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Landing the 737NG

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Landing the 737NG

Old 26th Jul 2011, 21:32
  #1 (permalink)  
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Landing the 737NG

Hi all

I was flying with a captain recently who said that when he 'flares' the B738 he looks at the PFD to check that he has around 2.5 degrees nose up attitude as well as looking outside. I was never taught to land using this trick but this particular captain always seems to have greaser's so it must work for him. Does anybody else use this technique?
Johnny Tightlips is offline  
Old 26th Jul 2011, 22:38
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He checks that he has 2.5 degs... when exactly should this magic number occur during the flare? 2 to 2.5 degs is the normal pitch when flying the glideslope. So if having 2.5 degs at touchdown it means no flare at all.

A better advice is to start practicing not looking at the instruments at all when below 300 feet, except of course for airspeed.

Fly a steady approach to 300 feet using the window, G/S or F/D, a combination or what ever you prefer. At 300 feet shift your focus to your aimpoint and keep it steady on the windscreen and crosscheck/adjust your speed as necessary. Below 200 feet disregard glide slope (and PAPI to some extend, if you have 4 reds you did something wrong anyway) as the G/S, PAPI and aimpoint are not necessarily co-located.

Steady aimpoint and steady speed is all you need.

This avoid the "surprise" when flying the instruments down to 100 feet and the suddenly having to adjust to the outside view (of course you should be able to fly the instruments down there as well, but nobody expects you to make a greaser after a hand flown raw data CAT2 approach).

Now that you are adjusted to looking out you will find that it's much easier to judge the flare precisely. Remember, as you cut the throttle to give a slight nose up to compensate, this is a movement of a magnitude that can be compensated with the wrist. For the last feets, fly it on to the runway. Let it come down. Much of the firmer landing comes from the instinct to keep it off. It never works. The 737 needs to be flow (gently) down, not held off.

Lastly eliminate any drift, be it from cross wind or from poor alignment, with sideslip. If you land with a drift you will get the familiar rattle of everything, no matter if your rate of descend is 50 feet upon touch down.

To sum up:
1) Look out
2) Compensate for cutting throttle
3) Eliminate drift
4) Fly it (gently) down to the runway
cosmo kramer is offline  
Old 27th Jul 2011, 07:15
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Join Date: Apr 2004
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Never flown a 737 but several other Boeing and Douglas types and 'keeping your eyes on the aimpoint' is problematic.

After crossing the runway threshold you should be looking at the end of the runway to help judge your sink rate and consequent flare.
stilton is offline  
Old 27th Jul 2011, 07:21
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This captain probably has this habit from the simulator. There it seems to work. In the real aircraft you use your eyeballs outside.
latetonite is offline  
Old 27th Jul 2011, 08:45
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Stilton......It doesn't matter what Aircraft you're flying, down the GS you fly the correct attitude, thrust and therefore speed for your type adjusting as conditions require to maintain the GS. Below 150' to 200' feet you primarily look at the aiming point ( still checking pitch att is correct on the ADI and IAS ) and only look up to the far end of the runway as the flare maneuver starts around 30' or so.

In most Jets the actual flare action is only about 2 deg, you don't need to look at the ADI to work out how much that is, practice will tell you by looking out the window. The Flare isn't an IFR maneuver!.

The biggest mistake newbies make is forgetting the aim point and letting the nose rise up well before 30' ( they see the runway rushing up and flare too early ) and thus they float down the runway and land long, Autothrust doesn't help in this regard either. You must keep the aiming point in the same spot in the window until the flare. The only exception would be if you'd cocked up the approach profile and were either high or low, then you would have to modify the attitude/aiming point to compensate and in extreme cases go around!!

It's very important the new Pilots are taught exactly where to look and when.
The older experienced Pilots just do it!!
nitpicker330 is offline  
Old 28th Jul 2011, 00:04
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Australia
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I have also seen a lot of new pilots rotate using the PFD! There is nothing new about flying, look outside. Hand-eye coordination will give you much better control of the situation near the ground than burying your head in the cockpit. I would also suspect that the Captain using the PFD to judge the flare is also being influenced by their peripheral vision which only comes from experience. There was an incident many years ago involving an Emirates A340 taking out some runway lights at JoBurg. The pilot had been "taught" a rotation technique during his endorsement which used the side stick position indicator on the PFD.
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