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PPL flying a 747

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PPL flying a 747

Old 18th May 2007, 09:18
  #81 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by falconfreak View Post
I am only posing the question, why the heck should they not be able to?
I don't see any such question in your earlier post.

It's all to do with currency and experience in type. I am sure a PPL could learn to fly a transport jet because you don't need a CPL to get the type rating. In the States there were (haven't looked today) places where for around $10k you would get your 737 TR, including time in the actual jet, and all they wanted was an IR. If you had 1500 hours they would also give you an ATP.

Maybe 10 years ago a 747 type rated first officer in a reputable major airline nearly put a 747 into a hillside outside san francisco. It transpired that his currency was severly lacking because 747 pilots don't actually fly the plane very often. This is not a criticism of the pilot, it is a function of long haul jet travel, and what was understood at the time.

Currency is what matters. If the PPL/CPL/ATP/Astronaut has no currency in type he is going to find it harder to manually fly a plane, and I am going to hit the gin.
slim_slag is offline  
Old 18th May 2007, 15:30
  #82 (permalink)  
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How would you know the automatics are in? If it's still flying when you get on the flight deck, they're in!
There was a Tristar whose crew accidentally switched off autopilot and did not notice - the plane entered a slow descent and eventually flew into a swamp. Can this happen with a 747?
Where's the transmit button? It's on the yolk. But it's not the first button you see, its on the front and the one you see first? Well, - that one's the autopilot disconnect!!!!!! There are up to two others depending on the customers specification, but they won't necessarily be obvious.
So, not all 747-400 cockpits are identical anyway... If you were to try and fly a plane where you are rated and current on the type, but unfamiliar with the airline (as, say, a passenger on industry discount) and neither of the pilots is in condition to give any briefing about airline and frame specifics, can you fly such a plane?
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Old 18th May 2007, 16:29
  #83 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by IO540
What we need is a contribution from a 747 pilot who also flies reasonable private planes (not powered parachutes)
We've had it on page one, trouble is you didn't listen...

Originally Posted by IO540
...A piece of rubbish like that could not have come from a real live training captain; a bar propper more likely...
edit:oops sorry, just seen that Dan Winterland has made much the same point.
p.s. what was the powered parachutes comment about?
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Old 20th May 2007, 10:45
  #84 (permalink)  
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I completely agree with Dan Winterland, there would be no problem talking somebody through an autoland. I don't think that any PPL could just sit in a 747, kick out the autopilot and successfully manage to land it unless theyve flown larger things in a previous life (RAF etc). The inertia and the pitch power couple would probably lead to it being over-controlled, completely unstable theyd most likely miss the runway and the speed control would probably be all over the place as their scan is unlikely to be quick enough in an unfamiliar aircraft.

Secondly if you were in an unfamiliar place would you know ILS frequencies or have any idea where you are and which airfields are suitable? What about high terrain? I think you'd need to establish comms in order to get some idea of which way to go.

Now cabin crew can access the cockpit in an emergency without the need for a crash axe, and the chances are they would have been showed how to select 121.5 on the radio and make a call. With a type rated pilot talking to the cabin crew member I feel certain that the aircraft could be configured for an autoland as Dan has shown. Personally Id just get them to use heading select and level change to get them to the platform altitude on a very very long final, then tune the NAV boxes, put in the VREF (or just grab some figures from the QRH and forget the FMC), configure the aircraft for an autoland and once on the ground get them to shut down the engines.

If you had a flight simmer who has spent sufficient time with PMDG 747 or PS1.3 then they would have very little difficulty setting up the aircraft for an autoland once the cabin crew had got them into the cockpit and got the communications established. It would probably be easier to talk someone down who knew their way around FMC, MCP, ND and PFD rather than trying to get the information out of cabin crew who wouldnt know where to look. I speak from experience on the subject of flight simmers as I used PMDG's 737 prior to getting type rated on the NG and it taught me my way around the FMC, MCP, ND enough to do an autoland, similarly I'd used PSS's A320 add-on prior to doing my MCC in the A320 and I could also set that up for an autoland prior to setting foot in the real sim.

So once Id got my PPL and prior to getting my fATPL I reckon I could have done an autoland on a 737NG, 747-400 and the FBW Airbus family IF somebody had pointed me towards the airfield and giving me the frequencies
Could I have worked out how to use the radio? Probably but there are a lot of buttons on the ACP. I think if Id of disengaged the autopilot trying to find the PTT I would have known that the way out was to push one of the CMD / AP buttons.
Could I have hand flown them to a successful landing?? Not a chance, Im sure wed have ended up in a burning heap.
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Old 20th May 2007, 19:24
  #85 (permalink)  
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PPl fly's 747 !!!!

Interesting thread.

But in reality is any atc going to let you anywhere near to a runway.....?
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Old 20th May 2007, 19:36
  #86 (permalink)  
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300 PAX on board, someone who MIGHT be able to land it, why would an ATC not let it be attempted, what other options are there?

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Old 20th May 2007, 22:04
  #87 (permalink)  
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Part of my line training was flying a normal line flight which at some point the captain 'dies.' This was an A320. I was type rated with some experience on type and it still was bloody hard work flying single crew (one of the requirements to be signed off before my first route check). Also worth noting that it is a bit different flying with 160pax single crew for real than in the sim. BTW The captain was still monitoring obviously however if he had to say anything you would fail.

I certainly wouldn't fancy flying a jet type I am not rated on single crew - I could probably get away with it on another Airbus but Boeing would be tricky for me I think (only prob 25 hours level D on 73/75 sims). Let us hope this never happens for real.

Certainly a talked-through autoland would be the way to go.

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Old 21st May 2007, 04:02
  #88 (permalink)  
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This fanciful sort of speculation has been going on for years; I remember having a discussion on the possibilities of a passenger landing a Lockheed Lodestar - an aircraft several orders of magnitude simpler than a 747 - and concluding that a satisfactory return to earth would be unlikely.

The "landing" is never fully explained. Is this just a touchdown from short finals or a descent to altitude then further descent to intercept a localiser and all that follows? In any event, it is all academic.

First of all, the PPL has to get into the seat. This may sound silly but whilst the Seven Four is a very large aircraft, its cockpit isn't - at least, not widthwise and operating the mechanics just to get seated would be the first hurdle.

This Walter Mitty-type PPL probably has a few hours in something like a C172 or PA28 and is accustomed to almost instantaneous response from the flight controls. I submit that such a person would be lucky indeed (without the benefit of a few hours practice) to achieve something as straightforward as maintaining height and direction in a 747 where control response is vastly different, particularly in amplitude and timing and I suspect the aircraft is going to get away from our hero who is going to fall behind the curve very quickly.

Even with autopilot, RNAV, VNAV, CAT 111, and all the bells and whistles as well as cockpit assistance from another PPL and ground talk-down he would never manage it. "Speed brakes armed". Speed brake? If you don't agree, just consider height perception for starters. Normally his backside is three or four feet from the ground (when in the cockpit that is!); in the 747 he is on the fourth floor so rounding out for the flair is going to be done at minus fifty feet . . . OK, so someone is feeding him the radio altimeter but he just is not going to do it; something he realises quite early on but he has to stick with it because the only option is a go-around which will get him into even deeper trouble as he has to undo most of which he has just done and in pretty short order. And then there's turbine engine management . . . And if it's a glass cockpit . . . need I go on?

But it's still good Boys' Own stuff!
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Old 21st May 2007, 04:42
  #89 (permalink)  
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The Lodestar is a very different sort of aircraft. Third generation jets with glass cockpits and full automatics are very easy to fly. That's why the automatics are there - to make them easier.

And there's no need for any explanation. if the PPL (or flight attendant, or passenger) has pressed the right buttons to get it on the centreline and then armed the approach, it will fly the ILS. They don't need to know anything about how or why it has done it.

Arming the speedbrake? "See that large lever with Speedbrake written on it next to your right knee? Yes? Good! Well, pull it up and move it back until it's in line with the ARM marking. See that knob marked Autobrake about 18 inches behind the Speedbrake lever. Good! Turn it to the number three setting".

And with CAT3, there's no need to flare. It defaults to CAT3 - you actually have to intervene to stop it landing itself. It will autoland, and probably do a better job than if the crew were still conscious. And if you don't flare it? No matter. It just takes a long time to re-stow 450 oxygen masks!
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Old 21st May 2007, 05:08
  #90 (permalink)  

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I was a training captain for many years in Big Airways in the days when it was possible to let friends and the public have a go at flying a B747 or B777 simulator. Private pilot or microsoft expert or not, even with a talk down, none succeeded in getting the aircraft anywhere near a survivable landing on a runway despite several attempts. A PPL might get the B747 into the semblance of a flare, but the landing would either be dangerously fast or slow, the flare too high or too late and almost certainly into the scenery rather than on the runway. The chances are about 1 in a 100 of getting it right. You would be sensationally lucky if you did. At best you could prevent an uncontrolled descent from altitude and you might enable a few people to survive the controlled crash.
As a training captain on the classic I have seen some screwed up attempts by ATP pilots to land the plane as well.

It is not a difficult bird to fly, it just takes some practice.

As for the topic of this thread: Back in January I was in the B-747-200 simulator in MIA flying the right seat.
In the left seat we put a PPL with about 400 hours of Cessna time.
He was to do a take-off, a few steep turns, some other airborne maneuvers, then come back and land, all night and VMC.

Don't remember if the chap had an instrument rating or not.
At any rate, he was able to do most of the maneuvering somewhat within some limits, but it took non-stop talking on my part.
What surprised him was the stick forces when out of trim and the constant need for trimming the stab.

He was able to do a radar vectored approach to final, then some sort of a landing when talked to all the way down.

If he was on his own, it would perhaps have lasted 2 to 4 minuttes before over-controlling with total loss of control and structural failure.

He was not a bad pilot, even Chuck Yeager would have screwed the pooch in that scenario..Too much to learn in too little time.
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Old 21st May 2007, 08:40
  #91 (permalink)  
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Right thats it then - I am happy to pay for the sim and have a go at it if somebody who can fly a 747 wants to talk me through it! Lets go otherwise we will be at this for ever!
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Old 21st May 2007, 10:29
  #92 (permalink)  
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I'll second that if you want to go halves, but then I have about 1000 hours MSFS time on the 767 and the 320!

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Old 21st May 2007, 10:42
  #93 (permalink)  
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...only if you agree for a hit man to stand behind you with a silenced pistol. Screw up and you're dead. Need to make it realistic, don't we
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Old 21st May 2007, 10:43
  #94 (permalink)  
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Sounds like your volunteering FL!

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Old 21st May 2007, 11:09
  #95 (permalink)  
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I did a human factors experiment last year in the 747 sim and managed to land it 5/5 approaches. The Instrument apps were much easier than the VFR ones for some reason. Trim was a nightmare. But I did bring it down on the runway without problem or a crash!

To be fair my co-pilot pooched all of his up, flared to low or just missed the runway. I had about 2000hrs at the time and he had about 200.

I realise the type rated sky gods want us to believe that only superhumans can fly an airliner. Not detracting from the fact to operate one working at public transports standards is no mean feat but it is still just an aircraft....
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Old 21st May 2007, 11:16
  #96 (permalink)  
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Aaah, I'll stick to the PA-38 for the time being, thanks.
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Old 21st May 2007, 12:05
  #97 (permalink)  
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Dan Winterland - you are, of course, quite correct. Given sufficient time/fuel, anyone capable of identifying/pushing a button/pulling a lever could get the a/c on the ground in absolute safety. The reference to the Lodestar was just me giving my age away; this scenario has been discussed for as long as I can remember.

My observations stemmed from the original thread which asked "Could a PPL fly a 747?". I took that to mean "could he hand-fly the machine?" In my view the answer has to be an emphatic "no". As I mentioned in the earlier post, just basic flight control probably will be beyond him. An input will not provide the response expected from his light aircraft background so a bit more is applied. Still not much response so give it a bit more; now things start to happen but seemingly too slowly. Begin to take off the bank but, again, not much happens. Give it quite a bit more because we have passed the heading and are rolling too far to the left. We need more opposite control still and so we are on the way to Tower Dog's over-control regime. Easily done. Remember chasing the instruments when learning recovery from unusual attitudes?
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Old 21st May 2007, 13:04
  #98 (permalink)  
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This always seems to get people exited...

My view is that "It depends on the PPL". Boeing / Airbus drivers are not Gods - they have, however, a great deal of instruction and experience that your average PPL does not have.

On the other hand I would not bet on the majority of ATPLs being able to land a Tiger Moth, or even my glider, without breaking the aeroplane and, likely, themselves.

"Horses for Courses" as the saying goes


P.S. When I added an airline captain to my glider insurance a couple of years ago my broker suggested we just include his gliding time - apparently mentioning that the airline bit would, probably, increase the premium.
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Old 21st May 2007, 16:19
  #99 (permalink)  
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I think we are reaching a conclusion. The original question was answered, but the inevitable thread creep got round to the 'Airport 77' scenario of could Karen Black have landed the thing had the guy not got in the cockpit via the helicopter?

I think we're agreed that if the guy (or gal) in the seat pushed buttons on command from someone they have raised on the radio, then yes they could probably do it. But if someone with a bit of flying experience wanted to have a go at being the hero, the outcome would probably be different.

I'll take you up on your bet Open Cirrus! Mind you, I do have over a thousand taildragger hours (mostly De Havilland) and over 600 gliding hours. And I've flown an Open Cirrus. Lovely Machine!
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Old 21st May 2007, 18:58
  #100 (permalink)  
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After having read the article in Pilot Magazine I phoned up Virtual Aviation to ask their opinion on whether a PPL could land a 747-400 without help and they said that he might have a chance. Considering how realistic (so much so that real FMC manuals can be used to programme the simulations) the latest FSX add-ons from PMDG and Level D are I think that actually a PPL might be able to.
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