Landing Help


Island Bus Driver
Maybe somebody can give me an idea on this.

I now have about 12 hours, .3 of which are solo. In that .3 I shot 3 landings, two of which were fair, one of which sucked. Since then it has been too windy (read: >15 knot xwind) so I have been doing duel with my instructor. Anyhow, I am still have problems with the landing. I know it is something that will come with time but here's the problem.

I am able to maintain speed on final. I also don't have a large problem with holding the centerline or a crab as needed. I get all the way down to the flair and start to pull back. At that point there is a two second float where the a/c slows in ground effect and then starts to settle. That is where my problem starts. The first problem I had was that I wasn't pulling back enough/fast enough after the float/flair. When that would happen that plane would slam down on the noise gear (very bad) and the mains at the same time. I think I am mostly over that problem. What happens now is I flair and float for a few seconds and then as the plan settles I pull back too quickly, pitching up again. Of course I have no airpseed so the plane just drops like a rock. I know looking down the runway out in front helps, and I have found that to be true. Any other thoughts that may be helpful? Thanks.

I know looking down the runway out in front helps, and I have found that to be true. Any other thoughts that may be helpful? Thanks.

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I have heard that looking straight in front during and shortly before the flare may risk you dropping the airplane on it's nose gear.

Here is an excerpt from the June 1997 issue of Flight Training Magazine:

1. Once you've flown a stabilized approach to the aim point, look at the distant end of the runway because that's how you'll judge when to flare.

2. Keep watching the end of the runway. Then shift your gaze to the sides of the runway as the nose rises and blocks the view forward

3. After you flare, hold the nose off the runway and wait. Increase back pressure as the airplane's speed decays and the flight controls become less effective. This results in a slower touchdown speed, a gentler touchdown, and a shorter roll out.

4. Once your on the runway, don't stop flying. Keep adding back pressure on the yoke to hold the nosewheel off the runway, and use the rudder to stay on the centerline until the airplane settles on its nose gear (or tailwheel) by itself. Don't touch anything -- not the flaps, transponder, lights, or the cowl flaps -- until you've taxied clear of the runway and have stopped on the taxiway.
Maybe somebody can give me an idea on this. . . . so I have been doing duel with my instructor.

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Oh, Ethan...your first problem is that you've been dueling with your instructor again. He can't be very happy about that, and if you guys are still flying together, you're both obviously horrible shots!!!!

Sorry, could resist...
If you're able to maintain speed on final, and hold the centerline then you're almost there. It's that few seconds of floating above the runway that gave me some problems when i first started flying too

. Looking straight ahead down the runway really does help. When the plane starts to settle and the back wheels touch the runway and start rolling, slowly and lightly pull back (not too much though) to keep the nose wheel off the ground until the plane starts to slow down, then lightly let the nose down.

This is just something that you're gonna have to get used to. You just need to get a feel for the plane and begin to recognize how high you are above the runway when youre landing, and then it becomes second nature.....well almost

Must be a WV thing cause my landings still suck over there at MRB.

They weren't too bad when I first started and my instructor was landing the plane.

75 hours later, they're still rough, but I did just read in AOPA's Flight Training about looking down the runway, and it seemed to help me salvage some landings where I was coming in pretty high.

My problem seems to be judging how close to the rwn on downwind, how far to go before turning to base, and when I turn to base, I usually need to stay in the turn to make final or I'll overshoot.
Thanks for the help all. MTSU... When you duel with water guns there really isn't that much danger I guess. Ok, so it's DUAL not Duel. Got ya. So the general consensus seems to be a) It will come with time and b) keep looking down the runway. At least I'm not doing anything too wrong. Windchill... It very well could be something about the air in WV. I think the reason I'm ok with the downwind distance is because I am always flying into the same airport so I know about where to start my turn. Also, my instructor pointed out what a 45* looks like on the strut of the 172. When the runway moves past that point, I start my base turn. I do agree with you that sometimes I throw in too much crab and end up just holding my turn through base into final. Ah well.

Thanks again.

I like to teach my students that have problems understanding the flare that it's a three step process.

Step 1. Descending in a nose down attitude at about 60 knots (Cessna 152) or 65 knots (Cessna 172)...this is the approach

Step 2. About 10 feet above the runway power back and "level off" the speed will be decreasing at this point. This is the roundout

Step 3. As the speed decreases in this "level attitude", the airplane will begin to sink as noticed by the runway coming up in your side-vision (I wasn't going to guess at how to spell peripherel....I guess I just did). When you see this you then slowly pull back and "flare" to land on the mains first. This is obvoiously the touchdown

The problem is that when flight instructors say "flare" the student generally doesn't have any idea what that means. The other thing is that it is very difficult to land a 152 or 172 or any plane for that matter at the approach speed. The students try and go right from the approach speed to a nose high attitude like they know they have to, but they never lost the extra airspeed. A 152 can fly with full flaps at about 35-40 knots....especially in ground effect. If you try and raise the nose to land doing 60 knots your either going to float forever, land real flat, or balloon down the runway. That is why I try and teach them about that "level off" and roundout step. I also do a landing for them in the beginning of their training, and during the roundout and flare I have them watch the airspeed indicator to drive home the point that although 60-65 knots is your approach speed, you want to land much slower.
Too many students try to go right from a nose down descent into a nose high attitude. That will generally get you the floating, ballooning, or my personal favorite the BELLY FLOP landings.
... or my personal favorite the BELLY FLOP landings.

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Ah, thanks... You gave me something to call it!
Ahh yes, the Belly Flop aka confidence buster. I remeber on numerous occasions when I would go up for a flight lesson with my cfi. We'd go over the previous lesson to see if Im having any problems, and then we'd do new maneuvers. Sometimes I'd get an occasional, "hey, that wasnt too just need to work a little bit more on this, or that".

So after the lesson, we'll be flying back to the airport and id be feeling pretty good about myself at this point. I enter the pattern, and on final im holding airspeed / centerline as the plane slowly descends to the runway (while my cfi is sitting next to me saying, "thats it, you got..keep your airspeed, now slowwly....) I find a point down the runway and I'm thinking to myself, "yeah whose your daddy, im landing this sucker right there". I begin to flare, and next thing i know that awful stall horn starts going off. I'm frantically trying adjust, but its too late....
That final 3 seconds of the landing is what some call the "pre solo slump". It takes everyone a little time to get the sight picture, but once you have it, things seem to pick up from there!