In this article, we will examine the answers to these questions, what is overweight landing? Under what conditions and why overweight landing is carried out?
It is a landing at a higher weight than the maximum safe landing weight (MLW) of any aircraft.
To make it more understandable;
The Maximum Landing Weight (MLW) of Boeing 777-300ER aircraft is 251,500 ~ KG. When the plane lands with heavier weight than this, the landing becomes overweight landing.
What is the Maximum Landing Weight (MLW)?
MLW is the highest weight any aircraft can safely land. This weight is basically determined by considering the landing gear and the general design of the aircraft.
In Which Conditions Overweight Landing Preferred?
Pilots may decide to return to the take-off area or the nearest alternative square immediately after take-off due to any emergency situation (Bird strike, double engine failure, serious health problems etc.). In such a case, the weight of the plane may be more than the maximum landing weight. If this weight does not fall below the maximum landing weight until reaching the square to land, there are three ways the pilot can follow. Fuel Jettison, Holding (Standby) and Overweight Landing.
However, if the plane is not able to stand in the air (for example, if the health of a person on the plane is critical, fire, etc.), the team’s only chance may be overweight landing.
Under normal conditions, overweight landing is not applied. Fuel jettison or holding is made, then descend to the appropriate weight and then land.
How Can Overweight Landing Result?
Of course, we cannot give an exact answer to this question, but we can predict the possible consequences.
First of all, this weight increases the braking distance, as an airplane landing heavier than ever. In addition, as the load on the landing gear will be high, the landing should be done extra carefully. It can be difficult for pilots to control the plane during and after landing.
An airplane that performs overweight landing can be landed without any problems. However, in the presence of external factors such as piloting error or meteorological conditions, serious accidents are possible.
The landing gear may break / collapse if the flank is made uncontrolled while landing a heavy aircraft.
An airplane doing an overweight landing may exit the runway due to reduced braking performance due to its weight.
In addition, it is not recommended to perform overweight landing with autopilot on some aircraft (e.g. Boeing). Boeing’s autopilot is not certified for overweight landing.
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