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Home > Flying on the Boeing 777 > Was the computer flying the Boeing 777 all the way from Amsterdam?
Was the computer flying the Boeing 777 all the way from Amsterdam?
Flying - Flying on the Boeing 777
Monday, 09 March 2009 13:30

Hi Captain Lim,

I have a question about the Boeing 777. I flew Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur in 2002 and just moments after the start of the descent, the pilot disengaged all engine power. That means we were gliding in our descent. It was very quiet in the cabin and our turns/movements were extremely precise. Do you think this was caused by a computer controlling the plane???

On the final approach, it was still very quiet in the cabin and I am not sure if the pilot used engine power at all before the touchdown at Runway 32L at KLIA.

Is this possible or must the pilot in this case have engaged some engine power to stay within the glide slope and to maintain sufficient airspeed???

I do not remember if the aircraft had full flaps selected. The weather was dark; it was before dawn and lightning was in the distance.

I experienced the same thing on my return to Amsterdam a few weeks later, but then it felt like the pilot turned off the autopilot just a few feet above the runway and took the airplane down manually. He had to do some corrections though, as we were going slightly sideways a little bit...

I hope you can help me with this alt

Gaute


Hi Gaute,

Yes, about 95 to 98 % of your Boeing 777 flight was controlled by computers. Of course the main computer was managed by a human - the pilot when you flew between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur!

On landing at Kuala Lumpur, the captain could even auto land the plane in good weather condition (KLIA is not certified for actual auto land in bad weather). The touchdown can be very smooth and comfortable. All the power settings for the landing could be controlled by the automatic thrust except that the pilot need only select the reversers after landing. So during the approach to land, the speed and power control are on automation if the pilot elects to do so.

All landings are normally on full flaps as this would shorten the stopping distance.

If the captain was auto-landing the plane at Amsterdam, the autopilot would only be disengaged on the runway at a safe taxing speed on the runway.

Normally, the autopilot would be selected off above 200 feet and not “just a few feet above the runway” in case the pilot decides to take over manually. This would give him sometime to get a feel of the plane if he wants to hone his manipulative skills.


The Boeing 777 (Simulated)



United Airlines Boeing 777 (Simulated)


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