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ManuCH
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Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Sun Aug 21, 2005 10:55 pm

OK, this is an entirely hypothetical question that has come to my mind while reading all the crash threads on this forum. I am a PPL myself and fly single-engine piston airplanes.

My question for the ATPLs out there: if you sit a PPL with my knowledge at the controls of an airliner (B737, A320 or similar) while at cruise altitude, would that PPL be able to land the plane in a survivable manner?

I tried to answer this myself and came up with this:
- if the plane has autoland capabilities, having someone on the radio who explains how to program the AP would be about everything that is needed to make a safe landing
- if the plane has no autoland capabilities, "physical" capacity by the pilot is needed to land, so this would be more difficult, and I really have no clue about whether this would work or not

Again, this is in a hypothetical and ideal environment, not where the pilots are unconcious and/or something on the plane is broken, but really in a plane where the pilots get up, walk out and tell someone "OK, you fly, have fun".

Anyone?  Smile

-Manuel
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legacy135
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Sun Aug 21, 2005 11:15 pm

The question for me is actually not the PPL and the ATPL. The problems here go much more in the direction how you already describe them. The thing is, you are probably used to fly single engine piston aircraft. You are not used to the weight and the speed of the "big" one. You will probably not find the switches as you are used to the kind of systems (radios, Nav, GPS's) as used in general aviation. So you will need an introduction as when you are going to transition any kind of small aircraft, to find out what is where and how you use it.
In a large plane you will configurate earlier. You won't know those speeds and limitations and fight a lot with such things. But again, if you pull it, it goes up and when you push, it goes down  Wink Just don't do that to brisk, it may react the way you won't expect.
The most important would be to keep "the blue" up and the "brown down" in regard to your ADI. Then it may either have a AOA or a stall protection system. If you know to handle with those, it already helps a lot.
But if you like to try, Swiss is renting out their simulators to people as you, and you can try. It is not that expensive, it comes to less than 1'000 sFr. incl. the instructor.
A while ago, SAT or RTL - I don't remember exactly - tried to put some "Microsoft Pilots" in a Lufthansa simulator. As they never learned to fly, they violated quite a bunch of rules and overstressed several parts of the plane, but they brought it to the runway. So it could work  Wink
 
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Sun Aug 21, 2005 11:21 pm

Quoting Legacy135 (Reply 1):
But if you like to try, Swiss is renting out their simulators to people as you, and you can try.

I tried calling Swiss and SAT, but I'm being told that they're not offering this anymore. Otherwise I would have tried  Smile. I think I'll try next time I go to Berlin at an LH training center: they are still offering it.

-Manuel
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ACDC8
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 12:01 am

I'm sure that it would be possible for a PPL pilot with no multi-engine or IFR ratings to safely land a B737, but I wouldn't want to bet my money on it. Don't forget, the landing speed on a B737 is quite a bit faster then the cruising speed in a C172. Things happen a hell of a lot faster and you need to be well ahead of the aircraft.

I remember there being an article about this subject in "Flying" magazine many years ago. They took a bunch of PPL pilots with various experience, sat them in a sim and most of them didn't make it.

As for myself, I've got my PPL and multi-engine rating plus some IFR experience and I'd love to give it a shot. Would be lots of fun (in a sim of course).
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iakobos
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 12:23 am

At a time where there were no computers, I had a ppl, a degree in electronic engineering (incl. aviation and marine radiocomms and navaids), and hundreds of hours as a very attentive (flying) observer on the decks of 737-707-720-A300s.
Knowing how to operate the radios and navaids, and quite familiar with AP and settings/configuration/speeds, I would have rated my chances at landing in one piece reasonably close to the target at 90%+ with help from a pilot (on the radio), around 70% without (external) pilot inputs.
(all of this supposes a plane in "normal" condition, no emergencies around)
 
planespotting
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 12:36 am

the single greatest difficulty of moving into airplanes that are faster and more advanced than what you are used to flying is being able to 'stay ahead' of the airplane. there are a few reasons for this

1. more mass...bigger airplanes are heavier (obviously) which creates a lot more kinetic and potential energy.

2. faster...bigger airplanes are made to go faster than little ones (another obvious thing). In fact, bigger airplanes (such as the 737, which i am most familiar with) don't like to slow down or descend. It takes a lot of practice and a lot of knowledge to make a 737 descend at the proper (and safe) descent profile. Just pointing the nose down and decreasing the throttle a bit isn't going to make it work the same way as a 172.

3. less maneuverable...when landing, all adjustments require a finer touch...anticipation of the aircraft is the key and if you start to get behind the airplane on the approach, the more and more you fall behind the closer you get to the ground (thats a bad thing).

My uncle flew A300's for years for FedEx and he told me that there were times even he felt a little overwhelmed (as a Captain) with how things were turning out and was extremely thankful that he had an F/O with him to throw around other ideas and offer suggestions and insights. While landing a big airplane as as Private Pilot (or even as a microsoft pilot) is possible, it would be an extremely daunting challenge.

of course, whenever i fly commercially there is always a moment where i sit back in my seat and think "hmm...i wonder if im the only other pilot on this airplane...what if the captain and f/o both fall ill and they need someone to fly the airplane...*imagining*

the f/a walks down the aisle asking quietly if anyone is a pilot...i look around and raise my hand "yes ma'am im a pilot" and she tells me the f/o is a little under the weather and the captain needs some assistance with the radio's...so she leads me up to the cockpit only to find the captain and the f/o are both extremely sick... "you're going to have to land this airplane" she tells me..."well that shouldn't be a problem ma'am, i have a commercial pilots license"...so i sit back in the left seat and flex my right hand around the throttles, my left hand around the yoke, and easing back on power, descending through the clouds, talking to center, approach and finally tower, lowering the gear and flaps so precisely, making adjustments as needed, and finally bringing the aircraft gently onto the runway in a fit of aeronautic precision...the tower asking if we can taxi or need a tow...."hmmm...i think we can taxi, where do you want us?"...bringing it up to the gate and parking perfectly, opening the cockpit door and hearing the roar of the all the cheering passengers, smiling to myself thinking "that was pretty easy" invisioning the media circus...the headlines 'Handsome College Student Saves Planeload of Passengers in Heroic Feat of Aeronautic Genius', the inevitable book deal, the latenight talk show apperences, and of course the blockbuster movie with Jake Gillenhall playing myself...

"sir, could you please move your feet i am trying to get through the aisle"...and i am startled back to reality by the anxious F/A trying to serve her beverage cart...*sigh*
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usnseallt82
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 1:49 am

I think its just a game of numbers, like it is with any type of aircraft. You need to know the V-speeds in order to execute any operation with the aircraft. If you know the max landing speeds and the proper interval with flaps, my grandma could land an airliner. With a PPL, you've already demonstrated that you have the needed hand-eye coordination. So, if you have someone that can talk you through the landing with the appropriate speeds and correct operation of instruments, like a knowledgable ATC controller or airframe expert brought in to the control facility, then its very likely that you could land it. You might not have a Top Gun landing on the centerline, but its definitely possible to get the aircraft down in one piece, relatively safely.

Hope this helps. Cheers!  Big grin
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Ralgha
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 2:08 am

Quoting Iakobos (Reply 4):
At a time where there were no computers, I had a ppl, a degree in electronic engineering (incl. aviation and marine radiocomms and navaids), and hundreds of hours as a very attentive (flying) observer on the decks of 737-707-720-A300s.
Knowing how to operate the radios and navaids, and quite familiar with AP and settings/configuration/speeds, I would have rated my chances at landing in one piece reasonably close to the target at 90%+ with help from a pilot (on the radio), around 70% without (external) pilot inputs.
(all of this supposes a plane in "normal" condition, no emergencies around)

Sure you could. The "Oh $H!^" factor alone would render most incapable. Knowing how to use the autopilot (you sure you know how? Learning it is not as easy as watching someone else push buttons) and having a runway and airplane that can autoland, maybe you could do it. Most airports can not take an autoland. Then the excrement would hit the fan.

Quoting Usnseallt82 (Reply 6):
I think its just a game of numbers, like it is with any type of aircraft. You need to know the V-speeds in order to execute any operation with the aircraft. If you know the max landing speeds and the proper interval with flaps, my grandma could land an airliner.

Knowing the numbers is not enough. Everybody can (and most did) know the numbers when they start learning how to fly. APPLYING those numbers is the hard part. Under pressure they forget, and that's with an instructor sitting next to them, not alone in an airliner flight deck with 150 people behind them with their lives depending on it. Even if they don't forget, you still have to make the airplane follow those numbers, and it's not that easy if you've never done it before. Even in a 172.
09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0
 
ACDC8
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 2:24 am

Quoting Ralgha (Reply 7):
Knowing the numbers is not enough. Everybody can (and most did) know the numbers when they start learning how to fly. APPLYING those numbers is the hard part. Under pressure they forget, and that's with an instructor sitting next to them, not alone in an airliner flight deck with 150 people behind them with their lives depending on it. Even if they don't forget, you still have to make the airplane follow those numbers, and it's not that easy if you've never done it before. Even in a 172.

Exactly. If you're used to flying a C172 with an average landing speed of 70 KIAS, I couldn't imagine it being easy to keep a relatively stable approach at 130-140 KIAS.

Mind you, in an extreme situation (i.e.: both pilots incapacitated) I think having someone with at least some piloting experience would be better then nothing.
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usnseallt82
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 2:29 am

Quoting Ralgha (Reply 7):
Even if they don't forget, you still have to make the airplane follow those numbers, and it's not that easy if you've never done it before.

Oh, that's horse shi*. The airplane ALWAYS does exactly what we want it to, every single time!  Big grin

Yes, I agree. I think my explanation was based more on the premise that the person attempting to land it was relatively calm and was focused; not likely in the given situation. So, I agree.

Cheers!  Big grin
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legacy135
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 2:29 am

Quoting Usnseallt82 (Reply 6):
I think its just a game of numbers, like it is with any type of aircraft. You need to know the V-speeds in order to execute any operation with the aircraft. If you know the max landing speeds and the proper interval with flaps, my grandma could land an airliner. With a PPL, you've already demonstrated that you have the needed hand-eye coordination. So, if you have someone that can talk you through the landing with the appropriate speeds and correct operation of instruments, like a knowledgable ATC controller or airframe expert brought in to the control facility, then its very likely that you could land it. You might not have a Top Gun landing on the centerline, but its definitely possible to get the aircraft down in one piece, relatively safely.

Huhhhhh if it was that simple, Flight Instructor would be the most easy job in the world and big schools like Flight Safety International would soon run out of work!
 
Derik737
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 2:37 am

If the airplane had HUD and you were able to contact someone who could give you quick instruction on the HUD (basically keep the little ball inside the big ball and keep the speed que centered) and walk you through some other basics, you could most likely have a picture perfect landing.

I've seen people in the sim who have no flying experience make beautiful landings with it.

I personally made it through the L1011 windshear accident and landed in the sim. I didn't know what the situation was until after I landed and boy was I amazed when they told me what I had just flown through.
 
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 2:39 am

Have they released how much training the Helios f/a had and on what now that they know he was in the cockpit as the F-16 pilot observed? Was their any radio contact with the f/a?
Less sarcasm and more thought equal better understanding
 
usnseallt82
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 2:45 am

Quoting Legacy135 (Reply 10):
Huhhhhh if it was that simple, Flight Instructor would be the most easy job in the world and big schools like Flight Safety International would soon run out of work!

Geez, I think I'm going to be explaining myself for a while with this.

The question was not if a PPL could land a plane with a perfect landing and have everyone on board nice and comfortable along the way. The question was if its POSSIBLE. My point was, just as someone else has said, that having a PPL would be a whole hell of a lot better while trying to operate this thing than having Aunt Erma up there with her only knowledge of aviation based around A&E's Airline show. Yes, its going to be difficult as all get out, but its very possible and is a scenario that has better chances of succeeding than trying to explain aerodynamical concepts to someone who's never been at the controls.

Obviously, a PPL isn't going to land you a job with an airline in the seat of 737. That's why you have to have a lot more education and testing. So, its pretty clear that it would be a tough undertaking and not something that most people would hope to accomplish on their daily tasks. But, if both pilots are gone and only one person on the plane has a PPL out of a mass of people who know nothing about it, I would bet that your chances of surviving are must higher with the PPL driving the plane rather than someone else or just leaving it alone. And no, those higher chances don't mean guaranteed success but are more of a 'best of the worst' type concept.

So, a CE-172 isn't the same as a 737?  Big grin Hmmm.
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1MillionFlyer
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 3:09 am

Quoting Usnseallt82 (Reply 13):
Obviously, a PPL isn't going to land you a job with an airline in the seat of 737

This entire thread is speculation and would depend on each circumstance. It is not black and white.

This belongs in polls and preferences not in civial aviation.
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usnseallt82
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 3:27 am

Quoting 1MillionFlyer (Reply 14):
This belongs in polls and preferences not in civial aviation.

That's debatable too. But, if it continues the way its going, I would have to agree.
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aa777jr
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 3:32 am

AUTO-land. Get on the horn with ATC, punch a few buttons, deploy gear, flaps, and breaks. IMHO, anyone could do it given proper instructions. Often times in bad weather or for test purposes (required after so many cycles) it's done by the pilots themselves.

Regards.
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atomother
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 3:34 am

Any idiot can fly a plane when the conditions are clear blue and a million and everything works as planned. When an emergency happens and things start to not work properly in IMC is the true measurement of a pilot's training and abilities.

And to answer your question, shortly after I got my Private I hopped into an A319 sim at CAE and survived a few landings using up alot of runway. When things started to fail though I was as good as dead. Add to that, a microburst, and some IMC and you get a dead man's spiral to the ground.
 
S12PPL
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 4:02 am

No, a Private Pilots License can't land a plane. It's a piece of paper.
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 4:11 am

Quoting S12PPL (Reply 18):
No, a Private Pilots License can't land a plane. It's a piece of paper.

What, you didn't know that the newest Airbus has a scanner that reads the license, then decides if it can land or not based on that? Big grin You see, a piece of paper can land a plane  Smile
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S12PPL
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 4:19 am

Well I'll be....

Guess I've been proven wrong!
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glydrflyr
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 4:21 am

About a dozen years ago, I had an opportunity to land a full motion B-707 (KC135) sim at an Air Force base. At the time, my PPL was 35 years old, and had no baggage like multis or commercial, but I was current with my instrument rating. Had never flown anything bigger than a C-210. The first landing, for which I still have the computer trace, was at night in the rain, but I kept the bird on the runway. The touchdown was quite positive, and the computer board operator said we would need new tires! The 2nd and 3rd landings, into Hong Kong (Kai Tek) and Newark were daylight VFR, with no unusual conditions, and were good enough to draw praise from the Air Force pilots watching and waiting for the crash. Of course, I was under no external pressures such as climbing over the pilots to get to the controls or similar natural or man made disasters. Could I do it again today? Dunno, but if anybody has a full motion sim, I'm open for invitations to come and play!

PS: Before all this got started, one of the rated captains for the KC-135 gave me a crash course in button and switch operation and location, then stood by in case my sieve like brain flushed all the info out.
if ya gotta crash, hit something soft and cheap!
 
JMJAirways
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 4:25 am

Quoting 1MillionFlyer (Reply 14):
This entire thread is speculation and would depend on each circumstance. It is not black and white.

You'v said it all!

Best regards
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pilatusguy
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 4:29 am

Well, I've done a couple of landings in a A320 sim at Swiss(air) and it worked out. Everybody survived and the plane was still ok, but some people's back probably hurt  Smile

I think if you're somewhat familiar with how an airplane works and can use the radio it shouldn't be the problem. If you're familiar with Navigating and using the autopilot it's even better...
when I was there we positioned ourselfs at (I guess) at FL150 and did a couple of approaches into ZRH's RWY 16 (the longest one). I used the A/P and the charts... was awesome!
 
AirRyan
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 4:30 am

Quoting Glydrflyr (Reply 21):
The 2nd and 3rd landings, into Hong Kong (Kai Tek) and Newark were daylight VFR,

Wow, that's got to be a lifetime goal - Kai Tak in a full motion simulator!

The other night they had a segment with the FOXsports SouthWest commentator was in the left seat of a CO 777 and even he landed it fine. Now I'd like to think that if the sim is to offer any sort of realistic positives that the level of realism can only be lowered so much (unlike MSFS) and while the conditions might have been day VFR with little wind, these new airplanes are not near as hard to fly as their predecessors. Flying a C-152 is a lot more physically challenging than say punching the A/P or manipulating a FBW sidestick of an Airbus!
 
N867BX
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 9:12 am

Ted Striker did it reasonably well all things considered.
 
S12PPL
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 9:18 am

If Ted Striker was a real person, I might be impressed.
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a380900
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 9:58 am

I have moved up from a 172 to a mooney and I bet any 172 pilot that thrown in a mooney without an instructor, there is no way the plane comes back in flyable conditions (at least where I learned: runway 700m).

So my guess would be that a 737 could be crashed on a runway by a PPL at the very best but not landed.

[Edited 2005-08-22 03:00:08]
 
vfw614
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 10:04 am

Interesting question.

One of Germany's private TV stations (SAT1) ran a story bringing up this subject two days ago. They picked a couple of people, put them in a simulator (a real one, not the PC stuff  Wink) and asked them to land the aircraft (I think it was a Boeing 737, could also have been a Foker 100). I only followed two of them on TV as the whole thing was a bit too sensationalist.

Whatsoever, unsurprisingly, a young girl with no prior experience smashed the plane. However, a guy with a PPL who flies small Cessnas was able to land the aicraft safely. The touchdown was pretty bumpy but he hit the runway spot-on. He only had some problems slowing the aircraft down after touch-down.
 
greasespot
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 10:05 am

No one said a B767 or a A330 could be glided to a landing and Canadian did it both times.....Therfore following this logic...if it was a Canadian PPL I bet it could happen... Big grin

GS
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vfw614
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 10:19 am

Quoting M404 (Reply 12):
Have they released how much training the Helios f/a had and on what now that they know he was in the cockpit as the F-16 pilot observed? Was their any radio contact with the f/a?

To answer your question - from Flight Intl:

Quote:
Speaking exclusively to Flight International, head of the Greek Air Accident Investigation and Aviation Safety Board Capt Akrivos Tsolakis has revealed that the Helios Airways Boeing 737-300 crashed north east of Athens soon after it ran out of fuel while being flown by a student pilot whose flying experience was “a few hours in a Cessna”8.
 
AirRyan
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 10:45 am

Quoting Vfw614 (Reply 28):
One of Germany's private TV stations (SAT1) ran a story bringing up this subject two days ago. They picked a couple of people, put them in a simulator (a real one, not the PC stuff ) and asked them to land the aircraft (I think it was a Boeing 737, could also have been a Foker 100). I only followed two of them on TV as the whole thing was a bit too sensationalist.

Wow, now that is a survey I'd like to participate in!

Quoting Vfw614 (Reply 28):
Whatsoever, unsurprisingly, a young girl with no prior experience smashed the plane. However, a guy with a PPL who flies small Cessnas was able to land the aicraft safely. The touchdown was pretty bumpy but he hit the runway spot-on. He only had some problems slowing the aircraft down after touch-down.

In the 737 all he would have had to do was set the autobrakes to whatever number he thought necessary, arm the speedbrakes, and know how to manipulate the thrust reversers again if necessary. If your practicing approaches at say KDEN and your following the needles at Vref you could almost get by w/o any brakes!

While I haven't had the time or money to finish my PPL in the past few years I have about 20 hours solo PIC with about 45 total and through my experience with very detailed add-on flight sims for MSFS such as PMDG 737, 747, Level-D 767, Lago's Mad Dog, and PSS's Airbus A320, A330, and A340 series aircraft, I'm confident that I at least am familiar enough with the pits to know how it all works and that combined with my first hand knowledge I could land any modern Boeing or Airbus commerical airplane at the least in the sim!  Smile Hey until I'm given the chance all I'm doing is boasting my confidence but it is what it is - I'd love to be given a chance to be proven wrong!  Smile

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CO757bos2iah
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 11:09 am

Quoting Pilatusguy (Reply 23):
I think if you're somewhat familiar with how an airplane works

"Somewhat" may get you killed in a matter of seconds. Hesitating and indecision won't get you on the ground safely.

[Edited 2005-08-22 04:10:17]
Continental Airlines. We span the globe,because the world is your workplace.
 
tcfc424
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 12:38 pm

I will agree and disagree with posts made here. As a civilian with no previous flight experience, I would think that a PPL would be able to make a better attempt than say Aunt Emma. I don't think that anu old Joe could land an aircraft (Safely) like some moview portray. I do feel that some flight training would be beneficial, and if thre was a knowledgeable voice on the other end of the radio, I would say the odds would be in the PPL's favor. As for a successful landing placing you in the cockpit of a commercial 73, I would say don't hold your breath, but there could be a scholarship to Embry if one of the passengers happened to have a bit of money and be pleased with the fact that an aero student took the bull by the horns and landed the aircraft with minimal injuries.

All I can say for certain is that if the 73 is pilotless and the choice is given, I would prefer a PPL over anyone else.

Mike S in AUS
 
StevenUhl777
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 12:45 pm

And to think we got 24 replies before the Ted Striker reference! An a-net record for sure.... biggrin 
And the winner for best actress is....REESE WITHERSPOON for 'Walk the Line'!!!!!!!!
 
FlyHoss
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 12:48 pm

Quoting Aa777jr (Reply 16):
AUTO-land. Get on the horn with ATC, punch a few buttons, deploy gear, flaps, and breaks. IMHO, anyone could do it given proper instructions.

That's a gross oversimplification. For one thing, it would be a rare controller who would know the cockpit (of say, a 737 - like the Helios flight (or any other)) well enough to be able to direct the Private Pilot.
For example, would you just deploy the flaps? How far and at what speed? Too fast and you risk damaging the flaps, with an asymmetric extension as a result and then an a rolling movement. And just when you'd need help the most, the autopilot would disconnect as a result of that roll.
You hit on one major point. While all airplanes fly the same way, the differences, especially in nomenclature and switch placement would be (IMHO) a major impediment to success. For example, to start a descent, would you - or the controller - know where to locate the "Level Change" button and what must be done first to start that descent?
Could it be done? Yes. And I'd rather have a passenger with some training at the controls, than a passenger with no training at all.

Quoting N867BX (Reply 25):
Ted Striker did it reasonably well all things considered.



Quoting N867BX (Reply 25):
If Ted Striker was a real person, I might be impressed.

Surely, you can't be serious.
A little bit louder now, a lil bit louder now...
 
COAMiG29
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 1:06 pm

I am serious and stop calling me surely!

I have landed a 737 on a simulator but on final there was the ever welcome WOOP WOOP PULL UP. rough landing but safe none the less.

please don't think im saying i can landa a 737 im just talking about simulators
If Continental had a hub at DFW with nonstop flights I would always fly them, unfortunantely good things take time.
 
USAFHummer
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 1:23 pm

Quoting S12PPL (Reply 18):
No, a Private Pilots License can't land a plane. It's a piece of paper.

US pilot certificates are actually plastic these days  Wink

Greg
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AirWillie6475
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 1:56 pm

A wise guy once said:

"A private pilot would be able to fly the 737 or A320 all the way to the scene of the crash."
 
AirWillie6475
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 1:58 pm

Actually you might have a chance with the 737. In order to land the airbus however, you'd have to know how to progarm computers before you could fly the plane.
 
hawker
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 2:22 pm

There are two aspects to a successful landing, the approach and touchdown.

You need to have a stabilized approach on the glideslope at the right speed etc.
I think someone could probably talk you through that.

For a successful touchdown you need to know when to flare and how far your wheels are off the ground. So if someone was in the second seat reading off the attitude and airspeed and relaying that information at the same time to someone on the ground, who could in turn tell you when to flare and hold off, you should be able to make it.

I seem to recall even the expert pilots on the space shuttle, are verbally advised how far their wheels are off the runway.
 
abbs380
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 3:11 pm

A captain once asked me if I knew the difference between a new Airbus captain and an experienced Airbus captain. When I replied No, he said a new captain asks "what's it doing that for" whereas an experienced captain would say "oh, I've seen it do that before".
 
squad55
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 3:55 pm

I've done only 4 hours in a 152, however I've flown (full motion sims, 737-200,767-300,777-200,747-400 & DC-10-30. The 777 and 747 were remarkably very EASY to fly. I would say yes, but with guidance from ATC.
 
baw716
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 4:15 pm

I have over 1000 hours on FS2004 aircraft, specifically 737 and A320 type rated, I just got typed on the LDS 767.

I have spent a couple of hours this year at Boeing on their Level D full motion simulators and have done several successful ILS landings down to CATII conditions both with and without automatics.

I therefore feel reasonably confident that with adequate guidance from the ground and with some assistance in the right seat, I could land the aircraft safely, although the landing might not be as graceful as it normally would be.
It would, however, be within the safety envelope. That's what matters.

baw716
David L. Lamb, fmr Area Mgr Alitalia SFO 1998-2002, fmr Regional Analyst SFO-UAL 1992-1998
 
avroarrow
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 7:57 pm

I have a PPL with about 300 hrs. I have flown a full motion 737-200 simulator at United, back when they still had third party weekend programs in Denver. All in all it wasn't as hard to fly as you might expect, the 737 (in the simulator anyway) is a very solid and docile handling aircraft. The approach speed didn't seem to be a problem just so long as you got it stabilized in a reasonable amount of time. Of course I did have some excellent coaching in speed bug setting and ILS tuning to be able to use the flight director which helped considerably. So could I do it in real life? Maybe. Would I hope that I'm forced to try? Heck no. But given a choice between certain death and giving it a shot, it is kind of a no brainer. I'd just have to hope that the other passengers on the plane didn't sue me if I had a rough landing or went off the runway.  Wink
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AirRyan
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 11:30 pm

Quoting CO757bos2iah (Reply 32):
"Somewhat" may get you killed in a matter of seconds. Hesitating and indecision won't get you on the ground safely.

Okay then, give me five to ten minutes to go over the pit and verify how each lever/switch works and/or how to reach them from my seat and then I'd be fine. I'm not saying I'd be able to step right in and be able to perform the job w/o busting any FAA rules rather than I know enough to start the plane up, align the IRS, program the FMC, arm the A/T, and engage the AP after a positive rate of climb and gear up is established.

And while I'm not IFR rated I can at least find the right freq per runway to shoot the needles from the outer marker on in at Vref, flare for landing, and bring the aircraft down straight on the runway and to a complete stop. Hell, I bet I can even taxi it easier than a C-152 with the wheel!  Smile

Quoting StevenUhl777 (Reply 34):
And to think we got 24 replies before the Ted Striker reference! An a-net record for sure....

Hey, Ted had a certified pilot talking him down!  Smile

Quoting FlyHoss (Reply 35):
You hit on one major point. While all airplanes fly the same way, the differences, especially in nomenclature and switch placement would be (IMHO) a major impediment to success. For example, to start a descent, would you - or the controller - know where to locate the "Level Change" button and what must be done first to start that descent?

That's where I know my experience in being familarized with both Boeing and Airbus A/P procedures, FMC, as well as the layout of the panels that combined with my knowledge of approach/flare/rollout would make for a high probability of success - at least in a sim.

While I could hand fly it all if necessary it would be all the more easy to control the plane via A/P until the approach where I would want to do my own flare. If you know how to use the A/P you can control every aspect of it's flight - speed, turn/bank, and altitude. If you can program your FMC or know how to interpret the settings already set, you can follow the arrow right down to the runway.

Quoting AirWillie6475 (Reply 39):
Actually you might have a chance with the 737. In order to land the airbus however, you'd have to know how to progarm computers before you could fly the plane.

That and you have to be able to use your left hand for the sidestick if your the Captain. If I was ever to fly an Airbus when I made captain I'd still sit on the right!  Smile

Quoting Hawker (Reply 40):
For a successful touchdown you need to know when to flare and how far your wheels are off the ground.

Usually the duties of the FO but is also handled by the RADALT and bitchin' betty on some aircraft.

Quoting AvroArrow (Reply 44):
So could I do it in real life? Maybe. Would I hope that I'm forced to try? Heck no. But given a choice between certain death and giving it a shot, it is kind of a no brainer. I'd just have to hope that the other passengers on the plane didn't sue me if I had a rough landing or went off the runway.

Exactly - not that I would ever want to be in a real-life scenario but let's just say that I at least can rest assure I have liven up to the Boy Scout motto of "being prepared!"  Smile
 
pjungmann
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 12:18 am

YES. A PPL can land an airliner.

I conduct such "fantasy flights" in Minneapolis, and with just a little coaching most private pilots have been able to land airliners 'survivably' on the first attempt. (DC9, 747, DC10, A320, 757)

Most private pilots can do the things that are required for an "autoland" with minimum difficulty.

From my flight instructing experiences, I think I'd rather be on a 747 with a private pilot at the controls (if he's getting some competent coaching) than in the back seat of a 182 with a 747 pilot at the controls -- flaring at 75ft agl in a 182 can be ugly.

Peter
 
AA717driver
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 12:37 am

Sure, in a sim, with someone over their shoulder coaching them, most PPL's could get the plane to the runway.

In real life, no way. Way too much going on even with someone coaching you over the radio. My money's on stalling the thing short of the airport.TC
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Bruce
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 1:02 am

I was just reading the latest news on the Helios crash and it appears that a man made a mayday call just before the crash. Officials believe the man was a Steward who was learning to fly small planes in his spare time, he may have been in the cockpit for up to 20 minutes or so before the crash.

So, appearently this low-time private pilot was unable to control a 737-300. What he would have needed to do is descend rapidly while maintaining control until he got into breathable air. Especially critical was fuel level, it now seems that the engines stopped due to running out of fuel. A pilot would have needed to recognize this, the situation required an immediate rapid descent and landing.

bruce
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mrocktor
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RE: Can A PPL Land An Airliner?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 1:22 am

Quoting AA717driver (Reply 47):
My money's on stalling the thing short of the airport

With stall warning aural messages and stick shakers you have to be *edited for political correctness* to stall an airliner.

mrocktor

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