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Teaching people to land a PA28

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Teaching people to land a PA28

Old 27th Jul 2010, 13:28
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Teaching people to land a PA28

Hello folks - I have flown with a couple of different yet very experienced instructors recently and they both have different methods of teaching students to land in a PA28.

Both involve coming over the threshold at 63kt... Trickling the power off from the threshold to the flare (whilst maintaining the 63kt) being sure to leave a small amount of power on which is removed in a coordinated fashion at the beginning of the flare.

Then the style changes:

1. Progressively ease back on the control column to maintain level flight in the hold off until the aircraft runs out of energy and lands

2. Ease back on the control column and select the landing attitude for the aircraft and wait for it to slow down/run out of energy and land.

What are your thoughts?!
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Old 27th Jul 2010, 13:52
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If you don't completely close the power.....you will find that a PA28 goes a long way in ground effect with some power on!
so get if off !

Ideally the airplane should contact the runway in the attitude that the stall occurs. I gradually reach achieve this attitude this by going through 1.


There are plenty of PPRuNe threads on landing a PA28..........you might find some of them helpful.
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Old 27th Jul 2010, 14:23
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Sounds like another FTO teaching to fly SEP aircraft as 300t heavy airliners... Power should be off (idle) when above threshold (although approach should be done with power), reducing power during the flare - especially in ground-effect aircraft such as PA28 or for e. DA20 - is too late and will result in wasted runway...

I agree, PA28 requires slow but constant "pulling" of the yoke during flare - pretty similar to C172. The "attitude landing" where you set the attitude and "see what happens" is for T-tail aircraft, such as PA38 or DA20, which have super-effective pitch control even at low speeds and even the slightly too much pitch-up control results in balooning (and in PA38's case almost always f* landing since it looses so much speed in horizontal flight when you try to do another flare).

But as said, I think there is topic somewhere about landing PA28, which I found out to have VERY interesting and accurate information during my PA28 conversion course.
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Old 27th Jul 2010, 15:16
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As posted by myself on another thread. Never fails to work.



First of all get the instructor to show you the landing picture.

As you fly down the approach make sure your trimmed.

As the runway appears to starts moving towards you pitch the nose up to the straight and level attitude.

As the runway sides start coming up towards you pitch to the previously demonstrated picture while putting the power to idle. Waggle the rudder pedals so the instructor thinks your actually doing something with them.

Hold the attitude. Now this is the important bit.

In a loud clear voice say "get down you whore"

Once the aircraft has done as its told hold the same picture by increasing back pressure then lower the nose gently to the runway while continuing to pretend you know what your doing with the rudder.

Jobs a goodun.

PS ladys can substitue bastard instead of whore

PPS this method works up to 10 tons in my experence.
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Old 27th Jul 2010, 16:04
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I can't comment on a PA28, but I'm learning in a tomahawk (9.5 hrs in) and my last couple of hours have been with a different instructor.

they both appear to have different styles and I've taken bits of both on board. the main differences are in the hold off and flare:

instructor 1 - 70kts all the way, at approx 50 ft (above the fence at the training field) close the throttle over a count of three, then manage the landing by 'coasting' down to flare.

instructor 2 - 70kts all the way, keep the power on until just (within 10 ft?) above the threshold line, gently close throttle and maintain back pressure until the main wheels touch down.

I prefer the approach of 'instructor 2' and I had my first 'greaser' last week. coming off the throttle earlier made me feel a little more vunerable to sink or a sudden gust.

this might seem odd but I've found that landing is way easier than I expected - even easier than on the sim (fs2004). the key - for me - has been picking a spot at or around the threshold and keeping that spot in view.

I do like the sound of the get down you W%ore method. I'll give that a go next lesson.
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Old 27th Jul 2010, 16:23
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Stop thinking about pressure on the controls!!!

Start thinking attitude and picture.

The point you close the power level is really dependent on a few factors wind being the biggest one. Use Q's in you visual reference for when to shut it.

Instructor 1 in your example is one with ideas of grandure flying an airliner.

Instructor 2 is more realistic for a tommy and a GA airfield.

Mind you at 70knts going across the fence it really doesn't matter what you do you have that much energy!!!!

Have a look at your POH and see what speed it tells you to do. 65knts is more normal and personally I do 60 knts over the fence.

I instruct on tommy's and have 750 hours on them.
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Old 27th Jul 2010, 16:26
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Although all SEP aircraft are different, the technique you apply to land one is the generally the same. They were designed by boffins who know more about aerodynamics than most mortal pilots and are generally benign to when landing.

Know your landing speeds. This will prevent you from ballooning. If you're not sure, it's all written in black and white in the POH.
Fly the approach at this speed. Use power to control the rate of descent and use pitch to control the airspeed. This will help keep the aircraft in the correct attitude for the landing.
Judge the flare by whatever method suits you. I look straight down the runway, and use the aspect of the runway edge. When it appears to be as high as my shoulders in my periphary vision, that's the time to flare.

Smoothly remove any power left and apply a small amount of back pressure. Now the important bit. Imagine the yoke is on a ratchet, it only goes one way and that way is backwards.
If you pull to much and the aircraft slowly rises, hold the yoke steady, speed will slowly reduce and the aircraft will begin to settle down again. If you don't apply enough back pressure you'll thump it in and probably bounce (followed by a go-around).
Once in the flare, keep applying more and more back pressure to hold the aircraft off the runway till it is good and ready to settle down. If done properly, should touch down just as the stall warning starts to chirp.

IMHO, It's all about getting the speed right.
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Old 27th Jul 2010, 17:45
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what flap setting

I have not flown SE for many years, but did not see any reference to flap settings.

Most of my SE training landing, certainly the early ones were all power off, basically glides, is this still taught at all.?

In the Glf, I remove all power at 50ft, and await the ground, in a 2.53 degree attitude, and at 10ft, ease the nose 0.65 degrees higher.

Tried shouting, but hostess kept answering......

Glf
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Old 27th Jul 2010, 18:00
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It is taught but is seen as some what of a special manover.

B52 bomber circuits are the norm with zero chance of gliding it in if the donk goes.

To be fair alot of airfields its a noise issue which causes this fact.
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Old 27th Jul 2010, 20:55
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70 knots does feel quite quick at times. I'm sure it's a stall margin thing perhaps?

I'll try a slower approach speed on the sim to see how it feels. it does make more sense - although I've not yet had a donk landing, there can be a secondary balooning type thing going on which might not be a good thing on shorter runways.
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Old 27th Jul 2010, 21:18
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Nope the clean stall speed for a PA38 is something like 47 knots clean from memory. If you were going for a standard 1.3Vs approach speed makes it 61knts which is why I use that speed and 55knts for short field.

The reason why your having ballooning issues is because you have way to much energy in the flare to get rid of.

The real guide is the POH read the one for your aircraft and have the discussion with the instructor why your not using those speeds.

I know already they will tell you to continue to use 70knts just be aware its bad practise.
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Old 27th Jul 2010, 22:55
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Both involve coming over the threshold at 63kt... Trickling the power off from the threshold to the flare (whilst maintaining the 63kt) being sure to leave a small amount of power on which is removed in a coordinated fashion at the beginning of the flare.

I have highlighted where you are going wrong.

You need to fly a stable trimmed approach at the appropriate speed and in the appropriate configuration towards the aiming point at the correct approach angle.

If you are looking at the airspeed indicator at any time after crossing the threshold then you need to stop asap. Look out the window. Provided you have flown a stable approach with an appropriate speed down to the threshold (about 50ft) then unless you do something drastic the speed will not change.

After crossing the threshold what you have to do is continue the flight towards the aiming point while ensuring that at the appropriate time you start reducing the rate of descent - don't look at the instrument look outside so that you hit the ground at a rate which will not break the aircraft. Ideally the descent will not stop but the rate will reduce which will cause two totehr things to happen;

1. The nose will rise protecting the nosewheel; and

2. The speed will reduce

These are good things and the principle will work from 115Kg Microlight to B747 provided you look out the window, assess what is actually happening and make appropriate control movements.

Of course you do have to close the throttle - at an appropriate stage. I recomend that you get a demonstration from your instructor but in simple terms abide by the following principle - if you are high on energy then you will close it earlier, if you are a bit low then later. Very few occasions will cause you to cross the threshold at exactly the desired speed.

How do you assess the energy? - On the ideal approach where you will cross the threshold at 50ft the just before crossing the threshold have a last look at the airspeed. If for example you are 10Kt fast in a heavy twin (plenty of momentum) then perhaps it is time to close the throttles now. If you are a few knots slow then delay closing the throttle(s). (If you are very slow then go arround.)

So look outside, assess the energy and use all the controls to reduce the rate of descent to an acceptable amount.

1.3 times the stall is the minimum approach speed to 50ft that can be used in the certification process. Unless you are involved in this then this is simply a theoretical figure and the figures published in the POH/AFM are the ones to be aware of.

So use the speed specified by the POH - discuss with FTO/RTF if different. If they are using a higher speed then they must have applied a factor to the published field performance figures.

In sumary - look outside and use the controls to reduce (not stop) the rate of descent to a reasonable amount and accept that it is a good thing to loose some energy between the end of the approach (50ft) and touchdown.

Last edited by DFC; 27th Jul 2010 at 23:12.
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Old 28th Jul 2010, 01:17
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The technique I use on 90% of aeroplanes is very simple...

Ensure I am at Vat (or 1.3 Vs if this isn't available) and at a suitable height at the point I cross the threshold (or perhaps meginally earlier), at which point, I kill the power completely, and plan not to touch it again. All you need to do then is look at the picture develop and make suitable control inputs to ensure a mainwheel landing.

This works very well in smooth air - in practice (and 99% of the time), you'll have a few gusts and therms to deal with, which will/may require a squeeze of power and adjustment of pitch during the flare to fine it off.

My personal opinion is that a 'hold off' should be made as short as possible if the performance figures are to be achieved, and that the problem a lot of people have is they think if they don't have any power on during the flare the aeroplane will simply drop out of the sky. Generally not true, but of course be ready to push a little in if required! I also believe a lot of people forget about the last 5-10 knots above the stall in which the aeroplane will still be flying and quite controllable, and that it is within this area that you can make or break a good landing.

All the best and happy landings.
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Old 28th Jul 2010, 07:36
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My tuppence worth:

Where on earth is this "over the fence" place? Where I fly from there is a displaced threshold and if I cut the power when crossing the 'fence' I would most definitely land short.

So -

How about a nice stable trimmed approach at the POH speed.
Power to maintain glidepath, attitude for speed.
From about 100ft, don't look in, ever. Remember, you should be nicely configured and the speed shouldn't be changing significantly.
As you pass 50ft (about the same height as surrounding buildings, trees, lamposts etc) raise the nose to your normal level attitude (you know, the one you normally use for S&L at about 2300rpm)
Coincidentally, reduce power to idle - don't cut the throttle, just gently reduce it.
Keep the aircraft straight (rudder)
Wait.
The aircraft will start to slow down (you shouldn't notice this as you're not looking in) and descend towards the runway. You will feel this 'sink'
Try to stop this sink by smoothly applying increased back pressure. You don't want the aircraft to land.
Don't use any brisk control inputs.
As the mainwheels touchdown, maintain or even increase the back pressure to try and stop the nosewheel touching down.
When learning, never, ever allow the yoke to go forward once you commence the flare. If you over-flare (balloon), just stop the progressive application of back pressure for a moment or intitiate a go-around. After a while, you will develop techniques to resolve this scenario.

Oh, and relax.
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Old 28th Jul 2010, 09:56
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Your quite correct cows aboutr using the fence term.

Its a gash Instrument approach term which has no place in light aircraft operations.

The same goes for the number of complete idiots who seem to think you have to cross the start of the runway at 50ft as per commercial operations performance.
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Old 28th Jul 2010, 18:22
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The same goes for the number of complete idiots who seem to think you have to cross the start of the runway at 50ft as per commercial operations performance.
Who said anything about commercial operations.

It is well known by anyone flying commercially that commercial operations can often use the threshold height of 35ft (subject to certain requirements) and at other places the minimum threshold crossing height can be in excess of 50ft.

It is simply an industry standard that firstly the performance figures are based upon and that the safe clearance between the wheels and the obstacles under the flight path are based upon.

What a pity that no one has learned from the tragic fatal accident where two experienced pilots were killed and almost killed an innocent bystander under the approach throught hitting moving farm machinery in a field short of the threshold well below what would be considered the normal approach path.

It is imperative the instructors instill in students the simple basics i.e. that it is important to cross the threshold at a safe height and that since the performance figures are based on crossing the threshold at 50ft, then in the absence of any other safety issues that is a good figure to aim for.

Finally, the reason why most things are done in commercial operations is to ensure safety. So if doing X ensures safety and there is noting to gain from doing something different why unnecessarily endanger the flight?
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Old 28th Jul 2010, 18:35
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Where on earth is this "over the fence" place? Where I fly from there is a displaced threshold and if I cut the power when crossing the 'fence' I would most definitely land short.
For those that have learned to fly in the last 20 to 30 or so years, I will explain - I think everyone else knows the term all too well and where it referrs to!!

For performance purposes an imaginary fence was placed at both ends of the runway that had to be cleared. For landing it was 50ft high and placed at the threshold.

I shudder to think what a pilot who thinks like that would do when given the CAA poster advice of "Think Hedgerow not Heathrow"!!!
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Old 29th Jul 2010, 01:01
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KISS

I can't understand this concept that prevails in GA in the UK of making everything more complicated than it actually is. Granted there are some decent points made here but IMHO most is nonsense, or at least to me. It is a good idea when flying at night to judge the flare based on your peripheral vision but to be honest I can't see the need when flying daytime VFR in VMC. There is no need to watch the ROD or the ASI after crossing the threshold, or cut the power at 50' or pitch up 0.65 degrees. OAT, airport elevation and prevailing winds will vary and as such each profile would be flown slightly different.

When landing, I set up a decent approach, sit back and feel the aircraft. I let the aircraft tell me what it needs and adjust accordingly. The event should be an exercise of the senses not of arithmetic or physics (We assume we all have a decent knowledge of anyway, don't we ). I'm not saying my landings are perfect but they are far from terrible. Landing a plane, which lets face it is not rocket science, should be in every pilot's blood. One should develop, over time, a gut feeling of when things are going well and when we should try again. At the end of the day all we are doing is returning the aircraft to the ground with the primary objective of not destroying it, property or those contained within.

Ryan
KISS
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Old 29th Jul 2010, 02:03
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Wow.... a PPL with less than one years experience comes on the instructor form to tell tell us instructors how to fly airplanes. What other pearls of wisdom do you have for us guys who have been doing it for 20 + yrs
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Old 29th Jul 2010, 08:11
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It is a good idea when flying at night to judge the flare based on your peripheral vision but to be honest I can't see the need when flying daytime VFR in VMC
Peripheral vision is one of the most critical elements in the landing. Especially with respect to judging height above the surface and sink rate.

That is why it is so hard to judge landing in a basic simulator which only has a single flat screen visual. get the same simulator with the visuals extended into the peripheral area and one gets a totally different perspective. This is an important aspect of modern simulator design and operation.
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