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allardjd

They Say We Probably Couldn't...

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-5937033/Could-NON-PILOT-land-airliner-Flight-crew-reveal-answer.html

 

Yeah, I know - it's the Daily Mail, so needs to be taken with a grain 50 Kg bag of salt, but...

 

Speaking for myself, with a lot of simulator experience and a low-time Private Pilot ticket, I think I'd stand a fairly good chance in reasonably decent WX, even from altitude.   Hard IMC conditions, heavy turbulence, strong crosswinds, etc. at the destination would seriously hamper my chances, I think, probably to the point of being vanishingly small.   That aside, and with an intact AC not suffering from any damage, lost engines, etc. I think I might be able to pull it off.

 

My preference would be to disengage the AP and hand fly with vectors from ATC to a big, wide, near-sea level runway with little crosswind component.  I'd need advice on approach speeds, without a doubt and some coaching on spoilers and thrust reversers at touchdown. 

 

My biggest in-flight worry would be pressurization controls which I'm completely unfamiliar with and I'm reasonably sure they would need to be dealt with on the way down.

 

It's not something I'd ever wish to happen, but if my sorry arse is the best available choice in the cabin when the need arises, giving it a try is better than any alternatives I can think of.  A positive attitude about it might help too.  If you think you can, maybe you can.  If you think you can't, you're probably doomed.

 

Worst case, of course, would be two flight simmers in the cabin, arguing about who should get the left seat.

 

John

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I think those that are hard core airline simmers would have a pretty good chance, I fly more GA but I at least know where all the bits and pieces are on the tube liners. ATC might not know how to help but they certainly know who to call to jump in to help talk someone down. I don't think any plane Captain would want to admit that a flight simmer could do it but they make some pretty good study aircraft lately and as you said John it would be better to try to land it than the alternative, even if you broke the undercarriage.

 

I only read the article fast but not sure why he said that the planes don't carry enough fuel when we all know they carry enough for holds, go-around and alternates plus the required safety margin. I'm not that schooled on fuel planning and I know airlines are cost conscious but they still have to fall within safety guidelines. 

 

That said, if it ever did happen when I was on a plane I would consider myself very very lucky if Jess-b just happed to be flying with me. :D 

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18 minutes ago, brett said:

if it ever did happen when I was on a plane I would consider myself very very lucky if Jess-b just happed to be flying with me. 

 

+1 on that!!!

 

John

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This question surfaces now and again. Personally, I would have no chance in an airliner, l think I could manage the MCP ok and make turns having flown a 738 simulator with a RW trainer, but not the CDU as I am a GA preferer too.

 

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For me, attempting to use the automation would probably be a mistake.  My plan would be, a) leave AP engaged for the moment, b) ask the cabin for a second set of eyes/hands in the other seat to assist c) set the transponder to 7700, d) get someone on a radio - on 121.5 if necessary, e) declare emergency and request vectors to a survivable destination airport, f) disengage AP and hand fly per vectors.

 

I think I could fly a heading, maintain an altitude, maintain a directed airspeed, make a gentle descent and/or easy turns, get the gear and flaps out when needed - not to ATP criteria or anything close to it, but probably well enough to not lose control.  Trying to enter or edit data into anything more complicated than a radio or a transponder would be a disaster.  

 

I understand yoke, trim, throttles, rudder pedals, gear and flap switches, wheel brakes and other basic stuff.  I know that "Attitude is Airspeed - Power is Altitude" doesn't work in heavy aircraft. 

 

Fooling around with the keypads and blinking lights is almost sure to lead (for me) to unintended consequences. 

 

I can follow directions when someone knowledgeable is eventually on the other end of the radio (not the controller - a qualified pilot), but that won't happen for a while.  

 

The old saw Aviate - Navigate - Communicate might need the second two switched around because navigating would become a matter of receiving vectors and that requires communications.  #1 is still #1 - keep it flying, avoid a stall or overspeed, keep the shiny side up.  Pressurization controls would worry me and I'd want expert advice on that before starting a descent.

 

If nothing important is broken on the airplane (yet) and the WX is not too bad, I'd give myself a better than 50% chance.  If it's the only game in town, I'll play.

 

John

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I agree that I'd be a better chance than a non anything pilot if it came to it...assuming that the only issue is inoperative pilots and not basic equipment/mechanicals. I also like to dabble in a bit of everything simwise and am roughly familiar with heavy approach speeds and handling. I'm certain with my RL arse in the seat I'd be highly motivated as well. I too would have to limit myself to basic AP heading and altitude settings and resort to hand flying the approach and landing...and trust the PADI lights are working...they are my "GoTo" guide for everything.

+2 to preferring to assist JessB with workload from right seat of an Airbus. :D 

 

 

Edited by Captain Coffee
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