Learning to fly, or thinking of learning? Post your questions, comments and experiences here

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By Micromouse
#1844732
Ok one of those stupid questions that you shouldn't really ask the internet.

But a straw poll....how many takes offs and landing did it take for it all to 'click' during your training? I seem to have everything apart from gauging the right about of pull back in the bit after the flare. I'm flying at a airdrome that effectively has 4 different circuits, 08L 08R, 26L 26R, with nasty tight Noise Abatement rules and its on a slight slope... Elstree. Happy with speeds altitude, pitching for speed and even the flare, but holding off the right amount for the right amount of time just doesn't seem to click... thoughts?

Wayne
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By GunnyD3v
#1844738
Hi Wayne

I had the same issue, after being told to search for the ‘invisible ratchet’ on this forum, Irv Lee kindly sending me his ‘Better Landings’ article and a good number of practices it clicked and became second nature identifying when to relax the back pressure or add more.

While you are possibly thinking that it will never click, believe me it will, I was constantly beating myself up about it, saying to myself that it wouldn’t but it did, keep at it, it will click very soon.

Good Luck :thumleft:

Gunny
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By Morten
#1844755
Welcome to Elstree! Any landing on 08 tends to float forever as the runway slopes away from you. Any landing on 26 tends to be tempted by the tall trees just short of the threshold...
By the time I had done 43 landings (mostly on 26) I was deemed safe to solo (on 08...)
I had another 34 landing before my skills test.
Reading through my notes, it appears I had 13 'approaches' in earlier lessons which were not counted as landings...?

As for the landings actually clicking.... just when you think they've got them nailed - you'll fluff one up again :lol:

"Looking at the end of the runway" was a phrase which worked for me - a bit like the ratchet works for others. Others have found it useful to fly along as low as possible without touching down. Difficult on shorter runways like Elstree.

The good news is that "If you can land at Elstree you can land anywhere" ;)
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By Rob P
#1844791
Well I've been flying for 33 years now and, just when I think it's 'clicked' I manage a really dreadful one.

I guess I'm just impatient?

Rob P
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By TopCat
#1844807
Micromouse wrote:how many takes offs and landing did it take for it all to 'click' during your training?

I was about 8 logged hours from first circuit to first solo, of which 2 weren't circuits. So lets say 6 hours, over 8 sessions. Each session had 5-10 mins of non-flying (taxying, runups, etc), so let's say 5 hours. I could usually reckon on about 4-5 circuits an hour.

So roughly 25.

But this notion of it 'clicking' is a false premise, at least in my experience.

After I went solo, I got into nav, and everything went to pieces. I couldn't fly S&L, couldn't land, I couldn't remember my own name, almost. This phase passed of course, but for a while you'd have been forgiven for thinking that I was doomed to failure - and for a few hours, I thought exactly that. Once I'd flown a couple of hours solo in the circuit, I thought it had clicked, but it hadn't.

I seem to have everything apart from gauging the right about of pull back in the bit after the flare..... holding off the right amount for the right amount of time just doesn't seem to click... thoughts?

Ah yes, the 'trying not to land for as long as you can' bit.

Unless there is an absolutely constant wind, and you flare at exactly the same airspeed every time, there is no single 'right amount of time'.

If there's a gust, then your airspeed will increase, and the rate at which you can gradually pull back as you hold off will be less - or even require an easing forward to avoid going back up again. Conversely, if there's a lull, your airspeed will decrease, and you'll need to pull back a bit more if you want to avoid it banging down.

It doesn't need to be very gusty for the hold-off to require several - possibly even numerous - adjustments as you gradually bleed off airspeed and eventually touch down when the wings can't fly any more. These adjustments require an awareness of what the aeroplane is doing, and a subtle touch that have to be learned.

So as the wind is constantly varying, and as there's always slight variation in your airspeed as you start the flare, it will be different from circuit to circuit. That's just the way it is.

I don't think you can expect this to 'just click', at least during early training. It's a finesse that gradually builds, leading to the ability to land reasonably well in increasingly difficult conditions. As you get more practiced, you'll become more sensitive to the moment-by-moment nuances that landing well involves.

All I'd suggest is, pay attention to every second. And don't stop flying the aeroplane until you're at taxying speed.
By TopCat
#1844814
GunnyD3v wrote:after being told to search for the ‘invisible ratchet’ on this forum, Irv Lee kindly sending me his ‘Better Landings’ article and a good number of practices it clicked and became second nature identifying when to relax the back pressure or add more.

While you are possibly thinking that it will never click, believe me it will

Just out of interest, as your experience sounds a little different from mine, do you really mean it clicked?

As in, before it clicked you couldn't, and then suddenly it was second nature and you never had any more trouble? Riding a bike is like that - once you can, you never can't ever again.

Or was it more gradual than that, and then later you realised that it was second nature?

I only have my own learning to go on, and there are loads of people that learn to fly much more quickly than I did, so I'm open to either possibility.

I'm just slightly concerned that by expecting it to 'click', it can lead people to put more pressure on themselves than they need to.
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By lobstaboy
#1844836
I think I'm in the "it just clicks" camp. What clicked for me, and what I urge anyone to do, is to find what to look at. That last bit isn't about times or amounts of movement of the controls, or speeds - it's about being able to see (some say feel) what's happening, and that means looking in the right places.

The "look at the end of the runway" advice is a good starting point, but once it clicks you'll find it's not as simple as that. Other advice involves the height of double decker buses, elephants, being able to distinguish blades of grass. Ignore all that and develop your own technique.

Ask your instructor to do one for you and to give you a running commentary on where he's looking.

I don't know Elstree. Is the runway big and featureless? It helps to have something out the side to see in your peripheral vision. The runway edge will do, but if it's very wide try touching down just to the right of the Centreline so you've got the line in your peripheral vision.
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By HedgeSparrow
#1844849
One that's often not mentioned is breathe. A lot of people anticipating another poor landing hold their breath. It doesn't take long (my theory) for mild hypoxia to start so you performance will drop. My suggestion is that once your landing checks ae complete and you are stabilised on approach, make a positive decision to breathe. Let out that old breathe and get some fresh air in your lungs.

The other one is that looking to the end of the runway is not the same as staring at the end of the runway. I think it's more about breaking away from the hypnosis of the growing 'aiming point', and allowing your eyes to do their thing unconsciously in the same way as they do when you are driving down a slip road to join a fast dual carriageway.

And as @lobstaboy lobstaboy writes, get your instructor to demonstrate one every so often.

PS. Just thought, maybe one of you You Tube video makers could point the camera at a pilot's face during a landing so we can see what the eyes are actually doing during the round-out and hold-off phases. I'm sure mine are all over the place.
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By Rob P
#1844853
HedgeSparrow wrote: ... so we can see what the eyes are actually doing during the round-out and hold-off phases. I'm sure mine are all over the place.


Mine are generally tightly shut :shock:

Rob P
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By Morten
#1844855
lobstaboy wrote:I don't know Elstree. Is the runway big and featureless?

:lol:. It's not very wide, quite short - and full of patches from old potholes. Lots of things to look at :pirat:
By TopCat
#1844861
HedgeSparrow wrote:It doesn't take long (my theory) for mild hypoxia to start so you performance will drop.

I'm all for not holding your breath, as it's a sign (and possible cause) of tension.

But hypoxia? :shock: :shock:

If you're getting hypoxia holding your breath in the hold-off, you're approaching wayyyy too fast.
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By rikur_
#1844872
I found it took one lesson with a different instructor.
My main instructor very much taught the 'art' of flying - very much about feel for the picture, the attitude and what the approach and landing should feel like.
The stand-in I had for one lesson took a more scientific / engineering approach, heights, speeds, trim setting, etc, and it just seemed to 'click' .... albeit once it had clicked, I now fly it by the 'feel' that my main instructor tried to teach me in the first place!

(That is until someone put an acre of polythene over the field just before the threshold, introducing the ultimate thermal just at the wrong moment)
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By TopCat
#1844891
rikur_ wrote:The stand-in I had for one lesson took a more scientific / engineering approach, heights, speeds, trim setting, etc, and it just seemed to 'click'

Can you remember what he said in more detail?

Trim, fair enough - having it trimmed right means that the stick forces in the hold-off are smallish.

But other than that, the hold off is about flying level at a progressively higher AoA, until you stall. How is that anything at all to do with height and speed, other than how long you have to do it for?

ETA:

Thinking about this a bit more, I guess if the stand-in instructor made you fly the whole approach in a completely predictable way, it would make the actions in the last few seconds more predictable and hence repeatable, even if you didn't yet have a moment-by-moment appreciation of those last few seconds.

I can see how this might get someone over the "WTF is going on here" stage where what's actually going on in the hold-off is a bit of a blur.

Am I anywhere near the mark?
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By rikur_
#1844894
@TopCat Hard to put a finger on precisely what it was, it was some time ago.
I think some of it was just teaching style. Teaching ahead rather than in the moment, i.e. to highlight what I was looking for when. Little things like prompting me a second or two ahead of time. Not quite 'Retard Retard!' - but along those lines.
I think you're also right that a lot of it was about getting a steady stable approach and the flare and hold off slot into place. I think I was struggling with the variability of approaches (sometimes too high, sometimes too low, invariably too fast) that the flare always seemed to require different intensity of action at different times with no mental capacity left. But I think it was mostly getting an afternoon of just repeating it in a consistent manner and feeling what it should feel like seemed to work.