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-   -   Some landing advice please. A320 (https://www.pprune.org/tech-log/503091-some-landing-advice-please-a320.html)

meatlover 17th Dec 2012 14:28

Some landing advice please. A320
Still on my line training and the inconsistency doesnt help at all.
I've always been taught to break the ROD to about 500 FPM more or less at 50 and start my gradual actual flare at 30 or 20.
This also gives the TRI relief and more chances that he won't interrupt my landing (a lot of them are scared, and usually do put some input).

Today I did not flare enough and landed with 1.4G, and I absolutely feel like crap.
I usually look a little ahead of me, break my ROD at 50, gradually flare at 30 and cut the power at 20, has been working well so far.

The TRI today told me that flaring ONCE only at 30 feet is much easier because you can actually see the nose attitude go up a good amount and hense KNOW for sure you are flaring enough.
He said that because I break my ROD at 50, my flare at 30 is just a gradual pull back on the stick rather than actually feeling the aircrafts nose attitude.
Basically that its harder for me to feel the flare.
Problem is I've used this method all through training so far..

Does anyone have any advice?
Looking for some feedback from the more experienced guys,
Thanks in advance

tom775257 17th Dec 2012 14:43

I will first state I am not a trainer. This is my experience of going through similar, it feels horrible doing a bad landing, but don't worry, with time it will come to you.

I had an ex Boeing pilot tell me that the trick to landing an A320 is leaving the flare until you scare yourself. Tongue in cheek but true. Flaring too high always leads to a bad landing as you run out of energy and drop out of the sky or push the aircraft onto the runway.

My landing technique A320 series is check sensible ROD into the last 50' feet, don't dive towards the runway OR get shy of the ground! I only start the flare at 20' radalt. After you start the flare, smoothly reduce power to idle during the flare. 'Retard' is a reminder, not an instruction.

If you have a high ROD into the flare, flare a bit higher. If you have a strong headwind and low ROD or very light you might need to flare a bit later.

As well as flaring at the right height, the correct speed is important. Especially on the A321 make sure Vapp is at least 5 kts above the VLS on your PFD once configured.

I was initially taught 30' for the flare, I found it very hard to land. The chief pilot told me "Forget everything you have been taught. Flare at 20', bring thrust to idle at 10." From then on it clicked for me. Good luck.

Fly3 17th Dec 2012 14:51

50ft is far to high for an A320. Try raising the nose attitude 2 degrees at 30ft (a small check) and look at the far end of the runway to judge the final flare rate onto the runway. Do not delay retarding the thrust levers to idle, the "retard" call is a reminder not an instruction. Select reverse thrust when the main gear touches down which will counteract the tendency of the aircraft to pitch up with spoilers deployment although the elevators will try to do that and control the nose gear onto the ground. Good luck.

fantom 17th Dec 2012 14:56

Use the Rad Alt. If your airline has auto RA call out for 50/40/30/20 and 10, it's easy.

For guys new I would advise when you hear 50, wake up. 40, start getting ready. 30 begin a very, very slight back-stick, looking at the OTHER end of the rwy. The nose should barely be rising. at 20, just slow the nose rise a little, and at 10, hold the nose absolutely still.

With any luck, you'll feel the wheels kiss.


meatlover 17th Dec 2012 14:58

Thanks for the response and input Tom, much appreciated.
Also, if someone can tell me if it is correct that normally a landing is at 1.2G or 1.3G? I am not sure where to find the correct figures, and also, what exactly is considered a hard landing.

Thanks !

Edit. Thanks Fly and Fantom.
I might try this next time. It does seem like 50 is a bit too early.

fantom 17th Dec 2012 15:14

It does seem like 50 is a bit too early.
When you have base-trained as many pilots 320/330 as I have, you had better believe me.

Phil Squares 17th Dec 2012 15:29

Just to echo what fantom said. 50' might be a tad high. 30 is a good ballpark figure.

Also, as has been pointed out, "RETARD" is not a command, but an advisory. Waiting until you hear that command will ensure a longer than necessary landing. My technique is at 30' you check the descent rate, slight pitch change then take off a know width of power. If all is fine, no excessive sink, then the power comes smoothly to idle.

Try some manual thrust landings. Remember the throttle position when you take the active and stand the power up, either CFM or V2500, the thrust lever position for checking the stable spoolup is also the same positon config full on the glide slope.

bigfatchris 17th Dec 2012 16:30

Some landing advice please. A320
If anyone else has the same experience as I do, there is often the wiggle wiggle *expect smooth touchdown* crunch.

Loads of factors affect the landing;
Hot runways can cause float.
Heavier aircraft require a slightly higher flare.
Wind strength and local obstacles changing wind direction close to the ground.
Humps in runway.
Lighter aircraft give the feeling of a harder landing due to oleo compression on touchdown.
To name a few...

It's too much to be able to account for so don't be too critical if you don't kiss the Tarmac - the guy next you has thousands of hours and possibly thousands of landings - The person on the left should be pretty good at it!

Avoid messing with the rate of descent too much in the last couple of hundred feet. Early on get on the glide and follow the directors. If the weather is good, keep looking out if the window and doing the squashed fly thing. This should give you the external visual cues early. The artificial horizon is good, in good weather a real one is better!

Don't chase PAPIs at low level. The RoD you had earlier should put you in the right place. Avoid overcorrecting, the airbus will try to smooth out short period variations - by correcting them yourself, the bus then fixes the original perturbation and you have to cancel your previous correction! Sometimes I find I am reminding myself to "let go"! The trainer will crap himself if you say "correcting" and stuff the nose down at low level. Plus you won't get any consistency at 50' if one day you at 800fpm and the next at 500fpm over the threshold.

I would love to hear if anyone has any contradicting advice or additions - I find landing the airbus a real challenge too.

bigfatchris 17th Dec 2012 16:48

Oh, and the best piece of advice is to get your excuses out early. Good ones include:
* I've been on leave.
* I can't seem to get my seat position right today.
* I hate landing the aircraft when it's heavy/light/windy/wet.
* This runway is shaped like a church spire....

Any others?

DrJones 17th Dec 2012 18:13

I don't fly the A320 so can't give advice on landing that puppy but as mentioned early the rad alt calls 50, 40 ,30 etc are great indicator to whether your going to slam it in. If they count down too fast chances are you going to slam it in, so just pull back on the yoke to arrest the descent rate. Also don't think about it too much, just go with the flow. I'm sure I slammed the plane in the other day (and when i say slammed I mean slammed) because I was over thinking/complicating the landing because there was a bit of wind and at the last minute got in a pickle and smash!

Uplinker 17th Dec 2012 18:26

50' is too high for an A330, let alone an A320/321.

Start flare at 20' rad alt. Once flared, reduce thrust levers to idle. Look at the far end of the runway and adjust the pitch attitude so the aircraft is slowly sinking. You will grease it !

Damn, now I've given my secret to everyone!

I came from turbo props and STOL aircraft which had a thick wing and you could hold a level attitude and let them sink on as the lift decayed. This does not work with a thin wing - it will just run out of lift and dump the aircraft onto the tarmac heavily !

Good luck !


RunSick 17th Dec 2012 18:49

I´ve been trough the same not too long ago. Just a few points:
1) Every instructor (willing to do good) will tell you the "secret perfect landing technique". Truth is it works for them, not necessarely for you. Sometimes they can be almost opposite.
2) Don´t stress too much over it. Everyone has been there at some point. Try to do your best. Be open and brief about your shortcomings to the instructor. Tell him what has been happening, what you are planning to do etc. This will show maturity and situational awareness on your part and maybe most important increase the safety of the operation.
3) Now for my secret perfect landing technique....

a) GS/2 is the ROD you must maintain (there´s no fixed value for this) until 50feet. As you know at 50feet the elevator memorizes the position etc etc. (check it in the FCOM) so if you come to this point at the correct speed, with the correct ROD and correct attitude half the work is already done.

b)Don´t fight the last 50 feet of the landing until touchdown, instead fight all the way down until 50ft (aiming to cross as described in point a) and at that point just accept what you´ve got and stop chasing any indication, just focus on the flare.

c) Coming down don´t chase the FD. My control over the aircarft on finals improved A LOT once I stopped paying so much attenction to the FD which actually was just "sucking my mind" and making me become fixated on just one thing. Instead open your scan, look mainly at your ROD (GS/2) and the pitch required to get said ROD. Look at the glide and loc indicators and react to them, not to the FD. Look outside. Use the FD only to "confirm" you are on the right track.

d) Once at 50ft STOP CHASING AND ACCEPT WHAT YOU´VE GOT. Give the ROD a final look and with this info think how much flare input you´ll have to do ONCE YOU REACH 30FT, NOT BEFORE. If crossing with 500fpm you know it will be a small flare, crossing with 700 it will require more input.

d) The rest is... well, supposed to be easy, what can I say :bored: As mentioned before: start flare at 30, smoothly cut the power, look mid to far end, if you feel like floating just let go a bit (do not press down) etc etc.

Happy landings!

Stuck_in_an_ATR 17th Dec 2012 18:52


I beg to differ. I've also come from Turboprop background and those aircraft had to be flown all the way to touchdown (and woe and betide if you retarded the power levers too early), while on the 320 seems to be okay with arresting the descent at around 30' and taking the thrust anywhere below 40'. Then it just lands itself... :ok:

fantom 17th Dec 2012 20:19

It does seem like 50 is a bit too early.

50' is too high for an A330, let alone an A320/321.

50' might be a tad high. 30 is a good ballpark figure.
Goodness , why don't you read what I wrote?

50 feet is WHEN YOU WAKE UP.

30 feet is when anything happens.

It's no wonder you are not learning; you are not listening.

Wing_Bound_Vortex 17th Dec 2012 21:15

Try and be pretty consistent in your positioning of the aircraft so that you're in the same place every time you get to 50 feet above the threshold, i.e. rate of descent, speed, lateral positioning should all be correct. A good landing tends to follow from a good approach, if one day you're doing -400 fpm over the threshold and the next -800fpm due to your positioning relative to the ideal profile then it's going to make the judgement of the flare more difficult, especially when you're new to type.

The biggest problem I see is people chasing the "glide" at low level, especially in the last couple of hundred feet, and effectively de-stabilising the approach to a certain extent. Don't chase the PAPI's at low level ( below a couple of hundred feet ) you should be going for your aiming point on the runway. Accept what you've got at 50 feet, look down towards ( but not at ) the end of the runway and start a gentle flare at about 25/30ft assuming you've been at a sensible 700 ish fpm. Smoothly take the power off almost simultaneously and keep that gentle descent rate till you touch.

And don't worry about the odd cruncher, we all do them from time to time!


Wing_Bound_Vortex 17th Dec 2012 21:19

Oh and Ps, try not to do the double flare thing, the check at 50 and the second flare at 30, it tends to eat up runway. If you can get into the habit of making it all one smooth progressive flare, it works much better. It'll come, don't worry!


PantLoad 17th Dec 2012 21:29

Have a look at the FCTM
It might help to have a read of the "LANDING" in the Flight Crew
Training Manual. This will help, I'm sure.

Basically, at 50 feet RA, the 'system' changes from normal pitch law
to flare law. At this point, the auto trim stops, and the aircraft's
pitch attitude is 'memorized.'

So, because of this, it's important to maintain a stable pitch attitude
as you go through 50 feet RA. In other words, have it in the slot prior
to 50 feet RA....keep it there.

Now, at 30 feet RA, we're going to think about starting a flare. At 30
feet RA, the aircraft slowly, gradually begins pitching down....a total
of two degrees over eight seconds. This logic is to force the pilot to
flare, just as he would in any other aircfraft.

Under normal conditions, at this 30 feet RA, the pilot pulls the
thrust levers to idle. However, as Airbus states, the pilot comes
to idle when best adapted. Gusty wind conditions, maybe keep the
thrust in there a bit longer. If stable wind conditions, but just a tad
high and/or fast, maybe you'll come to idle a bit earlier. In any event,
thrust must be at idle before touchdown.

So, 30 feet RA is where it's all happening. Thrust idle, start a nice
flare, fly it right on to the runway. Nice and easy....

I have to say, don't worry about the landings....I've made more than
my share of 'firm' landings in my career. What you're looking for is
a nice, stable approach, and a touchdown on the thousand foot marks...
really, in pratice, just a bit beyond. You want to touch down at the
proper point at the proper speed...begin the deceleration process.

You'll be just fine....

Fly safe,


fmgc 17th Dec 2012 21:38

At 20' raise the nose a little chop the power gently and hold the attitude, look down the end of the runway. Accept what happens, it will likely be positive but not heavy.

DO NOT try to grease it when you are learning.

Leave the niceties until you have got a consistent technique for putting the jet down at the right spot on the runway.

Once you get a feel for that you can start to work for the greaser.

I have got over 10,000 hours on the A320 family and still can't get overly consistent with it.

Don't listen to the cabin crew debrief either!

Uplinker 18th Dec 2012 02:00

Hey fantom;

That's a spiky response for a trainer - cool your jets. The thread starter said 50', so in effect I was agreeing with you and others.

Stuck in an ATR;

Well, OK, maybe the Dash 8-Q400 didn't quite work that way ! The 146 did though. It had a thick STOL wing and gently drifted down. So did the shed. My point was that the A320 wing won't provide lift all the way as the speed reduces. Once it gets below a certain speed - BANG - the lift is gone, so you need to fly the Airbus down onto the runway.


Fly3 18th Dec 2012 15:02

And remember that it is more important to touchdown in the correct place rather than achieve a greaser halfway down the runway.

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