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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."

Type rated on A330, B747-400, B747, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A330 Systems ... Zero Flaps

Flaps and Slats Locked ... an operational perspective with dual failures.

Photo depicts Normal operations of flaps and slats.

Dual failures...

While it may not be likely, a friend of mine did a zero flap landing on this plane. I always say... never say never. As I'm finally getting to fly the plane this month, it's fun to take my studies into the airplane. Lessons learned can save lives.

What would cause a Zero Flap Landing?

If both flaps and slats wingtip brakes activate, a zero flap/slat approach and landing is required. The message is: F/CTL FLAPS LOCKED and F/CTL SLATS LOCKED. These two separate problems would leave you with a clean wing.

Photo depicts only locked flaps.

Another reason could be a bit more serious. If the the (Slat Flap Control Computer) SFCC 1 and SFCC 2 fail, you would see:


This is also a dual malfunction. But you won't find a procedure in your quick reference manual. Why? The probability of "never" is taken into account. But it's important to note that in this situation the flight controls will degrade to Alternate Law.

How do you know when you're in Alternate Law?
Among other indications, look for the X's on the PFD.

The interesting thing about these flap and slat failures is that while we don’t have flaps or slats, we still must "position" the flap handle as if we had them.

The flap handle is used to compute the speeds on the speed tape. Where as the position of the flaps themselves are used to depict the speeds on the ECAM. Thus, ECAM speeds are correct per position of the flaps (up)—But the speed tape is not.

Why do we want to move the flap handle to "1" if we have a flap malfunction?

Go-Around on the Bus

In the Boeing aircraft we had a button to push to execute the go-around. In the Airbus we use thrust lever position to TOGA. (Takeoff/ Go-Around) But how does the plane know the difference? What if we needed TOGA thrust but we were not performing a go-around?

In the event of a Go-Around, the Airbus won’t transition to the Go-Around phase unless the flap lever is in at least position 1.

Airbus logic is such that if we were applying TOGA power during an approach (flaps out)—we are telling the airplane to go-around. There is no button pushing. If flaps are up, you would only get Max Takeoff thrust and the plane stays locked on the localizer and glideslope.

Systems knowledge is essential, especially in the modern planes. Now that pilots are conducting ground school at home and teaching themselves the aircraft systems, will they be assured they know everything there is to know about their plane when necessary?  With the advancement of automation, will pilots know what to do if they lose that automation? 

Without the practice of flying, and systems knowledge to back them up... will pilots be at their best? What are your thoughts?

The responsibility lies within.

Enjoy the Journey!
XOX Karlene


  1. Aviate, Navigate, Communicate. How many safety reports do you read where the guys forgot what we all were taught pre-solo?

    It still comes down to being able to fly the airplane, usually in spite of the technology. But you are exactly right, you still have to know the jet.

  2. I think it boils down to what your used to. I fly DA40's in VFR only (because I don't have my instrument rating), and when things are not going my way I disengage the autopilot; usually with a resounding thump on the red button on my control stick. Then I gather myself and ten the autopilot back on because it's just do peaceful to enjoy the view and simply point where I want to go with a twist of a knob.

    As a private pilot with very low time, majority of my flight was logged by hand flying. So when things don't go my way my instinct is to do all the work myself. Heck, most of the time I still trim the plane the old fashion way instead of using the electric trim. Isn't it recommended that pilots do something they don't usually do in their biennial?


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