Questions tagged [descent]

Use for descents in general, else use [approach] or [landing].

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3answers
273 views

What rate of descent would kill you?

I was watching a video where a plane an MD-82 descended 18,000 feet per minute and crashed into a mountain. The plane was not upside down/on its side/spiraling- it had about a 5 degree pitch up the ...
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1answer
92 views

What is the difference between Level Change and ALT INTV during VNAV descent?

I'm confused between the two. During descent for 737 PMDG, I usually start a descent via ALT INTV, but sometimes the plane doesn't response to ALT INTV but responds to LVL Change instead. I need help ...
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Is it practical to intentionally stall an aircraft to execute a fast, controlled descent?

An MD-11 had an onboard fire, but had to request more flying distance at least partly to execute a safe descent (and to dump fuel). It ended in tragedy. In another accident, an A330 descended 30,000 ...
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Descend via STAR, after getting crossing restriction previously

The ATC issues "Cross BHAWK at FL240" initially. After few minutes, the ATC instructs "Descend Via FYTTE5 arrival". Should we comply with the crossing restriction at BHAWK, or the ...
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2answers
216 views

Mushing glide vs forward slip sink rate

Source: Wolfgang Langewiesche - Stick and Rudder; An Explanation of the Art of Flying I ran across a mushing glide in Wolfgang Langewiesche's - Stick and Rudder; An Explanation of the Art of Flying ...
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Can the VNAV Path angle be modified in a Boeing 737 NG?

In the Boeing 737 NG series, can the usual 3 degrees Path angle used for VNAV Descent be modified through the FMC to another angle?
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1answer
89 views

What profile will a Boeing 737 NG follow after pushing the ALT INTV button?

If one uses the ALT INTV button during a Climb or Descent in the Boeing 737 NG on the MCP, what profile (Speed/Path) will the AP follow in such a climb and/or descent? Is it the same as programmed in ...
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2answers
2k views

Why does an airliner have a shallow descent when heavier, opposite to gliders with ballast?

Gliders utilize water ballast to, among other things, descend faster: But sometimes you need to get down fast: This is when water ballast is added. In airliners however, the heavier the plane, the ...
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1answer
203 views

Does the A320's FMC automatically adjust the rate of descent on a non-precision approach?

Does the A320's FMC automatically adjust the rate of descent on a non-precision approach? Like a back course approach for example if the distance to altitude is (or can be) programmed in?
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1answer
176 views

What is the physical experience of passengers in the cabin during an Emergency Descent?

I am not a pilot so please forgive any misuse of aviation terminology; I'm merely a person who is working hard to overcome a sudden and intense fear of flying. While working through a course to ...
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134 views

When to start descent entering a racetrack under NORDO?

Scenario: I am flying in IMC, and communications fail completely. IMC persists up until destination, where I will be conducting the following instrument approach: I am flying direct to ZUNAD from the ...
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1answer
198 views

Why might an instructor in a small aircraft choose to descend with a substantial yaw on a first lesson?

Many years ago I took an introductory free (+fuel) flying lesson in a dual-control small aircraft (instructor in right seat) at a small city's municipal airport. There was a third passenger in the ...
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1answer
104 views

Does airspeed come into play with vertical speed, in terms of who will reach the ground first?

So let’s say there’s two aircraft, which are the same, and both are cruising at 28,000FT, the only difference is one plane is doing 260 knots and the other is doing 280 knots. If they both pitched ...
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For Airbus pilots, what is your TOD calculation methodology?

During A330 training, various instructors will have many different types of equations and gateways used to confirm the descent profile and whether or not they are above or below glidepath. The ...
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1answer
158 views

Out of sight planes during final approach [duplicate]

Does it ever happen that planes descending on a descent path (glide slope) block each other so that one (or more) plane is not visible from the tower (at the airport) or localizer? I want to know if ...
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2answers
423 views

What is the impact of thermal Anti-Ice on descent performance?

I am just another one of the passionate flight simmers trying to understand more about Anti-ice system mechanics. I am talking about the Boeing 737-800 here if it makes a difference. What bothers me ...
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1answer
194 views

If propeller-driven planes with electric engine became the norm, would descent for landing with the engines turned off become a routine procedure?

To elaborate on the question: I know that in modern fossil fuel-driven aircraft turning the engines off during descent and/or landing approach isn't feasible for safety reasons (which makes total ...
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2answers
834 views

What is the minimum altitude over Egmond aan Zee when landing at Schiphol?

I live in Egmond aan Zee which is about 36 km flight distance from Schiphol. It seems that aircraft fly over Egmond when there is a southerly wind so they can make a landing approach to Polderbaan ...
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1answer
337 views

When does a passenger plane leave the cruising phase?

I have Flightradar24 data here. Which are in the following structure. ...
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2answers
534 views

What is the relationship between drag and sink rate?

I was just brushing up on basic aerodynamics and I have something I want to clarify about flying in the region of reverse command. I went up in my 172 the other day and noticed the following while ...
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2answers
281 views

PA/APV Glidepath Descent and Obstacle Clearance Slope's lowest point determination

I am studying the US Terminal Instrument Procedures manual (TERPS) and as I was skimming through the guidelines about Sloping Obstacle Clearance Surface, I came across the image below from section 2-1-...
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1answer
400 views

Why would a plane drop 14.000 ft mid flight?

Just noticed American Airlines flight 221 dropped 14.000 ft mid flight today. Curious, what could have caused this? Here are the flight details.
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What would the altitude profile for a typical airline flight look like?

It's hard to appreciate an aircraft's rates of change in altitude, in particular with respect to its travel through the mass of air, rather than over the ground, since the latter is affected ...
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7answers
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Is it possible to fly 'in neutral'?

Sometimes, when I am driving, I knock the car 'out of gear' or set the stick to the neutral position, to save fuel. This is most easily done when cruising down a hill or when you have some good speed ...
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4answers
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Why would the Speedbrake be required for such a long time on approach? [duplicate]

As far as I was aware, the Speedbrake is designed to slow the aircraft down. On landing, I do understand why they are required. Once the aircraft has hit the tarmac, they are deployed to 1) slow the ...
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385 views

What is the speed and inclination angle of a commercial plane during descent?

I have a question based on flight track logs on https://flightaware.com. In one of the logs I'm looking at, it says that at time 08:16:15 PM the altitude was 36,000 ft and plane speed was at 473 mph. ...
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Does MMO (limiting Mach number) assume any maneuvering limits?

This answer to a question about emergency descents notes: [Y]ou can accelerate descents by banking the aircraft into a turn. This allows you to increase angle of attack, thus increasing drag to ...
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1answer
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How fast can a large passenger jet descend and slow from cruise to emergency land? [duplicate]

On 17th April 2018, Southwest 1380, a Boeing 737-700, was cruising about FL320 when it suffered a catastrophic failure to engine 1. It then took 5 minutes to descend to 10,000 feet, and I noted from ...
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1answer
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How should I read these climb and descent profile notations?

I use a tool called SimBrief to build virtual flight plans for a desktop flight simulator. As I've been getting more familiar with procedures, I've also been exploring more advanced settings in the ...
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2answers
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How do we calculate top of descent (TOD) in flight? [duplicate]

What is the in-flight trick? I know how to calculate it in theory, but how can I calculate it fast? For example, I know I can use this formula for calculating the rate of descent: [ground speed + ...
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456 views

What are the negative associations with Continuous Descent Approach?

According to this Wikipedia article: Due to the negative association with the term CDA,[citation needed] new procedures introduced at LAX and other US airports are instead called optimized ...
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What is the typcial descent rate of a helicopter?

I'm not a pilot, just asking out of curiosity. What is the typical descent rate for a helicopter when landing? I found the answer of 300 feet per minute on the web, but I want to confirm this. If this ...
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1answer
383 views

What effect do slats have on descent rate?

During descent, assuming the same speed and idle thrust, is the rate of descent greater in a clean configuration or with slats?
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5answers
4k views

Do airline pilots use this high-speed, high-drag technique for losing altitude?

This question and another more recent one got me thinking about this. Years ago on my MEII checkride the DPE showed me a technique for losing altitude on final when the aircraft was high. Typically, ...
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4answers
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Is there any disadvantage to slipping as a way to lose altitude?

I learned how to slip during my powered training as a way to lose altitude when too high and, of course, a way to track the runway center-line during a crosswind landing. Quite a bit more emphasis ...
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3answers
863 views

How far from the runway should a small plane start its descent from 5000ft?

I don't fly, don't have a clue. But one of the main characters in my book DOES: it's a Cessna 152, just him at 14 stone and a couple of small bags, all conditions are perfect and he's flown from about ...
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How does a commercial jet descend? [duplicate]

When landing a modern Jet such as the Boeing 737, what is the primary source for descent? The elevators or gravity(from reduced airspeed) or a combination of both? Is the glide path angle of descent a ...
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4k views

When is the descent clearance requested from ATC?

Is there a rule / Standard Operating Procedure as to when request the descent clearance during cruise flight? Something like one minute before reaching the Top of Descent point?
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2answers
521 views

Why doesn't the flight path angle increase beyond a certain angle even if the angle of attack is increased?

From level flight, when the angle of attack is increased the flight path angle increases (the aircraft starts to climb). What causes the aircraft to stop to increase its angle of climb (angle between ...
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4answers
17k views

What is the descent rate in emergency situations?

I fly a plane at 40000 feet. There is a sudden depressurization; what is the maximum vertical speed I can keep to come back at a proper altitude? Is this speed different for different emergency ...
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2answers
9k views

Why is a 3 degree descent angle used?

Following on from this question on the descent rate formula. It appears from the answers and comments that a 3 degree slope is pretty standard across the board. I would like to know why a 3 degree ...
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3answers
13k views

What is the maths behind the descent rate calculation?

The descent rate calculation states that descent rate is calculated by 'groundspeed / 2 * 10'. Another document stated that the ground speed should be multiplied by 5 (or more accurately 5.2) to ...
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4answers
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How do planes descend for landing?

I fly occasionally on a pretty short route on a turboprop (DHC-8). When the airplane descends for landing, I can look through the window and see the ground below getting closer over time. However I ...
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1answer
3k views

How frequent is the use of spoilers during descent?

Having flown a number of flights as a passenger recently, I observed that: Roughly 50% of pilots used spoilers above FL180 Almost everybody used spoilers to pass the 10,000 feet / 250 knots mark ...
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2answers
617 views

Is the separation distance between two aircraft approaching an airport the same under CDA and Non-CDA scenario?

I'm working on a project that investigates Continuous Descent Approach (CDA), the procedure by which an aircraft approaches an airport for landing by descending continuously from cruise altitude with ...
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5answers
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What happens during a powered descent?

I was having a discussion with my friend about equilibrium condition in flight: Scenario: While going in straight and level flight, say I reduced my airspeed by 30 mph. At the same time keeping the ...
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2answers
967 views

What is a mushing glide?

Source: Wolfgang Langewiesche - Stick and Rudder; An Explanation of the Art of Flying Why is it called a mushing glide? In this glide, does the aircraft point its nose less (or more?) steeply? How ...
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4answers
1k views

What does this statement about steep descent mean?

Source: Wolfgang Langewiesche - Stick and Rudder; An Explanation of the Art of Flying In the first chapter the author mentions, in a glide, if you want to descend more steeply, you want to want to ...
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1answer
4k views

How does the FAA compute the values in TPP's Climb/Descent Table?

The inside back cover of the FAA Terminal Procedures Publication contains a table headed “CLIMB/DESCENT TABLE,” excerpted below. Source: FAA, p. 19 How do required ascent or descent ...
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What is the difference between the Maximum Glide and Minimum Sink ratios?

In this comment a brief explanation is made of the differences between Max Glide Ratio and Min Sink Ratio: Sink rate is how much altitude you lose over time, for example, how many feet per second. ...