Life threaten experience...? (me, today, my flight)

  • I would like to share an experience I had today, with a question mark since I don't have all the information and the details, but as I perceived it, while most passengers would be unaware of the decisions that were being taken.

    It may seem "off topic", but since it's completely related to aviation and we sort of understand a little (some a lot, true pilots out here)... If I may be allowed, I'll share the experience I had today.

    I had to travel from the Canary Islands (TFN) to Seville (SVQ). I won't give too much details. Just that it was an Airbus: Lateral joystick, Flaps 1-2-3-4... And other specifics and differences in controls vs Boeing as you may know). The thing is I know that model I flew on.

    Well... It happened as follows. I was monitoring the plane coming to TFN to see what kind of profile it was doing and to see what sort of thing I might expect on the next flight. For instance I saw it was too fast when reaching almost the 10.000 (around 13.000 it was still too fast and then I saw a sudden drop in FL and later sudden drop of speed. That seemed like a glitch so I thought that might have been some laggy moments of real time data or something of that kind. "Lucky" me... Nothing more far from the truth. As I would discover on the upcoming flight (mine)...

    The first part of the flight had nothing outside of the ordinary... So my thoughts were completely at ease on the previous observations. Cruise was uneventful as well.

    Then came the approach, final approach and landing. On the final approach and landing everything came to place:

    I have never seen a commercial plane do what this pilot decided to do, just for the sake of it (unless some other issue was being handled that I'm unaware. One example might be a problem with the flaps not extending more... But I can't know this and also nobody commented anything later, which might discard any issue).

    This is what happened (very quickly, and promptly):

    From some altitude (around 6000-9000) air brakes were deployed to the maximum (completely vertical) and they wouldn't leave this position until seconds bwfore landing... Plane even turned 45 ° to the left... No flaps used. Then the plane would be of what might appear around 4000-5000 feet when they decided to deploy the gear. No sign of flaps (... Still). Speed was higher than a normal approach at those altitudes. Until it wasn't.

    To be precise... We were still making steep turns with maximum air brakes, gear down, NO FLAPS... Now not being so fast.... And around 1000 feet or less. Ground really close.

    There was a moment were we kind of "plumetted" a little bit and I thought they forgot to deploy flaps at all and we would become another headline in a newspaper. Why the heck were they NOT USING FLAPS so close to touch down?

    Finally.... Flaps 1.... Flaps 2.... And that's it.... We were so close to the ground that I thought we were seconds to landing.... And that was true. Not more than 15 seconds of flaps 2 we touched the runway, at very very high speed (certainly faster than take off speed).


    Nobody noticed all this reckless piloting.


    I'm sure this is not making justice to the experience, but most of all that I was alone noticing all these degails while people were kind of unaware.

    I assume after all that ordeal and by having set that flap 2....IAS must not have been slower than 160-165 kts. I can't know for sure how much head wind we had at the moment, but even that doesn't justify this.


    Opinions? Am I overreacting?


    Have any of you see something similar to this in any commercial plane before?

  • What aircraft was it?

    As far as i think there must be something wrong with aircraft. Because every pilot knows that even a little mistake can ruin his career. As you told aircraft made same approach ( flight before you ) this is a strong evidence that pilot was forced to do it. I dont think that pilot forgot about flaps cuz there are couple of warnings in cockpit but i think pilot had no option other than flying plane without flaps and he pulled airbrakes cuz he was not supposed to take out flaps ( something wrong with aircraft ).


    Another reason of not deploying flaps could be simply loose flaps. There is possibility of flaps falling mid air due to high speeds ( loose bolts ) this could be a reason why pilot didn't deployed flaps on high speed (230-170kts) cuz high speed means high chance of flaps detaching from wings. What pilot did to reduce air speed is to constantly deply airbrakes and landing gear to create drag as he couldn't not take out flaps due to some issue. And at final moments as you told aircraft was at 160kts while landing pilot finally deployed flaps just some seconds before landing so that he could do flare over runway. TO do proper flare you need low speed ( approx 140-145) kts and to reach these speeds you need to have flaps 4. But in this case pilot only deployed flaps 2 to be on safe side thats why he landed fast so that he dont stall out. And at last moment he took bit of risk to deploy flaps as he was already below 170kts and little of flaps were much needed in order to do flare. I would say if it was something wrong with plane then pilot did a great job.

    Aeroflyer:!:

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    Edited 6 times, last by sherdil (May 15, 2024 at 3:10 AM).

  • Have you heard of ryanair?

    Best,

    War

    Aerofly Global (IOS) Iphone 12 Mini

  • What aircraft was it?

    As far as i think there must be something wrong with aircraft. Because every pilot knows that even a little mistake can ruin his career. As you told aircraft made same approach ( flight before you ) this is a strong evidence that pilot was forced to do it. I dont think that pilot forgot about flaps cuz there are couple of warnings in cockpit but i think pilot had no option other than flying plane without flaps and he pulled airbrakes cuz he was not supposed to take out flaps ( something wrong with aircraft ).


    Another reason of not deploying flaps could be simply loose flaps. There is possibility of flaps falling mid air due to high speeds ( loose bolts ) this could be a reason why pilot didn't deployed flaps on high speed (230-170kts) cuz high speed means high chance of flaps detaching from wings. What pilot did to reduce air speed is to constantly deply airbrakes and landing gear to create drag as he couldn't not take out flaps due to some issue. And at final moments as you told aircraft was at 160kts while landing pilot finally deployed flaps just some seconds before landing so that he could do flare over runway. TO do proper flare you need low speed ( approx 140-145) kts and to reach these speeds you need to have flaps 4. But in this case pilot only deployed flaps 2 to be on safe side thats why he landed fast so that he dont stall out. And at last moment he took bit of risk to deploy flaps as he was already below 170kts and little of flaps were much needed in order to do flare. I would say if it was something wrong with plane then pilot did a great job.

    I don't think this was the case. That Airbus model retracts flaps and prevents it from being deployed unless air speed is suitable for such flaps level.


    I'm inclined to think this was more the case and that this isn't his first rodeo. This poor decision making is risky. The more I evaluate all the details the less a "failure" is the possible cause for this.


    Something as crítical as flaps not functioning as you suggest wouldn't allow the crew to take off unless fixed. So that must not be the reason. Also when something as critical as this (if that would be the case) normally the captain explain afterwards (also not the case here).


    I trully believe this is "normal" for this pilot since everyone was not altered or commenting after the flight (cabin crew) but certainly this was not standard procedure (far from it).

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    Did you record it by chance? I'd get in touch with the airline and EASA and file a complaint. Landing with spoilers extended is certainly not normal operating procedure in a passenger airplane (unless it's London City or other airports with a steep approach)

    Since this topic has nothing to do with flight simulation I would recommend taking the discussion to a more suitable forum like aviation stack exchange or Reddit r/aviation.

  • Did you record it by chance? I'd get in touch with the airline and EASA and file a complaint. Landing with spoilers extended is certainly not normal operating procedure in a passenger airplane (unless it's London City or other airports with a steep approach)

    Since this topic has nothing to do with flight simulation I would recommend taking the discussion to a more suitable forum like aviation stack exchange or Reddit r/aviation.

    Thanks Jan.

    I had contacted FAA and EASA and reported this just in case something is off. I couldn't be with myself if in the near future an accident would have been avoided but didn't because nobody reported anything (I'm aware of many of these). It's up to them now to investigate lf it was plane or pilot related.

  • But again why a pilot would risk his career cuz he knows his company will get to know his behaviour. And i still strongly believe that it was something wrong with aircraft cuz even if its airbus its a machine afterall and machines can go wrong. But if pilot and both aircraft were in good condition then it must be his company ordering him to do so. Bcuz pilot afterall is a employee he is not the one who is making decisions.


    Correct me if i am wrong it could be a budget airliner who is just complete their daily flight target on that aircraft before sending it to service and they ordered pilot to somehow land it.

    Aeroflyer:!:

    150000 Nautical Miles of flying done with Aerofly Global FS
    Longest Flight [VHHH-CYYZ] 15H25M 7589 NM B77W

    Bluestacks 5 Emulator

  • But again why a pilot would risk his career cuz he knows his company will get to know his behaviour. And i still strongly believe that it was something wrong with aircraft cuz even if its airbus its a machine afterall and machines can go wrong. But if pilot and both aircraft were in good condition then it must be his company ordering him to do so. Bcuz pilot afterall is a employee he is not the one who is making decisions.


    Correct me if i am wrong it could be a budget airliner who is just complete their daily flight target on that aircraft before sending it to service and they ordered pilot to somehow land it.

    That's my point.


    Regardless of who's calling the shots the ultimate responsability is always the pilot in command, since it's the one executing them when flying. If airline is responsable in any way this should also be addressed the sooner the better.


    I hope some kind of inquiry will be made to prevent this stretch when it comes to "time saving".

  • Did you record it by chance? I'd get in touch with the airline and EASA and file a complaint. Landing with spoilers extended is certainly not normal operating procedure in a passenger airplane (unless it's London City or other airports with a steep approach)

    Since this topic has nothing to do with flight simulation I would recommend taking the discussion to a more suitable forum like aviation stack exchange or Reddit r/aviation.

    An, I don't think that at any airport you should land with spoilers activated, here in Brazil we have Santos Dumont, which has a runway similar to London City and receives large planes like 737-800 and A320 Neo, and there I have never seen any plane land with active spoilers, in fact, most manufacturers offer special packages to land at these more complicated airports, an example is SFP for the 737 and SHARP for the A320


    Edit:Sorry, in fact you have to land there with active spoilers due to the steep descent

    Edited once, last by THOR_AVIATION (May 15, 2024 at 4:16 PM).

  • What aircraft was it?

    As far as i think there must be something wrong with aircraft. Because every pilot knows that even a little mistake can ruin his career. As you told aircraft made same approach ( flight before you ) this is a strong evidence that pilot was forced to do it. I dont think that pilot forgot about flaps cuz there are couple of warnings in cockpit but i think pilot had no option other than flying plane without flaps and he pulled airbrakes cuz he was not supposed to take out flaps ( something wrong with aircraft ).


    Another reason of not deploying flaps could be simply loose flaps. There is possibility of flaps falling mid air due to high speeds ( loose bolts ) this could be a reason why pilot didn't deployed flaps on high speed (230-170kts) cuz high speed means high chance of flaps detaching from wings. What pilot did to reduce air speed is to constantly deply airbrakes and landing gear to create drag as he couldn't not take out flaps due to some issue. And at final moments as you told aircraft was at 160kts while landing pilot finally deployed flaps just some seconds before landing so that he could do flare over runway. TO do proper flare you need low speed ( approx 140-145) kts and to reach these speeds you need to have flaps 4. But in this case pilot only deployed flaps 2 to be on safe side thats why he landed fast so that he dont stall out. And at last moment he took bit of risk to deploy flaps as he was already below 170kts and little of flaps were much needed in order to do flare. I would say if it was something wrong with plane then pilot did a great job.

    Looks like a Vueling A320.


    An, I don't think that at any airport you should land with spoilers activated, here in Brazil we have Santos Dumont, which has a runway similar to London City and receives large planes like 737-800 and A320 Neo, and there I have never seen any plane land with active spoilers, in fact, most manufacturers offer special packages to land at these more complicated airports, an example is SFP for the 737 and SHARP for the A320


    Edit:Sorry, in fact you have to land there with active spoilers due to the steep descent

    Do you know how to fly the RNAV into Santos Dumont? (i.e. what STARS are the most common?) I would like do the mental right-hander over Congonhas shortly befor landing.


    In Geneva, I've had really late flap deployments after a 120º intercept turn for RWY22. We were less than 800ft above the ground when flaps 4 was selected. We had a descent rate of -3700fpm at one point. That was really a "roller-coaster" landing and we were given headings by ATC the whole time and didn't even follow the filed star (LUSA2N)

    Kind regards and safe flying.

    -Thekingbuji333

    Edited once, last by Jet-Pack (IPACS): Merged 2 posts created by Thekingbuji333 into this post. (May 17, 2024 at 7:10 AM).

  • In Geneva, I've had really late flap deployments after a 120º intercept turn for RWY22. We were less than 800ft above the ground when flaps 4 was selected. We had a descent rate of -3700fpm at one point. That was really a "roller-coaster" landing and we were given headings by ATC the whole time and didn't even follow the filed star (LUSA2N)

    That's mental.... I don't think that would be wise an certainly wouldn't consider that a secure approach.

  • That's mental.... I don't think that would be wise an certainly wouldn't consider that a secure approach.

    Oh yeah. This was one of the more harrowing approaches I flew. It was aboard an A318 and we had full speedbrakes extended at 4000ft during the aforementioned 120ºturn while selecting flaps 2 and gear down. I've successfully recreated this arrival once in the sim. Geneva has very variable heading vectors on arrival and the standard STARS are barely used after the aircraft is within 20NM of the airfield.

    Kind regards and safe flying.

    -Thekingbuji333

  • Oh yeah. This was one of the more harrowing approaches I flew. It was aboard an A318 and we had full speedbrakes extended at 4000ft during the aforementioned 120ºturn while selecting flaps 2 and gear down. I've successfully recreated this arrival once in the sim. Geneva has very variable heading vectors on arrival and the standard STARS are barely used after the aircraft is within 20NM of the airfield.

    Were you F.O. or the captain on that flight?


    I figured you were F.O. and complained with the hierarchy since on those days it was more strict.


    I lost a friend which was a F.O. during a fatal crash and he did verbalize his regret and discomfort when the captain, regardless of that, flought the plane to the ground killing everyone on board. You can check it out: Fly Dubai in Rostov if I recall. He was trying to save the situation over and over, and even so was insufficient to prevent the fatal crash.


    I believe all pilots independently of the rank should be heard and in some cases being able to take over despite the wrongful pilot forcing the plane to a dive straight to terrain. So much technology and yet so many accidents that could be prevented but those keep happening.

  • I was just a passenger. However, I could use flight tracking services and my intuition to establish the configuration and telemetry of the aircraft. You can check AFR1442 on 03.07.2023 for reference.

    Kind regards and safe flying.

    -Thekingbuji333