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How Automated Are Landings?  
User currently offlineAguilo From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 243 posts, RR: 0
Posted (10 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 3061 times:

Was recently on a couple VS A343s that landed in LHR and CPT so smoothly it was incredible. It felt as if the plane was "tip toeing" out of the sky and stepping gingerly onto the runway. Amazing. Is that goof piloting or good programming though?

How automated are most landings? Is it true that the plane can pretty much "land itself"?

Do pilots just select how fast they want to stop the plane and the plane takes care of the rest, applying brakes and reverse thrust automatically?

(Thought I read once about an NWA pilot who set the autobrakes to the quickest stop setting by accident. Apparently the plane stops so fast it will make your eyes water!)

7 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineDeskPilot From Australia, joined Apr 2004, 767 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (10 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 3043 times:

Aquilo, yes some planes can autoland but restrictions apply; aircraft and airport capabilities, visibility, etc.

There's a post on the Tech/ops commenced by Mozart Nov 19, 2003 that explains ILS categories and restrictions.



By the way, is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane?
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17053 posts, RR: 67
Reply 2, posted (10 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2998 times:

Most pilots land manually. On Airbi they often use autothrottle until almost on the ground.

In (very) bad weather, most operators require pilots to use autoland.

In my experience, autoland is often much rougher than manual landing. In wet weather and crosswind, you don't want to make a soft landing.




"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineDABZF From Germany, joined Mar 2004, 1201 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (10 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 2957 times:

Talking about soft and hard landings... In my oppinion and experience, bigger aircrafts always (or most of the times) land more softly than smaller onces

Would there be a explanation to this?



I like driving backwards in the fog cause it doesn't remind me of anything - Chris Cornell
User currently offlineCRJDispatchKid From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 99 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (10 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 2904 times:

Some aircraft have full automated landings. CAT IIIc approaches give you full auto-land, auto brake, etc. You pick up when the plane is stopped on the runway from what I know. This is what i thnk I remember about auto-land. I do know it's not authorized in the US.


Thanks...C-Ya...Bye
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17053 posts, RR: 67
Reply 5, posted (10 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 2824 times:

DABZF, I agree.

I think this is because larger planes are less likely to be thrown around in a gust at the last moment than small planes. Newton's First Law and all that.

As I have said in other posts, the problem is not automated landing, it's how to get to the gate in zero viz after rolling out.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 6, posted (10 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 2801 times:

Nah! Bigger planes land softer than small planes because we are better pilots.  Smile

Seriously there are a lot of factors. One of them is your removal from the point of contact. In a Cessna 152 your rear end is maybe four feet from the main gear tire. In an airliner it may be fifty or even more.

We have enormous oleo struts and many airliners also have some sort of trailing-beam geometry on the gear. There are two or four or even more main gear tires to take the impact. On bogey gear like the 757 and larger one truck hits the ground before the other and a device similar to a shock absorber smooths the landing of the second truck.

Most landings are manual. If the fog is so thick that all you see at touchdown is one runway light at a time going by, it was likely an autoland. Short of that and we'd rather do it ourselves.

Last: Soft landings are not really good landings. A firmer touchdown gets spoiler deployment going sooner, splashes through any standing water on the runway and, very importantly, does not waste any runway by floating.

They are still fun to pull off.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineAAR90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3474 posts, RR: 47
Reply 7, posted (10 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 2704 times:

Is that goof piloting or good programming though?

Not programming or autoland, but rather good old fashion hand-flying with a little luck thrown in for good measure.

How automated are most landings?

Virtually all are hand-flown landings.

Is it true that the plane can pretty much "land itself"?

Most planes today are built with autoland capability, but the airline, aircraft, pilots, airport and runway all have to have the capability and have it in use so there are actually pretty few places that perform autolands on a regular basis. Some of the newer planes (and some older ones being retrofitted) now come with Head-Up Display [HUD] for low visibility landings. A HUD landing is a hand-flown approach/landing and is becoming popular due to its (supposedly) lower operational & maintenance costs.

Do pilots just select how fast they want to stop the plane and the plane takes care of the rest, applying brakes and reverse thrust automatically?

I know of no automatic reverse thrust function on any airliner. Automatic brakes are a regular feature for the vast majority of airliners today.

In (very) bad weather, most operators require pilots to use autoland.

Depends upon what you define as "bad weather." Autoland [or HUD] is for low visibility conditions only. Autoland has much tighter limitations on when it is permitted to be used than any standard instrument approach.

In my oppinion and experience, bigger aircrafts always (or most of the times) land more softly than smaller onces. Would there be a explanation to this?

Sure, just apply a little physics. Larger mass already in motion, etc. Add in all the additional equipment and your (probably) much greater distance from the actual runway surface point-of-contact and your "experience" will appear to match your opinion.  Big grin OTOH, those of us sitting in the pointy end will be cussing out our "horrible" landing (the same one you just praised so readily). Ignorance is bliss.....and a good pilot is never satisfied with less than perfection.  Big thumbs up

it's how to get to the gate in zero viz after rolling out.

Very carefully.  Wink/being sarcastic ...and very slowly. Once took me 20 minutes just to find the terminal at KSNA!  Nuts





*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
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