I am a brand spanking new PPL and trying to impress the wife. I told her that if the pilots of our next holiday flight were to croak it at the controls in the manner of "Airplane" and all those other disaster movies, then she has no need to worry as I could land the plane without breaking sweat ... So what are the chances of a PPL taking control of a 737 and making a successful landing? Is there any instances of a passenger landing a airliner? Or am I talking through my hat..Walt.
Highly unlikely as I am sure you are aware, a good landing comes from a good approach. Getting an 'airliner' down from 30+000ft with just a PPL and with no prior thought, to make a stabilised approach to a runway would be extremely difficult. If you got it anywhere near a suitable airfield first time out with no input from anyone else I think you would have done incredibly well.
The problems are many, including what speeds/ configurations to fly (which vary with weight), the speed at which you are 'eating up' the ground (meaning you have to think well ahead of the aircraft and not just react to what it has done), situational awareness if the aircraft has EFIS, the possibilty/ probability of having to fly through cloud at some point (do you have any instrument experience?) and the fact that the modern airliner is very automated (assuming the automatics are in when you take control, would you have any idea how to take them out or put inputs into the autopilot?)
Sure, like in the movies they could get the Chief Pilot of said airline to talk you through it on the radio, but it'd be pretty damn tough! Mind you, if you succeeded I'm sure the airline would sponsor you should you want to go commercial! Hope this gives you some idea of what you might face (well, hopefully not actually!)
I still have trouble and I've just finished line training!
I flew a 747 classic sim into Kai Tak in a mile vis 3 days after my first solo. However, a bit of practice on Microsoft Flight Simulator taught me to think ahead of the aircraft. If you didn't know what to expect or were not too familiar with what is presented in front of you when you get in the sim then that might be a problem.
What I know for certain though is that it's blinding fun, give a sim a go!
Speaking from my experience of running commercial simulator visits for several years you pose an interesting question.
Most visits I ran were in the 747-400 simulator with the occasional 757 or 767.
After a thorough basic briefing followed by some general handling it was possible for most to pull off a landing ranging from good to survivable. However this was with me in the RHS handling the throttles, flaps and gear and making the Flight Director give the appropriate instructions and, usually, talking the visitor through the landing manoeuvre, at least for the first couple of landings.
Most found just handling the control column more than enough to cope with!
Interestingly females with no experience usually pulled off the best landings. My personal feelings are that this was because they listened to what they were told and did not let their ego get in the way! Experienced PPLs understood what was required more readily but a majority did not fair much better than someone with no previous experience.
I believe that whatever the visitors background most had an enjoyable time but in answer to the question you pose I doubt that it is possible, anymore than I could land the Space Shuttle despite having 20 years experience on aircraft up to 400 tonnes MTOW.
As an aside Kai Tak on a nice day was very enjoyable to fly into but in poor weather could be very different!
I had a go at it in a 737-700 simulator with my only previous flight experience being 20 minutes in a glider and PC flight sims (well, and most of an AE education ). Not exactly CAVOK but high cloudbase, I did not see the RWY at first when established on the ILS. I'm fairly sure there was a sidewind component as well.
I had the controls thrown at me from the right seat while expecting to be a passenger about when we retracted gear on the take-off. The help I had was a route to the RWY on the ND that I did not follow but which helped me get on the ILS, help with advice on what a good approx speed to aim for would be on the approach, flap setting and gear lowered when I asked for it. I wasn't familiar with EFIS systems then and hadn't managed to get it into the right mode so I flew it on compass, loc and GS indication once I realized that I had no hope at all getting the CAT III HUD to make sense in time.
I manhandled the jet around a pattern of sorts, getting the feel of the controls after overcorrecting wildly at first creating massive PIOs. My altitude control wouldn't have gotten me by even the most tolerant checkride in the world even after that but I remained airborne and got the plane to where I wanted it.
The outcome? I came in hot & high but had plenty of runway in excess of what I needed so I could probably have made it down. However, the fella in the RH seat (who was a trained pilot although not on 737) decided to go for an uncommanded missed approach and slammed the throttles forward and retracted the gear, much to my surprise. At the same time, the "friendly" instructor thought an irrecoverable flameout on #1 would make it more interesting. As I'd taken my feet off the pedals since I did more harm than good trying to use them this caught me somewhat off guard. By the time I realized what was happening and had my feet back where they should be we were at 200', gear up off to the left of the RWY in a 90 degree bank getting steeper and with the nose low. You do forget that it is a simulator and it was very uncomfortable indeed to see the world go black.
My conclusion? Yes, a PPL COULD land an airliner. With a bit of luck. And you better hope that nothing else goes wrong. I just hope that I'm not on the airliner when it is tested as I think the odds are kinda bad.
I get the feeling that all you "proper" pilots are just pretending it is difficult to fly an airliner to justify your HUGE salaries, wobbly hats and pouting flight attendants. Just Kidding, Think I will have a go on a simulator just to see how difficult it really is and then I will take my hat off to all you pilots out there. (If I wore a hat) Walt,,
Just like to put my two pennorth in. I have PPL, With a few hours on it. During a demonstration tour with a BAeRJ. I took of and landed the A/C without much of a problem. I had a company test pilot in the left seat and a training captain in the jump seat, but other than carrying out the normal pilot not handling procedures I carried it out fairly succesfully. Took loads of concentration, but with the assistance of someone to call out the ck. list managed it ok. Only problem was I braked to hard. But that is feel anyway.
Just like to add. I have been a Licenced engineer for over 30 years. Am fully conversant with all the A/C systems, and know which is the appropiate buttons to press. In addition spent more hours flying on the Flight deck than some of our customer airlines crews. So I suppose I have more familiarity with this particular type than the average PPL.
actually smaller than B73 is propably easy. But when inside a B737 and larger it isnīt so easy. Somebody ( hat something) said no problem. Well my first sim training in a B732 was a hell of alot more difficult than I thought. I had 900 hrs of handflying a 19 seat commuter and thought it would be no prob. If you are 1 deg above or below what is needed for level flight you have + or -1500 fpm. It takes a few hundred hours to be comfortable and few hundred more to be proficient. I donīt believe that a ppl will land an airliner safely.. or at all.
If the PPL had instruction from somewhere (lets say the flight crew were paralysed from the neck down), wouldn't it be possible for them to drive the autopilot and carry out an auto land (provided it is fitted of course)?
Having never flown anything bigger than bug smashers, I admittedly have no idea of what is involved with entering data into the autopilot of something big. I understand programming the FMS can be tricky and /or time consuming, but how difficult is it to enter HDG/NAV/ALT/APP hold data into the autopilot?
I have a feeling KLM investigated this and found most ordinary people could land an airliner. I don't know the details but I assume that meant they could take instructions from the ground to configure the computers to do the approach and landing. As long as someone knows how to press the transmit button, you're safe.
I wouldn't worry anyway as I cannot recall a double pilot failure, and many flights have more pilots on them than you can shake a joystick at. The chances of you making it into the driving seat is zilch.
I sat in a restaurant the other day and had to listen to the tw*t on the table behind me telling all and sundry in a loud voice that he could do an airline pilots job with no training because he was 1: a teacher and 2: could fly MS2000.He further added that no mere pilot could teach a class full of 16 yr olds.
After half an hour of this plus further misinformed comments "A non precision ILS" and "all 4 engines on the 777" I turned round and quietly informed him that he was talking complete bollo**s and was making a fool of himself. Hearty bellowing laughter and what did I know was I a pilot or something?.Yes said I. Silence. Filthy look from teachers Guardian reading wife.Much tittering from other tables.
Everyone thinks they can do it until they actually have to do it at night into JFK or HKG or Corfu. MS2000 not withstanding.Its not the same. An A320 is not a C152, and the ability to land a simulator with an experienced TRI sitting next to you does not an instant airline captain make , in my opinion of course, and hey what do I know? am I a pilot or something?
Yes the scenario you construct would be possible, relatively easy in fact. The proviso being that the ILS ground station is of the required standard for an autoland (many are not) and the weather is within autoland limits (ie relatively light winds). however if the person giving the instructions was talking to the hapless soul via the radio that is a different ball game! Have you ever played that game where you have a simple object drawn on paper in front of you and you have to instruct somebody to draw it without seeing it?
Anybody tried sorting a friends computer problem over the telephone?
It would be interesting to try instructing somebody in a simulator over the radio from outside the simulator.
I am afraid I disagree with your analysis, see last paragraph above.
I don't think anybody is claiming that pilots are above mere mortals but what I generally explain to people is the volume of knowledge and ability takes many years of training, practice and experience. No one area in isolation is particularly difficult in benign weather with a fully serviceable aeroplane. Throw in weather or mechanical problems and it is a different ball game.
This is one of those highly entertaining but actually quite pointless threads!
Hmmmmm..........Obviously weather and if its night would severely lessen chances. Given reasonable day weather a ppl without radio assitance, I guestimate, would have a very slim chance. Same conditions, with radio guidance would have low but not too bad chances of not dying but would probably damage the plane or something else or both if they did pull off a landing.
What do you think about someone on a trial lesson having their instructor die on them? I think its unlikely theyd die, especially with radio assistance.
So can I land an airliner or what???? After all I can make a reasonable approach and landing in my Tomahawk so a 747 shouldn't be too difficult, they may have a few more switches but I heared that most of them are fake to impress the visitors. Walt,, P.S. Sorry to impose myself with this "pointless thread" when I could have asked if I was too old at 32 for a job with Easyjet.