Typically, a pilot will not give over control of the aircraft to an automated system unless conditions require it. While this is not always the case, most pilots prefer manual operations during both flight and landing, rather than allowing the auto pilot to do the job. Regardless, most modern aircraft have an autoland system that allows the plane to land automatically, in addition to an autopilot system for use right after takeoff and while the aircraft is cruising. Since these systems are able to perform the pilot’s job in certain situations, one might wonder why a pilot is needed at all. There are certain benefits to manual operations, specifically during landing, so this blog will explore when and how pilots use autoland systems.
A major reason that pilots prefer to manually operate their aircraft during landing, or during any other part of flight, is that it allows them to have better control of operations, rather than requiring them to rely on technology to perform perfectly. The human factor of being able to make split decisions and observations often makes pilots feel more comfortable maintaining operations manually. Additionally, pilots are also required to limit the frequency of autolands as mandated by a legal restriction. For these reasons, most pilots only rely on autoland when there is little to zero visibility outside.
Depending on the model of the aircraft, autoland options will vary. For example, most small planes do not have this feature at all, however Garmin Aviation gas recently developed a system that has been used in select small aircraft like the Cessna Piper M600. Even private jets often lack autoland features, with larger models often being the exception. Since military jets are often not equipped with autoland features because of operational requirements, the most common situations where pilots rely on autoland features are in commercial airliners.
Despite the added benefits of real-time decision making, autoland becomes the safer and better option when visibility is near zero. To initiate autoland in a commercial Boeing or Airbus aircraft, the pilot must begin by inputting relevant flight data through the flight management system. This allows the autoland system to combine this information with information from several other systems, such as the aircraft’s height as indicated by its altimeter, to determine the best flight path. Meanwhile, the plane’s auto thrust system will maintain the proper speed for operations in the specified conditions. Once the autoland system determines the plane has reached the right altitude, the autoland system initiates the flare by pitching up and reducing thrust.
As the pilot will oversee the entire operation, autoland can be more stressful and labor-intensive than manual landings. While autopilot is typically engaged for around 90% of flight, autoland features are much more complex and less frequently used. With aviation regulations requiring limited autolands as a means of improving the pilot’s landing skills, landing an aircraft in autopilot is a possible, yet uncommon, phenomenon. All things considered, when you require landing gear for such systems or any other aircraft, turn to ASAP Parts Online.
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