AA, Unfortunately, I never did get to fly her as a pilot
but I think she has a personality all her own.
Lockheed was more interested in military aircraft and systems than commercial aviation. The C5A is a perfect example. They could produce heavy jets but the military had more money to spend. : )
Lockheed was famous for its innovative designs.
Imagine, the L1011 had catIII auto-land capability before other designers even dreamed of putting that kind of system in a passenger aircraft. The average commercial pilot flying domestic routes today is not even catII qualified. Only the big aerodromes have catII and III runways and the airlines thought it a waste to qualify crews and aircraft for something that was hardly needed. The aircraft alone needs everything required for approach to catII and III minimums in dual form.
There is some very expensive equipment required too.
Comparitors, sensitive radar altimeters, etc etc etc.
The comparitors alone are a fortune. Also, the carriers have not one aircraft but hundreds and some thousands. What we use on the 767-300 to shoot catII and III approaches are the gyros from the INS units to filter out the imperfections on the ILS signal so we dont chase every needle deflection. The INS units use ring laser gyros which are much more precise than the average gyro. They also provide attitude information to the displays (ADI HSI) for more exact control. I can select either Inertial navigation/Inertial reference or both. These gyros were so exact, Honeywell decided to use them for enroute nav also. To use them just to level the INS platform was a waste. However, GPS is soon in coming and INS will be an antique soon.
My carrier already uses GPS on trans-pacific routes
and we have begun to fly "Free Flight" routes across the pacific. We were the first carrier to implement free flight. The flight crew decides which is the most economical route in terms of weather, wind, time etc etc. and flies this unpublished route. The equipment that is needed is staggering. High speed data links to ATC, a new very advanced form of TCAS with radar and transponder returns. On free flight routes, the flight crew is responsible for its own seperation.
Scary, but it works. Ive geard guys say its cut almost 45 mins off the SFO NRT run. We now have some 20 free flight equiped 747-400's flying the pacific.
Anyway, before I talk your ears off Ill say goodbye.
Keep flying and never let go of the dream.