I flew back from the Caribbean to England a day after the event in NY. I wasn't able to go onto the internet beforehand, but I remembered how rare such events are (a first, according to one pilot). The take off was fine until we were airborne, when I felt panicky about the vibration noises from behind (I was thankfully seated forward of the engines).
Landing was much worse, though, because the 767-300 seemed to hit the ground rather hard (I wasn't the only person who thought that) and then the reverse thrusters seemed so loud I thought the engines were going to explode. The outward flight had been a breeze, by comparison (including the landing at Barbados).
One of the cabin crew said two companies were merging, and the captain was from the other company, and that the use of reverse thrusters was being phased out, but this captain preferred to use reverse thrusters. I would be interested to know whether this is the case across the industry. I wondered whether the use of reverse thrusters was essential due to the runway length at the particular destination airport (Bournemouth), and of course as Keith has said, they reduce the wear on the brakes.
I suppose, in an ideal world, all runways would be long enough for all planes to abort a takeoff without relying on braking mechanisms and there would be some sort of effective mesh to prevent bird strikes while allowing a sufficient air flow into the jet engines.
Well done BM , I'm delighted the flights worked out so well.
It would never happen that pilots in the same company would be operating to different procedures. That suggestion is nonsense I'm sorry to say. However well intentioned the remark it just wouldn't be the case.
Reverse thrust requirements vary according to circumstances, eg noise restrictions or wet runways landing weight and so on. Runways would need to be miles and miles longer than they are to have a 'no brakes' aircraft....how would it stop at the gate?
Reverse thrust is less than normal thrust so the engines aren't going to explode. A free book to anyone who can tell me why they were so noisey.
Jet engine noise is caused by the very fast air exiting the engine meeting the relatively slower free air outside. At the boundary, shockwaves and therefore noise are created. Manufacturers go to great lenghts to minimise this at the design stage. Reverse thrust sends air forwards against the airflow rather than through the nice quiet exhaust part of the engine, no wonder it's so noisy!
Most of the time, the aircraft will use reverse thrust at idle power and many noise sensetive airports round the world now require this under normal circumstances. Full reverse thrust may have to be used for some conditions such as contaminated or short runways, if the aircraft is heavy, or sometimes we have a short time before the aircraft is flying again and full reverse will keep the brakes nice and cool.
Though reverse thrust does make the aircraft rattle, it can also stop it in a third less distance. Not only does this save a fortune on brake wear but you also get to stop nearer the terminal quicker rather than some far distant part of the runway!
Thank you all for your helpful info. I didn't realise reverse thrust was applied at different power levels; perhaps I compared full thrust with memories of thrust at idle power and wondered why the noise levels were higher. Something to add to my flight journal!