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Thread: Autoland

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    At the edge of the foothills west of Denver, Colorado, USA.

    Default Autoland

    I brought the subject up in a different thread. Rather than hijack that thread, I'll start a new one here ...

    The Shuttle is hand-flown on final. Why bother? Why not do an autoland?

    During the days when the Phantom was the US Navy's front line carrier based fighter, they experimented with an autoland system. The pilots who used it conceded that the autoland did a better job than they ever could, but at night and especially in bad weather at night, most of them couldn't stand the feeling of not being in control. Therefore they typically would cancel autoland and complete their approaches manually. The autoland experiment was soon cancelled and, to my knowledge, there has been no pressure to repeat it.

    I personally would not want to sit through an actual zero-zero landing, even though these go all the way back to the days of the Trident, and even though there has not, to my knowledge, ever been a Cat III landing accident. (The professionals will have to forgive me if I'm not using proper terminology, or if my facts are wrong. As always, please do correct me.)

    Thoughts? Opinions? Experiences?
    Last edited by xxmikexx; 03-26-2008 at 08:24 AM.
    Digital abstract art copyright 2010 Mike McCarthy, all rights reserved.

  2. #2


    I my opinion, for the orbiter, there is no second chance to go around! It is better to be in control. You don't what the computer to undershoot or overshoot for whatever reason. Besides, if you are flying the orbiter, then you are the best in the world. I see no reason why they should not manually fly the approach.

  3. Default

    autoland is only as good as the guys who programmed the computers and the guys who callibrated the equipment.
    As I've done both I'm loath to trust myself to such systems

  4. Default

    (though of course not autoland systems, other electronics, optics, and computers).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    The flight training center, Ca
    Blog Entries


    I thought that NASA did do automated shuttle approaches, but I dunno.

    I've heard that the new generations of carrier aircraft DO have autoland, but I'm not sure about this one either. Looks like I'm off to go do research.

  6. Default

    the shuttle does an automated approach, not an automated landing.
    At some point (not sure how far from touchdown) the pilot takes over.

  7. Default

    I like to be in control. Computers are emotionless, they cannot make decisions humans can. This is why never use ILS except in zero conditions. I am starting to think designers are trying to design pilots out of the cockpit

    Notice to pilot: Your free trial period is over, please register to continue using this software............ whoop whoop, pull up, pull up.

    My dog ate the keyboard!

  8. #8
    bstolle Guest


    What kind of emotions are needed during an ILS approach?
    I feel very comfortable when 3 autopilots are controlling the plane and are crosschecking each other.


  9. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bstolle View Post
    What kind of emotions are needed during an ILS approach?
    I feel very comfortable when 3 autopilots are controlling the plane and are crosschecking each other.

    i meant pilotless planes. sorry i did not say that

    My dog ate the keyboard!

  10. #10
    bstolle Guest


    AH, you mean drones etc...
    Confirmed, I dislike them very much and I've seen the photos of a large drone missing a 737 by a few feet.
    Especially when you have seen movies like Terminator3 you can't like them
    I'm afraid development of such capable drones isn't too far away


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