View Full Version : Handling technique during flare

6th Apr 2004, 18:23

On the other day I was discussing with some fellow pilots about former guys handling techniques.
I remember that, when autothrottle were not available on classic jets, many pilots used two hands on control wheel during flare. Learning that way I always used this technique bearing in mind to react properly in case of a go-around/ bounced recovery.
Of course this is a point for discussion as one may well have the opinion of quick reaction times (even with FADEC?) whilst I insist in having the sensitivity for the exact amount of deflection to be applied (i.e. crosswind landing).
I would appreciate to see your opinions and your airlines SOPīs about this subject, if thereīs one.
And I am full aware that no matter where your hand is placed, most important is to grease the ground ... ;)

Happy landings,


6th Apr 2004, 18:52
And I am full aware that no matter where your hand is placed, most important is to grease the ground ...

Actually, the most important thing is to land it on the runway, preferably with enough room to stop... ;) I'd much rather have a "firm" landing in the box, than a "greaser" half way down an 8000' strip of concrete.

Other than that, one hand on the yoke; one hand on the throttles. Even in full autoland, the throttles must be "guarded" in case of go-around and to pull up the reverser levers after landing (744).

6th Apr 2004, 23:37
I've rarely, if ever, seen a case where BOTH hands were required on the yoke during flare...autothrottles or no autothrottles. I seriously doubt this would be different on any type except perhaps during a manual reversion landing.

White Knight
7th Apr 2004, 06:53
Easy answer if you fly airbii for a living - you'd look pretty stupid with two hands on the sidestick:ok: :ok:

Captain Stable
7th Apr 2004, 10:28
Speaking entirely for myself, I cannot imagine any possible valid reason, even without autothrottle, for having both hands on the column in the flare.

To control bounce or overflared landing, you need to apply power to arrest the descent. If going around, you need to press the TO/GA button and advance power (or follow the levers up) as you rotate to GA attitude.

In first generation jet aircraft (or old turboprops) there was generally another crew member available on the flight deck. Since I've never flown a Britannia or a Comet, I can't say if the FE retarded the power for you in the flare. Even if he did, I can't imagine the extent of the problems with co-ordination.

No - at low altitudes and particularly in the flare, one hand on the column, one on the thrust levers. If you have it trimmed out properly, it's no problem controlling the stick forces. Furthermore, having two hands on the column does not help. You don't "feel" the amount of deflection required. You use all the visual clues available to you, adjust as required and hold it. Adjust a little more if required, and hold it. You don't "feel" for the ground, or the crosswind.

As Intruder states, it is generally very important not to get a "greaser". In most aircraft ensuring good contact with the runway is far, far more important. In a B757, the difference in deck angle between a "greaser" and a tailstrike is only 0.5 degrees.

Hope this helps you in your studies.

Sean Dell
7th Apr 2004, 11:36

Just out of curiosity if the plural of airbus is airbii, then why wasn't the television programme called 'on the buii' ?


7th Apr 2004, 16:35
if the plural of airbus is airbii, then why wasn't the television programme called 'on the buii'

Maybe it was produced in New Orleans -- "down on the biiu [bayou]". :8

Dan Winterland
7th Apr 2004, 22:50
Two hands on the yolk worked fine on the VC10. The power was in the hands of the FE - using his own set of thrust levers!

8th Apr 2004, 03:27
Aah the VC10, what a beauty. I had a nose round G-ARVM on the grass outside the Cosford Air Museum a month or so ago. As Roger Moore once said, 'what lovely lines..'

Dan, if the FE was manipulating the throttles, how does he get the 'feeling' right for when to pull them back? I would have thought a split second out in co-ordinating it would have led to a few hat-rack openers?

8th Apr 2004, 07:56
We trained them to do it properly, that's how!

Normally you needed about 83% HP RPM with full flap and the speed at Vat+10 to 200ft. Then decrease the speed to be at Vat crossing the hedge. Any thrust corrections were +/- 2% if you had it right. Approaching the flare (no rad alt calls, 'Retard' or other assistance - just the Mk 1 eyeball!), call for 'idle power' and the FE smoothly closed the thrust levers. But you needed both hands on the yoke as it was so damn heavy, particularly in crosswinds - even for big strong chaps like Dan W - you smoothly pitched to the flare attitude and aligned the nose with the runway at the same rate with rudder, keeping the wings level with aileron, then a tiny tweak to cushion the actual touchdown. As the mainwheels touched (nice and gently), you called 'spoilers' and the NFP selected spoilers and idle reverse - you kept your hands on the yoke! As the nosewheel touched, call 'Full reverse' (if RW length required it). At 100 kt call from NFP, light pressure on brakes to check the brake lights without retardation, start moving hand to nosewheel steering tiller. At 80kt call from NFP, call for 'reverse idle', at 60kt call from NFP, call 'cancel reverse', then use necessary brake pressure to decelerate smoothly at a constant rate to be at 15-ish kt taxying speed at the RW exit. All done with much noise and smoke - but the aim in those days was passenger comfort.

Compare this to the average European 'arrival' at somewhere like Frankfurt these days. Approach is very comfy, but near the ground one's bum starts going 'half a crown - sixpence' in anticipation of what's coming next..... An almighty crash from the mains, down with the nose then thrown forward in your seat as the brakes are firmly applied, followed by a lateral lurch as they make the first available high speed because there's someone right behind on the approach! Gone are the days of taking pride in a smooth landing and gentle rollout. Sometimes if you got it 100% right in the VC10 the only indication that you were on the ground was tyre vibration as the thing decelerated....I've never experienced anything other than positive landings (some very positive ones indeed in the A321!) and firm braking in the 82 flights I've flown on as SLF in the last 12 months. Commercial pressure, carbon brakes - all cause such 'functional' rather than 'graceful' flying!

8th Apr 2004, 14:30
Ah yes - those good old reliable flight engineers. Edited paragraphs from a Civil Aeronautics Board USA report on fast landing by a L-49 Constellation at Charleston, West Virginia on May 12 1959.

Aircraft landed long on short wet runway. When it was obvious that the Connie wasn't going to stop the captain decided to make a left ground loop and called for full power on No 4 engine.

The flight engineer misunderstood this command and applied power to all four engines. When the aircraft did not respond as the captain wished, he glanced quickly at the control pedestal and, recognising that all throttles were forward, quickly closed throttles one, two, and three. The aircraft then began the left turn but too late to remain within the airport boundaryl One of the 38 passengers and one of the six crew members died in the fire that followed.

Not knocking flight engineers in any way at all, but from my first flight as a military pilot I was taught always to handle my own power levers for take off and landing. Too much risk of confusion otherwise - and the Connie accident proved that.

8th Apr 2004, 14:42
and the Connie accident proved that.

It did? One incident?

8th Apr 2004, 15:11
Having personally flown Constellation aircraft (specifically the 1649A), can positively say the flight engineer was nice to have...for if nothing else, to 'explain' the systems in this very complex aircraft...even more complex than the TriStar, and that took some doing....:uhoh:

Oh yes, when you wanted to taxi...just call for 'taxi power', and the F/E provided same, on que.

A gentlemans way to fly...for sure:ok: