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Do You Think You Could, Really?  
User currently offlineHaveBlue From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 2170 posts, RR: 1
Posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 2865 times:

Purely hypothetical, but indulge me for a moment....

For those of us on here that fly light aircraft, or helicopters, answer me this... do you think, with what you know of aviation and flight physics, if put in a position where you were the only hope, that you could land an airliner? Let's say a hostage situation where the passengers dispatch the terrorists, for those of us with flight skills in small planes but not commercial transports, what do you think the outcome would be?

Same as a non pilot?
Rough but survivable?
Know enough to make it a decent landing?

Paint me just curious....

Here Here for Severe Clear!
17 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineBoeing nut From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 1 day ago) and read 2830 times:

We all with pilot experience have thought of this scenario and all probably think we could. But we're comparing apples and oranges here. Landing a "big boy" versus a training/small aircraft is very different. Dealing with the systems on an airliner would be a lot to handle.

As for me? Well, if it was a 744, I think I actually could. Why? Well, several years ago, I bought a VHS tape of a Cathay Pacific 747-400 that contains footage of takeoff, landing and various scenarios a 744 pilot would deal with. After watching this tape several times along with the pilot experience I do have, I think I actually could pull it off. But, put me in any other airliner, I shudder to think how I would do.


User currently offlineJAL777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 1 day ago) and read 2822 times:

Autoland. It's a great feature. Big grin

However... back in reality. I think I could put the plane down on the runway but it sure as hell is gonna be bumpy.

User currently offlineStevenUhl777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 1 day ago) and read 2772 times:

You know, I've often wondered the same thing.

Especially after 9/11 and UA93. I asked myself if I were on the flight, could I have flown it away from DC and brought it down someplace. While not a private pilot, I do know enough about flying that I could at least speak intelligently with the tower and be talked down.

I'm even more confident I could do it with a small plane, like a Skyhawk. A very rough landing, and heavy damage to the aircraft, but I think I'd come a lot closer than most.

Back to UA93...I asked my Dad the very same question, who was a private pilot, and is very familiar with the 757, as he was a mechanic for UA. He was also run up/taxi qualified on it as well. His reply was that it would all depend on the the plane's status in the air, i.e. straight and level flight or inverted and a high rate of vertical drop. In the case of straight and level on auto, his thought was that I, or he, or anyone who is reasonably intelligent and who could remain calm and collected, could be talked down and make a crash landing with heavy a/c damage and human casualties. Conversely, if it were in a steep dive and possibly inverted at low altitude, then no way in hell.

User currently offlineBoingGoingGone From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 1 day ago) and read 2751 times:

Couple of bounces, but with an operating manual and autoland, you never know.

A DC-9??? Well... That's a whole different story now isn't it.  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

[Edited 2004-03-25 07:25:27]

User currently offlineQANTAS747-438 From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 2076 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 1 day ago) and read 2737 times:

If this instance were to happen, and we had light flight experience, wouldn't ATC be giving some sort of BASIC direction to the only-hope-pilot? I would think that if it were me up there, I'd hop on the radio, and get basic info on autopilot, flap setting, speed, etc. Though it's a comedy, I think it would be similar to the movie "Airplane!" where they are telling Julie Haggerty what to do.

My posts/replies are strictly my opinion and not that of any company, organization, or Southwest Airlines.
User currently offlineApollo13 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 1 day ago) and read 2736 times:

Although i am not a pilot at all, my grandfather was and he brough me up so many times( hell i even landed a few), i think i could. But for the main part, if it was in a big urban area, i would try my best to get it away from the area, and try my best to land it in a desolate area full of farming and "no mans land".

User currently offlineHaveBlue From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 2170 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 1 day ago) and read 2716 times:

Thanks for the replies, and good so far.

I would, however, be very interested in 747Skippers opinion on this. I know there is a world of difference between a Cessna or Piper and a Boeing, but whether we stand a better chance of landing it or not I'd be interested in hearing an airliner pilots view as well.

Here Here for Severe Clear!
User currently offlineDeltaGuy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 23 hours ago) and read 2615 times:

Gotta figgure out how to use the Autoland function first right guys? Unless ATC gives you complete vectors AND ILS freqs, you're gonna have to dig out the approach plate...

And odd-configuration/orientation recoveries would be a bear...even for the trained aviator. 172 skills help, but I can say after at least being in the sims..it's, well, different...

As odds have it, usually there's a deadheading pilot or maybe some ex-'Nam guy who would just be dying to dust off his F-4 fighter pilot skills who happens to be on the flight that day  Big grin


User currently offlineBoingGoingGone From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 23 hours ago) and read 2607 times:

Need Honeywell Primus or 777. Terrain Mapping.

User currently offlineAndz From South Africa, joined Feb 2004, 8596 posts, RR: 9
Reply 10, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 2529 times:
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Based on my couple of landings in a 747-200 full-motion simulator .....yeah.....bumpy but yeah, with guidance from the ground on speed, flap setting etc. But this is a non pilot speaking from a try or crash perspective.

After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
User currently offlinePilatusguy From Switzerland, joined Jan 2004, 315 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 2505 times:

I was in flight school before I got diabetes and did a couple of solo's. (5 years ago)

Defenately can land a small piper kinda a/c without any problems, did a one hour flight with an instructor last fall, he didn't touch anything from startup till shut down.

Also think that I can bring down a "big girl" safely. Done a couple of landings in a full motion A320 sim and we got down safely. Would need some sort of manual re speed, flaps etc but in real life, ATC would probably help out there or you just radio to another pilot in the air (on the same type)

User currently offlineWbryce From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2003, 91 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 2496 times:

There was me thinking i was the only one thats thought up that scenario once ive been flying commercially!  Smile

I recon i could get the plane down in one piece, but not in the correct manner a fully trained atpl pilot could obviously. Id just imagine i was in a PA28 on a faster approach speed Big grin

"ladies and gentlement.....this is your new captain speaking, we're currently flying on a heading of....eh.....hold on.......anyway, we're heading for heathrow at an altitude of 26,000ft, we should be arriving at london heathrow around uhm, eh, 25 minutes lets say.....the weather is...uhm, god knows, lets hope we dont feel the heat on landing. "

We can only live in a fantasy land eh?  Smile

Next time i go on a plane i will probably have my cpl and atpl exam knowledge, so id be a prime contender if a situation where to arise, given the chances i would have a better chance winning the lottery with the numbers 1,2,3,4,5,6 as ive still to read such a situation. (anyone know of any situations like this?)

User currently offlineFritzi From United Arab Emirates, joined Jun 2001, 2763 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 2490 times:

Many people that fly flight sims actually think that they can land a commercial airliner (or even a C172), just because they know how to fly it on their PC. I would trust anyone that is familiar with a Microsoft(yikes!!!) Flight Simulator to bring an airliner down onto the runway in one piece (without any prior flying experiences).

Only chance for a non-pilot to land a say B767, is to have a B767-rated pilot (preferably Training Capt)(being in the cockpit of an identical aircraft or in the tower) guide the person behind the control's step-by-step when setting up the computers and autopilot for an autoland.

I would think that a person with a PPL would probably crash a jet engined aircraft, as he/she is not used to the power jet engines.

User currently offlineAztec01 From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 147 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 2474 times:

Sure, I could put one on the ground all right if I had too. But that would be after the FA's. the 'Nam jock, the nun in 1st class, and the bratty little 5 y/o in front of me had their crack at it. Actually, ATC would most likely vector me somewhere over the Atlantic with best wishes.

But I can do it on FS! Really, I can!

User currently offlineGeoffm From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2004, 2111 posts, RR: 6
Reply 15, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 2349 times:

It has been done before, here in the UK... although not on the scale of an airliner. A private pilot took a friend up in something like a Cessna but had a heart attack mid-air. The friend, with no experience whatsoever of flying, not even MS Flight Sim, had to take over and be talked down by another trainer who happened to be flying in the area. He was supposed to almost land, as a practice run, go round, then land properly. But he decided to just dump it on the ground the first time. Walked away from it, as did his trainer (well, after a trip to hospital of course).

I tried to find it on Google but couldn't. It's been on that 999 programme on TV.

Geoff M.

User currently offlineInnocuousFox From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2805 posts, RR: 12
Reply 16, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 2242 times:

The ONLY part that would be a problem is the last few miles of the approach. Everything else could be reduced to turning AP knobs. If you get the right rate of decent established before you kick off the AP, even that last few miles wouldn't be bad. Now flaring the a/c for touchdown? That's a bit more of an issue!  Smile

Dave Mark - Intrinsic Algorithm - Reducing the world to mathematical equations!
User currently offlineKYIPpilot From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 1383 posts, RR: 6
Reply 17, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 2201 times:

I think I could do it. I have a friend that flies business jets, and I have sat in them, asking what everything does and such. Also, for those that use MS FlightSim, that really can raise your awareness as to what is going on. My landing would probably be fast and hard with a few bounces, but I think I could do it.

"It starts when you're always afraid; You step out of line, the man come and take you away" -Buffalo Springfield
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