July 19, 2004


Sorry for lack of posts. Been in Melbourne for work. Returning to Sydney yesterday was fun; we landed in 25-50 knot winds, which pitched the 767 all over the place. Sitting next to me was a Qantas pilot, who happily explained high-turbulence landing techniques as we were actually landing. The key: consistent momentum. My guess, that the pilot was using near full-throttle at some points on approach to "drive through" the turbulence, was corrected: he was sometimes running as high as three-quarter throttle, but only because the jet was maximum loaded and a high-drag landing set-up becomes even draggier with cross-winds and the like.

Perfect landing, by the way.

Posted by Tim Blair at July 19, 2004 03:44 AM

Glad you made it. Is the comments block for 'rumours repeated' missing or is AOL just giving me stick again?

Posted by: richard mcenroe at July 19, 2004 at 04:10 AM

Hmmm. Comments should be working on that post. Admin? Admin, are you there?

Posted by: tim at July 19, 2004 at 04:17 AM

It's probably AOL, Richard. I was just there myself.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at July 19, 2004 at 04:18 AM

BTW, tim, welcome back! Glad to see your landing was safe -- don't you just love turbulence?

And Andrea posted that she is using ancient equipment to access the INTERNET, so she might be a tad slow in responding.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at July 19, 2004 at 04:20 AM

I was assigned to the US Embassy in London when Clinton made his first visit to N. Ireland. During one of the early walk-throughs for the visit, the pilots of Air Force One and Marine One flew up to Belfast from London.

It was a fairly typical day for Belfast. We landed in 60 mph crosswinds with the pilots utterly white-knuckled. During the course of the first day, it rained, snowed, rained, bright with occasional clouds, hail, and sunny. With intermittent winds gusting during the day to close to 70 mph.

Both pilots said, and I quote, "Fuck it, he can walk."

They of course changed their minds, seeing that their boss was not up to walking on water, but they sure as hell had surface back-up for his side-trip to Londonderry.

Posted by: Hatcher at July 19, 2004 at 04:26 AM


You are lucky, my husband's flight from LA to Sydney was redirected to Brisbaine Sunday morning. This is after flying from NY to LA to Sydney on his way to Perth. I feel sorry for him-I've done it, it sucks. Especially when you have 10 hours of turbulance...


Posted by: Ann at July 19, 2004 at 05:52 AM

A mate is a QQantas captain. He reckons overseas, automated landings are all the go, using GPS. Additionally they glide in, rather than here where we have the luxury and safety of powered landings.

So accurate are these automated landings, planes hit the deck in the exact same spot, creating a build-up of rubber around 6" or so.

To avoid these build-ups, slightly random navigation co-ords are thrown into the flight programs, in order to land either side of these rubber ridges. It seems manual landings in Australia are done for sentimental reasons. And because the union says so.

Posted by: jafa at July 19, 2004 at 06:54 AM

Crosswinds don't bother the flying. The airplane doesn't know it's a crosswind until the wheels hit. It's thought to be inelegant to put side loads on the wheels, so the pilot has to do something at the right moment, but that's the last moment. There are two schools of thought for light aircraft, without low-slung engines on the wings. Probably only one for heavies.

Posted by: Ron Hardin at July 19, 2004 at 06:58 AM


Posted by: Andrea Harris at July 19, 2004 at 08:31 AM

LOL Andrea..

Posted by: Toecutter at July 19, 2004 at 10:02 AM

Couldn't someone just scrape the rubber off the runway in between landings?

Posted by: ilibcc at July 19, 2004 at 12:34 PM

"A mate is a QQantas captain. He reckons overseas, automated landings are all the go, using GPS. Additionally they glide in, rather than here where we have the luxury and safety of powered landings."

Cat IIIb & c autolandings still require instrument landing systems (those antennae you see on approach). GPS isn't certified for that function yet, and may never, although it's been demonstrated using local differential systems. As far as gliding in is concerned, that's a load of crap. I can envision many pilots using the autoland function out of laziness, but no airline pilot of any nation would do a dead stick landing on purpose (i.e. with no power). Ask your Qantas buddy for a specific example.

Posted by: Tommy Shanks at July 19, 2004 at 12:40 PM

Tim must have flying Business Class. Qantas cabin crew very rarely fly pleb class.

Posted by: TN at July 19, 2004 at 02:53 PM

Tommy, this was a rave from ages ago and I may have got it wrong. From memory the 'gliding-in', overseas, (quite possibly the wrong term) was to do with noise issues. At any rate, I contacted him on posting and await a response.

Posted by: jafa at July 19, 2004 at 04:54 PM

Flying is the work of Satan.

Posted by: Mike Jericho at July 19, 2004 at 07:47 PM