Could You Land a Boeing 737?

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A Delta pilot has helpfully put together a ten-minute video explaining how to land at Boeing 737 safely.

Pilot Tim Morgan made the ten minute video in response to the question on the website Quora that asked, ‘What should I do if the pilot passes out and I (with no flight training) have to land the plane?’

Using the game Microsoft Flight Simulator, Morgan explains in a step-by-step film, how to get the passenger jet on the ground. The video has received almost 300,000 views on YouTube since it was uploaded last week.

The article explains in detail, along with illustrations how to land the plane, pointing out what the countless knobs, dials, buttons, and gauges in a cockpit do.

‘The good news is the plane will probably have a sophisticated autopilot that can take care of most of the flying for you,’ Morgan says, ‘The bad news is you will still probably have to land it, and every aircraft cockpit is going to be different, so it’s not like you’d know exactly where to look to find the things you need.’

Morgan says calmly that the first thing you would need to do as a passenger would be to contact air traffic control, to let them know of the situation.

‘Chances are whatever frequency is dialed in will work, so just hold down the push-to-talk button on the yoke, and tell ATC your situation,’ he says.

After alerting the ground about the situation in the sky, you would then likely be given heading and altitude instructions as to where to point aircraft.

Morgan carefully explains where the essential buttons are located in the cockpit and how to ensure the aircraft follows the instruction.

Speed is then the next variable to be tackled. Controlling altitude, heading, and airspeed should get you safely on the final approach course of a satisfactory runway at a safe approach speed, somewhere under 250 knots, and at a sufficient altitude for a smooth landing,’ he says.

Of course, that is just the easy part. The trickiest part of any flight is the landing.


A good approach speed for a 737 is somewhere around 140 knots with 30° of flap, though it varies with aircraft weight and weather conditions.

‘The 737 cannot fly 140 knots without the flaps being lowered, so you will need to incrementally lower flaps as your aircraft slows down,’ Morgan states.

After getting altitude, speed, heading and even the flaps all under control, the aircraft is ready for its final approach and the moment of truth – which starts by switching off the autopilot.

Using closeups of the aircraft’s controls and a number of illustrations, Morgan explains how ensure the plane follows the correct glide path to the runway threshold and also shows viewers how to slow the plane down using speed brakes in the air and foot pedals on the ground.

The ten minute long video flies by as Morgan tells rookie pilots to ignore the alarm bells that are ringing after touching down onto the tarmac.

‘It’s fine,’ he says reassuringly, ‘You’ve just made it safe for emergency crew to board the aircraft and take over. Grab a beer from the galley and enjoy the ride down the emergency evacuation slide.’