But flying the Airbus, I reach beyond my neighborhood and consult with Airbus representatives, a senior Airbus Check-airman, and miscellaneous Captains—my team.
I’m thankful to have the opportunity to consult with them on actual operations of various performance issues, and captain decision-making questions. Brainstorming before the event is always a good idea.
One of these issues is:
Overweight landing, and the need to perform an auto-land, or not.
The verdict is:
Airbus says, "there is no need to perform an auto-land with an overweight landing."
This is good to know. It would be a shame to not take advantage of a long runway because the ILS was down. A long runway with a heavy airplane is always the best.
Then, there is also the choice between low verses medium auto-brakes. I was reminded that the autobrake setting is a deceleration rate. The heavier the plane, the system will be using more brake pressure to stop at the same “decel” rate as when lighter. Noting since we have a higher approach speed, it takes more distance to slow down at the same rate.
The recommendation is: If you have enough runway, use low. Or even click the brakes off after touchdown doing the initial slowdown solely with reverse, so that the brake cooling time will be minimized and you can be on your way.”
One thing to keep in mind is for medical emergencies so you can drop off your passenger and get on your way quickly. Excellent advice.
Does Airbus recommend managed speed for an overweight landing?
YES: Managed speed is recommended.
“There is a chance during the initial configuration that green dot speed may be higher than VFE for flaps 1 because of an over-weight condition. In this case, we recommend that the crew select speed VFE-5 kts (but not below VLS) to allow them to begin configuring. As the slats extend, VLS will reduce. Once that’s completed, the speed should be returned to managed speed.”
What Does Your Company Say?
Then there is also the question of deviating from your company procedures.
If you do something as a Captain, that is contradictory to your operations manual, but you view it as a better course of action, will you be violated? How far does your Captain authority go? If everything works out, no harm, no foul. But what if…
I think we all will do whatever it takes to save the plane if in imminent danger. But what if following the procedure is not unsafe, but in your view, a different course of action would be better. Can you do it? What will the FAA say? What will your company say? What will you say during your rug dance?
Share your thoughts, we would love to hear. And, I have the "FAA" answer to the will you be violated question. To be posted next week.
Enjoy the Journey!