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Posted: 8/14/2005 3:51:55 PM EDT
Delta airliner hits the runway with a pretty good "thud." Passengers look around at each other with the "WTF" look. Captain gets on the PA and says that due to regulations that flight crews are required to land "totally on autopilot" every once in awhile. Being the smartass that I am I told the cutie sitting next to me that he was lying and blaming his bad landing on the autopilot (which led to some pleasant conversation)

So why is it that pilots are required to land completely on autopilot every so often?

Are Autopilot landings on jetliners usually rougher than a "hands on" landing?
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 3:58:04 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 4:00:32 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/14/2005 4:01:05 PM EDT by Misery]
Autolands can be harder, and large commercial jets aren't supposed to "kiss" the runway. Even flying them manually requires a firm landing. The reason they require full autolands is to keep the pilots proficient with the system logic. Kinda silly because setting up an autoland is so damn simple, you only push a couple extra button on most planes.
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 4:11:23 PM EDT
Remember this:
Any landing you walk away from is a good landing.
Any landing you can use the plane again is a great landing.
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 4:11:58 PM EDT
Never heard that before. I thought they were all manually landed.
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 4:15:14 PM EDT
I remember one landing at Logan, at the last second over the harbor, just prior to being over runway, the whole plane sunk 10 feet with some wind shear, causing the pilots to make super quick adjustments to throttle and flaps to get back in line. Pretty scary.
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 4:16:44 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Misery:
large commercial jets aren't supposed to "kiss" the runway.



So firm landings are better than soft landings? Why is that?
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 4:17:34 PM EDT
Depends on the ratings of the pilots and the limitations of the aircraft. A plane can be CAT III cert and auto land able (simply) but if the crew aint, they aint doing it.
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 4:22:12 PM EDT
Some years ago I had the same experience. I was flying home on an international flight with United Airlines on a 777. When landing at O'hare, the plane slammed down onto the runway. As we were moving to the gate, the pilot came on the PA and said, "You have just witnessed the world's safest landing because it was done by autopilot."

I never did understand why.

Link Posted: 8/14/2005 4:24:09 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ZitiForBreakfast:
Depends on the ratings of the pilots and the limitations of the aircraft. A plane can be CAT III cert and auto land able (simply) but if the crew aint, they aint doing it.



If the plane is CATIII equipped, then the crew is too. Now way around it in a commercial setting.
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 4:27:22 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/14/2005 5:21:31 PM EDT by VoodooChile]

Originally Posted By dport:
Remember this:
Any landing you walk away from is a good landing.
Any landing you can use the plane again is a great landing.



+1

Right after I walked off that plane every TV monitor in the terminal had the crash in Greece on live.
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 4:29:43 PM EDT
Here is a video of a hard landing.
69.57.136.18/moviestorage2/md80.mpg
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 4:34:48 PM EDT

Originally Posted By CZ75_9MM:
Here is a video of a hard landing.
69.57.136.18/moviestorage2/md80.mpg



Ouch! Looks like a test flight.....I hope
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 4:35:58 PM EDT

Originally Posted By VoodooChile:

Originally Posted By Misery:
large commercial jets aren't supposed to "kiss" the runway.



So firm landings are better than soft landings? Why is that?



Several reasons. Mainly it's how they're taught, but holding off on a flare can reduce the amount of braking distance you have, and you really don't always have a lot of runway to play around with like a smaller plane. Also, if the runway is wet or "contaminated", then you want sufficient wheel contact.
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 4:40:37 PM EDT

Originally Posted By VoodooChile:

Originally Posted By Misery:
large commercial jets aren't supposed to "kiss" the runway.



So firm landings are better than soft landings? Why is that?



Sometimes, yes. If you are short on runway, you want the brakes to become effective as soon as possible. Likewise, if you are landing in a crosswind, you want the upwind wheel firmly on the ground to help prevent drifting sideways prior to setting down the rest of the wheels. Finally, if the runway is wet, a firm arrival may help to prevent hydroplaning (although many aircraft have other systems in place to help with this particular issue as well).

Link Posted: 8/14/2005 4:41:37 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/14/2005 4:43:33 PM EDT by Misery]

Originally Posted By Bama-Shooter:
Never heard that before. I thought they were all manually landed.



It all depends on the policy of the airline and the pilots discretion. Some carriers require the pilots use autopilot fly to 200 feet AGL on ILS runways. Other carriers allow the pilot to do it either way he wants. Some restrict autolandings and others don't. You'd be surprised how much is done by autopilot. Most of the carriers engage autopilot between 1000 and 4000 feet AGL, and don't disengage it until they're on final and generally no more than 4000 feet AGL.

ETA: Keep in mind this is all determined by airline policy, and differs between carriers.
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 4:55:16 PM EDT
The ol' L-1011 was one of the first to have autoland,it was one of the best systems out there,but then again,so was the 1011! My ol' man's Delta 727 had autoland,also(at least certain ones did),he REALLY was good at landing the 72(a somewhat hard airliner to land,you really had to fly it BY THE BOOK!),damned shame they're being scrapped! BTW,what type of airliner was it?
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 5:04:48 PM EDT

Originally Posted By CZ75_9MM:
Here is a video of a hard landing.
69.57.136.18/moviestorage2/md80.mpg


I was just on an MD80 today. I'm glad I didn't see that before I got on the flight.
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 5:11:59 PM EDT

Originally Posted By MattyMattel:
BTW,what type of airliner was it?



737-800 .....and the connecting flight from Atlanta to OKC was an MD-80
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 5:46:19 PM EDT
Ok,those are both planes with single gears(unlike 757s,767s and the like)so there is no gear truck to absorb the landing shock. When Delta first bought 727s(WAAAAYYY back in the early 70s,about the time they merged Northeast),most of the pilots that were moved over to the 727,had been flying Convair 880s(which has a truck gear,and was built like a tank to boot,Elvis had one,its now at Graceland)had a hard time adjusting to the gear of the 72(that,and the fact that the 727 WILL drop like a lead safe if asked),that 737-800 is a pretty big A/C to have that single type gear.(where's Rodent,he should chime in further) Also,was there a crosswind??????
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 5:52:03 PM EDT
Any pics of the lady sitting next to you?
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 5:58:35 PM EDT
I was on a C-9 flying in to Minot AFB once, with 40 knott crosswinds.

It's disconcerting, being able to see down the runway out the passenger window....

But hey, I got home on time. The rest of my command followed 2 days later via C-130. NAS Norfolk to NAS Whidbey Island.
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 6:03:15 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/14/2005 6:03:27 PM EDT by 7]
He was a Navy Aviator.
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 6:03:56 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ChiefPilot:

Originally Posted By VoodooChile:

Originally Posted By Misery:
large commercial jets aren't supposed to "kiss" the runway.



So firm landings are better than soft landings? Why is that?



Sometimes, yes. If you are short on runway, you want the brakes to become effective as soon as possible. Likewise, if you are landing in a crosswind, you want the upwind wheel firmly on the ground to help prevent drifting sideways prior to setting down the rest of the wheels. Finally, if the runway is wet, a firm arrival may help to prevent hydroplaning (although many aircraft have other systems in place to help with this particular issue as well).




A few caveats there too. Hot brakes can be a factor if you actuate them too early. Since most airliners have reverse thrust, it's usually not an issue. Before landing, a hot brakes speed will be calculated, and if they even tap the brakes one knot above that speed, they will have guaranteed hot brakes. Where as if they apply maximum brake pressure 5 knots below, they'll be good to go (although they might not have enough brake energy to taxi back without getting hot brakes, especially if you have to taxi 3 miles and its downhill!). It doesn't seem to make sense, but that's how it is.

Also, with hydroplaning, just remember that it is a function of tire pressure and tire speed.

But yes, when you're flying bigger jets, you gotta get it down, so they aren't known for the softest landings. Many aircraft/aircrew these days are CAT III certified, so landings by George (the autopilot) are very common place. I imagine on days where the weather is good, the the landing is done manually though.
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 6:15:46 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 6:19:35 PM EDT
Don't know much about the 737-800,but the 727,I saw many times,used aerodynamic braking(like an F-102/106)to help,my ol' man did this. Now the L-1011 was the first American airliner to use autoland(the British pioneered this with the VC-10,a truely beautiful airliner),pilots at first had a hard time watching "George" land the 1011 all by itself. The L-1011 was a helluva plane,WAY before its time.sad to see them go.
Link Posted: 8/15/2005 12:09:16 AM EDT
Speaking of braking distance with firm landings. I was looking at Google Maps satellite for KJFK because someone mentioned a Concorde was on the tarmac. As I panned around I saw this:



What's going on there? RTO? Landing too far down the runway?
Link Posted: 8/15/2005 4:10:00 AM EDT
Hard landings, shmard landings. If you want to see a really embarrased big time ailine pilot find one that's had to execute a go-around for a botched visual approach. Experienced it once on a United flight into Boston. They had ATC on channel 9 (it's a United thing) and I heard the whole thing, too. The guy comes on the PA and makes up some bullshit about "landing conditions were not as good as they would like, so better safe than sorry, yada yada." The tower controller was laughing his ass off as he vectored us back around for another try.
Link Posted: 8/15/2005 4:16:30 AM EDT
Air Force pilots have to complete so many actions on a regular basis. This can include about a half dozen different approaches (and landings). The airline may have a similar requirement and the boys were just filling a square. (Or they forgot to flare, happens to all of us )
Link Posted: 8/15/2005 4:26:16 AM EDT
I had two crappy landings on one trip. Going out, the guy bounced the plane on landing. I mean hit hard, went completely off the ground, hit hard again. On the way back, the crazyass dipped the right wing hard just before we touched.
I hate flying.
Link Posted: 8/15/2005 4:30:45 AM EDT
#2 below...


After every flight, Qantas Airline pilots fill out a form, called a gripe sheet; which tells mechanics about problems with the aircraft. The mechanics correct the problems; doBLEEPent their repairs on the form, and then pilots review the gripe sheets before the next flight.

Never let it be said that ground crews lack a sense of humor.

Here are some actual maintenance complaints submitted by Qantas' pilots (marked with a P) and the solutions recorded (marked with an S) by maintenance engineers.

By the way, Qantas is the only major airline that has never had an
accident. .. Enjoy!

P: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
S: Almost replaced left inside main tire.

P: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough.
S: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.

P: Something loose in cockpit.
S: Something tightened in cockpit.

P: Dead bugs on windshield.
S: Live bugs on back-order.

P: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200 feet per minute
descent.

S: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.

P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
S: Evidence removed.

P: DME volume unbelievably loud.
S: DME volume set to more believable level.

P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
S: That's what they're for.

P: IFF inoperative.
S: IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.

P: Suspected crack in windshield.
S: Suspect you're right.

P: Number 3 engine missing.
S: Engine found on right wing after brief search.

P: Aircraft handles funny. (I love this one!)
S: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right, and be serious.

P: Target radar hums.
S: Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics.

P: Mouse in cockpit.
S: Cat installed.

And the best one for last..


P. Noise coming from under instrument panel. Sounds like a midget
pounding on something with a hammer.

S: Took hammer away from midget...

Bob
Link Posted: 8/15/2005 4:40:34 AM EDT

Originally Posted By CZ75_9MM:
Here is a video of a hard landing.
69.57.136.18/moviestorage2/md80.mpg



I would hate to be in the tail section on that flight. Actually, I would hate to be on that flight period. Talk about a back breaker.
Link Posted: 8/15/2005 4:46:16 AM EDT
Funny that a Quantis pilot would be writing up his Identify Friend or Foe on an airliner.


P: IFF inoperative.
S: IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.



First time a heard these was in tech school, and my instructor attributed them to Air Force wrenches. Probably just someone with a good sense of humor.
Link Posted: 8/15/2005 6:31:36 AM EDT

Originally Posted By uns69:

Originally Posted By CZ75_9MM:
Here is a video of a hard landing.
69.57.136.18/moviestorage2/md80.mpg



I would hate to be in the tail section on that flight. Actually, I would hate to be on that flight period. Talk about a back breaker.



I flew in an MD-80 from Atlanta to OKC yesterday...I was in row 36 behind the rear galley....yeah my ass would have probably been on the tarmac on that one.
Link Posted: 8/15/2005 6:47:03 AM EDT
Delta MD-88,Christmas holidays(some airliners parked during this time),well,for some strange reason,they left the APU running for 3 days(not for maint. either) burning up that expensive fuel,that was one lopsided MadDog!
Link Posted: 8/15/2005 6:48:32 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Misery:
Speaking of braking distance with firm landings. I was looking at Google Maps satellite for KJFK because someone mentioned a Concorde was on the tarmac. As I panned around I saw this:

img96.imageshack.us/img96/5428/kjfk017ne.jpg

What's going on there? RTO? Landing too far down the runway?

That looks like either a DC-10 or an MD-11.
Link Posted: 8/15/2005 7:18:02 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/15/2005 8:32:28 AM EDT
Granted it's been 10 years since I've been around an RF-4 IFF system (my god, where has the time gone?), but I seem to recall that we had thumbwheel switches for setting either Mode 2 or Mode 3 for ATC ident. Wouldn't the airliners have the same thing?
Link Posted: 8/15/2005 8:37:30 AM EDT

Originally Posted By pterodactyl:
Granted it's been 10 years since I've been around an RF-4 IFF system (my god, where has the time gone?), but I seem to recall that we had thumbwheel switches for setting either Mode 2 or Mode 3 for ATC ident. Wouldn't the airliners have the same thing?



These days almost all the radios and transponsders are operated through the CDU (little CRT monitor with a keyboard) via a 1553 or similar bus.
Link Posted: 8/15/2005 9:04:24 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/15/2005 9:10:46 AM EDT by CFII]
You do have to use the autoland feature a certain amount of times in a time period for it to remain current. The autoland will not grease the airplane in. Most airliners (well, boeing aricraft) are landed manually. You are never really flying a fly-by-wire Airbus. Autoland can be used in Cat III c approaches when there is basically ZERO visibility vertically or horizontally. Not many airports in the US are equipped for this, but TONS of them in Europe are.
Link Posted: 8/15/2005 9:07:35 AM EDT
from a few airline pilot friends of mine, the boeing autolanders are ok, but the ones on the airbus aircraft completely suck, very inaccurate and very rough landings.
Link Posted: 8/15/2005 9:35:59 AM EDT

Originally Posted By CFII:
You do have to use the autoland feature a certain amount of times in a time period for it to remain current. The autoland will not grease the airplane in. Most airliners (well, boeing aricraft) are landed manually. You are never really flying a fly-by-wire Airbus. Autoland can be used in Cat III c approaches when there is basically ZERO visibility vertically or horizontally. Not many airports in the US are equipped for this, but TONS of them in Europe are.

Yeah,my Dad,when he flew for Delta,his 727 was Cat IIIa equipped(Ex-Pan Am 727,anyone remember Pan American,"Welcome to Our World")
Link Posted: 8/15/2005 11:30:12 AM EDT
Coming back from Germany, the Lufthansa 747 we were on hit so hard, about half of the oxygen
masks dropped, a bunch of the overhead compartment doors popped, with people's shit flying
around. A couple of ladies started screaming, "We're going to die......."

Gets all quiet as we taxi towards the terminal and the captain comes on, "Sorry for the slight disturbance
on landing, folks....." (Slight?!)
Link Posted: 8/15/2005 11:51:11 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/15/2005 12:10:52 PM EDT by CFII]

Originally Posted By Tanker06:
Coming back from Germany, the Lufthansa 747 we were on hit so hard, about half of the oxygen
masks dropped, a bunch of the overhead compartment doors popped, with people's shit flying
around. A couple of ladies started screaming, "We're going to die......."

Gets all quiet as we taxi towards the terminal and the captain comes on, "Sorry for the slight disturbance
on landing, folks....." (Slight?!)




The mating of a 700,000 pound chuck of metal and hard asphault is not the easiest thing to do sometimes....

O, and the masks...... Rubber Jungle. You always know its a good landing when the rubber jungle deploys
Link Posted: 8/15/2005 11:53:13 AM EDT

Originally Posted By anachronism:
#2 below...


After every flight, Qantas Airline pilots fill out a form, called a gripe sheet; which tells mechanics about problems with the aircraft. The mechanics correct the problems; doBLEEPent their repairs on the form, and then pilots review the gripe sheets before the next flight.

Never let it be said that ground crews lack a sense of humor.

Here are some actual maintenance complaints submitted by Qantas' pilots (marked with a P) and the solutions recorded (marked with an S) by maintenance engineers.

By the way, Qantas is the only major airline that has never had an
accident. .. Enjoy!

P: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
S: Almost replaced left inside main tire.

P: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough.
S: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.

P: Something loose in cockpit.
S: Something tightened in cockpit.

P: Dead bugs on windshield.
S: Live bugs on back-order.

P: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200 feet per minute
descent.

S: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.

P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
S: Evidence removed.

P: DME volume unbelievably loud.
S: DME volume set to more believable level.

P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
S: That's what they're for.

P: IFF inoperative.
S: IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.

P: Suspected crack in windshield.
S: Suspect you're right.

P: Number 3 engine missing.
S: Engine found on right wing after brief search.

P: Aircraft handles funny. (I love this one!)
S: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right, and be serious.

P: Target radar hums.
S: Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics.


P: Mouse in cockpit.
S: Cat installed.

And the best one for last..


P. Noise coming from under instrument panel. Sounds like a midget
pounding on something with a hammer.

S: Took hammer away from midget...

Bob



Quantas has target radar? Looks like your joke-fu is weak.
Link Posted: 8/15/2005 12:08:48 PM EDT

Originally Posted By dport:
Remember this:
Any landing you walk away from is a good landing.
Any landing you can use the plane again is a great landing.



+1
Link Posted: 8/15/2005 12:10:43 PM EDT

Originally Posted By wildearp:

Originally Posted By anachronism:

P: Number 3 engine missing.
S: Engine found on right wing after brief search.

Bob



Quantas has target radar? Looks like your joke-fu is weak.



And apparently they are still running four engine prop jobs.
Link Posted: 8/15/2005 12:11:48 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ChiefPilot:
Likewise, if you are landing in a crosswind, you want the upwind wheel firmly on the ground to help prevent drifting sideways prior to setting down the rest of the wheels.



I have personal experience with that one. Damn near departed the runway drifting sideways at Louisville Intl.

Also, when the winds are gusty, particularly gusty cross winds, landing flaps up (I'm talking Beech Bonanza here) provided better control authority right up to stall speed (cause stall speed is higher).
Link Posted: 8/15/2005 12:15:29 PM EDT

Originally Posted By JimTh:
On the way back, the crazyass dipped the right wing hard just before we touched.
I hate flying.



It's what you do when you get hit by a cross wind gust during the flare. 95% of what scares non-pilots is normal.
Link Posted: 8/15/2005 12:19:17 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/15/2005 12:23:41 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SWO_daddy:

Originally Posted By JimTh:
On the way back, the crazyass dipped the right wing hard just before we touched.
I hate flying.



It's what you do when you get hit by a cross wind gust during the flare. 95% of what scares non-pilots is normal.




Yea, the crazyass pilot, with tens of thousands of hours doing a SINGLE task is trying to kill you. Never mind that we like to live, and have families to come home to as well as you. Just sit back and let the professionals handle it.
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