Shear layer development over a thick flat plate with a semi-circular leading edge is investigated for a range of angles of attack under different pressure gradients for a Reynolds number of 2.44×105 (based on chord and free-stream velocity). The characteristics of the separated shear layer are very well documented through a combination of surface pressure measurement and smoke flow visualization. The instability of the separated layer occurs because of enhanced receptivity of perturbations leading to the development of significant unsteadiness and three-dimensional motions in the second-half of the bubble. The onset of separation, transition and the point of reattachment are identified for varying angles of attack and pressure gradients imposed by tail flap deflections. The data concerning bubble length, laminar portion and reattachment points agree well with the literature.