Managing the Princess on approach continues to be a challenge for those new to the airplane.
We're often vectored in fast, and slowing down early is not an option. There are too many planes in the sky competing to land at the same airports. Besides with the price of fuel, flying fast and getting on the ground is the most efficient. The problem is, the A330 doesn't like to go down and slow down. And she sure doesn't like to descend on the glideslope at 180 knots. She will accelerate unless you do something.
I've noticed we're required to keep our speed up to 180 knots more times than not. And we're often vectored in high. How do we manage the approach in this case?
Don't activate the approach speed until you're on the glideslope and ready to slow. If you attempt to slow this plane then think you're going to capture the glideslope, it won't happen.
Fly the plane to the glideslope first, then slow down. That's the only way you'll get on profile and make a stabilized approach. Once capturing the glideslope extend flaps, gear, and or speedbrakes to allow her follow the glideslope while maintaining the requested speed. The speed, and distance you capture the glideslope, will determine your configuration.
There are also some tricks of the trade the long-term bus pilots use, that we can stick in our toolkits too. As great fortune would have it, I had the opportunity to fly with a check airman performing Captain Operating Experience on my last trip. He had a great gouge:
"170 knots with Flaps 3 gives you the best rate of descent." In Narita they want you to put the gear down over the shoreline. In this event, Flaps 2, Gear Down and fly at 170 knots is the option.
Remember... unlike the Boeing, this the Airbus can use speedbrakes with the gear and flaps extended. More to come on that tomorrow.
Now... off to the airport. Short call in Detroit is in my immediate future.
~Enjoy the Journey~