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You are a passenger on a B737-800NG and both pilots are unconscious. Could you land it?

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Well, I'd declare an emervency and ask the ATC for vectors to an ILS runway. I'd ask for the ILS data of the runway and at least try an ILS autoland. But yeah, such a situation will hopefully never occure in RL. This is not Hollywood.

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To answer the initial question of this topic: No, you wouldn't.


That is, 99% of the people who think they can, will mess it up. I'm a (former) 737 pilot (still type-rated) and instructor. I have had many flight sim enthousiasts in the Level D simulator and I'll tell you that 99% of them would have totally messed it up without my help.


Even if you can properly land it in the Level D sim, landing it in real life is a totally different thing. I remember the first time I had to land a 737. I was able to land it perfectly in the simulator, but in real life you're scared sh*tless. And I even had a captain and an instructor with me.


If you ever get in this situation, contact ATC and do an auto-land.


Why and in what way did they mess up? Could it not be that they were simming LD 767 and the 737 is different plane? What about a flightsim enthusiast in the 737NGX? I get the impression that this happened in 737 full motion simulator with

people who had tried FS simming in LVD 767-300 or do I misunderstand?

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Why and in what way did they mess up? Could it not be that they were simming LD 767 and the 737 is different plane? What about a flightsim enthusiast in the 737NGX? I get the impression that this happened in 737 full motion simulator with

people who had tried FS simming in LVD 767-300 or do I misunderstand?


you misunderstand. LvlD is type of simulator, not lvld developer team who make fs9 aircraft

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What I think I may be able to do:

#1 pee my pants a bit

#2 Collect myself and in a Boeing AC ensure that the AC was correctly programmed and tuned for an ILS Autoland

#3 "probably" figure out Gear and Flaps but again pee myself a bit with everything I had to touch

#4 Adjust MCP for heading, V/S, airspeed etc if given proper instruction as to the correct settings to dial in

#5 Set the correct autobrake setting (again with instruction)

#6 kill the fuel to the engines after landing

(Seeing the pattern? I think I could turn the dials and "possibly a few key levers")


What I don't think I could do:

Most likely ever figure out how to work the radios to get the instructions required above in the what I think I can do section


Get the pilot out of the seat

probably couldn't see out the front windows or reach the rudder pedals/brakes unless the pilot was 5'6 as well (or they had phonebooks)

Manually control the A/C

Manually brake after landing

Hand Fly a landing

Keep it on the center line

figure out the sidestick steering

Find the CTRL-SHFT-W keys for AES after I land

Have a Wonderful Day

-Paul Solk


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I could if ATC would guide me how to set up the ILS in real life :P. That's if I can figure out how real life pilots talk in their radio to communicate with ATC lol.

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After flying the NGX, could ya?




~~Don't be all technical and crap


You bet !


Once in a while, and especially on slow days, we get the famous question : “could you land this bird (baby, etc.) if both pilots were incapacited?”


Again? This is boring. Probably nobody is going to bother to answer that one.


Well, you’ll be surprised. The last one, posted initially on the PMDG forum, got 4 pages of enthusiastic answers before beeing moved over to the Hangar chat forum by eager Avsim moderators (I like the Hangar chat forum by the way, it’s a bit slow but the mods do a good job at trying to promote it).


So, in case the question is asked again, I have tried to collect some of the most sensible answers and put them together so that, next time the question is asked, you only have to cut and paste the answers you like and you are then free to move on to more important matters. Of course, feel free to add to my list.


PART 1 : Is it reallistic? Could it really happen?


Answer : Of course, but very very very low probability as :


1- “in 100 years of aviation, there's never been a case where a two man crew

both managed to become incapacitated at the controls (unless they were shot or slain, if I may add, or an accident occurs like the 737 in Greece a few years back) , and may that trend last another 100 years to come....”


2- there are some safety measures in place at most airlines/airports and I am not going to elaborate on this.


In any case : should this happen, our hero (you) would have to convince the flight attendants, and maybe a lot of other would-be heroes that he (she) is the one that can land the plane safely.


Anyway. After having pleaded his case, knocked out a few eager contenders, convinced the flight attendants that their training for landing the plane in such a situation is useless and broken into the cockpit, our hero now manages to remove the two incapacitated pilots from their seats when he hears a voice behind him (I LOVE that one, thanks JimRodger ):


"Hi, I'm the Chief test pilot for Boeing, is there anything I can do?"


Well, enough with this scenario, let’s move on to the basic question :


PART 2 : (Forget about the scenario)


Q1- Can anyone land a large commercial jet in manual mode ?


Answer : no


Q2- Could a real world GA pilot do it ?:


Answer (by any professional airline pilot I know) : Most probably not. He doesn’t know the systems, the feeling of the controls and many other simple things such as the radio layout.


But, most importantly, don’t forget that even professional, perfectly qualified pilots sometimes manage to bang up the machines pretty bad. Food for thought?


Q3 - Could a sim pilot without GA experience or real world simulator do it ?


A3 : Most probably not.


Q4- Could a sim pilot with GA and realistic simulator experience do it?


A4 : Now we are talking about a guy who knows a little bit more (and at least, who probably realizes how much he doesn’t know !!!) and if he (she) has any sense, he (she) will try to get as much help as possible and setup the plane for a full automatic landing.


Of course, in a Hollywood scenario, the ILS would be inoperative….


Anyway, with a few hundred hours in light and (mainly) in utralight planes, last week I spent an hour in a “Flight Experience” B738 simulator and enjoyed every (expensive) minute of if.


What else can I say? Another really fun hour (almost) in the air and another learning experience. As someone said in this thread you need the right amount of self confidence and humility and this kind of simulator will help you understand that a PC simulator, however great, is still far from the real thing. Just the feel of the controls…


Expensive, but I highly recommend it.



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Well that pretty much sums up everything that's been said very well, all that needs to be done now in the future in about 3-4 months time when this type of thread shows it's head again is to just copy Bruno's post and BAM!, thread solved in 2 posts.


Well done, nice post.



Rónán O Cadhain.


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Find the CTRL-SHFT-W keys for AES after I land


Nice that someone has remembered that. Big%20Grin.gif

Not to mention shooting down the bothering aircraft with Traffic Zapper!

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I'll just slew it onto the tarmac. FTW.


Epic win :lol:

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I should add that if all the planets lined up, and it all worked out... I would expect them to buy me a plane of my choice, and pay for me to finish my PPL/Instrument/Multi Engine.

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Anyways, I think I could.



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