More on Flaps on Landing

From:         Robert Dorsett <>
Date:         12 Feb 93 11:12:05 PST
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I asked Don Webster, a 747 pilot, about the flaps-on-landing issue.  His

Retracting flaps on landing:  it is the airline's SOP not to touch the flaps 
until clear of the runway.  As you mentioned, the "stress," or perhaps 
intensity of that particular phase of flight is such that the priority 
must be given to the control of the airplane, the runway exit plan and 
communications with tower and ground.  On a scheduled touch and go in 
training, the pilot not flying selects the flaps to 20 or some other 
appropriate take-off setting while the plane is accelerating for the 
lift-off.  On a go-around prior to touching down, the command is, "go-
around thrust, flaps 20, positive rate (of climb) gear up."  The flaps 20 
applies to the 747.  Other planes use different go-around settings.
The airline, hence the FAA, does not teach go-arounds once on the ground 
with the reversers out.  It is presumed that by then the plane is 
comitted to land.  An obstruction at that point which could be cleared 
by flying over it would be far enough down the runway to enable the 
plane to stop before reaching it.  
The only example I can think of where a plane went around after 
landing was a Navy T-39 Sabreliner which had no thrust reversers and 
attempted to land on an iced up runway.  He found he had nil braking on 
touchdown.  He went around and tried again.  The second time he had 
nil braking and went around.  As he pulled up off of this landing, his 
iced up wings put him into a stall and he rolled in, killing six people.  I 
believe the accident board questioned his returning to the unsuitable 
runway rather than going to his alternate.  

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I also asked another (retired) 747 pilot, in person: his reply was more or 
less akin to my latest response: by the time the crew perceives it's down to 
idle speed, retract the flaps.  He brought up the point that one reason lift
might not be *completely* dumped could be excessive wear on the brakes.

Robert Dorsett