On the 717 at AirTran, we must perform an autoland every 30 days. On the dispatch paperwork it will indicate that the CA
and FO are either CAT III , or CAT I. Both of us have to have the CAT III next to our name to be legal to perform an actual CAT III approach and landing. I usually knock it out on the first trip of the month. I try to perform one in Atlanta or another high density airport where we will be turned onto the final several miles outside the marker and be slowed and stabalized early in the approach. LGA
and other airports where you have special visual approaches are not conducive or even legal for autolands. The airplane needs to be set up way out so autolands are not performed at airports with little traffic where you are cleared for a visual approach way out thus being able to keep your speed up and or turn a short final.
During an autoland, the flying pilot does hold on to the yoke and thrust levers and is always ready to take over and land manually if any one of several conditions are not met during different points in the approach. Each aircraft type has different limatations for an autoland to be conducted. For instance, on the 717, we can only perform an autoland if the wind is (15 knots or less x-wind) 20 knot headwind etx. We have several other limatations like runway slope, contamination levels and pressure altitude of the airport.
Basically, autolands can not be performed on windy days with heavy rain etc. They are designed for foggy conditions in still air. Ive seen the 717 grease landings and land hard off the centerline. When a landing is not deemed acceptable by the pilot, it is written up and the aircraft is downgraded to "no autoland" status until the mechanics can determine the cause.
Hope this helps.