Need Help on My Landings!!!!!!!


Well-Known Member
Guys, I was up in the pattern for the first time on Sunday and I got 8 landings in. Of the eight, 4 were ok, 2 were brutal, 2 seemed acceptable. I seem to have a problem bleeding off speed when I turn on to my downwind leg. When I'm on base I can't seem to hold my airspeed at a constant rate that I feel comfortable with. Another problem is, When on short final as I'm heading towards the runway it seems like I'm going to plow the plane right into the runway....So I flare.....And the damn thing is just floating across the runway, or I'll flare and land pretty hard. My instructor says I'm doing fine. I only have 4hrs. right now, but he says he wants me to solo this weekned, after some more practice in the pattern....Need Advice.1.
You have 4 hours.... your instructor says you're doing fine; you're doing fine!

How many more times will you fly this week prior to your solo?
I was just reading an NTSB exert today on a student pilot who crashed during an unsupervised solo. He had 8 hours prior to the flight and the NTSB and FAA commented that 8 hours seemed too little to "demonstrate satisfactory proficiency and safety on the required manuevers..." Its up to your CFI of course to determine when you are ready, but I hope he would give you a few more hours!

I think teaching someone to land "in" the airplane is easier than just saying in the classroom "ok pitch for this, and maintain that, and it'll work." Practice makes perfect!
No way I would solo someone in 10 hrs. or less unless they were some kind of prodigy or something. Theres too much stuff in that list of required pre-solo maneuvers, and too much other stuff I like to cover prior to soloing to fit into 10 hours.

Keep at it Smokey, the landings will come...4 hrs. isn't enough time to start worrying yet about making progress. Good luck!
Now, come on everybody....we all know that many people do solo at 10 hours (or in the ballpark). Now, I'm not saying that you should use that as a benchmark, but stop beating up Smokey's CFI without even having flown with him!!! I'm no prodigy, but I did manage to solo at 10.4 hours.

I got my Instrument ticket at 15.3 hours of dual given by a CFI-I

And I got my commercial with 10.3 hours of training in a complex aircraft for the commercial ticket.

It can be done...and if you work hard at it, you can get it!!!! Just means that you have to be willing to give up the rest of your life to work on that one area (as my ex-wife, and all of my ex-girlfriends can attest

As far as those landings go smokey, make sure you're listening to what your instructor is saying. Is (s)he telling you target airspeeds for the individual traffic pattern positions (Base, Downwind, Final)?? Remeber to use those flaps, and try to stay on top of what the airplane is doing. And remember, PITCH FOR AIRSPEED, POWER FOR ALTITUDE!!!!!! That's really important. Once you're established on final, try to stabilize at the appropriate airspeed, and once you're there adjust your power to keep the plane on the desired glidepath.
Well, I've only got 15 hrs under my belt. The one thing that my instructor told me that had helped was that on final I get my eyes out of the cockpit ( this is a Cessna 172 now) and focus on the end of the runway. This has stabilized my landings greatly. When I'm in that phase of landing there's nothing in the cockpit that I need to see. The other refinement came when I pull my power off before I flare. It smooths my bumps out greatly.

Other than that, I whole heartedly agree with the rest of the answers here. I still need practice and I've got at least 30 landings under my belt.

May you fly well.
but stop beating up Smokey's CFI without even having flown with him!!!

[/ QUOTE ]

I wasn't. I'm just not comfortable sending someone up solo with less than 10 hrs.
I wasn't. I'm just not comfortable sending someone up solo with less than 10 hrs.

[/ QUOTE ]

A friend of mine (AF B-2 Pilot in MO) told me when he started flying, the AF required its pilots to solo in a 172 within 9 hours, or else they weren't selected for further flight training. This was a while back, but it came straight from his mouth.

I suppose if he could do it and many others in the military, so could some civilians.
Thanks everyone for their input. I am by no means in a hurry to be flying any airplane by myself. But its going to happen sooner or later. Hopefully later. And as far as the manuevers go..... Before we go up we break out the PTS and discuss what we are going to do when we get up. 1.
Have you done slow flight yet?

That will help with getting you comfortable at lower airspeeds.

But at 4 hours you just don't know whats going on yet. None of us did. It'll come with more stick time. Just keep plugging away at it and don't expect to be able to fly like "Maverick" at this stage of the game. If your CFI says you're doing fine - believe him!
Let me preface this with the fact that I am a low time CFI... but a problem I have with alot of the private pilot syllabi is the relatively unrealistic goal of soloing someone around 10 hrs. It creates the expectation in the student that, like Smokey, around 4-5 hrs things ought to be getting much better and if or when they are not noticably improving, it really breeds some initial and unnecessary doubt about overall piloting capabilities. In my short tenure so far, I've found that we run through all the pre-solo requirements, actually get reasonably good with the high air work stuff and then do a couple lessons focusing on pattern work with a short break in the middle for some stalls, etc, just to break up the monotony before getting back to the landings.

This is NOT to say that someone cannot solo in 10 hrs or so, but I would suggest its probably not the norm.

I like what MTSU said about PITCH FOR AIRSPEED/POWER FOR ALTITUDE...thats the way I learned and I think it really helps the beginning student. HOWEVER, I think its also important to note that it really is a combination of the two (especially for smaller ac like the 172)....if you're fast on final and you pitch up to slow, try reducing the power as well in combination with the pitch change in order to really stay on glidepath. The opposite would be true if you were slow.
I think we should give your CFI the benefit of the doubt. I think he knows what he is doing.

Having said that, you shouldn't be rushed into soloing. I soloed at about 14 hours. Before that, I had to show consistency and most importantly, I had to demonstrate a simulated engine out from midfield downwind (don't ask me how realistic that exercise is).

No need to rush!

No one is attacking his instructor, geez.

Let me rephrase what I was getting at in my previous post:

I'm not a good enough/confident enough/whatever enough instructor to let one of my students go flying around with my signature in their logbook with less than 10 hours. If Smokey's instructor is, more power to him. And in the military, those guys are being trained by people who are probably career instructors, so I can see them soloing in less than 10 hours.
Thanks Guys, and in response to pilot 602, yes we have done slow flight.1.
My instructor talked about the solo way before (approximately 10 hour before) I solo'd. The reason she bought it up was so that we could go over some of the stuff before it actually happened. Maybe Smokey is gonna actually solo around 15.
You want advice? With only 4 hrs. instruction and a one or two more, I would think real hard about blasting off by myself. Now if you are talking about another 4-6 hrs of instruction prior to solo. No problem if your inst. says you are ready.

As far as landing hard, floating or the PRANG approach, it'll all work out with time.
Dont beat yourself up at 4 hours... most people go through at least a 6-8 hour slump (sometimes more) of just pattern work before something just clicks and they can make good landings... it usually begins right at your point. But I do agree, < 10 hours seems very low time to let a student solo.

You're doing exceptionally well, but don't rush it.10+ hours to solo as suggested by several CFI responses here is a good idea.

You may understand the basic mechanics of flight now, but the nuances are yet to come.

The additional hours will give you more confidence in yourself for that first solo. And believe me, there is no one in this forum who doesn't remember their first solo flight.

You WILL realize your own mortality when on downwind, look to the right seat and realize no one is there; and you're the only one who can put this plane back on the ground and save your own life! It's a real adreneline high!

I started out in powered aircraft, but am flying gliders now and wish I'd done it the other way around.We don't have all those instruments and controls to distract from the joy of flying. Just a stick & rudder, compass, altimeter and airspeed indicator (no radio).

The key to a good landing is in the pattern, get established then fly it by the "T.L.A.R." (That Looks About Right) method Forget about all those instruments on the panel and look out the window, for safety and a good landing.

Pick an "aiming point" on final. If that point is getting higher in the windshield - you're too low, if that point is getting lower in the windshield, you're too high.

When flaring, (5' to 10') above the runway, shift your vision down the runway (1,000 to 2,000').

Make minor adjustments as necessary, and if you get it right, you'll "squeak it on" 100' to 200' beyond the aiming point.

I'll probably get beat up by all the professional and CFI pilots here, for my non-professional advice. But, my sailplane "power off" (no go-around) landings have definitely improved my "power on" landings.

Good luck to you and please let us know when you do that solo.

how much time do you have in your logbook practicing "slow flight"?? there's more to flying than landings you know....