Topic Author
Posts: 57
Joined: Mon May 31, 1999 1:40 am

Planes landing themselves

Fri Feb 12, 1999 9:10 am

I know that many of the modern jets can 'land' themselves, but I was wondering how much can they do without the pilots touching anything. I assume it can descend and get in line with the runway on its own, but can the plane pull the nose up, reduce the speed, touchdown at the right place on the runway, pull the nose back down, and slow down all be itself. If so, what instrument would be in use (I know the autopilot, more specific). I just saw a movie and that is exactly what happened. The plane in movie was a 747.

Posts: 96
Joined: Thu May 20, 2010 11:47 pm

RE: Planes landing themselves

Fri Feb 12, 1999 9:15 am

What is your definition of not touching anything ? I think that even with a autoland the pilots need to touch things on the auto pilotpanel. They can't sit their with there arms crossed. Other than that I don't know really.
Fly Delta Jets | DL757
Posts: 29881
Joined: Wed Jul 07, 1999 11:27 am

RE: Planes landing themselves

Fri Feb 12, 1999 9:42 am

I never have flown a heavy but at the lab I work at here we have a FMGS trainer for the A-320. From what I have seen playing on that thing:

The line-up for the runway and the decent angle is set up by the same ILS that used on the Cadets I fly. The main height information for the final aproach is the Radar Altimter that is installed on the aircraft. This bounces a radio wave off the ground directly below the A/C giving a very accure mesurement of height above ground. The computer uses this information to calculate when exactly to pitch up for landing. It should be noted that you will NEVER have a 'greaser' with the autopilot. This is because the programming in the flight computer, the plane will decend at a fixed rate untill contact with the ground is made.

Like I said these are my observations based on a trainer, not the actual aircraft so take them with a grain of salt.

RE: Planes landing themselves

Fri Feb 12, 1999 10:03 am

The plane will fly itself on the proper track with the autopilot's LNAV, VNAV, and speed controls engaged (or whatever they are called depending on the plane; autoflight capabilities). When the plane is set up for the ILS, the pilots turn on all 3 autopilots and the plane is set up for autoland. The plane does not lower the gear and set the flaps, so the pilots have to do that. Once the gear is down and the flaps are set and the plane is flying as it should, the pilots don't need to do anything. Of course, they must be VERY CAUTIOUS of what the plane is doing, and they need to be ready to take over if anything happens. Quite stressful! The plane will flare on its own and do the rollout on its own. The spoilers deploy and the pilots give some reverse thrust. One pilot will be looking inside the cockpit whereas the other will be looking outside for any sign of the runway. That't it in a nutshell anyway.

Noel Benford

RE: Planes landing themselves

Fri Feb 12, 1999 10:20 am

Just out of curiosity, what was the movie?


RE: Planes landing themselves

Fri Feb 12, 1999 3:17 pm

Was the movie "Terbulance" with Ray Liota?
Topic Author
Posts: 57
Joined: Mon May 31, 1999 1:40 am

RE: Planes landing themselves

Sat Feb 13, 1999 7:36 am

Thanx for all the great answers, and yes, the movie was 'Turbulance'. The flight attendent had to the land the plane (but she didn't have to do much)

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