Re: Korean Air 801 crashed on approach to Guam

Date:         08 Sep 97 02:03:53 
From:         faurecm@halcyon.com (C. Marin Faure)
Organization: Northwest Nexus Inc.
References:   1 2 3 4
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In article <airliners.1997.1977@ohare.Chicago.COM>, rdd@nospam.netcom.com wrote:

> In article <airliners.1997.1773@ohare.Chicago.COM> faurecm@halcyon.com
(C. Marin Faure) writes:
> >Other posts have done a good job describing the function of the ILS and
> >glide slope.  When I was obtaining my instrument rating at Honolulu
> >International back in the 1970s, I shot full ILS approaches and
> >localizer-only appproaches, mostly at night as that proved the easiest
> >time to schedule lessons.  The Cessna 206 I was flying did not have an
> >autopilot so all my approaches were flown by hand.  If anything, the
> >localizer approach was easier as I merely had to descend in steps to
> >specific altitudes at specific points and then level off until reaching
> >the next point of descent which was marked either by a marker beacon
> >(radio signal, not a light) or crossing a VOR (another type of radio
> >signal).  The rate of descent didn't matter as long as you didn't descend
> >before reaching the descent point or descend below the next specified
> >altitude.  The full ILS with glide slope was a little harder (without an
> >autopilot) simply because you had to maintain a specific rate of descent
> >throughout the approach.  But both approach types are easily mastered by a
> >competent student instrument pilot with only a hundred or so hours of
> >total flight time.
>
> And how many times does the student get to fly them?
>
> A typical 747 crew is going to average 60-80 hours of flight time a month.
> The typical flight will be 10-13 hours.  That is going to be 4-8 landings
> a month.  Divide that by two, you have the actual "pilot flying"
> responsibilities.  With ultra-long-haul flying, the situation is probably
> worse than this.  And each of those landings will typically be made into
> a modern, well-equipped airport.  On the other hand, pilots for carriers like
> Southwest can do 6-8 landings a *day*.

(snip)

> None of this necessarily has any bearing on the latest Korean Airlines
> crash, but you do need to keep in mind that as a GA pilot, you will be
> exposed to types of flying and to procedures that some airline pilots may
> have never had to deal with.

I'm not sure I agree with this.  In the course of my job I fly quite a bit
on the flight decks of airliners.  In almost every case other than in
actual instrument conditions, the approaches are flown by hand, not
autopilot.  Some of these have been ILS, some have been localizer, some
have been ADF, and some have been purely visual.  I know the kind of
recurrent training that is required by many of the world's airlines (but
not all of them) and I would have to say that the pilots of these airlines
are very familiar with flying non-precision approaches.

C. Marin Faure
  author, Flying A Floatplane