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Do 747 Pilots Ever Hand Fly Visual Approaches Etc.  
User currently offlinePs76 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 7252 times:

Hi

Was just wondering how often 747 pilots etc. hand fly visual approaches. I'm not a real pilot (maybe one day I hope!) but like flying Microsoft Flight Simulator (apologies if this is not exactly the right forum) and have recently been flying long haul. However, recently arrived at an airport where the Ils was not working so decided to fly visual final approach. Because I was so used to the autopilot (esp. with the bigger a/c) the approach was definitely not great. However what I was thinking was mainly:

1 - Hand flying a visual approach and becoming out of line/having to try for another feels pretty expensive when my (virtual) plane is using like 10tons of fuel/hour! This was making me always opt for the ILS/autopilot to minimums. However,

2 - This reduced time to keep up proficiency in hand flying visual final etc. so makes the chances of getting out of line etc. more likely when I finally opted (had no alternative) to fly visual/manual.

Was just wondering how this situation might be in the real world. Do pilots ever think of price when opting to hand fly etc. or is the proficiency level generally just much higher with the experience needed to fly large planes. Ideally I'm thinking when in the air safety should always be first so money should never be an issue but how much hand flying practice is allowed and during what parts of flight mainly.

Many thanks for any info (and apologies if this is not exactly the right forum for the question),

Pierre.

16 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineTristarSteve From Sweden, joined exactly 9 years ago today! , 4052 posts, RR: 33
Reply 1, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 7266 times:

I would say that, unless there is a specific reason for doing an autoland, like bad weather, then all approaches and landings are flown manually. Pilots have to complete a certain number of autolands to keep their proficiency, and they save those for when they need them.

User currently offlineDavid L From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 9533 posts, RR: 42
Reply 2, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 7238 times:

Quoting Ps76 (Thread starter):
Hand flying a visual approach and becoming out of line/having to try for another feels pretty expensive when my (virtual) plane is using like 10tons of fuel/hour!

But experienced pilots rarely get so far out of line that they have to go around. Perhaps (?), on average, autolands use slightly less fuel but I doubt it would be significant.


User currently offlineZeke From Hong Kong, joined Dec 2006, 9210 posts, RR: 76
Reply 3, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 7226 times:

I am not sure what your asking, in our airline pilots hand fly approaches all the time in 330/340/777/747 aircraft.

Flap and gear selection are more factors in fuel usage in approach which can be a factor in an autopilot or hand flown approach.

Generally, for a hand flown approach, it is the carbon based pilot in the seat that is following the flight director rather than the electronic pilot.



We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking – Santosh Kalwar
User currently offlineJamesbuk From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 3968 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 7192 times:

Quoting Zeke (Reply 3):
Flap and gear selection are more factors in fuel usage in approach which can be a factor in an autopilot or hand flown approach.

Can the autopilot, on the autoland release flaps and gear, or does that hve to be done by one of the pilots?

Rgds --James--



You cant have your cake and eat it... What the hells the point in having it then!!!
User currently offlineBA777ER236 From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2006, 278 posts, RR: 8
Reply 5, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 7186 times:

Quoting Jamesbuk (Reply 4):
Can the autopilot, on the autoland release flaps and gear, or does that hve to be done by one of the pilots?

No, they are selected at the appropriate times by the pilots.

Cheers
 Smile



Flying would be easy if it wasn't for the ground
User currently offline3DPlanes From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 167 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 7058 times:

I think the OP was asking about fuel costs for having to do a go around -which would be quite significant - due to pegging one of the needles (or being more than 2 dots out, or whatever the particular limit is per airline).

As stated above, however, it would be rare for a proficient pilot to botch a hand flown approach badly enough to require a go around - given fair weather, etc.

I think some of the OPs concern comes from the lack of fidelity in Flight Sim. The flight model might be right on (doubtful, but possible) but the feel of the controls is nowhere near the same. Its MUCH easier to make fine adjustments in the real thing. Also real world resolution is a LOT better than a PC screen, making it easier to pick out the papi/vasi from fairly far out...



"Simplicate and add lightness." - Ed Heinemann
User currently offlineLHR27C From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 1279 posts, RR: 16
Reply 7, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 6997 times:

Quoting BA777ER236 (Reply 5):
No, they are selected at the appropriate times by the pilots.

Sorry to be very pedantic, but I believe on the A380 there is now flap auto-extend when passing through clean speed (although only for 1+F setting); in addition to auto-retract on the climbout in the other FBW Airbuses, so it is not entirely done manually by the pilots.

By the way, am I right in thinking BA SOPs are now to use flap 25 for standard 777 approaches instead of flap 30 to save fuel? Except autolands for which the aircraft is not certified to land on flap 25...?

Oliver



Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned forever skyward
User currently offlineBA777ER236 From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2006, 278 posts, RR: 8
Reply 8, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 6683 times:

Quoting LHR27C (Reply 7):
in addition to auto-retract on the climbout in the other FBW Airbuses, so it is not entirely done manually by the pilots.

On many a/c there are protections, including flap load relief, and autoslat for anti-stall protection. On the 777 for example, with the flaps between 15 and 30 degrees, the flap load relief system will automatically retract the flaps to an appropriate position should the limiting airspeed be exceeded. The Autoslats system will extend the slats from the sealed position (occurs with flaps at position 1 to 20) to the gapped position (normal position for flap 25/30) if the a/c is inadvertantly too slow (AOA high) and activates the stall warning system.

On every a/c that I have flown, including the 319/320, this sort of system is only used as a protection, and so all flap selection is done by the pilots. I know that on the F16 the flap/slat system is normally in automatic mode, and it may well be the case for certain flap selections for the A380 (but I doubt it).

Quoting LHR27C (Reply 7):
By the way, am I right in thinking BA SOPs are now to use flap 25 for standard 777 approaches instead of flap 30 to save fuel? Except autolands for which the aircraft is not certified to land on flap 25...?

Yes, this is correct for most situations, but not all (i.e. rwy length < 2100m). Not only does it save fuel, but the noise footprint on final approach is lower. The down side is that the V(ref) is about 7 kts higher, so the brakes work a little harder, and there is a greater tendency to 'float'. I personally find that the a/c has 'crisper' roll response with flap 25, and so feels more controllable. As you say, one of the other factors is that the 777 is currently certified to autoland with flaps at 20 or 30. So, in effect, the vast majority of 777 ldgs in BA are manual by default with the new SOP.

Cheers
 Smile



Flying would be easy if it wasn't for the ground
User currently offlinePhilSquares From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 6652 times:

Quoting LHR27C (Reply 7):
in addition to auto-retract on the climbout in the other FBW Airbuses, so it is not entirely done manually by the pilots.

Hmmmm, I must have missed on all the 320s I've flown.....There is no such thing!

Quoting Ps76 (Thread starter):
Was just wondering how often 747 pilots etc. hand fly visual approaches

Just about as often as they want to. Very rarely are autolands done unless it's required.


User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined exactly 11 years ago today! , 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 10, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 6639 times:

Quoting PhilSquares (Reply 9):
I must have missed on all the 320s I've flown.....There is no such thing!

Thanks for that! I was sitting here cussing my cheap employer for not getting that option. I take it back.

Quoting Ps76 (Thread starter):
Hand flying a visual approach and becoming out of line/having to try for another feels pretty expensive

In all my years flying commercially I can only remember having to go around because of my own poor planning. It happened when I was new to FMC flying and had no CRT depiction of the route ahead. Going into an unfamiliar airport with, shall we say, "odd" arrivals I got myself way too high way too close in. I broke out at about five thousand feet and it appeared that I was in position to deadstick into any runway between Boston and Washington! I did not go around so much as adjust the descent and do a racetrack 360 to get vectored in behind the plane that had been following me.

I've only ever seen one other professional pilot blow a visual. It was a night visual into a small western city. I'd been in there over a hundred times with another airline and the captain had never been there. I gave him a "copilot talkdown" approach to a left base that would have put him in perfect position IF he had descended when I told him to. He arrived at the turn point, saw the airport and that he was too high so he leveled off, did a 360 to the right and, of course, ended up at the same place and at the same altitude and airspeed as the first time. Well Duh! By the way he is no longer flying - did not make it to age sixty.

The thing about an airliner making a visual approach is that we still have the ILS tuned if it is available. We still have the VASI/PAPI and we must use them. I would be astounded to see even a mediocre (in my opinion) professional pilot get "two dots" out on an approach.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineDavid L From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 9533 posts, RR: 42
Reply 11, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 6587 times:

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 10):
Quoting PhilSquares (Reply 9):
I must have missed on all the 320s I've flown.....There is no such thing!

Thanks for that!

It's a relief to me, too, but I there wasn't much point in my commenting.  Smile

LHR27C, perhaps you're thinking of the auto-retraction of the spoilers (if deployed) during a go around, e.g. after touching down?


User currently offlineZKSUJ From New Zealand, joined May 2004, 7110 posts, RR: 12
Reply 12, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 6386 times:

Have seen it many times at AKL. My house is under the Vis Approach path for RWY 23. You get quite a few 744s going overhead meaning that its a handflown visual approach.

User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined exactly 11 years ago today! , 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 13, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 6285 times:

Quoting ZKSUJ (Reply 12):
You get quite a few 744s going overhead meaning that its a handflown visual approach.

Begging your pardon but you can't tell ANYTHING from the fact that they fly over your house.

Do you mean that the path is different from the one in the published instrument approach procedures?

How can you tell that the airplane is being hand-flown as opposed to being on the autopilot?



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineLHR27C From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 1279 posts, RR: 16
Reply 14, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 6269 times:

Quoting PhilSquares (Reply 9):
Hmmmm, I must have missed on all the 320s I've flown.....There is no such thing!

My apologies if I used incorrect phraseology (although "autoretract" and "autoextend" were the words an Airbus test pilot quoted to me in reference to this). I simply meant the transition from 1+F to 1 on climbout. (Of course I accept that the vast majority of flap/slat selections are entirely manual).

BA777ER236, thanks for the very interesting explanation.

 Smile



Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned forever skyward
User currently offlineLHR27C From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 1279 posts, RR: 16
Reply 15, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 6177 times:

OK... have just done some more research on this and discovered the Airbus term is the Automatic Retraction System (ARS) but it is just a protection system approaching the flap speed limit. On the 380 it now includes protection to extend the flaps into 1+F when decelerating. Sorry all, I was under the impression it was something used all the time on Airbuses when accelerating on the climb out.

Quoting BA777ER236 (Reply 8):
Yes, this is correct for most situations, but not all (i.e. rwy length < 2100m)

And higher elevations I suppose?

[Edited 2007-01-15 20:28:22]


Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned forever skyward
User currently offlineBA777ER236 From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2006, 278 posts, RR: 8
Reply 16, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 5 days ago) and read 6043 times:

Quoting LHR27C (Reply 15):
And higher elevations I suppose?

Yes, there is a list of criteria, essentially, anything that might adversely affect the stopping performance of the a/c would entail the use of flap 30.

Cheers
 Smile



Flying would be easy if it wasn't for the ground
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