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Old 28th May 2021, 06:31
  #20 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Reading, UK
Posts: 12,976
Thanks for that clarification.

Some milestones quoted from a PPRuNe post about ten years ago:

Caravelle 01 made the first automatic landing on 29 September 1962, thus becoming the first jet airliner in the world to accomplish this feat.

Sud Aviation could offer an automatic approach system to its customers with delivery in the second half of 1963—making the Caravelle the first airliner in the world capable of automatic landings in routine commercial service.

25 September 1964: Caravelle became the first commercial aircraft certified for Cat II minima. French certification (followed by other authorities) restricted automation to 50ft above the threshold, followed by a manual touchdown. Auto-flares could not be made in passenger service, although these were permitted on training flights.

3 March 1964, following ten landings at Bedford and Hatfield with a duplex system, Hawker Siddeley could claim that the Trident had made the first fully automatic landings—made by an airliner designed at the outset for his type of operation. On 10 June 1965, BEA made the world’s first auto-flare in passenger service, when a Trident landed at Heathrow from Paris-Le Bourget (in fair weather).

2 March 1967, the SGAC gave approval for Cat IIIA autoland operations with the Caravelle, the first commercial aircraft in the world to achieve that distinction and, thanks partly to its low wing loading and benign flare attitude, the only one ever certificated to that minima with a single-channel autopilot.

(Another carefully worded ‘first title’ came from Pan American, which claimed the first fully automatic landing in all three axis in scheduled passenger service on 27 February 1967, when a Boeing 727 landed at New York-JFK inbound from Montego Bay. The aircraft was equipped with a duplex system and the ILS was Cat I. At the time, the only airport in the USA with a Cat II ILS was Chicago-O’Hare. This event pipped BEA at the post. On 16 May 1967 a Trident made the type’s first auto-touchdown (with a Smiths duplex system) in passenger service, on a Nice–Heathrow flight.)

and, on 9 January 1969, a Caravelle made the world’s first automatic approach and landing by an air transport aircraft in commercial service and in actual Cat IIIA conditions (RVR 200m, ceiling 20m). On the same day, seven other automatic landings under Cat IIIA conditions were made by Air Inter.

(In comparison, BOAC received Cat II approval in 1969 for the VC10 with the Elliott system. BEA introduced full Cat II operation with the Trident in winter 1970/71; the first Cat III ILS equipment was not installed in the UK until 1968. Approval for Cat IIIA (RVR 200m/DH 12ft) was given to the BEA Trident fleet in 1972. With the Trident, BEA did not achieve Cat IIIB until 1975.)
The BEA certificate I posted does indeed used the term "automatic touchdown" rather than "autoland" - AFAIK the claim that BEA were the first to do that with pax has never been disputed.
DaveReidUK is offline