The First Completely Computerized Landing

On December 8, 1964, a United Air Lines Caravelle jet made the first completely computerized landing (automatic touchdown) at Dulles International Airport (IAD).

How landings play out?

Limited visibility operations are divided into categories outlining the decision height (DH) and runway visual range (RVR). The decision height is the minimum height at which a pilot must be able to see the runway to continue the landing. The runway visual range is how far you can see ahead. If the minimums are not met then the landing will be abandoned.

What is an automatic touchdown? Landings can be fully automatic including approach, flare and landing. Alternatively, it could be automatic on approach with the pilots handling flare and landing, or it could be all automatic apart from the landing itself.

Essentially technology progressed from having just the approach automated to the possibility of the entire sequence being done by the machine.

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