Can an aircraft land in zero visibility?

Provided the airport is equipped with Instrument landing system category IIIC (CAT IIIc) technology, that the aircraft is equipped with an instrument approach capability and the pilot knows how to use it, then an aircraft could land on a runway with zero visibility.

However there's a big problem once the aircraft is on the ground, since it could not navigate its way to the terminal, even if it were guided by a follow-me vehicle.

That's the reason CAT IIIc has not been commissioned at any airport, although some do have it.

However aircraft can and do land at airport with CAT IIIb technology, for which the minimum runway visual range (RVR) is just 46 metres.

At typical landing speed, the aircraft will cover that distance in about two-thirds of a second.

In the worst possible conditions to which CAT IIIb applies, the pilot would not be able to see the runway until just the moment before the wheels touch.

In effect the pilot is landing blind, it's the electronic sensors doing the "seeing".

See also: 'Ghost planes': Why no one claims abandoned aircraft

See also: Why do aircraft travel faster when they fly east?

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