While browsing the major accidents in the Aviation Security Network's database, I noticed that a couple of accidents seem to at least be aggravated by one-sided deactivation of thrust reversers. One-sided thrust reverser deactivation seemed to be permissible according to the respective Minimum Equipment Lists, yet the reports indicate that the crews have been caught off guard by the resulting asymmetric thrust after reverser activation during landing.

As some of the mentioned accidents resulted in a high number of fatalities, I wonder if the procedures and requirements regarding thrust reverser deactivation have ever been changed. How common is it for an airliner on a commercial flight to have thrust reversers deactivated asymmetrically nowadays?


Operating with a deactivated thrust reverser is relatively common on normal line ops.

There are normally type specific operating restrictions e.g. full power take-off, no short or narrow runway ops.

On B757/76 there is a clue that you a have a reverser locked out - you can't select it.

  • $\begingroup$ any source/reference/picture? $\endgroup$ – Federico Oct 16 '14 at 10:25
  • $\begingroup$ The technical aspect of my answer is from company controlled documents so I'm unable to copy anything here. From my personal experience its not all that uncommon to encounter locked out reversers. $\endgroup$ – vectorVictor Oct 16 '14 at 10:45
  • $\begingroup$ this information should be also on a pilot manual, for example, and usually those a publicy available, aren't they? $\endgroup$ – Federico Oct 16 '14 at 10:52
  • $\begingroup$ I suppose that depends on the type of operation. The question asked about how common it was to encounter a deactivated reverser. Type specific limitations would be direct by an operational requirement from the MEL. General operator requirements for particular situations(Narrow or Contaminated runways) are detailed in the individual operators manual. $\endgroup$ – vectorVictor Oct 16 '14 at 11:12

The B737 MEL say :

Use of reverse thrust is left to the discretion of each carrier. Techniques for controlling the aircraft with unsymmetrical reverse thrust should be developed and used in training.

Therefore the pilot must know if he is able to control the aircraft in this situation.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ It seems to me that the OP is aware of what the MEL says. I have the feeling he might be more interested in actual regulations (e.g., FAA or EASA) $\endgroup$ – Federico Aug 13 '14 at 11:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Frederico is right. In addition, if major carriers have issued internal guidelines on this topic, this would be of interest as well. $\endgroup$ – syneticon-dj Aug 13 '14 at 16:34
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    $\begingroup$ The MEL is approved by some authority (EASA in this case), so we can assume that this is the EASA regulation. Edit : This is issue from EASA DDG (dispatch deviation guide), section MMEL (master minimum equipment list) for B737NG. This the a part of the operation procedure in case of allowed dispatch with one thrust reverser inoperative. I don't know the airliners procedures, so I can't help you in this side. $\endgroup$ – Kromen Aug 14 '14 at 9:51

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