Steep approach on A318 (EGLC)

Hi everyone, this is a little tutorial in response to a thread discussing the approach profile as well as handling the A318 at EGLC in a steep approach:

The A318’s enabled steep approach mode utilizes the outer spoilers to create extra drag for the steep approach. This isn’t an option in IF, though. For my steep approach into EGLC I use spoilers in flight mode, which causes a little more drag than in an actual steep approach mode. The procedure I use is as follows:

  1. Arrival from ALKIN (refer to EGLC STAR) at 3000ft max 180kts (Flaps 2 at 180kts; Flaps 3 at 160kts)

  2. Approach as directed by ATC or as stated in landing chart (descend to 2000ft overhead EGLC) with glide slope interception at 2000ft 3.4nm inbound ILS DME Flaps Full at 150kts

  3. At interception at 3.4nm, deploy spoilers (landing gear should be extended before interception) and reduce speed to Vapp=VLS(Conf Full)+8kts+1/3 head wind component for steep approach i.e. for weight set to “Normal” in IF corresponding to approx. 53000kg (120000lbs) Vapp=122kts+8kts+1/3 head wind component. The descend rate to maintain is approx. 1200-1400ft/min depending on ground speed. Alternatively cross check altitude at respective ILS DME as stated in landing chart (2000ft at 3.4nm; 1220ft at 2.0nm; 640ft at 1.0nm).

  4. Vapp should be reached pretty quickly. At 100ft disable Auto Throttle (if activated) and flare at 50ft AGL while reducing throttle to idle. Throttle should be idle no later than 20ft AGL. Depending on the winds, flare by gently raising the nose by only 2-3 degrees.

  5. At touchdown deploy spoilers fully by selecting “Armed”. Do not set to “Armed” before touchdown as this would cause you to balloon quite a bit. In real life the spoilers in steep approach mode deploy automatically upon touchdown of course (this is just a work around for IF).
    *Note: The spoilers are set to “Flight” upon interception throughout the entire steep approach!

  6. Alternatively (this takes some practice though), disable Auto Throttle as stated earlier at 100ft, at 80ft switch spoilers to “Armed” (caution: balloon effect!), at 50ft gently flare by raising nose only 1-2 degrees and initiate thrust reduction to Idle. This gives a smoother touchdown. This method mimics the real steep approach more closely which reduces the spoiler angel of spoilers 3+4 from 30 degrees to 8 degrees when 83ft AGL.

Here is a quick video of what it looks like when flying the final segment using point 6. It’s a quick snap using my iPhone to film my iPad.

I hope this helps. Please remember that this is just a workaround for the actual steep approach mode.

Ground speed, vertical speed and Altitude (AGL) are indicated below to emphasise the approach profile and flaring process. Wind was set to calm to demonstrate the approach profile more clearly.

Happy Landings!

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It´s been added on Tutorials. This will come in very handy when the ILS for EGLC gets fixed.

This is excellent. Perfect landing. Keep doing what you do man

The glideslope at EGLC has been fixed. This tutorial can now be used.

And I love it!
If you touchdown too late with the A318, you gotta go around. You can hardly stop with the remaining runway!

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I made the mistake yesterday of retracting the spoilers to armed before touching down, and I just floated instead of landing.

Video does not exist, but good approach explanation

I made the mistake of landing a B763 there. It didn’t go so well. I got a violation.

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Yes indeed. I love the new EGLC :)

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Just came in today again w/ a BA A318. What an awesome feeling.

It’s not easy to approach an airport with spoilers in “flight” position, but it is needed to maintain a positive pitch during APP. Then on landing counter the wind with the rudder, selecting spoilers to armed and keep the aircraft on the centerline + hard braking. Amazing!

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Exactly true of real life too. I spoke to the pilots last time I flew on it coming in to EGLC and they showed me the steep approach button on the overhead which enables them to use the spoilers all the way down the approach - very odd seeing spoiler up out of the window on final.

This is coming in to 27 and you can see the outer spoilers up:

image

Also they made exactly the same point about landing, namely they are often quite firm since they need to get it on the the runway early to ensure a good length left to slow and stop. Finessing of landing and aiming for a smooth landing is not a priority.

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Glad to know that.

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They have a special button for the steep approach?

Nice read!

The problem though with the IF A318 is that you extend all spoilers in the steep approach, or in IF the “flight” position, position and thus reduce more lift than you actually need to. But it’s certainly nice if you still do it as it comes pretty close to real life and I love it! IIRC the steep approach button is only featured on the A318 right?

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Yes on the overhead panel. It basically sets up the aircraft to allow certain things like the spoilers at low altitude and turn off some of the GPWS warnings which would otherwise sound. There are probably other functions it enables or disables but I don’t know all the detail.

I don’t know if you could put the steep approach function on the other other members of the A320 series. Even if you could I don’t think they would be rated for EGLC.

I think the steep approach isn’t standard for the a318, so I think BA bought their two aircraft and had the steep approach button/functions fitted after as the aircraft were specifically purchased for the service from London City to JFK. Most A318s out there don’t have the function.

And I agree on your spoiler point, there is no way to deploy only some of the spoilers on IF.

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Here’s a video of the certification process if anyone’s interested:

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You’re meant to intercept at 5500 aren’t you?