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PMDG 737-800 landing with autothrottle - yes or no?

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It’s an interesting question.  The 777 is fly by wire also. I view the 737 and 777 as very different flying aircraft. 


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The answer, as it often is in aviation, is "it depends."  This will vary per operator. At my company, the autothrottles shall be disconnected when the autopilot is disengaged on approach.  I do belive this is still the Boeing recommendation, and many airlines do it this way. 

But, there are also airlines that leave the autothrottles on during landing.  So, from a sim perspective... do as you like 👍

The above is all applicable to the 737.  It will not be the same for a 767 or other aircraft. 


Andrew Crowley

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This has been a point of discussion for a long time. At my airline, new folks generally keep them on till around 500’ to get a feel for the plane. Some check airmen suggest keeping them on when disconnecting the autopilot, others say disconnect it. 
 

The issue is, you can get into pitch oscillations with these under wing engines. The auto throttle can’t anticipate your movements better than you’d be able to manually, so you can get unstable much more quickly with them engaged. Give yourself some gusty winds and see for yourself. 
 

Personally, I kick them off once the autopilot comes off. I’ve noticed that you can more or less pin the N1 value and have very little airspeed change, if any at all. I like to just dive on in and get with the plane. It’s also reassuring when you can do it without “help” as it were. Give yourself a pat on the back. 

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On this topic I have always applied the same principal i use in real life flying. Auto pilot and auto throttle off at 1000 feet above the runway. That way you get to feel the aircraft before you get

to the last critical height namely the missed Approach point on the chart. Of course if the weather conditions are poor then assuming the aircraft is certified then autoland with autothrottle would be used. Just an opinion of course.


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7 hours ago, V1ROTA7E said:

Personally, I kick them off once the autopilot comes off. I’ve noticed that you can more or less pin the N1 value and have very little airspeed change, if any at all. I like to just dive on in and get with the plane. It’s also reassuring when you can do it without “help” as it were. Give yourself a pat on the back. 

Ding ding we have a winner, makes the most sense.
Since I will unfortunately never get to fly a real 737, I instead often cut throttle about 20 miles out at about 50,000 feet (9000 feet above its allowed ceiling), and I come in pretty hard. Then try to bleed the speed quickly off in the last few miles, always makes an interesting challenge. So for me, the A/T gets disconnected about 20 miles out, hence the entire engine goes off about 20 miles out 🙂

On the few times I do an ILS landing, I will simply leave it engaged, but if I were flying a real plane, turn it off.

 

Edited by Alpine Scenery
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Just a small point, the Airbus 'Retard' message is a reminder, not an instruction. You can Retard at any suiitable point.

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Rob Jones.

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2 hours ago, Alpine Scenery said:

Ding ding we have a winner, makes the most sense.
Since I will unfortunately never get to fly a real 737, I instead often cut throttle about 20 miles out at about 50,000 feet (9000 feet above its allowed ceiling), and I come in pretty hard. Then try to bleed the speed quickly off in the last few miles, always makes an interesting challenge. So for me, the A/T gets disconnected about 20 miles out, hence the entire engine goes off about 20 miles out 🙂

On the few times I do an ILS landing, I will simply leave it engaged, but if I were flying a real plane, turn it off.

 

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1 hour ago, jonesrob said:

Just a small point, the Airbus 'Retard' message is a reminder, not an instruction. You can Retard at any suiitable point.

Yes, except during autoland, when it is an instruction.

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Ian Box

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11 hours ago, micstatic said:

It’s an interesting question.  The 777 is fly by wire also. I view the 737 and 777 as very different flying aircraft. 

I watched a video on aircraft controls the other day, and there is a possibility that Boeing on their newest aircraft may finally ditch the yoke,and go for the side stick.Weighs less, easier to build, and works great with fly by wire aircraft. 

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48 minutes ago, Bobsk8 said:

I watched a video on aircraft controls the other day, and there is a possibility that Boeing on their newest aircraft may finally ditch the yoke,and go for the side stick.Weighs less, easier to build, and works great with fly by wire aircraft. 

I just hope they don't source their parts from Logitech 🙂


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14 hours ago, micstatic said:

It’s an interesting question.  The 777 is fly by wire also. I view the 737 and 777 as very different flying aircraft. 

Yes, but with a yoke and with an incomplete low speed protection. It's one of these bad in-between designs that mix up two design/piloting philosophies and lead to dangerous unnatural pilot behaviour (just like flying the 737 with a classic yoke and AT on), of course caused by Boeing wanting to retain commonality as much as possible, which by the way is why I don't think they will start using sidesticks (I call that the "Boeing deadend"...).
To be fair this is the only "weakness" of the great airplane the 777 is and the safety record speaks for itself.

FBW and computerization is the way to go forward, no matter what you think about it, but not by mixing up 60s design with 90s technology. That's why I don't really fancy the (real life) MAX either, but that's another story.

 

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2 minutes ago, Fiorentoni said:

FBW and computerization is the way to go forward, no matter what you think about it, but not by mixing up 60s design with 90s technology. That's why I don't really fancy the (real life) MAX either, but that's another story.
 

I just wonder how much longer there will even be a pilot at the helm, I guess it might take 50 years or so because people won't feel comfortable without a pilot.
 


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 Talking to a friend who flew the 737 up until about a year ago and is now on the 787 says it's AA SOP to leave the AT on for the entire approach.


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1 hour ago, Dave_YVR said:

 Talking to a friend who flew the 737 up until about a year ago and is now on the 787 says it's AA SOP to leave the AT on for the entire approach.

Yep, as Stearman said upthread, its really down to individual airlines.

The majority of 737 operators disconnect the AT ahead of landing but not all. On the fly by wire Boeings, the situation is reversed with most using the AT into touchdown. The reason being the issue of pitch-power coupling oscillations is dampened by the software on the fly by wire Boeings which does a much better job of things than the earlier Boeings.


 

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2 hours ago, Alpine Scenery said:

I just wonder how much longer there will even be a pilot at the helm, I guess it might take 50 years or so because people won't feel comfortable without a pilot.
 

Airbus tried (unsucessfully?) to get allowance for single-pilot-operations on the A350 Freighter version, so they are closing in 🙂

Edited by Fiorentoni
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