The Great Ongoing General Aviation Thread

This is not General Aviation, but…

Navy helicopter rotor hit flight deck in incident that killed five sailors (

The article cites the Navy Safety Center document:

• 31 Aug 2021 (IVO San Diego, CA) MH-60S touched down onboard CVN-72. Experienced side-to-side vibrations causing main rotor to strike flight deck. A/C fell over side. 1 x recovered, 5 x missing

Sounds like ground resonance to me. I don’t recall hearing what the sea conditions were, but I don’t think they would have been too heavy this time of year in San Diego. Maybe there was another reason for (presumably) hitting the deck hard on one wheel?

One of the actual pilots here can explain in more detail, but from what I understand “autoland” isn’t actually as simple as the name would imply. A layperson hears that word and envisions the pilot pressing a button and then just sitting there while the plane lands itself. In reality, setting up an “automatic” landing is a lot of work in its own right.

Yes, it’s true that jetliners are certified for automatic landings — called “autolands” in pilot-speak. But in practice they are rare. Fewer than one percent of landings are performed automatically, and the fine print of setting up and managing one of these landings is something I could spend pages trying to explain. If it were as easy as pressing a button, I wouldn’t need to practice them every year in the simulator or review those highlighted tabs in my manuals. In a lot of respects, automatic landings are more work-intensive than those performed by hand.

(Bolding mine)

Autoland really exists in some private planes today.

I see no reason why a commercial jet could not do the same. Perhaps they feel since there are two pilots why pay for expensive automation? I dunno.

But it exists, and it works, and it is literally the push of one button to make happen:

(that is one example…numerous planes have this system now…but it is not cheap)

Yes, you are both correct. There is autoland in airliners that has been in use since the 1960s and then there are emergency autoland systems that are more geared towards single pilot aircraft so that the aircraft can be landed by a passenger if the pilot becomes incapacitated. Airline autoland systems are designed for landing in fog / low visibility and require significant participation from the crew.

In general I think the whole pilotless aircraft thing has a similar problem to driverless cars. 99% of the technology is there but it may take a long long time to overcome the final hurdles. Single pilot airliners is easy from a technical standpoint, but there are still other issues to deal with around mentioned before such as adequate rest for the single pilot, protecting against rogue pilot events, and providing adequate support for the single pilot in the event of malfunctions.

I don’t even know why you would use it in a small plane. Between instrument approaches and WAAS GPS you can take it down the center line +/- a few feet.

The auto land discussed above is a button the passenger can push if the pilot has a heart attack or something.

Other than that, it could be useful in a small plane for zero visibility landings, ie fog, but that’s not approved at present AFAIK.

I looked up a video on it. It would be the same as auto drive in a car only with a 3rd dimension added plus more variables such as weather and higher speeds.

No warm and fuzzies for me but if you’re a passenger without a clue then it’s considerably better than nothing.

Mythbusters tackled it, of course: Could a passenger land a commercial aircraft?

“Buckle up, Snookums!”

Hi, my name is Siegfried Fischbacher and I’d like to charter a plane for me and my cat.

While old news this may be of interest to people here. I am a fan of Frontline TV shows:

  • Boeing’s Fatal Flaw (full documentary) | FRONTLINE

I watched it 3 times but didn’t get a chance to record it. I only saw 1 statement that I’d call inaccurate. They said the MCAS was a safety feature. I’m not sure that’s an accurate statement. true it pushes the nose over if the climb out is too steep. It’s purpose was to mimic the flight characteristics of earlier models so that no additional training was required.

It’s a good documentary to watch.