studentdrbev
Topic Author
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Can a pax land an aircraft?

Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:59 pm

I'm sure this is absurd but can a pax land an aircraft like anything from A320 to B747 during an emergency guided by the ATC? (assuming both the pilots are down). The pax has absolutely zero experience in flying and is a complete novice (doesn't know all the technical stuffs) a.k.a. an everyday Joe. Will the 'everyday Joe' be able to take the role of both the pilots at the same time and land safely?

This has happened several times before, the recent one being in the UK when the pilot of a Cessna deceased due to a heart attack and the pax landed the plane safely with just ATC instructions, but no record of happening in a commercial airliner especially with both the pilots down.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-humber-24450534

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk_down_aircraft_landing
 
IADCA
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Re: Can a pax land an aircraft?

Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:41 pm

It's not completely absurd, but there are a lot of variables that would play into how realistic it is. A 172 is a completely different animal from anything 320-sized and up, and it strikes me as really unlikely that a random Joe in 28E could hand fly a landing. If you could talk him into a position and were lucky enough to have a Cat III autoland available as an option, I'd think that would be a very different story.

Note though that Joe 28E would probably need help from a well-trained FA to even operate the radio to communicate, so you'd have a steep learning curve, and probably even more important than the ATC would be someone on the frequency who actually knew the plane, probably a type-rated pilot.
 
studentdrbev
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Re: Can a pax land an aircraft?

Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:54 am

IADCA wrote:
It's not completely absurd, but there are a lot of variables that would play into how realistic it is. A 172 is a completely different animal from anything 320-sized and up, and it strikes me as really unlikely that a random Joe in 28E could hand fly a landing. If you could talk him into a position and were lucky enough to have a Cat III autoland available as an option, I'd think that would be a very different story.

Note though that Joe 28E would probably need help from a well-trained FA to even operate the radio to communicate, so you'd have a steep learning curve, and probably even more important than the ATC would be someone on the frequency who actually knew the plane, probably a type-rated pilot.


I agree.

But won't reinforcement work when the person is flying the plane? The reward is survival and punishment is death. This could, in theory, accelerate his learning and thus can help him land the plane.
 
PanzerPowner
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Re: Can a pax land an aircraft?

Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:17 am

Best hope someone in budget economy is only there after buying some PMDG aircraft and a brand new top end PC.
Well uh, I obviously decided to refine this but i dont know how.
 
IPFreely
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Re: Can a pax land an aircraft?

Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:30 am

You should probably watch "Con Air" or "Executive Decision" before posting such a question.
 
IADCA
Posts: 1505
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Re: Can a pax land an aircraft?

Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:38 pm

studentdrbev wrote:
IADCA wrote:
It's not completely absurd, but there are a lot of variables that would play into how realistic it is. A 172 is a completely different animal from anything 320-sized and up, and it strikes me as really unlikely that a random Joe in 28E could hand fly a landing. If you could talk him into a position and were lucky enough to have a Cat III autoland available as an option, I'd think that would be a very different story.

Note though that Joe 28E would probably need help from a well-trained FA to even operate the radio to communicate, so you'd have a steep learning curve, and probably even more important than the ATC would be someone on the frequency who actually knew the plane, probably a type-rated pilot.


I agree.

But won't reinforcement work when the person is flying the plane? The reward is survival and punishment is death. This could, in theory, accelerate his learning and thus can help him land the plane.


It would certainly give them incentives to try hard, but a lot of people would panic under the circumstances. A literal life-or-death situation is hardly optimal for assimilation of new learning.
 
TUGMASTER
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Re: Can a pax land an aircraft?

Sun Feb 11, 2018 7:18 pm

You need someone who can press all the right buttons in the right order at the right time...

Type rated pilot on the ground, button Pusher in the fightdeck.

I’m know I’m over simplifying it.... but there you go
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Can a pax land an aircraft?

Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:58 pm

For an average passenger with zero knowledge it would be impossible, but on such a large aircraft mostly there's someone on board with at least a bit knowledge. Maybe not a certified pilot, but some experience in Flight Simulator or anything like that. Together with guidance from the ground that person would be their best hope.

There is however one advantage that a 737 has over a C-172. The 737 can make an autoland, the C-172 needs to be landed manually.
 
evank516
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Re: Can a pax land an aircraft?

Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:00 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
For an average passenger with zero knowledge it would be impossible, but on such a large aircraft mostly there's someone on board with at least a bit knowledge. Maybe not a certified pilot, but some experience in Flight Simulator or anything like that. Together with guidance from the ground that person would be their best hope.

There is however one advantage that a 737 has over a C-172. The 737 can make an autoland, the C-172 needs to be landed manually.


This begs the question about us avgeeks that maybe play a lot of Flight Simulator. As much as it is a game, I wonder if any knowledge acquired through the game could prove beneficial to us as the average passenger on board a flight in this situation?
 
phljjs
Posts: 308
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2005 7:26 am

Re: Can a pax land an aircraft?

Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:48 am

Captain Joe on YouTube did a video about this a few months ago.

Pretty enlightening...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lw6mjVIdbbc
 
KentB27
Posts: 211
Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2015 2:20 pm

Re: Can a pax land an aircraft?

Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:43 am

[/quote]This begs the question about us avgeeks that maybe play a lot of Flight Simulator. As much as it is a game, I wonder if any knowledge acquired through the game could prove beneficial to us as the average passenger on board a flight in this situation?[/quote]

Yes. It does help. This guy made an awesome video about almost this exact topic:

https://youtu.be/DfdpuBg8uvI
 
seat64k
Posts: 284
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Re: Can a pax land an aircraft?

Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:46 pm

Wouldn't familiarity alone (with the aircraft, where things are, how the communication goes, etc) put a member of the crew at an advantage in a situation like this?
 
STLflyer
Posts: 28
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Re: Can a pax land an aircraft?

Sat Feb 17, 2018 5:39 am

phljjs wrote:
Captain Joe on YouTube did a video about this a few months ago.

Pretty enlightening...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lw6mjVIdbbc


Mythbusters did it too, they were able to land a plane in a simulator being talked down over the radio.

That being said, I think if I ever found myself in a situation where an untrained passenger was landing the plane, I would need to change my pants once we got on the ground.
 
Jouhou
Posts: 36
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Re: Can a pax land an aircraft?

Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:19 am

evank516 wrote:
PatrickZ80 wrote:
For an average passenger with zero knowledge it would be impossible, but on such a large aircraft mostly there's someone on board with at least a bit knowledge. Maybe not a certified pilot, but some experience in Flight Simulator or anything like that. Together with guidance from the ground that person would be their best hope.

There is however one advantage that a 737 has over a C-172. The 737 can make an autoland, the C-172 needs to be landed manually.


This begs the question about us avgeeks that maybe play a lot of Flight Simulator. As much as it is a game, I wonder if any knowledge acquired through the game could prove beneficial to us as the average passenger on board a flight in this situation?


Hehehe based on my flight simulator experience if I ever get in that situation of having to fly the plane everybody on the flight would be screwed.

(played once, I really suck at landing)
 
AntonioMartin
Posts: 225
Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:58 am

Re: Can a pax land an aircraft?

Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:00 pm

Doesn't every plane have a ocked cockpit nowadays (so if the pilots both went down because of the bad fish, everyne would pretty much be f-ked up?)
 
Adispatcher
Posts: 119
Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2016 11:52 pm

Re: Can a pax land an aircraft?

Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:38 pm

studentdrbev wrote:
I'm sure this is absurd but can a pax land an aircraft like anything from A320 to B747 during an emergency guided by the ATC? (assuming both the pilots are down). The pax has absolutely zero experience in flying and is a complete novice (doesn't know all the technical stuffs) a.k.a. an everyday Joe. Will the 'everyday Joe' be able to take the role of both the pilots at the same time and land safely?

This has happened several times before, the recent one being in the UK when the pilot of a Cessna deceased due to a heart attack and the pax landed the plane safely with just ATC instructions, but no record of happening in a commercial airliner especially with both the pilots down.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-humber-24450534

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk_down_aircraft_landing


Assuming the controller knows how to guide an aircraft. I'd guess someone with expertise would need to be brought on freq.
 
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atcsundevil
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Re: Can a pax land an aircraft?

Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:58 pm

Adispatcher wrote:
studentdrbev wrote:
I'm sure this is absurd but can a pax land an aircraft like anything from A320 to B747 during an emergency guided by the ATC? (assuming both the pilots are down). The pax has absolutely zero experience in flying and is a complete novice (doesn't know all the technical stuffs) a.k.a. an everyday Joe. Will the 'everyday Joe' be able to take the role of both the pilots at the same time and land safely?

This has happened several times before, the recent one being in the UK when the pilot of a Cessna deceased due to a heart attack and the pax landed the plane safely with just ATC instructions, but no record of happening in a commercial airliner especially with both the pilots down.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-humber-24450534

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk_down_aircraft_landing


Assuming the controller knows how to guide an aircraft. I'd guess someone with expertise would need to be brought on freq.

Most controllers have flight experience to some degree. A few of my coworkers are former regional jet pilots, and a number of others have instrument ratings. Finding someone knowledgeable enough to take on that kind of task in a large facility wouldn't be an issue.
 
jman
Posts: 38
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Re: Can a pax land an aircraft?

Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:28 pm

A passenger would never be able to land the plane, for the simple reason that the cabin crew will never let you into the flight deck whilst the aircraft is still flying. A flight attendant will be the one that would have to communicate with ATC and land the airplane. Unless there is an off duty pilot traveling onboard that works for the same company (and their id can be quickly verified) a passenger will never get to do this. Its a security thing
 
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cpd
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Re: Can a pax land an aircraft?

Sun Feb 18, 2018 12:50 am

I doubt it'll ever happen in an airliner, as there is always a second pilot there. Assuming they were both incapacitated and you got the tap on the shoulder to help out and you could gain access to the flight deck (again unlikely), that's a hell of a tough task. Even those of you who are very senior pilots at home on your flight simulators are going to have a hell of a hard job. It's a real plane and the consequences are very, very big.

I know what I'm looking at in most aircraft flight decks and have a decent enough understanding of how things work (more so in the old airliners) so I'm not going to panic at least, but I wouldn't want to be in that position.

But the everyday Mr Joe Average who doesn't know anything about reference speeds, crosswinds, flaps and all the rest (even just basic flying principles) is going to have such a steep learning curve that even with an experience person on the radio, it may be too difficult.
 
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SheikhDjibouti
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Re: Can a pax land an aircraft?

Sun Feb 18, 2018 12:24 pm

jman wrote:
A passenger would never be able to land the plane, for the simple reason that the cabin crew will never let you into the flight deck whilst the aircraft is still flying. A flight attendant will be the one that would have to communicate with ATC and land the airplane. Unless there is an off duty pilot traveling onboard that works for the same company (and their id can be quickly verified) a passenger will never get to do this. Its a security thing

Ok, so the pilots are both down (as per the OP), the aircraft is ultimately going to run out of fuel & crash (Helios flight 522) and we are all going to die, but let's keep the cockpit door security protocol first & foremost in our heads.
Yeah, that seems entirely reasonable.....

On a serious note, I can see a very real need to check out anybody who steps forward, to refuse the 10 year old kid with flight sim experience in favour of a slightly more level-headed adult who has real world experience of controlling an actual solid vehicle, even if it is only a fork-lift truck. And there is nothing to stop the senior F/A from occupying the second seat - in fact I would consider it absolutely essential, even if they have nil cockpit experience, simply an extra pair of eyes & ears.

All joking aside, plenty of younger F/As might not even have a driving licence(*) so even the basic skills of holding a steering wheel whilst looking at instruments could be alien to them.
(*) Obviously I'm not referring to F/As originating from the U.S., who were born with a gun in one hand and a driving license in the other. :lol:
There are two things that happen when you get old.
1. You start to lose your memory.
2. What was I saying again?
 
jman
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Re: Can a pax land an aircraft?

Sun Feb 18, 2018 1:41 pm

SheikhDjibouti wrote:
jman wrote:
A passenger would never be able to land the plane, for the simple reason that the cabin crew will never let you into the flight deck whilst the aircraft is still flying. A flight attendant will be the one that would have to communicate with ATC and land the airplane. Unless there is an off duty pilot traveling onboard that works for the same company (and their id can be quickly verified) a passenger will never get to do this. Its a security thing

Ok, so the pilots are both down (as per the OP), the aircraft is ultimately going to run out of fuel & crash (Helios flight 522) and we are all going to die, but let's keep the cockpit door security protocol first & foremost in our heads.
Yeah, that seems entirely reasonable.....

On a serious note, I can see a very real need to check out anybody who steps forward, to refuse the 10 year old kid with flight sim experience in favour of a slightly more level-headed adult who has real world experience of controlling an actual solid vehicle, even if it is only a fork-lift truck. And there is nothing to stop the senior F/A from occupying the second seat - in fact I would consider it absolutely essential, even if they have nil cockpit experience, simply an extra pair of eyes & ears.

All joking aside, plenty of younger F/As might not even have a driving licence(*) so even the basic skills of holding a steering wheel whilst looking at instruments could be alien to them.
(*) Obviously I'm not referring to F/As originating from the U.S., who were born with a gun in one hand and a driving license in the other. :lol:


Well if both the pilots are down, the cabin crew wouldn't notice straight away, and its highly unlikely that they would inform passengers that there is something wrong with the pilots, can you imagine the chaos that would cause and how hard it would be to control everyone? The amount of times that aircraft land with problems and they don't tell the passengers are more than you think.

A senior flight attendant wouldn't occupy the second seat. There are procedures involved for these sort of things, and i can tell you that the incapacitated pilot will still stay in there seat but there will be a flight attendant in the flight deck with them for safety.
 
spacecadet
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Re: Can a pax land an aircraft?

Sun Feb 18, 2018 9:22 pm

jman wrote:
Well if both the pilots are down, the cabin crew wouldn't notice straight away, and its highly unlikely that they would inform passengers that there is something wrong with the pilots, can you imagine the chaos that would cause and how hard it would be to control everyone?


Someone has obviously never seen "Airplane!"

Seriously, though, I watched the Mythbusters do this and I don't see why it couldn't work for anyone. I looked for a video of that episode online but the only version I could find had just their first attempt, in which they had no help: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJ8K-hOcRHk

I'm pretty sure that was supposed to show the baseline, and that they had no flying experience or natural inclination to it. But then they get help from the controller, who tells them exactly what buttons to press, knobs to turn, etc. and they both managed to land on the runway and stop. I don't see why anybody couldn't do that if they can just follow instructions. Essentially the controller is flying the plane remotely. The passenger is just acting as their hands.

I would think it would be best - and I'm sure this is how the Mythbusters did it - to use as much automation as possible and minimize hand flying. A modern airliner can be programmed to land automatically at an airport with CAT III equipment, so setting up that programming, reviewing it a bunch of times and then executing it is probably what the passenger would be called on to do, rather than taking the control column or stick in hand and guiding it to the ground themselves.

Of course a flight attendant could do the same thing as well or better than a passenger, but just hypothetically, if ALL the flight and cabin crew were somehow knocked out, I don't see why an intelligent and calm-headed passenger couldn't do it.
I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
 
jman
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Re: Can a pax land an aircraft?

Sun Feb 18, 2018 9:38 pm

spacecadet wrote:
jman wrote:
Well if both the pilots are down, the cabin crew wouldn't notice straight away, and its highly unlikely that they would inform passengers that there is something wrong with the pilots, can you imagine the chaos that would cause and how hard it would be to control everyone?


Someone has obviously never seen "Airplane!"

Of course a flight attendant could do the same thing as well or better than a passenger, but just hypothetically, if ALL the flight and cabin crew were somehow knocked out, I don't see why an intelligent and calm-headed passenger couldn't do it.


No i've not seen the movie, what does it have to do with this discussion?

If all the flight and cabin crew were knocked out, good luck to the passenger to be able to get access to the flight deck by themselves. There is only 2 ways to get into the flight deck from the outside of it, and both ways require either the flight crew or the cabin crew :)

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