Foggy Landings

October 02, 2013

Gatwick Spotters has produced a stunning video of aircraft landing in fog conditions which demonstrates the capability of what is termed CAT 111B autoland. (See below)

Autoland was pioneered by the British and the first aircraft to perform an autoland to what is termed CAT 11 level was a Trident jet on February 7 1968.

The UK government started investigation into autoland with its Blind Landing Experimental Unit (BLEU) which was set up in 1945. British European Airways was heavily involved in the development for its Hawker Siddeley Trident fleet in the late 1950s.

The first aircraft to be certified to the full CAT III standard, on December 28, 1968, was in fact the Sud Aviation Caravelle.

There are several levels of autoland depending upon equipment both in the aircraft and on the ground. Depending upon the capability the distance pilots must be able to see the runway from a vertical and horizontal distance varies considerably.


Level                                   Minimum above runway                Runway Visual Range

CAT 1:                                 200ft (61m)                                2400ft (550m)

CAT 11:                               100ft (30m)                                1000ft (300m)

CAT111a                              100ft (30m)                                600ft (200m)

CAT111b                              50ft (15m)                                  160ft (50m)