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By eltonioni
#1684399
There was a terrible fatal accident the other week in the USA where a Cessna was landing into the sun and a close following T28 landed a bit longer and on top of it. It looks like the T28 pilot didn't see the Cessna. There's a set of very sobering videos on Youtube crash in Compton that require discretion before viewing. It just shows how deciding to clear off for five minutes might just be the best thing to do.
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By Rob P
#1684461
Or, since the evenings tend to go still, landing on the reciprocal or an alternative runway and accepting whatever cross / tailwind that brings.

Have done this at Old Buckenham on a number of occasions

Rob P
By profchrisreed
#1684508
I remember as a low hours solo glider pilot making a landing into low sun. The approach was fine, because I could see the runway clearly. It was only at the roundout/flare that my forward vision disappeared completely. With an engine that would be the time to go round, but as I didn't have that option I used sideways vision to judge my height and runway position and landed OK.

This wasn't in the training syllabus then, and hadn't come up in my training because I learnt through the winter when the sunset was never fully aligned with the runway.

I think if I'd been an early solo power pilot I would have been unsure what to do. Applying full power and climbing when you can't see where you're going requires advance preparation, not a split second decision when you suddenly realise you have a problem! So maybe this is something for instructors to consider - has the trainee ever been shown/briefed on what to do?

And it links to training for a tailwind landing, because usually the wind has dropped but just sometimes it hasn't - what to do then?
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By PeteSpencer
#1685174
I've had three potential into sun landings on 26 so far this year>

The first scared the cr ap out of me (moral: clean the windscreen before departure) in the suddenness of the vision loss: I landed by keeping the correct distance from the 10m high trees along 100m of the side of the runway and 4m from my left wingtip.

The second in flat calm I landed on 08 and the third, just as I turned final to have a look-see, a ruddy great bank of cloud obscured the sun and I landed normally.

Peter :wink:
#1796640
With a new PPL returning to base, safe in the knowledge that one could fly VFR up to 30 mins after sun-set, I tootled off to let the sun drop below the horizon.

Suddenly the landscape looked very dark, and very different.
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By ChrisRowland
#1796663
With a student the instructor should have spotted this and at least briefed for it.

It happens every day and at this time of year tends to be lined up with the typical 24 to 28 runway direction.

Assuming you can safely land 30 minutes after sunset can be a trap. Legally yes, safely maybe. You get to the roundout and discover you don't know where the ground is.
By flyingearly
#1799641
This happened to me this week, on Tuesday! While my story was never actually a real risk, it shows how things have the potential to go wrong...

I was landing on 24 at Deanland and had a lovely nailed-on approach, perfectly on speed, lined up nicely. However, there was quite a lot of glare from the ground and visibility was quite poor with a lot of evening haze around.

On final, I noticed another aircraft lined up on the runway, so I called 'G-ABCD Final to land, 24, visual with traffic lined up', thinking it a bit odd that someone else was lined up and wanting to make them aware that I'm aware of them.

As I got closer, I started thinking 'what the hell? get a wriggle on' and prepared for a go-around in plenty of time. In my head though, I expected them to put the power on and depart.

In the end, they didn't move, so I initiated a go-around in plenty of time, nice and controlled and climbed away. As I climbed over the runway, the next thought that ran through my head was: maybe they don't have a radio and so what if they are climbing underneath me? Cue a little bit of waggling to check, but in the end the other aircraft made a call that they were taking off while I was just turning downwind - and my FI was the passenger. I then completed my second circuit and did a smooth uneventful landing.

While downwind on that second circuit, that was when it dawned on me: the other aircraft wasn't on the runway at all; they were at the hold on the adjacent taxiway. In the glare of the sun, I couldn't distingtush between the runway and taxiway and must have been perfectly lined up to land on the taxiway.

In practice, it was never that dramatic: I had sight of the aircraft from a long way out, set expectations of a go-around also from a long way, and would have definitely noticed on short-final that I was in the wrong place. But, the point is, from further out on final, I didn't. I had a lovely approach, just offset by 20 metres.

I'm not sure there was much of a lesson learned, other than just how 'reflective' grass can be and how much the visibility can be impacted by a low evening sun in the Autumn.

On the drive home my FI called; he was in the aircraft taking off and I suppose wanted to ask why I went around quite early - I doubt from the angle he was at and the distance I was away that he would have been able to tell I was lined up with the taxiway. After I told him we both had a laugh and reflected that the fact that he was at the hold was probably a good thing, as the reflection from their aircraft was the thing that was visible from far out and had he not been there I would have likely proceeded further on final before noticing the issue.