Here is a Scenario:

PF: Flaps one.

PM: Speed Checked, Flaps one.

What does that mean and why do they have to say "speed checked" every time?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Where did you get this landing scenario from? $\endgroup$ – Mast Oct 22 '19 at 6:08
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    $\begingroup$ @Mast literally any cockpit video of a final approach and landing on YouTube will contain that. $\endgroup$ – Bianfable Oct 22 '19 at 6:28

Because there is a maximum deployment speed for things like flaps, gear extension (and sometimes retraction). Exceeding these speeds and using those devices can cause damage to control surfaces or other equipment. The speed check is there so that when the PF calls for flaps, the PM remembers to check the speed before performing the action.

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    $\begingroup$ Also note that the air speed indicator has a white arc marked on it showing the range of airspeeds for which flap deployment is safe. $\endgroup$ – Paul Mitchell Oct 22 '19 at 6:52
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    $\begingroup$ @PaulMitchell Or two horizontal, orange bars (for Airbus) $\endgroup$ – Stanley F. Oct 22 '19 at 7:04
  • $\begingroup$ If you try to extend the flaps while travelling at excessive speed, it won't damage the flaps - they'll simply refuse to extend until you slow down. $\endgroup$ – Sean Oct 22 '19 at 7:41
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    $\begingroup$ @Sean that might be true for Airbus designs (?), but not universally. $\endgroup$ – AEhere supports Monica Oct 22 '19 at 14:36
  • $\begingroup$ Both maximum and minimum speed. If the flaps were 2 before, you check that you are fast enough that you don't risk stalling if you retract flaps and if they were 0 before, you check that you are slow enough that they won't be damaged. $\endgroup$ – Jan Hudec Oct 22 '19 at 21:02

Some companies mandate that the PM verbalise "Speed checked", but it's utterly useless verbiage.

Firstly, the PF should already have checked the speed before asking for the next flap setting.

Secondly, pilots have a history of simply saying "Speed checked", but not actually checking anything. All part of the ritual of PF says Flaps x, I say "Speed checked" and move the Flap Lever.

  • $\begingroup$ Whoever changing flaps is also responsible for speed checking we can debate on if it's good or bad but that's the protocol, Of course PF would know the right speed to change flap and would have that in mind, but the responsibility is still on PM's shoulders. $\endgroup$ – Soorena Aban Oct 22 '19 at 10:18
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    $\begingroup$ "Secondly, pilots have a history of simply saying "Speed checked", but not actually checking anything." That's usually referred to in the accident report as "complacency". Good pilots will actually perform the check. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Oct 22 '19 at 14:46

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