Hi Keith


My flight on Tuesday from Manchester to Newquay was delayed for 50 mins due to adverse weather conditions at Newquay. When we boarded the captain said it was due to rain and fog but we were ok to go now.


However, as we were preparing for landing, the cabin crew were up and down the aircraft and being very particular about making sure that everyone was well strapped in, especially children. I overheard her telling a family behind me that the weather wasn't great in Newquay and we were in for a rough landing and she mentioned that we were doing ??? (couldn't hear her clearly) landing so it could get very bumpy. I asked her what did she mean and she said because of the fog it would be a hard landing and quite rough.


I felt my panic levels rise a bit, and even though I couldn't see the runway until we virtually touched down, the landing was actually better than some I have experienced in fine weather! :-)


I asked the crew again as I left the aircraft what was the phrase that they used to describe the landing, so this is for you if you could explain it to me please......


They said it was a 'cat 3a' landing and it was '50ft at 200meters (think I got that right)


What does that mean?


~thanks Keith



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Hi June

Fear of Flying

Sorry I didn't spot this message earlier. Sounds right what they were saying. Cat 3 means that it's an automatic landing, in other words not done by the pilots but thru' the autopilot. Cat 3a means thqat they have to amke a decision to land at or before, but no lower that 50 feet above the ground. 200 metres refers to the required visibility along the runway. In fact 200 metres is about the equivalent of 50 yards on the roads.

Both of these things depend upon things like the runway length the terrain before the runway the aircraft type and so on.

The aircraft that I last flew was able to land in 3c no decision height and no visibility limits. And of course that's what most planes can do now.

Captain Keith
Thanks, Keith,

So, if they were not happy at or before 50 ft I presume they would have done a 'go round' or diverted to another airport if the conditions in Newquay were particularly bad?

Pleased to report also, that on the way home I LOOKED OUT OF THE WINDOW on take off .... it was such a gorgeous day I was determined not to miss the spectacular view of the Cornish coastline. Feel well pleased with myself :-D
Yes but I would never describe the situation as particularly bad. It's either ok to land or not and as I've said it's a question of can you see it ...the runway...at 50 feet or can you not. The question of visibility is irrelevant once the aircraft has passed 1000feet on the approach.

Well done for looking out of the window......this IS progress.


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