There are just three fundamental skills you need to know to land an airplane safely and consistently. They are airspeed control, projected glide control, and controlled slow flight. You can learn each separately. But you use them all to land safely and consistently.
The most fundamental and easiest to learn is airspeed control. You should start with it. Then you should master slow Dutch roll thoroughly at various airspeeds, aircraft configurations and angles of bank. Concurrently you can learn to control the projected glide point while maintaining a constant airspeed. Airspeed control and projected glide control bring the pilot
to the right place at the right airspeed to start the transition from the approach glide to the landing phase.
Control airspeed with the elevator; fine-tune airspeed with power, flaps and landing gear. Monitor airspeed with the airspeed indicator, and then adjust your pitch attitude with the elevator to change your airspeed. If you add to the airplane's drag, you will be forced to pitch down to maintain constant airspeed. The opposite is true, as well. If you add power, you must lift your nose some, and so forth. Once you have learned to control your airspeed in various flap, landing gear, and power settings you are ready to move on to controlling either your projected glide point (PGP) or mastering slow Dutch rolls (SDR).
Controlling PGP is only slightly more difficult than controlling airspeed. During a constant airspeed approach, you will see a point on the ground that is staying absolutely still in your field of view. This is where you would be if you continued your approach glide. This is your PGP. If you keep your airspeed steady, your PGP will move farther away from you when you add power and it will come closer to you when you reduce the engine's power setting. More drag brings PGP closer; less drag pushes it away. There is really not much to controlling PGP, but when a pilot runs off the far end of the runway almost certainly poor PGP control, poor airspeed control, or both was the problem. You have to control them both to arrive at the right place and the right airspeed to execute a good landing.
Ironically, once you have flown the proper approach, you no longer need to control either airspeed or PGP. A new set of skills is required to execute the landing itself. Fortunately you can learn most of these skills with one exercise conducted at a nice comfortable attitude. You learn it by doing SDR in slow flight and in a landing configuration.
Pick a point on the horizon, hold it steady, and very slowly change your angle of bank without letting the point move. Repeat this exercise while transitioning from an approach glide to level slow flight. Add power as required to maintain a constant altitude while keeping that point steady. Now you are ready to start landing practice.
You learned how to keep the airplane from turning left or right in various angles of bank while flying in a landing configuration at speeds just above a stall by practicing SDR. This is a very good description of the technique used to land an airplane. If you have a simulator, you don't need an instructor. That is the nice thing about simulators; you botch up and try again. Airplanes are not so forgiving.
In either airplane or simulator, here is how to learn to land. You have successfully flown the approach so you are about one wing span above the runway, over its center line and at just the right airspeed. From now on PGP and airspeed need not concern you. Looking forward and from side to side like you were driving on the open road, you start raising your nose to slow the airplane's descent. Using your rudder pedals you keep the nose pointed at the far end of the runway. Using your ailerons you keep the airplane centered over the runway. Use your pitch attitude first, and then throttle, to keep the airplane off the runway.
You are NOT going to land! This is just an exercise. The objective is to get as close to the runway, at as slow airspeed as possible, without touching it. You are now doing that SDR in level slow flight that you did earlier. Just to prove you have mastered the situation, slide the airplane from side to side just above the runway without touching but as close as you can get. Be certain that you continue to keep the airplane pointed at the far end of the runway and the airplane's
body parallel to the runway. As you approach the end of the runway.
Pilots are more likely to have an accident when landing than any other time. Skids off the runway, collapsed landing gear, wing tip strikes, ground-loops… all are rooted in three fundamental mistakes. How these mistakes cause such horrendous problems is not always obvious.
Flying with my friends in a pretty red, white, and blue Cessna 172, we were going for lunch at a small country airport in Northern California’s Central Valley. When I landed I thought that I had performed like a thousand-hour pilot. I felt great.
My second landing (just a moment later) was not as smooth; a gust picked me up and put me down – on the taxiway. I will never forget the smirk on the face of the pilot taxiing in the opposite direction as he held short for me to exit onto the ramp. I will always remember the half-smile and shaking head of the other pilot as he waited for me to taxi clear. I mumbled some stupid excuse to my passengers. In just one landing I had made the three most common accident-producing mistakes in aviation.
I could not think about much of anything else until I understood what I had done wrong and what I had to do differently to keep it from happening a second time. I found out that the National Transportation Safety Board writes that forty five percent of the weather related accidents are caused by wind gusts and crosswinds. Much more than 45% seemed reasonable to me then. I want to tell everyone who will listen about some techniques that will keep a pilot from getting into trouble in the first place. To understand the techniques that I am about to describe, I would like to explain the major causes of landing accidents as well.
If you have an angle of attack (airplane nose high enough or low enough) that produces no lift, no gust can pick your airplane up. My mistake was that the nose was neither high enough nor low enough. When the wind gusted, the wing’s lift put us back in the air.
There are two different orientations relative to a wind gust that prevent a wing from producing lift. A wing that is not pitched up at all produces no lift. A wing that it really pitched very high, above its stalling angle, produces no lift in a strong wind. So the technique, I am sure your instructor told you this, is to keep the airplane flying
as long as you can; putting the angle of attack high enough to ignore even the strongest gust. With the plane in a level attitude after landing, a strong gust will not pick it up. This does not address the problem of a crosswind.
As long as the pilot is slipping sideways as fast as the wind but against it or as long as the landing gear has enough traction, a crosswind cannot blow the plane off the runway.
That is why I have always landed using crosswind landing techniques. Keep the plane over the center of the runway with ailerons and pointed down the runway with rudder pedals. This ensures that the plane stays in the center after landing. I have just described cross controlling.
Landing too fast or too far down the runway is always caused by the same mistake: failing to control the approach glide. Mastering the approach glide can prevent more problems than I can count.
It is very easy to control an approach glide. Just remember two important points and keep them in mind as you approach the runway. Changes in pitch attitude impact airspeed almost immediately. Second is that the path an airplane follows through space can be changed very quickly with a change in power.
You have no hope of flying repeatable, precise approaches if you do not maintain constant airspeed by changing pitch and power at the same time. Just remember, “Power up, Pitch up” to maintain constant airspeed.
Once you have found the combination of power and pitch that gives you the desired approach indicated airspeed, adjust your glide path until it projects to the right place on the runway.
I would like to talk you through an approach. Suppose that after configuring your plane to land, you want to fly your approach at sixty knots. Looking out the window (as I know you do 99% of the time during an approach) you notice that the point on the ground that appears to be staying in the same spot on your windshield is one of the approach lights about 500 feet short of the runway. You know that the best place to glide toward is the base of the runway numbers. You add 200 RPM to the engine and make a corresponding pitch up to maintain 60 knots. You are dismayed when you realize that you are now gliding too far down the runway. So you reduce your power by 100 RPM and make a slight pitch down correction. This process of continuous corrections is repeated until you are ready to raise your nose as you flare from the approach glide to slow flight over the runway
. You will arrive at the right place, in the right configuration and airspeed to make landing to brag about.
So the three things that you need to do are to control your approach glide precisely, cross control before and after landing, and keep her flying as long as you can after you flare.
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Most people would agree that flying an airplane is one of the most exhilarating experiences in the world. The feeling of guiding an airplane through the deceptive clouds is simply incomparable. It’s the sheer passion of giving hundreds of passengers a smooth flight experience that is bringing more and more students to flying schools.
But flying is not always a cakewalk. One of the most crucial aspects of flying is making a safe landing and most pilots commit basic blunders in this regard. It’s the ability to land a plane correctly that distinguishes an exceptional pilot from a mediocre one. Even the most experienced pilots, who are experts at flying through thunderstorms, get cold feet during landing. In order to rid the fear of landing from a pilot and to make him/her more confident while touching down, flight schools have started inculcating a landing tutorial in their course structure.
Owing to the rise in the demand for private pilot training, an increasing number of pilot schools have gotten incepted in the recent times. Even though most pilot training schools have all the latest facilities and infrastructure that can assist a budding pilot in learning flying chops, they are still unable to provide in-depth knowledge about landing and various other aerodynamic terms. In such a case, it makes perfect sense to learn from private pilot training videos provided by various modern day websites. Such private pilot videos act as supplementary add-ons to the course taught at flying schools. The best part about such online flight training modules
is that most of them are available for free. Without having to pay a dime, an aspirant pilot can get the most authentic flight training online.
As aforementioned, teaching a pilot the art of making safe landings is an absolutely integral part of flying a plane. It forms the crux of a comprehensive flight training course. That is why it is imperative for any aspirant pilot to be proactive and get top quality tips from a reliable online source. In the recent times, a whole host of websites offering free private pilot training have taken birth. Such websites provide thorough guidance to budding pilots on landing an aircraft.
Private Pilot Training Online is one such high quality online portal where a student pilot or even a flight instructor can get beneficial landing lessons. The experience of Doug Daniels allows students to get a hang of the ins and outs of landing with the help of videos and PDF documents. Overtime, Private Pilot Training Online has established itself as a one-stop destination for learning the art of landing. You can also develop your landing skills by making use of the resources provided by Doug at http://privatepilottrainingonline.org