Re: B757 "Heavy Jet"?

From: (Gautam H. Shah)
Organization: NASA, LaRC
Date:         20 Jul 96 15:56:06 
References:   1 2 3
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Steve Lacker ( wrote:
> This discussion seems the appropriate place to relate an incident that occurred
> on a recent flight I was aboard. We were departing DFW in the usual line of 5-7
> A/C at the hammerhead, and I was observing the activities on the runway. All
> aircraft in line at this time were 727-200's, MD-8x's, and one MD-90 (the plane
> I was on). In all cases, the next plane in line would turn onto the centerline
> shortly after the preceeding A/C had begun its roll, but would not release
> brakes and accelerate until well after the preceeding A/C was airborne... with
> one exception. MY flight! When the 727 ahead of us began its roll, I expected
> our pilot to line up, and then wait about another minute. Instead, we turned
> onto the centerline about the time the previous plane rotated, and IMMEDIATELY
> began accelerating on our own roll. The last time I saw the preceeding 727, it
> still had the main gear on the ground after rotating, so we were undoubtedly
> rolling before the preceeding A/C was off the runway (I could hear our engines
> spool up even before we were actually centered on the runway). I thought that
> this was a bit too close, even though a 727 is not a "heavy" (although I don't
> know if the "heavy" regulations apply to takeoff or not). In fact, it was
> indeed one of the roughest take-off and  climb-outs I've ever been on-
> especially since the weather was clear and calm.

> Any speculations as to why this would have been done?

I can think of a couple of things that might have played a part--

1. Your plane was lightly loaded, therefore could have rotated before
the 727's rotation point, staying above its flight path during the climb-
2. There was an aircraft (or several) on final, necessitating an
'immediate' takeoff by your crew, or having to wait for several aircraft
to land before you could leave.

Of course, this is gross speculation, not knowing what the situations were.
Sounds like a situation when having ATC communications on the headset would
have been pretty interesting!  Too bad you weren't on United ('course, you
wouldn't have been on an MD-90 either, then!)

Gautam Shah
NASA Langley Research Center
Personal opinions, not the Agency's
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