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Control column flailing during the flare - a dangerous practice by some pilots.

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Control column flailing during the flare - a dangerous practice by some pilots.

Old 19th Aug 2018, 06:39
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Control column flailing during the flare - a dangerous practice by some pilots.

Frantic "see-sawing" of the control column, otherwise technically known as gross over-controlling, is a common characteristic seen both during simulator and line operations. Often the habit is ingrained from ab-initio days. Although it may or not result in a smooth touchdown, this rather distasteful technique invariably uses up extra runway which in turn is usually countered by heavy manual braking and passenger discomfort.

It appears not to be a deliberate landing technique, but rather an unconscious "twitch" factor habit where the pilot is feeling for the runway in the hope of making a smooth touch down. Interestingly, it often does seem to work on most occasions; thereby reinforcing the pilots belief that it is the best way to achieve a smooth landing. The usual ensuing float before final touchdown may also be a factor in over-runs, although this is never mentioned as a contributory cause in accident reports.

For any PM, it is a wise precaution to keep valuable bits of his/her anatomy well clear of the control column full aft movement when their compatriot is feeling for the deck in such a manner, as well as knees well spread to avoid being speared by the excessive lateral lashing of the control wheel. That danger to boobs, balls or knees fortunately does not exist with a side stick controller which may be a factor in the good safety record of the Airbus series of airliners.
Have any other PPRuNe readers witnessed at first this hand appalling landing technique by some pilots, which is quite distressing to those of us who consider a beautifully executed smooth and gentle flare and touch down on the right spot on the runway, an event of consummate skill?
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Old 19th Aug 2018, 08:14
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In French we call that technique "faire de la mayonnaise", as it reminds the way to make a mayonnaise with a fork.
I think that a good remedy is to send the pilot to a glider club. Have him look at the instructor's technique while spiraling in a thermal, hand him over the controls, and he'll see by himself that the mayonnaise technique won't make the glider climb. Hand flying is all about angle of attack perception, it's an extremely difficult skill to acquire, as it can't really be taught on the ground. Gliding is a very cheap way indeed to improve one's visual perception. Once your perception is accurate enough so that you can perceive not only a variation of AOA, but also the rate of variation, then you can anticipate accurately enough not to over control.
Light helicopter flying (R22 for instance) is also a good school for visual perception, but by far more expensive.
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Old 19th Aug 2018, 08:33
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We used to have an ex Navy Helicopter pilot do this a lot. Never made the blindest bit of difference to the flightpath though....it was an ATP after all.
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Old 19th Aug 2018, 08:36
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Question for you Sheppey,

do you fly the 737?

Itís something I used to see a lot when I flew it. Donít see it as much these days now I fly something bigger.

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Old 19th Aug 2018, 09:15
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Question for you Sheppey,

do you fly the 737?
Answer: Yes, but that was many years ago although I still see it often in the 737 simulator. I first saw this habit or addiction, as a 17 year old standing behind the crew in the cockpit of a DC3 cargo plane as the aircraft landed. The captain was a former RAAF Mosquito pilot who had been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross during WW2. Being an impressionable lad, I thought at the time if a DFC winner landed a DC3 like that it must be the right technique i.e. thrashing the control column in all directions and constantly greasing the landing.

When I later joined the RAAF and began flying training on Tiger Moths I must have been close to knee-capping my instructor in the front seat with the wooden joy stick which I was waving around in the back seat. His profanity instantly cured me of that technique..
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Old 19th Aug 2018, 09:27
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Splendid!

This thread gave me a much needed laugh on this gray sunday morning

"For any PM, it is a wise precaution to keep valuable bits of his/her anatomy well clear of the control column full aft movement when their compatriot is feeling for the deck in such a manner, as well as knees well spread to avoid being speared by the excessive lateral lashing of the control wheel."

"In French we call that technique "faire de la mayonnaise""


"When I later joined the RAAF and began flying training on Tiger Moths I must have been close to knee-capping my instructor in the front seat with the wooden joy stick which I was waving around in the back seat. His profanity instantly cured me of that technique.."

Hilarious comments indeed!

I have seen this technique as well among the more nervous flyers.
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Old 19th Aug 2018, 10:12
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It usually starts as soon as the autopilot is disconnected.
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Old 19th Aug 2018, 10:20
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I’ll admit it’s something I used to do when I first started flying. And that was on the 737. No idea why. I’ve moved on to larger aircraft and I don’t do it anymore. Whilst I fly significantly less sectors per year than I used to, perversely I hand fly more per sector than I used to when I was on shorthaul.

Maybe it’s because on a larger aircraft “stirring the pot” visually does absolutely nothing. Whereas on a 737 the responsiveness of the flight controls is much higher (though it has been nearly a decade since I last flew one).

Just my musings on the subject rather than being any kind of fact.
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Old 19th Aug 2018, 16:44
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You move a flight control to change or maintain a bank or pitch. If flight controls are randomly moved you are inducing bank or pitch and cancelling it before it takes place and feeling good about it. In conventional aircraft one can literally feel the resistance of flight controls against the airflow and you can judge when intervention is required. In B707 during base flying it was very evident who is giving unnecessary input because it used to react late with lateral rocking while it was possible to fly it rock steady with proper handling.
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Old 19th Aug 2018, 16:57
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Watched this video a while ago and thought to myself that this guy is over controlling his aircraft. Though its not only during the flare phase, it seams quite unnecessary to me, to make such violent control inputs in both pitch and roll during approach, even in gusty conditions.

What do you think?

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-...g-737-10050106
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Old 19th Aug 2018, 18:09
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Originally Posted by F-16GUY View Post
Watched this video a while ago and thought to myself that this guy is over controlling his aircraft. Though its not only during the flare phase, it seams quite unnecessary to me, to make such violent control inputs in both pitch and roll during approach, even in gusty conditions.

What do you think?

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-...g-737-10050106
Totally agree. In my 10 years on the 737, with it's highly responsive controls, I've never needed to make such enormous inputs so close to the ground (except when checking full and free). If he stays on twins he'll probably get away with it but any attempt to apply that technique on a 4 engined aircraft will probably end in tears and a nacelle strike. I do find it odd that some pilots feel the need to make constant control inputs in calm conditions. Maybe it's just nervous energy?
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Old 19th Aug 2018, 18:30
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Yeah, the "yoke pumpers". I don't do this, but I know some who do. It seems strange to me, but I have flown with some "yoke pumpers" who fly the airplane quite well, and couldn't in any way be considered "nervous". It's their technique, and it they're producing a good outcome with that technique, the fact that it's different than my technique isn't going to cause me to miss a lot of sleep.
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Old 19th Aug 2018, 18:42
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Iím on the 777 at the moment, which is a pretty stable aeroplane (especially the -300). Most people I fly with are smooth in pitch and roll but the odd few just canít stop giving little sharp inputs all the time, which on a 200ft+ wingspan machine generates ripples that wang up and down the wing bouncing us all around but with little to no effect on the flightpath. Same for the elevator. I spend most of the time after takeoff thinking ďplease put the AP in, please...Ē as any turbulence is almost entirely self-generated.

I havenít been able to find a common factor yet, although many have come off the FBW Airbus...
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Old 19th Aug 2018, 19:22
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Originally Posted by CHfour View Post
Totally agree. In my 10 years on the 737, with it's highly responsive controls, I've never needed to make such enormous inputs so close to the ground (except when checking full and free). If he stays on twins he'll probably get away with it but any attempt to apply that technique on a 4 engined aircraft will probably end in tears and a nacelle strike. I do find it odd that some pilots feel the need to make constant control inputs in calm conditions. Maybe it's just nervous energy?
I guess youíve never been to Funchal on a bad day then.

Last edited by Chesty Morgan; 19th Aug 2018 at 20:08.
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Old 19th Aug 2018, 19:52
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Originally Posted by FullWings View Post
Iím on the 777 at the moment, which is a pretty stable aeroplane (especially the -300). Most people I fly with are smooth in pitch and roll but the odd few just canít stop giving little sharp inputs all the time, which on a 200ft+ wingspan machine generates ripples that wang up and down the wing bouncing us all around but with little to no effect on the flightpath. Same for the elevator. I spend most of the time after takeoff thinking ďplease put the AP in, please...Ē as any turbulence is almost entirely self-generated.

I havenít been able to find a common factor yet, although many have come off the FBW Airbus...
The vast majority of control inputs by some, or many, pilots are completely unnecessary. Left, right, left, right, ad nauseam. If the input is too large, or reversed, the plane responds - pilot induced turbulence.
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Old 19th Aug 2018, 21:32
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Originally Posted by Chesty Morgan View Post

I guess youíve never been to Funchal on a bad day then.
I have, far too often for my liking. And whilst large inputs may be required, this ďcool catĒ was putting in large inputs and then instantly reversing them. Probably doing sweet FA.

And be as others have said, try that with large wingspan aircraft, it will end in tears. Unnecessary. Iíll admit I overcontrolled early in my career and you could get away with it in a 737, anything bigger and youíre suspended pending investigation at best.
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Old 19th Aug 2018, 23:19
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Quote:
"What do you think?"

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-...g-737-10050106

The best part of that whole sequence was the orgasm at the end.
.

Last edited by jack11111; 19th Aug 2018 at 23:59.
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Old 20th Aug 2018, 01:49
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The best part of that whole sequence was the orgasm at the end.
Spoiled when he didn't light up a cigarette.

Having said that, if ever a picture is worth a thousand words, then jack11111 provided it. A brilliant demonstration. The equivalent of Children of the Magenta Line except it was a lesson on how not to fly manually. Should be mandatory viewing during type rating training, under the title of threat and error management on the flight deck. The threat being the flailing control column. That should keep the aficionados of TEM happy too.

One way to convince a perspiring pilot the utter uselessness of this addiction to over-controlling, is to use CWS steering mode mode which makes it more resistant to large inputs. Better still, direct him to keep his hand on the control wheel during a coupled approach and autoland and tell him to emulate that in future.
If all else fails it should be back to simulator training until the perpetrator sees the folly of his ways.
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Old 20th Aug 2018, 01:55
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I've seen quite a few CFIs that start that nonsense immediately on finals, that's one possible source ..I NEVER flew like that
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Old 20th Aug 2018, 03:08
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It usually starts as soon as the autopilot is disconnected.
And that is the common denominator on practically every occasion.
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