Heavy throttle use during landing?


I was on a Delta flight into PDX the other night (3/29) on an MD90. Lots of rain, wind, and limited visibility. While descending to land, all of a sudden the engines throttled WAY up (that strong push-you-back-in-your-seat acceleration). Pretty bouncy the rest of the way in, throttle up and down, and the final landing felt faster than most landings.

I’m not a commercial pilot (so not an expert), but it felt to me like the pilot got outside the desired glidepath and was playing catch-up the rest of the way in. Or is it normal in an MD90 to use a heavy hand on the throttle during landing?

comments welcome…


On swept wing jets, you typically set a certain pitch angle and use power to adjust for the desired sink rate. Pitching to adjust the descent does little at typical approach speeds. If it was gusty and bumpy down low, it may very well have taken quite a few power adjustments to keep things where the pilot wanted it.


Also jet engines don’t have the instant power response that props do. In gusty wind conditions the wind may be changing 10 to 15 knots almost instantly requiring large power changes. Most likely the autothrottles were engaged and they are not to worried about being smooth.

John in Saudi


we’re you landing east at PDX? If so you can get some pretty good sinkers on final especially just east of the I-5 bridge. John is prob on the right track, auto-throttles and gusty winds.


Have you ever flown with an airline pilot who WAS worried about being smooth? :smiley: