IC asked in Cars & TransportationAircraft · 10 years ago

How do planes land in a foggy condition if the plane doesn't have autopilot?like some cessna 172s?

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  • 10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    They don't, or rather they must land under IFR and the visibility conditions must be adequate for the type of instrument landing they plan to undertake.

    Autopilot is not required for instrument flight, but it's a really good idea, as single-pilot IFR in poor weather conditions can impose quite a workload, especially during approach and landing. However, small Cessnas are not equipped for autolanding, so ultimately the pilot must complete the landing and must be able to see the runway before reaching minimums for the instrument approach he has chosen.

    Flying VFR in conditions that are below VFR minimums is not only illegal but extremely dangerous. A smart pilot who encounters unexpected instrument meteorological conditions will make every effort to get back out of those conditions and land at the first opportunity to wait them out (or find an area where conditions are back to solid VFR). Of course, a smart pilot also prepares his flight well enough that unexpected IMC is extremely unlikely.

  • John R
    Lv 7
    10 years ago

    Except for a Cat III ILS, the autopilot never lands the plane.

    For a Cat III ILS, with no visibility requirements, the aircraft, crew, and airport all have to be specially certified for the approach. That's not very common. For example, I just checked all of the approaches for airports in 3 states and Washington DC, and only 4 Cat III approaches exist (one at Baltimore, one at Richmond, 2 at Washington Dulles). At no other airports in that region is it possible (or legal) to have the autopilot land the plane.

    Different types of instrument approaches have different weather minimums, and different minimums for different approach speeds. A standard ILS approach has minimums of 200 ft ceiling and .5 mile visibility. If you reach that altitude on the glideslope and do not have the runway or runway lights in sight, you have to do a missed approach.

  • 10 years ago

    Not a lot of flights are started when the destination (or the place of departure) has fog. Now, if it's unexpected, they'll have to land of course. oh and Cessna 172 Skyhawks do have autopilots. Anyways, even though commercial planes/other planes may have autopilot, most of the time, pilots don't use autopilot to land. I've noticed it takes me a bit off runway heading... Anyways, the lights at the airport go through the fog and the pilots know what lights to look for (as they have different colors).

    Source(s): Flight simulator Pilot and have flown planes (including a Cessna 172) in real life.
  • 10 years ago

    If a plane is not equipped to land in predicted weather conditions at its destination, it is not permitted to takeoff.

    So, if visibility is zero, no 172's are going to be out flying anyway.

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  • 10 years ago

    Hand flown ILS to 200 foot ceiling and 1/2 mile visibility. Standard instrument training.

  • 10 years ago

    You don't need autopilot to use systems such as the ILS or VORs, in fact, autopilot control is using those systems to land it. If it doesn't have systems like those to navigate in fog, it can't go in it as it would be unsafe.

  • 10 years ago

    I do believe you are meaning an ILS, not autopilot. Some pilots have more skills and chutzpa, the runway lights burn bright to power through the fog. Very often, fog is only a thin layer down low.

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    You are really sticking your neck out trying to land in fog. Fog is a deceptive killer. It appears that you can see well enough to land and you descend into it. All of a sudden you can not see anything but the damn fog. Either execute an immediate missed approach or you may wind up in the middle of a pile of burning aluminum. Treat all fog with extreme caution.

    Source(s): Naval Aviator
  • I suppose it under the certification of see and drive cat.

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    no equipment, no foggy weather to be flown into, in the first place...

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