We will be cursing at 30,000 feet.

“It is ALREADY possible to remotely control an airliner, but it hasn’t been done because of safety issues. And of course, passengers feel safer having a living human being in the cockpit (or so I like to think :))”

You’ll get no argument from me on that, my friend. Give me a nice analog pilot any time.
Not only for safety reasons, but because it’s someones livelihood.
BTW; which is more difficult, take-off or landing.

  • Many modern jet aircraft have auto-land capability, and will land themselves without any intervention from the pilot.

  • A commercial jet (707, I think) was crashed intentionally years ago to test a new type of fuel with an additive to prevent it from becoming an aerosol under impact (to reduce risk of fire). To do the test, the airplane had to be flown completely under remote control to the touchdown spot.

  • Non-pilots have landed light aircraft many times. The last occurance I read about was last year, when the wife of a pilot landed the airplane after her husband died of a heart attack in flight.

  • If you decide get a pilot’s license, there’s a good possibility that you will land the airplane yourself the first time you ever go up with an instructor. He or she will simply talk you through the procedure. It’s simply not that hard unless there is a heavy crosswind and/or the runway is very small.

Thanks, Mangeorge!

It is harder to land than to take off. Takes more skill. But it’s more fun! :slight_smile:

And, Dhanson: There has to be just a “little” intervention from the pilot, believe me. Just read my previous post.
And yes, as a student pilot you could “land” the aircraft since the very first time, after being properly instructed for a certain amount of time. But the instructor is not only “talking” you into it, he/she is actually performing the maneuver while you keep your hands and feet on the wheel and the pedals, getting used to the “feel” of it.

The first few flight lessons are devoted to practice certain maneuvers on the air. Usually the instructor performs all take offs and landings for the first couple of times you go into the air.

BTW, could you help me to find info on that experimental crash you mention? I’d be very interested to learn more about it.

Oh, and yes, landing is NOT that hard. But I wouldn’t let you land MY airplane until you had accumulated a good few thousand hours of jet time. Not even in a long runway under calmed winds.


Actually, E1skeptic you have seen the crash a number of times. It’s the famous passanger plane slamming into the ground and blowing up film that gets shown in comedy films while the hero is flying on a passanger plane. The reality of the crash is as follows; The Govt wanted to test a new anti-misting agent to be added to commercial airline fuels (JP6? I can’t recall which is used.) For the final test it was decided to purposefully crash a plane and see if it caught fire, or if the anti-misting agent worked. In order to make sure that the fuel tanks rutptured, the testers placed steel rods spaced evenly along the ‘landing’ zone, these rods would rip into the wings and open the tanks. The problem was that the planes approach was off by a bit, and one of the rods cut into the planes engine, which promptly exploded, which caused the chain reaction of the entire plane going up. A fairly embarrassing accident in the test.

Note to people not familiar with jet fuel, it has a pretty high ignition point unless heavily mixed with air, ie. in a Mist. Old trick played on newbies learning aircraft, drop a lit match in a bucket of said fuel, match goes out, nothing else.

I believe that the F-18 can be landed remotely from the ground in an emergency, I know that when it takes off, the computer handles most of the controls for the first few seconds after the cat-shot. (ie, has the plane angle correctly, begin the outturn at the right point, ect.) I’ll ask my brother next time I call him, he is an S-3B Viking pilot, and is in training for LSO duties, so he should know.

>>while contemplating the navel of the universe, I wondered, is it an innie or outie?<<

—The dragon observes

Thanks for the info, Narile! I have seen that crash several times and always wondered about it. It just look too realistic. Now I know why.

BTW, the most common jet fuels for commercial carriers are JP1 and JP5.

See ya’.

ACtually, I just thought of two planes that are landed without any human intervention, Predator and Dark Star, both are very autonomous, and can land without any intervention on the part of human control, save the need to tell them where to land and which runway to use.

>>while contemplating the navel of the universe, I wondered, is it an innie or outie?<<

—The dragon observes

Actually, the flight instructor will often just talk you through the landing, letting you move the controls while he holds his hands lightly on the yoke in case you screw up.

And yeah, there are a number of steps to follow to set up the auto-land, but it’s mainly just a checklist, and not a ‘skill’ that requires timing, practice, etc.

What kind of jet do you fly? Does 400 hours in high performance piston planes count? Please? I promise I won’t bend it too badly.

Yes, the flight instructor will just talk you through the landing after the first few flights. At least that’s the way it happened when I was a studen pilot.
And you have to remember that in that case, he’s onboard with the student. He sees and feels what is going on. Not the same thing as remotely “coaching” a landing.

Regarding the “skills” needed to perform an autoland you are basically right. But the “hero” in our movie would have to acquire a certain knowledge of the levers, switches, and onboard computers, and how to operate them. I call that: “skill”.

And I fly just a simple, automated, anyone-can-fly, Airbus A320. And as long as you don’t want to try a loop (“real” or “semi-real”), I might let you try a few maneuvers. In the simulator. :slight_smile:


Hey, how different can an airbus be from my Grumman? Let’s see… If you want to go up, pull up. If you want to go down, keep pulling up. Did I get it right? (-:

I have seen the footage of the A320 in Airbus house livery crashing into the forest after takeoff. Although it’s hard to tell the IAS of an aircraft solely by a video, the aircraft didn’t appear to be stalling and it makes the footage all the more haunting, a controlled flight into terrain at 40 ft. The pilot didn’t seem to pull up franticly. Speaking of crashes, did they ever decide that the Silk Air 737-400 was a result of suicide? Aviation Week and Space Tech reported that the CVR was manually shut off before the CDR recorded anything amiss in the aircraft and the pilot filled out several of those flight life insurance things in the terminal. The pilot was in the middle of a divorce and Silk Air was threatening cutbacks of its pilot staff because of the Asian financial disaster.