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stephen88
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Why do pilots do 'Wheelies' after landing?

Thu Mar 18, 2021 3:34 pm

I've seen this happen a few times recently when pilots have landed with only the main landing gear on the runway. They seem to hold the nose wheel of the runway for a while...

Why do they do this? I heard people say 'Oh the pilots doing a wheelie', is it just showing off or is there a valid reason? I've heard people calling it 'Aerodynamic braking' Any truth in that?

Here have a look... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGqPKO4V3Xg
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Why do pilots do 'Wheelies' after landing?

Thu Mar 18, 2021 3:39 pm

Touchdown is ALWAYS on the mains, lower nose gear smoothly to the runway. That’s not “doing a wheelie”, that’s landing. Aero braking is mostly a fast jet deal where there are no thrust reverser or drag chutes and not very effective for airliner operations. The video landing is pretty normal, perhaps a bit slow on de-rotation but no wheelie or are braking. Discussed here many times.
 
stephen88
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Re: Why do pilots do 'Wheelies' after landing?

Thu Mar 18, 2021 3:58 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Touchdown is ALWAYS on the mains, lower nose gear smoothly to the runway. That’s not “doing a wheelie”, that’s landing. Aero braking is mostly a fast jet deal where there are no thrust reverser or drag chutes and not very effective for airliner operations. The video landing is pretty normal, perhaps a bit slow on de-rotation but no wheelie or are braking. Discussed here many times.


I know how a plane lands, I get all of that but the point I'm trying to make is in the video the pilot holds off on the nose wheel for nearly 15 seconds after the mains hit the runway, and like I've said when I've been at airports I've seen it happen so many times, so what I'm asking is why do pilots do that? Why not just bring the nose wheel down sooner than that, within 5 seconds lets say which most pilots do.
 
N965UW
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Re: Why do pilots do 'Wheelies' after landing?

Thu Mar 18, 2021 3:59 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Discussed here many times.


Three threads down from here: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1458407
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Why do pilots do 'Wheelies' after landing?

Thu Mar 18, 2021 4:04 pm

stephen88 wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Touchdown is ALWAYS on the mains, lower nose gear smoothly to the runway. That’s not “doing a wheelie”, that’s landing. Aero braking is mostly a fast jet deal where there are no thrust reverser or drag chutes and not very effective for airliner operations. The video landing is pretty normal, perhaps a bit slow on de-rotation but no wheelie or are braking. Discussed here many times.


I know how a plane lands, I get all of that but the point I'm trying to make is in the video the pilot holds off on the nose wheel for nearly 15 seconds after the mains hit the runway, and like I've said when I've been at airports I've seen it happen so many times, so what I'm asking is why do pilots do that? Why not just bring the nose wheel down sooner than that, within 5 seconds lets say which most pilots do.


I said “smoothly”; it’s not a rush job which results in rare, but serious, damage. Fly the nose wheel down, unless stopping distance is critical, even then it’ll be 5-8 seconds.
 
Nicoeddf
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Re: Why do pilots do 'Wheelies' after landing?

Mon Jul 26, 2021 8:05 pm

stephen88 wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Touchdown is ALWAYS on the mains, lower nose gear smoothly to the runway. That’s not “doing a wheelie”, that’s landing. Aero braking is mostly a fast jet deal where there are no thrust reverser or drag chutes and not very effective for airliner operations. The video landing is pretty normal, perhaps a bit slow on de-rotation but no wheelie or are braking. Discussed here many times.


I know how a plane lands, I get all of that but the point I'm trying to make is in the video the pilot holds off on the nose wheel for nearly 15 seconds after the mains hit the runway, and like I've said when I've been at airports I've seen it happen so many times, so what I'm asking is why do pilots do that? Why not just bring the nose wheel down sooner than that, within 5 seconds lets say which most pilots do.


Don’t see what you see, really. Yes, a touch on the slow side regarding derotation. My guess would be a long runway with ATC request/permission (or no traffic behind) to leave at the end of the runway.

So you just open the reverser and fly the nose wheel down. Nothing spectacular and certainly no need to get the nose gear down quickly.
 
IAHObserver
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Re: Why do pilots do 'Wheelies' after landing?

Mon Jul 26, 2021 11:41 pm

Go take a $100 intro to flight lesson at a local airport and get a little hands-on flying, you'll love it
 
Max Q
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Re: Why do pilots do 'Wheelies' after landing?

Tue Jul 27, 2021 4:05 am

The 757 has a nasty characteristic of the nosewheel slamming down very abruptly if you don’t watch for it, in the past this has caused significant aircraft damage and even caused airframe write offs


You need to pay extra attention and take extra care to deliberately and smoothly lower the nosewheel on this aircraft, if you relax prematurely after main wheel touchdown you can be in for a nasty surprise, sometimes you may think it’s down and relax back pressure then - WHAM


This video shows the pilot flying being extra careful in lowering the nose, look carefully and you’ll see how much up elevator they’re using though, that’s a lot of deflection and another thing to be careful of, you don’t want to run out of elevator authority with the nose still in the air


Basically, lower the nose without excessive delay but carefully, fly it down and minimize touchdown loads and don’t relax your elevator inputs until it really is down
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Why do pilots do 'Wheelies' after landing?

Tue Jul 27, 2021 6:48 am

Max Q wrote:
The 757 has a nasty characteristic of the nosewheel slamming down very abruptly if you don’t watch for it, in the past this has caused significant aircraft damage and even caused airframe write offs


You need to pay extra attention and take extra care to deliberately and smoothly lower the nosewheel on this aircraft, if you relax prematurely after main wheel touchdown you can be in for a nasty surprise, sometimes you may think it’s down and relax back pressure then - WHAM


This video shows the pilot flying being extra careful in lowering the nose, look carefully and you’ll see how much up elevator they’re using though, that’s a lot of deflection and another thing to be careful of, you don’t want to run out of elevator authority with the nose still in the air


Basically, lower the nose without excessive delay but carefully, fly it down and minimize touchdown loads and don’t relax your elevator inputs until it really is down


Autobrake MED can catch you out on the A330 in a somewhat similar way. The brakes bite earlier and harder than on the more common Autobrake LOW setting, so you have to be ready to catch the nose before you slam the nose gear into the runway.
 
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zeke
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Re: Why do pilots do 'Wheelies' after landing?

Tue Jul 27, 2021 7:09 am

stephen88 wrote:
I've seen this happen a few times recently when pilots have landed with only the main landing gear on the runway. They seem to hold the nose wheel of the runway for a while...

Why do they do this? I heard people say 'Oh the pilots doing a wheelie', is it just showing off or is there a valid reason? I've heard people calling it 'Aerodynamic braking' Any truth in that?

Here have a look... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGqPKO4V3Xg


As to the question why ? I would suggest it can be summed up as application of incorrect technique.
 
T54A
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Re: Why do pilots do 'Wheelies' after landing?

Tue Jul 27, 2021 9:14 am

Whilst aerodynamic braking is not done on airliners, longer types (A340-600) do take a bit longer (about 10sec) to get the nose wheel on the ground than say a A319 (about 3 sec). Pilots in both types are using the same technique, but the aircraft length does play a role.
 
Max Q
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Re: Why do pilots do 'Wheelies' after landing?

Tue Jul 27, 2021 10:21 pm

Starlionblue wrote:
Max Q wrote:
The 757 has a nasty characteristic of the nosewheel slamming down very abruptly if you don’t watch for it, in the past this has caused significant aircraft damage and even caused airframe write offs


You need to pay extra attention and take extra care to deliberately and smoothly lower the nosewheel on this aircraft, if you relax prematurely after main wheel touchdown you can be in for a nasty surprise, sometimes you may think it’s down and relax back pressure then - WHAM


This video shows the pilot flying being extra careful in lowering the nose, look carefully and you’ll see how much up elevator they’re using though, that’s a lot of deflection and another thing to be careful of, you don’t want to run out of elevator authority with the nose still in the air


Basically, lower the nose without excessive delay but carefully, fly it down and minimize touchdown loads and don’t relax your elevator inputs until it really is down


Autobrake MED can catch you out on the A330 in a somewhat similar way. The brakes bite earlier and harder than on the more common Autobrake LOW setting, so you have to be ready to catch the nose before you slam the nose gear into the runway.



Interesting and agreed, autobrake setting makes a big difference, and in the case of the 757, flap position


Flaps 25 selection, with its lower drag rather than 30 makes it considerably easier to lower the nose gently
 
Yikes!
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Re: Why do pilots do 'Wheelies' after landing?

Wed Jul 28, 2021 2:15 am

Seems to me the original question was nothing more than bait.

Anyone that has done a single hour of flight training knows the answer to the original question.
 
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LyleLanley
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Re: Why do pilots do 'Wheelies' after landing?

Wed Jul 28, 2021 2:30 am

Yikes! wrote:
Seems to me the original question was nothing more than bait.

Anyone that has done a single hour of flight training knows the answer to the original question.


Alas, there is no “have you flown at least one hour of flight training?” discriminator when signing up for a.net. Thanks Obama.
 
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rturner
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Re: Why do pilots do 'Wheelies' after landing?

Wed Jul 28, 2021 2:33 am

aerobreaking
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Why do pilots do 'Wheelies' after landing?

Wed Jul 28, 2021 2:13 pm

Pendent alert!

Aerobraking, that is.
 
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flyingturtle
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Re: Why do pilots do 'Wheelies' after landing?

Wed Jul 28, 2021 6:03 pm

..and the nose is lowered a few seconds before elevator authority is lost?
 
chimborazo
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Re: Why do pilots do 'Wheelies' after landing?

Wed Jul 28, 2021 8:25 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Pendent alert!

Aerobraking, that is.


Pedant alert alert!!

To the earlier post:

In GA we try and fly the aircraft nose up into a stall - aero braking in a fashion - with the main wheels (on a conventional tricycle landing gear version) a few inches off the runway and then keep gently increasing elevator to max pitch up as they touch and the nose wheel naturally touches down gently as the elevators lose lift. Never flown an airliner (some sim) but that’s completely different as described above.

To the OP: airliner main gear is designed to take the landing loads (excepting maybe the odd Russian example we see on YouTube!), the nose gear isn’t- it’s main functions are to allow the aircraft to be steered on the ground and to counter the pivot required to stop the plane falling on its nose (yes really- think about it!). So they are designed to land on the mains then require techniques described above to lower the nose without overloading the nose gear (or airframe). They could be made to take landing forces but that = weight so no point when the mains deal with it and the nose is flown down.
 
chimborazo
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Re: Why do pilots do 'Wheelies' after landing?

Wed Jul 28, 2021 8:41 pm

To add, there will also be some benefit (however small, given that taxiing/turning can chew tyres more than a landing) in decreasing wear on nose gear tyres by it touching down XX seconds after main gear and therefore touching at a lower speed than mains. ie there is less “spin-up” to landing speed, which I assume would decrease wear. Would imagine this is entirely a secondary benefit of flying down the nose rather than any design intent.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Why do pilots do 'Wheelies' after landing?

Wed Jul 28, 2021 11:10 pm

chimborazo wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Pendent alert!

Aerobraking, that is.


Pedant alert alert!!

To the earlier post:

In GA we try and fly the aircraft nose up into a stall - aero braking in a fashion - with the main wheels (on a conventional tricycle landing gear version) a few inches off the runway and then keep gently increasing elevator to max pitch up as they touch and the nose wheel naturally touches down gently as the elevators lose lift. Never flown an airliner (some sim) but that’s completely different as described above.

To the OP: airliner main gear is designed to take the landing loads (excepting maybe the odd Russian example we see on YouTube!), the nose gear isn’t- it’s main functions are to allow the aircraft to be steered on the ground and to counter the pivot required to stop the plane falling on its nose (yes really- think about it!). So they are designed to land on the mains then require techniques described above to lower the nose without overloading the nose gear (or airframe). They could be made to take landing forces but that = weight so no point when the mains deal with it and the nose is flown down.


Yeah, I did it in 150 and 172, it was harder in the Cherokee and American Trainer. We did it on T-38 and A-10; going so far as to run the elevator to get that last bit of pitch authority. The Hun just used the drag chute which required all three gear on the ground to avoid weathercocking of the chute.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Why do pilots do 'Wheelies' after landing?

Thu Jul 29, 2021 2:42 am

flyingturtle wrote:
..and the nose is lowered a few seconds before elevator authority is lost?


Yes. Or more accurately, using the correct technique means you won't run out of elevator authority, because you'll lower the nose in time.

There's no rush really. Just don't hold it off. "Fly" the nose gear down.
 
seven47
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Re: Why do pilots do 'Wheelies' after landing?

Thu Jul 29, 2021 7:43 am

I've been a 757/767 Captain, Check Airman, FAA Aircrew Program Designee (TRE), and Instructor (TRI) for the past 5 years. When I watched this video, I was neither particularly alarmed or impressed by what I saw. Here's why:

- Despite sharing a common type rating and similar (not identical) flightdecks, the 757 and 767 are 2 very different aircraft. If you ever have the opportunity to walk up to one of each sitting next to each other on the ground, you may wonder how Boeing got the FAA and Civil Aviation Authorities worldwide to agree to the common type rating.

- Along those lines, pilots who fly both know that the 757 and 767 fly VERY differently, with the 767 actually being sportier and lighter on the controls. We also know that they land differently, with the 757 having a natural tendency to rapidly pitch down when the spoilers extend and the reversers are deployed on landing. With that in mind, pilots have a natural tendency to hold the nosewheel off longer in the 757, in an attempt to derotate and "land" the nosewheel more smoothly.

- My opinion of the landing in this video is that the flying pilot held the nosewheel off a little longer than I'd recommend, but he/she didn't seem to run out of pitch authority during derotation, which is a threat during delayed derotation. I would probably debrief the landing with my FO/student, and emphasize the need to carefully manage the derotation to mitigate the threats of tailstrikes vs. nosewheel "slapdown."
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Why do pilots do 'Wheelies' after landing?

Fri Jul 30, 2021 3:06 am

Or just keeping holding it off before the mains have even touched... ;)

https://youtu.be/7GpY8HCVlEs

Another angle (caution, this one has NSFW commentary) https://youtu.be/dWJwnIxiAyc

I'm curious as to what happened here. Ground shy? At least they finally got the nose down in a rather positive manner before the tail struck.
 
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Aaron747
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Re: Why do pilots do 'Wheelies' after landing?

Fri Jul 30, 2021 10:42 am

If the OP really wants to see the nose gear held off, check out this G100 at YVR the other day.

https://youtu.be/LYGiqdvJbQ8?t=56
 
ElpinDAB
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Re: Why do pilots do 'Wheelies' after landing?

Sun Aug 01, 2021 11:11 pm

It really depends upon the type of aircraft, but the pilot is still flying the aircraft until the aircraft is stopped, chalked, tied-down, brakes set, engines shut-down.

If you have ever flown a tail wheel aircraft or a seaplane, then you will be more conscious about this as a pilot. That said, Auto brake logic, spoilers, and thrust reversers can play into when you lower the nosegear for a given type. It's all about safety within the parameters of the aircraft, operation within the realms of the aircraft type, and smoothness. Pilots often pride themselves in how well they take care of their aircraft. If they can make a safe, smooth landing within the given conditions, then why not let the nose down slowly? It's not really a wheelie, but rather just flying the aircraft as long as necessary. As long as it's safe, within the company ops specs, and it can decrease wear and tear or provide the same result as anything else, then why not?

You probably don't see this as much anymore because of automatic functions that limit the ability of the pilot to fly the aircraft. Benefits are questionable, as discussed, but not unsafe.
 
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rfresh737
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Re: Why do pilots do 'Wheelies' after landing?

Wed Aug 04, 2021 10:42 pm

I think you're referring to what we call aerodynamic braking. There are some pilots who believe this technique helps them to land and stop in a shorter distance. I was a flight engineer on the L-1011 in another life. There was an Eastern Airlines captain who believed in this landing technique flying the L-1011. One day he hit the rear center engine first when landing and caused the aircraft to spend a month in maintenance hanger. He was warned by the chief pilot not to land that way. A few months later it happened again but this time they let him go.

The bottom line is this: if the test pilots who were doing landing distance certification flights were not using this technique to determine landing distances, pilots should not either.

RalphF
www.GMTPilots.com
 
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ro1960
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Re: Why do pilots do 'Wheelies' after landing?

Sun Aug 08, 2021 9:43 pm

How about this landing with an almost tail strike? What gives?

https://youtu.be/HEq8srkXvvc?t=1411
 
e38
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Re: Why do pilots do 'Wheelies' after landing?

Mon Aug 09, 2021 3:04 am

ro1960 wrote:
How about this landing with an almost tail strike? What gives?

https://youtu.be/HEq8srkXvvc?t=1411


With regard to the video, while I do not know the specific variables involved in the landing--winds, gross weight, etc.--it seems to me the pilot is intentionally holding it off in order to get a perfectly smooth landing. When you ask, "What gives?" I think "pilot ego" is what gives and it is extremely poor pilot technique. In fact, we have warnings in our flight operations manual specifically NOT to do this.

However, not knowing all the facts, it could have been something completely different.

e38
 
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ro1960
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Re: Why do pilots do 'Wheelies' after landing?

Mon Aug 09, 2021 9:15 am

e38 wrote:
ro1960 wrote:
How about this landing with an almost tail strike? What gives?

https://youtu.be/HEq8srkXvvc?t=1411


With regard to the video, while I do not know the specific variables involved in the landing--winds, gross weight, etc.--it seems to me the pilot is intentionally holding it off in order to get a perfectly smooth landing. When you ask, "What gives?" I think "pilot ego" is what gives and it is extremely poor pilot technique. In fact, we have warnings in our flight operations manual specifically NOT to do this.

However, not knowing all the facts, it could have been something completely different.

e38


Thanks for the reply. I was just amazed about the extreme angle more than the time the nose wheel is held up.

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