I was flying with Capt. Phil Foley on a C-141A trip once when it was my leg into Elmendorf AFB, AK – just outside of Anchorage. As we configured for landing the flaps hung up at 5%. Normally the AC, the Aircraft Commander, would take the landing as a no-flap was considered an emergency landing. But Phil that afternoon, told me to continue flying. And so, I did.
I actually enjoyed things like this, upon occasion. It allowed me to fly ‘in real life,’ what I had practiced so many times in the simulator. And so, we ran the applicable checklists, and continued on.
The approach speed on a no-flap is considerably higher as you don’t have the lift available you would have with flaps. Throttle control is also more critical because you don’t have the drag (of the extended flaps) to wipe off excess airspeed if you have to. So, it’s imperative that you have the calculated no-flap airspeed set before you begin your final descent. And this is what I loved, the ‘challenge’ of it all!
That afternoon I had just that – no-flap final approach speed just as I reduced power for the final descent. And as advertised, down we went, on speed. From there on out, it was a piece of cake. Hardly any, if any, throttle adjustments needed for the approach.
When we crossed the runway threshold I reduced the power, ever so slightly, and began raising the nose. I then held that attitude until we landed. After that it was into reverse and moderate braking until we slowed enough to turn off…
I happened to see these pictures this morning on Facebook, and that approach and landing all came back to me. The weather conditions that day looked just like this:
On a side note, Phil, by regulation, should have taken that landing. But he allowed me to fly it. I have never forgotten his confidence in me…