back to article Pilot posts detailed MS Flight Sim video of how to land Boeing 737

An actual airline pilot has posted a how-to video explaining the best way to land a Boeing 737. Commercial pilot Tim Morgan responded to a question posed on Q&A site Quora. “What should I do if the pilot passes out and I (with no flight training) have to land the plane?”, the question asks. Morgan's answer is footage from …

  1. PerspexAvenger

    To be fair they do point out that ATC will be frantically trying to find someone groundside who knows what the 737 controls look like so they can specifically talk you through actual control operations.

    This is the worst-worst-case scenario if they somehow can't find someone within comms distance who knows what the inside of a plane is like for some reason so... uh... best not to fly redeye. On New Year's day. On a Sunday. Or something.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "This'll come in handy if the pilots are unconscious AND you have WiFi"

      Or you if you want to "land" your plane on the nearest large building....

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "Or you if you want to "land" your plane on the nearest large building...."

        Yeah, was thinking on similar lines. Now the video is in the media spotlight, how long before there's a takedown request because ter'ism.

        1. imanidiot Silver badge

          If you want to learn the basics of 737 controls go no futher than MS flightsim 2004 or X and one of the myriad of products that replicate the operation of the craft to the last switch. Most of these documents and operations are out here already, and to hit a building you don't even NEED most of the information given in this video.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Toss it into my tablet's survival lit along with the ten GB of survival books, army/marine field manuals, critical tables, .... I don't know about you but I will not go gently into the night.

    1. Known Hero

      All gravy, till the battery runs out though, hope you have a solar charger :)

    2. LucreLout
      Mushroom

      @Jack of Shadows

      I don't know about you but I will not go gently into the night.

      If the pilots are incapacitated in-flight and I become the planes last best hope, trust me on this, you'll not be going gently into the night. There'll be nowt gentle about it!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I don't know about you but I will not go gently into the night....

        I want to die in my sleep like my grandfather.....

        ....not screaming in terror like his passengers!

        An old one but strangely relevant to this thread!

    3. Wolfclaw

      Don't forget the solar power charging station, to keep your battery topped up, while your doing a lot of reading and video watching !

  3. RIBrsiq
    Headmaster

    I thought cockpit doors are locked and cannot be opened from outside, these days. So if both pilots are out, how's anyone supposed to get at the controls...?

    Mind you, I think this particular security/safety trade-off makes perfect sense!

    1. Jos V

      RIBrsiq. Not exactly. There is usually a way for cabin crew to access the door, but it works in a delayed way. When the unlock code is punched in, the pilots get a warning and can override the release and keep the door locked. If all the crew in the cockpit are incapacitated, this means the door can be opened.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Jos V

        Thanks for the very informative response. When I read the article I thought the same thing. Now I'll know to be ready next time I'm sitting in first in case the stewardess asks in a very worried tone "Is there a doctor or pilot on board!?" I'm neither, but if I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express the night before I'll volunteer anyway, what's the worst that could happen?

    2. FuzzyWuzzys
      Facepalm

      Isn't the irony of the whole "no knives on board planes" negated by the fact that planes have to carry a fire axes? Although I suspect that's probably cockpit side of the door!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > Although I suspect that's probably cockpit side of the door!

        Your suspicion is 50% correct. One is in the cockpit, the other is in the rear galley. Depending on plane type, but this general rule applies to the most common airliners.

        And no, I don't mind you knowing where they are (which besides, anyone with an internet connection can find out in a few clicks). The level of aggression required to cause significant damage with that is not something that sane, untrained people posses. As for those who are trained or insane, they don't need a fire axe in the first place... they can do just as much damage with the tea kettle and food trolley, amongst other things.

    3. SkippyBing

      'Mind you, I think this particular security/safety trade-off makes perfect sense!'

      Statistically it may not, I believe post the German Wings accident more people have now died since 2001 as a result of being unable to gain access to the cockpit as died on 9/11 because terrorists could gain access to the cockpit. It was in an article on Flight Global, but since they've changed their website layout I can't find anything on there.

  4. werdsmith Silver badge

    If all the aircraft systems are in good health then a ground pilot would instruct a cabin crew on how to set up a cat III autoland at a suitably equipped airport.

    1. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Hopefully including a briefing on what to do when autoland cuts out at 500ft and how to use the steering when the control surfaces have stopped working!

      1. Magani
        Unhappy

        Cat III is not your normal ILS

        "...when autoland cuts out at 500ft and how to use the steering when the control surfaces have stopped working!"

        I suggest you go and look at the difference between a standard ILS approach and a Cat III autoland.

        The autopilot does not cut out at 500', and the aircraft follows the localiser down the centreline even as the speed drops.

        Google is your friend.

        1. imanidiot Silver badge

          Re: Cat III is not your normal ILS

          Nope, it cuts out at 50 feet and expects the pilot to keep final control during flare and rollout.

          1. Magani
            Boffin

            Re: Cat III is not your normal ILS

            "Nope, it cuts out at 50 feet and expects the pilot to keep final control during flare and rollout."

            I'll see your 'Nope' and raise you another 'Nope'.

            "At the appropriate height above the ground (as indicated by the radio altimeter) the flight control computer will retard the throttles and initiate a pitch-up maneuver [sic]. The purpose of this "flare" is to reduce the energy of the aircraft such that it "stops flying" and settles onto the runway."

            From Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autoland

            (Yeah, I know it's Wikipedia, but it has quite a reasonable explanation.)

            Also: "The lateral guidance from the ILS localiser would however be usable right to the end of the landing roll, and hence is used to feed the rudder channel of the autopilot after touchdown."

            At no point does it say anything about pilot interaction being required for the flare or for maintaining the centreline during rollout.

            There are different versions of 'autoland' which may be confusing some folk. What we are talking about here is Cat IIIC.

            For further info, see:

            https://www.quora.com/Aircraft/How-does-autoland-work-and-what-is-the-history-of-it

            1. imanidiot Silver badge

              Re: Cat III is not your normal ILS

              AFAIK, CATIIIC requires blind taxi capabilities on the airport and there are currently no airports that actually support this. CATIIIb decision height is below 50m but I'm not sure how this is implemented in most systems. Very few airlines and airports have support for a full CATIIIb or better approach anyway. I have been told by a pilot the flare and rollout is usually done by the pilots. I have no idea how true this is but he claims the softer landings are usually the hand flown ones and the rough bouncy ones are actually the autoland as it sucks at compensating for gusts of wind and runway unevenness.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Cat III is not your normal ILS

                > CATIIIb decision height is below 50m but I'm not sure how this is implemented in most systems.

                It's not 50 m but 50 ft (about 15 m). If at DH you do not see the runway (the lights, in practice) you go around. You *will* touch the runway, or whatever else happens to be under the aircraft, if initiating a go-around from 50 ft DH. In practice not that many companies that I'm aware of do Cat III of any description (I have only ever done it in the sim myself) as that generally requires all three autopilots + autoland (depending on AOM) and that is costly and a major pain in the arse to keep going. Unless flying to consistently foggy destinations or under other tight constraints (e.g., Ryanair do have Cat III capabilities) it is just cheaper to put up with the occasional diversion.

                BTW, I am not sure you appreciate how close to the ground an approach down to limits in the soup actually is. You are not seeing the runway until a second or two before you start the flare, which is a very short time in which to adjust your senses to the new visual environment.

          2. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: Cat III is not your normal ILS

            Minima at 50 feet is cat II.

            Cat III will go to the deck and do your rollout for you.

            But you need balls of steel.

            The autopilot gives its opinion on the pilots at 1:30:

            https://youtu.be/TXJCHUmuUyw

    2. TitterYeNot
      Coat

      "If all the aircraft systems are in good health then a ground pilot would instruct a cabin crew on how to set up a cat III autoland at a suitably equipped airport"

      Agreed. Instructions transmitted from the ground would be something along the lines of:-

      • Locate and press the "Auto-Pilot Inflate" button on console.

      • Wait till Auto-Pilot has inflated and has control of the aircraft.

      • Keep Auto-Pilot inflated and smiling by blowing into the inflation tube located on his waist.

      • And don't call me Shirley...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > a ground pilot would instruct

      1. Most aircraft do not have autoland capability (it's expensive and only necessary if you're consistently flying into the likes of Malpensa)

      2. Procedurally, it is simpler to land an aircraft by hand than to autoland it.

  5. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
    Coat

    Maybe all these fly-by-wire aircraft need a big red button in the middle of the dashboard marked "emergency land"?

    (only half :) )

    1. tirk

      @Phil O'Sophical

      Didn't Mythbusters do this scenario a few seasons ago? Concluded that trying to land based on MS FS knowledge was unlikely but possible, but then they called up ATC and were given a pretty simple set of instructions to trigger an auto-land sequence.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @Phil O'Sophical

        > Didn't Mythbusters

        Do you realise that's a TV show, which purpose is to entertain, not educate, the audience?

    2. Anonymous Cow Herder

      OK Google. Land the plane...

      1. MyffyW Silver badge

        Cortana? Cortana? Hello Cortana? Yes, your bosom looks lovely but I don't see that's relevant right now.

  6. wolfetone Silver badge
    Trollface

    Don't Show This To Michael O'Leary

    He'll go ahead with his idea of having just the one pilot, then have a policy of asking passengers to fly the plane for a surcharge. If you pay before you fly you'd save 50% though.

    1. Justicesays

      Re: Don't Show This To Michael O'Leary

      Nah,

      He'll just charge you a £4000 "Emergency Wifi access charge" so you can see the video!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't Show This To Michael O'Leary

      > He'll go ahead with his idea of having just the one pilot, then have a policy of asking passengers to fly the plane for a surcharge

      Not O'Leary. In fact Ryanair run a pretty tight ship when it comes to safety and training.They may be a shit employer (for a loose definition of the term, since most of their workforce are technically self-employed) but they are outstanding when it comes to training and safety. They can literally wipe the floor with any other airline in Europe.

      On the other hand, Easyjet used to do, and maybe still do, exactly what you suggest: trainee First Officers pay, in blocks of 500 hours, to fly the plane. I do not recall whether a safety pilot flies jumpseat when a trainee F/O is onboard (as is the policy in RYR). This has caused at least two accidents that I recall (hard landings, no casualties but AOG).

      EZY are not the only ones to do this, btw. And let us not get started on the airlines paying €1000.- / month to new F/Os.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Knowing what a lever or button do is just the beginning...

    ... then you need to know how they react and how to use them properly. Just as knowing that the wheel steers the car and the brake stops it, won't allow you to drive a car safely in the beginning - until you're able to control steering and braking. Flight dynamics is also even more complex - "steering" a flying plane involves using both the ailerons and rudder (stick/yoke and pedals).

    A manual approach/landing requires a fairly good control of engine power also (and flaps/slats/spoilers settings). Probably the best solution is to understand what and where the comms control are, and then find the autopilot controls when directed so, hoping the plane has also a FADEC (which controls engines) and autolandig capabilities (and the right airport nearby).

    But it's a real pity MS abandoned Flight Simulator development - it really gave you an hint of the complexity of landing a big airplane as long as you set realism settings correctly, and it could have been greatly improved with latest CPU and GPUs capabilities. But these are the days of Flappy Bird on a smartphone, not of FS on a PC... pidgeons instead of eagles...

    1. Aslan

      Re: Knowing what a lever or button do is just the beginning...

      It's not exactly new, but Microsoft Flight Simulator X has been released on Steam in the past year or so and since has seen 114 updates since, with update both for compatiability and to add new DLC, with the latest new DLC just arriving two days ago, February 16th. FSX currently has about 567,000 people who've purchase it.

      The latest DLC is the Czech Republic,

      "From the studios of VFR scenery specialists VFR Poland comes VFR Czech Republic photo scenery for FSX: Steam Edition. This extensive scenery pack covers the entire Czech Republic, and is based on SPOT5 multispectral satellite images geometrically and radiometrically integrated to the scenery for a seamless VFR experience. All major landmarks in the region are included to make navigating low-level airspace in this beautiful region both authentic and pleasing to the eye.

      PLEASE NOTE: This add-on requires 20 GB available hard disk space."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Knowing what a lever or button do is just the beginning...

        First, I hate to have to install any software but the simulator itself. I hate the Steam model, especially when the only software I install is the simulator. Especially when you will use networks like IVAO or VATSIM for increased realism, you don't really need the average gaming online features.

        Second: Steam is slowing updating it fixing bugs and incompatibilities with latest OS, but FSX would require a deep rewrite of the engine, and Steam is not going to do it.

        Many DLCs have been available for ages for FS, and you really didn't need Steam to download and install them. One of the failures of Flight was to try to build a walled garden and fence off 3rd party developers.

        Prepar3D a far more interesting compatible upgrade path, albeit far more expensive, if you don't like the X-Plane one.

    2. Spasticus Autisticus
      Happy

      Re: Knowing what a lever or button do is just the beginning...

      I've been enjoying FlightGear recently, its a very long time since I last flew MS FS. There's an F-86 burning somewhere in South London after I tore East Anglia up - again - and then failed to get my aircraft down safely - again.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon

        Re: Knowing what a lever or button do is just the beginning...

        My best ever landing was in f-16 Falcon on the Amiga where I managed to land on a moving aircraft carrier....................upside down!!!! (why the plane didn't explode I don't know - but I'm fairly sure those fin tips were never designed to take that kind of load ;) )

        1. Uncle Slacky

          Re: Knowing what a lever or button do is just the beginning...

          Reminds me of the old Sinclair Spectrum Flight Simulator, where it was possible to fly backwards...

          1. Roq D. Kasba

            Re: Knowing what a lever or button do is just the beginning...

            In fairness you can steer just with your feet, everyone will feel a bit sick, and it's far from ideal, but almost certainly better than trying to teach a nicely coordinated medium turn in a live situation.

            'Push the stick left a bit whilst pulling back gently a smaller bit for an elevated nose angle to compensate for loss of altitude due to a lower trigonometric proportion of the wings lift acting perpendicular to the ground in order to keep the big can of single serving shark food in the sky' ;-)

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Knowing what a lever or button do is just the beginning...

              In a small plane, maybe - it could also be a combat manoeuvre to slow down while evading, and have your enemy end in front of you. In a large plane with a small input it will take ages to turn it (and you'll drift off course), and with a bigger one it may become dangerous, especially if the airspeed is high or very low, and you're close to gound. Far better to change course in the autopilot - it will perform a nice coordinated turn.

            2. Schlimnitz

              Re: Knowing what a lever or button do is just the beginning...

              My thoughts to, but if you watch the video, he's only talking about steering on the ground. I doubt anyone could get that seriously wrong.

              (Rephrase, I doubt anyone who could get that seriously wrong would even have got to the ground in one piece).

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Knowing what a lever or button do is just the beginning...

                > (Rephrase, I doubt anyone who could get that seriously wrong would even have got to the ground in one piece).

                You called? :-)

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Knowing what a lever or button do is just the beginning...

              > better than trying to teach a nicely coordinated medium turn in a live situation.

              Coordinated turns are for sissies and C172 pilots anyway. 8-)

              And yes, you can tell I've never been near a glider in my life.

    3. Alan Edwards

      Re: Knowing what a lever or button do is just the beginning...

      FS-X is still going, it's on Steam for a few pounds. I think I paid about £30 for it with a few extra bits.

      X-Plane is still around too, but the realistic simulation side seems to have moved on to Lockheed Prepar3D. You have to basically know how to fly to get anywhere with P3D, like go through the correct startup procedure to start the engines. With the right aircraft it also models the flight computer properly to set the auto-pilot up. Very good, but it's $300 plus extra for decent aircraft and scenery.

      Have a look at Squirrel, StevenKiberton or dirkadurka on Twitch to see P3D in use.

    4. Vinyl-Junkie
      Coat

      Re: it's a real pity MS abandoned Flight Simulator development ...

      The code was transferred to Lockheed-Martin, who have turned it into the superb Prepar3d (otherwise known as P3D); which is streets ahead of the version of FSX now released through Steam. Technically P3D is not available for entertainment use, however you can get an Academic licence without question for about US$100, and it's fairly obvious from the official LM releases that they know damn well it's being used for entertainment (just look at the aircraft included in the base package and ask yourself how likely it is that any student is going to get to fly a Connie....), just saying you can't means they don't have to support the home user market.

      http://prepar3d.com/ will tell you more.

      Mine's the one with Pooley's guide in the pocket (I've held a PPL as well as accrued several thousand simulated hours).

      1. SkippyBing

        Re: it's a real pity MS abandoned Flight Simulator development ...

        + Several for the P3D references. It's so much better than FSX that I haven't used the latter for years now, it also nicely runs the Dodo Sim Bell 206 FSX add-on which lets me practise engine starts and emergencies before I go and commit actual aviation.

        Incidentally if anyone is interested in add-ons with a nautical theme may I shamelessly plug www.flyingstations.com

        1. Roq D. Kasba

          Re: it's a real pity MS abandoned Flight Simulator development ...

          Oh totally agreed, steering with your feet alone is a dreadful idea if you have any airmanship or an autopilot functioning. It's only marginally better than the alternatives of going wingover, into a spin, losing altitude, flying away from safety and not turning at all, with no radio, etc.

          That said, in such a situation, death will be pretty much inevitable, so maybe shearing off the control surfaces will just do so more efficiently ;-)

          1. GavinC

            Re: it's a real pity MS abandoned Flight Simulator development ...

            First of all, having tried both P3D and FSX:Steam Edition, I can say there are very few differences between the two. Also, the makers of FSX:Steam Edition (Dovetail Games) are planning to release a new version towards the end of this year, which is claimed to be a vast improvement over the current version.

            but back on topic - I've used FS for about 15 years, and a few years ago I had a go in a real life BA training simulator, flying a BA 777-200. Landing was surprisingly easy if you know what you are doing.

            Most modern aircraft are fly-by-wire, so there is no need to work the rudder to balance out your turns, just turn the yoke and the computer does the rest. The only time you need the foot pedals is when you're on the ground. The foot pedals provide two functions - press the whole pedals to activate the rudder, and press the tips down to activate the brakes.

            One interesting thing to note though - aircraft have differential breaks, so each are activated separately. This poses a problem for most people who hold a driving license - you become sub-consciously used to slamming your left foot to the floor quickly, while pressing your right foot slowly. In a plane, this has the result of throwing you off the side of the runway due to the differential breaking.

            So watch out for that one if you ever do have to take control of a plane :)

            1. Fonant

              Re: it's a real pity MS abandoned Flight Simulator development ...

              When driving your left foot gets used to pressing against a very strong clutch pedal spring, while the right foot only presses lightly on the brake pedal and hardly at all on the accelerator.

              Try using your left foot to brake in an ordinary car when it's safe to do so: you will probably brake far too hard!

    5. Jan 0 Silver badge

      Re: it's a real pity MS abandoned Flight Simulator development

      Why? I thought that real pilots use FlightGear (at home) and was wondering whether the pilot who posted this video was a real airliner pilot. (The 737 is available in FlightGear)

    6. cageordie

      Re: Knowing what a lever or button do is just the beginning...

      It really isn't all that difficult, humans are very good at learning hand-eye coordination. Chances of watching this and being able to program the approach in to the FMC... not very good.

      I never liked FSX, fortunately there's X-Plane, which is a much better flight model anyway. As luck would have it my Boeing certified 777 Worldliner is flying itself from KSFO to BIKF right now.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    first question

    how do YOU get into the cockpit...

    although I guess, if both pilots are out, there's still a chance one of the flight attendants can do "something" about the door (in which case, I'm sure they'd have some MORE basic training with landing this lump of metal than a passanger following a video...). Unless they grin maniacally when you approach them and tell you to go back to your seat and pray it ends quickly.

  9. djack

    Neat

    I got the impression that this is more of an calming thing to demonstrate how the plane could be landed by a novice to reassure (as the video title states) 'nervous passengers'

    Though the proximity of the 'Mic' switch to the 'Autopilot Disable' switch makes me more nervous.

    Kind of reminded me of a book (by James May?) that covered amongst other 'big boys things' how to land an Airbus plane. Basically it boiled down to following ATC's instructions of what to put into the autopilot and then if you are in range of a suitably equipped runway, press the auto-land button. As to what would happen if the available airports weren't suitably equipped, multiple experts agreed : Everyone. Will. Die.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Neat

      As to what would happen if the available airports weren't suitably equipped, multiple experts agreed : Everyone. Will. Die.

      That is pretty much an argument to then try anyway. You already know "what is the worst that could happen", so any moderately intelligent chance to improve on that outcome is IMHO worth a try.

      I certainly would give it a shot if there wasn't anyone left on the plane with flight experience.

      1. djack

        Re: Neat

        "That is pretty much an argument to then try anyway. You already know "what is the worst that could happen", so any moderately intelligent chance to improve on that outcome is IMHO worth a try."

        Oh, most definitely.

        Doing nothing = certain death

        Giving it a try = almost certain death

        As we know from dear departed Terry, million to one shots work nine times out of ten.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Neat

          As we know from dear departed Terry, million to one shots work nine times out of ten.

          General principle: never give in without a fight. If the grim reaper wants me, he will have to bloody well work for it.

          1. Astarte

            Re: Neat

            Regarding evading the Grim Reaper see this:

            https://xkcd.com/788/

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Neat

          Certainty of death, small chance of success... what are we waiting for?

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. asdf

            Re: Neat

            Being a bit older i prefer.

            Not necessarily. There's definitely a *very slim* chance we'll survive.

            I love this plan! I'm excited to be a part of it! LET'S DO IT!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Neat

      They came to the opposite conclusion on Mythbusters. With an experienced pilot talking them down, they were both able to make good (though perhaps not great) landings, on manual control, at the first attempt. They did comment that it was an unrealistic scenario because on a modern plane you'd just use the autopilot. If I recall correctly, the talk-down included a lengthy period of circling to understand the instruments and rehearse the precedures required for the landing.

  10. PaulAb

    Watch Father Ted

    I believe that after father Dougal McGuire accidently pressed the fuel dump button, it was found that all that is needed to land a complex flying machine is an 'Our Lady' Sellotape dispenser and someone willing to get ouside the aircraft to dispense it.

    From recent press releases I believe you will have more problems dealing with a punchy, drunk pilot than taking charge of the controls themselves, and don't dare wake them whilst they sleep at the controls.

  11. Dave Horn

    Airbus version: when you get into the pilot's seat and try to talk to ATC, don't push the big tempting red button on the sidestick that's conveniently located under your thumb...

    1. MrT

      Or at least know where the AP1 button is to switch it back on again if you do get it wrong...

  12. ntevanza

    Data centre version

    Can we have the post quake data centre recovery version of this video?

    "Mayday, mayday, I'm the security guard, everyone else is dead, mayday mayday"

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nobs?

    "...which nobs and switches you'll need to twiddle"

    Knobs, please.

    1. lawndart

      Re: Nobs?

      Depends on whether you are attempting to fly a Vickers Viscount.

      Trying it in a Princess flying boat may produce unexpected results, however.

  14. Orwell44

    I purchased FSX on steam, and also the UK VFR scenery add-on - I cannot get the latter to install properly from Steam.

    I don't want to fly around standard dummy scenery so it was a wasted purchase.

    Time that Google with their great mapping, developed a real flight sim instead of their toy one.

    1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Don't worry you aren't missing much - you have to be ridiculously high for it to be remotely convincing and it doesn't come with the phone number of your local drug dealer. But I second your motion for a Google flight sim - even the rather dodgy Google 3D buildings put the Microsoft autogen scenery to shame.

      1. Bronek Kozicki

        X-Plane

        If you want realistic plane simulator, head to X-Plane

      2. Schlimnitz

        The is (was?) one in Google Earth. Not much good to fly, but at least you get the scenery

  15. volsano

    Why not show videos like this during the pre-flight safety briefing? Then passengers have only themselves to blame if they can't land it in an emergency.

  16. The Quiet One

    Good Luck....

    James May wrote a book a few years ago, entitled "How to land an Airbus A320". Which was aimed at helping the modern man find his way out of such sticky wickets.

    I recall a passage where he spoke to a seasoned A320 pilot about the likelihood of a passenger actually being able to pull this off. His response was along the lines of

    "Everyone would be Killed".

    The only hope you have is ATC can give you the settings you need to punch in to perform an Autopilot landing, I don't think even an amateur pilot or anorak and adenoid totting Flight Sim buff would stand a chance of manually getting a jet liner down in once piece.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon

      Re: Good Luck....

      Don't be so sure. I used to think the same - but after being an avid helicoptor sim fan I decided to have a go at a real one and had a lesson.

      The most important thing I recall taking into that flight was 'the controls are really sensitive' - so I made sure I only used small inputs at all times. I was a little stiff, it being my first flight and all, but the instructor thought I was doing so well he got me to take us back to the airport right up to the point of landing, where I hovered 20ft over the pad, and gradually lowered us to 10ft before hovering again and he took over. He told me that the last maneuver would have safely landed us had he allowed me to continue. Apparently he isn't allowed to let a <1 hour student land it for some reason :)

      I was also feeling terribly motion sick at the time too, so my attention wasn't 100%.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Good Luck....

        Maybe some of the die-hard, cockpit builder simmers may have a little chance... one of the issues with simulators is you don't get used to a lot of forces and feedbacks you get from a real plane - and the real world complexity, still unmatched by sceneries. Anyway, if the other option is to die doing nothing...

    2. MrT

      Re: Good Luck....

      A330 - got it here... that was indeed if ATC send you to a "remote runway on a disused airbase where you have no choice but to land the aeroplane manually" instead of giving you vectors to an ILS-equipped airport that will also have all those other nice things like emergency response vehicles... it's a good read...

      When the plane is finally down on the runnway and has stopped rolling, "Apply the parking brake, shut down the engines by lifting and twisting the knobs marked ENG1 and ENG2, press the PA button and say 'Cabin crew, doors to manual.' If you happen to have landed at Barcelona it is permisible to say 'Cabin crews, doors to Manuel.' ... Now report to the control tower for a cup of tea and a truly enormous medal."

      1. Roq D. Kasba

        Re: Good Luck....

        That scenario pretty much perfectly describes the ideal scenario for leaving the doors in automatic, surely?

  17. MacroRodent

    Pedals?

    From my extremely limited pilot experience (once held the joystick in an actually flying two-seater sailplane for a minute, and crashing some aircraft in PC simulators), I recall you normally don't use the pedals. Most course changes can be done with tilting the plane with the ailerons that the joystick controls when you move it sideways. And if you need the pedals, they must be used in a way very carefully co-ordinated with the joystick movements. What do the actual flying aces in this forum say?

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon

      Re: Pedals?

      I believe you need the pedals to keep the plane facing into the wind on landing when it isn't directly in your face.

      I was on a small plane flight coming into Cambridge airport once, and as they only have the one runway there can be some dodgy cross-winds. As we came into land, I was looking directly down the runway out of the side window!! The pilot straightened up to land about 30 feet off the ground - that was pretty scary and a great bit of piloting. I reckon the angle of offset must have been at least 40 degrees.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pedals?

        There are two ways of doing it, one is banking the plane ("sideslipping" it), the other is "crabbing" (the one you experienced) - anyway even when crabbing ailerons are used to keep the plane levelled.

        You also need a lot of rudder if an engine fails to counter the asymmetrical force, or to perform some specif manoeuvre.

        Usually a coordinated turn is accomplished using ailerons, elevators, and enough rudder to "keep the ball centered" - otherwise the aircraft "sideslips". If rudder alone is used, the airplane would skid towards the outside, increasing also drag - remember there is no wheels friction to counteract the lateral acceleration as in car.

        1. Def Silver badge

          Re: Pedals?

          Sideslipping isn't really an option since they started putting the engines underneath the wings. ;)

          Which leaves crabbing. I once heard (pre-Internet when I was a kid) that Boeing used to stress test their undercarriage for landing up to 45 degrees from the direction of travel. How true that actually is though, I wouldn't like to say. :)

    2. Jos V

      Re: Pedals?

      In commercial aircraft like the B73x or A3xx during most of the flight you don't use the rudder pedals. You use them for aligning on the runway during take-off, or for wind corrections on landing. For the rest of the flight there is a thing call the yaw-damper. If you move the side-stick left or right, or turn the yoke, the yaw-damper (computer) will automatically apply the necessary rudder deflection for a controlled turn.

      In a case of asymmetrical thrust (one engine out, or partial thrust), during flight you can trim this out with the rudder trim, but you zero trim this back on approach and use the pedals manually, otherwise you will have a nice chance of making an ugly early turn off the runway on touchdown (when you idle out the throttle on the remaining engine).

  18. bob, mon!
    Mushroom

    747 in old Microsoft Simulator

    Back in the Atari 400 days, we used to put the MS Simulator's Boeing 747 through loop-the-loops. Hard to get up enough airspeed...

    Landing was easy, though. Just point at the ground and wait.

    1. Blue Pumpkin

      Re: 747 in old Microsoft Simulator

      And the even older VAX version that would let you define your own planes and then would take over your MicroVAX completely.

      We used to land the 747s on the aircraft carrier - or not - as we usually ran out of runway - but they did float :-)

  19. Clive Galway

    "Use your feet to steer by pushing on the left or right pedal"

    Pedantic much?

    Foot pedals control yaw, and do basically the same thing as a steering wheel in a car or the handlebars on a bike.

    So saying "Use your feet to steer by pushing on the left or right pedal" is putting it in simple terms that anyone familiar with cars or bikes (ie everyone) can understand.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Use your feet to steer by pushing on the left or right pedal"

      No, it is true they control yaw - but is called "yaw" and no "steering" because it is not the same thing. "Turning" in a flying airplane require proper control on all the three axis - not one alone like in a car or bycicle. The wrong uncoordinated turn can put you into a dangerous situation like a stall, or worse, a spin. Or even stress the control surfaces too much and damage them. AA flight 587 lost the vertical stabilizer due to excessive rudder use.

      1. Craig 2

        Re: "Use your feet to steer by pushing on the left or right pedal"

        In an emergency, will pushing the pedals alone cause the aircraft to change heading? Yes or No

        1. Phil Edwards

          Re: will pushing the pedals alone cause the aircraft to change heading?

          Yes.

          Google for 'primary and secondary effects of controls'

        2. LDS Silver badge

          Re: "Use your feet to steer by pushing on the left or right pedal"

          Heading? Yes. But in emergency situation you want to change course, not heading... it's. just like in a car that lost adherence with ground while turning, your heading may be away from the obstacle, but the car is still on a course towards the obstacle...to avoid an obstacle you need the plane to follow the most efficient turn.

      2. djack

        Re: "Use your feet to steer by pushing on the left or right pedal"

        The time he says to do that is when you are on the ground, doing so to try and stay on the runway. you are not trying to bank at that point, so yaw is the only way to go.

  20. Bronek Kozicki

    well, this is obivously

    ... intended for someone with enough experience flying simulators to actually know how to maintain plane position in approach path. Hint: it is not as easy as it appears in the video.

  21. Alien8n

    Not as difficult as you first think

    Admittedly my experience is limited to *one afternoon and the weather patterns were set to "fine" but the 737 is actually quite easy to fly and land. It's certainly a lot easier in a real flight trainer than it is on console or PC.

    *A friend of my father-in-law built flight simulators for training pilots. Many years ago I was invited to "test" a new 737 simulator at Gatwick airport prior to shipping to Seattle. Within 2 hours I was able to land the plane quite safely with fairly limited instruction (by which I mean instruction that could be given over the radio if necessary). That said I'm fairly certain my "passengers" would be a ball of flames had the weather been set to JFK in midwinter. Interestingly even back then the capability existed for programming the plane to take off and land on autopilot, it's just people for some reason trust having a human doing the take-off and landing more than a computer.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not as difficult as you first think

      The real problem is when you have just one attempt left :-)

      There have been some situations where the autolanding option did autoland into terrain which was not the intended runaway. Mostly because of wrong inputs fed into the system - a not working sensor, pilots interfering with the system in an unproper way - and usually it was too late for pilots relying on the system to assess the danger and take the corrective actions in time.

      Maybe new systems based on optronics able to "understand" the environment prcessing images of it in real time, instead of just relying on speed/altitude/course sensors may be designed to perform better autolandings while identifying sensor errors and decide to ignore them switching to other inoputs, albeit maybe less precise ones (i.e. runway approach lights).

  22. druck Silver badge
    Happy

    Yes I can fly a plane

    I think anyone with a PPL and a bit of help from ATC could bring a modern passenger jet down safely.

    Where as a non flyer would be overcome by the complexity of the cockpit, and frightened of crashing when taking the control manually, a pilot can find the few key controls that count, and know the fundamental rules of flight aren't any different. What you do have to take in to account is the slower reaction of a larger aircraft, and the higher landing speeds involved.

    Trouble is every time I board every commercial plane now, I'm hoping that they'll make request for anyone who can fly a plane, and I can say yes.

  23. Tpkse1

    How to Land a 737 Desktop Pilot Edition

    We need the Desktop Pilot edition of this video. For those like me that have hundreds of hours in P3D on the PMDG 737 practicing Flows, Checklists, procedures and ATC communications. Sim vs Real life is not the same but it sure helps.

  24. Mark 85 Silver badge
    Trollface

    One last recommendation...

    Don't try a victory barrel roll on final. Request a fly-by first and do it then.

  25. Swiss Anton

    Having landed safely ...

    WTF, you've landed safely then you grab a beer (and fail the subsequent breath test). You then use the emergency slide breaking your ankle in the process. I'd stick to the OJ and wait for a someone to drive some stairs up to the plane. BTW, how did that speed indicator change from Mach to IAS?

    But the biggest fail here is that there is no mention of what will happen if you let the airspeed get too low (hint you will land - sort of, though in all likelihood, you sill won't need the emergency slide).

  26. cageordie

    This has been done better before

    There are loads of videos like this, it is amazing that this one became news. Baltic Flight Academy has a whole series for the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 classic and NG models. In their case they use proper full motion certified simulators. The problem with FSX is that the flight model and cockpit model aren't all that good. X-Plane has better simulations, including very accurate 777 and 747-8 models, among others. The following Youtube video shows a flight attendant landing a Boeing 737.

    https://youtu.be/o7WMQUDGDD4

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This has been done better before

      The default Boeings and Airbuses in FSX may be not so good, but there are some very detailed 3rd party ones if you really like them (I usually prefer to fly smaller planes because one pilot operations are more realistic in them).

      The flight model of those products is also improved, within FSX limitations which are not so bad. I know X-Plane has always boasted its flight model, but Lockheed-Martin got right on the FSX engine for its Prepar3D product, it shouldn't have been so bad...

      Also, for far better realism try to fly on networks like IVAO or VATSIM, you'll get an hint about what it means flying in a crowded airspace. Just don't call for emergencies too often - they got tired of people doing it because mama/girlfriend/wife is calling "dinner is ready"...

  27. imanidiot Silver badge
    Alert

    Too bad he explains landing controls wrong!

    Too bad he explains landing controls wrong! And in a way that will likely get everyone killed in an overspeed/overshoot or undershoot/stall. Attitude (nose-height) controls SPEED. Engines control descent angle. Lowering the nose doesn't actually make you land much closer, it just increases speed. Bbecause of the increased speed, the wings produce more lift and the angle of decent doesn't change as much as you'd expect. Raising the nose slows you down and not knowing about stalls and what to do about them a novice is just going to pull back even harder. I find it very sad that someone who seems to be a professional pilot drops the ball on this one so hard.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Too bad he explains landing controls wrong!

      On top of that there is btw another point to make. Get a Co-pilot. Doesn't matter if he know what he's doing, but having someone there to operate the flaps while you focus on the flying or moving switches when you are otherwise occupied can be very important. Make sure its a well behaved 8 year old that knows how to take instructions though. Most adults will be too pigheaded and try to think for themselves instead of working as a crew.

      For those with some aviation experience a Co wil allow them to run the normal checklists as well, making this much safer and the chances of missing something slightly smaller.

  28. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    If both pilots have passed out...

    ...how do I get into the cockpit?

    1. Bronek Kozicki

      Re: If both pilots have passed out...

      Flight crew may let you in. They cannot do that if the pilots are actively preventing the door from being open, but if they passed out ...

  29. Sirius Lee

    But how would this passenger get into the cockpit

    Cockpits are now locked so if both crew members in their are incapacitated, how will a passenger or flight attendant gain entry?

  30. Rob Daglish
    Mushroom

    But what if...

    Morgan suggests that you start by finding the radio so you can contact air traffic control and say “Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! This is Delta 1603. Both pilots are unconscious and I am a passenger flying the aircraft.”

    But what if I'm not on Delta 1603, won't this just confuse ATC?

    Sheesh, 99 comments in, and no one has bothered to ask this simple question. I'm starting to wonder about some of you guys...

    How my Flight Sim landings normally end ----->

  31. TopCat62

    As a PPL with approaching 1000 hours in light singles, I have a mate who flies A320s for BA, and he invited me to join him for a sim session (a proper sim, not on a PC). I flew a few visual approaches, initially using the ILS and the PAPIs for orientation, and did Ok - although smacking it down pretty hard the first couple of times, I would have failed to kill anyone.

    But don't underestimate the difficulty. I already knew what to do in principle, and I've done it over 1000 times in small aeroplanes, but it was still hard not to over control. A big jet has a lot of momentum, and if it gets away from you, you just have to go around and try again.

    The aircraft may have been entirely simulated, but the adrenaline was entirely real.

  32. Peter 39

    the way it was ...

    Back in the day (late 70's) BA had a cool fully auto-land system. It was on BAC-111 and maybe some others, although not heavies. This was a 100% hands-off landing, all the way.

    Worked great through testing and acceptance and then one day the full-thick fog reduced visibility to not much more than your nose. But BA could land, and then ... LHR had to send out a blinky "follow-me" to lead him to the gate. Poor pilot could not even see the ground in order to taxi.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Video is borked seems like

    says private .. dunno what's going on ...

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