Tips, how to make smooth landings

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by motoadve, Jul 4, 2021.

  1. motoadve

    motoadve Pre-takeoff checklist

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  2. 3393RP

    3393RP En-Route

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    Sometimes I find the solution is to let someone else land the plane.

    :confused:

    :D
     
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  3. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    Sometimes my secret is to have no one available as a witness.

    Have a passenger along, firmly plant it.

    Empty right and rear seats and an untowered field? Butter and barely any chirp.
     
  4. Tools

    Tools Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Wha? Soft squishy Air Force landings are lost on me....
     
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  5. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Don’t land.
     
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  6. Rebel

    Rebel Filing Flight Plan

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    Smooth is not the most important thing about landing. Nail these first: On centerline, fuselage lined up with the centerline, little or no lateral drift. By the time you get these nailed, a smooth landing will seem easy.
     
  7. pfarber

    pfarber Pre-Flight

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    Look farther down the runway. Like at the other ends numbers far away. Its easier to judge your descent rate and height the farther away from the AC you look.

    At least 2/3rds of the runway away.... anything else is not giving you enough of a clue to know where you are.
     
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  8. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Final Approach

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    And apparently so is the #3 wire according to my USN TPS students..... :D
     
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  9. brcase

    brcase Pattern Altitude

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    The thing I didn’t hear him directly say is that he is doing very slow approaches, well on the back side of the drag curve, to give him a steep, low energy approach, so he can stop in a minimum distance. This low energy approach is why he needs to add power.

    For more normal approaches it is safer to add a few extra knots to the approach speed aim a bit short of your touch down point and use the bit extra speed to touch down smoothly. If you are NOT floating just a bit you are either not carrying enough power or speed.

    I do like his technique of flying down the runway at a foot or two learning how to fly in ground effect without ballooning. A lot of pilots are not very good at this.

    Brian
    CFIIG/ASEL
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2021
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  10. Marshall Alexander

    Marshall Alexander Pre-takeoff checklist

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    [QUOTE="brcase, post: 3109225, member: 4780"

    I do like his technique of flying down the runway at a foot or two learning how to fly in ground effect without ballooning. A lot of pilots are not very good at this.

    Brian
    CFIIG/ASEL[/QUOTE]


    My student just told me this morning that flying the low approach down the runway helped her a lot....... She soloed this morning after about 8 PERFECT landings.
     
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  11. Doug Reid

    Doug Reid Line Up and Wait

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    The same way you get to Carnegie Hall.......practice man...practice.:)
     
  12. Ed Haywood

    Ed Haywood Line Up and Wait

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    Land on grass. SMOOOOV.
     
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  13. Deelee

    Deelee Cleared for Takeoff

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    So, what were the tips for how to make smooth landings?
     
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  14. Maxnr

    Maxnr Pre-takeoff checklist

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    So right! The Olde Ones have been saying that since the invention of the airplane. My aunt was giving me driving instruction and she told me to fix my eyeballs way down the road. and let periphial vision do its work.
     
  15. Ed Haywood

    Ed Haywood Line Up and Wait

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    Q: Are your landings rough?
    A: Yes.
    Q: Well don't do that!
     
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  16. SloRoam

    SloRoam Pre-Flight

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    I struggled a bunch at first, but then had a great instructor that helped me do a few things that changed everything for me.

    Bottom line: landing doesn’t expose people to enough time in the critical “landing moment” to learn, so you safely find ways to prolong the “landing moment.”

    Hoping this helps other students.

    I’m ignoring the standard stuff here, because I assume everybody knows that.

    That means use your common sense to ensure safety - instructor, safe distances, area etc….

    * exercise 1: measure your “eye” height when sitting in the plane - get out, get a stepstool, replicate that height, look down the a center stripe of a taxiway, and move yourself and/or step up and down until you can “see” minute changes in height. (Most non pilots don’t have experience judging height changes, and get little practice during landing. (Bonus points if you have a floor jack and can get your kids to lift and lower you, and you guess how “high” you are. )
    * habit: every time you line up on centerline to take off, take stock of the way the runway looks: that’s your “zero height” point. Every pattern run, stop before takeoff, note this sight picture.
    * exercise 2: fly a stable approach, then just before touchdown add enough power to hold approach airspeed (or a safe airspeed to replicate touchdown attitude and handling), and fly the length of the runway aligned and on centerline - and each time try to hold the mains 1” above the ground or just kissing the runway for the whole length of the usable runway. “Go around” at a safe distance from the end and do it again and again, but try to fly the safe runway length. Having a gopro in the tail tie-down gives great feedback. Goal here is to barely roll the mains (or a main) on the ground, with no weight ( no tire deformation, no movement in the mains, which is why you mounted the gopro). They key here is to look into the distance, noting subtle changes in height, and giving you many seconds to learn what sight picture correlates with touchdown, and how the controls feel at that point.
    * exercise 3: when you’re good at the “mains-touch” along the entire runway, add left-right alternating mains touches (keeping them very gentle). -089iu
    * exercise 4: start like 2, but when you’ve got both mains kissing, every so slowly take out the power, trying to keep the same pressure on the mains the whole time.
    * exercise 5: come in stable, but 5 kts fast, attempt to keep the wheels “kissing” the ground for as long as possible.
     
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  17. Ghery

    Ghery Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That's what my shirt from there says. "Practice, practice, practice."
     
  18. Marshall Alexander

    Marshall Alexander Pre-takeoff checklist

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    My student, Kathryn, was having the most trouble in the flare. She'd tend to jerk the stick back as soon as she got close to the runway, and she'd be a little fast. Well, that'd cause her to balloon. We talked about that and I likened it to driving on the ice. Most Okies, well, maybe some of us, know how to drive on ice. I told her she has to feel for the runway, working the stick, like tapping the brakes and not sliding the tires on the ice. Every landing she did after that was a greaser.
     
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  19. Domenick

    Domenick Line Up and Wait

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    Believe it or not, one thing that helped my landings was cleaning the yoke shaft. Someone, at sometime, had used WD-40 to try and slick it up. This gunked up the bushing, causing the shaft to stick. A few rounds with a pile of rages and spray brake cleaner solved the problem. Now, I wipe it down with a clean dry rag before most flights.
     
  20. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    Don't bounce, don't crash.
    TaDa! Fixed another one.
     
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  21. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    A great landing starts with a great approach. Arrive at the flare:
    • On speed
    • On the centerline
    • At the right height over the runway. I don’t know an official number, but my impression is about 5-10’?
    Now flare. Shift your gaze down the runway. Here it becomes an art. Keep the nose up without ballooning. Let the airplane settle down. Time the touchdown to happen just before you run out of energy to fly. Practice this 5000 times and you’ll begin to get good at it.
     
  22. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Touchdown! Greaser!

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    This comes up every few months.

    I still hold that shifting one’s gaze to the far end of the runway in the flare is a bad idea. It may work for some if their peripheral vision is properly tuned, but looking at a point thousands of feet ahead of the plane makes it very hard to accurately estimate height. Plus in many planes the view down the runway will be blocked by the panel in a “full stall” landing. I’ll simply re-post FAA and Kershner for now…

    FAA:

    [​IMG]

    Kershner:

    [​IMG]
    And, a possibly relevant study:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2021
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  23. Southpaw

    Southpaw Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Out here in wide open ,very low traffic area of Montana I pick a country road to practice low 2 or 3' passed at 70 mph indicated with 10 to 20 degree flaps . Lots of roads with no power lines to contend with . (C172) Yes, some times I get a light touch down. Like the non rutted dirt roads for that .
     
  24. dmspilot

    dmspilot En-Route

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    Height is only one of the things you need to estimate during the flare. Meanwhile it is very hard to accurately estimate descent rate, flare timing, and runway alignment by looking closer or out the side. The best technique is to shift to the far end as the flare is started, then sweep the eyes up and down the runway as many times as necessary.

    Besides, it is a misconception in aviation that the flare is what is stopping most students from soloing in a timely manner. It isn't. Frequently, delays are caused by deficiencies in all aspects of aircraft control.
     
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  25. Rokke214

    Rokke214 Pre-Flight

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    I personally find this one of the most effective techniques for teaching students how to flare properly. It works especially well on a really long, really wide runway. It’s like taking your kids to a large empty parking lot when you are teaching them how to drive. Of course, it’s important to explain what we’re doing is a training event. And we aren’t practicing landing. We’re learning to get comfortable flying a foot or two above the runway. I’ve done that once or twice with students who absolutely couldn’t put an airplane safely on the ground, and it’s like flipping a magic switch.

    Not to bag on my fellow Cirrus drivers, but hanging out on their website reveals a general lack of understanding about how to land an airplane. Not just a Cirrus. Any airplane. A common theme is to over emphasize the importance of “not being fast”. In fact, many preach what they say is the importance of being as slow on final as you can be for your landing weight. Before I bailed out of the website, there was a long thread about this marvelous new landing technique some genius in Australia or somewhere was marketing. Crazy thing was, it was essentially the simple mechanics of flaring an airplane over the runway until it decides to quit flying. But it was like they’d never heard of such a thing. Meanwhile, the traffic pattern mishap rate of Cirrus aircraft is atrocious. Primarily because they tend to give themselves no margin for error in the final turn. Of course, a recent exception is the guy who t-boned the metroliner while doing 170kias on the base turn, but that’s a different story. I’ve got to say that the broader perspective I find on this website with regard to flying little airplanes is refreshing.
     
  26. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    Use proper airspeeds and make a lot of timely decisions so your corrections are small.
     
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  27. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That may work. It works in my Sky Arrow which is blessed with great visibility over the nose in my typical “full stall” landings.

    When troubleshooting student landings, I often had to zero in on why it seemed like they had trouble determining height above the runway during the flare. One landing they’d touch down fast and flat, like the runway caught them by surprise. Very next landing they’d end up climbing 5’ or 10’ in the air and I’d have to initiate a go around to avoid damage to the plane.

    I’d try to glance at them during the process, and it wasn’t unusual to see them craning their necks to try to see over the nose as it came up. Problem is, in a Cessna a person of average stature may have their view down the runway completely blocked by the panel in a full flap, full stall landing. As such the were literally blind in the final phases of the landing, hanging on and hoping for the best. The solution was to have them shift their view off to the side, so they could actually see the runway during the complete landing. One technique was to hold up a sectional in front of them, forcing them to look to the side.

    Its not just Cessna’s. Here is a screen shot from a GoPro video from the passenger seat of a Cirrus Ianding. How’s the view of the far end of the runway here?

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2021
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  28. Rokke214

    Rokke214 Pre-Flight

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    That’s not my view when I land my Cirrus. This isn’t my video but it accurately represents what I see during a landing.


    Or here’s a still from a video shot from just slightly below and slightly aft of this lady’s eye level. In other words, she’s seeing a little more of the runway than the camera when she touches down.
    upload_2021-7-7_7-19-51.jpeg

    If my student couldn’t see the runway when he was landing my Cirrus I’d get him a booster seat.
     
  29. David Megginson

    David Megginson Pattern Altitude

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    During my primary training 19 years ago I was having a lot of trouble with crosswind landings, so the school's chief instructor took me out to a 10,000 ft runway and had me fly the whole length just above touchdown speed, with flaps down, a couple of feet above the ground, using a side slip to correct for the wind and keep the nose pointed straight down the centreline. It helped enough to let me pass my PPL flight test, but crosswind landings didn't really click for me until a couple of months later, when I finally learned to use the rudder as the "keep the nose pointing down the runway" control, and the ailerons as the "move the plane side-to-side" control.
     
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  30. David Megginson

    David Megginson Pattern Altitude

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    For a plane with a steep-enough descent path (like my PA-28), that approach works for short/obstructed field approaches as well. In the flare and touchdown, a couple of extra knots in your pocket will raise the nose as effectively as a small application of power.
     
  31. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Pattern Altitude

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    I like coming in and slowing way down on short final and getting behind the power curve and use tiny adjustments in power to sit it down real nice- they are shorter ground rolls than gliding in under no power but too fast… speeds wud vary plane to plane…

    I’m not suggesting dragging it in for a mile final, I’m saying do it once “over the fence” close…
     
  32. AlphaMike

    AlphaMike Pre-takeoff checklist

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    In the first video. Nice landing but runway 3 at put in bay is right traffic only. Well I guess he is flying a Cirrus so there’s that.
     
  33. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    This. I had that problem as a student. So one day I cleaned the yoke shaft and suddenly I was not making jerky movements during flight maneuvers or landings.

    When I was instructing I cleaned the yoke shaft on the planes I was using. Amazing difference, and the sharper students noticed the difference.
     
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  34. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That’s fine. But…

    1) The airspeed tape looks like she’s really close to VSo, which is great. But if even a few more degrees of pitch were available, the panel would start to block her view. In my experience, this is why a lot of pilots tend to land just a tad (or a bunch) fast.

    2) That said, I still hold that geometry and human vision being what they are, it’s far easier to judge height above the ground by using B rather than A as a focal point.

    [​IMG]

    No harm in using both, but if and when A is blocked or no longer useful, transitioning exclusively to B in the final phase should be natural.
     
  35. David Megginson

    David Megginson Pattern Altitude

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    I do that too, sometimes, but you can accomplish the same thing by trading airspeed for power once you're over the threshold — both result in very short landing rolls. Note that I'm not suggesting a faster approach speed; just keeping a couple of extra knots above the stall when you come out of the roundout into the flare (you can trade off that speed to get the nosewheel up as the mains touch, and unlike using the throttle to raise the nose, you haven't added any extra energy).
     
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  36. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Pattern Altitude

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    absolutely!

    I think you way is probably a bit more “refined”/“fine tuned” way to pull it off… I think I may play with that!

    my old bird lacks a detailed POH, so it’s a bit of trial/error and group knowledge… I believe it says approach at 60-70, and man once I started to bring it down to 60 did that help. But as I cross threshold and let it decay under 60 I do need a bit of power to not make it a very solid landing. I think I’ll try coming up to 63/65 and see if that provides me w that bit of energy you are discussing…
     
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  37. dmspilot

    dmspilot En-Route

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    The seat height is too low. Landing with that sight picture will lead to poor directional control in gusty crosswinds.
     
  38. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Many situations and aircraft configurations lead to zero view down the runway at touchdown.

    I’ve got lots of hours teaching from the rear seat in a Citabria, though one could substitute any tandem taildragger. One learns to use the runway edge to maintain directional control in spite of only being able to see the student’s back straight ahead.
     
  39. Rokke214

    Rokke214 Pre-Flight

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    According to a video I watched somewhere on this website, the standard Cirrus landing includes a 16 mile straight in final. It’s nice that some fields want to dictate pattern traffic, but you’re right...us Cirrus drivers get to call the shots and everyone else should just stay out of the way. Remember, if we have to hit you to make the point, we can always pull the chute.
     
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  40. dmspilot

    dmspilot En-Route

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    An instructor has more experience and can more easily compensate for a decreased perceptual field. I don't know why a person would want to handicap a student by forcing their perceptual field to be smaller than necessary. Holding charts in front of their faces so they can't see is a bizarre technique to teach landings and I doubt you will see anyone else doing that.