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How Often Are Landings By AutoPilot?

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How Often Are Landings By AutoPilot?

Postby sim » Sun Mar 20, 2016 7:34 pm

How often are commercial flights landed using autopilot :?:
Jim Richards- I can answer from my experience as an Airbus 320 Captain, but procedures differ both by airline and by aircraft type.
To answer one of your questions directly, no, they are not used often. I personally have used it for about 10-20 landings total in the 10 years I’ve been flying the A320. I don’t know a single pilot who would prefer to perform an autoland to landing his/herself. What’s more, the autoland system tends to land more “firmly” than a pilot can. Don’t get me wrong — the system works extremely well, it just doesn’t land softly most of the time.

When I do use it (and in my experience this is true of my colleagues as well), it’s because I’m required to due to low visibility, and in those situtations I’m very happy I have it. Visibility is essentially the only factor (i.e. not snow, rain, wind, etc) that drives the decision to autoland. In fact, other than visibility, there are more restrictions with respect to an autoland than there are for a manual landing. For example, the runway must not be contaminated by snow or standing water, and the maximum crosswind allowed is significantly lower.
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