Ask the Captain: Why do I have to put my phone in airplane mode?

How many airports in the United States, if any, have the equipment to land a commercial airline automatically? By the same token, how many airlines have the on board equipment to do it?

– PJS1, Georgetown, Texas

If you are referring to an Instrument Landing System with the fidelity to allow an landing to be flown by an approved autopilot system, the answer is nearly every large city airport. 

Most modern airliners have auto-land capability, including the newer 737, all 747, 757, 767, 777, 787 and all Airbus products.

The auto-land function requires the pilots to program the flight management system in a very exact way, so it is a use of the automation.

There are some small airplanes that have a true automatic landing system. These are very new and intended for use only in the event of an incapacitated pilot. No airliner has such a system. 

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