Can airliners land on autopilot during crosswind ?

Astro14

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Depends... On both the plane and the visibility. In general, airliners can't auto land over 15 knots of crosswind, which isn't much....some can go higher if the visibility is good.... The autopilot doesn't handle gusts well, either....
 
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Don't know the real answer. But there was a recent, in the last year or so, video of a pilot landing a plane at a UK airport where there was a REALLY strong crosswind. I watched it 3 or 4 times. Wish I could send you a link. But I do not remember where I saw it. I used to fly small prop aircraft. Crosswinds are real tricky. I remember landing and going down runways on one main landing wheel while slowing down enough to get the other wheels on the ground. Kind or tricky. My hat is off to those pilots in the big planes who do that. So to answer your question, I do not absolutely know but I really highly doubt it. I think it requires some "feel" in the final few seconds, meaning 5-10 seconds to get a wheel down, keep her straight down the center line and allow her to settle and then brake the plane. However computers are getting much better and might do it. I know that in the Navy the pilots who land on carriers call some landings controlled crashes. And they fly them down to the deck and have all kind of sophisticated computers on board. I know a couple of those guys. They deserve our utmost respect for there skills. I did not answer your question but tried to add some insight
 
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I don't know the answer to the question. I am not a pilot, but think were I, no plane of mine would get the chance. [おうふう]Cross winds have scared the [censored] out of me more than once.
 

Mr Nice

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Astro, Thanks for the explanation. I saw an MD-11 on a YouTube video make an impressive landing in high crosswinds. The pilot had great 'stick /rudder/throttle' skills and it got me thinking if the autopilot / computers could have made as smooth landing.
 
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Wow I'm no pilot but that looked impressive. Sphincter tightening just watching that, much less being the guy on the stick!! As a passinger looking out the window, I might have been quite worried.
 
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Originally Posted By: LT4 Vette
Astro, Thanks for the explanation. I saw an MD-11 on a YouTube video make an impressive landing in high crosswinds. The pilot had great 'stick /rudder/throttle' skills and it got me thinking if the autopilot / computers could have made as smooth landing.
A safe landing of the MD-11 in high crosswinds is a miracle indeed.
 
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The captain's ultimately responsible for the safety of the plane and passengers.it would be his choice as to how to safely put her down. If I were the captain, I'd hope i'd trust my my skills over those of a complex electromechanical system.
 
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Generally speaking, autopilots are used to land the airplane only in extremely low visibilty conditions. Generally speaking, low visibility conditions in which you can actually land tend to occur in low wind conditions. As a result, most instrument approaches that are in such low vis conditions that they require an autoland, known as a Catagory II (CAT II) or Catagory III (Cat III) ILS (Instrument Landing System), occur in relatively low wind situations. I say "Generally speaking" because there are plenty of exceptions. As Astro14 said, there are numerous limitations for performing autoland approaches, including several wind limitations such as crosswind limits. For an autoland in the aircraft I fly, there is a crosswind limitation of 15 knots. If the "braking action" is reported as less than "good", the limitation becomes 10 knots crosswind. Again, these are for autopilot flown autolandings. For manually flown landings, which happen in far greater numbers, the crosswind limitations are somewhat higher.
 
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The video posted above of the FDX MD-11 crashing in Narita is utterly unrelated to this thread. Pretty tasteless to post it.
 
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Originally Posted By: 72te27
The video posted above of the FDX MD-11 crashing in Narita is utterly unrelated to this thread. Pretty tasteless to post it.
Oh I guess crosswind was no factor at all in that landing. Overreliance on automated systems did not play a factor in that landing either. Let's just pretend this never happened, mkay? Don't want to get the Type 135 guys upset.
 
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Are you a pilot? You sure talk like one.
Originally Posted By: L_Sludger
Originally Posted By: 72te27
The video posted above of the FDX MD-11 crashing in Narita is utterly unrelated to this thread. Pretty tasteless to post it.
Oh I guess crosswind was no factor at all in that landing. Overreliance on automated systems did not play a factor in that landing either. Let's just pretend this never happened, mkay? Don't want to get the Type 135 guys upset.
 
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Correct, that was established recently in another thread.
Originally Posted By: 72te27
Sludger, I get that you're a troll. You already established that. No need to emphasis it.
 

Astro14

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Originally Posted By: L_Sludger
A safe landing of the MD-11 in high crosswinds is a miracle indeed.
This is a trolling post...completely off topic, and looking for a reaction. That crash had to do with gusts, not crosswind, and had nothing to do with autopilot, it was being manually flown. Yes, it happened. But it has no relevance to the OP's question.
 

Astro14

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Originally Posted By: 72te27
Generally speaking, autopilots are used to land the airplane only in extremely low visibilty conditions. Generally speaking, low visibility conditions in which you can actually land tend to occur in low wind conditions. As a result, most instrument approaches that are in such low vis conditions that they require an autoland, known as a Catagory II (CAT II) or Catagory III (Cat III) ILS (Instrument Landing System), occur in relatively low wind situations. I say "Generally speaking" because there are plenty of exceptions. As Astro14 said, there are numerous limitations for performing autoland approaches, including several wind limitations such as crosswind limits. For an autoland in the aircraft I fly, there is a crosswind limitation of 15 knots. If the "braking action" is reported as less than "good", the limitation becomes 10 knots crosswind. Again, these are for autopilot flown autolandings. For manually flown landings, which happen in far greater numbers, the crosswind limitations are somewhat higher.
This is right on, and more than I could type on my iPad. "over-reliance on automated systems" is a ridiculous claim. When the visibility goes below CAT 1 (1/2 mile, give or take), you have to use a HUD or autoland to land the plane. That's not over-reliance, that's reality. We autoland (or HUD, for some guys) all the time... And most of us hand-fly, turn off flight directors, etc. the rest of the time in order to maintain our skills. We're pilots, after all.
 
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Originally Posted By: Astro14
Originally Posted By: L_Sludger
A safe landing of the MD-11 in high crosswinds is a miracle indeed.
This is a trolling post...completely off topic, and looking for a reaction. That crash had to do with gusts, not crosswind, and had nothing to do with autopilot, it was being manually flown. Yes, it happened. But it has no relevance to the OP's question.
Et tu, brute? Did you read the JTSB report? It was using autothrottle instead of being manually flown. As an aside, when I visited that airport on a rotation a month later, the burn marks were still visible. Kind of a haunting scene, really.
 
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