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Hard to land

Old 20th Jan 2017, 18:32
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Hard to land

Elsewhere, a theme has come up again, and that is the notion of a particular aircraft type being hard to land, or more hard to land than another type. I suppose I'm jaded after flying a number of types, but none are hard to land, it's "do I have the required skill to land safely and to my satisfaction?" It's a "me thing", not an airplane thing.

In earlier times, I would admire the skills of a pilot who could kiss a 'plane onto the runway, or make a silk purse from a sow's ear on a really gusty crosswind day - it was their skill and attention to the task. The airplane was not easy, nor hard to land.

In any case, we pilots did not choose to fly because it was easy, we sought to have our skills challenged, so we could rise to the challenge, and improve our skills. Airplanes presented for type certification will not receive that certification, if they are hard to land!
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Old 20th Jan 2017, 18:57
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Well I have to admit that the Twin Comanche was a bit of a handful, what with its long nose gear (or short main gear) and 'notchy' stabilator.

Mind you, it was my first twin and I only had a few hours experience.
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Old 20th Jan 2017, 19:02
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According to a magazine article by one of the very experienced Shuttleworth pilots, the dH Comet (the twin piston racer, not the airliner) was, because of it's uncompromised distance racer characteristics, difficult to fly in all phases of flight, not least landing.
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Old 20th Jan 2017, 19:25
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I'll admit I haven't flown light aircraft nor gliders recently, but I've never found any aircraft difficult to land - provided I've stuck to the manufacturer's recommendations. It might land with a bit of a bang and a clatter, but it still hits the ground. But on the few occasions I've listened to 'bar talk' from "experts" things either went poorly or the landing distances were exceeded

PM
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Old 20th Jan 2017, 21:53
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A good landing is one you can walk away from.

If you can use the aircraft again it's a bonus.

With that in mind the flammable airships like Hindenburg are hard to land.
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Old 21st Jan 2017, 02:39
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Not all aircraft are certified though, and with conventional gear there's a lot of difference in terms of how well you can see out of the aircraft during landing, and how likely it is to ground-loop. I have no doubt that the gee-bee was hard to land, for example, and a lot of military WWII fighters were lost in landing.
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Old 21st Jan 2017, 05:12
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Originally Posted by 300hrWannaB View Post
A good landing is one you can walk away from.

If you can use the aircraft again it's a bonus.

With that in mind the flammable airships like Hindenburg are hard to land.
This guy walked away. It was not a good landing!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NMmHYWjEmkY
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Old 21st Jan 2017, 06:17
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Early monowheel Europas with the short wheelbase tailwheel hard linked to the rudder a bit of a handful on hard runways especially withe a crosswind from the left.
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Old 21st Jan 2017, 07:53
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Like Step I have flown a number that I was told were hard to land, and more that I was told were hard to land in a crosswind, the Auster and Leopard Moth spring to mind there, never actually had a problem and can only think the people making the comments were not using the correct techniques. Certainly there are aircraft that are hard to land consistently nicely, my worst there was a Commander 1000, you would think it was perfect and it would nearly always land with a thump!
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Old 21st Jan 2017, 08:47
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I heard and read many dire tales about the twin Comanche being hard to land. The reality is somewhat different. While I cannot claim a 100% greaser rate, I was pleasantly surprised by its good manners in all phases of flight . I think a lot has to do with what aircraft you are used to, and what configuration and speeds you use in the approach. Get these right, and the aircraft should land itself.

Last edited by A le Ron; 21st Jan 2017 at 13:01. Reason: Typo
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Old 21st Jan 2017, 08:54
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Crislea Ace

The Chislea Ace might be a contender. The "Control Wheel" did not go in and out for pitch control but up and down
Moving the control wheel to the left or right operated the rudders.
Taxying in a strong wind was challenging. The twin fins tended to weather-cock the machine.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrislea_Aircraft

http://www.airteamimages.com/pics/3/3818_800.jpg

http://abpic.co.uk/pictures/full_siz...9988-large.jpg

Last edited by cyclic35; 21st Jan 2017 at 10:58. Reason: Provided more detail
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Old 21st Jan 2017, 09:13
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Non certified types (DH Comet air racer) may not have demonstrated the characteristics which assure "not hard to land", and their vintage would suggest that norms of aircraft handling were not well established at the time they were designed. I have flown some very old types, which were obviously built to different norms (Tiger Moth), though they still flew nicely, once I learned.

I thought that my Teal amphibian taildragger (certified) was "hard to land" - but it was me, I had not learned how to handle it properly. I was intimidated by crosswinds in it, but it was me. One day, I decided to teach myself, and overcome my intimidation. I took it out on a frozen lake, in a 20 knot wind. I landed progressively more and more out of the wind, until finally, I was completely crosswind. I had no problem with it. Any previous problem I had had, was me, not the 'plane. Though, once I slowed below about 10MPH, it would weathercock, as the rudder was no longer effective, and the tailwheel slid on the ice. That was the point when I came to learn that the tailwheel really is not doing much to steer the 'plane on the runway at speed anyway, it's all the rudder.
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Old 21st Jan 2017, 09:56
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Hmm... I have a pretty benign taildragger/tailwheel aircraft (Turbulent) and it was undoubtedly very hard to land safely on tarmac with a tailskid but fairly easy with a tailwheel. The margins of error in making corrections before you're in groundloop territory are much greater with the wheel fitted. On grass though, a skid is definitely the way to go.

Perhaps your experience makes it hard for you to judge what's easy or hard for a relative newbie.
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Old 21st Jan 2017, 10:19
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This hinges around what is meant by 'hard to land'. Some types have less margin for deviation from the correct technique than others; perhaps that could be one definition. Some require greater control activity in aspects such as directional control after touchdown; perhaps such increases in workload could be another. Some require atypical techniques such as raising the flaps before lowering the tail in a crosswind; that increase in workload could, perhaps, also be considered as 'harder to land'. Generic phrases such as this need careful definition if they are to be used in a meaningful manner. But on a gusty day with a strong crosswind and a short, wet runway there are certainly some types that I prefer flying more than others!
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Old 21st Jan 2017, 11:16
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Turbi Sport G-APFA

Originally Posted by abgd View Post
Hmm... I have a pretty benign taildragger/tailwheel aircraft (Turbulent) and it was undoubtedly very hard to land safely on tarmac with a tailskid but fairly easy with a tailwheel. The margins of error in making corrections before you're in groundloop territory are much greater with the wheel fitted. On grass though, a skid is definitely the way to go.

Perhaps your experience makes it hard for you to judge what's easy or hard for a relative newbie.
Have many memories of twin seat Turbi Sport G-APFA. The tail skid was occasionally replaced with a hand brush for grass-strip operations. The bristles gave extra braking action and helped with directional control.

This photo shows the aircraft at Wolverhampton Municipal Airport (Pendeford).
After the airfield closed, the aircraft was moved to Halfpenny Green near Bridgnorth.

http://www.airport-data.com/aircraft...000107741.html

Last edited by cyclic35; 21st Jan 2017 at 11:29. Reason: URL Correction
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Old 21st Jan 2017, 11:20
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Somebody suggested steel brushes for the Turbulent too, but I worried about what would happen if they shed bristles and they got into somebody's tyres or turbine.
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Old 21st Jan 2017, 11:38
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Originally Posted by abgd View Post
Somebody suggested steel brushes for the Turbulent too, but I worried about what would happen if they shed bristles and they got into somebody's tyres or turbine.
Ordinary wooden handle hand brushes worked fine, but tended to wear out quickly.
Many local ironmongers were approached on a regular basis for a bulk order and may never have guessed their intended purpose. The metal skid was dressed with a layer of "Stellite" and did a good job of marking the runway or ripping up the grass.
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Old 21st Jan 2017, 11:47
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may never have guessed their intended purpose.
I think that's quite an understatement!
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Old 21st Jan 2017, 17:14
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The mid wing Extra 300 comes into the interesting category but not as unpredictable as the Pitts special.
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Old 21st Jan 2017, 18:36
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Long time ago now but I recall finding the PA30B and PA39 great fun and no trouble to fly. The early PA34, by comparison, I found was more stable but agricultural by comparison. Not so much fun for a young man. That having been said 2 of the 3 a/c I flew were w/o (not by me) in landing accidents! The PA39 (G-BCIO) survives 42 years later!

Last edited by Flying Palm Tree; 21st Jan 2017 at 18:57. Reason: more info
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