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VeryBumpy

Flying with buttons

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So I'm still going through the Concorde X pdf tutorial and notice that most of the flight is nothing but setting Autopilot dials and buttons. Very little hand flying, especially approach and landing.

 

Boring cruise across the pond I can understand but I'm surprised that the crew let the computers do most of the lining up and maneuvering back then.

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Is it perhaps due to the high speed of the aircraft, which makes it difficult to control manually during most phases of flight?

 

Perhaps the pilots were fine with using the autopilot more, due to the shorter duration of Concorde flights. For example, if a flight took the B747 eight hours, and the pilot flew manually for five minutes, approximately 1% of his or her flight would have been manual. If the same flight took the Concorde only four hours, the pilot would have only needed to fly 2.5 minutes manually in order to satisfy the same ratio of manual-to-automated flight.


Regards,
Owen
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It's incorrect that the Concorde was mostly flown using the AFCS.

 

In fact from what I've read and seen the pilots used to love hand flying her, saying she was like flying a large fighter jet! From video's I've watched it was quite typical for the PF to be on the controls all the way up to transonic. However it does seem that the majority of the cruise climb and super-cruise was managed by the AFCS. Still, I've read quite a few reports of some Captains flying the entire flight manually! Now that's some skill! However the Concorde had a very advanced autopilot for her time, that's why in the 27 years of her operation, it never needed replacing or upgrading. (plus the cost would have been staggering!)

 

You've got to remember that Concorde was developed during a time when most pilots were the stick-and-rudder types, so manual flying was natural to them, and encouraged. It's only really in recent years that manual flying has taken a back seat to button punching!


James W

 

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