Ps76
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Do 747 Pilots Ever Hand Fly Visual Approaches Etc.

Sat Jan 13, 2007 8:51 pm

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.
 
Tristarsteve
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RE: Do 747 Pilots Ever Hand Fly Visual Approaches Etc.

Sat Jan 13, 2007 8:57 pm

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.
 
David L
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RE: Do 747 Pilots Ever Hand Fly Visual Approaches Etc.

Sat Jan 13, 2007 10:24 pm

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.
 
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zeke
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RE: Do 747 Pilots Ever Hand Fly Visual Approaches Etc.

Sat Jan 13, 2007 10:42 pm

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.
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jamesbuk
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RE: Do 747 Pilots Ever Hand Fly Visual Approaches Etc.

Sat Jan 13, 2007 11:41 pm

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--
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BA777ER236
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RE: Do 747 Pilots Ever Hand Fly Visual Approaches Etc.

Sat Jan 13, 2007 11:54 pm

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
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3DPlanes
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RE: Do 747 Pilots Ever Hand Fly Visual Approaches Etc.

Sun Jan 14, 2007 4:47 am

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...
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LHR27C
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RE: Do 747 Pilots Ever Hand Fly Visual Approaches Etc.

Sun Jan 14, 2007 6:17 am

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
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BA777ER236
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RE: Do 747 Pilots Ever Hand Fly Visual Approaches Etc.

Mon Jan 15, 2007 2:18 am

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
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PhilSquares
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RE: Do 747 Pilots Ever Hand Fly Visual Approaches Etc.

Mon Jan 15, 2007 3:31 am

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.
Fly fast, live slow
 
SlamClick
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RE: Do 747 Pilots Ever Hand Fly Visual Approaches Etc.

Mon Jan 15, 2007 3:59 am

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.
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David L
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RE: Do 747 Pilots Ever Hand Fly Visual Approaches Etc.

Mon Jan 15, 2007 5:13 am

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?
 
ZKSUJ
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RE: Do 747 Pilots Ever Hand Fly Visual Approaches Etc.

Mon Jan 15, 2007 6:40 pm

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.
 
SlamClick
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RE: Do 747 Pilots Ever Hand Fly Visual Approaches Etc.

Tue Jan 16, 2007 12:48 am

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?
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LHR27C
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RE: Do 747 Pilots Ever Hand Fly Visual Approaches Etc.

Tue Jan 16, 2007 1:15 am

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.

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LHR27C
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RE: Do 747 Pilots Ever Hand Fly Visual Approaches

Tue Jan 16, 2007 4:26 am

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]
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BA777ER236
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RE: Do 747 Pilots Ever Hand Fly Visual Approaches Etc.

Tue Jan 16, 2007 4:26 pm

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
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