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In this question: How autonomous are commercial passenger airliners? explains how automated the auto-pilot system can be. Could a pilot or more work the controls of the auto pilot that does not have auto-land to land a plane? How would this be done?

Some of the cars have the ability to be turned off remotely. In an emergency situation could any aspect of the plane be de or activated remotely?

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Airplanes have been able to land on autopilots for a long time. E.g. the Airbus A320 flew for the first time in 1987 and it can auto-land using the instrument landing system ILS. Even the Concorde could land on autopilot.

Honestly just google autoland or search on youtube and you'll find tens of thousands of results and videos.

There have also been airliners that were turned into radio controlled aircraft for emergency crash testing.

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An increasing number of big commercial aircraft do have an autoland system. It requires a minimum of Cat III ILS equipment on the ground, and current systems don't respond to wind shear very effectively. It also certainly can't be activated remotely, the pilot has to set it up.

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  • $\begingroup$ What about landing it using auto-pilot? $\endgroup$ – Muze the good Troll. Jun 2 '19 at 18:58
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    $\begingroup$ @Muze On planes that have autoland, it's a feature of the autopilot. $\endgroup$ – HiddenWindshield Jun 2 '19 at 20:05
  • $\begingroup$ I included that thanks $\endgroup$ – Muze the good Troll. Jun 2 '19 at 20:14
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    $\begingroup$ As a sidebar comment.... We used to have CAT II capable 727’s and CAT III capable 727’s. It was a bit of a mixed bag. It was fairly common for a flight crew to write “SAT CAT III w/ rollout” on planes that were only CAT II capable. We’d always scratch our head and info note it. The difference is really about the redundancy of the auto land system and not the capabilities of any one autopilot. They were basically shooting CAT III’s with zero redundancy and didn’t know it. $\endgroup$ – Frank Jun 2 '19 at 20:20
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    $\begingroup$ @Muze Are you talking about manually tweaking the descent rate, course, etc. in the autopilot to land in a plane without autoland? No, that's not possible. If nothing else, the autopilot wouldn't flare properly, smashing the plane into the ground and breaking the landing gear (and probably a lot of other stuff as well). And that's assuming the autopilot isn't tied into the GPWS (a lot of them are), which would cause it to either pull up or switch to manual hundreds of feet off the ground. $\endgroup$ – HiddenWindshield Jun 2 '19 at 20:27

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