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That old question again : could you land a commercial jet..

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Yes I could but I'm also an airline pilot IRL so I feel that I could probably do fine with any transport category airplane even if I wasn't type rated on it. May not be the smoothest landing but in the end an airplane is an airplane. They all fly ruffly the same way.



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Sure, I could. 

Or did you mean in one piece? 😉

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Well, I thought the part of the article where the pilot compares landing a plane to transplant surgery was a bit ridiculous. 

I think that experienced flightsim pilots, those who have hundreds of hours virtually flying airliners in the sim, would have a pretty decent chance of landing a real plane without killing everyone on board.  A lot of the task involves understanding basic flying principles and general knowledge of airliner systems and procedures, like how to read and use the instruments and autopilot, approximate landing speed, flap settings, gear down, how to use a localizer and glideslope, etc.  Most flightsim pilots know all this stuff and just lack the actual experience and feel of flying a real airliner.

Now if there's no ILS and the weather's bad, well, good luck and God help you.

If I were on a plane and both pilots were incapacitated in some way, and there were no other experienced pilots, even GA pilots, on board, then I would give it a go knowing that my chances are much, much better than some other passenger with no flightsim experience.


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After reading the article I can’t help feel like they should have asked someone who wasn’t so  arrogant, who feels superior and someone who feels like their career is at risk 😂 

Luke Pype

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Few could probably do it (no pilot experience prior, nor simming)

But it will be a blend of luck, knowledge of the principles of flight and presence of mind and work under stress.

Okay, it's not organ transplant surgery, but precision is just as vital in both examples.

Experienced simmers would probably not do too bad of a job since they can use autoflight and relieve mental capacity for other tasks.

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16 hours ago, z06z33 said:

Yes I could but I'm also an airline pilot IRL

That would certainly help.

14 hours ago, dave2013 said:

..........  Most flightsim pilots .... just lack the actual experience and feel of flying a real airliner.

Therein lies the problem.  Desktop flightsims are quite good and the procedural aspects of the high end addons are superb. They do not replicate the feel or responses of a real life aircraft as well as some simmers believe. Discounting autoland for the moment, and given the ability to set up for an ILS in clear skies, calm conditions and zero crosswind, with a long runway, it's possible some simmers familiar with the aircraft type, could convert that to a reasonably acceptable landing and hopefully keep it on the runway afterwards.

With 25 years of simming, following a military flying career, I would not be as confident as many simmers have appeared to be when this topic has come up before. Yes I could probably get the aircraft down in one piece, but it wouldn't pass a type rating and I don't under estimate all the peripheral things mentioned in the video. I always always found the first approach and landing in any different aircraft type to be an education in the unexpected. Usually because conditions were often less than perfect, but also because any new situation creates its own additional stress factors, even after years of professional training.

For simmers without real life experience, I think any manual approach in the proposed scenario, with even a mild crosswind and any gusts, the likely outcome would be lack of anticipation at some point, followed by overcontrolling, followed by getting off the centreline and more overcontrolling while losing speed awareness in trying to correct the handling errors. Auto throttle will help but is not foolproof with sudden changes of attitude. When all that is happening it's too easy to neglect a go around until it's too late.



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John B

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If it was a plane you were familiar with in the sim and if you were able to get radio contact with your nearest Rex Cramer (see left), possibly.  Otherwise, assume crash positions.

High Quality Airplane Crash Positions Blank Meme Template



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I’d be more worried  if the cabin became incapacitated on one of my flights at work I wouldn’t have a clue how to cook my dinner, they don’t teach you that galley stuff.

I think an experienced flight simmer familiar with the aircraft in question and using maximum use of the automatics to an autoland would stand a fair chance, if they could stop their hands from shaking. Make no mistake the amount of fear and adrenaline of actually being in that situation would be immense.

When I was a young man I was a second officer or cruise pilot on the 747-400, I’d got a couple of thousand hours flying other airliners elsewhere, plus  time flying GA , Barons, citations etc.

Come the day to do the upgrade to first officer we had to go and shoot visual circuits in the 747. By that time I’d been flying it for 2 years in the cruise above 20,000ft and had simulator training every 3 months for those 2 years. 

I still remember vividly flying that thing around the circuit and landing it for the first time having not flown a real aircraft for 2 years.

Despite all my previous flying experience and full motion simulator training , and my years as a flight sim enthusiast it was bloody hard work ! Indeed sadly not everyone on that course made the upgrade.

Id just say don’t underestimate how an actual large jet feels on a manual landing.

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787 captain.  

Previously 24 years on 747-400.Technical advisor on PMDG 747 legacy versions QOTS 1 , FS9 and Aerowinx PS1. 

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one  thing  every  one is  forgetting how  would  one  get  in the  cockpit if  both  pilots  were incapacitated since  the  cockpit  door  would  be  locked 

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Peter kelberg

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On 3/24/2023 at 10:14 AM, MaDDogz said:

After reading the article I can’t help feel like they should have asked someone who wasn’t so  arrogant, who feels superior and someone who feels like their career is at risk 😂 

Agree. The whole patronising tone of the article seems to be ‘crash and burn suckers!’

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Depends on who is landing. A random passenger without flying knowledge? Good luck, it's going to crash. If the person somehow manages to communicate with ATC (low chances that will happen), chances increase a bit but still I wouldn't bet on a safe landing.

Now someone with good flying knowledge, able to safely land the aircraft on a simulator? I'd bet on a safe landing. Perhaps not the best landing, but with good weather conditions and runway length I think there is good chances everyone survives.

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3 hours ago, DD_Arthur said:

The whole patronising tone of the article seems to be ‘crash and burn suckers!’

I imagine it's because most airline pilots have no knowledge of how far flight simulation on the pc has come. 

2 hours ago, 3Green said:

One day a sim pilot may very well be asked to assist.

I doubt that airline pilots would want to take a chance on a passenger who claims without proof to be proficient on a home simulator. I think they would prefer to manage on their own.

In the event that both pilots on an overnight flight from New York to London, for example, are incapacitated approximately one quarter of the way there, and a flight simmer volunteers to fly the aircraft, would the authorities allow the flight to continue according to the active flight plan and land in daylight in London or would they try to guide the flight back to New York and attempt a night landing?

Dugald Walker

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@dmwalker I have always thought about what you said in your last paragraph!  Putting myself in that scenario, I think I would request a military escort to an appropriate military airbase with a nice long runway.  Way less of a chance of on the ground civilian casualties.

My thoughts, when flying Southwest 737s between KSFO and KSAN,  That both cockpit pilots had lunch together and had "the fish". They both get horrible food poisoning and need to be dragged out of the cockpit.  If no other qualified pilot on board, I would volunteer.  To keep the metropolitan areas safe, I would request escort to Edwards AFB and use their huge Space Shuttle landing area!  Easy-peasy! ✈️

Charlie Aron

Awaiting the new Microsoft Flight Sim and the purchase of a new system.  Running a Chromebook for now! :cool:



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