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Aquasky18
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Pilot retracted flaps one notch just before landing

Sat Jan 15, 2022 6:25 pm

Question for any 757 pilots on this forum—especially with UA.

A few weeks ago, I flew into DEN on United on a 757-200. The approach was mostly typical, but after the plane was in landing config (flaps all the way down, gear down), the pilot retracted the flaps one setting (flaps 25 I think?) and accelerated slightly. We landed in this modified config. The flare was far more pronounced than usual (I’ve flown on the 757 many, many times since i fly transcon often)and the landing was extremely smooth but with a very long rollout (basically just let the plane roll all the way down the runway, no/ idle reverse thrust).

Is this a normal procedure? Have never noticed it before. Would be curious on thoughts.
 
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BWIAirport
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Re: Pilot retracted flaps one notch just before landing

Sat Jan 15, 2022 7:02 pm

What runway did you land on?
 
airplanedriver6
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Re: Pilot retracted flaps one notch just before landing

Sat Jan 15, 2022 7:29 pm

The long rollout would be typical in DEN due to the combination of long runways and often the terminal is at the far end of the runway.

They may have changed their mind on flap setting due to the above (my guess), or as a wind shear precaution, or margin due to high winds and maximum flap extension speeds, or as a demonstration of flaps 25 for training purposes since flaps 30 is more typical.

All of the above scenarios would be considered normal.
 
JBirdAV8r
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Re: Pilot retracted flaps one notch just before landing

Sat Jan 15, 2022 7:34 pm

Can't speak directly for the 757, but on the 737 and A32x, that's not entirely unusual. It doesn't happen super often, but it's not ultra-rare. The 737 has three different flap settings that are approved for normal landing, and the Airbus has two. Conditions might have changed from those briefed, and a different flap setting might have been more advantageous. If it's a bit windy/gusty, I might land at a lower flap setting. Lower flap settings mean slightly faster approach speeds, which mean more control authority, which translates into better handling. The 737 in particular could get a bit "squirrelly" in gusty conditions with flaps 40, as the spoilerons are more active--and that has a pronounced effect on the handling.

I've found in the 737 and especially the A321 that I can get some really nice landings at lower flap settings. The A321 in particular rolls on very nicely at flaps 3. That airplane is a joy to land (most of the time), and it gets an excited little shudder as we settle into ground effect right before we roll on. The 737 could definitely bring the thunder at flaps 40, but 30 (and especially 15) worked out well.
 
Max Q
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Re: Pilot retracted flaps one notch just before landing

Sun Jan 16, 2022 1:01 am

It’s unusual to set flaps 30 then retract to F25 but the reduced landing flap setting makes the 757 significantly easier to handle in strong , gusty crosswinds and wind shear conditions
 
seven47
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Re: Pilot retracted flaps one notch just before landing

Sun Jan 16, 2022 1:17 am

Agreed. We recently (within the last year or so) switched from Flaps 30 to Flaps 25 as our standard approach flaps on our 757s/767s. Flaps 25 gives us better crosswind approach control and saves fuel.
 
bigb
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Re: Pilot retracted flaps one notch just before landing

Sun Jan 16, 2022 1:54 am

Maybe they experienced flap load relief when the aircraft reach a certain speed they retract up a setting to avoid overspending the flaps. I am not sure if the 757 has flap load relief. I know the 747 does and it reaches 167kts, it auto retracts to Flaps 25.
 
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DL_Mech
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Re: Pilot retracted flaps one notch just before landing

Sun Jan 16, 2022 2:09 am

bigb wrote:
. I am not sure if the 757 has flap load relief. I know the 747 does and it reaches 167kts, it auto retracts to Flaps 25.


The 757 does have load relief.
 
SteelChair
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Re: Pilot retracted flaps one notch just before landing

Mon Jan 17, 2022 2:55 am

A configuration change below 1,000 feet AGL is prohibited at most airlines. It would also be captured and reported (de-identifed per union requirements for some strange reason) by FOQA. I'm leaning towards load relief.
 
Max Q
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Re: Pilot retracted flaps one notch just before landing

Mon Jan 17, 2022 4:08 am

bigb wrote:
Maybe they experienced flap load relief when the aircraft reach a certain speed they retract up a setting to avoid overspending the flaps. I am not sure if the 757 has flap load relief. I know the 747 does and it reaches 167kts, it auto retracts to Flaps 25.




The 757 does have flap load relief and its quite possible that’s what happened if the F30 maximum speed was exceeded


However the flaps will return to 30 automatically if speed returns to within limits
 
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RetiredNWA
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Re: Pilot retracted flaps one notch just before landing

Mon Jan 17, 2022 8:21 pm

SteelChair wrote:
A configuration change below 1,000 feet AGL is prohibited at most airlines. It would also be captured and reported (de-identifed per union requirements for some strange reason) by FOQA. I'm leaning towards load relief.


How is a 757 "capturing" FOQA data regarding flap settings for landing? I have never heard of this technology. It is not part of the FMS, ACARS or any other system I know installed on the airplane.

Back in my day, SOPA & SMAC dictated a Flaps 30 landing *EVERY* landing. Why? Conservatism. Flaps 25 produces a marginally faster, noticeably smoother touchdown with more control effectiveness over the horizontal stabilizer, less slamming of the nose gear upon touchdown.
 
Max Q
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Re: Pilot retracted flaps one notch just before landing

Mon Jan 17, 2022 9:37 pm

RetiredNWA wrote:
SteelChair wrote:
A configuration change below 1,000 feet AGL is prohibited at most airlines. It would also be captured and reported (de-identifed per union requirements for some strange reason) by FOQA. I'm leaning towards load relief.


How is a 757 "capturing" FOQA data regarding flap settings for landing? I have never heard of this technology. It is not part of the FMS, ACARS or any other system I know installed on the airplane.

Back in my day, SOPA & SMAC dictated a Flaps 30 landing *EVERY* landing. Why? Conservatism. Flaps 25 produces a marginally faster, noticeably smoother touchdown with more control effectiveness over the horizontal stabilizer, less slamming of the nose gear upon touchdown.




It’s all what you want to pay for. We had FOQA monitoring on our 757 / 67 aircraft, initially it would print out at the gate after shutdown an average of critical parameters below 1000’ on approach, such as, airspeed, vs, pitch attitude at touchdown, vs at touchdown etc, it’s highly customizable



Couldn’t agree more on the benefits of using F25 for landing on the 757, once I tried it I used that setting for all landings from then
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Pilot retracted flaps one notch just before landing

Tue Jan 18, 2022 2:26 am

RetiredNWA wrote:
SteelChair wrote:
A configuration change below 1,000 feet AGL is prohibited at most airlines. It would also be captured and reported (de-identifed per union requirements for some strange reason) by FOQA. I'm leaning towards load relief.


How is a 757 "capturing" FOQA data regarding flap settings for landing? I have never heard of this technology. It is not part of the FMS, ACARS or any other system I know installed on the airplane.

Back in my day, SOPA & SMAC dictated a Flaps 30 landing *EVERY* landing. Why? Conservatism. Flaps 25 produces a marginally faster, noticeably smoother touchdown with more control effectiveness over the horizontal stabilizer, less slamming of the nose gear upon touchdown.


It would be part of the QAR (Quick Access Recorder) or similar. This is widely used to capture data for later analysis. For example, it can be used to evaluate which airports in the network have a higher number of overspeed events or such. It can also be used to reconstruct the flight later in software in case pilots want to review a particular event.

Some operators use it in a somewhat more "punitive" manner unfortunately, dinging pilots who have deviated from accepted parameters.

It is indeed not part of FMS or ACARS.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quick_access_recorder
 
SteelChair
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Re: Pilot retracted flaps one notch just before landing

Tue Jan 18, 2022 4:39 pm

Starlionblue wrote:
RetiredNWA wrote:
SteelChair wrote:
A configuration change below 1,000 feet AGL is prohibited at most airlines. It would also be captured and reported (de-identifed per union requirements for some strange reason) by FOQA. I'm leaning towards load relief.


How is a 757 "capturing" FOQA data regarding flap settings for landing? I have never heard of this technology. It is not part of the FMS, ACARS or any other system I know installed on the airplane.

Back in my day, SOPA & SMAC dictated a Flaps 30 landing *EVERY* landing. Why? Conservatism. Flaps 25 produces a marginally faster, noticeably smoother touchdown with more control effectiveness over the horizontal stabilizer, less slamming of the nose gear upon touchdown.


It would be part of the QAR (Quick Access Recorder) or similar. This is widely used to capture data for later analysis. For example, it can be used to evaluate which airports in the network have a higher number of overspeed events or such. It can also be used to reconstruct the flight later in software in case pilots want to review a particular event.

Some operators use it in a somewhat more "punitive" manner unfortunately, dinging pilots who have deviated from accepted parameters.

It is indeed not part of FMS or ACARS.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quick_access_recorder


Thanks for the additional detail for those members who thought I was blowing smoke.

I have never heard of a single pilot disciplined or unfairly targeted as a result of FOQA data. That was a fear that almost prevented use of the technology. Such fears almost prevented CVRs and is still preventing video recorders. The air carriers have a responsibility for aviation safety.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Pilot retracted flaps one notch just before landing

Tue Jan 18, 2022 11:42 pm

SteelChair wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
RetiredNWA wrote:

How is a 757 "capturing" FOQA data regarding flap settings for landing? I have never heard of this technology. It is not part of the FMS, ACARS or any other system I know installed on the airplane.

Back in my day, SOPA & SMAC dictated a Flaps 30 landing *EVERY* landing. Why? Conservatism. Flaps 25 produces a marginally faster, noticeably smoother touchdown with more control effectiveness over the horizontal stabilizer, less slamming of the nose gear upon touchdown.


It would be part of the QAR (Quick Access Recorder) or similar. This is widely used to capture data for later analysis. For example, it can be used to evaluate which airports in the network have a higher number of overspeed events or such. It can also be used to reconstruct the flight later in software in case pilots want to review a particular event.

Some operators use it in a somewhat more "punitive" manner unfortunately, dinging pilots who have deviated from accepted parameters.

It is indeed not part of FMS or ACARS.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quick_access_recorder


Thanks for the additional detail for those members who thought I was blowing smoke.

I have never heard of a single pilot disciplined or unfairly targeted as a result of FOQA data. That was a fear that almost prevented use of the technology. Such fears almost prevented CVRs and is still preventing video recorders. The air carriers have a responsibility for aviation safety.


I wish all air carriers around the world had such common sense, but alas...

FOQA data being used punitively, including salary deductions for parameter violations, is widespread in Mainland China. A sad state of affairs. The ME3 have also been known to dabble in this area. You can get called up to the Chief Pilot for tea and biscuits if data shows you 10 knots over Vref at 1100 feet.

Flying Upside Down (in China) by "Duke Nukem" is a poorly edited, hilarious, and frightening read. Written by an American who flew contract in Mainland China for five years. You can download it here: https://jp.pb1lib.org/book/5220916/6cbcd3

Image
 
Max Q
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Re: Pilot retracted flaps one notch just before landing

Sat Jan 22, 2022 11:20 pm

SteelChair wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
RetiredNWA wrote:

How is a 757 "capturing" FOQA data regarding flap settings for landing? I have never heard of this technology. It is not part of the FMS, ACARS or any other system I know installed on the airplane.

Back in my day, SOPA & SMAC dictated a Flaps 30 landing *EVERY* landing. Why? Conservatism. Flaps 25 produces a marginally faster, noticeably smoother touchdown with more control effectiveness over the horizontal stabilizer, less slamming of the nose gear upon touchdown.


It would be part of the QAR (Quick Access Recorder) or similar. This is widely used to capture data for later analysis. For example, it can be used to evaluate which airports in the network have a higher number of overspeed events or such. It can also be used to reconstruct the flight later in software in case pilots want to review a particular event.

Some operators use it in a somewhat more "punitive" manner unfortunately, dinging pilots who have deviated from accepted parameters.

It is indeed not part of FMS or ACARS.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quick_access_recorder


Thanks for the additional detail for those members who thought I was blowing smoke.

I have never heard of a single pilot disciplined or unfairly targeted as a result of FOQA data. That was a fear that almost prevented use of the technology. Such fears almost prevented CVRs and is still preventing video recorders. The air carriers have a responsibility for aviation safety.




At my airline all FOQA data flagged for exceedances was sent to a Union safety panel who reviewed it then contacted the crew members to verify what had actually happened, unless something was bent management never got involved, that was a contractual agreement
 
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RetiredNWA
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Re: Pilot retracted flaps one notch just before landing

Mon Jan 24, 2022 9:44 pm

I am familiar with FOQA, I know how the program is designed. The situation as described initially does not seem to be an unstabilized approach, so, there would be no FOQA data flagged. Retracting the flap handle while on approach (i.e. configuring for a go-around from a stabilized, hand flown approach, let's say) will not trigger a FOQA event. It sounds more like an ASAP form event to me, if it was anything at all. Maybe the controller asked them to keep up the speed on approach? It is more likely it was gusty and blustery. I never flew into DIA, but I did fly in to Stapleton many times. From what the person here describes, there was a perceived change in flap configuration on approach with a normal landing.

I recall in the late 1990's (where my technical knowledge stops like a lead balloon) that FOQA triggers were unusual autopilot disconnects, tailscrapes, unstabilized approaches, hard landings, etc.
Last edited by RetiredNWA on Mon Jan 24, 2022 10:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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fr8mech
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Re: Pilot retracted flaps one notch just before landing

Mon Jan 24, 2022 9:57 pm

Max Q wrote:
At my airline all FOQA data flagged for exceedances was sent to a Union safety panel who reviewed it then contacted the crew members to verify what had actually happened, unless something was bent management never got involved, that was a contractual agreement


We use the FOQA data to maintain the aircraft. When the data shows an unreported overweight landing (read that as “hard landing”) or overspeed, we stop the aircraft and perform the required inspections.

The crews are encouraged to file an ASAP report. I was a member of the MXASAP ERC, and we’d occasionally get a look at a flight ASAP if reports crossed interests.

RetiredNWA wrote:
The situation as described initially does not seem to be an unstabilized approach, so, there would be no FOQA data flagged.


Our system would log that event, even tHough it was ‘normal’ because the flap handle would not agree with the flap position..
 
Redbellyguppy
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Re: Pilot retracted flaps one notch just before landing

Wed Jan 26, 2022 5:06 pm

I suppose it might depend on what you considered “just before touchdown”.

In the 737 it could be possible that I planned for, loaded, briefed, flaps 30. Then because of an unexpected tailwind, atc, etc, I was high and/or fast. I could drop flaps 40 to have the drag to repair that. But since my numbers are for 30, if I don’t redo everything, I’d be obliged to retract to 30 for the actual landing. Above 1000 ft, of course.
 
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FlyingJhawk
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Re: Pilot retracted flaps one notch just before landing

Tue Feb 01, 2022 9:53 pm

Redbellyguppy wrote:
I suppose it might depend on what you considered “just before touchdown”.

In the 737 it could be possible that I planned for, loaded, briefed, flaps 30. Then because of an unexpected tailwind, atc, etc, I was high and/or fast. I could drop flaps 40 to have the drag to repair that. But since my numbers are for 30, if I don’t redo everything, I’d be obliged to retract to 30 for the actual landing. Above 1000 ft, of course.


This sounds more like some real life past experiences carefully crafted to leave some wiggle room. :)

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