Help a 300 hr. Cessna pilot land a piper


Well-Known Member
I did my first solo in a cessna, took all three checkrides in cessnas, flown nothing but cessnas for 300 hours, and now it's time to learn to fly a multi-engine airplane. It's turning out to be a little bit more tricky than I thought it would.

I think most of my difficulties arise in the transition from a cessna to a piper (high wing to low wing) rather than the transition from single to multi. The piper invovled here is a seneca and I cannot seem to land the thing. I've logged 6.4 hours and 10 landings in it and still can't seem to make a landing without my CFI offering some extra control input on the yoke. I get too slow once I cross the threshold and one wing starts dropping; when I try correct with the ailerons, the other wing just drops instead. Then it goes back and forth like a see-saw for a few seconds till the mains finally plop onto the pavement.

My instructor is telling me that I need to stop trying to "round out" like I'm used to doing in cessnas...."you have to fly this airplane right to the runway" he says. "Maintain 95 knots and 13 inches till the mains touch the ground, then pull back the power". I cannot help but feel like I'm about to plow the nose gear into the ground if I maintain 95 knots and 13" of mp. For that matter, I can't even see the nose of the airplane in the seneca, which takes some getting used to. I've tried to make a conscious effort to keep my speed up and eliminate the "wing dropping" but I can't overcome the urge to pull back on the yoke.

Anyone have advice they can offer to make this transition easier? I cannot really start doing engine out work if I'm unable to land the airplane with everything operating normally. I'm even considering renting a cherokee to get a better feel for piper landings without breaking the bank.

HA! You just described my first landings in a multi-engine!!

My instructor said - do NOT try and flare this thing like you would the Warrior or 172!!

The first time I landed the multi-engine, the mains were on the ground before I knew it as the added height was a bit to get used to.

You'll get used to it very soon. Don't sweat it.... just listen to your instructor.
I would ask for a ride along with some of his other students. I went from Cessna's into an Aztec (just fun joy rides with a mate) and after I realised that pulling out power on final decreased lift and drops you on the runway I managed to get a few nice landings out of it. I think the key really lies when you start flying that aircraft rather then trying to fly it like a Cessna - but that will just come with practice.
You're in a heavier aircraft now ... you gotta keep the power on all the way down.

In the Apache I keep 15" on till I start nearing the threshold, once I cross the threshold I start to slowly bring the power back until just as my flair is finishing up and the main (we always have a crosswind
) touches I'm power off. On a good day I might even get a little buffet in the flair.


Gotta keep the power on.

An easy way to do it is fly the VASI! Get your Red over White and then do what ever it takes (usually adding or keeping power) to keep that all the way to the TD markings.

You'll get used to it.
your instructor pretty much told you the secret...just fly it to the runway. i had the opposite experience since i went from pipers to flying a cessna 172RG for my CFI training. my first cessna landing was pretty laughable...i just flew it down to the runway and learned that flaring like an archer makes for a hard landing in a 172.

it'll take some getting used to, it really does feel like you're "nosing" in the low wing compared to the high wing cessna. the whole difference in ground effect between the two configurations becomes very noticable and knowing the dynamics of it might help you understand why you round out differently for each. just stick with it, and good luck!
Hopping in a Cherokee will not help your cause! I flew a Cherokee and a Warrior for my private, then all Cessna through instrument and commercial. Commercial multi I did in a Seminole and I felt like I was going to nose into the ground. You WILL get used to it. Listen to your instructor and him demo a landing or two before you try to feel it out on your own. Watch the sight picture as he/she lands the plane and then try to duplicate that. The reason I say hopping into a Cherokee won't help is because the low wing part is about the only similarity. The flight characteristics are significantly different and landing is case in point.

Good luck! Time and practice (although very expensive) will lead you out of your slump.
I appreciate all the replies so far. I'm trying to fly every other day in order to get this rating knocked out in with the minimum amount of money and time possible, so hopefully I can get these landings down soon. 2 of those 10 landings I logged were CFI demos with my hands off the controls; last one we did today was a demo. Next time I think I'll ask him to do the first one, then try and immitate him a few times.

One other annoyance about this plane is that the electric trim is inop and it's fairly heavy on the controls. In the 182 I used for the CPL ASEL, I was in the habit of keeping my thumb on the electric trim for miniature last second airspeed/pitch corrections in the flare. It seems like I almost need both hands on the yoke to rotate or land in the senenca, especially when controlling pitch at slower airspeeds. I think it's because the seneca uses a stabilator (the entire horizontal stabilizer surface moves instead of just the trailing edge) instead of regular elevators. I just got my own copy of the POH today and I even found that piper reccomends you use some elevator trim to help pitch up during rotation. Sheesh, maybe it's just time to hit the gym haha.
The Seneca is a very nose heavy aircraft. I did all my multi training in a Seminole which is much easier to land. I did my MEI training in a Seneca. What a difference! The secret to good landings in the Seneca is power. Cross the fence at 100 knots and slow from there. Keep the power at 14 or 15" all the way to the runway. The extra power keeps the prop wash over the elevator which allows for a better and easier flare.

If you still have a problem...On short final roll about 2-3 turns of aft trim to help with the flare. The key is to get into ground effect, float, let the aircraft slow down and as the sink rate increase get the nose up even if it is only a few inches. The sight picture is mush flatter than that of a Cessna. Good Luck! Hope this helps.
Are you concentrating on the ENTIRE sight picture (not just the picture directly in front and below the aircraft)? Obviously you can't see the ground below the aircraft like you can in the Cessnas... maybe looking further down the runway and concentrating on perphrieal (sp) vision will help.
There's nothing wrong with pulling power out on final in a twin. I fly King Airs doing air ambulance work. We go to some short fields on a regular basis (3000 feet and less) and if you don't get the power all the way out over the numbers you'll quickly find out what it's like to go off the other end. The secret I think is to hold good speed (95 knots+ in the Seneca until you are over the threshold) then pull power out gradually as you pull back. I have found that in the Senecas and Seminoles you can trim the airplane up for the descent once you are on the glidepath you need, then over the numbers pull back the trim wheel two full rotations. Then you can start slowly pulling power out and slowly increasing back pressure on the yoke. The airplane will almost land itself. Don't pull on the yoke, just increase the back pressure. Hold the end of the runway in the same spot in the windshield. When you are slow enough the airplane will touch down. I hope this helps.