There is a percieved public belief that autolands are safer (and better?) than manual landings, neither of which I believe to be true.
‘Better’ is a subjective quality, though I certainly pride myself to achieve smoother touchdowns than an autoland, the reality is an autoland is always rougher and more violent than the worst manual landing by any rookie pilot. In fact, it’s quite an insider joke to tell the cabin crew it was an autoland and blame it on the machine whenever I have a bad manual landing.The word ‘positive landing’ was on the engineer’s minds.
‘Safer’ , now that is the real point: autolands are a necessary evil, which we put up with in bad weather because we would not be able to land manually/visually otherwise. I would argue the chance of the machine cocking up the approach is higher than a well-train pilot not being able to land manually. People screwup or become incapacitated aswell, but the chance to manually save the aircraft from a malfunctioning autopilot at 50’ durring autolanding are slim at best:
On my a/c the PM needs to call ‘Flare’ or ‘No Flare’ at 30 feet , indicating to the other pilot that the machine is working correctly or not, in which case the PF must take manual action to save the day. This in zero visibility, below 30’ (hopefully above the runway), in an aircraft flying 140kts and descending at +700 feet per minute. And you ask why we don’t do that every day?
TLDR: Autolands are not better nor safer than a well-trained pilot’s manual landing. They are used when necssary, as a secondary option