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Last minute landing flaps config change

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    Last minute landing flaps config change

    I always plan approach, ILS, landing flaps... around FL20. Most of the time the flaps and reverse that I chose for landing based on wind, turnaround time... is the config that I finally use. But I check the approach page at FL10 again and I make changes if required. But sometimes the winds just change in the last stage of the approach, and I would prefer to configure for flaps 40 instead of 30 (for example strong tailwind not expected before) or the other way around.
    When it's the last (safe) chance to change the final flaps configuration in real ops? It's okay to decide to change the final flaps well after FAF?

    Thanks!
    Joan Alonso

    #2
    Yeah it's not a problem. These are the things that make this a 2 man airplane. I wouldn't change the flap setting anytime below 1000ft to touchdown but a couple of times we've been in a situation like you describe between 7nm or 10nm from landing and we've decided to increase flaps. Select the new flap setting in the FMC, bug the speed and configure accordingly. I would go from 30 to 40 but not the other way around unless during the brief we had calculated performance for both configurations. Any time you're not confortable doing this because you're not sure about how much effect the change in weather will cause you can always go around and recalculate performance accordingly.

    On days where wind is uncertain it's never a bad idea to calculate performance for various scenarios on the OPT once PMDG add the EFB again (Flaps, reversers..). You can also calculate performance to always be on the safe side, like entering more tailwind than reported on days where the wind is variable or gusty. Keep in mind that it should be avoided to do briefings during the descent. Ideally we start briefs some 80nm before top of descent on airports we're not completely familiar with or when we need to do full detailed briefings in complex airports.
    Omar Josef
    737 FO
    757/767 rated
    Spain

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks Omar! Got it.
      Yes, before T/D I plan winds for descent, select AB and altitude, at that point I have an idea of what landing config I’ll use, but it’s at FL20 more or less that I set the Approach page in the FMC after checking winds for landing and set the 10 and 4 rings. Then, after FL10 checks I check again rwy winds and conditions.
      I don’t know why I thought that VREF selection was done at a later stage of T/D.

      Yep, changing flaps to F30 once configured at F40 sounds a bit scary. The point was if it’s safe to do it when F5/F10 or even F15 (unlikely, because at F15 I select final flaps right after). But now I won’t hesitate to change final flaps in those rare situations.

      Mil gracias!
      Joan Alonso

      Comment


        #4
        Joan,
        The decision on what landing Flap and Autobrake setting etc to use should be determined (and the Vref set in the FMS) prior to TOD as part of your Before Descent Checks and normal planning and preparation for the approach. This will ease your workload in the descent and, as Omar has already pointed out, ideally you should always be speed stable with the landing flap set no later than 1,000 ft RA on the approach. If you are not stable by 500 ft RA at the latest then, under normal circumstances, the safest thing to do is Go-around.

        There is of course nothing to stop you altering the flap position at any time and there are some occasions when a change in the amount of landing Flap might have to be made, such as a late change onto a shorter parallel runway. However, these situations are not that rare and provided you are still above 1,000 ft RA on the approach they can usually be made safely.

        Provided you are always well prepared and situationally aware then the only rare situations you are ever likely to face will be those where something totally unexpected happens. The accident to a B777 landing at Heathrow due to ice blocking the fuel feed to both engines is one example where the flaps were partially retracted very close to the ground. This action by the commander apparently prevented the aircraft from otherwise colliding with the runway ILS antenna and it probably resulted in a far less serious outcome for everyone on board because thankfully they all survived.
        Michael Codd

        Comment


          #5
          Got it! Thanks Michael
          Joan Alonso

          Comment


            #6
            Joan, I noticed you said you plan your flaps and approach at FL20. You actually wait until you're at 2,000 feet to plan it?
            Captain Kevin

            Kevin Yang

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Captain Kevin View Post
              Joan, I noticed you said you plan your flaps and approach at FL20. You actually wait until you're at 2,000 feet to plan it?
              FL200
              Joan Alonso

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Joan Alonso View Post
                FL200
                Okay, that sounds a little better than FL20, although I'd personally be planning the approach prior to top of descent.
                Captain Kevin

                Kevin Yang

                Comment

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