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Mastering the skill of landing

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Mastering the skill of landing

Old 6th Jun 2016, 13:08
  #21 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
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As someone else posted, switching you focus to the end of the runway at the flare point was what made it click for me.

Being prepared to react quickly on the elevators, such that you can counter a balloon before it develops also helps - I balooned a lot, so learned to expect I'd get the stick displacement wrong, and anticipated the correction.
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Old 10th Jun 2016, 23:59
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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Firstly, dump some speed. I used to fly a 172 fully loaded (with smelly bush walkers) and used an approach speed in the order of 55 Kts or so, 60 if windy. It was more than enough. The time to round out is when be runway surface starts to loose the blur and becomes visually clear. Ease the power back and as you round out, look well down the runway. Apply gentle back pressure and using your peripheral vision prevent the aircraft from climbing, just allow it to gently sink. It will not land until it is ready. Do not make it land.

PM
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Old 12th Jun 2016, 00:59
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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I really try and avoid getting into these how to land discussions, however I just have to comment on this subject.

If you look at the far end of the runway after the flare to the level attitude you will never ever really be able to judge your height above the runway...period.

This nonsense came into use about thirty years ago when someone decided this was a good way to teach.....

...sure you can judge the nose attitude looking way ahead but you can not accurately judge your height above the runway.

When I was teaching flying two things were very common with pilots.

(1) Climbing like a roller coaster chasing the airspeed.

(2) Looking way to far ahead during the latter stages of the landing, resulting in the inability to accurately judge height above the runway.

Accurately means about six inches from the wheels to the runway.

Chuck Ellsworth :
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Old 12th Jun 2016, 05:41
  #24 (permalink)  

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Wow, you nailed it Chuck: How not to land and how not to teach.

You forgot to write down the proper way to do it however.
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Old 13th Jun 2016, 01:23
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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This thread highlights a problem with offering flying advice across the internet. While you old hands know your stuff, there's no way I'd be telling a 20 hour pilot to disobey their instructor no matter what the flight manual says. We haven't flown with the OP so we don't know what other problems that are affecting their landing they've not told us about because frankly they are not aware of them.

To Rzrukmanis: All of these questions you've asked are great questions that you should be taking up with your instructor. I think it's great you are actively identifying your own weaknesses and seeking advice, but where you are at in your flying you need to keep your instruction uncluttered and better tuned to your circumstances.
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Old 13th Jun 2016, 13:03
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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Chuck said "If you look at the far end of the runway after the flare to the level attitude you will never ever really be able to judge your height above the runway...period."

So why does this technique seem to lead to me making better landings?

Do you really need to know exactly how far above the runway you are once you've done the flare and are now just 'flying' the aircraft until it can't fly any more and settles onto the ground? (I'm assuming you can tell the difference between 2 feet and 10 feet - i.e. you know if you've flared way too soon and ended up too high)
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Old 13th Jun 2016, 19:46
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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Do you really need to know exactly how far above the runway you are once you've done the flare and are now just 'flying' the aircraft until it can't fly any more and settles onto the ground?
Do you need to know how far you are behind the car ahead of you on the highway?

Do you have to know how far you are away from a wall you are parking beside?

Of course you do, and you should know exactly how high you are above the runway all during the landing process.

At least that is my opinion.

(I'm assuming you can tell the difference between 2 feet and 10 feet - i.e. you know if you've flared way too soon and ended up too high)
Once again to be a proficient pilot you must know your height above the runway at alll times until you are on the runway.

Why is this question even being asked?

For me personally I can judge when the wheels are six inches above the runway.

Some years ago I posted a detailed explanation on how to judge height and where to look during the approach and landing.

I am on a trip across Canada in my motor home at this time and have limited access to the internet.

Maybe someone here can find my post on landing and copy and paste it here?

Chuck Ellsworth.
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Old 13th Jun 2016, 23:39
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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Early on in my flying one of the instructors told me to begin the flair when the ground seems to start rushing at you. Worked for me so far on tail draggers, nose wheel, and gliders...
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Old 14th Jun 2016, 00:33
  #29 (permalink)  

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. Early on in my flying one of the instructors told me to begin the flair when the ground seems to start rushing at you. Worked
I am not sure when to start flaring anymore, I just do it to avoid an accident.
An old rule said a good landing is when you run out of airspeed, altitude, back pressure and vertical speed at the same time. More art that science perhaps.
Any monkey can fly the book, but if he or she does not have the "touch" the "feel" or a bit of luck, it will end badly.
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Old 14th Jun 2016, 12:53
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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Chuck: Why is this question even being asked?

Because I want to learn.

Originally Posted by Chuck Ellsworth View Post
Do you need to know how far you are behind the car ahead of you on the highway?

Do you have to know how far you are away from a wall you are parking beside?

Of course you do, and you should know exactly how high you are above the runway all during the landing process.

At least that is my opinion.



Once again to be a proficient pilot you must know your height above the runway at alll times until you are on the runway.

Why is this question even being asked?

For me personally I can judge when the wheels are six inches above the runway.

Some years ago I posted a detailed explanation on how to judge height and where to look during the approach and landing.

I am on a trip across Canada in my motor home at this time and have limited access to the internet.

Maybe someone here can find my post on landing and copy and paste it here?

Chuck Ellsworth.
As an engineer, I understand accuracy and tolerance.

The answer to your distance questions is yes, but with a suitable level of accuracy. Distance to the car infront / wall will depend on the speed you're doing, and your rection speeds (including the mechanical response of the vehical). So long as you can tell you're X feet behind, do you really need to know you're X feet and Y inches? To the nearest foot is fine.

I'd be really interested to learn how you know you're 6 inches off the runway (how did you verify this?) hopefully the link to your previous post will explain.

Right now, I'm at "couple of feet above the tarmac" accuracy...
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Old 14th Jun 2016, 13:49
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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A lot of the problem here is the way that "flare" is understood.
It is not a single action, it shoud be a process, starting when you cross the fence, of adding back pressure to progressively reduce the rate of decent. By the time the wheels are a foot or so above the runway you should be gradually sinking and you will soon hear a series of squeaks as each tyre bites.

Think of it as similar to stopping your car at a red light, you should be braking smoothly from a distance so that you reach the line at a crawl, not dropping anchor at the last moment.
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Old 14th Jun 2016, 14:16
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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The flare is the act of arresting the rate of descent which got you to the ground and slowing airspeed at the same time. It is possible to do a no flare landing (I watched a C 130 do one yesterday - Thump, and lots of blue smoke!), but don't do that in GA planes, they are just not built for it.

So you want to stop going down before you contact the runway. In a perfect world, you could have the aircraft aerodynamically stop going down at the moment you touched the main wheels, while holding the third wheel off. That's the perfect world, nice, but not always possible. So next, as Chuck suggests, flare, arrest the descent rate to zero, and pause so close to the surface (I like 6" high) that the plane could fall from there, and you'd still get a nice landing. As you pull nose up cautiously to hold at 6" high, the plane will inevitably slow, and thus settle gently on its own - hold that attitude! After the mains touch, hold that attitude! Eventually, the third wheel will come down on it's own nicely, while you control direction.

How do I know I'm 6" above the runway? On pavement, it's difficult. On long grass, I can hear and/or feel the tops of the grass whisping the wheels. In really long grass, you can feel the grass drag on the wheels. Look farther down the runway to judge height, not closer. It's not your eyes "measuring" the distance from the ground which is helping you to judge your height, but rather the "sight picture" which includes a whole lot of peripheral cues too. Your eye is judging the space between the plane of the ground (geometrical plane - not aeroplane) and the plane of your eyes. Your eyes are naturally conditioned to "see" in a horizontal plane, particularly while you walk, so you know which way is up. As you stand up, you see the two planes separate. When you sit down, your eye height perception tells you when your butt is going to hit the chair. Same thing once you calibrate your eye height to the wheels, your eyes will know when the wheels will touch. This does become a problem going from plane to plane with different eye heights. I'll fly both a floatplane amphibian (rather high) and flying boat (floats in the runway, not on it) in the same day, and eye height cues must be mentally supplemented!

Do not be in a hurry to get the flare over with! Think of it as a special, very pleasant experience of finite duration, and enjoy as long as you can. It has not ended when you touch, as you can still slow the plane aerodynamically while you hold it off while on the runway. And don't be in a rush to get on the ground to stop shorter. Even holding off in the flare, you're still slowing down, nearly as quickly as you would with a bit of braking.

Think of the flare as your final opportunity to get a little more flying for your money, just hold it off those last few seconds, and do not release the controls just because you touched. Fly it to the wheel chocks! (not vital for a 150/172/PA-28, but very good discipline for when you start to fly tailwheel!).
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Old 15th Jun 2016, 12:52
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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Thanks Stepturn, very helpful!
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Old 16th Jun 2016, 18:59
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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landing

Slowing things down can make it easier to land (especially in benign weather conditions). That might mean a long 60 knot final.

Later you'll need to learn how to fly 80 knot, 70 knot, 65 knot, 60 knot and 55 knot finals.

Don't worry. It's natural to be having these worries at 20 hours. The bad news is you'll be having them at 200 hours too!

(Also, FWIW every instructor has a different style. Learn the way your instructor wants.)
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Old 17th Jun 2016, 10:47
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Chuck Ellsworth
Some years ago I posted a detailed explanation on how to judge height and where to look during the approach and landing.
It this the one?
http://www.pprune.org/private-flying...ing-flare.html

OC619
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Old 18th Jun 2016, 01:42
  #36 (permalink)  
 
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Smile

It is interesting reading my comments and opinions on this subject as the years past and I get further away from flying for a living.

I also sit here now and wonder if any of my comments actually helped anyone improve their way of seeing the picture and made their flying easier.

Reading these pages I noticed I never mentioned my method of actually teaching the picture we see when approaching and landing.

So here is a bit more.

The first thing I do is demonstrate how I do it and where I am looking during the last fifty feet above the ground in the approach and also that I countdown the height to the flare point (The change from the approach path to level flight just above the runway. )

After the flare and during the speed decay and loss of lift portion of the latter stage of the landing I verbalize the height changes every foot of change closer to the runway or a gain caused by ballooning to the final contact with the runway.

Once the demo is done I then have the student fly the airplane as I verbalize the height from fifty feet to the touch down, thus allowing the student to see the picture as they get closer to touch down.

Generally the students get the picture in less than two hours hearing the height above the runway to the touch down....just like Airbus and Boeing do it, except I am not a computer and you can ask me questions.

Time is really going fast now, I will be eighty one in October.
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Old 18th Jun 2016, 02:14
  #37 (permalink)  
 
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I find students who are having difficulty judging flare height are often a bit overwhelmed with all the things happening in the final stages of landing.

One exercise I have had some success with is to fly a good approach and flare but just before the wheels touch I add just enough power to keep the aircraft airborne in the landing attitude. I then deliberately balloon slightly with a bit more power and then let the aircraft sink back to just above the runway.

The student has nothing to do but watch the sight picture. I get them to tell me how high they think we are and whether the aircraft is going up, down or steady.

I found this let the student calibrate their eyes and without the pressure of flying the aircraft lets them process what they are seeing.

Finally excessive speed makes landings harder for new students because it unnecessarily prolongs the flare which gives the student more time to screw up. As was noted the POH speeds are for gross weight. A C 172 or Pa 28 with 2 students and half tanks will be at least 300 lbs below gross weight. Reducing the approach speed by 5 kts works wonders for all of the typical trainers.
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Old 19th Jun 2016, 00:25
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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Hmm
I'm heading towards 400 hours. The Lord Himself holds the log for the how many landings I've survived. I can count the good ones on one hand.
My multi-thousand hour instructor simply drove the plane at the threshold, with 1300 revs set and nailed it. And this was a right floater of a trainer plane too. I guess that the key was the thousands of hours.
For me, the priority is the threshold, not the cycling of the throttle. A gentle touchdown is a bonus.
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Old 19th Jun 2016, 00:58
  #39 (permalink)  

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For me, the priority is the threshold, not the cycling of the throttle. A gentle touchdown is a bonus.
Unless you are doing heavy duty Short Field work I would not focus too hard
on the threshold, but rather a few 100' beyond for safety margins.
On big airplanes we aim 1000' down for little jets and 1500' or more for big jets.
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Old 19th Jun 2016, 04:01
  #40 (permalink)  
 
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with 1300 revs set and nailed it. And this was a right floater of a trainer plane too. I guess that the key was the thousands of hours.
I have seen pilots of varying experience, including thousands of hours, who would benefit from skills improvement.

Engine RPM is not a number which can be correct or incorrect on final approach. For a light GA aircraft, I like to see the throttle closed on short final, I don't care about the RPM, as long as there is some. I accept that some pilots might like to carry power into the flare, but watching a tach to determine if you're carrying the right amount of power on final is just wrong!

As I mentored this morning, engine power is not a flight control. Engine power is managed by the pilot strategically to control the place where the plane will land - it is not used tactically. By "place" I mean the airport (the strategy), not the location on the runway to the nearest ten feet (the tactic).

"Cycling" the throttle is distracting, don't do it in GA planes. If you need to adjust your landing tactic, to assure that you make the runway, or don't overshoot it, change the power setting, then leave it alone, and focus your attention on using the flight controls to fly the plane - the throttle is not a flight control.

Any GA plane will float if you enter the flare much too fast. 5 knots too fast is not going to cause a "float", but 10+ knots too fast will. It's up to the pilot to apply their skills, and knowledge of the aircraft type (read the flight manual) to know the optimum speed for approach and fly that speed. Then the plane won't float, it will just flare, when flown properly. If you're "at one" with the plane, you won't need to watch an ASI to know that speed is correct, you just will. In the mean time, know and fly the correct speed for the aircraft, configuration and weight.

For myself, excepting occasional practice zero flap landings, every landing I fly will be flown at the maximum landing flap setting. I have never regretted using full flaps for a landing.
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