Page 4.7 (9,145)
Elements of a Landing
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...Prelanding; ...Beginning Landings; ...Stabilized Approach; ...The Meaning of Stabilized; ...Finding the Sweet Spot; ...Airspeed Control; ...The Approach; ...Generic Landing Pattern; ...Do, By Trying Not To; ...Using Anticipation; ...Ground Effect; ...The Landing; ...Landing Stall; ...Touchdown;... Post-Landing Techniques; ...Salvaging the Landing; ...Landing Speed; ...Glide Speeds; ...Touchdown Speed; ...Landing Roll; ...Salvaging a Landing; ...Gene's Aside; ...Problem with My Landings;  ...Landing Thoughts; ...Every Landing is Different; ...About Landings; ...Landing Illusions; ...The Hidden Danger of an Stabilized Approach; ...Opinions on Slow Landings; ...Time of Float; ...Advice; ... Dudley on Landings; ...

The prelanding begins well away from the destination airport. From cruise flight we must plan our descent. This usually means we must decide at some point to change altitude into airspeed. It is usually, but not always, done by planned reductions in power and mixture adjustments as required. There are advantages to getting the ATIS as far out as you can. Sure, the ATIS may well change before you arrive but not so much as to affect the advantages of prior knowledge.

From the ATIS you have planned your arrival to include selection of your initial call-up point, radio procedure planning, situational sensitivity, best pattern entry, and your 'what if' options. At a constant point in your pattern arrival you complete the initial components of the prelanding checklist.

For non-complex general aviation aircraft, my preference is to have a pre-landing count system that uses my fingers for up to ten items. As I identify an item I use an appropriate finger. Others go through the process and then check the list. However it feels best to you, you should always run through your prelanding checklist.

Prelanding in the options pattern abbreviates the checklist into gauges and instruments, traffic and clearance. Options approval from ATC gives you a choice of a touch-and-go, go-around, stop-and-go, and full stop. ATC may preclude any of these at their option for traffic considerations.

Copy ATIS........Think............................GUMP
Fuel/Mixture.......Gauges/instruments.......Go-around procedure
.........................Type of entry................ Position and traffic
..........................Altitude......................... Frequency
..........................Pattern altitude

Beginning Landings (Instructor)
On our first inter-airport flight, I select a practice area somewhere in between to do a series of landing patterns at altitude. I use the same headings as would be expected at our destination airport. I usually select a climb to 4200' over some hills that will keep us within 3000' of terrain. At 4200' we enter the downwind heading, the pilot performs the pre landing check. At the 'numbers' he applies carb heat, reduces power to 1500 RPM, moves the trim wheel down three full turns using only the index finger, applies sufficient back pressure to maintain 4200'. He allows the aircraft (C-150)to decelerate to 60-knots while holding heading and altitude. This is a vital series of skill applications. It may need to be repeated several times to acquire a satisfactory level of performance. It usually helps to have the student say aloud what he is doing. This information on the tape recorder is very helpful for later review.

The momentum of the aircraft from the numbers to the point that the preceding configuration is achieved covers just the distance to the 'key' position. This is the point at which the base turn is commenced and descent begins. As with all turns, clearing is performed, pressures and added and released on yoke and rudder to smoothly make 90-degree turns in 30-degree banks at 60 kts. (Remember, we practiced these descending banks and turns earlier in our training.)

The difference in this lesson to prior trim and flap lessons is that we are practicing the landing sequence. All turns will be in left pattern until the go around or in right pattern until the go around. In line with the teaching/learning precept that a first learned procedure will also be the first reaction in an emergency, the go-around is the first taught landing operation. This process is first introduced with an imaginary 'ground level'. At altitude and airspeed of 60 kts the student applies a count of 4 to the flaps. As the flaps go down, forward pressure is applied to the yoke to maintain 60 kts. One full upward turn of the trim should keep the speed at 60 kts without any yoke pressure. After simulating downwind, key position, trim, flaps and airspeed, base and final the go around is performed. The sequence of SMO O O TH power C. H., rudder, flaps up 20 degrees, airspeed of 65, climb attitude, flaps up, and trim should be repeated as on many previous flights. From this 'good beginning' the remainder of the pattern usually follows quite easily.

Stabilized approach
The stabilized approach has no peer in affecting good landings. Set as many constants on the landing approach as you can. Set the power to a predetermined constant. Know the trim movement, and setting required for every change in power and flap change. On final establish your flight glide path and sideslip for runway alignment. Trim for the airspeed after setting a constant power. After flaps are constant, use power to adjust touchdown zone in very small reductions.

A good landing begins on a correct downwind being flown. Enter every downwind at the same speed and make speed adjustments on the downwind according to traffic. Use a consistent attitude, airspeed, and power combination. Select flaps according to wind direction and velocity. Once you have leveled off in the flare, use gradual yoke and power changes to maintain a smooth nose-high descent to the touchdown. Keep the nose straight with the rudder and centerline alignment by sideslips. the more consistent you are in your approach configuration settings the better able you will be to make any adjustments or corrections.

Think about keeping the airplane from touching the closer you get to the ground. This will help you keep the nose wheel off the ground and touchdown on the mains. The closer you are to a full stall on touchdown the better the landing and the slower the landing speed. Lift UP on the yoke and hold it all the way up and back until the nose falls by itself.

After a good pattern and stabilized approach comes being trimmed for the speed. Trim, and retrim as required to get and hold the desired speed. If you must apply pressure to hold a speed you MUST make a trim adjustment. If you change power, you must make a related trim adjustment to hold the same hands-off speed.

The Meaning of Stabilized
--Approach is on glide path, at constant descent speed, at constant descent rate and on course.
--The reference speed at short final is based on aircraft about 1.3 of Vso for stall speed and weight.
--POH speeds are all based on gross weights. The Vref and speed on approach will be less. Go figure.
--I Figure that l fly the pattern in ten knot increments ending up at Vref over the numbers. Others use 5 knots.
--I normally fly cruise until abeam the numbers. The losing of this speed sets the pattern size.

Finding the Sweet Spot
The landing is a problem for every new pilot. You have a minute or so to transition from using all the aircraft's energy to keep flying and allow it to dissipate by conversion into loss of altitude and reduction in airspeed. A landing is just another form of flying.

First you must begin and continue to change the configuration and performance to achieve the most controllable and safe approach to the runway. The approach includes the traffic pattern you fly down to just short of the runway You must plan and perform so as to run out of altitude and flying speed at the same instant.

Parallel alignment with the runway is more important than being on the center line. Others disagree on this point . As you approach the runway you look at the end of the runway and the space between it and the nose of your aircraft. You will see the space getting shorter if you are high and longer and flatter if you are low. When the space remains constant you have discovered the one spot where you are going.

Airspeed Control
Landing an aircraft is an exercise in energy control. The major factor in this is control of airspeed. Every phase of the landing process has an airspeed or an airspeed range that provides the maximum safety and utility in the process. I do not teach a range of operational speeds for takeoff, landings, or climb. On downwind, base and final there are a recommended airspeeds. The final approach speed is 1.3 Vso except during gusty conditions. Vso is the calibrated power off stall speed of the aircraft in landing configuration and forward C.G. Vso is calculated on actual landing weight. The POH Vso is calculated on gross weight. The critical Vso on final can be too fast, too slow, adjusted for weight, gusts, and airspeed indicator corrections. I always teach speeds with a margin of operational safety for the student. This margin is not usually revealed to the student.

If you fly an approach at 10% faster than 1.3 Vso, not only will your have a flatter and much longer over the fence, your rollout distance will be twenty percent longer after touchdown all other factors being equal. An approach thirty percent greater than Vso will require 100% additional rollout distance. If you are at a weight less than the maximum gross landing weight you can expect to float longer at Vso before touchdown and hopefully stop in less distance after touchdown because of increased braking efficiency. What this means is that if you have a weight 10% below POH landing gross you should decrease your Vso calibrated airspeed by rule of thumb 5%. This is done because all aircraft stall at slower speeds when they are lighter.

The Approach
I have, on more than one occasion, watched a pilot have all the variables of a landing into the air at the same time. Power up then down, airspeed down then up, approach path high to low and back again. Runway alignment moving side to side and the nose swinging back and forth. As an instructor, I find it difficult not to provide salvaging information. However, a recent pilot asked that I give him a pattern without saying anything. The approach was a revelation to the student as to his procedures as well as a revelation to me that letting the pilot get into trouble was certainly one way to get his attention focused on my instruction.

The stabilized approach begins from a high-speed descent and ends at the tiedown. At every intermediate point the pilot is reducing the variables that he is expected to juggle one by one. Normal entry into downwind is when the pilot begins to configure the aircraft for the pattern. the pre-landing checklist, including gear down is completed. At the numbers the power is set for a pre-determined constant. A reduction that will give 1500 rpm or 15 inches are acceptable settings. Further power changes should be made to maintain power constants as necessary. The entire landing to touchdown can be accomplished with no changes to this power setting.

A pilot whose initial training did not include emphasis on the stabilized approach is more likely to make compound corrections. Power will be added at the same time the nose is raised when low on the glide path. The nose may be lowered to bring up the airspeed and correct being high on the glide path. These procedures often fail to correct the problem and must be repeated several times. Above the glidepath and fast requires both a power reduction or additional drag along with a higher pitch attitude.

Making decisive correction of airspeed, attitude and configuration means that the student must know what element of glide slope control is going to be decisive. The early detection of small errors allows either small adjustments or, as in the case of flaps, a delay until a full increment can be used to make the correction more permanent. The stabilized approach is the antithesis of the compound correction. The only solution for being low on the glide slope is a full power correction while maintaining approach speed with yoke pressure for an estimated time period or until the nose touches the far end of the runway. There are three ways to correct being high. First, flaps as conditions allow. Second, power reductions that will allow interception of the glide path. Third, reduce airspeed to increase rate of sink over distance flown.

The constant airspeed means that the controls will perform in a constant manner. The stabilized approach is the basis upon which a hands-off landing can be made down to the flare. Being able to trim accurately for the airspeed stabilized approach gives you the final useful constant. Knowing how the controls will behave reduces the likelihood of excessive or improper control movement.

The flap settings are made according to wind conditions with trim adjusted for hands-off airspeed. (Flap changes are best never made below 200' AGL because the variables will once again will be in the air and the stabilized approach lost.) With all configurations constant and on final, the airspeed (Pitch attitude) is set and trimmed for the final approach. Airspeed is energy. Too much airspeed causes float and wasted runway.

Too little airspeed will increase the sink rate and perhaps a short or hard landing. The POH airspeed is based on gross and may be lower if the approach is flown below gross. Even slight changes in airspeed make large differences in the way the float and flare react to elevator movements.

By maintaining a constant indicated airspeed the pilot is able to make considered judgment as to the glide path. Knowing the glide path's relationship to the runway is a stabilized approach enables the pilot to determine the expected landing. Once established you have two points in mind. There is an aiming point at which point you will flare and a touchdown point a distance beyond. The pilot still has several variables that allow him to vary the distance between the aim point and the touchdown point.

Runway alignment can be visually determined by reference to the centerline of the runway. If the runway does not make a vertical line on the windshield, then the airplane is not lined up properly.

Flaring high and reducing the power to off quickly can cause the plane to settle abruptly, so abruptly that the one-second human reaction time is just enough delay to allow ground contact. Depending on the remaining kinetic energy the plane may stay on the ground or rebound back into the air. Any attempt by the pilot to salvage the landing is likely to result in severe aircraft damage. The go-around is the best option if the aircraft is not firmly on the ground.

Flaring low can greatly extend the touch down range by keeping the power at 1500. The low flare takes advantage of the drag reducing capabilities of ground effect. This capability is a seldom-used capacity by those pilots who have never taken glider training.  Several glider lessons will greatly improve your use of ground effect and rudder.

The normal flare occurs with the wheels near hip high above the ground with 1500 RPM. Once the round-out speed has reduced we feel a slight singing-elevator sensation. We begin to increase the back and up movement of the yoke while at the same time in 100-RPM increments we reduce the power. One effective procedure is to fix the nose on the far end of the runway and wait for ground contact. The ideal is that at the moment the yoke is full back and the power all the way off, ground contact occurs. In the less than ideal landing the ground contact is made with the main gear and the nose wheel held clear of ground contact. Any power remaining is removed at moment of ground contact.

Generic Landing Pattern
The landing climaxes at the point of touchdown but will not end there. Furthermore, the beginning of a particular landing occurred at some past landing where a lesson was learned when the pilot was high, low, fast, slow or out of control. The mistake of the past is avoided, corrected and blended into a successful landing. Not perfect, just satisfactory.

The satisfactory landing begins with aircraft control. Aircraft control is the pilot's ability to perform the four basics of climb, descent, level, and turns within a predetermined tolerance level. Aircraft control also includes the ability to use the four basics to position the aircraft in the landing pattern within another predetermined tolerance level of distance and altitude. The last element of aircraft control has to do with configuration. The pilot to select the optimum configuration for the situation uses wind and terrain. The so-called stabilized approach to landing begins far before turning final. The amount of tolerance allowed by an instructor is a variable based on how close you are to doing solo landings.

On downwind you should make a preliminary decision as to the flap configuration you will use. The POH standard is to land with full flaps if wind conditions allow. Just how you set the power, apply flaps, and trim for an airspeed is multi-task variable. Whatever you choose to do should have a consistency. Only in simulated emergency or short-short approaches should power be taken all the way off. Shock cooling the engine is a relatively dangerous practice. Accumulative engine damage. (See 4.7) Whatever the power and flap setting the trim should be adjusted for the hands-off airspeed desired. Do not accept trimmed airspeeds off the desired speed. Most trainers use the same approach speed from the key position, to base, to final, to the round-out. Beyond the trainer, aircraft will use two or three different speeds from downwind, base, and final.

One variable that often occurs in downwind is an ATC call or situation that puts you as #3 to land or a need that you extend your downwind. In both cases you initiate the slow-flight procedure immediately even before using the radio. You want to avoid getting too far from the airport if possible. You hand-fly the slow-flight by using the same trim as you would have but add about 500 rpm to hold altitude and 10 degrees of flap to improve over the nose visibility. Resumption of the approach requires only reduction of power.

My preference is to reduce power to whatever setting will give me 1500 rpm when I reach the key position. The 'key' is a 45-degree angle to your rear toward the runway threshold. At the key position I will have maintained altitude and trimmed for my base approach speed, I put in one notch of flaps hold that airspeed with forward yoke and retrim while turning base. I have learned to put in flaps, apply forward pressure, and trim without looking any place except over the nose of the aircraft. I have begun my descent and am trimmed hands-off. Once my aircraft is under control I look to see the airport. A major fault of those who lose control is mixing up their priorities.

I make most of my approach adjustments on base. I may add a second notch of flaps, fly a wider base, or one closer in. Occasionally, ATC may ask you to make an adjustment by asking that you, "square your base" or "fly directly to the runway". Regardless of what you do, do it at a constant airspeed. Only by having a constant airspeed can you develop the skills needed in determining a stabilized approach angle. On final and on final approach airspeed I use the nose as a sight to make my high/low decisions. By aiming short of the runway a hundred feet you can become experienced in the use of ground effect. Being high offers the most corrective options; I can add flaps to maximum for wind conditions; I can reduce power in increments of 100 rpm or more; or, I can reduce my approach speed to cover less ground for altitude lost. Runway permitting I assume normal approach speed just prior to round-out. The universal solution for being low consists of adding full power while holding approach speed for an estimated time needed to intercept normal glide path.

Other opinions to the contrary, small additions of power can cause a pilot to enter into a condition known as 'the constantly decelerating approach'. As the power is added, the speed drops until there is not enough power to maintain altitude. You are behind the power curve and with the ground close by you have run out of options. The worst thing that could happen to a low-time pilot is to 'get away' with additions of power that lead to the decelerating approach. Next time you may not get away with it. (See decelerating approach)

Do, By Trying Not To
From the very first flight we have been developing the skills required for the successful performance of landing patterns. We have learned the use of 90-degree reference points for making turns. We have learned to use the heading indicator as a backup. We have learned to hold altitude while changing airspeed. We have learned to set power and trim for specific airspeeds. We have learned to use trim for climbs, level, and descents. We have leaned to control our airspeed while going through various flap settings. We have learned to do the power off stall. We have learned to do the go-around. We have learned to do these things while maintaining an active scan outside the aircraft. Now, by putting all these skills together in various combinations we can proceed with landings.

Other factors influence the 'putting together' of the landing skills. One such factor is the weather. The definition of the horizon can dramatically influence the ability of the student to level off at pattern altitude. The wind velocity and direction can make a student's pattern size and form become totally disrupted. A change in runways at the home field or a different runway layout at the new field can disorient a student. Nothing, but nothing, so disrupts the mental processes as being 'lost'. I am bringing this up early in the landing program because I want the student to be aware that flying the airplane is the first priority. Do not let the debilitating effects of disorientation so focus your attention and energies that you forget to fly the plane. It will happen if you let it happen. You can prevent it happening by flight preparation. You can prevent it by studying and knowing the area. You can learn to use the, properly set, heading indicator to resolve pattern difficulties. Do not let your efforts to make sure the runway is still in existence distract you from the essential of airspeed control. If, at any airport, you are unable to get down safely in three tries go elsewhere.

The conscious visualization of what is expected can actually cause it to occur. If the student can visualize the entire landing procedure both as to attitude, airspeed, sound and orientation about the runway it will happen. This is not the same as the oral/physical review of the skills and techniques involved. Rather, it is a mind's eye view of what is supposed to happen. Watch the way birds land on the ground or water. That is the way an airplane is supposed to land. With nose up and wings outstretched and curled down. The harder you try not to land, the better your landing is likely to be.

You can only keep ahead of an airplane by never getting behind. Trite but true. Many pilots have found that by saying orally the things they are doing and the things that they expect to happen. Example: "Trim down three, holding heading? and altitude?. What's next?" as would occur at the numbers on downwind. The system of self-direction and auto-interrogation works at all levels of skill and flying. Landings, because of their intellectual and emotional intensity, tend to become an area of ingrained habits. Some of these acquisitions are bad. These habits may be acquired from instruction, self-induced by poor practice, or acquired from other pilots. The unlearning of a bad habit is the most difficult process in flying.

The student should be made to realize that all of the foregoing procedures are, when arranged in a given sequence, the landing process. For a landing the airspeed must be made to transition smoothly from cruise, to approach, to stall. There may be a sequence of turns either left or right while descending. The trim and flaps must be smoothly coordinated in application to maintain the approach angle and speed. Power is smoothly changed from cruise to 1500 to off. The power off stall at moment of ground contact is the landing.

Using Anticipation
Regardless of geographic points, wind conditions, power or flaps the basic landing procedure is constant. As skills develop the basic procedure may be varied to account for specific conditions. The more constant your power, airspeed, angle of bank, control touch, and stabilized approach the better we deal with the unexpected. Again, the most important element of a good approach is to be at the proper speed, trimmed for that speed, and at a pitch attitude that will keep that speed. It is the trimmed pitch attitude that keeps a speed constant or returning to a constant. If the pitch attitude is right, even in gusty conditions, the speed will be trying to return to its trimmed value. Instinctive reactions to the sense of falling, hitting the ground, slips and turbulence must be replaced with an understanding of what works.

Abruptness on the yoke will cause fluctuation of the airspeed and a widely varying climb, descent and altitude. Smoothness, anticipation, and a light touch give the very best in aircraft control.

Once the basic constants have been mastered, proficiency training will provide variations of flaps, power, approaches, and landings. We will land in widely differing winds with no flaps to full flaps. This teaches us to explore the outer performance limits of the aircraft as mated to pilot capability. Power will be varied as well. The short approach will be compared to the short-short approach. Ever try a simulated short-short approach to a short field landing on a muddy field? You may need to someday. For this reason it is important to your future success and safety that you be exposed to as much variation in procedures and situations as possible.

Ground Effect
Ground effect is a complex physical condition that effectively makes a wing or other lifting surface react as though there is a cushion of relatively dense air that exists within half a wingspan of the surface. Flight in ground effect requires less power to stay up the closer to the ground it flies. To get down the aircraft must slow down. The loss of speed causes the nose to lower relatively to the tail section. To prevent the nose from lowering and perhaps having the nose wheel strike the ground before the main wheels, it is necessary for the pilot to continue to increase the elevator effect throughout the lowering process to insure the slowest possible touchdown. The ideal yoke movement is a logarithmic increase in the back and up to the full range of movement possible.

Ground effect makes it possible for an airplane to fly slower close to the ground than would be possible even slightly higher. Less induced drag is produced when the nearness of the ground restricts airflow patterns around and below the wing. The airflow above and below and wing is not symmetrical. The influence of the ground slows the air across the bottom of the wing. This increases the pressure differential and thereby the lift. It is this pressure differential that gives lift. At a wingspan distance above the ground this lift increases the closer to the ground you get.

Ground effect makes it possible to lift off at reduced speed and at too high pitch angles. If you leave ground effect you may be behind the power curve. This means you cannot accelerate without lowering the nose. If you can't lower the nose because of terrain you have run out of options.

Ground effect, when properly used, is a positive factor in soft field, density altitude takeoffs and low level go-arounds. Do not try to climb out of ground effect until you have attained climb speed. This speed is required at greater than wingspan heights to replace the less than wingspan height effects of the ground. Ground effect increases the closer you are to the ground. Low wing aircraft receive greater effect than high wing aircraft. The transitional difficulties that low-wing pilots have when moving to high-wing aircraft are caused by the significant differences in ground effect.

Ground effect is a tool to be used for all landings. It can cause good or poor landings. Properly used it allow a full stall landing at a ground speed slower than would be possible without ground effect. If the approach speed is too fast, the ground effect will cause float problems. Excessive float may cause a pilot to lower the nose while still with excess speed sufficient to hold the main wheels off the ground while the nose wheel touches. This is a very dangerous condition called wheelbarrowing.

To truly realize the power of ground effect, I would urge every student and pilot to go for at least two glider rides. The first would be the standard 20-minute demonstration. A great experience in use of the rudder while 'boxing' the tow plane. The second should be a simulated glider emergency by the instructor. I won't tell any more since it would spoil the experience.

The key factor of ground effect is, "How close is the wing to the ground." The closer to the ground you can get the wing the more dramatic the reduction in drag. Flaring too close to the ground can cause a 'bounce' or balloon without even touching the ground. If the wheels touch the ground the bounce is much more pronounced and should transition into a go-around.

A thirty-foot wing within three feet of the ground will have nearly a 50% reduction in induced drag. At seven feet the reduction will be 25%. A pilot having this knowledge can adjust his landing flare altitude according to the situation. If you have a need to bleed off speed quickly, flare a bit high; if the need is to float, as to reach a particular touchdown point, flare low. You should practice different flare altitudes at different temperatures and density altitudes so as to blend your skills with the capabilities of the aircraft.

The Landing
A more difficult awareness problem for the student pilot is keeping the nose parallel to the runway centerline with the rudder while countering any side movement of the aircraft with ailerons. If this establishment of a sideslip is not at the instinctive level you will be getting it wrong. One corrective technique used by experienced pilots is to use a correction and then immediately take half of it out. This method of making two-step corrections is something you might want to try only if you seem always to be in reactive mode rather than the anticipatory. Being able to correct your mistakes safely is part of the process.

Accept any touchdown point in the first third of the runway. Beyond the first third, go-around. Don't ever become too pleased of landing on the numbers. Pride goeth before the landing short. If low on approach, apply full power to intercept the correct glide path. Don't change your flap configuration below 200' AGL. Every yoke movement should be "back". Ideally every power change would be a reduction. Don't let yourself be hurried off the runway. Clean up the plane only after the roll out is well controlled or clear of the runway.

Landing Stall
With the yoke full back, power off, and the runway out of sight you should hear the stall warner just as touchdown occurs. Even a relatively high flare in this configuration will keep the plane on the ground after initial contact. The main gear springs tend to 'squat' and absorb the shock without rebounding. The nose gear compresses and rebounds sending the nose into the air. Again, do not let the yoke go forward. Do not let the nose wheel touch the ground. Where the plane stays on the ground just keep the yoke back. IF the plane becomes airborne, GO AROUND.

The full stall landing is most easily accomplished when the aircraft is loaded near (not beyond) the aft center of gravity limit. This gives the elevators more sensitivity, reduces the pitch forward on the nose wheel and allows the nose to be raised more easily. With a proper approach speed, power, roundout, and flare the full stall landing is likely to occur.

It is psychologically difficult for the student pilot to make the runway disappear. An old PTS guide once said that the ideal landing occurred when at the moment of touchdown, the yoke was all the way back, the power was reduced to off, and the stall warner would bleep. As the pilot you are striving for this ideal. It does not occur often. The flare and landing is an act of faith. You must believe that the runway will be there. You will not know just when the landing will occur.

With the yoke full back, the power off, and the runway out of sight you should hear the stall-warner just as touchdown occurs. Even a relatively high flare in this configuration will keep the plane on the ground after initial contact. At touchdown KEEP backpressure on the yoke. Bring up the flaps and remove carburetor-heat. Maintain runway heading. This allows the nose wheel to come down and the plane to decelerate smoothly. Once you have made a good well-controlled landing and have FAITH, each subsequent landing will seem easier. The perfect touchdown to a landing is a very satisfying experience and a cause of emotional release but!!!! Don't let the sudden and perhaps hard ground contact permit the yoke to go forward. Keep the yoke held full back and up. Directional control on roll out is just as crucial though not as satisfying. Keep the plane running true, don't apply brakes until flaps are raised. When you are tied-down the landing is over.

Post-Landing Techniques
There is some argument as to the best operation of flaps after landing. Because of a proclivity for gear retraction accidents to occur to those pilots who practice bringing up flaps on landing. (They use the gear lever instead of the flap lever). Advise the tower prior to landing if for any reason you can anticipate not being able to clear the runway in a normal fashion. Don't let yourself be hurried into clearing if it is not safe to do so. In landing you OWN the runway.

However, there are wind conditions when the ground control of the aircraft necessitates getting the flaps up as soon as possible. Also there is a tendency for many pilots to apply brakes with the flaps down in such a manner as to lock the tires or to skid. The aerodynamic lifting of flaps, even under a light wind, is such that tire damage can result.

Recommendations have been made that flaps be left down until clear of the runway and stopped. For the first 25% of your rollout speed you will find that the flaps provide considerable drag and slowing effect. In line with the learning law of primacy such a practice has much to recommend it. Do not apply braking until you have started the flaps up. Do your heaviest braking while going straight ahead. Avoid heavy braking in turns. Keep the aircraft rolling to clear the runway.

The practicality of economics says to bring up the flaps on touchdown. If the landing shock causes the pilot to allow the yoke to move forward, the flaps can cause a condition known as 'wheelbarrowing'. This means that the lift from the flaps when added to the yoke position is sufficient to lift the main wheels off the pavement. This means the only ground contact is the nose wheel. Such a 'wheelbarrow' condition results in instant loss of control and a ground loop (very sharp turn). There are many landing situations where the yoke is held still or moved back and up. There are none where the yoke should be moved forward after touchdown.

The most efficient braking is pressure applied sufficient to almost stop the wheel from rolling while proceeding in line with your inertia. Any swerve or turn will reduce braking effectiveness and impose severe side loads on the aircraft and landing gear. Once the flaps are off the brakes become more effective due to the aircraft weight on the wheels. Holding the yoke back during braking will keep weight off the nose wheel and on the mains and inhibit nosewheel shimmy. Intermittent braking is not considered a viable alternative. Wait until you are clear of the runway (across the hold bars) to clean up the cockpit.

Salvaging the Landing:
How do you know how and when to salvage a landing? Can some poor approaches and flares be safely corrected? The answer is yes. You must have very deep pockets to afford salvaging landings. As previously indicated. Your best option will be the go-around. Judicious additions of power may be applied and be successful. A combination of luck and experience may work. My recommendation is that all salvage efforts be delayed until you are using your own airplane.

If ground contact is made before the yoke is fully back, then the airplane will still have some residue of flying speed left. On ground contact the plane may well become airborne again. Any touchdown at more than the slowest possible speed is hard on the plane. If the power has not been taken off at touchdown the likelihood of becoming airborne is greatly increased. If, under the foregoing conditions, yoke pressure is applied forward so as to keep the nose wheel in ground contact, wheel barrowing may occur. The slightest swerve becomes instantly uncontrollable and will cause a ground loop or worse. GO AROUND.

The normal landing in a C-150 calls for full flaps. There is a nominal five-knot decrease in approach speed with the use of flaps to be used for short field landings. The steeper approach allowed by flaps greatly improves landing accuracy. The manual of the C-150 specifically prohibits slips with flaps. This is because it is possible for the flaps, especially full flaps, to block the flow of air to the horizontal stabilizer and elevator. Such a blockage can cause these flight surfaces to stall. This results in an abrupt and extreme nose down pitch. Like straight down. This is most likely to occur in gusty or wind shear conditions. Use minimum flaps when the wind is strong.

Actually, the wind has an influence not so much on airspeed as on the glide path angle and rollout distance. A wind can be considered a factor on landing rollout distance only if it exceeds 10% of your touchdown speed. A tailwind has the same effect that carrying excess approach speed would have. A landing touchdown with ten knots excess airspeed and a ten-knot tail wind will double the landing rollout distance required. A calm wind, less than five knots, has no significant effect on landing distance. For a headwind greater than 10% of touchdown speed subtract the percentage that the headwind is of the touchdown speed (CAS) from 90% and use the difference as a multiple of the now-wind roll-out distance. If your touchdown speed is 80 knots and the headwind is 16 knots and a no-wind landing distance is 2000 feet it works out as 90% - 16/80 = 90% -20R = 70% x 2000 = 1400 feet estimated roll-out distance. You can use the same calculations for a tailwind by just doubling the result. Close enough for government work.

Once a decision is made on final to land, the aircraft is slowed to Vref. The speed used for over-the-fence is called Vref. This is the speed used in ground effect and flare as power is gradually reduced. This speed is obtained by using Vso as adjusted for weight below gross plus 1/2 velocity of any wind gusts occurring. The resulting speed will be close to landing speed required to prevent hydroplaning on a wet runway. The lower the landing speed the shorter the landing distance. Landing with a higher than Vref in long-winged planes greatly increases float. Landing with a lower than Vref speed in short-winged aircraft will cause the plane to run out of ground effect sooner than desired. All landings are predicated on flying to the missed approach/go-around point before a landing decision is made.

Landing distance is a function of landing ground speed. Approximately 30% of the square of the landing speed gives the landing distance using English measurements. Thus a 70 mph approach (70 x 70 x .3 = 1470) will require approximately 1500 feet from over the fence altitude landing distance. Multiply the indicated Vref landing speed less any headwind component by itself, multiply this product by .3 and we have the expected landing distance to be slightly over 1000 feet. This landing distance assumes crossing the threshold at 50 feet and normal braking. Increasing the Vref by 10% will result in a 20% increase in required distance. If a 10-knot tail wind exists, the required distance will increase by 50%. A tail wind flattens the approach angle although the increase in speed may not be apparent until relatively close to the ground. A 10% reduction in POH Vso weight will give a 5% reduction in landing distance. Thus, a solo student should expect and plan for shorter landings.

As mentioned in the beginning, the 1.3 Vso can be used except in gusting conditions. All pattern airspeeds should be increased in gusting conditions. Any increase in airspeed should be half the gust factor as given, forecast, or estimated.

Straight in approaches to an upslope runway will cause the pilot to undershoot. A downslope will cause an overshoot. The best way to avoid the illusions caused by this, is to fly a full pattern. Being ground shy can be overcome by flying along a very long runway in slowflight.

Landing speed
I find it unfortunate that so many POH presentations give landing speed as a ten-knot range. Given a free choice the inexperienced will chose the high end of this range as a 'safety factor. This is wrong for several reasons:

-- POH speeds are for gross weights. It is only infrequently that planes are flown at full gross weights. Even at gross weights the low end of the POH approach speed is perfectly safe. What's more, for every 10% that you are below gross weight you can reduce the approach speed by 5%. In gusty conditions add half of the maximum gust speed.

-- Excess approach speed is only appropriate when it is required for nose alignment during crosswind landings. Otherwise, this speed must be dissipated while over the runway. This means floating and braking. Floating is wasteful of runway length unless done purposely to reduce taxi time. Braking tends to be hard on the aircraft. In some aircraft such as the taper-wing Pipers, excess speed may preclude even landing. If you are below gross fly the approach at Vref. Vref is the speed you figure based upon your weight as it actually is below gross.

Glide Speeds
Power on or power off there are several recommended descent gliding speeds for an aircraft. Once an aircraft is on a stabilized flight path with a constant power just making a change in the airspeed will change the glide path. The aircraft can be trimmed at any number of different glide speeds. One speed is considered the dividing line between the front and backside of the power curve. This speed is the speed usually used for an approach. Any faster speed will increase the rate of descent and speed and the distance covered. Any slower speed will cause a drop in airspeed and an increase in descent rate covers less distance. The slower speed is often used when an approach is very high. Maximum recommended flaps, power off, and the slow speed to increase the descent rate over less distance usually precede it. The same descent rate could be achieved by lowering the nose and increasing the speed. The increase in distance traveled would probably require a go-around in lieu of a landing.

A blending of yoke and throttle can stabilize the actual flight path. The use of a constant throttle setting, even to off, makes the trimming for a constant, hands-off, airspeed the final ingredient for a stabilized approach.

Without flaps, an airplane gliding as the minimum sink airspeed vs. the maximum distance speed will give a .5-mile less distance for every 3000 feet of altitude. A glide cannot be stretched beyond the maximum glide distance. You can reduce the rate of sink but you will also reduce the distance. The heavier the plane the higher the speed needed to get the best glide ratio. Stopping the propeller by initiation a stall will make a significant increase in glide distance. With GPS it is relatively easy to determine the best glide speed for a specific weight and aircraft.

Touchdown Speed
The landing distance required of a given aircraft will approximate 30% of the square of the touchdown speed. A 10% increase in touchdown speed will result in over a 20% increase in landing distance. Flying an incorrect and higher speed as Vref will require a substantial longer roll out.

The one speed required for landing that was not included in all prior instruction is the touchdown speed. We enter the flare at approach speed and make a slow deceleration to the variable full stall speed that precedes touchdown. This full-stall touchdown-speed is the one that best utilizes runway length, softens ground impact, and gives the lowest possible side loads on the landing gear.

Some runways and areas cause unfamiliar pilots to land long. Unfamiliar pilots tend to add excess airspeed where none is required. The slope of the runway and terrain may present visual images that are deceptive. It is always best to fly a standard pattern using standard procedures and a stabilized approach in strange situations. Trying to force the landing will cause excess speed at touchdown. This will dramatically increase the rollout distance. A 10% increase in touch down speed will increase the ground roll by the square of this factor amounting to 20 or more percent in required distance.

Landing Roll
The book figure for landing roll can be reduced by half the percent reduction from gross landing weight. A 10% reduction in weight will result in a 5% reduction in landing roll. If we reduce our Vso approach speed by 5% we can expect to obtain about twice that reduction in required landing distance.

Salvaging a Landing (Opinion)
I recently had a student that was having trouble landing. She pulled the nose up too much in the flare/roundout" and then we would balloon. Ballooning could be caused by pulling too hard at the round out or carrying too much airspeed through the approach. If you are slow at the top of the "balloon" you may indeed need to push the nose over a little and add power to gain airspeed. You may want to try what we call "finessing" the yoke. That is a very slight pumping of the yoke back and forth. It helps to bleed off airspeed without ballooning. You can see pilots of high performance fighters pumping the elevator during landings on flying videos. It also gives you a feel for how much energy is left on the airplane.

I got her to land by playing a game I called "you are not allowed to land." It goes like this: I told her that she is not allowed to land, but instead must fly as low and as slow as possible next to the runway. She should use techniques learned in slow flight. Keep the nose up; add a little power, etc. Then when stabilized about a foot off the runway I told her to slowly reduce the power and not allow the airplane to land. The nose came up higher to get more angle of attack, and thus more lift since the power is now off. Chirp went the main wheels. She held the nose wheel off the runway until the a/c slowed and the nose wheel came down of its own accord.
A happy student.

It seems that flying is like downhill skiing. When one learns not to fight the airplane (or the skis), things happen easier and more in control. Then you can't believe how hard you worked. How much easier it is to fly (and land) when you relax and not fight the airplane.
Hope that helps.
Regards, Watson

Gene's Aside
What we have here is an instructor teaching a student how to salvage a poor approach. I do not do this and believe that such instruction is of dubious value. I prefer to have the student use the go-around as a first choice when an approach is not stabilized. Furthermore the 'pumping' of the yoke can turn into a habit difficult to break.

Pushing forward at any time during an approach to landing is hazardous and especially so during a balloon situation. Again, the go-around is the best and most desirable option. A person can develop some skill in salvaging poor approaches and flares but teaching these skills to students is not the thing to do. The timing of a forward yoke movement is most likely to be counter productive and out of synchronization with the required input at the moment it occurs. Salvaging landing instruction is most suited for a program directed toward non-standard situations such as a downwind landings. Surprising how easily the 'bad' things of flying tend to be perpetuated.

Problem with My Landings. (Opinion)
My problem turned out to be where I was looking. I was looking at the landing spot until initiating the flare, this caused all of the problems that you have described. I was able to overcome this by the following procedure:

1) At 50 feet or so above the ground shift your view to encompass the first third of the runway.

2) At 15 to 20 feet above the ground consciously look at the far end of the runway. This gives the pilot a better perception of his height above the runway.

3) Bring the nose up in relation to the end of the runway which will arrest the downward velocity.

It might be a little simplistic, but it worked for me. Best of luck

Landing Thoughts
--Landing accidents can be reduced by currency and training
--Pilots who have landing accidents routinely touchdown midfield.
--Pilots who land short, long or hard are most apt to have airspeed control problems
--Pilots who have accidents are more likely to be imprecise in holding airspeed or configuration
--Successful landings require precision and attention to detail.
--The best touchdown occurs as slow as possible
--The slow touchdown requires a steep approach angle and a high angle of attack at touchdown.
--Poor checkouts and misinterpretation of the POH approach speed as the touchdown speed are problems.
--Diving to get down to the approach path will not work because of speed increases.
-- To get down, slow down.
--Speed between flap and no flap touchdown is usually less than ten percent
--A ten percent difference in landing speed increases landing roll by 20 percent.
--Use of POH approach numbers means speed will always be on high side.
--Actual approach speed must be Vref that is based upon aircraft weight at that time.
--Rule of Thumb
Vref is found by finding percentage of aircraft weight below gross and taking half of that percentage off the POH approach speed. An aircraft 20 percent below gross has approach speed 10 percent below POH speed.
--Vref is 1.3 of Vso at the flare and just above flare. Ground effect gives safety margin and minimum float.
--On rollout use flaps for first 30 percent of speed loss before using brakes.
--Use rudder controls to keep aircraft on runway during rollout.
--On the ground and in the air be prepared to use rudder to counter heading effects of added power and pitch.
--Increase approach speeds only as needed for crosswind rudder effectiveness and l1/3 gust factors.
--Hold required crosswind correction during flare and after touchdown.
--Practice low speed banked flight so that pattern turns will not be a source of concern.
--Any power on during the flare means that rudder must be used to hold heading.
--Finally learned that reason students tend to land on left side of runway is failure to use right rudder in flare
--Most loss of control accidents during landings happen to the left side. Rudder!
--Remainder of loss of control is due to braking problems
--Once the judgement decision has been made for landing, the remainder is determined by piloting skill
--Knowing when the landing is beyond your skill level is a judgment decision. When in doubt, go-around.
--Landing skills that are insufficient to overcome poor judgment skills causes accidents..

Every Landing is Different
--Every aircraft has its own distinctive flight profile for every flight situation that is best for performance
--An exact speed that is best for that aircraft is a variable related to weight, configuration and conditions
--Usually we (better pilots) fly into a three knot window rather than an exact speed.
--The aircraft's behavior to control is the criteria for determining if the appropriate speed range is there
--The key to maintaining speed is pressure and trimming off of pressure.
--A variable condition could be density, temperature, or ground proximity all of which affect performance
--You must be aware that the apparent speed over the ground will vary with density, indicated stays put.
--Wait for the initial elevator feeling before moving yoke
--Basic rule is yoke moves back and up only when aircraft is settling downward.
--Raise the nose so that it just touches the far end of the runway. Add right rudder as you do this.
--Split your vision on the horizon to each side of the nose and watch for any drifting
--Some aircraft are more easily trimmed for stable flight. Get the speed before making final trim.

About Landings
---Instructor’s judgment as to how far to allow a student into a problem situation.
---First option of student should be go-around regardless of reason
---Student’s perception of approach should be based on constants of airspeed and configurations.
---Student’s perception of high gives several options, flaps, power, airspeed
---Student’s option of low gives best option of full power of limited time with same airspeed.
---Where the student looks on the approach is critical for airspeed until the flare.
---At flare the student looks down the runway and levels the aircraft and touches end of runway with nose.
__The complete landing can be made with power on.
---Any power reduction should be gradual and any yoke movement should be back and UP
---Looking too close to the aircraft will cause flight into the ground, an abrupt jerk high balloon flare etc,
---Looking too far prior to flare causes a high flare, sudden power off, or stalls.
---Premature contact with the ground on the nose wheel results in a porpoise and instinctive yoke movements back and forward always too late and too much with resulting collapse of the nose wheel. Go around.
---If you raise the nose above level while at the approach speed the nose will pitch up excessively
---Look as you would while driving a car for best control of the leveling off and flare.
---Ideally every movement of the yoke should be back once in the flare
---Ideally every movement of the throttle should be gradually back and up
---Ideally every movement of the yoke and throttle should be such that the nose covers the end of the runway.
---You will not see the runway during the flare.
---You will sense drift by watching to both sides of the nose and correct with wing and rudder as required.
---The key to successful landings is in the constancy of all the elements, airspeed, visual perception, power and logarithmic movement of the yoke back and up as far as it will go on touchdown.
---You hold the same approach speed down to the flare and allow the aircraft to float above the surface as it decelerates and begins to sink then you pull and raise the yoke.
---Doing all the things you should do in the flare is not a problem if the approach speed is a constant.

Landing Illusions
---A visual landing illusion is no respecter of experience.
---Years ago when I did far more night landings in the Sierras, I made it a practice to go first in daylight.
---Learn to use VASI, PAPI in daylight so you can read them at night.
---At night a slightly higher approach angle improves your aim.
---Use all airport information to plan an full patterns arrival rather than a straight-in or base entry
---What you ‘see’ is not what you get.
---Illusions are most likely to occur when the runways having slope are unfamiliar or it is very dark.
---If the runway slopes down, the proper approach will visually seem low
---If the runway slopes up, the proper approach will visually seem high.
---My technique is to fly normal approach in initial speed, altitude and procedure adjusted on short final.
---The standardized approach is most important to overcome the illusions in the Black-hole situation
---Without surface lights the dangerously low approach is most likely
---Optic flow is the term for movement in our peripheral vision.
---This illusion causes pilots to taxi too fast at night.
---Very low approaches occur due to optic flow illusions when both field and terrain slope upward.
---When different sized runways have the same proportions pilots fly lower for smaller runway. Wrong!
---The approach too low approach usually results in a late flare and a hard landing
---Unfamiliar pilots fly too high to large long runways and make long landings with a high flare.
---Pilots tend to make high approaches to runways narrower and shorter than usual.
---Pilots tend to make low approaches to runways wider and longer than usual.
---The more unfamiliar the runway the closer will be the downwind day and night
---Landing illusions will exist and fool even those who are in the know.

The Hidden Danger of an 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.

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.

Opinions on Slow Landings
My mantra: Good landings are slow landings.
If I read this correctly, you are saying that he didn't want to aim for a point in front of the numbers, flare early, then use ground effect and float to get to the numbers and exactly hit the desired touchdown point at the numbers at the desired slow speed. Presumably he was aiming at the desired touchdown point, carrying excess speed to that point and ending up way beyond that point when speed had dropped sufficiently (or else he was driving it onto the ground).

My only comment is that this characteristic is *not* something that is common among glider-trained pilots. It is true that glider pilots don't want to end up short. However, it's also true that they work very hard to exactly control the touchdown point and touchdown speed. Failure to do so is really bad when landing in some farmer's field.

Since ground effect begins within a wingspan or so of the ground, and because gliders have longer wings (and usually those wings are closer to the ground than in most airplanes), ground effect is
even stronger in gliders.

Accordingly, any glider pilot who neglects ground effect will be in just as much trouble as the airplane pilot.

It's been my experience that the glider trained pilot attempting to transition to airplanes will initially be a tiny bit short of where he wants to touchdown. He expects more float and ground effect than he gets from the airplane.

Do not spin this aircraft. If the aircraft does enter a spin it will return to earth without further attention on the part of the aeronaut.
(first handbook issued with the Curtis-Wright flyer)
Bob Gardner

Same here
It was drummed into me that a good landing had the stall hooter honking just on touchdown as it created least wear and tear and meant you had the flare/round-out speeds pegged. I have tried but not always succeeded. Don't know speeds either, always too busy looking outside at that point.

Not a C-172
It's probably just a case of me misreading your post, but if I'm to understand that he makes his final approach in a C-172 at 70 knots I'd have to say that is 5 to 10 knots that he doesn't need! Around 60 and 65 knots in landing configuration in a C172 should serve well.

I was taught, slow as possible on touchdown,,,, preferably with the stall horn sounding an instant before the mains kiss the runway. I was always taught.. that a good landing is when you run out of altitude and flying speed at the same time that you reach your desired touch down spot

Way to go Gene.
I want to hear the "imminent landing" horn blaring before touchdown! :-)

I don't teach pilots to "flare." I teach them to round out to a level flight a few inches above the runway. They should have already removed the power prior to reaching the threshold. Then they just attempt to maintain level flight a few inches off the runway until the airplane refuses to stay
there any more and lands itself.

Notice that the control movements necessary to keep the airplane from landing exactly duplicate the control movements generally taught as a "flare" except that there is no sense of urgency.

Most landing mishaps are a direct result of trying to get the airplane to land before it is ready to do so, just because you are "over the numbers."

Old Way
My "old" primary instructors taught me to hold it off, nose high until it quit flying. They wanted to feel the loss of lift, not just hear the horn. This has prompted more than one pilot and instructor to ask if I learned to fly in tail draggers.

In most trainers I've flown there is only a couple inches difference between feeling the loss of lift as it sets down and a *WHUMP!*, some times accompanied by other noises including that of seat cushions being pinched.

Done without flaps the nose is so high there is no forward visibility and the tail hook/skid is only about two inches off the runway. Quite often you can't even feel the tires touch when it does this. You just hear a tiny squeakkkkk.

>Most landing mishaps are a direct result of trying to get the airplane to >land before it is ready to do so, just because you are "over the numbers."

They Used to Say,
"Hold it off as long as you can (in the landing attitude). Try to keep it from landing. When it's ready, it's going to land despite your efforts to keep it from doing so and it'll probably do a better job than you trying to put it onto the runway.

Ever since, I've attempted to make *most* landings, "full stall" landings where I can feel the loss of lift. Fortunately the Debonairs and Bonanzas are one of the easiest planes to land like this and aremore forgiving of an extra inch or two than the trainers I flew. It needs to be<:-))
Roger Halstead (K8RI & ARRL life member)

Time of Float
The time of float for every normal landing when flaring at the same speed will be the same
regardless of all other conditions.

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.

Way to go Gene. I want to hear the "imminent landing" horn blaring before touchdown! :-)

I don't teach pilots to "flare." I teach them to round out to a level flight a few inche above the runway. They should have already removed the power prior to reaching the threshold. Then they just attempt to maintain level flight a few inches off the runway until the airplane refuses to stay there any more and lands itself.

Notice that the control movements necessary to keep the airplane from landing exactly duplicate the control movements generally taught as a "flare" except that there is no sense of urgency.

My "old" primary instructors taught me to hold it off, nose high until it quit flying. They wanted to feel the loss of lift, not just hear the horn. This has prompted more than one pilot and instructor to ask if I learned to fly in tail draggers.
Highflight Aviation Services
Pinckneyville Airport ( PJY )

In most trainers I've flown there is only a couple inches difference between feeling the loss of lift as it sets down and a *WHUMP!*, some times accompanied by other noises including that of seat cushions being pinched.

Done without flaps the nose is so high there is no forward visibility and the tail hook/skid is only about two inches off the runway. Quite often you can't even feel the tires touch when it does this. You just hear a tiny squeakkkkk.

Most landing mishaps are a direct result of trying to get the airplane to land before it is ready to do so, just because you are "over the numbers."

They used to say, "Hold it off as long as you can (in the landing attitude). Try to keep it from landing. When it's ready, it's going to land despite your efforts to keep it from doing so and it'll probably do a better job than you trying to put it onto the runway.

Ever since, I've attempted to make *most* landings, "full stall" landings where I can feel the loss of lift. Fortunately the Debonairs and Bonanzas are one of the easiest planes to land like this and are more forgiving of an extra inch or two than the trainers I flew. It needs to be<:-))
Roger Halstead (K8RI & ARRL life member)
(N833R, S# CD-2 Worlds oldest Debonair)

An experienced instructor and DE, once told me that good landings start 10 miles from the airport. This means planning for your entry into the pattern,
which includes you speed, speed altitude and position in the pattern.

Once in the pattern, slow down to recommended speeds for the pattern.
In a 172, I was taught 85kts on downwind, 75 kts on base and 65 on final.
Establish your touch down point while on downwind leg. Once abeam the touchdown pt, throttle back to recommended RPMs and begin descent to land, you may add 10 degrees of flaps if you are landing using flaps. I usually don't apply flaps in winds higher that 15kts or if I must extend downwind due to other traffic ahead of me. I usually apply flaps, once I feel I can make the field if the engine would go out. Seemed to happen a lot when I was practicing landings with my instructor:)

Once established on final, control speed with pitch (remember: flaps help
increase your angel of descent, or pitch, with out increasing airspeed). Keep
your aim point in sight. Once a stabilized final approach is established,
control speed with pitch and altitude with throttle.

A stabilized approach is key. You must be able to adjust for wind gusts and
drift caused by crosswind component. When over the threshold glance to the side to see how high you are off the ground. Use buildings, etc... as reference.
Slowly reduce power and begin your flair when you judge yourself to be about 10 ft off the runway. Remember to maintain the target airspeed, and to slowly pull back on the yolk to make the transition from glide to landing. Look straight
ahead and keep the nose slightly higher. Continue to reduce power to idle,
while slowing increasing back pressure. The stall horn should just start to
sound prior to touchdown of the main gear. Then let the nose slowly settle by
continued back pressure on the yolk.
That's it. Now go out and practice!
Kevin Kubiak -PP-ASEL

Dudley on Landings
I find that the most important thing that I do to really make smooth landings is to make sure that my speeds stay up during the entire descent to the runway. Then once you get down to the threshold (or a little bit further down the runway depending on where you want to touch down) you should just be getting into ground effect. This is when you should have your power out and start to pitch back, really bleeding that airspeed back.

If you float a bit down the runway using ground effect you can really slow yourself down a lot more before touch down thus resulting in a smoother landing.

The most important thing you will learn that will help you perfect landings is coming to the realization that every landing will be different than the last one. Realizing this, you won't spend a lot of time seeking a specific set of parameters that will produce a better landing, but rather see landings as they really are; an event that takes place in an ever constantly changing dynamic; never the same and requiring a slightly different technique each time one is attempted.

Doing this will point you in the proper direction to come to grips with landings. Instead of seeking an "ultimate solution" that will work every time, you instead will begin to focus on the basics of aircraft control under ALL situations. Accomplishing this goal will transfer itself into a natural process resulting in better landings every time!! It will also make you a better pilot generally than you were before you looked at the problem from this direction.
Dudley Henriques

Gene Whitt’s addendum
I feel that the basics of aircraft control under ALL situations in bold above includes some skills, procedures, techniques and precision implied but understated by Dudley.

I would expect several skills to be displayed with speed and precision.
To fly level at a heading in hands-off at a specific airspeed.
To climb and descend on a heading in hands-off at a specific airspeed.
To make changes in direction and airspeed of the above in a positive and efficient manner.
All of the above require precise adjustment of power, configuration, trim, rudder and yoke
If you need to ‘think’ about what to do, you need more practice.

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