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a kinda bizarre idea, kinda not (re 9/11

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Well-known member
Nov 29, 2001
The UAL 757 that crashed in Pennsylavania on 9/11 had a private pilot on board. Airliners should carry a small instruction booklet that tellsa private pilot how to program an autolanding, (without depending on the radio for instructions).
Yes, it had several private pilots on board, some of whom were attempting to take over the aircraft.

One mis making the assumption that the hijackers would be disabled, and then the private pilot would find this manual, and land the airplane (a walter mitty fantasy for all private pilots, I believe).

Had FL93 not crashed, it would have been shot down. Interceptors were enroute, but got there too late.

Most flights have pilots jumpseating on board, or deadheading, or simply traveling, It's very common to have a number of pilots on board.

Making operating instructions available to traveling private pilots probably won't make a lot of difference, I suspect. If the issue is flying the airplane after the crew has been killed or disabled, and the attackers neutralized, then perhaps a higher priority ought to be getting to that point. Before we worry about finding a way to land the airplane, we ought to concentrate on keeping it under friendly control, or in the event we're beyond that, in taking control back.
trust me, I don't want to do it!

I won't speak for most pilots, but I'll tell you that while I once wanted to fly the heavy iron for a living, I don't want to have to do it in an emergency. Don't get me wrong, if I have to, I will, no questions asked...but I don't secretly wish to be called upon to do so! Look at my time and a/c flown...I'm not a fool.

Hey if they can do it in the movies then you can do it too. My wife has a private with about 400 hours, she will hand fly raw data the sim to a beautiful landing, a 737. That means that in real life you could do it too, just remember to put the gear down and use full flaps. Just put a spot on the windshield and fly it like a short field approach on your 150. When it looks right, the ground rushing by just like the 150 your are there, it is all relative. The only airplane that is screwey is the Learjet. You flare 3 feet off the ground at 130Knots that will mess you up. But the big ones are just like a 150 or 172. If any pilot tells you diffrently he is interested in more than airplanes.
I disagree.

Your talking about taking a relatively low time private and putting that person into an already stressful situation..cold! There's no warm up time, no giving them 3 or 4 tries to get it right the first time. It's the Superbowl the first time and losing is not an option. That person would have to deal with variables and operating techniques involved with flying large jet engine aircraft that would probably be overwhelming at first to just about anyone. Engine response times, mass and enertia problems, the fact that your landing at speeds they're use to cruising at just to name a few.

I'm pretty sure your wife didn't just jump in the seat and fly a beautiful appraoch and landing without sufficient coaching throughout from either you or the sim instructor the first time. And, that was probably with clear wx conditions and calm winds. Also, there is a certain calmness knowing that it's just a simulator and no matter what happens everyone will walk out of the box unharmed.

Having been a sim instructor on the B75/76 and IOE instructor, I can tell you that even experienced airline pilots with thousands of hours of jet time struggle initially, not only with the automated cockpit but acheiving acceptable landings. Granted, their landings are initially handflown and they usually catch on quickly, the first landing is rarely pretty.

You might argue that the low time private pilot just has to do an autoland. Well, I'll argue that this person first has to fiqure out how to operate the radios in order to find help from someone on the ground. This in itself is not as easy as it may sound to someone that never been in the business end of a large jet. I've seen experienced crews struggle with the audio panel the first couple of times in the sim. Next, the person has to be able to manipulate the automation successfully and confiqure the aircraft for the approach and autoland single-handedly. What if the automation hiccups? What if the autopilot or autothrottles disconnect because of a nervous hand or finger twitch on the wrong button. Could that person turn the system back on?

My point being, in theory, a low time private pilot could land a large automated jet if the need arose. In practical terms, there's probably not a chance in h&ll they're going to pull it off even with the automation.

If you think they can so easily then I say you've forgotten how hard it was for you to master it yourself. I'll guarantee the things you take for granted when safely flying your jet on an everyday basis would not even cross the mind of an inexperienced private pilot.

I landed the other day with a quartering headwind gusting to 38 kts (53kts at 1000ft AGL). I had my hands full all the way down the appraoch and landing with wild airspeed fluctuations and the crab angles we saw . It reminded me just how difficult it can be sometimes and...a C152/C172 it wasn't.

Just my opinion.
TurboS7 said:
You guys all just have big ego's, this stuff isn't that hard.

Don't take this personally, but any pilot who thinks this "isn't that hard" is in for a rude awakening one day. You may have had it too easy for too long and become complacent. When the s__t hits the fan, you had better be ready.
You can be sure that my ego has nothing to do with it. In fact, I'm about as unimpressed with what I do as you can be. I do believe any low time private pilot CAN learn to land a big jet eventually just like any of us did. It just ain't gonna happen under the circumstances discussed here.
Any word on when UPS going to start J/S again?
Brown is beautiful... and a blast to ride on too!!!
I checked CAL's j/s list today (granted Nov 3rd was the last update) and said UPS, Fedex, etc...was still working on it
Let's all just hope that we don't have to find out........fun stuff to talk about though. No hard feelings.
Let's all just hope that we don't have to find out........fun stuff to talk about though. No hard feelings.


No hard feelings on my part, just a difference of opinion. Take care and fly safe! If you don't mind me asking, what airline do you fly for? You mentioned you do some flying for them over in Europe. Is it a charter company?

Any word on when UPS going to start J/S again?
Brown is beautiful... and a blast to ride on too!!!


I think we're all fed up with this superficial increase in security which is no more than smoke and mirrors for the general public and does absolutely NOTHING to enhance safety.

As far as jumpseating, the problem is not UPS, FedEx or any freight carrier. The hold up is the FAA. They (FAA) have said under FAR 108 that airlines have to reinforce the cockpit door and have a separate area for jumpseaters. Well, we don't have cockpit doors and the jumpseaters are usually in the cockpit with us. That's just the design of our aircraft. We would love to be able to offer our jumpseats to offline crewmembers but the FAA has been slow to respond to our request. UPS, IPA and other union and airline groups are trying hard to rectify the situation.

To all pax airlines currently allowing UPS pilots to jumpseat on their flights....THANK YOU!!! Remember, UPS and their pilots are NOT responsible for off line pilots not being able to jumpseat on our flights...it's the FAA! We're working on it!!!!!!!!!!

Miami Air International, Quest Cargo, same operation. We have 9 727's, 4 Cargo, 4 Pax,1 Exec. 727 50 pax, 2-737-800's with one on lease from Excel Airlines in UK. During the summer we keep one 737 in Europe flying out of Gatwick, during the summer we have a base there. Small operation but for the most part you know everybody, excellent people to work with and for. There is a good article about us in the Jan. issue of Airliner/ one of those magazines. There are a lot of pilot's and FA's in the majors that have passed through our doors over the years. I love flying charter so I am here for the long haul, plus I live in Ft. Lauderdale, makes it nice.