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744 vs 74CL handflying

Started by ASCTU744, Mon, 8 Jan 2024 05:33


A bit of a follow up question to @Aleks's post.

But how do the 747-400 and classic compare when it comes to handflying?

I heard pilots say that classic was waaay easier to handfly, while they aren't as different in terms of aerodynamics.


Hi ASCTU744.

I wouldn't say that the 747-200 I flew back in the day was waaay easier to fly than the 744.

Both are pretty easy to fly. The 744 is a bit more sensitive concerning crosswind landings. They say, that this is due to the winglets and slightly wider wingspan. Also, the longer upper deck is an influence, but that would have been the same for the 747-300, which I never flew and the 744 freighter has the smaller upper deck as well.

When I first transitioned onto the 747-200, coming from 737-3/-4/-5 the biggest difference I had to get used to is the massive pitch influence of any thrust changes. This is even more pronounced on the 744 due to more thrust available. Still, you learn to make it work in your favour. During level flight for example, when you see a tendency of loosing a bit of altitude, a tiny bit of more thrust will give you the momentum to gain it back immediately, even before the airspeed changes and without really working a lot with the elevator. The same goes for levelling off. As long as you want to keep your speed, the thrust change will almost automatically take care of it, with hardly any elevator input. Coming back on 744 and 748 a few years ago after 14 years of 319/320/321, it took me two sim missions to get used to all of it again.🙂

In general, the less you do at the controls, the better. The momentum of these lovely machines lets you conquer all the turbulence on approach pretty easily, when you had to fight your way through on 737s. Once, we had to fly a 747-200 over the pond when all of its three autopilots were inoperative. It was really no sweat at all. We had to stay below MNPS-airspace (nowadays HLA) at FL270 and we switched pilot flyings every 20-30 Minutes. She was extremely stable.

One thing I really miss from 747-200 are the autopilot's "manual" controls, which are behind the throttles. It is a kind of "control wheel steering", which the 737 still sports today. With those little wheels, you were directly controlling pitch and bank and it was a very precise and smooth way of flying, which many pilots liked to use during climb and descent.

Other than that, the 747-200's AP was pretty rubbish and you had to look through the FD commands in order to fly more smoothly. But sometimes, you still have to do it on the 744 and 748.😉

But the worst was the 747-200 full flight simulator.😁


Thank you for your detailed response @boeing747430!