Introduction: How to Land a Plane

Picture of How to Land a Plane

Don't Panic and follow this guide and you will be touching ground in no time.

I will show you the buttons to push and the levers to pull on two different aircrafts while the ground support lead you down.

Step 1: Call for Help.

Picture of Call for Help.

This part is scary, both the pilots are knocked out and no one knows how to land this plane, but you as smart as you were read this instructable which makes you the last hope of the fifty some people aboard.

Make your way to the cockpit and calm down. Take the chair on the left because you are the captain now. Put on your headset which may still be on the knocked out pilot and switch on the radio. Tune it to 121.5 which is the emergency channel and push the talk button on the yoke to contact air control traffic. They will then call an instructor to guide you down so you live.

Step 2: Set the Autopilot.

Picture of Set the Autopilot.

Get the navigation aids from air traffic control and input them on this keyboard.

Step 3: Program Your Approach.

Picture of Program Your Approach.

The instructor talking to you over the headset will give you a frequency, which you enter into the "Instrument Landing System". The device will then pick up radio signals from the assigned runaway and provide both lateral and vertical guidance, which means calculate the exact speed and angle of your decent which tends to be 3 degrees.

Step 4: Prepare for Landing.

Picture of Prepare for Landing.

Keep an eye on your speed. When it falls to 130 knots, flip the switch to lower the flaps, then pull the lever to release the landing gear.

Step 5: Brake Carefully.

Picture of Brake Carefully.

If you are breaking when you land, the tires will blow instantly. Once you touch down, push the tops of the pedals, whereas the bottoms are for steering. Feel accomplished, you have just saved the lives of many from plummeting into the ocean or whatever you were over.


dmagee725 (author)2016-06-01

This is rubbish you don't even explain how to change the frequency

killerjackalope (author)2008-07-20

DAMN! You beat me to it... That said this is good for someone that knows something already but you look at the switches in even a small single prop, they have to figure out what's what... and fast...

I thought for sure you would make about making your own for dummies like me who don't know an led from their elbow?

Umm you could be scuppered... This one does cover the basics, the thing it's missing is not a where the controls are because it varies widely but to ask the control tower where each bit is... If my dad was still around he could have written how to land a plane in a field, how to jump a deer that want's a fight on the runway and how to shoot 30ft of flames from your turbo props exhausts...


I read somewhere (wikihow, I think) that you should set the transponder to 7700 mhz, set the PTT radio headset to 121.50 and call mayday three times. And don't go touching a bunch of things, in case the autopilot is on and you mess it up.

its known as SQUAWK 7700...actually, in any emergency there is special transponder codes that will always show highest priority on ATC's radar these are:

1200: Visual Flight Rules
7500: Highjack
7600: Lost Comm. (No Radio)
7700: which is a general "emergency" code that covers everything.

when calling in a mayday it is always wise to include your flight info to ATC and you dont necessarilly have to dial in 121.50 just put the headset on push the PTT switch on the yoke and say something like this:

MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY This is American Flight 4390 from Chicago to Tulsa!!

they will reply to you quicker than 9-1-1 and will give you full priority over all other aircraft. Just follow all commands from the tower (as they say lol).

The first thing should always be radioing in... also an untrained co-pilot or even a steward may know since they will have been in the cabin when the pilot was previously flying capable... In the middle of a flight the autopilot will almost definitely be on for fuel reasons, radioing in is important because it notifies the right people. Also in many cases I'd rather not have an untrained pilot land on a runway, which are made to be just enough to do, something like a dry lake bed or beach seems much safer to me... Anywhere bigger is better...

you can what if all you would like, but you wont always be around a runway, or a lake bed, or a land where you can save the most lives, and save the plane from the most damage possible.

the autopilot will not be on for "fuel reasons" but because the Federal Aviation Regulations say they have to be (in an airliner) because of how high the airplane is above the ground. there is no such thing as an "untrained co-pilot" both pilots have the same level of training for that type of aircraft and the equipment on it, and the only thing that dictates their position is seniority.

You should always land on the runway, thats what it was built for and it will hold as long as you don't land on the blast pad or displaced threshold, and the next best choice if you don't know what your doing would be to land on a straight stretch of highway (if you declare an emergency, the world is yours to land on). The planes landing gear would sink into a beach's sand.....if it was a small plane it would most likely flip over, and you'd probably die; and if it was a big plane then the landing gear would snap. On a dry lake bed there is no tower to watch and guide you in and now close medical support if something goes wrong.

My point was more about having the distance, though in a completely screwed situation a beach is fine for a small plane, my dad did it, during an emergency. Also happened in a field, the wee old woman came out and offered him some soda bread and a brew... I think in the case of an emergency and they knew where you were going the lake bed wouldn't be the worst since there'd be little to hit and lots of space. A highway would work if it was wide and not elevated, I can imagine that making a mess... Exactly my point about radioing, declare an emergency...

Fields are good (we actually have a grass strip next to the asphalt one for practice at out locale airport) my grandfather had to land in a field because the gas pumps were closed (the instructor made him late) and he ran out of fuel. And your right,if your able to radio in, then a dry lake bed would work out well (in the western US there is a dry lake bed that the USAF painted markings on and called a runway)

cprocjr (author)chew socks2008-07-22

There is an airforce base that is a complete lakebed so if enemies lake it over or the runways are destroyed you can land anywhere on the giant lake. I even think there has been emergency landings there because it is so big and it's a airforce base so there is a hospital just in case anything goes wrong.

Dr. Explosion (author)cprocjr2008-08-16

Its called Edwards AFB, CA. They sometimes use it to land the space shuttle, especially for new pilots, the better ones take Kenedy as a challenge (marshes and alligators and stuff).

edwards is also the only runway in the US that is long enough for the Antonov AN-225 to take off and land.

Sometimes big and squishy or big and empty is the better bet, simply because with a few miles of bed they can afford to do a simpler lower power and descend all calm landing...

CameronSS (author)Lithium Rain2008-07-31

I typed this up and then saw your comment up here, so I'm just copy-pasting. You left out the transponder. All aircraft carry a transponder, which prodcasts a four-digit number. This number shows up on the radar screen. Most light aircraft flying VFR transmit 1200, but an IFR flight (like all airliners) will be transmitting a different number. 7500 designates a hijacking, 7600 designates a radio communications failure, and 7700 designates a general emergency. Tune the transponder to whatever is most appropriate. Also, you may have to use spoilers if you are going too fast. The lever is generally near the throttles. These are flaps that extend straight up from the wings to dramatically cut lift. by dropping lift, you can hen nose up and lose airspeed, and regain the altitude. I am curious: what are your credentials? I'm not going to make fun of you, I just want to know if this was written by someone with any pilot training whatsoever. killerjackalope, the copilot is never "untrained." To become a copilot on an airliner, you have to have a heck of a lot of ratings, and a lot of flight hours.

scienceguy (author)CameronSS2009-06-24

FYI there is no such thing as copilots nowdays. Both have to be trained to fully fly the aircraft. They are refered to as commanding pilot and observing pilot.

CameronSS (author)scienceguy2009-06-24

*captain and first officer

Derin (author)CameronSS2009-07-06

Yes.However,my rank is Second Flight Officer on IVAO.This replaces observing pilot,right?

Derin (author)Lithium Rain2009-07-06

I'd be better suited for the job...I am a virtual aviator.KJ,this means i should collaborate and fix yours to make it better,without any price!

timmy1234s (author)2008-07-24

no offense, and not to discourage you but ever since the 9/11 incident, no one is allowed, except the pilots to open the door to pilot the plane. Source: Mythbusters

sokamiwohali (author)timmy1234s2011-11-06

the mythbusters arent the source...its the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR)...and what you saw on that episode was wrong information...the Regulation states that the PIC (Pilot In Command) is the only approving authority of ANYONE who wishes to see the Flight Deck (cockpit). Since the Captain is the PIC, ONLY HE/SHE has the final say so as to what goes on in the plane no matter how wrong the decision is...if you dont believe is the reg as follows:

Sec. 121.547 — Admission to flight deck.

(a) No person may admit any person to the flight deck of an aircraft unless the person being admitted is—

(1) A crewmember;

(2) An FAA air carrier inspector, a DOD commercial air carrier evaluator, or an authorized representative of the National Transportation Safety Board, who is performing official duties;

(3) Any person who—

(i) Has permission of the pilot in command, an appropriate management official of the part 119 certificate holder, and the Administrator; and

(ii) Is an employee of—

(A) The United States, or

(B) A part 119 certificate holder and whose duties are such that admission to the flightdeck is necessary or advantageous for safe operation; or

(C) An aeronautical enterprise certificated by the Administrator and whose duties are such that admission to the flightdeck is necessary or advantageous for safe operation.

(4) Any person who has the permission of the pilot in command, an appropriate management official of the part 119 certificate holder and the Administrator. Paragraph (a)(2) of this section does not limit the emergency authority of the pilot in command to exclude any person from the flightdeck in the interests of safety.

(b) For the purposes of paragraph (a)(3) of this section, employees of the United States who deal responsibly with matters relating to safety and employees of the certificate holder whose efficiency would be increased by familiarity with flight conditions, may be admitted by the certificate holder. However, the certificate holder may not admit employees of traffic, sales, or other departments that are not directly related to flight operations, unless they are eligible under paragraph (a)(4) of this section.

(c) No person may admit any person to the flight deck unless there is a seat available for his use in the passenger compartment, except—

(1) An FAA air carrier inspector, a DOD commercial air carrier evaluator, or authorized representative of the Administrator or National Transportation Safety Board who is checking or observing flight operations;

(2) An air traffic controller who is authorized by the Administrator to observe ATC procedures;

(3) A certificated airman employed by the certificate holder whose duties require an airman certificate;

(4) A certificated airman employed by another part 119 certificate holder whose duties with that part 119 certificate holder require an airman certificate and who is authorized by the part 119 certificate holder operating the aircraft to make specific trips over a route;

(5) An employee of the part 119 certificate holder operating the aircraft whose duty is directly related to the conduct or planning of flight operations or the in-flight monitoring of aircraft equipment or operating procedures, if his presence on the flightdeck is necessary to perform his duties and he has been authorized in writing by a responsible supervisor, listed in the Operations Manual as having that authority; and

(6) A technical representative of the manufacturer of the aircraft or its components whose duties are directly related to the in-flight monitoring of aircraft equipment or operating procedures, if his presence on the flightdeck is necessary to perform his duties and he has been authorized in writing by the Administrator and by a responsible supervisor of the operations department of the part 119 certificate holder, listed in the Operations Manual as having that authority.

flymudpie (author)timmy1234s2008-07-25

But if there dead and all the stuadis's are dead, lmfao if that would ever happen, but just say your REALLY unlucky then i think they would make an exception.

muttyfutty (author)flymudpie2009-12-26

It already happened.
On the 29 December 1997.
Helios Flight 522, Both Pilots and everyone on board (except a steward) Were  incapacitated due to lack of oxygen.
That Steward actually managed to get into the cockpit and sit himself in the flight controls before he passed out and the plane ran out of fuel...Ouch
Erm... here is a link:

Lithium Rain (author)timmy1234s2008-08-06

...if the pilots are incapacitated, who's going to stop you?

flymudpie (author)2008-07-19

Anybody and everyone i did my best to research and find all the components on the plane but if you have past experience and know better tell me so that i may re-label. Thanks F

chew socks (author)flymudpie2008-07-21

This is very well written, but out of curiosity do you have flying experience, or did you look all this up.

flymudpie (author)chew socks2008-07-21

No this was all researched.

nathan42100 (author)flymudpie2008-07-24

I dunno if this is me or not but on step two I see a BUNCH of errors. Like on the first image, where you pointed the "instrument landing" was really a bunch of lights that tell you if/what is wrong, like low engine pressure or low battery. With the pedals, they are all slightly different. For most, pressing on the lower part of the pedal turns (right pedal makes you go right), while pressing on the top of the pedal activates the tire brakes on that side. You should be sure to land without your feet touching the tops otherwise you run a high risk of shredding the tires.

chew socks (author)nathan421002008-08-14

Yes some parts are wrong (mostly on labeling) but every plane is different so the mistake doesn't really affect anything

Science guy.......what is "VERY WRONG''"?

sokamiwohali (author)chew socks2011-11-06

well, for one the "key pad" isnt what its called...its the FMS (Flight Management System). This is where ALL the buttons an knobs are for the radios, how they communicate to their airline and all the cool functions that goes with programming their GPS. the ILS (Instrument landing system) is not even on the plane...its on the ground...and the "ILS" he is pointing out is really the Annunciator Panel. The flap lever is NOT next to the landing gear lever, but ALWAYS on the right side of the throttle quadrant on the left side of the First officer (Co-Pilot...and yes they are still called co-pilots, 1st officer is just their reank just like in the military has their ranks). and the label for the "radio" isnt the radio, its the auto-pilot. and the "landing gear pedal isnt that...its actually called the Rudder Pedals and they are on 99% of planes...and thats just on the first picture.

On the second picture the "ILS" is really the autopilot, again with the keyboard...its not the keyboard it the FMS, the Flaps are on the throttle quadrant not the landing gear.

the two airplanes shown (the first is an airbus and the other is an updated boeing 747) neither of them have even an approach speed of 130KT...thats your touchdown speed...your landing speed will be more near 150-170kt depending on the plane...if you throw in flaps at such a slow speed all at once, then you will experience a reasonably quick upwards pitch of the nose and you will stall the plane and kill everyone...the person on the radio will tell you when to lower the flaps and how much to lower them.

as far as your "calculating speed and angle"...those are two different things and CANNOT be put have Best Glide Rate and Best Glide an emergency, you will always choose the BGR. this is what keeps you in the air longer. also...there is NO pitch angle that you can say is the proper angle of descent, because POWER controls altitude, NOT ATTITUDE. ATTITUDE CONTROLS SPEED...NOT sounds funny, but when your in an airplane (especially a small single engine plane) you will definately be able to tell.

I am not trying to be a butt head if thats what it sounds like, but i am not yelling or screaming... just edu-macating you. i will make an instructable that collaborates with this so you have a real world pilot helping you

flymudpie (author)nathan421002008-07-24

Yes did i not say that you should press the tops not when you land otherwise you will blow the tires? Re-read that im sure i mentioned it.

scienceguy (author)flymudpie2008-08-14

HOLY CRAP!!!!!!!!! This is sooo wrong. Even thought I just got my pilots lisence, I can tell you that most of this is wrong. My dad works for a company called flightsafety international and they teach in simulators which are full motion. Trust me when I tell you, you are VERY WRONG!

Derin (author)scienceguy2009-06-23

At IFTC we actually got the motion system locked up because of turbulence,1 eng fail,windshear and crashing sideways.

Build4343 (author)2010-11-26

Turn the seatbelts on light one!

Build4343 (author)2010-05-08

The break pedals are also rudder control, and you may want to mention that so that the "pilot" doesn't go flying off the runway.  I am a simulator pilot and wannabe USAF F-22 Pilot.

conrad2468 (author)2008-11-10

heres all you need to know!
that black thingy with the two handles on it is your control
the thingy in the your speed.....
dont F*** up!

id have that plane on the ground in no might not be in one piece though...

Aviatrix (author)2008-10-17

Fact check time. 1) No, that is not "the Instrument Landing System" on the cockpit overhead panel. That is installed next to the runway ON the AIRPORT. 2) There is no such thing as "landing gear pedals"! Those are RUDDER PEDALS. 3) In a real emergency, ATC would not expect Ted Stryker to program the Flight Management System/FMS via the "keyboard". You would be given verbal headings to fly. 4) While an ILS does provide lateral and vertical guidance, that does NOT mean it "calculate[s] the exact speed" for the aircraft. It does NOTHING of the sort. Speed calculation- and power management to maintain that speed- are the responsibility of the pilot. 5) The initial speed for flap input varies by aircraft and weight but in any case would be well before 130kts in an airliner. Good 'how to' for MSFS. Not so good for the real world.

purplemonkeydishwasher (author)2008-10-11

no need to read this ible. mythbusters, in a NASA simulator, first flew they plane and tried to land it with no knowledge and no help and crashed, but then when they were "Talked" into landing by aircraft control (aka guided through the process), they did it perfectly. but no worries. in aviation's long history there has never been an incident where both the pilot & the copilot were unable to fly.

mat1978 (author)2008-10-06

ok ok ok ok what about you just buy a microsoft flight simulator game ??? lol lol lol

Lithium Rain (author)2008-07-20

Good ible. 5 *s.

thematthatter (author)2008-07-20

wasnt this in WIRED magazine?

flymudpie (author)thematthatter2008-07-20

Yes i used them as a resource when making this.

Spl1nt3rC3ll (author)2008-07-20

No! You beat me to it! I can't believe it! Why does this always happen?!

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