Blind flying! Pilots of Boeing 767 descend through thick clouds so they might have to abandon landing in the last minute.

  • Steve Giordano & Bob Allen flew from Japan in a Jet. 
  • They were arranging for long-term storage of an ex-Japanese Airlines Boeing767.
  • As they arrived at their destination, Blytheville the runway was covered with cloud. 

The moment that a pilot touched down at an Arkansas airport was heartbreaking. Heavy cloud covered the runway for several minutes before it cleared. 

Steve Giordano flew a Boeing 767-300 between Tokyo and Blytheville (Arkansas), which does not have high-tech navigation equipment to help the crew find runways in bad weather. 

Bob Allen and Giordano instead used a non-precision approach to fly the aircraft, using radio beacons placed on the ground. 

This non-precision system works in a similar way to how aircraft navigated during the post-war period.  

Steve Giordano and his colleague Bob Allen were flying into Blytheville, Arkansas on board a Boeing 767-300 when they were blanketed in cloud just seconds before they were due to touch down

Steve Giordano and his colleague Bob Allen were flying into Blytheville, Arkansas on board a Boeing 767-300 when they were blanketed in cloud just seconds before they were due to touch down

With less than three miles to go to the airport, Allen spotted the ground although they were still not able to see the runway

Allen was less than 3 miles from the airport. However, they did spot the runway.

While the aircraft is descending through the cloud one pilot keeps an eye on the instruments and monitors its speed, altitude, and course, the other observes for signs of the runway. 

The footage of Wednesday, broadcast by Giordano on YouTube’s Cockpit Casual channel, shows the windshield wipers working at maximum speed while the plane descends into the cloud.  

Pilots can use precision approaches to determine if their course is correct. A beam broadcasts from one end of the runway. 

Allen and Giordano performed a non-precision approach, bringing the aircraft to its final destination at an altitude of 2,500ft at six miles. The crew then brought it down at’steps’ at 2,000 feet at 3.9miles. 

Next, the plane descends to 740 feet from a distance approximately 1.4 nautical mile. 

Allen and Giordano could not see the runway at this point and made their final decision about the altitude at 620ft, just one mile away from the end. 

Pilot Steven Giordano (pictured) said it is likely the aircraft's new owners will put it into long-term storage and might sell off the engines and convert the airframe into a freighter

Steven Giordano (pictured) stated it was likely that the aircraft would be put into long-term storage by its new owners. They might also sell the engines or convert it to a cargo plane.

Just as the crew had to make their decision about continuing with their landing or going around, the runway came into view

The runway was visible just as crew members had to decide whether they wanted to continue with the landing or go around.

Giordano switched off the jet's autopilot and lined up the aircraft for the runway

Giordano turned off the autopilot of the jet and lined the aircraft up for the runway

The aircraft landed safely on the center line of the runway, just as the crew had planned

Just as crew planned, the aircraft safely landed on the runway’s center line. 

Giordano was about to abandon the landing when Allen saw the runway lights and allowed the two to go on to the airstrip.  

Giordano saw the runway in view and turned off the aircraft’s automatic pilot. Then, he changed his heading to align the jet with the 11,000ft strip. 

This footage captures the entire process from finding the runway to landing on the centerline of the asphalt. It only took 30 seconds. 

Giordano who is also the Nomadic Aviation Group’s owner was on a ferry flight together with Allen, bringing an ex-Japan Airlines B767300 into the United States.  

The pair flew the 22-year old jet, which was then flown from Tokyo in Japan to Great Falls, Montana, on the first leg. After that, they took the plane south to Arkansas to store it for long-term storage. 

Giordano said the leasing company  ‘will likely sell off the engines and parts and maybe later sell the airframe to become a freighter’. 

Giordano responded to the fans via Twitter who saw the footage. Giordano stated that while he was about to abort the landing, they were still in the soup of heavy cloud. 

He said: ‘On a non precision approach you descend to an “MDA” (min descent altitude) and then level off until the missed approach point or RWY in sight. Although I was a bit ahead of the MDA I had requested, I still missed the final approach fix.

‘Non precision approaches don’t always center you up exactly. There are some that can be as high as 30 degrees, especially in mountainous areas.