Page 4.56 ( 11099)
More thoughts on Landings
Return to whittsflying Home Page

...Touch and Go; ...Over-Shoot landings; ...The Undershoot Landing; ...Land and Hold Short; ...Hard Landings; ...Power-off Accuracy Landing; ...Landings; …Why students Tend to Land on the Left Side; ...The Standardized Landing; ...Winds and landing; ...Crosswind Instruction; ...Short field;...Unpaved Airport; …Precautionary Landings; …Types of Landings Summary; …Landing Without Use of Trim Not Recommended; …Stabilized Approach; …Aiming for the Landing; … The Decelerating Approach to Landing; …Another Way of Saying the Same Thing about Landings; …Instructor Opinion on Landings; …Twin Landings; …Opinion; …Landing Advice from Experts; …A Request for Help; ...Tail Wheel Landings; ...Landing Little Things; ...Short and Soft; ... Hidden Danger of a Stabilized Approach

Touch and Go
(Flounder and Flee) (Bumps and Circuits)
20% of the training accidents involve touch and go operations. I have likened such operations as learning to drive by going around the same block over and over. It is not that I don't or won't perform touch and go operations as part of my instruction. I find such flying not of the 'real' world. As any of my students can confirm, I do as many landings to the left pattern as to the right. The go-around, no-flap approach, short approach and other variations are a standard part of such lessons. However, I do not want my students to do identical consecutive landings over and over. It is not conducive to improvement proportionate to the money spent.

Instead, I want my soloed student to practice the departure and arrival procedures between airports. This is the real world of flying. I want them to land, taxi, stop and runup at other airports. I want all the phases of checklists and flying procedures to be practiced. Touch and go operations correspond to learning piano by practicing only the scales.

One experienced instructor does not do any touch and go landings with primary students. If such landings are to be practiced the student must be competent in the aircraft operation, cockpit responsibilities are divided and assigned, the runway length is 200% of aircraft requirements and the go-around option always applies as part of the ATC clearance. Complex aircraft should not be used in doing touch and go landings.

Over-Shoot landings
About 100 aircraft a year run off the end of a runway. These landings are caused by excessive speed on approach, poor glide path control, failure to transition to landing attitude and improper braking. Contributing to these is the failure of the pilot to anticipate the effects of a calm to quartering tail wind or runway conditions. The runway behind you is as useful as the altitude above you.

The Undershoot Landing
An undershoot landing is far more likely to be a serious accident than the overshoot because the impact forces are more likely to be greater and under even less control. As with the overshoot, the undershoot landing is the result of poor pattern techniques. There as many causes of poor patterns as there are pilots but inherent to the poor pattern will be a multitude of excesses. Too far, too close, too long, too short, too soon, too late, too much, too little, etc. The unfamiliar pilot will suffer from 'runway fixation'. He will become apprehensive about the continued existence of the runway, every few seconds he will tip, turn, or twist both the aircraft and himself to ascertain that the runway is still on the ground.

The problem occurs when the pattern results in an approach that is below the configuration and airspeed glide path. There is a proper correction procedure. This means a full power application and a locked yoke to maintain approach speed for so long as it takes to make the glide slope intercept. However, all too often the pilot's perception of the problem is that a partial power adjustment is all that is required. A touch of power and a slight up-pitch of the nose fixes everything, for a moment that is. There has been a decrease of airspeed by a couple of knots. The sink rate increases and in a few seconds we are below the desired glide path. Another touch of power, more pitch-up, lower airspeed and we are again sinking faster below the glide path. We have entered the constantly deceleration approach regimen. One more time and we are behind the power curve. This means that there is insufficient power available to overcome existing drag without lowering the nose. Without altitude sufficient to allow lowering the nose an uncontrolled contact with the ground is bound to follow. This kind of accident is most likely to happen to the low-time-in-type pilot with a high performance aircraft at an unfamiliar airport.

The essence of avoiding the undershoot landing involves establishing, maintaining, or correcting to the proper glide path at the correct airspeed for the configuration. Essential to this is an appropriate pattern. Never let your airspeed fall below the selected approach airspeed. Make all from below intercepts of the glide path with full power applications while holding approach airspeed. On interception only power need be reduced to hold the glide path. Power is your glide path control. Once established more power will make the approach more shallow, less power will make the approach steeper.

Land and Hold Short
The LAHSO were initiated by the FAA in an effort to increase airport capacity. LAHSO exists only when there are intersecting runways, a control tower, 1500' ceiling, three-mile visibility, good braking and no tailwind. The burden for a successful procedure rests with the pilot. Lower ceilings are allowed if there are visual approach indicators such as PAPI. Night operations require visual vertical guidance, with electronic slopes grand-fathered in for one year. (Long past.)

When an airport has intersecting runways, ATC may approve you for a LAHOS approach. This approach requires that the pilot be acutely aware of his own and his aircraft's capability. If there is any doubt because of a calm, tailwind or night condition, decline he clearance. Failure to decline means that you are expected to land and meet all ATC restrictions. You can always make a go-around but you may need to answer some questions afterwards.

Communications in LAHSO operations can cause problems. I, personally, was called to the tower for the first time in 25 years for missing a "cancel take off" clearance during a LAHSO operation. Neither I nor the other pilot in my plane heard the cancellation. ATC tapes had the cancellation repeated four times. Cause seemed to be a very sensitive volume control where a small change made the difference between off and too loud. This situation occurred on the other end of the LAHSO but the potential for a collision existed and exists in every LAHSO.

Unless you fully understand and accept the pilot responsibilities for either asking for or accepting a LAHSO clearance. Pilots bear full accountability for knowledge related to aircraft performance and the vertical guidance parameters. Electronic and visual guidance procedures waste up to 1000' of useable runway. Current airport information is required as to useable runway lengths and surface condition.

The pilot must have current knowledge of his aircraft capability and limitations referenced to airport conditions. Any lack of knowledge or information will be weighed against the pilot. The pilot has the final responsibility for accepting a LAHSO clearance. The common option of a go-around exists but the need for a go-around is going to be referenced by the FAA against the pilot's acceptance of the clearance. Rejection of the LAHSO clearance may be the best choice even if it delays your arrival. The land mines that exist in LAHSO operations would make non-acceptance of the LAHSO clearance the best way to go. Still, you can expect that with the increase in traffic, ATC will be throwing the LAHSO ball into your court.

Hard Landing
There are actually two different kinds of hard landings. The most common one is when the approach speed is higher than 1.3 Vso. At the higher speed and a corresponding higher descent rate and a delayed flare the ground contact results in severe stress to the aircraft structure. The landing gear, designed to absorb this impact by flexing or compression will reflex with sufficient force to make the aircraft airborne again. Now the aircraft is in the air, slow and unable to develop enough lift to prevent the second kind of hard landing unless the go-around is promptly and properly initiated. Without the go-around the aircraft will fall through any ground effect and give a series of bounces, each one of which is made worse by the pilot reaction delay. The go-around is always the best salvage procedure.

The second type of hard landing is where either in a slip or in a flare the airspeed is allowed to fall below the 55-knot short field landing speed. Getting slow greatly increases the sink rate of the aircraft. The instinctive reaction in this case is to keep from falling. The instinctive control movement is to pull the nose up. Nose up makes the airplane go slower and fall faster. Raising the nose again just makes it worse. The ONLY correction for being slow on a landing approach prior to flare is to GO-AROUND WITH FULL POWER. Hold the nose level.. The slower you are the closer you want to be to the ground. Being close to the ground gives you the power and acceleration benefits of ground effect that will not be available to you further above the surface.

Since this type of situation is occurring behind-the-power-curve and at a high angle of attack, it may be that you will be unable to accomplish the maneuver without lowering the nose. This lowering may well result in ground contact. Some hard landings cannot be prevented beyond a certain point regardless of power. I saw such a landing by a B-25 in India during WWII.

Power-off Accuracy Landing
During the flight test the examiner can be expected to pull the power and advise you to make a power off landing within 200 feet of a specific point on the ground. Since you are always expecting such an event it comes as no surprise. You already know the wind, don't you. You quickly determine whether to make a 90-degree, 180-degree, or 360-degree approach with adjustments a required. You also know from practice the amount of trim  that , with the power off, will give you a glide speed of 60 knots, hands-off. Just as in any constant power approach, the power-off approach speed is for a trimmed 60 knots.

At a constant glide speed, you will be able to sight over the nose to the runway and determine whether you are high or low. You have done this many times with 1500 rpm. Power off is no different. It is your intention not to apply any flaps until you know you will reach the field.   Your no-flap approach will be relatively flat and high/low somewhat more difficult to assess. Every time the runway threshold passes under the nose as you fly 60 knots, you will apply a notch of flaps. Only the straight-in approach or final limits your ability to adjust base for being low or high. If your anxiety has kept you too high go into an extreme slip at 60 knots indicated to get down.

Never dive for the runway. As you know, you can extend your glide distance by removing flaps. Don't do this below 400 feet unless you are over a paved two mile runway or having an emergency. Get your maximum flaps-for-wind conditions in before 200 feet AGL. You will need the altitude to assure complete control in the round-out, flare, and touchdown. Don't sacrifice a good landing in your desire to hit a touchdown point. At 60 knots you will still have 200 feet of float within five feet of the ground. Use it. Always practice using ground effect in every landing. You never know when you will need the skill and experience.

Landings (Instructor)
A good landing begins with a stabilized approach, a trimmed nose attitude, and constant airspeed. The student will learn to recognize how the world looks over the nose on downwind, base, final, roundout, flare, and rollout. The student will learn to feel a consistency of control forces used for each application of flaps, in turns, and at power reduction. This consistency is especially true for the rudder. The student will learn to recognize the sounds of the airplane at approach speed, as flaps are added, and as speeds change. These senses have been repeatedly exposed to these situations since flying first started. Now, in landings, the full picture must be flown. We need every skill taught and learned. It is said that it is very difficult to make a poor landing from a GOOD approach. Don't change you flap configuration below 200' AGL. Every yoke movement should be "back". Ideally every power change would be a reduction. A good landing is a combination of TECHNIQUE, and FAITH, and ANTICIPATION.

Aircraft vertical and horizontal speeds are variables that must become constants for obtaining a stabilized approach. During the pattern the wind varies so as to affect your angle of descent. The final decision as to whether you are high or low cannot be made until you are stabilized on final. Once you are stabilized you make the appropriate adjustments of flaps, power, and airspeed if high; or full power if you are low. Diving for the runway is never appropriate. A good landing cannot have excess altitude or excess airspeed. This doesn't mean you should touch down at the very end of the runway. Since we normally land with some power, aim far enough past the numbers to cover possible engine failure. Likewise, runway behind you is not going to keep you from going off the end.

The negative side of any landing approach is the pilot's visual perception as to what is happening. As the ground nears, the speed over the ground is perceived as increasing. As the ground nears, the amount of visual ground decreases in our visual field. The ever-increasing speed of closure affects your sensory perception. Your life history of such closure is that something is about to hit you. The normal instinctive reaction is to stop the FALLING. You will overreact on the yoke instead of what should be what should be a shift of your sight field from the immediate runway to the distant runway and then another shift to the horizon as the nose obscures the runway. Control of this movement is an acquired skill. It takes practice of the right kind to maintain your control over your instincts and control movement.

In a like regard there is considerable pilot difficulty in detecting proper runway alignment. Inexperienced pilots line up on and usually land on the left side of the runway. This same pilot is reluctant to correct this misalignment by lowering a wing so close to the ground, no matter how necessary. Instinct leads us to think that airplanes should land level. A pilot must overcome his inhibitions and accept that a combination of rudder and aileron can slide an airplane sideways across a centerline and can just as well stop such a sliding. The proximity of the ground makes the slide more obvious and it is very easy to over-react to this. Landing on one wheel with one wing down to the ground is very unnatural to our senses. Unnatural but very necessary.

Every landing of an aircraft is a complex of many maneuvers, which are in turn made up of practically all the basic elements of flight. Of these elements airspeed control is primary. Even airspeed control is a complex assembly of sound, movement, visual perception, and memory. Without airspeed control all other elements and maneuvers have a weak link in the chain of competent maneuver performance.

The first landing introduces a new instinctive element to basic flying. Up to this point the basic elements have been formed into maneuvers such as turns, climbs, and descents at altitude. Now the proximity of the ground introduces a new element. The approaching ground triggers an instinctive reaction of avoidance. The neophyte pilot instinctively reacts to halt the closure by raising the nose. This affects the speed. Anything that affects the speed affects the landing. Thus, the initial purpose of landing practice is to show the student that the rate of closure with the ground is controllable. For this reason, our initial practice will not be landings, but rather go-arounds of increasing proximity to the ground.

Why Pilots Tend to Land on the Left Side
As some of you may know, I have spent years trying to find out why students tend to land on the left side of the runway. I have heard from others their reasoning but at last I believe I have found the cause. It is a part of the weak-rudder syndrome.

I have been doing proficiency work for the checkride with my 'Skipper' student. All at once ALL of his landings are on the left side. I mandate that no touch downs are to be made of the left side and that every time this is about to happen he should initiate a go-around. Just as well, he needed to smooth out his go-around procedure.

On the ground before starting in a 'non-movement area' I stand well in front of the plane that is centered on the yellow taxi line. We work to locate a reference point on the cowling to use for taxiing and landing center line reference. He starts the engine and practices taxiing exactly on the line. He does better.

Now when it comes to landings I find that, even though he has been instructed to land on the right side of the runway centerline, during the roundout he begins to drift left. Not using the right rudder when he raises the nose seems to be the problem. The left turning tendency gets even worse when he raises the nose in the flare. He has not learned or remembered about p-factor.

Again on the ground, I go through my P-factor lesson by lowering the tail and having him note the change in propeller pitch angle. It's like a light in his brain being turned on. After a break and lunch, we go up to do some VOR tracking with course reversals. After 15 minutes without the hood to get a visual picture, I put him under the hood for half an hour. His rudder work improves in leaps and bounds since I am having him make course corrections of 10-degrees or less using only the rudder. This takes considerable effort in a Skipper because it is the most 'squirrelly' aircraft I have ever seen. I told him that after succeeding with the Skipper he would have no difficulty in any other aircraft.

We will make one more flight before his checkride with the emphasis upon landing accuracy. With his renewed understanding I do not expect any problems.

The next day a former student asked to fly because of difficulty in making crosswind landings. I mention that we will review Dutch rolls and rudder use. We depart and once airborne I have her fly only with rudder for forty miles. We make numerous heading changes en route and it appears she had become rudder lazy. Landings start out on the left side and touchdown near mid-field.

We work on airspeed control and rudder use. By the fourth landing we are well within our 200' target area in both left and right traffic with 12-knot crosswinds. Happy, happy.

The Standardized Landing (Instructor)
(The Stabilized Approach)
1. Downwind at altitude and cruise speed.
Faults: Not keeping distance from runway. Runway should be in sight over edge of window in right traffic. Leaving pattern altitude before turning base (This is a noise abatement item).

2. Prelanding CHECKLIST:
Fuel, mixture, gauges and instruments. HI/compass
Faults: Running out of time
Untrimmed aircraft
Must include "Go-Around procedure"

3. Abeam the numbers:
Carb Heat, Power to 1500 RPM
Hold heading and altitude
Trim down three full turns for 60 kts

4. Down count on flaps, trim up 1, 60 kts
Turn base
Rudder, forward pressure, back pressure, forward pressure, 60 kts
Faults: Being in too much of a hurry
Being uncertain of trim direction
Angling in toward final approach course
Losing altitude

5. Base:
4 down count on flaps, trim up 1, 60 kts
Turn Final
Rudder, forward pressure, back pressure, forward pressure, 60 kts
Faults: Failing to maintain speed
Failing to adjust base line for high/low

6. Final:
4 down count on flaps, trim up 1, 60 kts
Faults: Delayed recognition of high/low
Improper use of power
Not being satisfied with first 1/3 of runway

7. Roundout:
With runway made level aircraft knee to shoulder high
above runway
Faults: Too high, low, fast, slow
Failure to go around

8. Flare:
Gradual raising nose and reduce power as aircraft
slows. Keep from touching ground.
Faults: Landing on nose wheel
Landing flat
Not getting yoke back and up
Not maintaining runway alignment
Drifting right/left
Failure to go around
Abrupt removal of power

9. Touchdown:
Yoke full back, power off, stall warner activated
Faults: Hard touchdown
Lets yoke go forward
Sees runway
Fails to reduce power
Crooked touchdown
Edge of runway
Holding yoke for taxiing

10. Rollout
Yoke held back, power off, no brakes, flaps up
Faults: Letting nosewheel touch too soon
Braking before raising flaps
Excessive braking
Changing to ground before clearing runway
Holding yoke for taxiing
Applies takeoff power with flaps down
High speed turn

11. Cleanup
Carburetor heat off, flaps up, frequency change
Faults: Forgetting items CHECKLIST
Improper communications
Holding yoke for taxiing

Winds and Landing
Wind by itself is not the factor that make landing a problem. Gusts, turbulence and shear are often present and a forceful distraction. Until a pilot has mastered the difference between the concept and practice of dealing with the unexpected there will be problems in winds. In adverse conditions there is simply too much going on for the incompetent pilot.

I am currently teaching a student who has had upwards to twenty different instructors. The confusion regarding crosswinds has made the student uncertain as to whether a cross-control or crab approach is being used. Cross controlling is an unnatural way to fly an airplane. It is even more difficult if you must think about it. Failure to grasp and apply what is necessary to counter the wind direction and velocity without going through the one-second delayed thought/reaction time is essential. It is anticipation of what is required rather than reaction that makes the difference. In a wind there is simply too many forces in action between the wind, airplane and ground for inappropriate reactions.

The pilot must have a continuous mental picture of what the winds are doing to the airplane as well as a perception of where the runway is even though not in sight. Drift must be corrected with wing low and nose straight with rudder. Otherwise, when the wheels touch a side load places damaging stress on the landing gear.

The mental concept of what is happening and what is required in a crosswind landing is fairly obvious. What is not so apparent is what the pilot must do to deal with all the factors at one time. There is little difference between the process of flying a left or right crosswind on the final approach. However, when the crosswind is blowing you into the runway and giving you a tailwind on base, you had better fly a wider downwind. Expect to make a couple of downwind turns called downwind to base and base to final. The groundspeed illusions involved have been covered elsewhere.

The problem that I have with some students and pilots is that their experience has been limited to winds from one direction. This problem also applies to slips. I make it a point to fly crosswinds in both left and right patters equally. Having parallel runway at my home field helps to make this possible. With this process, a student can learn to just punch in rudder when turning base to final with a tailwind. With a headwind it is necessary to reverse both the bank and the rudder. One method of making crosswind pattern adjustment is to extend your downwind. This will allow you to make final approach crosswind adjustments with some additional time.

The cross-control correction of wind drift is not intuitive. It looks awkward, feels awkward and is difficult to maintain. It is very easy to be behind what is happening if you are not anticipating required corrections. Failure to use the proper crosswind correction will cause undesirable drift. Drift into the wind puts side load on the upwind gear and any drift with the wind may allow the wind to get under the upwind wing. If you have not stabilized your drift, make an immediate go-around.

The go-around initiated from a cross-controlled configuration requires that with the addition of power no more effort should be made to maintain runway alignment. Using rudder to crab into the wind will greatly improve the aircraft's climb performance. Remain in ground effect while cleaning up the flaps and accelerating to Vy.

You will not resolve any drift problem by getting the wheels on the ground. An aircraft that is drifting or not aligned parallel with the centerline will immediately wander or lurch towards the side of the runway. Excessive side load can cause the gear to collapse.

In anything greater than a light crosswind partial to no flaps should be used and the nose should be held off the runway but without trying to affect a full-stall landing. You will arrive at the runway slightly above stall and hold the yoke progressively further over into the wind while holding direction with the rudder. If you get too slow, you will have little drift or directional control, the best thing is to fly it to the runway and continue flying it with rudder and aileron until both main wheels are on the ground but never at the same moment.. An arrival that is too slow reduces the options to the point where there are no 'right' ones left.

Crosswind instruction
Loss of directional control in takeoff and landings are number two and number one in the order of aircraft accident frequency. These accidents are more destructive of aircraft than of people. March and April are the most dangerous months for these accidents. The incompetent pilot will over-react to the crosswind component. This makes matters worse. The incompetent does not see nor feel the drift off the centerline, running out of rudder authority, or the need to go around. Too much too soon, too little too late is the story of the pilot who does not maintain proficiency in dealing with crosswinds.

The skills needed for runway alignment may be practiced by making two mile final approaches into a cross wind runway. Have the student slide the plane back and forth across the runway centerline. Stop each time the plane is aligned. The more flaps used, the greater will be the control pressures needed to attain the desired movement. The more extreme the slip the greater forward pressure will be required to keep the 60 kt approach speed. The slip required is that which maintains parallel alignment with the runway, the rudder must be able to keep the nose straight to the runway. If either cannot be attained and maintained the landing should be aborted. If a gust makes you run out of control authority required to keep alignment, center the controls and go around. Increasing speed with the yoke or adding power for prop-blast will give increased rudder authority. The slip gives you the same aiming view of the runway as with other landings. Flaps added to the cross-control of the slip greatly increases the rate of descent. This descent must be expected and planned for.

Aircraft design requires that there are no uncontrollable ground tendencies in a 90-degree crosswind up to 20% of Vso. A landing Vso of 50 should present no dangerous problem in a 10-knot 90-degree crosswind. Such a landing, in coordinated flight, uncorrected for the crosswind will cause damaging side loads on the tires, airframe, and landing gear. The coordinated landing in a crosswind can cause the aircraft to swerve, turn, and bounce sideways. The more speed at ground contact the more severe will be the damage potential. If you are making a crosswind landing that is making you uncomfortable, go-around and go elsewhere.

The POH will only give you the demonstrated crosswind capability. This is the crosswind found on the day the aircraft was certified. This has nothing to do with what can be done by a competent pilot. The maximum crosswind component, therefore, is determined by the pilot.

I suggest that you begin your crosswind practice using the POH demonstrated capability and raise your limits according to having sufficient rudder authority to keep the nose straight. Authority can be increased by increasing speed and reducing the application of flaps. Pipers have relatively small rudders so make your increases in crosswind components in stages. Don't press your skills into 40-knot winds at 90 degrees...use a taxiway or go elsewhere.

You are most likely to get into high-wind taxiing difficulty when taxiing downwind. Don't leave the tie-down when winds exceed 40% of the flaps up stall speed.

I try to wait until a student has some mastery of the Dutch roll before using the slip method for crosswind landings. Since I start Dutch rolls on the second lesson they are usually ready when we start doing landings. The half Dutch roll required in the slip landing is relatively difficult to learn let alone master. The control use is contrary to what is normal and comfortable. The crosswind slip landing requires considerable practice. I like to use straight in approaches for crosswind slip landings where possible in the beginning. After the slip is mastered it is necessary to teach the crab adjustments required for maintaining an appropriate pattern. A competent student pilot should be able to keep the nose straight and runway alignment throughout any final approach and its varied wind direction and velocity.

Except for the "comfort factor" the slip to landing in cross winds is better in every respect than the crabbed approach. Initially use full rudder to get the nose aligned with the runway centerline, push forward on the yoke to maintain airspeed and simultaneously roll in enough aileron to offset any drift. Drift causes side loads. The cross-controlled condition is maintained into touchdown. At touchdown the aileron is used to prevent drift. Aileron is held all the way into the wind once you have reached a safe taxi speed. A perfect crosswind approach, landing, and taxi.

The wing-low technique is the most common method of crosswind landing instruction because it works best for most pilots. The need to add a variable aileron and rudder correction cannot be done intellectually, it must be in anticipation of what you need to stop and correct any yaw or drift and what will be needed to make the upwind wheel ground contact in line with the relative wind.

Passenger comfort can be enhanced if they are informed of the normal tilted approach and landing on one wheel. The skill requirement for such a landing can be taught as the "Dutch roll" during climb outs. It usually takes about five 2-minute sessions before performance is acquired. Proficiency takes a while longer. The highest level of "Dutch roll" skill is the ability to perform them to steeper banks very, very slowly.

The Dutch roll is one of the types of instability unintentionally designed into aircraft. The other type is spiral instability. One or the other of these can be designed out of the aircraft. Usually aircraft are a compromise of the two, a little bit of both. Spiral instability is not as objectionable as is the Dutch roll. Dutch roll is usually a stable mode, though it can be unpleasant if not dampened.

Rule of Thumb for Crosswinds
--A wind 30 degrees off the nose has only half the wind velocity as a crosswind component. --At 50 degrees; off the nose the component is 75% of the wind speed. 
--At 70 degrees; the component is 90%. 
--You can effectively reduce the component by angling across the runway.

Short field
No field is short to a pilot unless…
Airspeed is constant
Touchdown is on center line
Touchdown is as spot landing
Characteristics that define short:
1. Obstacles at either end affects go-around and climb/descent angles
2. Surface and slope affects braking and acceleration density altitude determines power, thrust and required speed for lift.
3. Pilot should only attempt what can be done for sure.
4. Operational length
5. Pilot skill
6. Wind direction, velocity and turbulence
7. Aircraft landing qualities
8. Weight and distribution
9. Approach corridor
10. Density altitude
11. Runway surface affects acceleration and braking
12. Runway condition; smooth is better than rough. Rough can get you airborne before the plane is ready to fly.
13. Slope gives gravity a boost and will be more effective than wind. Land uphill.
1. On threshold
2. Go-around skills and capability
3. Minimum speed
4. Weight
5. Willing to cancel

Unpaved Airport
The certification of an aircraft gives considerable leeway to the manufacturer in giving the AFM figures for unimproved airports. Most any airplane can operate from a golf-course smooth field that is the kind used to come up with the AFM figures. The landings are predicated on a steep, idle-power stabilized approach at 1.3 Vso. This is much the same as for a normal landing. You should remember that a more accurate Vso could be used at weights below gross. This Vref can be justified should the FAA challenge your attempt to better the AFM data.

Variations of the AFM approach procedure can be made to work. A partial power approach can get you in slower. Chopping the power or even removing the flaps before touchdown have been known to make the approach short; sometimes VERY short. You might want to practice some of these procedures at altitude along with another pilot to jot down the numbers as they occurr.You must be able to stop the sink (altimeter) in the flare before getting the stall indication. The AFM braking figures are far better than any you will achieve because several sets of tires were consumed in getting the figures. When it comes to figuring the AFM total landing distance, you had best add at least 50%.

--Practice before you do it for real.
--Use AFM figures but don't expect to do better.
--Short field is rotate at Vx and climb at Vx
--Soft field uses flaps and off the ground as soon as possible.
--Approaches are steep at minimum airspeed.
--Walk an unpaved runway.
--Make a high obstacle clearance pass and then a low pass.
--Wet grass and gravel cause directional control problems.
-- Expect the unexpected and plan aborting point.
-- Don't attempt it without training , practice and proficiency.

Precautionary Landings
There are really only three kinds of landings, normal, forced and precautionary. Of these the one that requires the greatest exercise of judgment is the precautionary landing. Sometimes called the discretionary landing, the Precautionary landing may occur on or off airport. A discretionary landing off airport is to be preferred to an emergency on-airport landing. The statistical odds will always favor the discretionary landing over the forced landing. In weather the discretionary landing may occur on or off airport in lieu of continued flight.

When remaining airborne is likely to be more dangerous than the statistical odds of surviving a discretionary landing reasonable pilots make the safe choice. A planned discretionary landing is where the pilot is truly the pilot in command of his fate.

Discretionary landings should be made in the event of::
1. Incapacitation
2. Power loss
3. Fading power
4. Serious structural damage or vibration
5. Dusk without electrical power
6. Oil leak with rise in oil temperature
7. In flight impact
8. Smoke

Types of Landings Summary
1. Normal, full stall landing
With full stall, full flaps and on 3 degrees glide slope
2. Flapless
With zero flaps and a higher approach speed
3. Short field landing
With full flaps and lower airspeed
4. Simulated forced
Simulated 1000ft AGL pattern, zero flaps on downwind, power off abeam the runway threshold, go around at 50ft
or go around at touchdown.
5. Precautionary

Landing Without Use of Trim Not Recommended
 The greatest future problem I see in your landing method is that you never mention the use of trim. You can fly the pattern in Cessnas without ever using the trim but this will not prepare you for the skills you will need later on in trimming for airspeed.

Ask your instructor for an, at altitude, trimming lesson. Begin without flaps and simulate a partial power failure to l500 rpm with C.H. Aircraft should enter an easy to remember maximum distance descent close to 65 knots. Leave power constant.

You can go through several stages of putting in incremental flaps and re-trimming for 65 knots as you descend. Make left and right descending turns in each configuration. These turns should be always at the same constant airspeed. It may take several trips to altitude before you get consistent and anticipatory rudder and yoke pressures.

Now take these flap and trim skills into practice patterns at altitude. Initial pattern speed will usually vary from 80 knots down to 60 knots on final. Normal landings (See POH) are done with full flaps on final (no changes below 200') and power off incrementally and all the way off at touchdown. Every yoke movement should be incrementally back and up with full extension at touchdown.

This learning and practicing method will prepare you to appreciate the beautiful  engineering and linkage designed into constant power settings, flap settings and trim movement in the Cessna. There is no one (correct) way to fly a pattern. You must learn to vary the pattern with airspeed and flaps at all settings from every point in the pattern beyond the numbers. The elements that requires consistency are the touchdown speed, runway alignment and attitude.

War story:
I had an 81-year old student with a Class-1 medical. We couldn't do touch-and-go's, we did land and rests. This guy flew all over the patterns but when the ground approached he was on airspeed at attitude. He used his pilot's license to take his great grandchildren flying on weekends. Hope I can do as well.

Today's Lesson.
Set my student at 2900' over the end of the runway. Had student ask for circling descending spiral for landing. Why? On an instrument approach where you are required to make a circle to land while keeping the runway environment in sight. In IMC you will be the only aircraft there. Can't think of a better way.

Stabilized Approach
The airplane normally glides with its nose up, not down. It is a good idea to ask a student to hold his hand as though an airplane in glide and you will often find that students tend to think of gliding as accomplished with a paper airplane, nose down. This is an unlearning teaching situation and just one of many

It is only through considered use of light yoke pressure, trim and power that the pilot will gain control of airspeed and approach path. This process should be practiced at altitude until it becomes a ritual process. Flying must not be a part of the problem. Your good approach is a necessity for you to get the required consistent sight picture of the aircraft nose and the end of the runway.

This approach path, on a straight in approach can be miles long. More often it is twisted and turned from downwind, to base, to final. Your perception of the movement of your touchdown point is how you determine to make your corrections. Don't use the nose. Any movement of the nose, up or down will result in an airspeed change. Change the nose, change the airspeed and you are no longer on a stabilized approach.

There is only one speed that is best glide speed for a given configuration. Go any slower and you will cover less distance for the remaining altitude. Go any faster; you will cover more distance. This faster speed will create flare and speed dissipation problems. These speeds are another 'unlearning' problem for student pilots. Diving for the runway, when high, is NOT the thing to do.

Power and flaps are you options. The selection of flaps is dictated by the wind strength and crosswind. Power is best left as a constant with these exceptions. Incremental reduction of power if high will make the glide patch angle increase. When the power is off, the angle can be made steeper by raising the nose and reduce the airspeed. Being low is best corrected by adding full power, while holding forward yoke pressure to maintain constant airspeed. Estimate in counting seconds as to how long it will take to recapture the desired glide path.

The stabilized approach usually begins at pattern altitude. The aircraft will be at the correct initial arrival speed, be configured to arrive in a normal descent for a normal landing. You need to know what it takes to slow the aircraft. Getting the slower speed is a first priority, then comes getting the stabilized descent. If the approach is not stabilized, you are better off to initiate the go-around instead of trying to salvage what is left.

The advantage of such an approach is multiple. 
--It reduces the workload, you slow down sooner
--You can see ahead what is coming. 
--You can think ahead as to what it takes to counter any adverse wind effect. 
--The reduction of flight variables means that you can anticipate rather than react. 
--You will have time to complete your before landing checklist. 
--Your ability to predict is greatly improved. 
--With the plane flying stabilized you now have only to fly the sight picture

Aiming for the Landing
A glider is aimed for a specific touchdown point. An airplane has such an aiming point but it is expected to touchdown beyond the aiming point. How far beyond is determined by airspeed control. The actual landing consists of roundout, flare, touchdown, and ground roll. The relative distances and length of each is directly related to the initial airspeed and how it is dissipated.

The aim point is, ideally, a stationary point anywhere in the first third of the runway. Under a stabilized approach with constant airspeed and glide slope, the aim point that moves toward you means you are going to be high and overshoot. Should the aim point move up and away, you are going to be low. The more steep your approach the better and more positively you can judge the aim-point movement and the sooner you can make adjustments.

The configuration, power/speed and wind will determine the glide path flown. 

In direct strong winds the choice is easy because your ground speed will be much slower that in a calm wind. This allows you to forget about being long. You can plan a steep full flaps approach with little distance between flare and the end of ground roll. The same wind from the side may mean that you have no effective headwind and may need minimum to no flaps to control the wing-low crosswind landing. When you have little to no effective headwind you must expect to carry some power, add some speed for rudder effectiveness, and have a less than desirable shallow approach. All of these equate into float and a more difficult to select touchdown point. A tailwind will always result in a shallow approach even with full flaps. A ten knot tailwind will double all numbers in the landing approach.

The pilot would very much like to be in control of the slope of his approach. Only in rare instances is this possible. Winds of all kinds can make a difference from turbulence to wind shear. The location of trees and buildings relative to wind direction can affect the landing approach. In windy and gusty conditions it is better never to pull your power all the way off. The reason for this is that the engine and propeller can spool up much more rapidly and effectively if starting from 1500 rpm.

The Decelerating Approach to Landing
The most insidious of poor landings is that which occurs as the approach decelerates. This particular approach can occur in two different situations. The first is attitude driven. The pilot sets an airspeed and attitude for the flare a bit early and high. The second is power driven where the pilot comes in shallow and keeps adding bits of power without re-trimming .
Both of these approaches begin with an illusion that everything is going just fine. Then the pilot senses that the nose is beginning to sink relative to the runway as sighted. The attitude approach will raise the nose to the desired position. The power driven approach will add a bit of power. In both cases there is a resulting loss of airspeed that goes undetected while the attitude is untrimmed. The yoke is more likely to be held with a full-fist grip than with finger and thumb.

In a matter of seconds the nose begins its sink again. Once again the nose is brought up to where it is 'supposed' to be either by yoke input or power input. Once again the airspeed will decay still further. This time the sink occurs sooner and is greater. Immediately the nose is raised by one pilot type or the power added by the other. By this time  the pilot should be aware that there is a problem. You need more airspeed but are too low to lower the nose. You must  add full power and go-around.. Doing the entire process, without the go-aroound,  again could mean you are out of power, behind the power-curve and in trouble.

Some aircraft are more prone to this type of crash landing than others. Short wing Pipers are critical on their approach speed because once slowed to a critical slow approach speed they will fall right through any remaining ground effect. The long wing Pipers are critical in the other direction. Any flare made with too much speed will cause a float until next Sunday.

The power driven decelerating approach is caused by a conceptual problem on the pilot's part. The pilot who believes that adding power will always get an aircraft moving faster does not understand just what happens when power is added. Adding only power to an aircraft without any yoke pressure or trim will cause the nose to rise to the left and give a drop in airspeed.

This is what causes the power driven decelerated approach. At some point the aircraft will arrive behind the power-curve where the only correction possible is to lower the nose and then only if sufficient altitude exists. A behind the power-curve landing is not pretty. During WWII I saw one about to occur over some tents and turned away from the sight.

The attitude driven decelerating approach is caused by a power-off approach where the flare is too high and perhaps with some excess airspeed. The correction for this situation is to hold the aircraft level while allowing some sink and decrease in airspeed. The common error lies in leaving the power off and raising the nose into a flare attitude. The problem with this is that it will increase the rate of speed loss. Loss of speed along with the higher nose attitude will aggravate the situation. The pilot who is flying by attitude alone without speed awareness will be momentarily satisfied with the nose attitude on the horizon. At the lower speed the aircraft will sink again, and again the pilot will raise the nose. At a certain point the sink of the aircraft will not stop when the nose is raised. Only adequate anticipatory power can prevent a hard landing. As with power we are being deluded by our habitual and instinctive reactions. We become so used to raising the nose to stop sink that we continue to use the process at speeds where the reaction only makes things worse. An early go around is always the best solution.

Another Way of Saying the Same Thing about Landings
…Initially you must plan your descent so as to arrive at the pattern altitude abeam the selected runway numbers and on airspeed. The desirable technique is to go slow and steady with a consistent adjustment of airspeeds and angles of descent that result in a smooth approach and landing. To do this you must have practiced the combination of airspeed, power, trim and flaps that make the desirable smoothness and anticipation possible.

Instructor Opinion on Landings
Landing the first time. Whenever I fly an airplane, especially if I have not flown it before, I try to get the "picture" before I try to land. If it is a "taildragger" you can sit for a few seconds on the end of the runway. See where the horizon cuts across the nose. That is where it should be just before you touch down. With a nose dragger do it on climb out. You speed on climb out is not much above your landing speed. See where the horizon cuts the nose on climb out. You want to see that before you land.

In the actual landing, never worry about "getting it on the ground." The airplane, once you have removed power, is NOT going to fly level for very long. Set and trim for your approach speed. When you turn final look in front of you for the "magic spot." This is the spot that is neither moving up nor down in your field of view. If something moves down, no matter how slowly, in the windshield you will go over it. If something moves UP, no matter how slowly, you will reach the ground before you get to it. The spot that moves not at all is the spot you will reach if nothing changes.

When the runway in front of you stops looking "uphill" and starts looking like highway in front of you, you are low enough. Level the airplane out (the roundout) and fly about hip high above the runway.

Now you peripheral vision becomes important. While looking down the runway about the same distance you would look when you are driving a car down the interstate at the same speed, watch the world coming up in your peripheral vision. You want to start pulling back on the controls at whatever rate you need to keep the "world" moving upward VERY slowly. Any time the world starts to go back down, STOP pulling back. Just hold still until it starts up again, and then start pulling back to keep it coming up slowly. Before you know it you will see the nose cutting the horizon at or more steeply than you did on climbout and the wheels will start to roll. Then use the rudders to keep it straight.

You do NOT want to be going sideways when you touch down. The wheels don't roll sideways! :-) Use the rudder to keep the nose lined up with the centerline. If the airplane is drifting to the side, lower the wing and slip a little to drift back. You want the drift to exactly stop before you touch down. Keep using the rudder to keep the nose pointed down the runway.

Then level out and try your darndest to keep the airplane from landing. When it is done flying, it will land all by itself. All you have to do is keep everything pointed in the right direction and slow it down until it CAN'T fly anymore. :-)

The desirability of a ground school depends more on you and how you learn best than anything does. It you are more comfortable learning at your own pace from a book, buy a couple of good books and forget the ground school.

If you learn better by having someone explain things to you, then the ground school is recommended. The CD series or video tapes are an in-between compromise. They will "explain" things to you, but it is difficult to ask a question when you don't grasp something! The CD's or tapes work fine if you have someone available you can ask when something on the tape or CD doesn't quite make sense to you. Hope all that helps! :-)

Twin Landings (Opinion)
You really don't need to worry about the faster landings until you start looking at twins, or some homebuilts.  You can even do full stall landings in a twin, but pray an engine doesn't quit. There you need the extra speed to be able to stay above the minimum single engine control speed. IF you need to do a go-around and lose an engine when trying full stall landings, it most likely will be a very short go-around.

Well, here's the thing. No light twin will go around on one engine from any reasonable approach speed with gear and flaps down without losing altitude.

For example - my Vmc is 90 mph. Stall is around 65 mph, which is pretty typical of high performance singles. If I am at something like full gross, and am descending on the three degree glide slope with gear and flaps down, then on a reasonably hot dayand with good technique I can go around on one engine - but between the time I firewall the throttle and the time I get a positive rate of climb and fly away, I will lose about 200 ft.

Thus at 300 ft AGL (which is about 1 mile final) I make the decision that if I lose an engine (remember it will take me time to identify, verify, and feather) I will land regardless. I figure that no matter how botched my approach and no matter the condition of the runway, I will likely survive a minimum energy landing even if I have to put it in the grass, on the ramp, etc. I will not survive a Vmc roll.

Until I turn final (usually about 1.5 mile, 500 ft or so) I will hold blue line and only approach flaps. As I turn final, the flaps come down, the props come forward, the power comes back and I begin the deceleration maneuver.

As I slow through red line at about 250-300 ft, I am committed. Oh, sure, if the runway is blocked I will go around. But if I feel a yaw as I advance the throttles, I will pull them back again and complete the landing. The purpose of a Vmc demo is to teach this, though as with other checkride maneuvers the purpose seems to have been forgotten. I will not identify, verify, or feather. I will fly the glide slope. My power requirement to maintain a three degree glide slope at 80-90 mph is so low that I only need partial power on one engine to make it happen, even with gear down and full flaps and a wind milling prop. This is true of almost any light twin. As long as you don't get low, you are fine.

As I cross the fence, I am at 80 mph - maybe 85 if I'm heavy - and still decelerating. The roundout begins at 70-80, and the touchdown is slower still. If I don't hear the stall horn blare, I don't feel like I've made a good landing. No, it's not really full stall - they never are - but it's within 5 mph if I'm having a good landing day.

If I need to, I can be stopped in 1200 ft without excessive braking without ever exposing myself to any great risk assuming reasonably smooth air. The problem is when I need to get out again, from a strip where getting stopped in 1200 wasimportant. My short field takeoff technique has me rotating at well below Vmc with full power. THAT is dangerous. If one engine quits, I can PROBABLY pull them both back quickly enough not to Vmc roll - if I'm sharp. The problem is that if I needed to do a real short field takeoff then there is an obstacle in my way. So now what? With the throttles back I'm going to hit it. This is why I am not very enthused about taking my twin into short fields.

I've NEVER seen an airplane that did not have enough elevator authority to raise the nose at 1.2 Vso, and especially not the 182. That kind of performance would be cause for an AD requiring elevator redesign and I seem to recall that one was issued for the Cardinal for that reason.

I have seen some (180h.p. Arrows with Hershey Bar wings) where you really had to haul back on the yoke to make it happen, though. These days, many pilots are not used to doing that.

Things happen pretty quickly on landing, and if you combine a student with nothing but C150/172 time and a low time instructor who may not catch an expensive error in time, then the best thing to do is carry some power to slow things down. When you have a student who is used to landing with yoke/stick all the way aft and/or an experienced instructor, it's not necessary.  But the real issue is not insufficient elevator authority - it is the unwillingness to use it all.

Some planes (Tri-Pacers are known for this, but almost any plane with relatively high wing loading and low aspect ratio fits the bill) have a different problem that seems the same - at 1.2 Vso you can raise the nose just fine but can't get enough lift out of the little stubby wings to arrest the descent rate. The result is a landing that is hard on the mains (a lot of descent rate) which will then slam the nose down.

There are two solutions to this. First, you can carry power down final. This reduces the descent rate without reducing airspeed, so it takes less to arrest the descent rate. Second, you just carry more airspeed into the flare.

You can land a Tri-Pacer power off - if you come in a 75 mph. With power, you can come in at 65. You can land a Bonanza power off - if you come in at 90 mph. With power, you can come in at 75-80. You can land a Twin Comanche power off if you come in at 95 mph. With power, you can come in at 80-85. And so on all down the line. Now, the key thing to remember is that the higher speed power off landing does not use more runway than the low speed landing with power - when you flare, you will quickly use up the excess airspeed to
arrest your descent rate. But the flare is tricky - it's easier to screw it up.

Of course the really easy way is to carry both the extra airspeed AND the power. You will use runway like
there is no tomorrow.

A 182 lands in 1000 ft with absolutely minimal braking power off. I've seen the people who carry a little power down to the flare use 2500. IMO that's just sloppy - but it will work.

Landing Advice from Experts
--Pre-determine your minimum acceptable descent rate.
--Use some power to control the descent rate.
--Consider using an 'aim point' even though you never expect to hit it as your touchdown point.
--Consistency is the highest sign of landing excellence.
--Approach consistency means a stabilized approach speed and descent rate is established.
--The more exact your pattern is adjusted to the wind conditions the better your consistency.
--A wider downwind will give you more room to adjust your base leg.
--Do not use a range of airspeeds…fly only one airspeed the Vref for your aircraft weight.
--Trim for hands-off flight on every pattern leg. Two-finger yoke control is best.
--Plan to touchdown 200 feet beyond your aim point.
--Adjust your power according to the apparent movement of your aim point.
--Do not let the nosewheel touch until the yoke can hold it up no longer.
--Let the aircraft land when and where it wants to. Don't force the landing when and where you want it.
--Look down the runway and hold the nose 'on' the end all the way to touchdown.
--Do not delay or second-guess your go-around. Do it.
--Adjust your wing-low as required as far out on final as you can and adjust it through the touchdown.

A Request for Help
Hello, My name is David, I am a Student Pilot on Stage 1 of the Private Pilot course. I read your article, "Not making progress?" and I have a few responses and questions. First of all the words that you described have fit with me during my training. Self-doubt, blame, resentment, and anger. And then the ideas of Quitting, seeking support, or to change instructors. I have felt all of these emotions. It seems like I haven't made any progress. The question that I have is that you didn't offer any suggestions on how to counter-act these feelings and I was wondering what does a student pilot do in situations like these?
Thank you for your time.
Before I can make specific suggestions I will need to know more about you, your background, location, aircraft involved, how often you fly, when you started, meaning of 'stage one', an accounting of your sequence of lessons and dates from you logbook would be helpful.

One item I can comment on. All the feeling you are and have been feeling are not peculiar to you nor unusual. Every student and pilot going for a new rating experiences these frustrations. One thing learning to fly will do for you is to improve your personal way of accepting those things over which you have no control and identifying and working on those things you can control.

Another item of interest. I taught school for thirty years. It took me that long to realize that any failure of my students had a great deal to do with me. .I really believe that students don't fail, teachers do. A student can help the teacher teach. Your instructors can learn a great deal about teaching you if you take some time to help them help you. No blame! Learning to fly is a cooperative process.  I can be more specific if you fill in the information I asked for.
Sure thing...I started flying August of 2000. I fly a Cessna 172, I have just over 30 hours of total flight time (No Cross Countries involved). I am taking my flight lessons and earning a Bachelor's Degree from Lewis University in Romeoville , Illinois. During the school year I fly three times a week...since we are on break I fly whenever the time between me and my instructor co-exist. I am on the Stage One of the Private Pilot Flight Course.
Hope this helps, I look forward to hearing from you.

I am unfamiliar with the 'Stage' syllabus. I will presume the completion and understanding of the following: Preflight procedures, use of checklists, Basic flight maneuvers level, climbs, descents and turns combined with these. Slow flight, minimum controllable, and all the common stalls.

Have you 'mastered' getting the C-172 trimmed for hands-off flying? Have you put the aircraft into a 30-degree bank with about a third of a trim turn and had it fly circles using only the rudder to maintain a constant bank and altitude. Make a point of letting go of the yoke and using just the rudder. These are confidence maneuvers that I use to show the student that the airplane is perfectly capable of flying itself without your hand on the yoke. I must presume that you are flying with only one finger and your thumb. Anything more will inhibit your learning and skill development.

I'll run through ground reference a bit next time.

If you have not done these, I would suggest that you give them a try. Read my material on the C-172 and give me a blow-by-blow account of how you fly a pattern leave the radio out.
I've been having some email sending problems. Did you get my response to your last email?

Yes I did. In fact I went up flying today and my instructor said that things were a lot better than the last time I flew. I still need work on the round-out and the flare, but my instructor said that will come with practice.
Good! About the roundout and flare.
The critical element to the roundout and flare is the approach speed. In the 172 you want to be at 60 knots. This is in any flap configuration. Presuming you are with full flaps for 'normal' landing you want to be trimmed for hands-off descent with power about 1200 rpm. If you look down too close to the aircraft you will tend to level off high. You want to look ahead much as you would when driving a car at 70 mph.

You will gently pull back and raise the yoke until the nose is 'level' as you see it. the aircraft will slow down and you will feel a very slow 'elevator' sinking occur. Lift up on the yoke and cover the far end of the runway with the nose of the aircraft. Lock your elbow against the door so that the shock of landing will not jar your hold on the yoke.

On ground contact take off any remaining power and hold the nose wheel off the ground by lifting up as far as the yoke will go. (Practice this lifting the yoke before starting the engine) Remove all power and keep the aircraft going straight. Do not swerve to get to the white line. Students normally land to the left of the centerline because raising the nose in the flare increases the P-factor and students neglect to add some right rudder.

Look up P-factor and read about why pilots walk funny. Keep me filled in with how you are doing until you get over your negative feelings.

Tail Wheel Landings
--FAR 61.31(I) requires additional training.
--Training must include normal, crosswind and wheel landings
--FAA recommends that tail wheel training be aircraft specific.
--90-day proficiency requires three full-stop landings
--Basic flying skill required for wing low elements is mastery of the Dutch roll.
–There are three distinct methods to use.
–Instructors must be skilled and teach all three methods
--Pilots should be skilled in all three methods
--48 percent of all weather-related accidents involved wind and loss of control while landing.
In all tail wheel landings the touchdown should have the longitudinal axis parallel to livn of movement.

Type 1:
 Normal being three-point and full stall
Normal landings allow a slower touchdown than other landings.
Elevator full aft to keep tail wheel on surface for best directional control.  On touchdown in crosswinds full aileron into the wind is required.

Sub types; 

--Used to correct for drift
--Crab angle is removed with rudder just prior to touchdown.
–-Preferred by low-wing aircraft pilots.
--May be used if aircraft runs out of control authority using wing low method.
--Timing of the kicking out of the crab into the wing low is critical.
--Improper timing put severe stress on landing gear

Wing low
--Wing low is added with aileron just prior to touchdown
. –Wing low methods gives better visibility if used with biplanes.
–Wing low gives a coordinated approach with no last moment changes.

The crab becomes a combination landing for a crosswind with change to wing low for touchdown and roll-out.

Type 2; 
Wheel landings allow better visibility and better passenger satisfaction.  Power approach with near level main-wheel touchdown only.  Tail wheel held off ground with forward pressure  As plane slows tail wheel will touch down and then full aft elevator is used.

Sub types;
--Used to correct for drift

Wing low
Wing low used to correct for drift as well.

Type 3; 
--Rudder to keep nose straight with runway and wing low used together to correct for drift.
–Wing low used in crosswinds immediately on touchdown with upwind wheel  touching first.

Landing Little Things
---Don’t quit flying when you flare.
---Drop your wing and use opposite rudder when sliding sideways.
---Continue to hold yoke back and nose up on touchdown. Nose wheel not required for landings.
---What is the nose wheel for? To keep the propeller clear of the ground.
---You do not need to see the runway once you pass the approach end. Raise nose, the runway will be there.
---If the nose wheel hits the runway, go around.
---Flying with dead feet is reason to expect a crosswind landing accident.

Short and Soft
---Conditions are not just adversities they are also experiences
---You will never become better if you cannot accept challenges
---Rely on the POH to determine what is possible.
---The POH does not offer a complete solution to all conditions
---Humidity effects are not factored into POH performance numbers
---Landing behind the power curve will make a shorter landing if you know how.
---The practicing of maximum performance arrivals and departures should be at regular interval.
---The wind is you friend especially if it is right down the runway you have chosen
---Experience rests of good judgment and fails with bad judgment

Hidden Danger of a Stabilized Approach
I have been flying for a month with a pilot who purchased a relatively new aircraft. His initial checkout consisted of a complete review of all operational procedures and upwards of fifteen hours of instruction including a CFI to accompany pilot for a 300 mile trip to his home field. All of this training was of the highest quality available

I had taught and flown with the pilot in club and rental aircraft during the previous year using Cessna aircraft mostly C-172s. The pilot has a glider rating and his airplane landings occasionally reminded me of the glider landing in that he was always reluctant to enter the flare before reaching the runway so as to touchdown on the numbers. He admitted as much and wanted to practice utilizing the 'float' of the flare on longer runways. Ground effect is your friend if used properly.

He has religiously been emphasizing the consistency of his approach speed of 70 knots HOWEVER, his flare and touchdown has been rather erratic with balloons, go-arounds and excessive power changes of addition and reductions. Finally I noticed the problem. He was trying to touch down at the approach speed.

I told him the story of an acquaintance of mine, who had several years ago purchased a homebuilt at Oshkosh and flown it back to California. Inside a month's time he was experiencing severe damage to the aircraft. The aircraft was literally falling apart. He had to replace engine, engine mounts, landing gear and much more. He had confused the approach speed of 90 knots with the far more variable and lower touchdown speed. He was flying the aircraft INTO the ground at the approach speed.

Once you are into the flare you are flying by feel, you are expected to be low enough and slow enough to safely touchdown safely. The aircraft should be through flying. Personally, I have absolutely no recollection of any touchdown airspeed other than it being as slow as possible. My preferred landing is a light 'thump' and it is rarely the 'greaser' which is accidental.

Every landing will be different except in one very little known and understood respect. Wind is never as forecast or planned, the indicated airspeed is only accidentally the same as ground speed and density altitude determines how long your float will carry you to your slowest possible touchdown. Oh, yes, the constant is the TIME of float.

 Return to whittsflying Home Page
Related Page Use of Flaps
Continued on Page 4.70 Elements of  Landing