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The landing and judging height.

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The landing and judging height.

Old 16th Apr 2013, 19:14
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The landing and judging height.

Some years ago I wrote an article about judging the height for landing here on PPRuNe.

A discussion in another thread has prompted me to retype the article as close as I can remember it.

From a stabilized approach ( stabilized angle of attack at a pre determined airspeed. ) you fly the airplane to your preselected flare point on the runway with or without power.

( With a light airplane the flare from the approach path to level with the landing surface should be started at approximately fifteen feet for a nose wheel airplane or a tail wheel airplane that you are planning to three point. )

During the final approach your center of sight line should be the point at which you plan to flare, for instance the runway numbers.

At the flare height you do two things, raise the nose to the level attitude and at the same time refocus the center of your sight line at a point ahead of you on the runway center line where apparent movement of the runway towards you ceases..... this will be about four to five hundred feet ahead of your present position depending on G.S. and your sight line above the runway.

This new sight line will give you the optimum angle to best judge not only your height but any deviation left or right of the center line, the picture you get now will allow you to see the far end of the runway as well as the runway closer in in your peripheral vision .

Do not fixate on this point of the runway ( The point where apparent movement of runway towards you ceases. ) use it as the center of your vision forward and you can use eye movement both further and closer in as a means of height judgement....

...Holding the airplane in the level attitude with power off results in a loss of airspeed and lift will decay, the airplane will sink towards the runway.... at one foot above the runway use the elevator to prevent the airplane from landing which will result in a proper nose up attitude at touch down.

That in a nut shell is a quick overview of how I teach height judgement for the landing.
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Old 16th Apr 2013, 19:47
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I'll try that in the Pitts at the weekend.
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Old 16th Apr 2013, 19:49
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I'll try that in the Pitts at the weekend.
You can see over the nose in your Pitts when you land it?
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Old 16th Apr 2013, 20:32
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I think that this is the thread that Chuck was referring to:

http://www.pprune.org/private-flying...ing-flare.html

SD
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Old 16th Apr 2013, 20:45
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Thanks SD:

Have you noticed how I am mellowing with age?
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Old 16th Apr 2013, 21:10
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That's what I always did in the Chipmunk. And every other aeroplane I flew.

Wheeler landing similar except a 'slighter' flare so she wheels-on gently with no bounce, tail high, followed by firm positive forward stick to 'pin it on'. Followed by progressively more forward stick to hold the fuselage level as the speed decays (you need good feet as you slow!), until one runs out of elevator and the tailwheel lands of its own accord (unless you've got about 30 knots down the strip in which case the tail will stay up 'till you've stopped).

Yes, I know you can 'land' the tailwheel earlier than that, but that's not as much fun!

A good test of your 'feet' is high speed tail-up taxying. Great fun!
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Old 16th Apr 2013, 22:48
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A good test of your 'feet' is high speed tail-up taxying. Great fun!
Not only is it great fun but it it should be the very first part of tail wheel training when checking out pilots on a tail wheel airplane.

I do not take them flying until they can demonstrate complete control with the tail up on the runway......when there is light wind and traffic permits you can use the runway in both directions to save taxiing back to on the taxiway.
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Old 17th Apr 2013, 07:57
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I thought I'd heard it all. Seems not.
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Old 17th Apr 2013, 11:44
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Chuck, thanks for re-posting and SD thanks for the link to the original post.

I am another PPL student who is having trouble with the last bit of the landing, I think it is judging the height to commence the flare and hold off.

I have read Chuck's posts in the original thread and will certainly try his exercises. He mentions a video he uses for teaching landing which I think would be a great teaching tool but I guess that was for use with the Airbus.

I have mentioned my height judging problems before and a number of posters have suggested asking my FI to fly along the runway at flare/hold off height so I can 'get the picture', sadly that hasn't happened but I'm sure it would help me.

As for 'it will just click' I'm still waiting despite over 100 landing attempts
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Old 17th Apr 2013, 12:36
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b2 stop trying so hard and laugh at yourself.


Another one that was suggested by a rotary pilot was to get a stool or table and sit it in the middle of a road. Then Stand on it then sink your self down to the height that you will be at when landing. Then repeat.

This will give you the chance to see all the things which are happening in your vision without having loads of other things to think about.
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Old 17th Apr 2013, 13:21
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This will give you the chance to see all the things which are happening in your vision without having loads of other things to think about.
Apart from that Eddie Stobbart truck that's about to run over your ass !!
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Old 17th Apr 2013, 14:27
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I thought I'd heard it all. Seems not.
The greatest problem a pilot will have when first starting to fly a tail wheel airplane is directional control on the ground, especially if they have a lot of time on nose wheel airplanes.

Therefore logic dictates one should get used to controlling direction on the runway before flying it.
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Old 17th Apr 2013, 15:50
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I have read Chuck's posts in the original thread and will certainly try his exercises. He mentions a video he uses for teaching landing which I think would be a great teaching tool but I guess that was for use with the Airbus.
Please tell me this is a wind up
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Old 17th Apr 2013, 15:55
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The greatest problem a pilot will have when first starting to fly a tail wheel airplane is directional control on the ground, especially if they have a lot of time on nose wheel airplanes.

Therefore logic dictates one should get used to controlling direction on the runway before flying it.
Logic dictates that you land as close to a three pointer as you can, and get that stick back into your stomach pronto.

Playing around in ground-loop/nose-over country is not something I'd have a novice doing. Wheelers are best left to the experienced pilot.
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Old 17th Apr 2013, 16:07
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Logic dictates that you land as close to a three pointer as you can, and get that stick back into your stomach pronto.
Only if you are doing a three point landing........

.....logic also dictates that once the airplane is on the ground you still have to control yaw......

.......my students have already been exposed to yaw control on the ground at both low and high speeds therefore direction control after touch down is not a new experience for them.


Playing around in ground-loop/nose-over country is not something I'd have a novice doing. Wheelers are best left to the experienced pilot.
I believe in teaching a pilot how to properly handle a tail wheel airplane and teach both three point and wheel landings and expect them to be equally proficient in both.


If they can not master both types of landings I will not sign them out as competent on tail wheel airplanes....period.
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Old 17th Apr 2013, 18:25
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If they can not master both types of landings I will not sign them out as competent on tail wheel airplanes....period.
That has to make sense - sometimes a 3-pointer is appropriate, sometimes a wheeler. And sometimes one just wants to ring the changes.

It's better for the stude to be taught wheelers and tail-up taxying by their instaructor rather that try to teach themselves to do it.

If you don't have the skill not to nose-over and not to let the aeroplane swap ends in a high speed tail-up taxy you shouldn't be signed up as competant on tailwheel aircraft.
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Old 17th Apr 2013, 18:55
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If you don't have the skill not to nose-over and not to let the aeroplane swap ends in a high speed tail-up taxy you shouldn't be signed up as competant on tailwheel aircraft.
Exactly:

One has to remember this is the private pilot forum and many here may not even be private pilots yet, so their vision of how to fly is badly blurred.

At the risk of offending some posters here it is my personal opinion that if you are not equally competent and at ease with both the three point landing and the wheel landing you have not finished learning how to fly tail wheel airplanes.

I sure would not turn you loose on any tail wheel airplane I owned or was responsible for.
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Old 17th Apr 2013, 18:57
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If you don't have the skill not to nose-over and not to let the aeroplane swap ends in a high speed tail-up taxy you shouldn't be signed up as competant on tailwheel aircraft.
I'll pass that on to the 3,000hr pilot who groundlooped in front of me last week.

I myself only reached 1,000 + hrs before chewing the grass with my prop.

There are those who have and those who have yet to.
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Old 17th Apr 2013, 19:03
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There are those who have and those who have yet to.
That is a truly frightening mindset, sort of like resigning yourself to failure regardless of reality.

For sure accidents can and do happen, however with the right mindset and proper initial training and recurrent training one can narrow the odds and live to a ripe old age without ever having had an accident.

Those who resist recurrent training are cheating themselves of the added value of upgrading their skills level and are more prone to wrecking aircraft.

Last edited by Chuck Ellsworth; 17th Apr 2013 at 19:09.
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Old 17th Apr 2013, 19:12
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At 1.3 times the stall its a doddle if you are accurate with the numbers.
Trim is also important so have the aircraft trimmed a fraction nose up meaning a slight forward pressure on the column to maintain the glide.
It is also important to get a feel for the aircraft adding or removing power!
A lot is a lack of confidence near the ground and I cannot stress enough that instructors should teach landing by not landing.
Fly the aircraft along the runway at 2 feet if you want and do not land then reduce power and add a bit of back pressure soon the aircraft will want to descend add more back pressure while trying not to land.
Kiss the runway and there you go!
No big deal piece of cake
A lot is in the head not hands!
Be confident operating near the ground, adding or removing power and pitch with a good feel for whats going on.
Do not be a panic stricken passenger to the aircraft hoping it will work out!
Control the aircraft not the aircraft controlling you!

Pace

Last edited by Pace; 17th Apr 2013 at 19:25.
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