Why do SOPs ask to switch off flight directors and enter Vapp into the FMGC while carrying out a VOR approach on Airbus aircraft? My question pertains to when we disengage the AP. Why do we carry out these actions?

  • $\begingroup$ If we leave it on what effect will it have ? $\endgroup$ – Jai Aug 9 '17 at 5:21
  • $\begingroup$ Okay I still quite don't get it ? Doesn't the V/DEV function help us manage our V/S? We are correcting our pitch angle there to and as a result thrust will change. My question pertains to when we disengage the AP. $\endgroup$ – Jai Aug 10 '17 at 8:06
  • $\begingroup$ problem is you shoudln't really use the V/DEV as your primary/single guidance durring approach. DME vs. baro altitude is a good crosscheck that will give you the correct FPA to stay on descent profile. Converting FPA to VS is a bit too math intensive though... $\endgroup$ – Radu094 Aug 12 '17 at 8:33

ok two questios there really:

  1. entering vapp as speed constraint at the FAF.

    After the FAF you want to be flying a constant 3deg path (or whatever the approach gs is). Changing configurations and deploying flaps while on final will make the aeroplane baloon and deviate from that flightpath. To minimize those (uncorectable) deviations, the SOPs will call for the aircraft to be fully configured (flaps full, gear down and Vapp) at the FAF when starting the final descent. By entering the vapp in fmgc at the faf you are basically telling the computers I want to slow down early and configure to full flaps before thr FAF. The fmgc will then compute your descent to allow for that deceleration segment. It's not SOP as far as I can tell, just a gimmick people use to tell computer you want early stabilized.

  2. Switching FDs off

    Two points here: you are not switching them off at the FAF. You are changing them to a TRK/FPA mode (usually 1nm from FAF) to better control your glidepath angle durring final. Yes, you could use v/s to do that, and use trigonometry to compute the v/s required to maintain 3 deg for a given groundspeed, but why would you. Changing winds will change your groundspeed, and thermals will mess up your flight path. Setting -3deg in the FCU is much easier. I can then set -3.2deg if I get, say 20 feet high, and I should be back on profile in about 1nm. Second point: FDs will be switched off (completely) after disconecting A/P and at least at reaching minimas. Reason is the ap guidance is not certified to guide you after that so it is manual/visual flying using PAPI if available.

Note: this is all about flying a manually-selected non-precision approach (eg in NAV/FPA or TRK/FPA) mode with AP on. Using a fully managed approach is a different story

  • $\begingroup$ Great that clears it up a lot. Where is it mentioned that the AP is not certified to guide the aircraft beyond minima? In case someone asks $\endgroup$ – Jai Aug 16 '17 at 6:33
  • $\begingroup$ FCOM-NOR-SOP 18 says Disconnect AP "At the latest at the MAP or Minimum Use Height of the AP (whichever occurs first)" . Minimum AP height for non precison is 250ft (FCOM-LIM-AFS-10). At the MAP the FD will revert to HDG/VS if not disconnected , so you really don't want to keep AP on beyond that... $\endgroup$ – Radu094 Aug 21 '17 at 8:03

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