one of the key things about flying is to be ahead of the game...think ahead and accomplish things which will make your flight safer and avoid problems.
it sounds like you aren't thinking ahead...until you posted your question.
IF your plane, the airfield and crew are all certified for CAt 2 or 3 autoland and the wx is right at Cat ONE mins...you have a choice...and you should make it about 15 minutes before you are at the outer marker.
IF the airfield' s wx is above cat one mins and suddenly goes to mins or below, you can't suddenly go back in time and brief your approach.
you should be sharp enough to hand fly the plane and do a great ILS approach. In the simulator, we trained hand flying to 100'DH instead of 200'. We NEVER actually flew in real conditions to 100' dh hand flying...that's breaking the rules.
So, if things get tough at DH you should know what you are going to do by shear pilot instinct (learned after many years).
The magic of the simulator does not really do justice to the critical moment of TRANSITIONING TO VISUAL at DH. I wrote an article about it and its somewhere on the forum here...maybe in the private pilot area. I put it there to help out private pilots.
That splash of rain, and the inability of the windshield wipers to handle it can be a handful. But a pilot knows that can happen.
I think boeing wipers are above average. I think douglas wipers were better. If you have your wipers on at one speed, brief to the non flying pilot to be ready to switch to high speed upon your command or when he thinks its needed.
How many people brief wiper speed and commands during a flight?
YOu can also brief the use of landing lights...sometimes its better to keep them off at night if the conditions are right at minimums.
Also ask ATC to set the runway lights to YOUR preference. Sometimes using different runway light settings can optimize your chances to get in.
Its alot to know...but either play for keeps or get out of the cockpit.
The choice about whether to use an autoland system in adverse weather, particularly related to winds, and shear, depends on the aircraft type, installed AFDS, the mode to be used (e.g., LAND 2 versus LAND 3, Dual or Triple Channel, etc) and the relevant AFM provisions.
It is absolutely not true that autoland is intended "only for use in fog conditions".
APs ranging back to the PB100 or FCS-110, and even before as with the SP50 (e.g., Mod Block IV) had reasonably good capability in winds and turbulence. Whereas modern autopilots have terrific robust capability (e.g., B777, B737NG, B757/767, B744 and B748) in winds, shears, and turbulence. I've done successful and reliable A/L flight testing (and also many authority certifications), as well as operational use, with good resulting A/L performance in modern transport jets, in winds, shears, and turbulence conditions that otherwise would water the eyes of a pilot even attempting to land manually in those conditions, even if in CAVOK. The rule of thumb is fly within bounds of the approved AFM, and within any applicable operator specified policy constraints, ...and A/L will provide safe and reliable service, particularly in modern civil transport jets.
Thank you Tom. Airbus does talk about Autolanding in cross winds as a part of limitations, but no where RECOMMENDS autoland in heavy rain (other than a presentation). Many times pilots just keep going around (and around) because the rain at some point becomes heavy enough to suddenly reduce the clarity of runway lighting (rain is not like a bathroom shower that remains steady) for a GOOD landing, though the reported visibility or RVR maybe even Cat 1 conditions. Autolanding in Cat 1 is permitted everywhere (I hope so) provided the pilot is aware that the ILS beams are not protected as for a Cat II or Cat III approach. My intention of starting the thread was that pilots may become aware that Autoland is NOT limited to FOG related weather only and can be used in case of visibility dropping because of rain - of course when you have briefed for it. A lot of pilots do think that auto land is only permitted in fog related weather deterioration. In Airbus, FMA reads Cat III Dual (Fail Operational) when both AP are engaged and Cat III Single (Fail Passive) with a single AP (for others on the forum). Thank you everyone for your excellent participation and making me wiser and a more aware pilot.
This comment reflects another case where you need to read the specific AFM and airline policy, to be sure that one understands the true restrictions and constraints which apply. For some (many?) authorities globally, the AFM 25 knot crosswind provision has the caveat added... "WHEN LANDING WEATHER MINIMA ARE PREDICATED ON THE A/L SYSTEMS USE". This means that for those aircraft with this particular (e.g., FAA) AFM wording, and airline policy sanction, that even when in rainy and very windy conditions, albeit with visual reference, the AL system can still be safely and beneficially used to higher wind values. I and many others have used this provision safely and beneficially many times. Various airlines globally do so too, to great advantage, for both safety reasons, and for their flight crews benefit for workload relief. It is particularly useful when a pilot is tired, and would rather monitor the big picture, rather than have to "hand fly", especially after flying those "all nighters and red-eyes" eastbound, and then face a "bad weather" landing. Modern jet transport APs are vastly more capable than then their predecessors, even more than indicated by the very conservative constraints placed on them by some authorities for taking "credit" for "approval of Cat III minima". As but one example, with aircraft with the appropriate AFM wording, I've safely, legally, and beneficially used many of the new APs in gusting crosswind components well in excess of 30 kts, and they perform most admirably.
Location: In some hotel downroute or in some hotel doing union negotiations.
If one is so tired that he cannot do a manual landing he should make sure that the CAT III sensitive areas are protected, otherwise the outcome could be something along the lines of the singapore airlines incident in MUC with their 773. in rather benign conditions, 7 to 8 kts roughly along the runway.
Over here we may not use the autoland system beyond its limits except in an emergency, and the wind limits do include all gusts. However, the 737 is a very easy plane to land manually in 40 kts crosswinds anyway, so there is no need for autoland.
Sadly GLS isn't yet certified for lower than CAT I operations, but we did quite a few CAT IIIb trials at EDVE and it works like a charm, actually better than the ILS and without the need for protected areas. But the number of installations is still very low and many airports do not see why they should invest in it if they still have to maintain their ILS anyway for those old fashioned aircraft without GLS capability.
There is of course a difference between the visual references required to continue an approach beyond DA/DH ( which,without getting too specific ,is just about anything that confirms that the aircraft is on the correct trajectory towards the landing zone as opposed to the perimeter road.You don' t necessarily need to see the runway) and the visual references required or desirable to conduct a manual landing. A cat 1 approach to minimums in 550 metres vis could have you legally continue towards the runway with only approach lights or other approved references visible. Given that the usual visual reference for a good manual landing is the far end of the runway,which in 550 metres vis is way out of sight,most pilots are now entering the twighlight zone of there handling experience. My mob forbids autoland out with protected LVP conditions but the airplane makes a lovely job of flying to the touchdown zone and entering the flare at the correct rate. Keep your thumb on the disconnect and either chuck it away or correct if something strange happens. Disconnect in the flare , keep it straight and proceed to the bar for a cold one- job done!
Last edited by HOMER SIMPSONS LOVECHILD; 28th Oct 2012 at 09:52.