Training for more back pressure during flare

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by DaveInPA, Sep 21, 2019.

  1. DaveInPA

    DaveInPA Filing Flight Plan

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    I have been working on my landings after a recent prop strike incident with a CFI. For whatever reason I am instinctively hesitating to hold enough elevator in certain situations. For instance after a light bounce or a float more elevator should soften my next touch but I don’t pull back and end up hitting hard and flat. I also tend to not “flare enough” in most normal landings.

    Wondering if anyone had any clever ideas for how to break this bad habit?
     
  2. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    Flare more.
     
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  3. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    Honestly, not being a wise guy, but...
    That’s like asking how to pour water into a glass without missing the glass. Put the pitcher over the glass.
     
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  4. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    Yup. Get checked out in the rear seat of a tandem taildragger. Nothing less will break your bad habits.

    PS: I don't mean do wheel landings either.
     
  5. Brad Z

    Brad Z En-Route

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    Two things:

    1) go out and practice stalls and slow flight. A landing is slow flight at 6" AGL. The flare is just the final transition into slow flight.

    2) Part of the issue is where your eye are. The focus needs to be far down the runway, not just outside the cockpit. Peripheral clues will tell you how far above touch down you are.
     
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  6. jspilot

    jspilot Cleared for Takeoff

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    Here’s the thing, once you are rounded out and “level” with the runway, once the plane has reached a slow enough speed it will start to settle towards the runway. When you start to feel that settle, pull back just enough to make sure the main wheels will hit first. If the plane starts to balloon, just relax the back pressure ever so slightly and you’ll start to feel the settle again. The nose up attitude at this point should be barely any different than it was when you rounded out but you are just thinking about getting those main wheels to touch first. One key point here is once you flare, NEVER push the yoke forward again! If you baloon just relax the pressure and repeat the steps above but don’t ever push forward. That will lead to nose wheel hitting first and possibly another prop strike.

    For me, landing was always a feel thing. The sight picture thing never really clicked for me but what I just described above has usually allowed me to make smooth landings in normal and even gusty conditions. Show some patience and allow the plane to do what it’s deaigned to do and your landings will get a lot safer.
     
  7. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

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    Speed management.
     
  8. Aviator305

    Aviator305 Pre-Flight

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    Chair fly the scenario. Envision yourself flying down to final, flaring, and then then applying more back pressure. Pretend with your hands that the yoke is in front of you as you imagine this, and go through the motions. Don’t forget to imagine that increased pressure you feel after the initial flare as you try to hold the nose up. Repeat over and over again, say 20 times, every day until your next flight. Then, if you have a simulator like X-plane, just save a scenario where you’re 200 ft AGL on short final, and practice over and over again with emphasis on that key part you’re complaining about. Repeat repeat repeat.
     
  9. DaveInPA

    DaveInPA Filing Flight Plan

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    Immensely helpful...thanks
     
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  10. Somedudeintn

    Somedudeintn Cleared for Takeoff

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    Try not to land. Seriously. See how long you can keep the plane off the runway.

    You can also try to think of the yoke as a ratchet that only goes one way. You can ease it back, but don’t push forward. This works for most cases and the mental image may help you
     
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  11. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    But that advice wasn't "clever". You asked for "clever".
     
  12. AKBill

    AKBill Pattern Altitude

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    Trim for 8 KTS above stall, after the flair eyes at the end of the rwy. Let speed bleed off and try not to land, holding plane off the ground with stall warning singing.
     
  13. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 Cleared for Takeoff

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    A little trim can go a long ways here. If it is requiring a lot of force to raise the nose in the flare, you do not have the fine control you need for precision. A little nose up trim on final can relieve some of that extra force and allow smoother landings.
     
  14. Kenny Phillips

    Kenny Phillips Pattern Altitude

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    Or a lot of trim. I had this same issue, and ended up with so much trim I was holding slight forward pressure to get down to the runway, and relaxing it to flare. A few landings and I was more or less cured.
     
  15. Heftiger

    Heftiger Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Don’t try and flare. Try and “hold it off”. Level over the runway. Look down the runway. And just keep it there. As the plane slows it’ll take more and more back pressure to hold it off. Eventually you’ll land, nose up!
     
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  16. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    What is your CFI telling you?
     
  17. sarangan

    sarangan Line Up and Wait

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    You need to look down the runway for proper alignment and slightly sideways for determining height above runway. Don't pull back just because you are supposed to. Increasing pitch attitude during flare should be done in response to what you see.
     
  18. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    As others have said... don’t “flare”. Put the plane a foot or so off the runway, throttle at idle, and just try not to land. Ideally you’ll fail gracefully. The “flare” isn’t something you should do. It’s something the airplane will do as you slow down and try to hold off.
     
  19. Sinistar

    Sinistar Pattern Altitude

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    Curious what type of plane and do you own it or rent? How many degrees of flaps are you using. What is your airspeed just as you rotate?

    I had the mindset of protect the front tire really drilled in. Not just for taxi or soft field landings but even during touchdown try to keep the nose wheel off just that bit longer and set it down. That seems to keep the entire landing with a nose high vs level landing.
     
  20. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Act like a butterfly with sore feet.
     
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  21. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Line Up and Wait

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    I was going to post that tip, but was concerned about getting eaten alive in here. When I was having similar trouble getting the right attitude on very short final and flare, my CFI had me put in a TON of nose-up trim, so much so that I had to actively push forward significantly on the yoke to keep the airplane pointed down towards the runway (w/ full flaps) and the airspeed up. Landing became a non-event.. as we entered the flare and touchdown, it was more a matter of releasing forward pressure gradually rather than having to continuously apply a ton of back pressure. I didn't like it at first because trimmed like that it feels like your trimmed in such a way that if you're not actively fighting the controls you'll stall. It really helped me a lot, though. I use more nose up trim than I used to now, but not as much as he required during that training exercise.

    The other thing that helps you get a feel for just how much of ANY control input you need coming down, whether it be rudder or elevator, is to keep them moving slightly.. feel how much authority you have as the plane gets closer to the runway and slows down.... little, almost constant pulses of input. Eventually, you won't need to do that and you'll get a better feel for it, but it does help.
     
  22. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Where are you looking as your round out into the flare?
     
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  23. sarangan

    sarangan Line Up and Wait

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    I am not going to eat you alive here because I have never tried that technique, but my concern would be the forward pressure needed during a go-around.
     
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  24. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    No need to ask, he's looking over the nose. That's why he doesn't want to raise the nose — it blocks his view.
     
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  25. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Line Up and Wait

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    Exactly... and it is considerable... but manageable in the Cherokee, although I'm cranking the trim handle as soon as practical while staying in control.
     
  26. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 Cleared for Takeoff

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    This is what I show students. Trimming for a slight forward pressure on the yoke during final makes the landing flare much easier to finesse. You do have to be aware of the trim in the event of a go-around, but it is easily manageable.
     
  27. Sundancer

    Sundancer En-Route

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    This! What he said! Really, - I've seen it a bunch, including in myself, back in the day! Truly, like driving a car - look WAY down the runway; the cowling in your foreground will "move" in such a way, relative to the distant view, such that you'll detect the "non-flare".

    I know, I didn't write it all that clearly, but you get the idea - look way down there!
     
  28. Somedudeintn

    Somedudeintn Cleared for Takeoff

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    I wouldn’t be too concerned in a 172, but I wouldn’t try that in a 182!
     
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  29. Salty

    Salty En-Route PoA Supporter

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    I think this deserves a call out. It’s so true for many people in many planes that the final flare you can’t see directly in front of you. If you’re trying to continue to be able to see directly in front of you then you are going to have the issues described in the OP. I have to look to the side of the nose just before touch down in just about every plane I fly. Guess what, I’m short.

    It may seem counter intuitive, but being able to see straight ahead in that few seconds is not important.
     
  30. FlySince9

    FlySince9 En-Route

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  31. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The sight picture and where you’re looking is VERY important.

    I’m thinking dtuuri was a joke
     
  32. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    Not a joke. Looking over the nose come hell or high water is a big problem where pilots learn to fly on big airports with lots of concrete.
     
  33. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Sooo you’re saying looking waaay down the runway isn’t important?

    focusing upclose is fine?


    I thought you were a CFI?
     
  34. jnbcfi

    jnbcfi Pre-Flight

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    A little financial incentive.... If, after you touch down, your instructor can fly off the ground without adding power, you buy the wings and beer. After you have fed and otherwise indulged your cfi a few times, you will start bleeding off all excess airspeed, and the nose will be up. Works like a charm.
     
  35. Salty

    Salty En-Route PoA Supporter

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    You don’t seem to be reading closely enough to get the point. Why the need to insult people?
     
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  36. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    If he can SEE way down the runway, he's looking over the nose and in the wrong place, as evident by the prop strike problem. If he looks to the side of the nose he won't be able to SEE way down the runway, but will have the prop well clear of a strike and be set up for a minimum speed landing. This is really hard to correct late in the game. That's why I said earlier to get in the back seat of a taildragger. Kind of a cold turkey wake up call, but I'm sure it'll work.
     
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  37. DaveInPA

    DaveInPA Filing Flight Plan

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    So I went out today in a 172 and made sure I was looking down the runway and also making sure I held the back pressure and never pushed forward for any reason. Having those 2 things in my head really helped. Plus the keep it off the runway as long as possible thinking.

    Most of my landings were spot on - no wind at all today and I’ve been flying a lot lately. However a few of them I landed hard even though I had plenty of back pressure. I had an experienced pilot friend in the right seat and he didn’t think it was too hard. He though even though i was pulling back the plane was too slow at that point and didn’t have enough energy to slow the decent. It’s in this scenario where I want to protect the nose but it feels like the more i pull back the faster the drop is going to be. This happened when I flared too early and one where maybe I was just too slow?

    Hard to explain but this exactly what happened in my Seneca although that was a hard landing for sure. In that case I didn’t pull back, hit hard, bounced and hit one of the props. So I’m trying to get into the instinctive habit of always keeping that back pressure to make sure I never come in nose first again.

    Appreciate the feedback and comments....I’m getting back into flying since getting my private 15 years ago so I’m still relative low hours...
     
  38. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    Not trying to be mean, but I hope for your sake you park that Seneca until you master this. Those trunions aren't exactly made of cast iron. Do you have access to a tailwheel checkout?
     
  39. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I think we are kinda saying the same thing here.
     
  40. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    Maybe it’s akin to North Up vs Track Up, in that people are just wired in different ways. Enough people espouse looking at the far end of the runway that it must work for some, so more power to them.

    But it will simply not work in a pretty broad class of planes where you just cannot see over the nose in the proper landing attitude, so it’s probably best to not have that as an exclusive technique.

    Also, I can’t offhand think of a single training text that recommends that, though there certainly may be. I looked up to Bill Kershner*, and here is his advice:

    [​IMG]

    The FAA’s Airplane Flying Handbook echoes similar advice, and that’s where I look and where I taught my students to look, with overall good results.

    *As an aside, I saw Bill Kershner’s C152 Aerobat at the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy museum near Dulles yesterday. For some reason I felt more of a connection to that little plane than any other in the entire collection. Wish I had taken a photo.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2019
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