especially at high speed/levels the MAX speedbrakes effectiveness is reduced by 1/3rd compared to the NG.

I might be the Captain but I've not done everything nor seen everything my aircraft can do. Some FO's are just more experienced and it's my role to use that experience and judge if 'whats suggested fits the crime'. Ultimately I am responsible for the aircrafts safety and those around it. I will never scold anyone. Wrt to flying you have to use CRM and the ASIT model.

ASIT;
Ask - Are you going to make that restriction? He/she might not be doing anything or enough. Or perhaps too much.
Suggest - I'd suggest doing x,y,z now or shortly. You can also drop in a subtle hint...'he'll cut you in in 5 miles giving you 30 track miles.' Lets see if he/she does the mental calculations and takes action if required.
Insist - "You have to get down now or I'll have to ask for a dog leg to loose height" or state "...I'd use full reverse now." Etc etc.
Take over - I have control.

Then whenever something changes, run the model again. And again. Always take a step back and ask yourself; "can I accept this and justify enough it to my Chief Pilot and not get fired, demoted or be given a warning letter?"


Great post!!
 
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zeke
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:52 am

Avgeek21 wrote:
Flown the RJ series for a number of years and yes, if you want to go down/slow down these speedbrakes are amazingly effective!

If you really need to get down quickly on a 737 then drop the gear, flaps 40 and LVL CHG. Holy cow. Or Gear DWN, Flaps 10 and speedbrakes works too. Had an FO show that to me once as I never done that and he was right. And yes we needed that as we were 50nm out at FL280 for a straight in. Dangerous airspace due to ATC request. Had to use a small dog leg but it was so effective we had to raise the gear again and just glide in at idle. Saved a lot of fuel if timed right.

Below 210kts or so the speedbrakes are more effective in conjunction with other methods in my opinion. Real effectiveness comes at high altitudes and high speeds.
Boeing states that for a 737-800; Target SPD 0.78M / 280 knts - Clean 2200fpm or with speedbrakes 3100 fpm. At 250 kts it's 1700 fpm clean and 2300 fpm with speedbrakes and for Flaps UP speed it's 1100 fpm clean and 1400 fpm with seedbrakes. So you can see you'll get about 1000 fpm extra at high speeds, 500 at medium speeds and 300 fpm towards the bottom end. (clean wing) The 737 MAX 8 will actually give you less fpm at any level as that wing is so slippery. Especially at high speed/levels the MAX speedbrakes effectiveness is reduced by 1/3rd compared to the NG.

I might be the Captain but I've not done everything nor seen everything my aircraft can do. Some FO's are just more experienced and it's my role to use that experience and judge if 'whats suggested fits the crime'. Ultimately I am responsible for the aircrafts safety and those around it. I will never scold anyone. Wrt to flying you have to use CRM and the ASIT model.

ASIT;
Ask - Are you going to make that restriction? He/she might not be doing anything or enough. Or perhaps too much.
Suggest - I'd suggest doing x,y,z now or shortly. You can also drop in a subtle hint...'he'll cut you in in 5 miles giving you 30 track miles.' Lets see if he/she does the mental calculations and takes action if required.
Insist - "You have to get down now or I'll have to ask for a dog leg to loose height" or state "...I'd use full reverse now." Etc etc.
Take over - I have control.

Then whenever something changes, run the model again. And again. Always take a step back and ask yourself; "can I accept this and justify enough it to my Chief Pilot and not get fired, demoted or be given a warning letter?"


Most transport aircraft I am aware of have a limit of 20,000 ft before gear and flaps can be used. Is the 737 something of an oddball here ?

It is pretty standard practice for early morning arrivals into HKG from Chinese airspace via SIERA (34 nm SW of HKG) to enter the HKG FIR at FL190, full speedbrake and winding the speed up to 300-320 kts gets a good rate of descent 6-8000 fpm.

The video series in the OP is satire, I don’t know of anyone who would admonish an FO for using the speed brake. Getting hot and unstable because they didn’t use it would be corrected in real time by standard CRM prompts and elevations.
Human rights lawyers are "ambulance chasers of the very worst kind.'" - Sky News
 
e38
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Thu Jul 11, 2019 3:48 pm

rjsampson, your thread turned out to be quite an interesting discussion on the use of speedbrakes, but also an exercise in Shakespearian literature--"much ado about nothing."

gee, I never knew simply extending the speedbrake was such a complex process.

Simply put, aircraft manufacturers put speekbrakes on aircraft to be used if needed.

If you need to use the speedbrake to decelerate or increase the rate of descent, then use them. If you don't need the speedbrakes to decelerate or descend, don't use them.

Just not that complicated.

(but the discussion was entertaining).

e38
 
BravoOne
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Thu Jul 11, 2019 4:09 pm

One last comment. The only airliner that I have flown that considered the use of speedbrakes as poor form and to be avoided, was the 707. The speed brakes caused a very significant rumble as the didturbed air passed over the horizontal stab. Rumor had it that this could accelerate the structural failure of components in the stabilizer but I don't recall ever seeing anything official along those lines. I believe Dan Air lost a 707-321C on final to an airport in Africa when their stab failed upwards, If you were in the rear of the aircraft it was a little unnerving for the pax and fa's. Both speed brakes and landing gear extension were available for an emergency descent which could be quite uncomfortable when applied out of the blue. Good news, is the airplane came down slowed down nicely without the benefit of theses devices.
 
e38
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Thu Jul 11, 2019 4:48 pm

Quoting BravoOne (Reply # 41), reference to Boeing 707 " . . . considered the use of speedbrakes as poor form and to be avoided . . ."

BravoOne, that is interesting. When I flew the Boeing KC-135 (Boeing 717-100) -- yes, I realize it is not technically a Boeing 707-- there was no such recommendation or restriction, i.e. avoid using the speekbrakes. We used them routinely without giving it a second thought when we needed them, although as you stated, the aircraft seemed to descend and decelerate fairly well without the use of speedbrakes; much more readily than more modern aircraft.

e38
 
BravoOne
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Thu Jul 11, 2019 6:47 pm

e38 wrote:
Quoting BravoOne (Reply # 41), reference to Boeing 707 " . . . considered the use of speedbrakes as poor form and to be avoided . . ."

BravoOne, that is interesting. When I flew the Boeing KC-135 (Boeing 717-100) -- yes, I realize it is not technically a Boeing 707-- there was no such recommendation or restriction, i.e. avoid using the speekbrakes. We used them routinely without giving it a second thought when we needed them, although as you stated, the aircraft seemed to descend and decelerate fairly well without the use of speedbrakes; much more readily than more modern aircraft.

e38



I did not say there was any restriction but rather a TECHNIQUE to be avoided for the reasons stated. Doubt that the KC135 crowd was worried about pax comfort as oppoesed to mission compliance.
 
744lover
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:00 am

This reminds me of a funny CRM satire video I've seen some time ago: https://urlzs.com/VJvnY

"Can't touch this" and a slap on the hand of the F/O that tries to use the speedbrake lever =D


BR,
744lover
 
User avatar
kitplane01
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Fri Jul 12, 2019 4:12 am

e38 wrote:
rjsampson, your thread turned out to be quite an interesting discussion on the use of speedbrakes, but also an exercise in Shakespearian literature--"much ado about nothing."

gee, I never knew simply extending the speedbrake was such a complex process.

Simply put, aircraft manufacturers put speekbrakes on aircraft to be used if needed.

If you need to use the speedbrake to decelerate or increase the rate of descent, then use them. If you don't need the speedbrakes to decelerate or descend, don't use them.

Just not that complicated.

(but the discussion was entertaining).

e38


I think it is complicated. Better planning (and ATC help and such) can result in a flight profile that minimizes fuel use. These profiles don't use the speed brakes. If yo're using the speed brake, your flight profile is not the fuel minimizing one. And getting everything right can be hard.
 
Passedv1
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Fri Jul 12, 2019 9:11 am

Yes the f'n fingerprints! Ughhhhhhhhhhhh!
 
Avgeek21
Posts: 42
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Fri Jul 12, 2019 5:34 pm

zeke wrote:
Avgeek21 wrote:
Flown the RJ series for a number of years and yes, if you want to go down/slow down these speedbrakes are amazingly effective!

If you really need to get down quickly on a 737 then drop the gear, flaps 40 and LVL CHG. Holy cow. Or Gear DWN, Flaps 10 and speedbrakes works too. Had an FO show that to me once as I never done that and he was right. And yes we needed that as we were 50nm out at FL280 for a straight in. Dangerous airspace due to ATC request. Had to use a small dog leg but it was so effective we had to raise the gear again and just glide in at idle. Saved a lot of fuel if timed right.

Below 210kts or so the speedbrakes are more effective in conjunction with other methods in my opinion. Real effectiveness comes at high altitudes and high speeds.
Boeing states that for a 737-800; Target SPD 0.78M / 280 knts - Clean 2200fpm or with speedbrakes 3100 fpm. At 250 kts it's 1700 fpm clean and 2300 fpm with speedbrakes and for Flaps UP speed it's 1100 fpm clean and 1400 fpm with seedbrakes. So you can see you'll get about 1000 fpm extra at high speeds, 500 at medium speeds and 300 fpm towards the bottom end. (clean wing) The 737 MAX 8 will actually give you less fpm at any level as that wing is so slippery. Especially at high speed/levels the MAX speedbrakes effectiveness is reduced by 1/3rd compared to the NG.

I might be the Captain but I've not done everything nor seen everything my aircraft can do. Some FO's are just more experienced and it's my role to use that experience and judge if 'whats suggested fits the crime'. Ultimately I am responsible for the aircrafts safety and those around it. I will never scold anyone. Wrt to flying you have to use CRM and the ASIT model.

ASIT;
Ask - Are you going to make that restriction? He/she might not be doing anything or enough. Or perhaps too much.
Suggest - I'd suggest doing x,y,z now or shortly. You can also drop in a subtle hint...'he'll cut you in in 5 miles giving you 30 track miles.' Lets see if he/she does the mental calculations and takes action if required.
Insist - "You have to get down now or I'll have to ask for a dog leg to loose height" or state "...I'd use full reverse now." Etc etc.
Take over - I have control.

Then whenever something changes, run the model again. And again. Always take a step back and ask yourself; "can I accept this and justify enough it to my Chief Pilot and not get fired, demoted or be given a warning letter?"


Most transport aircraft I am aware of have a limit of 20,000 ft before gear and flaps can be used. Is the 737 something of an oddball here ?


Gear just has a speed limitation only, no altitude one. Flaps not above 20,0000ft and their respective speed limits. We dropped everything at 19,000ft. Should have been more clear, sorry.
 
Sokes
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Sun Jul 14, 2019 4:42 pm

MaxGlide wrote:
There are morons (some Captains) who do not realize; neither do they have a Clue, that the 'Speed-brakes' - Spoilers - are THERE FOR A REASON!
Time and again I (as FO) I saw these morons using it repeatedly...and then simply announcing that '...oh well, they kept us high'.
When that moron 'admonishes' you, you should simply announce that this 'Effing' LEVER is there for a reason.
Anyone moron who as much as makes a little sound about using an aircraft equipment not being used improperly should be reported to 'Flight Operations'.
Keep a record.
Talk to the morons...and tell him to 'mind 'his/her' own business!
When 'they' use is; do not EVER hesitate to tell them they that are the Hypocrite!


As this is your first post: Good choice for the username.
Why can't the world be a little bit more autistic?
 
slcguy
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Re: Captains admonishing FO's for using speed brake on descent

Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:18 pm

In a perfect world, you should be able to go to flight idle and start your descent and not need spoilers or add additional power until on final with gear and flaps down if you do it right. Unfortunately it is not a perfect world. You have weather concerns, ATC vectors, speed and altitude restrictions all of which means you might end up too high and fast requiring the use of speed brakes or too low and slow requiring additional power. Unless the FO is really sloppy in their flying I don't think many Captains in these days of CRM would criticize them when they would do it the same way themselves.

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