Landing a no-engine Airbus 320

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davidb

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"You don't actually believe that, right?"

I do believe that but I didn't explain my reasoning. The A320 glider has a glide ratio of about 16 to 1 (not too bad) and you could slip it to dissipate energy. Without getting into a lot of detail, yes its a capable/controlable glider. Now put the average skilled pilot at altitude and let him practice his dead-stick techniques for a spot landing. Chances are his first attempt will result in landing slightly short of the runway or landing long and hot (both usually catastrophic for an airliner). Give him a second chance and he'll probably get it just right. Admittedly, my lottery analogy was a bit exagerated but given a choice between a short runway with obstacles (no margin for error) or a vast obstacle-free landing area, I'm heading for the Hudson.

BTW, most of my cohorts concider the Azores incident at least mildly miraculous--a lot of skill and a little luck.

"(didn't matter what the surface was, he still landed the airplane)"

The surface does matter--airliners tend to break and burn rather easily.;)

"You have all sorts of options for glide-path control when you don't have engines. "

Limited hydraulics usually go along with no engines--what sorts of options for glide-path control besides slipping did you have in mind?

:)Bluntnes is OK--we're just having fun, right?:)
 

davidb

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The Gimli Glider was another airliner that made a deadstick landing in Canada.
Gimli Glider - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

BB
Interesting link--seems there is a good history of successful forced landings. I've played around in the simulator and the slip is key to managing energy for the spot landing--it can be done. I still maintain that the Hudson was the best if not the only option for Sully.
 

Topaz

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"You don't actually believe that, right?"

I do believe that but I didn't explain my reasoning. The A320 glider has a glide ratio of about 16 to 1 (not too bad)...
Yep, and in the neigborhood of the "airchair"-type ultralight gliders, in point of fact.

BTW, most of my cohorts concider the Azores incident at least mildly miraculous--a lot of skill and a little luck.
Oh, I'd agree with "miraculous" in the sense that they were over the middle of the Atlantic and there was actually something solid to land upon, certainly. The flying itself... Well, my understanding is that the crew managed energy well enough to do at least an abbreviated pattern before landing. So "miraculous" flying? Not so much.

"(didn't matter what the surface was, he still landed the airplane)"

The surface does matter--airliners tend to break and burn rather easily.;)
True, but it only matters once you make contact with that surface. That's soil or water mechanics, not piloting. Managing the glide, inspecting the surface and local wind conditions from the approach to the site, setting up whatever pattern you decide is appropriate, and doing the final glide to touchdown are completely independant of the surface you'll be touching down upon. Ploughed field or river, you're still going to keep the gear up and try to stall it onto the surface. Or whatever the POH says for that type of airplane.

Limited hydraulics usually go along with no engines--what sorts of options for glide-path control besides slipping did you have in mind?
Slipping was the primary means I had in mind since I'm not sure if the spoilers on an airliner are RAT-powered, too. If they are, then there's another. Flaps can be used, but tend to be too slow in powered aircraft to really do the job. But really, simple pattern management (you don't have to fly a 'square' pattern) goes a long ways towards adjusting the final touchdown point all on its own, especially on an "unknown" landing field, where you don't know the field elevation. Didn't do much in the Hudson A320 case, since he chose the "runway" that was longest and straightest in the area and didn't need to worry about it much.

...Now put the average skilled pilot at altitude and let him practice his dead-stick techniques for a spot landing. Chances are his first attempt will result in landing slightly short of the runway or landing long and hot (both usually catastrophic for an airliner). Give him a second chance and he'll probably get it just right.
Which has been my point all along, so we agree here. The "average" pilot gets pretty fidgity and nervous when the noisemaker(s) goes quiet. And especially if he's got to do a spot-landing on top of it, as would usually be the case. That nervousness comes from inadequate training and practice at the task. Put me in a power plane at altitude and chop the motor, and all of a sudden I'm doing the only kind of flying I've done for the last couple of years - and we practice "engine out" spot landings every time. It's marked out on our runway at my soaring club.

Deadstick spot landing? Yawn.

Is that confidence because I think I'm some sort of super pilot? Heck no. I've got tons to learn yet. I'm confident about engine-out landings because I've been adequately trained to do it and I've done them over and over again. It's a real shame that pilot training in the US doesn't include a glider component at the beginning. Even if it's just a stepping-stone to powered-aircraft training, it still gives you much better stick-and-rudder skills, better appreciation for wind and weather, and as we're talking about here, you'll lose the irrational fear of deadstick landings because you'll have the training and experience to handle the situation.

Just like Sully did.

:)Bluntness is OK--we're just having fun, right?:)
Absolutely. :)
 

BBerson

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Topaz said: "It's a real shame that pilot training in the US doesn't include a glider component at the beginning. Even if it's just a stepping-stone to powered-aircraft training, it still gives you much better stick-and-rudder skills, better appreciation for wind and weather, and as we're talking about here, you'll lose the irrational fear of deadstick landings because you'll have the training and experience to handle the situation."

My training was in gliders and powered airplanes at the same time. After I soled in the glider, my airplane instructor was impressed and he said: "I guess you are ready to solo in the Tri-pacer now as well".

I always thought the initial glider training helped.
BB
 

Midniteoyl

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It's a real shame that pilot training in the US doesn't include a glider component at the beginning.
Have to totally agree with this. At least 10 hours in a glider would go along way towards training better pilots. Most people dont do the '40 hours' in 40 hours anyways, so the added time would be a wash.
 

Gray Out

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Hello,

It is a miracle that no one was killed.

The Hudson was without a doubt the best place he could have chosen...possibly on that day. If you're from around here you know how bad things could have been because of the enormous amount of naval traffic that can usually be found. The ferry alone would have been an automatic 300 lost souls and they usually travel in packs of two and three. On July 4th, he may have had less casualties landing straight down 34th Street. At night when they pack all those supertankers in there while waiting for a dock, forget it...one oil tanker alone with a million gallons of oil would have taken out midtown and half of New Jersey. We would still be on fire.

This to me has divine intervention written all over it and I'm soooo glad that the miracle was translated through the pilots hands. That no one was killed is a miracle in itself.
 

davidb

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A few more tidbits. A320 on RAT alone: no flaps, partial slats, manual gear extension only. Airliners aren't certified for forward slips.
 

RacerCFIIDave

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Divine intervention my big old butt...just a highly skilled pilot...

Why must we run around saying anything good is some kind of God event...and then not saying that the bad is too...hmmmm

Dave
 

Gray Out

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Ahoy there

Divine intervention my big old butt...just a highly skilled pilot...

Why must we run around saying anything good is some kind of God event...and then not saying that the bad is too...hmmmm

Dave
It's called faith. It is something many are and do kill or die for.
I'm not sure whom it is that you know that runs around saying everything good is an act of God and everything bad isn't so perhaps you should pose that question to them. Me however, I believe their "faith" is misplaced or they're hypocrates. For example, I wake up every morning and I thank God for everything good and bad that has happened in my life.

As far as your "big old butt" goes, I will take it on "faith" that it is big and old as you pointed out because your opinion is valid to you if to no one else and because I don't know you and can't disagree, but we definitely agree that there is no question that the pilot was highly skilled. I also believe that it was the highly skilled work put into the craft by design engineers and those that built and maintained it.

It is still a miracle no one was killed in the craft because of divine intervention through the act of a highly skilled pilot, but also because there was no naval congestion. No naval congestion being the operative words. What position would have been taken if the pilot would have buried his craft into a tanker and killed thousands? Ohh ahh let me see...what the hell was that tanker doing in the harbor, or the stupid pilot should have gone back to land and put her down on the miles and miles of industrial desolate acres on the Jersey side because he didn't carry floats?? In all reality it can go on forver, but to me, in my opinion and based on my faith, it was a miracle no one was killed on that day and that is valid to me if to no one else.
 

Dana

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Definition of "miracle": an event contrary to, and cannot be explained by, normal science. This event involved a large amount of ordinary luck (both bad, at first, and good afterwards) and skillful piloting, but no miracle.

True, there are often lots of boats on the river, but it's a big river. He would have been able to choose a clear spot.

-Dana

The only problem with trouble-shooting is that sometimes trouble shoots back.
 

Gray Out

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Hello,

Definition of "miracle": an event contrary to, and cannot be explained by, normal science. This event involved a large amount of ordinary luck (both bad, at first, and good afterwards) and skillful piloting, but no miracle.

True, there are often lots of boats on the river, but it's a big river. He would have been able to choose a clear spot.

-Dana

The only problem with trouble-shooting is that sometimes trouble shoots back.
No miracle to you. It is a miracle to me for the same reason you define. I can't explain it and even if I could it would not change my mind about it because it is a miracle.

Too many times we trust that only a scientific explanation matters but that is a pretty weak argument because science has been unable to cure the common cold, yet here we are 200 million people walking around with it and science does not deny that it exists...only that they can't explain why they can't find a cure for it. Based on the definition, is it fair to say that it is a miracle that science has not found a cure because it cannot explain why it hasn't?

I can take the position that GOD gave us the incurable common cold to keep science humble and the only way to argue against my belief successfully is to find the cure. These points are both however moot, because the bottom line is that it is based on faith (and faith does not have to mean religious only) so, since theological debates are a never ending story with no agreement when it is all said and done, it is really a waste of time to attempt it.

However, to the best of my knowlege, no one here was on that craft and everything said is conjecture or belief, but I don't believe anybody on that craft jumped up and said "May the (science, pilot, craft engineer, ground crew etc etc) have mercy on our souls". They prayed based on their faith and to their GOD as they understand that entity. Shoot...for all we know, there could have been a satanist in the craft that prayed to Lucifer...but not to science.

To think that providing a definition to justify a point of view based on personal belief is also weak. Read this link and try to convince all survivors interviewed that "prayed" to their GOD and "believe this to be a miracle" worked through the pilot that they also are wrong. I haven't found it yet, but I am willing to gamble that the pilot himself is a GOD fearing man that he may have also at the very least said "Oh my GOD" or "God help me" or "God grant me strength" when it all happened instead of "OH MY SCIENCE".

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 01/17/2009 | Hudson River crash: Three tales of fear and salvation

I agree with you wholeheartedly that there may have been a good amount of luck involved, as you noted, good and bad, but I am more convinced that it was the sum of many things, including the skills of the pilot as well as the faith they placed in other things. I haven't seen a single article of praise for the designer of the craft, the manufacturers or the ground crew that kept that ship flying. They are the unsung heroes and I understand all stories must have them. They kept it flying!!!! The Captain took it to a safe landing!!!! I don't care how much skill that pilot has...it means nothing if there was a design flaw or the crew forgot to attach the ailerons. He had enough faith in all those other things that he strapped in and saved all those souls. I thank GOD first and then the pilot and then everyone else that took any infinitisimal part in that craft. I even thank the flotation manufacturer for providing that kept that craft afloat.

Indeed...people are so bent on individualism that they have even failed to recognize the co-pilot. What...was he jerking off to get his last nut off before meeting his maker or is there a possibility that he helped his Captain keep the nose up just one more inch? Did the navigator cross his arms and say F**k this "I'm calling my wife to tell her I love her" or did he sit there in his feces reading the manual out loud to his Captain while he took the craft to the hard deck. Yes I know...self preservation and all that...but they did it and they did it as a team and they had faith in more than science.

The river is not as wide as you think it is at that location and if you have ever witnessed that river when it is full you would not believe that he could have found a safe spot to land. First, his engines went out at 3000' and all he had time to do was think for a split second bank once and follow as straight a course as possible to the hard deck. That was right down the center of the river where all craft would be...in the channel. Add 20 or 30 supertankers well over 600' feet in length and 100 feet in height in there and he wasn't going to do crap but take a crap and pray some more. Even if he would have panicked and banked, he would have buried the wing and pitchpoled the craft and still struck something. You would be surprised at how quickly the mile width of that river becomes narrow when traveling at 120knots. You would be shocked!
 

addaon

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Okay, guys, unless this is actually the first time you're having this conversation and you think you're going to learn something new, can we return to our normally scheduled programming?
 

Midniteoyl

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Well.. We are here to talk planes, flying, tools, etc. Religon and Politics are supposed to be kept to a minumum on this board. Regardless of how you personally feel or believe, any discussion on these two topics comes down to opinion. We all have them. And we all fight over them. So to keep things cordially, lets stick to the topics of the board and agree we all Love Flying....



and hate the FAA ;)
 

Topaz

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...Airliners aren't certified for forward slips.
And an SGS 2-33 isn't certified for loops. Doesn't mean it can't be done (and I've seen video to prove it), but rather that they just didn't include it in the certification testing.

Any airplane can be slipped. How agressively is a function of the vertical tail strength, I would imagine, but in an emergency situation, a mild slip would always be an option.
 

Gray Out

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Well.. We are here to talk planes, flying, tools, etc. Religon and Politics are supposed to be kept to a minumum on this board. Regardless of how you personally feel or believe, any discussion on these two topics comes down to opinion. We all have them. And we all fight over them. So to keep things cordially, lets stick to the topics of the board and agree we all Love Flying.... and hate the FAA ;)
Jim,

My apologies to you and this forum and all other members offended. You are of course correct. I didn't think I employed political or religious rhetoric, but if it is perceived as such, I will cease and desist. I agree with you wholeheartedly that it is all about opinion and belief and that there is no right and wrong or end to the theological/political discipline.

I don't fight over the opinions of others and always respect them even if I don't agree with them and i would certainly never demean them. It appears that my effort to express that I don't appreciate having my opinion likened to a big old ass and that my belief in life cannot be explained off with something as simpleminded as a websters defintition did not receive enough restraint on my part.

Moving forward I will just respond to stupefying ignorance with a simple "yeah okay" and that will be all. No engagement or offense to anyone regardless of what is written. I am always grateful that I receive little jewels every now and then in this forum and always go to great lengths to sort through the bull and the insults and let-downs from inflated egos to find the silver lining in the message and will continue to do so.

Thanks
 

Norman

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but in an emergency situation, a mild slip would always be an option.
Not if the programmer didn't want you to. Airbus' system sounds pretty robust but only they know if the control laws would allow a slip in under any circumstances.

On the subject of landing jets in tight spaces under extreme duress. Back in the 40s the runway at Winslow AZ was a few feet longer than the B-49's minimum stopping distance and a few feet wider that the main gear yet Cardenas managed to land there with half of his engines out.
 

Topaz

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Not if the programmer didn't want you to. Airbus' system sounds pretty robust but only they know if the control laws would allow a slip in under any circumstances.
True, but we're getting pretty far afield of my original point, and that of the AOPA article: That the majority of power pilots are not adequately trained nor experienced with what to do when the motor goes silent. Better training - which might include some glider time for real emphasis - would go a long way toward fixing that situation. The example of the "Hudson" A320 is a good one. I don't think anyone would deny that Scully's glider experience served him well in this situation.

You'll have to believe me that I don't mean this to sound as snippy as it will (text communication being what it is!), but while no doubt you or I or davidb can find some esoterica about how that kind of training doesn't apply in one particular highly-unlikely situation or another, the basic fact remains that it's true, and it applies to all of us here when we're flying something that doesn't fit some particular highly-unlikely scenario. Which is 99.9% of the time we're in the air.

On the subject of landing jets in tight spaces under extreme duress. Back in the 40s the runway at Winslow AZ was a few feet longer than the B-49's minimum stopping distance and a few feet wider that the main gear yet Cardenas managed to land there with half of his engines out.
Yikes! Interesting story - I hadn't heard that one!
 
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