Struggling in flight school (private pilot)

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by Samuel choi, May 8, 2020.

  1. Samuel choi

    Samuel choi Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    May 8, 2020
    Messages:
    1
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Samuel
    Hello, currently I am doing part 141 private pilot course. I have finished my ground school, and passed my written.
    Right now I am having trouble in getting the endorsement to do solo. Right now, I have more than 50 hours of flight, but still having struggle with landing (timing of flare), airspeed, and general multitasking inside plane.

    Yesterday, I was told that it was the best flight I have done by my instructor and was given a chance to fly with a head instructor to see if I am prepared to do first solo.

    I flew with him today, and I don’t know why, but made multiple mistakes.
    - airspeed
    - timing of flaps
    - high altitude from base to final
    - flaring timing (causing aircraft to go up and down on the runway)
    (These are most of them)

    I was told from the head instructor that while I show improvement, it is marginal. Also because I am not progressing a lot and not able to do solo, he decided that it is wise to change to part 61 due to its flexibility.

    he says: you worked for it for long period of time and still can’t make it. You won’t progress by stressing on solo like this.

    I don’t know what to do. I want to succeed in this course but not progressing (flight wise). Can I get some advise (other than giving up)?
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2020
  2. Salty

    Salty Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Messages:
    7,064
    Location:
    FL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Salty
    I'm not a flight instructor, but none of those things by themselves would kill you on a solo as long as you dealt with them properly....
     
  3. RyanB

    RyanB Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    Messages:
    12,388
    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ryan
    If you can’t manage airspeed, judge altitude relative to the runway on approach, or time your flare properly, than there’s plenty of justification for a CFI to refuse a solo sign off. The student needs more instruction, plain and simple.
     
  4. Salty

    Salty Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Messages:
    7,064
    Location:
    FL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Salty
    Skipped the last 8 words of my post?
     
  5. RyanB

    RyanB Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    Messages:
    12,388
    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ryan
    No, those things alone are enough to demonstrate the student isn’t ready.
     
  6. WannFly

    WannFly Final Approach

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2016
    Messages:
    5,715
    Location:
    KFAR
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Priyo
    Hours is just that, hours. Yeah you are not a flying marvel that can solo in 15 hours. So what?

    Have the instructors identified the why? Or have you been able to identify the why? Are you distracted? Scared? Whatever the case may be, you need to find out the root cause and address it. Go up with another instructor if need be. Without the why, I don’t know who can help you.

    Full disclosure, I solo-Ed at 60 hrs. It takes as long as it takes, if you are determined that is.
     
    ArnoldPalmer and unsafervguy like this.
  7. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2014
    Messages:
    7,646
    Location:
    Fort Worth
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Pasta Man
    Quite the inspirational comment. I only wonder what he's inspiring you to do.
     
    RyanB likes this.
  8. WannFly

    WannFly Final Approach

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2016
    Messages:
    5,715
    Location:
    KFAR
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Priyo
    Op, I hat kind of plane are you flying ? I had similar plateau while learning to land and it ended up being too much airspeed on final resulting in balloon or bounce. I think at one point the tower guys were betting how many bounces before I stop. Let us know the type of aircraft and your speeds and may be some senior board members can give you some ideas. I am not qualified enough to provide pointers
     
  9. Stingray Don

    Stingray Don En-Route

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2014
    Messages:
    2,910
    Location:
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Stingray Don
    As far as timing your flare, here is a technique that can be helpful. This can be a bit of a crutch, and at some point, you need to learn to flare by sight picture alone. Otherwise you may struggle landing on turf or at night. However, it can help you reinforce and cement the sight picture.

    Note that I have no financial interest or relationship with the author or product.

    https://www.jacobsonflare.com/

     
  10. Stingray Don

    Stingray Don En-Route

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2014
    Messages:
    2,910
    Location:
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Stingray Don
    +1 @WannFly

    Nailing the airspeed on final is critical
     
  11. dmspilot

    dmspilot En-Route

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2006
    Messages:
    4,143
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Display name:
    When was your first lesson and how often are you flying?
     
  12. Brad W

    Brad W Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2019
    Messages:
    494
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    BLW2
    my first thought is how many instructors have you flown with?
    maybe a different instructor might explain it differently in some subtle way that works better.

    and my second thought was exactly this
    I learned how to drive stick shift cars before I had my license, and drove them a long time, many different ones and I was pretty good at it. One of the last I had though, I could just hardly ever get to shift smooth. It was just a jerky car that didn't 'agree' with me. Maybe a little time in a different aircraft might do just the trick to help it click

    I'm just spit-ballin here....
     
  13. Daleandee

    Daleandee Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2020
    Messages:
    456
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Dale Andee
    First I would ask that you focus on what goes right instead of what went wrong. You show improvement so you are progressing and although it might not be at a rate that satisfies your instructor you should take some solace from that fact.

    The items you listed above may very well be something corrected by using a different instructor and most likely a different airplane. It might be that you've become quite intimidated by your current instructor and need someone that is more encouraging and has a better "bedside manner."

    For me, and I'm guessing others, one of the most important points I had to learn early on was that I had to make the airplane do what I wanted/needed it to do. I was taught to fly the airplane and not simply be a passenger. You are learning to be the PIC (Pilot In Command) so take control of the airplane and tell it what you want it to do.
     
    Daniel Lobb likes this.
  14. bobmrg

    bobmrg En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2007
    Messages:
    3,176
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Bob Gardner
    "Timing of flaps" puzzles me. You should be learning procedures and techniques: procedures are dictated by the flight manual, while technique varies from one instructor to the next...no two instructors will have you make a flap change at exactly the same place every time. So don't let that worry you....you will develop your own techniques as you gain experience. For now, if instructor A says to add flaps when turning from downwind to base, then do that when flying with instructor A; if instructor B tells you to hold off on the flaps until you are on base, then do that when flying with instructor B. You can't please everyone when it comes to technique.

    In many cases, the flight manual gives you some leeway..."flaps as desired;" "airspeed 60-70 knots..." Your instructor should respect that leeway and not ask for a specific procedure.

    Now to procedure. If the flight manual says that your approach speed should be 60 knots, get yourself some altitude and practice descents with approach flaps set and the airspeed nailed on 60. Not 65, not 55, but 60...and keep it there while losing 500 feet feet of altitude; recover to level flight, climb back up and do it again. Remember the throttle setting for 60 knots and pitch attitude for 60 knots with approach flaps. If you let your speed wander all over the place you will have difficulty making consistent landings.

    Get comfortable at the low speed end of the airspeed indicator. The airplane will not land until it runs out of energy, and if you provide too much energy by being fast on final you will float until the energy runs out (hopefully, that will happen before the runway ends). Good landings are slow landings.

    Bob Gardner
     
  15. Salty

    Salty Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Messages:
    7,064
    Location:
    FL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Salty
    This. I’ll only add using trim to nail that airspeed. Don’t try to hold the yoke in place to nail it. Keep refining the trim to keep it nailed.
     
  16. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2013
    Messages:
    1,751
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Larry in TN
    If I was asked to work with a pre-solo pilot having these problems I would look at two separate areas;

    1. Do you know the steps and goals for each part of the traffic pattern? And, if you do,
    2. Are the building block skills mastered that are required to fly a traffic pattern?

    For the first area, I'd ask you to go up to the white board and diagram and explain the traffic pattern as though you were teaching a new student. I would be looking to see if you knew what headings, power settings, flap configurations, altitudes, vertical speeds, ground tracks, and power settings should be used at each point in the pattern; when to make configuration, speed, and vertical path changes; and how corrections are made when there are deviations. If you don't know that on the ground, you can't fly it in the air.

    Second, If you know what it is that you want the airplane to be doing, but aren't able to do it, then I'd look at the building block skills that make up each task to see if they are mastered.

    For example, if you can't fly a constant airspeed descent at the desired rate of descent then you aren't going to be able manage the descent from downwind to base to final. If you can't correct for wind and fly a rectangular course over the ground (ground reference maneuvers) then you won't be able to fly a consistent traffic pattern. Etc.

    I would work to identify any of those building blocks which aren't mastered and head back out to the practice area to get them up to speed.

    I've seen many CFIs doing pattern work with students in their first few hours, well before they've had time to introduce, nevermind perfect, the building block skills that are used together to fly a traffic pattern and landing. I find this counterproductive as it results in the student stumbling around in the pattern not know what they are doing.
     
    denverpilot and LongRoadBob like this.
  17. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    May 25, 2006
    Messages:
    11,736
    Location:
    Chapel Hill NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mark
    Here's a question. Are you
    1. Waiting till you get somewhere and then figuring out what to do.
    2. Saying to yourself before you get there, "when I get there, I will do...
    The first pretty much guarantees you will be behind the airplane and scrambling to catch up. Much more difficult.
     
  18. PaulS

    PaulS Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    10,272
    Location:
    New England
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    PaulS
    I read your post and this stood out like a sore thumb to me. Here's the deal. You have the desire to succeed and you have the skill (your instructor would not recommend you for the evaluation flight if you didn't). Your instructor spelled out the problem for you but you only gave it one little sentence.

    All those things you listed as multiple mistakes are just part of flying. If you are off on your airspeed, fix it. If you are a little early or late with flaps, so what? Adjust. Too high base to final? So what, fix it, or go around do it right the next time. Flaring timing? What is that? Flare, if the airplane balloons, adjust, it's part of flying, do what needs to be done, it's different every time, but the basic concepts are the same.

    Here is the deal, if you are so nervous, so stressed, that you can't make an adjustment, it won't work, you'll never solo. If you are too worried about impressing the instructor that you dwell on every thing you perceive is wrong, it kills your performance.

    Solo means you fly without the instructor there to save your bacon. For an instructor to sign you off you need to show that you will make good decisions and are capable of correcting your own mistakes.

    Here is my suggestion. Stop thinking about the instructor next to you, tune him out in your head (unless he is saying something obviously but don't wait for him to help do what you need to), don't worry about impressing him, fly the airplane as you have been trained. If you screw up, say it, for instance, too high on final, say I'm "too high" reducing power to get back on glide path, or slipping, or if you are too close to fix it, "going around" contrary to what might think, instructors love it when you go around if you feel you need another try. Treat the flight like you are flying solo

    This is what I do with instructors now on flights, I suggest you do the same, I do this before take off, after the runup is done. I'll go through the normal take off stuff, then for a pre solo check I'd say: "this is a pre solo check ride, I'm pilot in command, I will fly and handle the radios, if I need anything I'll ask your help. Your the instructor but I'm going to think of you as a passenger. If you need to take the controls for any reason, do so, but give me a firm 'My controls', I'll say "your controls", relinquish the controls, then you confirm 'my controls'. If you want to put your hands on the controls, I'm fine with that, but I'm not giving up control until I hear "My controls". Any questions?"

    What I find this does is gives me the mind set that it is my show, I need to perform.

    Finally, as I said, I think nerves are killing your performance. Some nervousness is ok as long as you are confident. If you aren't confident, then practice makes perfect. Chair fly before the ride, sit in a chair, say out loud what you are doing, for example, take off, then go through the steps, whatever they are , like power to full, right rudder, engine parameters normal, airspeed alive, rotate, positive rate, etc. My sure you know it cold. You can do this, get over the nerves.
     
    LongRoadBob, midlifeflyer and dtuuri like this.
  19. rtk11

    rtk11 Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2015
    Messages:
    1,630
    Location:
    Southern California
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    rtk
    In my opinion, what you lack is just more time in seat to keep flying and getting your timing down for a stabilized approach. As mentioned earlier, that is key. Without a stabilized final, you're trying to do too much at the same time. Try going up with your instructor and make it a 4-6 mile final. You should have plenty of time to slow the aircraft, gauge location, time deployment of flaps, ensure alignment to runway centerline. At that point, you should focus on descent, airspeed, speed over a fixed point near the field (fence, numbers, etc.) and then transition your view to the end of the runway to replicate your take-off attitude. The key is to get comfortable with the aircraft and the approach. How quickly you do it all will come with practice.

    -Airspeed: I mentioned above to get a stabilized approach, this will allow you time to control airspeed

    -Timing of Flaps: Know that you don't have to use all (or any) flaps. You can choose when to use them. Too much too early? just add power. Too little? Slip the aircraft (but maintain approach speed.)

    -High Altitude from Base to Final: As stated above, go further out and steady your approach. You have more time to judge your descent. Farther out means more altitude. Closer (short final) means less altitude. Give yourself a chance and ask your instructor for a long final approach.

    -Flare Timing: Too much speed (energy) is causing you to float on the the runway. Find a speed over a point at or near the runway where landing is assured, but you can dial back speed. In my aircraft, for example, my approach speed is 65 knots, and I'm at 50-55 knots over the fence to the airport where landing is assured. (I'm a LSA, so your aircraft may have different speeds. Check with your instructor.)

    As others have mentioned, none of those items are deal breakers. You just need to know how to take command and resolve the situation. If you find that you're not comfortable with the landing, go around. That is ALWAYS an option.
     
    LongRoadBob likes this.
  20. jonvcaples

    jonvcaples Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2019
    Messages:
    394
    Location:
    Colorado, USA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Sasquatch
    Typically before solo a CFI is looking to see that a student catches when something is off (too high/low, fast makes a mistakes) then makes a timely, appropriate correction. Instead of concentrating on flying perfectly work on evaluating your performance, catch your mistakes or realize when something has changed and needs correcting, and making a timely, appropriate correction.

    Relax, enjoy, and learn...
     
    A1Topgun and AKBill like this.
  21. Larry Vrooman

    Larry Vrooman Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2020
    Messages:
    158
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    N5168T
    A few thoughts...

    I suspect a lot of this is actually in your head - a mental block so to speak.

    For example, after being out of aviation for 23 years, I made a mid life career change and got back in. I got a flight review in a DA-20 and never felt comfortable on the first flight (gusty winds, moderate turbulence, first time in type, etc) to the point that I asked for another hour rather than get signed off for the flight review. After that second hour I wasn't "comfortable" but at least I didn't feel unsafe. And I still didn't like the DA-20.

    A couple weeks later I did a pre buy inspection and test flight in a Citabria with an instructor in the back for insurance purposes. It was a very enjoyable flight and at the end, coming in to land, I ended up very high on final and just naturally put the rudder to the stop with opposite stick, slipping to lose altitude without thinking about it, and made a very nice full stall landing on the runway centerline.

    Fast forward a couple months, the deal is done on the Citabria, the maintenance issues are addressed and it has a fresh annual. Given my total time, having learned to fly in a Supercub, having over 50 hours of tailwheel time, the insurance company only required 5 hours in type and I had 3.5 hours already, not counting the .7 hour test flight. However, with that same instructor in the back, I suddenly couldn't make a decent landing to save my soul. I ended up getting over 5 hours of dual with that same instructor in the back seat, just to feel comfortable landing the aircraft.

    The difference between the first .7 hours on the test flight and the last 5 hours was that how well I flew suddenly *mattered*. After 23 years not flying a tailwheel aircraft, I didn't feel any need to impress anyone on the test flight, and I clearly demonstrated that I hadn't forgotten how to fly. However, once I owned the aircraft and needed dual in it, there was pressure to perform. I started over thinking it and second guessing what I was doing. After 5 hours I was doing "ok", and flew it home. That's an impressive number of hours to just be "ok", when you consider that as a student pilot 38 years ago, I soled in a Supercub in just 7.5 hours.

    The nice part is that I haven't had a bad landing since, either solo or with people in the back. There's no self imposed pressure to impress an instructor and I just fly the plane. It took about 10 hours to get that confidence back on short, narrow strips, in cross winds etc, but I never forgot how to fly, I just worried that I had, and then flew like I had.

    If you start thinking you can't, then you won't.

    -----

    I see the suggestion to move to part 61 as a positive step. It gets you out from under the rigid curriculum of a part 141 program, and to be honest with 50 hours prior to solo, there's no time advantage in staying part 141 anyway.

    Part 61 will let an instructor focus on what you need to work on to get you comfortable in "knowing" you can successfully fly the plane - and have fun doing it. That said, you might want to switch instructors as you can take the instructor out of the 141 program, but you might not be able to take the 141 program out of the instructor.

    Some part 141 curriculums are also geared toward the end goal of flying larger aircraft. For example I did my instrument rating as a part 61 pilot in a part 141 program using the same curriculum. I noticed very quickly that the part 141 instructors had the students flying a Cessna 172 like it was a DC-9 in terms of *always* landing full flap, and always having a rigid procedure for when the flaps were deployed, etc. It was all designed to create a pilot who makes a very smooth and consistent approach under a standard set of conditions - rather than teaching that pilot how to adapt to different conditions.

    Just a suggestion, but you might really benefit from some stick and rudder flying in a Cub, Champ, Supercub, Citabria, etc. Forget about the flaps, etc, and just learn the basics of stick and rudder. Learn to fly with your head up and eyes outside, maintaining airspeed by looking outside at the nose and the horizon, rather than looking at the ASI, and learning how to see and *feel* what the airplane is telling you about airspeed. That feel, and those basic stick and rudder skills, once learned, will help you fly any aircraft better.

    It'll also be something new and different, and a chance for you to reset and restart without the pressure of feeling like you need to solo on the next flight.

    In other words be willing to change the recipe a bit. I'm always amazed at people who, metaphorically speaking, get upset that they keep ending up with chocolate cake, but keep using a chocolate cake recipe. What you are doing right now doesn't seem to be working, so look at it as an opportunity to innovate and look for a different approach to solving the problem.
     
    Rene. and Daniel Lobb like this.
  22. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2011
    Messages:
    4,182
    Location:
    Madison, OH
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    dtuuri
    Part 141 is to allow you to qualify in less time than Part 61, so that advantage has been lost for you. I think you should quit... for awhile. You've got yourself so wrapped up in meeting a schedule that you haven't been assimilating the instruction. A lot of good advice above this post, so ponder it during a hiatus. Let the dust settle out. Talk to some other pilots. Try to figure out the essence of the art. Find a comfortable vantage point near the touchdown zone at a busy little field and watch. Analyze. Imagine yourself at the controls. When you're ready, go for it again.
     
    Sinistar likes this.
  23. PPL747

    PPL747 Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2019
    Messages:
    43
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    747
    I believe with part 61 you can complete many of the requirements like dual night time, instrument time; dual cross country while you improve your landings at each flight and in the same time completing most requirements.
     
  24. Hzkr

    Hzkr Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2018
    Messages:
    14
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    mcinteer1
    Is your instructor interested in instructing? I see a lot of younger instructors who are airline bound that really don't like instructing. It's just time building to them. If your instructor isn't coming up with creative new ways to help you learn, maybe you would benefit from a change in the cockpit?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    smv likes this.
  25. Bacho

    Bacho Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2019
    Messages:
    197
    Location:
    Greenville, SC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Bacho
    I flew with 4 CFIs and one former CFI on the way to my PPL. 2 of them were super cool headed. If I made a mistake I got a lot of leeway on correcting it on my own before they ever had to step it or offer advise. After 30 hours I flew with the other guys, by comparison “we almost died” many times if it wasn't for the immediate action of the CFI. They were scared to death of anything outside of the routine maneuver.

    Anyways, I would try a new CFI and see if you can relax some.
     
  26. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform En-Route

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    Messages:
    3,547
    Location:
    KLAF
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    455 Bravo Uniform
    You got the advice already from the CFI. Go Part 61. You may find that a different instructor and “relaxed” program meshes with your learning style better.

    How often do you fly? If you have more than a few days between flights, that’s enough for a primary student to get rusty.

    That being said, a long break and a fresh start might be helpful to get you re-focused.
     
  27. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Messages:
    19,382
    Location:
    Catawba, NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    FlyingRon
    I was sitting in my living room today and one of the other residents has a student up in a CTLS. They hit the ground hard right in front of our windows (which is about 2/3 of the way down the runway in the direction they were headed). Fortunately, it doesn't take far to stop that plane so they weren't close to running off the end on "roll out." It was kind of impressive to watch as our view is of a part of the runway not normally the touchdown zone.
     
  28. rtk11

    rtk11 Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2015
    Messages:
    1,630
    Location:
    Southern California
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    rtk
    First, I'm jealous that you're living in what I assume is an airpark? That has to be all sorts of awesome.

    With regards to landing hard... I've seen a few doozies when I was training (by other students, though I'm sure I made a few of my own.) A 40-50 hour student at the time had just gotten signed-off to solo and took the plane around the pattern. On his first (and only) landing that day, he flared WAY too soon and too steeply in a Remos GX at about 10-15 feet off the ground. Sure enough, the plane hits the runway pretty hard and luckily on its mains. The CFI told the student to taxi back to the hangar so the plane could be checked out. All other flights with that plane on that day were cancelled.

    Point is... it happens to many people, and it's not natural to know instinctively when to flare. It's a learned trait and it requires view outside, and feel for when the plane is in ground effect. (Easier on my low wing.) Hopefully the OP will be able to take the input from everyone and spend a few more hours just practicing and "get the feel" for a stabilized approach and landing.
     
  29. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Messages:
    19,382
    Location:
    Catawba, NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    FlyingRon
    Yep, the avatar to the left is a drone shot of my house taken from just on the other side of the runway. We purchased our lot because the taxiway from the runway runs down one side of our lot. This allowed us to build the house right up on the runway while the hangar faces the taxiway. Much of our entertainment space (living room, music room, party deck) face the runway.
     
    rtk11 and SC777 like this.
  30. PeterNSteinmetz

    PeterNSteinmetz Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2015
    Messages:
    1,872
    Location:
    Tempe, AZ
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    PeterNSteinmetz
    Yes, I did exactly this when struggling to solo. Started doing other things with the instructor for a while under part 61.

    Two other items:

    Practicing precision landings, short and soft field, can sometimes help give the student a different perspective of the dynamics of landing and improve the normal landings.

    One thing that helped me later was to realize the basic idea is to fly down into ground effect at the proper speed and then fly it along, raising the nose as it slows and it will land.
     
  31. G-force

    G-force Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2016
    Messages:
    174
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    G-force
    I struggled with landing and didn't solo untill nearly 30 hours. In hindsight, my instructor was simply not a good teacher, he could not explain what I doing wrong, just that I was doing it wrong. Fly with other instructors untill you find one that works for you.
     
  32. Sinistar

    Sinistar En-Route

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2016
    Messages:
    3,129
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Brad
    Hopefully the OP comes back...lots of great advice.
     
  33. smv

    smv Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2019
    Messages:
    1,663
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    smv
    This. Drives. Me. Insane!!!

    I recently took on a new student who has been through a couple different instructors over the last 10 or so months and could not understand why they were not yet signed off for solo. While reviewing their logbook I noticed their initial instructor logged three landings on their FIRST flight, FIVE landings on their SECOND flight, and ELEVEN landings on their fourth flight!!!

    What the hell was this guy doing?
     
    denverpilot and dmspilot like this.
  34. dmspilot

    dmspilot En-Route

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2006
    Messages:
    4,143
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Display name:
    Unfortunately he's not alone and maybe not even that rare. I've seen others do this.
     
  35. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2013
    Messages:
    1,751
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Larry in TN
    There seems to be a lot of self-imposed pressure on CFIs to solo as quickly as possible.

    There does seem to be a plateau, for many students, that they can't get past without soloing. They need to get that behind them so that they believe they can do it. Still, I'd try to get as much in as possible before solo so that they were better prepared to be out there by themselves. I'd save the soft/short field, night flying, dual x/c, and some of the hood work for after solo. Everything else I did before.
     
  36. Salty

    Salty Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Messages:
    7,064
    Location:
    FL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Salty
    My first instructor took me out to do the fundamentals on the first flight. I could do climbing and descending turns with no issue. So for the next 10-15 flights we never left the pattern. No joke. Not even slow flight first. This was a guy in his 70s who ran a school for 50 years. I switched schools because I didn’t think I’d ever solo at the rate we were going. Solo’d after just a few lessons after switching.

    On the plus side, the guy taught me how to do crosswind landings and beat being aligned and on center line into me pretty well.
     
  37. Daniel Lobb

    Daniel Lobb Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    May 11, 2020
    Messages:
    4
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Daniel_L
    I have had the great benefit of flying with about ten different CFI's over the years. A few of them have been nothing short of brilliant teachers. The brilliant teachers helped me believe in myself. Without that self-confidence, it's really hard to learn technique - the self-doubt takes over.

    Not trying to knock your current CFI or the head instructor, though having you accumulate 50+ hours without soloing is a reflection on a teacher who has not met the goals of the student. If when you are with your CFI you don't find your confidence growing as a result of her/his instruction, nothing says you have to stick with that CFI. Find someone you have 1) good chemistry with and 2) who believes in you, and 3) when you are with that instructor, your confidence grows.
     
  38. Larry Vrooman

    Larry Vrooman Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2020
    Messages:
    158
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    N5168T
    Exactly. If the OP can just go fly, and only worry about a single landing per flight - after having the rest of the flight go fine, that'll be more productive than just grinding around the pattern from one bad landing to the next.

    Similarly, slow flight, stalls, and ground references maneuvers and even normal climbs and descents will also help the OP develop control and improved feel for the aircraft.

    ^^^^ This.

    There isn't as much instructional theory in the CFI prep as there probably should be, and no matter how much there was in the prep, you'll still always have pilots that no matter how good they may be as pilots just can't teach very effectively. In fact, I'll lean toward the more naturally a pilot picks up flying, the less able he or she is to teach it later. It's not a universal truth but on average pilots who never struggled learning something are less well prepared to understand and relate concepts to students who do struggle. Teaching isn't just knowing and understanding a subject, it also requires the ability to impart that knowledge to someone else, who may have a totally different learning style, and /or have distinctly different natural abilities and challenges than the instructor.

    Some instructors just teach by rote, teaching students to follow procedures and checklists, rather than actually teaching them the finer points and broader knowledge and understanding that add up to learning to fly and learning to make good decisions in the cockpit.

    -----

    In terms of landings, a useful drill is to have the student just fly down the runway at a normal approach speed, about 1 ft off the runway. It helps the student get a better idea of the sight picture at the proper height and helps them learn to hold the aircraft there. It can also help them learn to stay focused on the end of the runway to gauge decent rate and attitude while using peripheral vision to judge height. Once they have that, landing is just a matter of pulling the power back and holding the airplane 6-12 inches off the runway until it stalls.

    Accordingly, the next step in the process is flying the approach with no flaps and then using the resulting much longer float with or without partial power to allow the pilot the time and energy state to adjust the aircraft height and get stable in the float before the aircraft runs out of airspeed. Doing every landing full flap with a student limits the time they have to properly round put and flare, and limits the learning time available on every landing.
     
    Daniel Lobb likes this.
  39. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2009
    Messages:
    54,021
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    DenverPilot
    ^^^ THIS ^^^

    And did the instructor even teach you how to fix each of those things individually, concentrating on only one before adding them together.

    You probably know this but it needs to be said.

    Telling someone “don’t stress out” doesn’t work. It’s a terrible instructional technique.

    The instructor needs to show you the exact steps to do constant airspeed climbs, descents, level flight, and in turns, with different aircraft configurations AWAY from the pattern, until you master them.

    THEN tie those all together into the thing we call “a pattern”. Stringing skills together you already know.

    After that stuff is nailed, it’s all about the last few feet to the landing. Which is a new skill set that still builds on slow flight skills and adds directional control of ground track over the runway with rudder and aileron while flying just a few feet off the ground.

    From there, even the slightest power reduction will result in the nose dropping that needs to be counteracted with a pull and a sink rate that’ll make the mains contact the runway.

    Any change in desired aircraft location, speed, descent rate, etc... all continuously corrected for as soon as they’re seen.

    Any wildly out of normal changes? Go around.

    See how this all is supposed to build from one skill to another?

    Thinking of each step as rote behaviors will lead you to frustration. As Bob said, there’s procedure from the book, and there’s technique. Procedure says “65 knots on final”. That’s something you have to do. Technique is how you get the airplane to 65 knots.

    No reason to give up on yourself if you haven’t been shown how to do each step and practiced each until they’re automatic.

    Change your list a bit. Just for fun. This may not match your aircraft but instead of how you wrote it, I would write it this way...

    Transition from level flight to a constant airspeed descent with ten degrees of flap at X knots.

    When you’re 45 degrees from your point is intended landing, turn 90 degrees while maintaining that constant airspeed descent in the turn.

    Looking mostly outside judge your altitude with a quick confirmation on the altimeter. Apply power or reduce as needed and transition to a constant airspeed descent with 20 degrees of flap. Hold X knots.

    Transition to a turning constant speed descent to line up with the extended runway centerline.

    Once rolled out of the turn, judge altitude again and apply power or reduce as needed to now maintain a constant airspeed descent with full landing flaps.

    Etc.

    But inside EACH of those steps are specifics that become automatic that are taught elsewhere and reinforced in the pattern.

    Like when you turn you’ll lose some of your vertical component of lift. You’ll need to accept a higher descent rate to maintain the same airspeed during the turn. You’ll also have to stop the nose from falling with a little back pressure and any over or under banking tendencies with aileron and remain coordinated with the rudder at all times.

    Those details should be nearly automatic by the time the instructor says “constant airspeed descending left turn with 10 degrees of flap at 65 knots”.

    Make sense?

    If you can’t fly with an instructor who can do this, AND be encouraging about building each skill up to string them together, it’s a much bigger challenge than truly necessary.

    I’ve met pilots who muddled through instructors who just kept throwing them in the deep end of the pool by beating pattern work to death early, with no plan on how to teach it, and they all eventually found an instructor who understood it, and things became MUCH happier in just a few flights.

    Flying each skill gives little rewards along the way to celebrate and can make flying much more fun for the student. Making it difficult without building skills to lean on, and saying “don’t stress out” isn’t teaching. Or making the student feel comfortable enough to experiment with the things they know how to do, to develop their own technique that gives the desired aircraft control result.

    Remember you are working toward being Pilot In Command. When the instructor eventually climbs out, you’re it. So focus hard on aircraft control of exactly where you want it to be, configurations you want it in, and airspeed right on for whatever maneuver you’re doing.

    All the way to touchdown and through the roll out. Keep flying the airplane, PIC.

    You did good asking for help. Also ask your CFI to help with specific actions to take.


    Talk yourself through pattens at home in a chair. Envision each flight skill and transitions between each. Next time in the airplane, no surprises.

    Hope that helps. We aren’t there in person to see your level of anxiety, but focus on good airmanship and mastery of each little piece of the pattern... things will get easier quickly with the right plan!
     
    Larry Vrooman and smv like this.
  40. Larry Vrooman

    Larry Vrooman Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2020
    Messages:
    158
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    N5168T
    Denver pilot is spot on. In my first job in the field of psychology I was responsible for writing, implementing and assessing both behavior programs and skill training programs in a state hospital for individuals with intellectual disabilities. What he's described above is "chaining" where someone learns and masters the first skill in a chain, then learns the next, and the next, adding the new skills onto the chain until the whole evolution has been learned.

    Assuming the individual has adequate hand eye coordination you can teach almost anyone to fly, if you find the right teaching modality.