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Why is landing the bloody plane so hard?!

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Why is landing the bloody plane so hard?!

Old 7th Mar 2015, 20:40
  #121 (permalink)  
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I've been lurking through the last few pages and while I didn't follow parts of it i would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has taken the time to post so much experience, it has been invaluable.

As it happens I went up today with a different instructor and did 6 touch and go's and 2 full stop landings in 50 mins that felt much, much better. Conditions were blustery and hazy - I was told before we even went to the plane I wouldn't be going solo - but I was much more stable on the approach, took much more time with the key elements rather than rushing it and spent more time getting out of the way of the plane rather than over thinking and over controlling. I'm not solo standard yet. But I'm confident that if I was thrown the keys in the morning I could cope. And I'll take that for now

So thanks again!
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Old 7th Mar 2015, 20:42
  #122 (permalink)  
 
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Hi

The instructor who taught me to land a Tiger Moth said let's go and have a cup of tea and I will explain to you exactly how to go about the approach and landing phases for three pointing it and wheeling it on.
We then went out to the aircraft and I followed his instructors with a little cajoling and it worked and his instruction has stood me in good stead ever since.
He did have over 10,000 hours instructional time but it perhaps illustrates the point that you learn how to do it on the ground and then demonstrate what you have learnt in the air.
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Old 7th Mar 2015, 22:08
  #123 (permalink)  
 
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Umpteen pages of drivel in response to a straightforward question.
Good innit!
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Old 7th Mar 2015, 23:02
  #124 (permalink)  
 
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So, imagine that you have a very long runway in front of you. You fly the mighty 152 across the threshold with 20 flap out, right at Vfe, precisely one foot over the surface, 'cause you've got that part of low flying figured out. You've got the plane right in the groove, one foot off, right on the centerline, and you could hold it there all day long...

Your task now is the groove, keep it in that groove no matter what!

So now smoothly reduce the throttle to idle. You're going to have to pitch up as well, to compensate for the elimination of thrust. But you're going to keep the plane perfectly in that groove, it'll just be steadily slowing, and you'll be steadily increasing pitch, to compensate for the slowing airspeed.....

Just keep doing this... keep it in that groove, it's perfect!

At some point, you're going to hear the stall warning horn - IGNORE IT! (after all, where could you fall!). Just keep raising the nose as you've been doing - keep it in the groove. Soon, after the stall horn your ignoring, you're gonna feel the mains gently touch the runway - ignore that too, keep the plane in the groove the best you can! Yeah. I know that you're on the ground, but focus on keeping it in the groove.

Oh yeah, as you roll out perfectly, holding the nose wheel off, in the groove as best you can, you landed really well - bonus!

Over time, you'll find you can repeat that perfectly, it will just happen with unconscious competence, and in less runway length, but patience.... It'll come...
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Old 7th Mar 2015, 23:43
  #125 (permalink)  
 
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step turn

Bang on the plane doesn't know if its a couple of feet off the runway or 1000 feet only the pilot knows and the problem is with the pilots mindset not the aircraft.

That is an excellent exercise to get the student pilot familiar with operating near the ground instead of a major fear factor down the approach and should be a compulsory exercise before any landing is attempted.

Pace
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Old 8th Mar 2015, 01:53
  #126 (permalink)  
 
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Just remember to keep a visual on the end of the runway while raising the noise higher and higher
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Old 8th Mar 2015, 03:55
  #127 (permalink)  
 
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Just remember to keep a visual on the end of the runway while raising the noise higher and higher
Indeed, if wildlife or incursions are a risk, that must be mitigated, as more and more of the runway ahead will no longer be visible with the nose way high. This will be the same as the visibility during a three point landing in many taildraggers. If the plane has an adjustable seat, adjust it up. But every pilot trained before the '50's managed it okay...

However, like a soft field takeoff, the runway edge on your side, and other farther away objects will provide enough cues to enable you to steer straight with the nose up. Once the mains are on, you can let it down a little, though maintaining the nosewheel off until you are no longer able, is a worthy objective.
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Old 8th Mar 2015, 11:21
  #128 (permalink)  
 
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It would be interesting to set up a GoPro to observe pilot eye movement during flare and landing. There are three visual assessments to be simultaneously and continuously accomplished: aircraft attitude, height and centreline tracking. The former requires looking ahead and the latter two are achieved . . . how? Momentary glances to the side or peripheral vision or a combination of both?

Last edited by Discorde; 17th Feb 2017 at 18:45.
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Old 8th Mar 2015, 11:48
  #129 (permalink)  
 
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Why is landing the bloody plane so hard? Actually, it's not once you crack how to do it. So I prescribe patience while you learn!
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Old 8th Mar 2015, 11:53
  #130 (permalink)  
 
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Why reduce the power to idle, surely keeping power on as long as possible will allow a much lower speed therefore a smoother touchdown and shorter ground run. standing by for incoming.

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Old 8th Mar 2015, 17:05
  #131 (permalink)  
 
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Discorde I would say on a hard runways the edges in your peripheral vision are the cue to flare, as when landing on grass, after using a hard runway for sometime most people flare to low on grass and bounce, as no edge cues. That's why I think a high seat setting and looking at the end of the runway are important plus noting visual cues each side. An instructor flying you down the runway in ground effect is a good exercise to learn these cues.
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Old 8th Mar 2015, 18:56
  #132 (permalink)  
 
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surely keeping power on as long as possible will allow a much lower speed therefore a smoother touchdown and shorter ground run.
Yes, once you get the plane behind the power curve, you can start adding power to fly more slowly. However, getting to that point during approach is not as easy as it seems.

Many planes, in this configuration, will have the tail so low, that banging it on the ground is a risk. I've had a PA-28 stuck in ground effect, with nowhere to go doing this - it won't climb away, but lading back will result in a tail strike, and hard landing. It also requires very large control movements, which require great skill. Best avoided until skill is great....
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Old 9th Mar 2015, 18:01
  #133 (permalink)  
 
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Hi AndrewMcd.

I had a hard working student a long time ago who for some strange reason couldn't fly a nice approach and couldn't land. It was very frustrating for both of us until we discovered why...

We suddenly realised that on final and in the flair, due to the different attitude of the aircraft flying at lower speeds he couldn't actually see the runway. Raising his seat slightly completely changed his future!

Since he'd been trying to land blind for so long, landing when he could see was a piece of cake

Maybe worth a try if you're struggling at all.
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Old 9th Mar 2015, 19:25
  #134 (permalink)  
 
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Aviatorklb brings up a good point.

It is very important when learning to land that you have a consistent seat position and in general the higher the better . C 172's, in particular have a range of vertical seat adjustment that will produce very different sight pictures. I tell my students to start with the seat cranked to the very highest setting. For shorter people I add cushions, but the bottom line is you should be looking down at the cowl top and the sight picture should be the same on every flight.

Interestingly large aircraft flown by professional pilots all have a "eye height indicator" device witch allows pilots to set a consistent seat height as they move from plane to plane in the course of the day.
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Old 7th Apr 2015, 09:32
  #135 (permalink)  
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It is Easter so maybe a thread resurrection isn't out of order!

A huge thank you to everyone who chipped into this debate. It has been beneficial beyond words and there were a couple of nuggets in particular that were especially helpful (for example keeping your backside on the centerline rather than the plane). Also the point about it not being a "bloody plane" I didn't agree with at first but the more I trusted the plane the easier things became...

So anyway I posted the OP because I felt my progress had ground to a dead stop. I felt I was flogging circuits and simply not making progress leaving me with visions of being 30 or 40 hours in and still just flying in circles. After absorbing all of the info on here I flew with a different FI who gave me some other great advice ("slow down - no one likes seeing hands flying around a cockpit") and a couple of lessons later I went solo. At 22 hours it's not embarrassingly late but more importantly I felt fully ready and in control. In fact in the circuits leading to it and on my solo rather than rushing and not having time to do the checks I slowed down, took my time & found myself twiddling my thumbs on downwind And landings are vastly better - a good downwind means a good base and steady, predictable final which turned out to be my key for a good landing. Rather than thinking about where I should be looking as the plane crosses the threshold I now just "know" when to roundout and can feel when to flare. It's a long way from being muscle memory but rather than thinking about what I should be doing I'm now feeling the plane and reacting to it and that for me has been the key - removing the brain from the equation.

Very strange feeling though - at 20-30 foot in the air on the climbout realising that the only person who could get the plane safely back on the ground was me felt very unusual!
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Old 7th Apr 2015, 11:33
  #136 (permalink)  
 
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I haven't read all the posts but heres my list of what gets consistent landings - by the way controlled , alive and plane not damaged is still good.

1. Stable approach - if you can nail the correct speed , stay on centreline, correcting for wind and required descent then you are already in the right shape to only have to worry about the last 20 feet
2. Learn the right time to ease or cut the power - in your training aircraft it will probably be when you are about 4-8 feet off the runway. In certain aircraft like prop twins , a certain amount of power is kept on till virtually on the runway
3. Apply steady progressive flare looking down the the runway as you ease the power off. You don't however, want to be slow stalled and no power on high above the runway on a hot day at heavy weight, so be smart about this. A little bit of residual energy is useful. If you are holding off the runway in the right way in a single prop aircraft, it will naturally settle onto the runway when it is ready to so - one difference is that a short field landing is a definite "plant" onto the runway at a specific point, but thats a different technique.
4. Rehearse your crosswind techniques mentally and repeatedly before you need them
5. Practice a lot - my guess is 100-150 landings is a good number to get consistency.

PS don't be shy to fly within within sensible limits, even if it means calling for a change of runway end, or even using an alternate if conditions are beyond your skill level. Don't take risks, and anticipate and plan for problems in advance

Last edited by Mimpe; 7th Apr 2015 at 11:58.
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Old 7th Apr 2015, 13:39
  #137 (permalink)  
 
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Mimpe, I'm going to challenge you a little:

2. Learn the right time to ease or cut the power - in your training aircraft it will probably be when you are about 4-8 feet off the runway. In certain aircraft like prop twins , a certain amount of power is kept on till virtually on the runway
The right time to cut the power might be downwind, 'cause sometimes it is! The use of power or not will affect where the landing will occur, but should have nothing to do with how good the landing is. The landing should be power off, so where on the approach you have cut the power should not affect it. If your good landing is dependent upon the use of power, more power off practice is in order.

In nearly all twins, and some singles, the wheels retract. Needless to say, having them extended for a runway landing is good. Checking they are extended is better. Having a working warning system to tell you've overlooked extending them is really nice - these systems comes with most RG planes. However, if you carry power into the flare, you have disabled that system. If you have forgotten the wheels, and you power into the flare, you're going to hear a crunch and a throttle activated gear warning horn at about the same time. That system works with a switch on the throttle, so at idle, you get the horn if the wheels are up. Better to close the throttle(s) well back on a well set up final approach, so the gear warning system can work as intended, and have time to deal with the gear still being up. Then, you can focus on your good power off landing, instead of being distracted by the engine. If you need to sneak in a little power, we'll try not to notice....

5. Practice a lot - my guess is 100-150 landings is a good number to get consistency.
If you're getting consistant landings after practicing 100-150, you're awesome! - It might take more, but keep practicing!
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Old 7th Apr 2015, 16:57
  #138 (permalink)  
 
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Every landing should be a good landing ? That is the point you should get too!
Ok some will be firmer than others, some more challenging but it must be 15 years since my last BAD landing and i am nothing special!

don't make a big deal of it you will get there

Pace
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Old 8th Apr 2015, 10:31
  #139 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by AndrewMcD
Very strange feeling though - at 20-30 foot in the air on the climbout realising that the only person who could get the plane safely back on the ground was me felt very unusual!
Congrats on your first solo and thanks for coming back and de-briefing us. So after all we didn't waste completely all that time while posting in this thread

To me your story underlines that learning speed varies greatly during the pilot training.
All my friends at the club reported various levels of frustrations due to getting stuck at learning some of the tasks (most often the landing, sure enough) throughout their own course.
Yes, the solution is to "stick with it", but looking at the problem and try to crack it from various angles is also necessary.

Keep on going
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Old 8th Apr 2015, 11:00
  #140 (permalink)  
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Congratulations Andrew! Isn't it nice feeling that extra room in the cockpit beside you?!
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