Re: 737: Take-off without flaps?

Date:         23 Nov 96 20:09:55 
From:         Reid Fairburn <cr_king@cr_king.seanet.com>
References:   1
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At 03:36 AM 11/23/96, you wrote:
>In September 1993, I was on a USAir 737-200 departing from Bradley
>International to BWI.  When it was announced that we were number 1 for
>takeoff and the engines were throttling up, I noticed the flaps weren't
>down.  I alerted the flight attendant, who alerted the captain via the
>cabin phone, who then put down the flaps as we began to roll down the
>runway!
>
>Can a 737 take off without flaps down?  The captain claimed we were in no
>danger.  What is proper procedure? Aren't the flaps supposed to come down
>after pushback and engine start but before reaching the taxiway?

=====>Bernie:   It is common for the 737-200 to take off with a small Flaps
1 setting but uncommon for a flaps up takeoff.  The pilot would have become
aware of the flaps being up when he advanced the throttles as it should have
sounded a horn in the cockpit...at which time he could safely lower the
flaps.  If he had launched the airplane into the air without flaps, it would
probably not leave the ground until a higher than normal speed and the pilot
could have nursed it along without much trouble...from takeoff to climb.  I
think you made a good catch...it pays to be observant!

Just for your information...pilots are creatures of habit and when something
interupts a habit pattern that which was changed may not be thought about
again without some kind of special prompt.  Normal procedures call for the
flaps to be lowered during the taxi out for takeoff as you suggested.  If
there was an interuption for a radio call or something else...they may have
passed this step up.  Most airplanes have a "Takeoff Warning" feature that
advises the pilot when he advances the thrust for takeoff that flaps are not
set correctly, brakes may be on,  elevator trim is not set right, or the
spoilers are up.  These are all easily corrected on the spot at the time.
Fly in peace!

Reid Fairburn
Creative Kingdom, Inc.
cr_king@cr_king.seanet.com
206-946-4815