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500 Feet Landing Gate, Why 500?

Posted: Sat Dec 10, 2011 10:53 am
by smartt1982
Can anyone shed on info on the reasons behind a 500 feet landing gate (1000 in IMC). I am aware of the reasons for having a stabilized approach but is there any particular reason for it being 500.

Can anyone point me towards official documentation that talk about/accidents that have occurred that caused this to be?

Any help/info always greatly appreciated.

Kind Regards

Steve

RE: 500 Feet Landing Gate, Why 500?

Posted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 4:35 am
by rendezvous
Where I'm instructing we use 300'AGL, but that's in light aircraft which don't go quite as fast. I'm not sure why those particular numbers, I'd say they'd vary depending on operator too.

RE: 500 Feet Landing Gate, Why 500?

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:33 pm
by BoeingGuy
Quoting smartt1982 (Thread starter):
Can anyone shed on info on the reasons behind a 500 feet landing gate (1000 in IMC). I am aware of the reasons for having a stabilized approach but is there any particular reason for it being 500.

Interesting question. Let me ask a few of our senior guys and pilots to see if anyone knows. We talk a lot about this topic lately with the industry focus on preventing Runway Excursions (which can be caused by not being stable at 500 feet). But I've never heard the reason why they picked 500 ft. I'm curious too. If I find out, I'll post it.

Quoting smartt1982 (Thread starter):
Can anyone point me towards official documentation that talk about/accidents that have occurred that caused this to be?

Yeah, as you know many of the current regulations are (unfortunately) brought on by past accidents. The 250 knot limit below 10,000 ft came from the TW Constellation and UA DC-8 mid-air over Staten Island in 1960. The regulations for having a Standby Battery and Standby Instruments came from the UA 727 crash off of LAX in 1969. TCAS was brought on by a number of accidents. PSA 182 and the Aeromexico mid-air near LAX were the final two straws.

RE: 500 Feet Landing Gate, Why 500?

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:08 pm
by vikkyvik
Quoting smartt1982 (Thread starter):
Can anyone shed on info on the reasons behind a 500 feet landing gate (1000 in IMC). I am aware of the reasons for having a stabilized approach but is there any particular reason for it being 500.

I think several airlines use 1000 or 1500 feet for the minimum altitude at which you must have a stable approach.

Overall, it's probably a compromise between safety and efficiency - you don't want to fly an unstable approach down to the ground, but at the same time, forcing airplanes to be stable and on speed at 10,000 feet will probably slow traffic down quite a bit.

RE: 500 Feet Landing Gate, Why 500?

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:12 pm
by pilotpip
First, a landing is never assured until the the plane is on the ground. For most airlines that commitment point is the opening of thrust reversers. Until that point, you can go around.

Stabilized approach critera is the determining factor for continuing an approach beyond 500' AGL. The reason: safety. There have been a number of crashes attributed to aircraft being high/fast on final. To prevent this a standard had to be established. This was to be on speed and glide slope at 500 or 1000ft AGL. My airline does 500 for visual approaches and 1000 for instrument approaches but many do 1000 for both and I often do this myself.

This is a big topic of discussion with our various safety initiatives which is one of the few places the union and company work quite well together. It's in all of our interests to focus on potential issues during flight and promote a culture of safety.

RE: 500 Feet Landing Gate, Why 500?

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 11:47 pm
by lowrider
Quoting pilotpip (Reply 4):
First, a landing is never assured until the the plane is on the ground.

Speak for yourself. For me, landing is assured at rotation.

RE: 500 Feet Landing Gate, Why 500?

Posted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:53 am
by Fabo
Quoting pilotpip (Reply 4):
This was to be on speed and glide slope at 500 or 1000ft AGL

And engines out of idle, from what I have heard.

RE: 500 Feet Landing Gate, Why 500?

Posted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 6:54 pm
by pilotpip
Quoting lowrider (Reply 5):

Speak for yourself. For me, landing is assured at rotation.

And every landing is a go around until the T/Rs open. Obviously your superior piloting ability means you've never done one. Get over yourself.

[Edited 2011-12-13 10:55:14]

RE: 500 Feet Landing Gate, Why 500?

Posted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 4:21 am
by lowrider
Quoting pilotpip (Reply 7):
And every landing is a go around until the T/Rs open. Obviously your superior piloting ability means you've never done one. Get over yourself.

Lighten up Francis, its a joke. As in, as soon as I take off, I know I will, at some point, be landing. Most assuredly.

RE: 500 Feet Landing Gate, Why 500?

Posted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 5:20 am
by tb727
Quoting lowrider (Reply 8):
Lighten up Francis, its a joke. As in, as soon as I take off, I know I will, at some point, be landing. Most assuredly.

Man, I just shot water out my nose, thanks!

We have a perfect record in aviation, haven't left one up there yet.

RE: 500 Feet Landing Gate, Why 500?

Posted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 11:08 pm
by Fabo
Quoting tb727 (Reply 9):
We have a perfect record in aviation, haven't left one up there yet.

Not like those pesky submariners, eh?  

Nevertheless, lowrider, I did get your point, but it did seem out of place in such a discussion.