Qantas Boeing 747-400 Autoland
Hi Captain Lim,
Sorry to bother you (I don*t even know how you could answer all these emails, being a pilot!), but I am currently encountering problems on how to execute a successful ILS approach. I have entered the correct frequency and heading in preparation for the landing, so there is no fault there. However, the computer does not start the descent automatically, as it should (I think). The computer lines up the plane without any serious problems, but it does not follow the glideslope and descend. I am forced to manually set the altitude and the descent rate for the landing.
I have seen on your website about the term "autoland". Is the ILS approach supposed to be an autoland? I have also seen one of your replies for a similar question (by Alexander Gunther) that I am asking. You mentioned that the problem was that the plane did not "capture" the approach. What do you mean by that?
Could you please tell me what is the problem about the plane not descending automatically?
Thank you for your kind attention,
As you are fully aware, I just could not answer all the emails that I have received although I have being doing this quite regularly for the past 7 years. Yes, I do occasionally answer one or two in between my work now when I see the question is either new or requires an update. As you may have read in my introductory message, the title of my site was innocently coined without knowing the implication but now, I honestly could not cope with every aviation question that comes to my inbox.
Okay, to your repeated question about auto landing – in the real world, an “autoland” can only be executed by a pilot qualified to do so. So, if a pilot is not trained and certified, he must disengage the autopilot at 200 feet above ground level and perform the landing manually even though the plane is capable of doing so.
You cannot conduct an autoland on any ILS approach unless the airfield and aircraft equipment are certified capable of doing so. Of course, in the simulator, you can do whatever you want (including crashing the plane!) but not in a real plane. So, not any ILS can accept an auto-land.
If the simulator in your computer (MSFS2002) does not automatically capture the glide path even with the correct ILS frequency set, check whether you have armed the “APPR”. If yes, then there may be a glitch in the system. With the "APPR" armed and if the system is working normally, the autopilot would automatically capture the glidepath and descend by itself. If the autopilot is not used, then you have to fly the glidepath manually.
As I have mentioned before, I am not an expert on the MSFS and my system is not very stable either. Kindly review your Manual on how to fly an ILS again or visit my Forum on Flying the Simulator. There is a posting there by someone who can help you better.
Happy simulator flying! :-)