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A320 Flare - Losing my skills?

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A320 Flare - Losing my skills?

Old 13th Mar 2018, 01:19
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A320 Flare - Losing my skills?

Hello guys.

Iíd like to share a problem I have recently started to have and would appreciate guidance and help from my fellow pilots. Iím new to the A320, just cleared initial route check 10 days ago.

During the entire u/s flight training, I would say almost all of my landings were perfect - positive, if not always smooth, but most importantly within the touchdown zone. I used to come confidently down to 30/40 feet, arrest the sinkrate, at 20, slight check and simultaneously thrust to idle - any further corrections were done seamlessly.

However, I recently have started to feel as if my feel of the aircraft and technique has gone haywire. Itís like I donít know how much to check, and when to do so in a timely manner. Apparently this started when I slammed the aircraft onto the runway thrice in a row. That was a wake up call for me, and very depressing too.

Iím sorry to rant about my issues, but I would appreciate any help from the community as I am really depressed regarding this. How can I forget how to land?

Thanks.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 01:36
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You definitely can overthink it and stress yourself out. And then the more you focus, the worse it gets. Which engines? Do you fly the 319 and 321 too?

BTW, what's your previous type?
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 01:54
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I had the same problem when I was at your stage of experiences. I was very worried and talked to some more experienced pilots and my fellow F.O friends who had same experience as me. Turned out that almost everybody have the same problem.

The thing is, I think, your technique and feelings, after a while, need some time to a ďbreakĒ. But after this break, when you have more experiences, it will come back to you. People told me that your landing technique will be stablized at more or less 1000 hours. So you have time.

In the meantime, what I suggest you:

1. For a while, land by ear: It depends on your type of aircraft. In my case, it is the 321. What I did was forget everything about feelings, just focus to fly the FD, at 50í, I reduce my VS; at 30í, thrust Iddle, and try to touch down at center line.

2. Advice your captain about your problem so he can support you or take control when needed. Nothing to feel ashamed, everybody has this down period.

I struggled for 2-3 months, but after, my feeling come back. Same story for almost my FO friends. So donít worry.

Good luck.

Originally Posted by ChipmunkDive
Hello guys.

Iíd like to share a problem I have recently started to have and would appreciate guidance and help from my fellow pilots. Iím new to the A320, just cleared initial route check 10 days ago.

During the entire u/s flight training, I would say almost all of my landings were perfect - positive, if not always smooth, but most importantly within the touchdown zone. I used to come confidently down to 30/40 feet, arrest the sinkrate, at 20, slight check and simultaneously thrust to idle - any further corrections were done seamlessly.

However, I recently have started to feel as if my feel of the aircraft and technique has gone haywire. Itís like I donít know how much to check, and when to do so in a timely manner. Apparently this started when I slammed the aircraft onto the runway thrice in a row. That was a wake up call for me, and very depressing too.

Iím sorry to rant about my issues, but I would appreciate any help from the community as I am really depressed regarding this. How can I forget how to land?

Thanks.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 03:51
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Some weeks you can do no wrong. Other weeks, you can't get a good landing if you pay for it. It happens.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 03:53
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Originally Posted by FlightDetent
You definitely can overthink it and stress yourself out. And then the more you focus, the worse it gets. Which engines? Do you fly the 319 and 321 too?

BTW, what's your previous type?
Agreed. Recollect fixating a bit on what the TriStar DLC would do in the flare. Best thing to do was just fly it like a normal flare. (TBH, I always preferred it with DLC off)

DLC: Direct Lift Control. Spoilers extend with control column going forward and retract with rearward movement. Aircraft attitude doesn't alter.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 04:35
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Don’t over think the A320.

At 50 feet look to end of runway.

At 40 feet thrust to idle.

Use your peripheral vision. If the grounds coming at you to fast, pull back harder. If it’s not, ease off the stick. Yaw straight with rudder. At 10 feet ease toward.

Roll it on.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 05:46
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Thank you all for your valuable replies.

I had flown ATRs before, and seemed to develop the same problem as I gained hours on it. From great in training to worse as a senior FO on the type.

Right now its A320 only CFM engines.

Regards
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 06:51
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Being new to any type brings this up: To start with you are concentrating on merely controlling and flying the aircraft and using your whole brain to do so, and you can do a good job.

Then, as the days/weeks go by your brain starts to think about other things - the wider picture - and all sorts of other considerations to do with the new type/routes/operations etc. It needs the conscious part of your brain for this, but the ‘motor program’ for landing has not fully developed yet, so your ‘CPU’ has to divide its time between several tasks.

Do not stress, your landings will come back. I find the Rad Alt aural call-outs to be most useful when landing
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 07:25
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Do not stress, your landings will come back. I find the Rad Alt aural call-outs to be most useful when landing
Landing by ear... And then comes the (inevitable) day where you fly a plane without those Rad Alt callouts. Ouch!

Anyway, i have found that throughout my life as a pilot i had phases of great landings, no matter the conditions, and phases where every landing was, well, not really nice... Thank god i did all my off airport landings in glider planes
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 09:33
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So many techniques listed in so few posts.. so far we have close the thrust at 40í, arrest sinkrate at 30-40 then check at 20, reduce VS at 50í, if the ground coming up fast pull harder....

Chipmunk Dive I'd recommend you apply the technique in the FCTM. If you try to fly by numbers then when the conditions change you are back to square one. You wonít get greasers every time but thatís not the aim.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 09:55
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Starting to reduce V/S at 50Ď ?

I always start somewhere around 25Ď, otherwise I get long landings if I start reducing over the threshold and I donít meet the 3 degree... at 30 feet i start pulling back the stick a bit. Thrust is dependant... sometimes I give a little thrust at 5 feet if I feel itís going down to fast...
i think every pilot has good landings 3 month in a row and then rubbish ones 2 weeks in a row. I donít care as long as itís not a Ąhard landingď and within the touchdown zone on centerline
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 10:04
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What I did was forget everything about feelings, just focus to fly the FD, at 50’, I reduce my VS; at 30’, thrust Iddle, and try to touch down at center line.
Whatever you do, don't follow this advice. Flight director is irrelevant in the later stages of the approach. Certainly below 200' it's about aiming point. 50' is also far too high to be reducing sink rate.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 10:11
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Originally Posted by The Green Goblin

At 40 feet thrust to idle.
Rubbish and donít dare ever try this on a 321.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 10:47
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At 40 feet thrust to idle.
I'd heard the Bus was different but didn't realise how much
Bas - total Bus time: 20min in sim.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 10:50
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Originally Posted by Consol
Rubbish and donít dare ever try this on a 321.
Don't be too quick to discount this - a slightly early closing of the thrust levers delivers incredibly consistent landings in the Airbus. Close the thrust levers at 30ft and concentrate on the flare.

It's not paint-by-numbers. Everyone loses their landing mojo from time to time. It'll come with experience and then it's instinctive.

The most important bit?

Look at the end of the runway
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 11:38
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Don’t be scare to flare and hold it. Most of the hard landings in our company are due to not enough flare and always on A321 and almost never on A320/319. If you over flare or float too much a little bit of bank into wind will put the aircraft smoothly on the ground. It works really well thanks to the spoiler deployement.
Some people will say it’s not recommended to give some little forward inputs but with experience, especially if you flare too high and are concerned about the TDZ, it also does the job if done properly. But be very careful as you don’t want to hit the nose first. If you are new on type, better use the first technique if required.
Also remember to disconnect the AP soon enough to feel the aircraft especially in gusty /crossind conditions: My worst landing was mainly due to that reason: Captain asked me to keep the AP until 400 feet AGL in tail/crosswind condition and I did not flare enough. 1.55G on A321. I also did 1.44 on A319 and it felt much worst. Can someone explain why the G load on A321 is always higher on A321 compare to A319 for the same ę level of smoothness Ľ landing?

Oh and I forgot, on the old models with wingtip fences, if during aproach, your VAPP is too closed to VLS like less than 3 kts, adding 2/3kts can help. Especially in Conf 3 on 319. The pitch is sometimes very high during approach. A couple of extra kts will lower the nose and will require less aggressive flare.

Last edited by pineteam; 13th Mar 2018 at 11:58.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 11:56
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If you float too much a little bit of bank into wind will put the aircraft smoothly on the ground. It works really well thanks to the spoiler deployement.
That will one day go ugly so bad, it's actually a dangerous advice. Firmly discouraged by any factory pilot.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 12:03
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I would like to thank you all for the support and encouragement!

I'll definitely go through the FCTM landing techniques again and try and work on it.

I've noticed that with time I've become less responsive in terms of giving the right sidestick inputs, i.e. hesitation in holding the stick and letting the aircraft sink - maybe from the fear of slamming it, and sometimes also giving less than required check, in an attempt to not allow the aircraft to eat up the runway.

Coming to think of it, landings are more of a psychological thing than I realised.

Regards
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 12:13
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With all due respects, this technique is applied by a lot of pilots including instructors. We are allowed up to 5 degrees of bank for crosswind landing if required. How a little momentarily push on the side of a couple of degrees can go bad? I never read any restrictions about it. How could be? It’s the best cheat technique for kiss landings. Lol

But I have to admit since it’s not standard, maybe not a good idea to try with very little experience. I started doing this when I was already over 1000 hours on type. But since then I’m addicted to it. xD.

Last edited by pineteam; 13th Mar 2018 at 12:29. Reason: Added one more sentence.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 13:20
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@ChipmunkDive

You'll be fine, it will come back, better than ever. These "plateaus" of ability are perfectly normal, in fact an inevitable part of learning, while the brain hard-wires the new handling complexities into your system. That doesn't happen instantly. A lot of it happens while you are asleep. (Off duty, of course... )

The great thing is that you are seeking advice, both here, and hopefully, as others have suggested, from experienced colleagues or instructors. Not a few pilots hide such concerns, for any of a variety of (wrong) reasons, and they end up afraid of the aircraft, no longer fully in charge. Kudos for sharing and seeking the input of others.
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