How long did it take before you landed landing

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by Jamie Kirk, Sep 10, 2018.

  1. Jamie Kirk

    Jamie Kirk Pre-Flight

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    Only on my second day of pattern and landing work but I ended today frustrated.

    Last Friday did my first pattern and landing work. Did 4 complete stop landings. First two I was nervous, did well on the final one.

    Today we did 1.25 hours of pure touch and goes and floating over the runway. Today was hot, winds were bad and I was fighting the plane the entire day.

    Procedures? I have those down. I’ll taxi, take off, circle pattern and get lined up almost exactly on point with elevation and speed while doing all the radio work. But then I fall apart on final.

    I’m struggling with:
    Pitch for airspeed and use throttle for elevation. Naturally if I start to see a vasi light slightly change shades I pull up. I need to engrave into my brain that I need to add power.

    Actually landing. CFi keeps saying pull back pull back pull back. I get it right there and instincts take over and I stop flaring.

    Keeping the airplane level and straight. I’m all over the place. I need to work on my rudder control and stop trying to fly the airplane with the stick and use the rudders.

    Have 3 more days this week scheduled. I’m hoping I feel better after some of those.

    CFI says it just happens. You don’t really get better, just call of a sudden a light bulb goes off and it clicks.
     
  2. Kelvin

    Kelvin En-Route

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    Look all the way to the end of the runway when you start to flare...

    It took me forever to learn to land...truth is I still am learning...1500 hours later...
     
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  3. Shawn

    Shawn En-Route

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    I'll let you know when I do...
     
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  4. Skip Miller

    Skip Miller En-Route

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    I remember returning home after an afternoon trying to learn how to land and telling my wife: "It is not possible for anyone to land a plane smoothly". We've all been there... just keep at it!

    -Skip
     
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  5. texasclouds

    texasclouds Pre-Flight

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    It all finally clicked around 4 hrs of pattern training, then he soloed me. At one point i was frustrated but then it all clicked and it became a fun task.
     
  6. bflynn

    bflynn En-Route

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    Guessing - 12-16 hours? I knew enough after about 4-6 hours to get myself on the ground again, but it took me a long time to be good at it.
     
  7. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It's early, don't worry so much. I have students that get the landing down n 7-8 hours and some take 20 hours or more. Have you done slow flight? It's an excellent maneuver to teach how pitch controls airspeed and throttle (power) controls altitude. As for looking down the runway, it depends what works for you. If it's 20-30 yards , mid field, or end of the runway use what works for you.
     
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  8. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I’d wager you’ll make huge jumps from now to 15hrs

    And a slow progress ever forward
     
  9. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 Line Up and Wait

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    Don't worry, you are very early in the game at this point. I'll admit, I still didn't entirely understand how to land until well after I got my license. Sure I could do it, but I didn't know what or how I was doing it. Even now, I still occasionally have a bad landing and think well how did that happen, and how do I fix it?
     
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  10. PeterNSteinmetz

    PeterNSteinmetz Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Have to agree it can be frustrating and echo the remarks that you are very early in the game.

    One way to think about it that I didn’t discover until well past my private is that, in a way, landing is actually sort of what one might naively think to do. Namely, fly it down into ground effect, then let it slow down and settle onto the runway. You do that by flaring of course, but that is one way to cognitively break it up. First, get it flying straight over the runway in ground effect. Then settle it on.
     
  11. Half Fast

    Half Fast Pattern Altitude

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    Early days yet; worry not, it will come. Having said that, I'll also say that for me it never "clicked." My landings just slowly improved, little by little, until they were acceptable. No "Eureka!" moment, no sudden flash, no breakthrough. Nothing but gradual progress.

    Now, then - there are three secrets to a perfect landing. No one knows what they are. (Rumor has it that Orville did, but he died before telling anyone.)

    I found that where I look down the runway is very important. Looking at the end of the runway DOES NOT WORK for me, despite all the advice to the contrary. Looking at a point a mile away does not provide the correct perspective. I found that looking maybe 200' or so out as I get into ground effect works best for me, then I'll look farther out as the plane settles.

    This distance might not work for you, but you need to find the best place to look and be consistent with it. When I screw up a landing now, it's usually because I'm not looking at the right spot in front of the airplane.

    Fast Eddie has a good write-up on this. PM him if he doesn't chime in soon.
     
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  12. Non Compos Mentis

    Non Compos Mentis Pre-takeoff checklist

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    There are three things that make a perfect landing every time.

    Unfortunately, nobody knows what they are.
     
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  13. Jamie Kirk

    Jamie Kirk Pre-Flight

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    Done slow flight, have no problem doing it. Just that mental barrier of not flying the plane with the stick on final. I gotta get my feet moving and use the throttle more.

    I’m only 8ish hours into flying time now so I have a lot of time to get this down.
     
  14. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    FWIW none of my students solo before 12-15 hours I would say. I stress others things, slow flight, stalls/recoveries, go arounds, simulated forced landings, etc etc.

    You'll get it, we all do eventually. I had 17 hours when I soled. Hang in there, patience grasshopper! ;):)
     
  15. Jamie Kirk

    Jamie Kirk Pre-Flight

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    I’m in no rush to solo, I want to be comfortable before I take that on.

    I enjoyed simulated force landings. Have had the CFI pull out the power over the practice area and say the ground is at 2000ft.
     
  16. deyoung

    deyoung Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I think I really got landing down completely at around 2000 hours... though I could be wrong.

    I have a bit over 300 now. Stay tuned. :)
     
  17. Jamie Kirk

    Jamie Kirk Pre-Flight

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    But at what point did you feel like you were not going to die
     
  18. SixPapaCharlie

    SixPapaCharlie May the force be with you

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    CFI is right. Don't worry about it.

    And here is another secret...
    It will probably be after you have your cert.
     
  19. asicer

    asicer En-Route

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    My landings made a huge jump from pre-solo quality to private pilot quality after my CFI quit the constant yammering all throughout the pattern. Wish I knew about the sterile cockpit concept back then.
     
  20. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    Based in my wife's comment in our last trip, not yet.
     
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  21. Half Fast

    Half Fast Pattern Altitude

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    That feeling starts when I turn base and reaches maximum on short final. It goes away when I’ve taxied about halfway back to the hangar.
     
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  22. jspilot

    jspilot Cleared for Takeoff

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    You have plenty of time to learn. Give yourself a break.

    Best advice I can give regarding landing( not a CFI) is to feel what the plane is doing. Once you pull power, the plane will continue down and slowly lose airspeed. We level off to kill that last bit of airspeed above the touchdown speed. Once you level off, the plane will lose speed pretty quick and will eventually start to settle towards the runway. This is when you start the flare— just pull back enough so that you guarantee the main wheels hit first, and then hold that. If you start climbing again you pulled back to much or flared with too much speed. Again, just level out and repeat. NEVER push forward on the yoke during landing. That’s a recipe for some ugly results!

    My sense is everyone wants training to be over quick but remind yourself that this is valuable time to gather experience with an instructor next to you. It’s time best not rushed!
     
  23. chemgeek

    chemgeek Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Sports science tells us that it takes about 25 repetitions to learn a new physical skill. (Not to perfect it, just to learn it.) If you learn some bad habits (incorrect technique), then it takes about twice that many repetitions to extinguish the old motor skill and ingrain the new (correct) ones. Patience. We've all been there. Even if you have been flying forever, not every landing is a greaser. At least not for me at my airport.
     
  24. N3368K

    N3368K Line Up and Wait

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    It requires practice. Lots of practice. Next month will be 40th anniversary of my first solo. Despite thousands of landings, I will make a reall stinker occasionally, even more frequently when I haven't flown in a while. Don't sweat it. Just make sure you are paying attention and learning from each one.

    I don't recall ever having an "ah ha" moment either. It just comes with practice. I was blessed to learn from my dad in his Cub from his ag strip so I could fly every day the weather permitted. Still, we only flew about an hour or so each sessions. You need frequency, but not excessive duration each flight so what you are learning can stick and not flooded away through overload.
     
  25. DFH65

    DFH65 Pattern Altitude

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    I did a prefect landing once but can't remember how.
     
  26. Matt Brasher

    Matt Brasher Pre-Flight

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    Here's the trick to flaring: Cover the end of the runway with the tip of the nose. Keep it covered. As you slow down, you'll have to pull more and more to keep it covered.

    And of course when I say "end of the runway", I'm referring to the end that you are NOT trying to land on.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2018
  27. eman1200

    eman1200 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    If you want a really great landing make sure no one is in the plane with you and no one is at the airport or anywhere within site of you. If all of those conditions are not met, don’t count on a greaser.
     
  28. Stingray Don

    Stingray Don Pattern Altitude

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    Amazing how it always seems to work out that way
     
  29. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 Line Up and Wait

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    My wife did that to me on our last flight. Thought I had made a fairly smooth wheel landing. As we rolled out she asked from the back seat, "Was that a GOOD landing?"

    Pride gone...
     
  30. deyoung

    deyoung Pre-takeoff checklist

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    :) I don't actually remember -- I don't think I was really afraid of dying by solo time, but I didn't feel good about landings until sometime after my cert.

    If it helps, probably the single thing that made the biggest difference early on, for me, was learning the importance of nailing your speeds. I tended to land too fast at first; being on speed makes everything easier and smoother (and safer).
     
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  31. Zeldman

    Zeldman Final Approach

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    While I could get the plane down with less than a few pieces falling off, landings didn't really click for me until I moved to the right seat during initial CFI training. For some reason sitting on the right side and landings just worked for me.

    Doesn't work for me either, especially in a plane that the nose blocks the view in front at the flare. My problem with learning to land was thinking I should be able to see the runway in front of me 100% of the time.
     
  32. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Hmmm. Putting these two things together (hot and bad winds, and power for glideslope), you may simply be overcontrolling, which is common among new pilots.

    If there is turbulence down low and that is affecting your glidepath, I would suggest you *don't* change power. Ride it out. What goes up must come down and vice versa - If you get into a thermal that pushes you above the desired glide path, unless you're pretty close in you're likely to hit a downdraft that will bring you back down. If you're constantly changing power, it'll be really hard to get a stabilized approach, and a good landing starts with a good approach.

    While I understand why some CFIs teach pitch-for-speed/power-for-altitude (to get over the common misconception that you should do it all with the yoke), there is an ages-old argument about that within the pilot community. The reality is that power (and altitude) determine the amount of energy you have available, and pitch is how you control how that energy is split between speed and altitude.

    So - Ask your CFI if (s)he's got a suggestion for a power setting to use for the approach (eg 1700 RPM in a 172 - varies by airplane though so use what your CFI says), and try to get to where you're turning final on the desired glidepath and then keep that power setting constant all the way in.

    I had trouble with this at first too. Everyone kept talking about "that sinking feeling in your butt" being the time to pull back more, and I just wasn't feeling it, so by the time I noticed the plane was sinking it was sinking fast and I'd have to pull hard to not slam the plane on the ground - Overcontrolling again. At the time I was training, I was an over-the-road truck driver, so I would fly like mad for a weekend and then be out of town for two weeks. There was one particularly frustrating weekend that sounds exactly like what you're experiencing, and I had two weeks to stew about it before my next flight!

    And with all that time to think about it, that's exactly what I did. What I came to that solved the problem for me was this: Simple physics dictates that the plane *will* slow down with the throttle at idle due to drag, so it *will* begin to sink, period. All you have to do is wait a second or two and then start gently pulling. If you can see yourself sinking to the ground, pull a little faster; if you "balloon" (climb back up a few feet away from the ground) pull slower.

    So, I started to round out to level above the runway, count to two, and just start pulling gently. That improved my landings immediately, to the point that I soloed the day after my next flight, with about 16-17 hours. It also slowed things down enough for me to be able to learn how things were supposed to look and feel, so by the time I had my Private (42 hours) I knew how things were supposed to look and feel. So yes, you could say it just "clicked."

    Hope this helps!
     
  33. Jamie Kirk

    Jamie Kirk Pre-Flight

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    Kent, thanks for the info!

    I was over controlling. I was chasing the perfect sight picture for landing. Instead of relaxing and like you said roll with it I was trying to get that perfect lineup.

    He let me know the suggested MP and altitude I should be at on final. But with the winds and thermals it was about as useful as an elephant in a mine field and changed every landing.

    I was so focused on trying to land on the numbers, I have 4,840 feet, I just need to concentrate on getting that float and letting her come down.

    There were a few where I got a little too sideways, CFI made a joke that they don't pay us to mow the grass and to use more rudder.
     
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  34. Half Fast

    Half Fast Pattern Altitude

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    I had a similar problem. One of my CFIs, as I entered ground effect, would say "Float float float float float pull up pull up pull up" as we flew down the runway. It helped. I still hear her voice every time I land.
     
  35. Ghery

    Ghery Final Approach

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    Only 18 years since my solo and I can still stink up the joint with a bad landing with the best of them.

    That point by eman1200 is so true. I save my worst landings for KPWT because I know that everyone at the airport café I'm heading for is grading landings while eating, just like I will be. And that's a nice long runway, so there's no excuse, except for the people grading the landings. :D
     
  36. PeterNSteinmetz

    PeterNSteinmetz Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I felt that was the key idea.
     
  37. F01LA

    F01LA Line Up and Wait

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    I'll second this. I had "passable" landings during training, but never felt that comfortable with them. Sometime after becoming a private pilot, things clicked a lot better.
     
  38. F01LA

    F01LA Line Up and Wait

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    I think the "float" might be part of the problem with over controlling. My problem was too much time in the float, too much time to try and control things while the speed bled off. Once I started landing slower with less float, things got a lot better.
     
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  39. benyflyguy

    benyflyguy Pre-takeoff checklist

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    My last cfi summed it up for me very simply, “try to not let the plane land.”
    That has helped my thought process immensely. I used to kinda dial in the flare and just kinda hold it, and start flaring a bit more, but my control input was linear- this was wrong. As you get low and slow you require exponentially Moreno input. I used to just kinda freeze and hold it and wait——mistake.
     
  40. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You're floating most likely because you're too fast on final. It then takes a few seconds to discipipate that excess speed before it begins to "sink". Try to fly the recommended final approach speed, nail it.

    Getting a bit sideways, push a rudder to straighten it up, most likely you're a little left so push the right pedal to align the plane with the centerline.