MS FSX Disaster at Heathrow

Last night I flew a one hour shuttle from Berlin to London and landed on runway 9L at Heathrow without much fuss in the dead of night. Crossing the English Channel when it is dark out was kind of neat, with the only visual references being the coastal lights on both shores and a smattering of stars. Earlier today I decided to make the same flight but this time it was during dawn hours where there was visibility with the sun coming up.

Everything was OK with the approach and the initial landing on 9L, but then something went terribly wrong. I have flown the 737 in this game hundreds of times and made countless approaches and landings, and even though I still use quick reference cards I know the drill by heart. This time however I was recording a video using the Raptr application from AMD, so I have post-accident visual reference from within the cockpit (something that air crash investigators never have).

If my avatar had been a survivor (there were none), I would have stated what I observed: that at 500 feet I disengaged the autopilot and auto-throttle, cut the engines to idle over the runway, flared the nose perfectly and when all three landing gear had solid contact with the tarmac I applied the brakes and reverse thrusters.

The plane however did not slow, but increased speed and began to lift off the ground again. Running out of airstrip, I immediately applied full power and pulled up to begin gaining altitude. I set the airbrakes back to normal and reversed the landing flaps and landing gear and began to climb out. At the same time I declared a missed approach (the only pertinent radio option available).

And then the stick shaker came in and I dropped like a rock to the ground where I crashed into a residential area.

When reviewing the replay of the disaster, I was horrified to see that once on the runway, the throttles went full forward for takeoff thrust instead of into reverse thrust mode. I did not visually recognize this while in the actual landing, nor did I recognize that after aborting and climbing out, the full thrust that I ordered actually set the engine thrust to idle, and after all of the speed bled off I fell from the sky.

I am using the default keyboard commands and F1 is to cut the throttle, F2 is to decrease power (to hold it actually enters reverse thrust mode), whereas F3 increases thrust gradually, and F4 is full power. I absolutely did not press F3 or F4 on landing, and I certainly did not press F2 when lifting back off the tarmac.

Of course had this been real life there may have been something to suggest otherwise in the flight data recorder, but as I mentioned earlier I have landed this aircraft countless times and know the drill. The only thing that I can think of is that I do have failures enabled in the game, so this could have been some hyper rare dual engine thrust failure (both on landing and aborted climb out).

RIP channel hopping avatars.

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