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Would you be able to land an Airliner in an emergency ?

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Hi All I started this topic on another FS 2002 forum ( im sorry if some of you are from that forum ) and it became quite a good topic , so here goes ...... Imagine this , you are on a flight some were when disaster strikes and both pilots have been badly hurt and are unable to fly the A/C , would you have the nerve to take over and get it down ? Richard Keen

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I'd have no problem taking over....I'd go to the cockpit, get on the intercom, and say:"This is the Captain speaking. Are there any children who want a cockpit tour?"My reasoning is simple. I have a two year old daughter. Already, she knows how to paint on the screen with the mouse, exit programs, and launch her favorite programs by clicking on icons. With a learning curve like that, any child would stand a better chance than I can with only FS to guide me on cockpit drill...

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I've thought the very same thing MANY MANY MANY times, even my friends have asked me the same question........and without a doubt YES!

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Well; if there wasn't any cessna drivers on board, with the help of a well qualified X-Plane fanatic in the right seat, and a very good pilot on the radio on the other end; the three of us could keep it in the air and just might get it somewhere in the vacinity of the airport. As far as landing it; some of us would live and some of us probably wouldn't live. I guarantee she'd come down right side up for sure!!! She'd just likely need a whole lot of body work afterwards. Don't kid yourself. Flying these simulations on a PC isn't even close to the real thing. But at least you'd have an advantage and know what some of the instruments are for and what the pedals are for and how to keep it straight and level.I was driving back to my home state last year. After about ten hours behind the wheel, a car in front of me braked hard. I braked hard and pulled back on the steering wheel. Scary!!!!!!!!!

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I would have no problem at all. Thanks,Andrei Malishkin-=AM=-

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Back in 1984, I had obtained 10 hours in a C-172 but quit because the money ran out, so I never finished my licence. If I were in a situation where the pilot of a C-172 lost consciousness, I have no doubt that with my 10 hours of C-172 experience and my 100s of hours of flight simulation experience that I could land the plane safely under most decent weather conditions. I might be scared and all of that, but with a clear head, I could do it, or so I believe.As far a jet airliner:I'll be very honest with you. I recently boarded an MD-88 in Atlanta on route to Washington National. Something or another happened in the airplane to either a passenger or something while I was in line and I stood right at the doorway to the cockpit which was open and in full view. I stood there for what was at least 10 to 15 minutes, or it seemed. It was very warm and uncomfortable with the door open and you are just standing there. Because there were people in front of me who were stuck and people behind me who trying to get on because of the heat in the doorway, I got caught in the little section there right at the cockpit door. I was closer to the cockpit than even the stewardess. I remember thinking to myself that although I am could probably land a C-172, and am very familiar with FS2002 and its ins and outs and can land the 767 Pilot In Command almost anywhere under most emergency conditions bla, bla, bla... that what was in front of my face (cockpit of an MD88) was for real. I could smell the inside of this thing which had that distinct old steelly smell. I remember looking at the gauges and how they seemed to pop out (as they would in real life) and how much larger they seemed and how it must be tough sitting where the pilot was sitting to being able to see the runway because the panel seemed so high up to where the pilot was sitting and all of that. The flight computer was blinking and there seemed to be a lot more in there that you would expect just being a computer pilot. I then remember thinking to myself that flying a real jet is not PACMAN and that there is no way in hell I could do it. It is one thing being at home, all comfortable and in front of your computer and quite another being in a real life situation with real people, a real airplane, and all of that. Had I not had that simple small experience, I might have thought to myself that I might could, but now, I really doubt it... and am being 100 percent honest.

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> would you have the nerve to take over and get it down ? Yes, barring any alternatives I would have the nerve to take over but, getting it down - now that's another story. If the autopilot works anything like the PSS 777 I think I might have a chance but who knows.

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As Clint Eastwood says in Magnum Force 'A man's got to know his limitations.'This topic pops up every few months.IMHO, I don't think playing flight simulator on a computer, as much fun as we all have doing it, in any way qualifies us to land an airplane in a disaster.I think the biggest obstacle would be an individual handling the stress that real danger (i.e., you screw up you will die) that would be involved. Someone would have to supress the anxiety, andrenaline and fear to try to do something very complicated that they've never done in real life.It's not like sitting in motion simulator where everything is a controlled environment. It's definately not like sitting in a chair in front of computer playing a computer game.Every good pilot knows the key to being a successful pilot is knowing your limitations. Most of my flight time was in a Cherokee. I knew that plane like the back of my hand. The first time I made flew a complex Piper Arrow, it seemed like the world had sped up 50%. And that just gaining 40hp and retractable gear. Flying a turbine plane, with no real seat time, is totally out of my league.Pilot's aren't paid a lot of money because flying is difficult. They are paid to handle the unexpected. The train their butts off to be able to think clearly through the stress of an emergency to solve the problem. Having the fantasy that a $70 computer game would give you a high enough comfort level to think clearly in the stress of an emergency is unrealistic.That being said, I think a lot of us could impress a lot of pilots with our knowledge of an airliner cockpit. I think many of us would do much better than expected in a full motion simulator. I just don't think that FS2002 prepares you to handle a real life emergency airliner landing.My 2 cents.

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Hello All,This subject just doesn't seem to go away--and rightly so, as I am sure that it still will be a point of discusion until perhaps, flight simulation has gone to the great, software reward in the sky. I can only give you my thoughts on this, as some of you know, I am a 'real-world' pilot who has in excess of 15k hours in all type of aircraft, ranging from B-52D's, 707's (or KC-135's), 727's and a hoard of smaller piston engined twins, turboprop and business jets. Having had a quintuple bypass 4 years ago, my last 'real' flying experience in the left seat was six months before in a friends King Air. Now, true, an aircraft is an aircraft -- however each one has its own little good and bad habits. Hence, one is required to train and be checked out, in each type one flies. Saying this, a highly skilled King Air pilot could perhaps land a 737 without bending the bird too bad, with his knowledge of turbine power, and the general flying skill he has obtained flying a twin. In an emergency, perhaps even a good 172 pilot could do the same. Now, it is very possible that a novice pilot or a avid, by the numbers, flight simmer could do the same . . . but the odds start squaring themselves as the experience in a 'real' cockpit, goes down.Granted, the knowledge of the cockpit basics would be most helpful, I guess you could understand how fast you were flying, and at what rate of desent you were, and perhaps even contact ATC before you became a lawn dart . . .(please, no flames, as this is not blasting our hobby)but the chances of survival of both yourself and the aircraft would highly depend upon your level of skill, calm and control of your bodily functions, 'cool' of head, and willingness to 'listen' to the experienced pilot on the ground which would attempt to talk you through this mess. We won't even add in weather, wind shear, failure of systems on the aircraft, bad habits you have picked-up from simming which DON'T APPLY to real aircaft, (I NOW have a ton of those) or some type of damage which caused the initial incident which made you 'pilot de jur'.I understand that most of us simmers, would like to think we could do this, (and there are some--read that:very few--who could), but the majority of flight simming fans, probably just would extend the life expectancy of the bird and its passengers by a short time before the end came. It would be the same for most of us who like 'driving sims' to jump into Michael S's formula 1 Ferrari and post lap times close enough to just 'stay behind' and keep Michael S in sight. It just isn't likley to happen.A modern jetliner, for all its refinment is a huge job . . .hence two pilots are required, not to mention the endless hours of training . . . forget all the automated systems, as most of us would NOT even know how to properly turn them on . . . and just so you don't think I'm being an old 'stick in the mud' . . .if I was on a 727 and they needed a pilot, believe me, before I raised my hand, I would wait to see if a current pilot wasn't deadheading from somewhere who was 'fresh' and up on the curve. Its been awhile since I was behind the yoke of a 'two-seven', and that rust would be most evident. Being 'up on the curve' is the big difference. Still . . . I know most of us would raise our hands, because that is what we are made of . . . and give it our best shot . . .despite the odds . . .and some of us, might just pull it off. And I also know, that out there, in sim land, are some serious simmers, who do, 'do it by the numbers' and have the talent, but have just never had the chance to do their magic. Thats what makes our hobby so fantastic . . .Walter Mitty has nothing on us folks. So I guess the answer to the age old question of 'if' is . . .yeah, its possible, and likely if all went well, the skill was there, lady luck was smiling on us and the God's held their breath for just those precious moments which counted.Please no flames--I wasn't slamming our hobby, but there is a most distinct difference between 'simming' and the real world of 'could and most likely, will happen' because simming cannot reproduce some of the most needed inputs of real flight. I love FS2002, and it is now my only escape into the skies, because of health reasons . . . and I do enjoy it so . . .but there is a difference. But . . . perhaps one day, MS or someone else will come across with that magic combination that will put all those items into the sim which are now lacking. We can only hope, and keep on clicking on the Flight Sim icon.Best to allClay Dopke

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Just remember, the autopilot would most likely be on....so if you aren't a pilot or very little hands on time in a real airplane, the autopilot will save your bacon! Remove one pilot and restrain the other (or remove also if you can), hope it the seat, strap in tight, put on the headset, press the push to talk switch and call for help, something with the airline name, flight number and problem. Then calmly wait for the friendly controller to answer back. It's as easy as that, but never forget it's not a game, you can't crash, go around or panic, just keep your speed up so you don't stall!. Or heck if you can, dial in an ILS and hit APR on the A/P. So yes, I'm ready to help in such a way should it ever happen cause I know I'm the only one who could save the plane should something like that actually happen.

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I think with a lot of ground coaching I would just get it low and slow and stable enough for Charleton Heston to rappel into an open door.

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Both pilots are badly hurt? My checklist at that point goes somehting like this:1. Get anebriated... very anebriated.2. Have a very close and personal relationship with anything not bolted down.-John

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I agree. We would all like to think that we could land an airliner. I would say only one with an autoland. I have PPL with 80 hours in C-150s and 172s. The tranzition from the 150 to the 172 its self was 3 hours learning the charictaristics of the airplane and how it felt crossing the threshold. I might be able to get a large aircraft down, but not smoothly and in one piece. There is a difference between 65 kts and 130 kts. I say that only because I have some real world landing experience. DAVID C. FREEMANCONTINENTAL VIRTUAL AIRLINESHouston

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I too have considered this. After much laughter and not-so-good-natured ribbing from Management at home, I reckon I might just slide the baby down.Course, depends on a few things:ILSNo cloud, no wind, no rain, daytimeSix pairs of underwearBut, just maybe......

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Possibly on one of those huge dry lake beds like Groom Lake, but on a runway I think it would be real messy. Of course it depends on how restrictive your definition of "landing" is. I could definitely get the airplane on to the ground!

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I'll give this a try. Ha! I think first of all: under your circumstances --you have to give it the old college try! Right? Come on, you have to try. Now, you are the most qualified among the passengers, or you are just gung ho anyway--you jump in there. You take over command. Now, your success truly depends on a lot of things, such as: weather, time of day, airport availability, communications to the ground so on. Lot of factors can make you, or break you here. There are others, but I think the three most important are daylight hours, having decent weather, and an airport within reasonable distance with plenty of runway. Now I can take flight simulator, or fly II, and get a squeaker of a landing on the first try in say the 777 or 747. I can do that with out the use of V speeds. I just calculate some numbers that I know are probably a tad high and go for them. Twenty or thirty knots over won't hurt me if I have the runway in front of me is how I figure. And once I am on the deck, I can bleed off the excess speed pretty easily. I do have one or two advantages over most of our fellows simmers. I have over 15K hours also (one other fellow did too) and I have half of it in the King Airs. The 90, 100, A100, and 200. About 65 hours in the DC-3 but only pulling gear and flaps. I have been flying since 1956, and was a CFI for more than 30 years. I also flew dozens of different (small, under 12,500 lb gross) airplanes. Ha. So that helps to give me some degree of confidence. Ha. But flyers, come on now--we have to give it the old "I can do this" try. Huh? I think that there were an awful lot of sensible answers given here. Hope this is one . Keep Em Flying.

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Excellent response Clay! I enjoyed reading it.Rob

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Hand flying, it is unlikely that any simmer or small plane pilot would succeed alone. With the coaching of a training captain, maybe a GA pilot could get it on the airport surface with minimal injuries.The realistic scenario is the training captain walking you through the autopilot all the way through an ILS. All that you'd have to "fly" (ie don't make any large control inputs) is the final 100 to 200 feet to the runway area, so this scenario would be possible.Tim13

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If I were rich enough, I think a good way to try it would be to book a full-motion simulator, have it put in cruise on autopilot somewhere, and then be left alone in the cockpit to land the thing, with no instructor or outside help via the radios, just you, the charts that are on board, and the manual. If you can pull that one off, maybe you stand a chance in real life, considered the added stress, but also the help you'll get from the ground. Unfortunately, I don't have $500 or so to waste on crashing in a full-motion simulator (Also, would they be willing to leave you alone in the cockpit?).Cheers,Gosta.

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I would certainly give it a go. I've had the chance to fly a full size B777 simualtor at BA's training centre, and I managed to land the aircraft on the centre-line of the runway everytime. These were obvisiously VFR conditions and manual approaches, but with someone at the other end of the radio being able to talk you down as well, I would say I could stand a good chance of landing in 1 piece.I also think it depends on how much you know about aircraft in general, such as their size/complexity, so you would be able to judge when the wheels touch down etc. Some of the older planes, such as the MD-80's, I would struggle a bit more, as I'm not familar with that type, but modern planes are 'fail safe' as they can be programmed to land themselves.Anyway as they say "any landing you walk away from is a good landing"AK

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hmmm..I like to say Yes. But>>>First let me say this....with nothing but sim experince I went for flight lessons....on my introductory flight (C-152) I took-off and landed 4 times...the instructor did not touch the yoke once...he only helped me with the rudder since I was not used to it. I made 4 circuits and made 4 landings...3 greasers. I was also comfortable with the cockpit becasue I knew where everything was and what their function was. The instrucor only helped with rudder and things like, when to turn base...what speed to reduce to etc..Now..I know that airliners are in a different ball park then Cessnas..but in the case of an emergency where the pilots are hurt but the plane is still fully intact I believe I can bring the plane in safely. I will probably not be able to make a textbook approach and use all the right procedures and make a greaser landing but I do believe I can bring it in so that everyone walks away. I mean I have the theory that I need to keep the plane in the air and flying. I am sure that with the help of the ATC and a pilot on the other end of the micophone I could point the plane towards an airport, fly an approach and probably land on concrete or asphalt...or I can be talked into engaging the autopilot and make an automated landing.I think that I have the theory needed to save plane load of passengers in a fully functioning plane and calm weather. Off-course if the plane is damaged and has failures while in the middle of a thunderstorm...it would be a different story.The last thing is fear. I have no clue if I was faced with a situation like that how I would react. I would probably be scared as hell and scared to touch the controls...and when I am scared I'll forget hings or over-do things...To make the long story short....If the plane is intact, weather is OK and if I can keep my nerves under control then I think I could put the plane down so that the people can walk away even without someone telling me what to do...except tell me where the airort is. I have the basics needed to save the people...probably not the plane though.. :-shy Interesting thread.Take careMike

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Hi,Very interesting...I have no PPL or above, but have flown Cessnas and Pipers from the right seat quite lot, with no problems.I had a go in a full-motion, level D MD-11 simulator 6 months ago.Did a few approaches and takeoffs and landed without a problem.I admit that it was quite different from what I expected but IMO it wasn't anything so special you all keep talking about. Airplanes are airplanes, regardless of how big they are. The basic functions and laws apply to airliners as well as C172s.I think that given the right plane (say 767) and some time to analyze the situation, I would have no problem bringing the beast down.Tell me if I'm missing something, but here's an example, and I'll use the 767 as I'm a PIC767 fanatic ;):Both pilots out, plane flying on AP.- Left seat, check that AP is on and check also what it's doing from the FMC, MCP etc.- OK, we're on LNAV and VNAV modes cruizing along the route seen in FMC, FL380- contact ATC and declare an emergency- I would be given instructions to change to another frequency and would soon be given instructions by a real 767 pilot.- 50% chance is that I would be given instructions to reprogram new waypoint to FMC, once the real pilot knew that I'm familiar with it.But I still wouldn't do it "alone" as the pilot would still get me through every step of the reprogramming to minimize all errors.- 50% chance is that I would be only given instructions to use MCP hdg sel, ALT (V/S) and speed modes, since it's more simple that way.I really don't know which would it be, FMC or direct MCP modes, but in autopilot definately. _All the way_.- I would be directed into a CAT III airfield/rwy and be setup for an autoland. I would only have to use: * FMC (if not for programming, then at least checks for fuel, app speeds etc) * gear lever * flaps lever * autobrake switch * speedbrake lever * MCP as a whole + Nav1 freq/crs selectors * Transponder (to code 7500 I believe)In short:1. check that plane stable on AP (A/T on, F/D on, _some_ lateral and vertical modes on), and contact ATC and get instructions from ATC and a pilot and do the following with their help:2. check fuel and position from FMC (also check warning lights on panel)3. squawk 75004. hdg sel in MCP (what I'm told)5. ALT and V/S in MCP (what I'm told)6. speed in MCP (again, what I'm told)7. lower flaps at appropriate speeds 8. tune given CAT III ILS rwy data in Nav1 (freq/crs)9. select ILS display10. capture loc, gs / activate APP-mode11. lower gear at appropriate phase12. arm autobrake (max) and speedbrake 13. activate L,C,R autopilots above 1500 AGL14. check final approach speed from FMC, dial it.15a enjoy the ride down and check the "become a hero" in after landing checks ;)15b try to use reverser thrust (might be a little tricky mechanically tho, but odds are that the rwy is so long that brakes are enough to do the trick)ALL THE TIME MONITOR AIRSPEED AND ALTITUDEThe list above seems premeditated (!) and something that would be very difficult to remember etc., but I really don't think that it would be more difficult than that.With a plane other than 767 (or other than a Boeing), it would be (for me at least) a different story.Comments?cheers,Tero

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One comment. Don't squawk 7500. That would be "hijack". You're thinking of 7700, "emergency".

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If you fly any type of aircraft you might have a chance..if you are only a sim pilot..no matter how many million hrs in FS you have..no chance-trust me guys you wont be able to locate the runway!!! airport looks very vague from up there!! leave alone throttle, perspective, flare etc, etcSantanu Nandy

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