MD-11 asked in Cars & TransportationAircraft · 1 decade ago

Why does one of the pilots announce their altitude to his colleagues just prior to touchdown?

100-50-40-30....

Check out this video!

http://www.flightlevel350.com/Aircraft_Boeing_777-...

Update:

Oops!...Firstly I thought it was an instrumental calling, but later when watching another video it was a female' voice and the F/O was female too!! :)

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  • 1 decade ago
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    In the older days of commercial aviation, it was the first officer that was calling out altitudes. Now, it is the much more accurate radar altimiter... measures distance above ground level and an automated voice announces the altitude... the reason is simple, so that the flying pilot knows how high he is and when to start the flare... when your in to cockpit of a large airplane, your much higher than the back of the plane and you may not be able to see the runway at all on touchdown...

  • 1 decade ago

    The Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS) besides it's other uses which other people have referred to, is also a audible guide to the pilot to his/her rate of decent. As the aircraft passes through these heights a voice calls them out. Some pilots i know use the space between these call outs to asses their landing. Just the like the video in reference, notice the spacing between call outs was fairly consistent. If the "50... 40...30" was very fast, the aircraft may have an excessive rate of descent. This said, the pilot can adjust the 'flare' (raising of the nose before wheels touch down) accordingly.

    I should point out, this is not soley used for touching down. A flight deck with these types of technology is designed to give a pilot maximum awareness of their aircrafts situation. The pilot also has at his/her disposal many other tools to assist with a nice landing.

    Source(s): Hands On Experience
  • 1 decade ago

    Even if its an automated voice announcing the altitude, it makes sense to have a system that does this. Flying is done with either VFR (Visual Flight Rules) or IFR(Instrument Flight Rules) and if a plane is cleared for landing with low visibility as seen in the video, they have to rely on IFR to orientate themselves to the runway. Granted the fog could be alot thicker, it's helpful to know how high they actually are from the runway when you're focusing on finding the runway within the fog.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    well we do this procedure since we have a table of prescribed altitudes/heights at certain distances from touchdown and we check that we do have the correct altitude. this will save llives when instruments fail -altimeters showing different altitudes because of false pressure setup, failure of ground based instrument procedure equipment etc. Safety reasons :) in some countries you may encounter procedures that lead you only left of track/right of track, no altitude control. typical is NDB/DME approach -you have to keep a prescribed rate of descent and by announcing the proper altitude to the pilot flying you help him. so far. if you want to know more, email to me, honza_urbanALT64yahoo.com

    Source(s): IFR rated pilot
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  • 1 decade ago

    thats not a pilot, thats an instrument on the plane.

    Probably used so that the pilot can keep looking forward more while still being aware of altitude. (also in case of bad weather or if the runway is a lot bigger/smaller, your brain may think wrongly about how high up you are)

    the instrument is mostly on larger aircrafts.

  • 1 decade ago

    Haha I was just at that Web site today. It's actually 'the plane' calling out the altitude. It's standard in most, if not all, aircrafts. It's just to let the pilots know how close the aircraft is to the ground, it helps- especially in that kind of weather.

  • 1 decade ago

    That is an automated voice. All big bet airliners have it. It helps the pilot lessen the amount they must look around the cockpit. It sure would be nice in a Cessna.

  • 1 decade ago

    That is not the other pilot doing those callouts its the radar altimeter which measures the height above the ground. It's used as a reference to let the pilots know where they are in relation to the ground.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The RADAR altimeter sends info to another system, most A/C use a system called Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS). We just say GipWhiz to shorten it. Some people call it Bitchin' Betty.

    It relays all kinds of info to the crew.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    the other two have it right on. it allows the pilot to focus his attention on lining up and such and not have to look at his instruments so much.

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