Landing How-To Video Attracts Attention (Corrected)
A flight simulator enthusiast has answered the question that lingers in the back of the minds of non-pilots everywhere with a video and a fairly detailed narrative he calls How to Land a 737 (Nervous Passenger Edition). Tim Morgan answered a question from a reader of Quora, a popular Q&A site, who wanted to know what to do if both pilots became incapacitated and he, without any flight training, was somehow tapped to land the aircraft. Regardless of the implausibility of the scenario, Morgan takes up the challenge with technical clarity and some well-timed wry humor. It's apparently a popular topic because the video has attracted about 300,000 views. It essentially devolves into a primer on the basic functions of the autopilot and tips on talking to ATC, all pretty easy to grasp until an inescapable moment of truth. "The bad news is you will still probably have to land it," he notes.
Using Flight Simulator X, Morgan guides the hypothetical passenger from cruise through descent and even an ATC handoff. But he does gloss over the challenges of hand-flying the aircraft on short final after managing speed brakes, flap controls and the gear on the descent. With a quick description of the recommended appearance of the PAPI lights, about his only other advice is to "make smooth corrections" to keep the airplane lined up on the centerline. Of course, the landing is perfect and the neophyte pilot is a hero. "Grab a beer from the galley and enjoy the ride down the emergency evacuation slide," he advises, although he doesn't explain why the slide might be necessary from an undamaged airplane sitting on a runway with its engines shut down.
The earlier version of this story was based on erroneous news sources that identified Tim Morgan as a pilot for Delta Air Lines. The Tim Morgan who created the video contacted us to tell us that's a different Tim Morgan.