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School methods and landings

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School methods and landings

Old 9th Sep 2021, 22:45
  #21 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: new zealand
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Yes, the big break has not helped but most replies have ignored this part:

Originally Posted by Flyingheels View Post

I have not had one instructor consistently but, instead, my school keeps giving me a different one every time and also changing them in the last minute (happened just this morning). There has been no master plan for the practical training, no one sat with me to tell me what I should achieve by when, there is no guidance on how much I should fly. I keep trying to figure this all out on my own.
This isn't good. Constantly changing instructors isn't acceptable (see below) and It's their job to set the goals WITH you. They can't really give an exact 'achieve this by such and such' but should be able to give an overview based on normal progression.

Originally Posted by Flyingheels View Post

I have asked them to book me with one or two instructors only for the sake of someone keeping (and hopefully caring about) track of my progress. However, I was told that this is best and their way of teaching is to switch instructors. I think they are just milking me and do not care about my progress. I am a quick learner and normally pick things up very quickly. What to do?.
That's a valid request and a rubbish response. Actually that's an outright lie as a response. No-one learns better by constantly changing instructor. As you've requested and others have noted, one or two others in addition to your primary is acceptable, otherwise they are milking you and/or they don't care- find another school.

Last edited by scroogee; 9th Sep 2021 at 22:47. Reason: added detail
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Old 10th Sep 2021, 00:02
  #22 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Originally Posted by Flyingheels View Post
Hi Everyone,

I am here almost in tears. Have been on the road to PPL since August 2020. Lots of stop-and-go because of lockdowns. I have about 30 hours but very inconsistent flying as I did not fly at all between November 20 and March 21 with the lockdown.

I have passed all theory and radio with ease and I fly well. I am not struggling with turns, keeping altitude, nor with navigation. However, I have not been cleared to fly solo due to landings. I am extremely frustrated as, though not perfect, I can land and for the most part keep my speeds.

I have not had one instructor consistently but, instead, my school keeps giving me a different one every time and also changing them in the last minute (happened just this morning). There has been no master plan for the practical training, no one sat with me to tell me what I should achieve by when, there is no guidance on how much I should fly. I keep trying to figure this all out on my own.

I have asked them to book me with one or two instructors only for the sake of someone keeping (and hopefully caring about) track of my progress. However, I was told that this is best and their way of teaching is to switch instructors. I think they are just milking me and do not care about my progress. I am a quick learner and normally pick things up very quickly. What to do?

Thank you in advance for any guidance or words of wisdom.
Ask your instructor to show you a landing again. I have the impression, that after very few demonstrations most students are almost always in control during landing and don´t get to see a proper landing including real-time explanation anymore. Don´t be afraid of letting the instructor do the landing on your money, it´s well spent.

We teach to approach at a shallow angle, more or less 3deg, using a bit of power. Much easier that the power-off approaches that some teachers prefer. If you have to do these (because you misjudged height, the preference of your instructor or because you´re in a glider) try to divide the final stage of the landing into two parts.. First try to perform an initial "pre-flare" (well above the ground, a couple of feet) where you just pull up the nose a degree or two to decrease your sinkrate. I find it much easier and safer to start holding off the airplane after that because you don´t have to do it in one move. One single move of the stick can be very tricky, if you don´t time it correctly you´ll either hit the ground harder and possibly with the nose-wheel first or b) pull too hard because the ground is rushing at you and start ballooning.

If possible sit down in the plane on your home runway and have the instructor push down the tail from the outside to the landing attitude. Hard-wire the sight picture into your brain. It´s only accurate on this particular runway in this particular plane, but it might help you getting across that invisible bar of soloing the airplane.




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Old 10th Sep 2021, 00:39
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by eagleflyer View Post
Ask your instructor to show you a landing again. I have the impression, that after very few demonstrations most students are almost always in control during landing and don´t get to see a proper landing including real-time explanation anymore. Don´t be afraid of letting the instructor do the landing on your money, it´s well spent.
Really good advice.

Never be worried about asking an instructor to demonstrate something you are having issues with.

Some instructors try and talk a student through something they are struggling with for way too long - they feel they are robbing the student of stick time by taking control and demonstrating, when in fact, a good clear demonstration (or two), particularly when the student is just not getting it, can often save hours of frustration, money and wasted effort (and avoid the student reinforcing incorrect technique by repetition).

My advice to new instructors (which was passed to me when I was new) was never underestimate the value of a good demonstration.

my 2c
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Old 10th Sep 2021, 01:02
  #24 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
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I just want to add my 2c here too. I am not an instructor, but I want to add a comment about people here saying you cannot learn to land by reading. Well, in my case I found the key that made the whole landing thing click in my head by reading the section on how to land in Stick and Rudder by Wolfgang Langewiesche. His written explanation about mindset and sight pictures made sense to me where half a dozen flying instructors of varying degrees of experience had failed to get the point across.
My point is, I do not think it is wrong to seek knowledge in unorthodox places as you might just find what you need.
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Old 10th Sep 2021, 01:26
  #25 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
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I have not had one instructor consistently but, instead, my school keeps giving me a different one every time and also changing them in the last minute (happened just this morning). There has been no master plan for the practical training, no one sat with me to tell me what I should achieve by when, there is no guidance on how much I should fly. I keep trying to figure this all out on my own.
This comment has warning signs all over it.

I was an Instructor for many years with a few thousands hours ab-initio training, which is all the early stuff. Chopping and changing instructors is not good for the student in any way, this could work possibly in the military where they have extreme standardisation and clear progress guidelines and expectations. In civilian training you need to have at least one dedicated instructor who you trust and get along with, they can be senior or junior, it's about whether you gel with them. If they are junior it would be good to have them overseen by a competent senior instructor who flies with you occasionally to assess progress, impart knowledge and help mentor the junior. Unfortunately, not many schools practice these training mentalities.

In your case where you are obviously struggling with some concept the school should have seen your hours by now and come up with some sort of plan involving flying with a senior instructor with more tricks in their bag to deploy in your training.

My biggest advice is not to over complicate the landing, thinking about it too much will lead to fixation and mental gymnastics when you just have to perform a relatively simple exercise.

1st Get the approach right 90% of the landing is arriving in a consistent position to start with. Arrive over the threshold at the right attitude, speed and alignment, trim is essential.

2nd Transition your eyesight slowly down the runway to where you would normally look say when driving at high speed on a freeway and smoothly reduce power. From this position you will be able to see the runway alignment and assess the aircraft sinking onto the runway with peripheral vision.

3rd As the aircraft wants to sink raise the nose until it reaches landing attitude, then let it sink onto the runway, use rudder (yaw) to keep the aircraft pointed down the runway and counter any drift sideways with aileron (roll).

(4th after landing) Keep flying using rudder to stay straight, avoid wheel-barrowing by maintaining some backwards force above neutral and aileron into wind, apply brakes if needed, until you are back to taxi speed. Taxi in, shut down, tie down, now landing is complete.

If any of this gets out of control or feels wrong, hit the power, set climb attitude and go around.

I would suggest if the CFI is still following this mantra that 'many' is better after a chat that you seriously look for a change in flying school.

PS, don't let instructors take you flying in poor conditions when you are obviously struggling with something, turbulence, crosswind and wind-shear just complicate the training objective. I used to get pre solo students to come in first thing in the morning with calm winds and atmosphere, then you could just focus on the essentials. Plus the traffic pattern was generally emptier.
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Old 10th Sep 2021, 07:38
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Flyingheels View Post
Thank you for taking the time to respond.

Indeed, I have seen the notes. The issue seems to be the timing of flare and then setting down. The problem is that one day I will fly with one instructor and he/she would say “lift more, you do not lift enough.” The next day another instructor would say - “you lift too much.” I pretty much do the same thing so it is counter-intuitive to me to understand the difference in advice. I must admit though that I do find the plane rather heavy.
😊
Getting the Flare right is all about knowing where to look.

I found this video to be highly useful;



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Old 10th Sep 2021, 08:49
  #27 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2001
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One thing I did many years ago when I was learning to land : I was finding that doing touch and goes was not helpful because I was not able to digest the landing before I had to start concentrating on throttling up, right rudder, raising flaps etc. I asked my instructor to handle the takeoff for a few circuits and all of a sudden I could concentrate on the landing without having to think further ahead to the takeoff. It helped enormously and we only needed to do this for maybe 4 or 5.circuits.
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Old 10th Sep 2021, 10:26
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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Hi FlyingHeels!

You sound really despondent… but don’t be!

You’re 99% of the way there, only 1% to go. Everyone learns at different rates. Some of the best ab-initio students don’t always make good PPL and CPL holders.

Firstly, you need to talk to your CFI. That’s what they’re there for, that’s why they hold that delegation. If they’re helpful and put a plan in place, you’ll be back on track in no time. If they seem disinterested in your concerns… change schools immediately. A good CFI will probably want to do your next lesson them self!

I have several thousand ab initio instructing hours, was an instructor of instructors and have worked in check and training extensively for airlines. I was much slower than most of my colleagues to first solo. It doesn’t matter.

The first thing you need to get your head around, is that you don’t land a light aircraft. You need to change your thinking on this. What you do, is put it in the right spot, give it all the tools it needs to land (correct configuration, power back to idle) and then when it’s ready, it will land itself. This might sound dumb - but I’ve done remedial training with hundreds of cadet pilots with landing issues where this change in mindset has made the difference. MAKING the aircraft land is not your job.

Where you look is imperative. All the way down final, you should be looking frequently from airspeed inside to the aiming point. Not “the start of the runway” or “near the numbers” … I’m talking an exact aiming point, for example “the very start of the first centreline marking” or exactly halfway between the top and bottom of the runway numbers. Hold this aiming point, and don’t let it move. Don’t undershoot it, don’t let it disappear under the nose. Fly the aircraft to that point, with the mindset of “if I don’t flare, the crater on impact will be at exactly at my elected aim point”.

Make small changes. Tiny, very frequent changes make a much better approach. And then just wait and keep that aiming point from moving.

When you have passed the start of the runway and are now approaching your exact aiming point, and it looks like you’re going to lose sight of it under the cowling of the nose, look up. Look at the threshold of the runway at the other end and then gently round out and try to fly level. As you do so, reduce the power slowly to idle. Don’t slam it back, that creates a pitch change. Make sure you can feel it back on the idle stop, and then just wait. You’re ready to land, but the aircraft may not be. It might be a few knots fast. There might be a small increase in headwind. You might be a bit lighter than the approach speed which is designed for MTOW. None of this is your problem. Your job is not to force the aircraft to land.

Your job is just to fly level, as the aircraft runs out of energy and starts to sink (which you can only see if you’re looking at the far end), then just use gentle back pressure to check the sink rate.

And then finally, and only when the aircraft is ready, it will land itself. Once it touches down, don’t let go of everything. Just keep being gentle and make small, smooth adjustments and then start using the brakes.

Right speed, right place, eyes at the end - and WAIT.

All the best with it! You’re doing great
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Old 10th Sep 2021, 12:05
  #29 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: italy
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Originally Posted by Flyingheels View Post
Hi Everyone,

I am here almost in tears. Have been on the road to PPL since August 2020. Lots of stop-and-go because of lockdowns. I have about 30 hours but very inconsistent flying as I did not fly at all between November 20 and March 21 with the lockdown.

I have passed all theory and radio with ease and I fly well. I am not struggling with turns, keeping altitude, nor with navigation. However, I have not been cleared to fly solo due to landings. I am extremely frustrated as, though not perfect, I can land and for the most part keep my speeds.

I have not had one instructor consistently but, instead, my school keeps giving me a different one every time and also changing them in the last minute (happened just this morning). There has been no master plan for the practical training, no one sat with me to tell me what I should achieve by when, there is no guidance on how much I should fly. I keep trying to figure this all out on my own.

I have asked them to book me with one or two instructors only for the sake of someone keeping (and hopefully caring about) track of my progress. However, I was told that this is best and their way of teaching is to switch instructors. I think they are just milking me and do not care about my progress. I am a quick learner and normally pick things up very quickly. What to do?

Thank you in advance for any guidance or words of wisdom.
I had a student in a worse situation that you are: 45 hours ( all the hours bought in the course ), no solo and no prospects of doing it. Changed to where I was working and first thing the student told me was: I will never fly alone because I have been told so and I really dont want to fly alone after all this. Course on the new airplane ( yes, even changed the airplane in our school), exam and all passed no problem. First day of flying, landed without help, 2 weeks later ~7 hours as I promised after the 2nd flight was having the first solo on a whole new airplane as the other one was low wing and other model.

Sometimes it is really not your problem but the guy/girl who is in the right. Bad attitude, no feedback, no help, not focusing on the errors, etc... I hope you're doing well.
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Old 10th Sep 2021, 12:09
  #30 (permalink)  
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What you do, is put it in the right spot, give it all the tools it needs to land (correct configuration, power back to idle) and then when it’s ready, it will land itself. ........ MAKING the aircraft land is not your job.
Your job is just to fly level, as the aircraft runs out of energy and starts to sink (which you can only see if you’re looking at the far end), then just use gentle back pressure to check the sink rate.

And then finally, and only when the aircraft is ready, it will land itself. Once it touches down, don’t let go of everything. Just keep being gentle and make small, smooth adjustments and then start using the brakes.

Right speed, right place, eyes at the end - and WAIT.
100% this.

Don't fight the plane to the surface, allow it to run out of energy, and just stall, inches above the surface, and it will land itself. When it does, keep doing what you were doing to ride through that nice landing, until you slow to turn off the runway. If you hear the peep of the stall warning horn as you touch the surface, that's fine too! For taildragger planes, it could be a little different, based upon desired technique, but that's a separate discussion....
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Old 10th Sep 2021, 12:11
  #31 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2019
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Change schools. You should not be having a different instructors every time.
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Old 10th Sep 2021, 18:19
  #32 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
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Originally Posted by deja vu View Post
Change schools. You should not be having a different instructors every time.
I thouroughly agree. You should have consistency of instruction so that your instructor gets to know your weaknesses and finesses your flying skills. It's entirely acceptable to swap instructors if the one you're with isn't the right fit - some sort of personality clash, etc, but it's important to have a good instructor who can remind you of what you did right/ wrong last time and encourage change. Doing your PPL isn't just about Exercise Bashing and then doing your skills test. It's about finessing your flying and for that you need consistency of instruction.

As deja vu remarks - time to change schools for definite.
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Old 10th Sep 2021, 20:45
  #33 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
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Saintsman gives you probably the best advice. Continuity is very important. I was taught to fly in a small group of ab initios by three instructors only - most of the time early on, with the same one. This was at a gliding club which only operated at weekends, so turning up every weekend was vital. I learned to fly a glider in six weeks with 32 flights total. Towards the end of the training the other instructors also flew with me and I knew then that I was being checked for potential solo. When I became an instructor myself somewhat later, I always tried to make sure my pupils flew mostly with me as far as possible. I observed that those pupils who went and had a weeks flying at a club which operated all week came back with a considerable improvement in their performance. I appreciate that during this Covid outbreak it has not been possible to work this way, but until you can fly regularly, learning will be a longer process than perhaps you would like. I would not worry too much about the high hours you have.We once had to teach a retired bank manager, who was in his 60's, to fly, but we managed it though he had three times much time in his log book, before the first entry as P1, than any other pupil. Do not give up - a lot of the advice on here has been very good. The video is worth watching. When the day comes, as it will, when your instructor gets out and does not get back in again, you too will be pilot. Best of luck.
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Old 10th Sep 2021, 21:25
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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"Don´t be afraid of letting the instructor do the landing on your money, it´s well spent."
It depends on how the student's brain works. Some of us learn nothing from watching an instructor do the landing. Kinaethetic imagery was the psychology term 60 years ago.
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Old 10th Sep 2021, 21:35
  #35 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 107
I don't instruct on the internet but I feel one point needs to be made. The flare does not have to be made at idle power unless you have a very short runway. Carrying 50 -100 rpm over idle power can make the flare last longer and be easier to control. As you get the feel of it go to idle thrust in the flare but be prepared to add a little power if your peripheral vision tells you flared too high and the sink rate is increasing. Pull the power to idle after you touch down.

As has been said earlier, you goal is to keep the airplane flying as long as it will fly, not to stick it on the ground. When starting with a new tail dragger student I wanted to see them fly most of the way down the runway a foot off the ground with perfect runway alignment before they tried their first landing.
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Old 11th Sep 2021, 02:38
  #36 (permalink)  
 
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you goal is to keep the airplane flying as long as it will fly, not to stick it on the ground.
You have to be very careful with this statement with regard to modern trainers. Most instructors should really be teaching 'landing attitude' now, flying level until the plane no longer wants to fly means your risk tail strike in many modern trainers. The objective should be to arrest sink close to the ground until landing attitude is reached and then let it settle onto the ground. I even watched an instructor rip the tail skid out of a Grob landing with too high nose attitude. The old wait until you hear the stall warning 'peep' or it doesn't want to fly anymore works with a PA-28 or Cessna 172 or 152 but then you will get into trouble when you fly something else, especially bigger. Landing attitude in most planes is about the same as a cruising climb attitude (roughly) you just need that nose wheel slightly clear of the ground, it does not need to be soaring in the air, this both restricts forward visibility and makes it uncomfortable for passengers later as well as risking tail strike and heavy landings.
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Old 11th Sep 2021, 04:48
  #37 (permalink)  
 
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For grins I dug out my log book. I flew with 10 different instructors over 9-10 months just on 20 hours to first solo and not much different all the way to PPL. Partly the mad house that was Sherburn in its 90s heyday especially the weekends, partly I wanted to fly on Saturday afternoons and maybe a midweek evening or two in the summer so you took who there was when the weather was good (good looking women's experience may have differed). I doubt many of them spent much time updating student notes afterwards, much less reading them beforehand as they constantly chased the schedule.

I can't see it did much harm to have a broader outlook and find my own way to some extent - some I got on with better than others obviously, but I would happily fly with any of them again. I have / had before I gave up, 500 hours on two vastly different continents and multiple types but those days of training I enjoyed as much as anything I did later. That is the way to look at it.
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Old 11th Sep 2021, 05:11
  #38 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
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When I started Instructing average solo time was 5-10 hours, at a busy controlled airport. If a student got to 15 hours and was still not solo it was referred to the Chief Flying Instructor (CFI), generally you (the instructor) would already be speaking to the CFI prior to that if they were going past 10 hours and not looking like going solo soon. If someone got to 20 hours without solo it was extremely rare.

That being said, when I taught at a busy college, with a different syllabus of training the average solo time was 10-15 hours, this was partly because the aircraft used were a bit more twitchy and took a little longer for a new pilot to get used to, big school mentality had a little to do with it as well.

I can't see it did much harm to have a broader outlook and find my own way to some extent
The point of paying for flying instruction is so that you are guided through your training, and not finding your own way. I would take time to find a school/club where you feel welcome and your instructor has time for you, after all you are spending A LOT of money in this area. Now to be clear this does not mean leave because you don't like what your instructor is saying, as the advice may be valid, but it means your instructor should be providing adequate time to brief and debrief and answer questions.

Also remember, You don't know what you don't know... so self learning especially in the early stages can lead to some flawed assumptions that bite you later.
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Old 11th Sep 2021, 18:05
  #39 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
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I suspect it might be worth having a sticky on the subject of "learning to land" or "how many instructors". Both subjects seem to come up on a regular basis, and often combined.
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Old 11th Sep 2021, 18:51
  #40 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
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Originally Posted by 43Inches View Post
Most instructors should really be teaching 'landing attitude' now
12.5 - 13.5 degrees in my current ride unless the runway has a lot of up slope in which case it's more. However, I take your point that one needs to respect the limitations of the airplane one is flying. Just don't apply those limitations to everything that gets flown later.

Time to solo - 7.3 hours; 6 training sessions; time span 18 days. I was glider rated and current but engine management and the very busy controlled airport were new to me. Would have gone solo quicker but my instructor and I were both on a demanding flight test program. This was 1980 and I doubt many do it that quickly now.

Last edited by EXDAC; 11th Sep 2021 at 22:26. Reason: fix quote syntax
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