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

Moderator: AndyR

And the Shawbury students are suffering a far steeper learning curve than you will be :lol:

It's some consolation when you simply can't seem to grasp landings.

Rob P
T6Harvard liked this
T6Harvard wrote:On the subject of landings...

Do some people just click fairly quickly or does it take most people a while to get their eye in? What, apart from practice (!), helps it click?

It's taken me 24 years so far. I can manage most of them without damaging the aeroplane now.

Being serious for a moment, it never really "clicked" with me, the bad ones just got further apart, and not quite so bad.

A couple of years after getting my PPL I did a cross channel checkout to Le Touquet. On returning to Shoreham I put the PA28 down fairly solidly. The instructor smiled and said, "We're down then..." :D
Last edited by Paul_Sengupta on Sat Jun 20, 2020 12:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
T6Harvard liked this
Douglas Adams says that flying is throwing yourself at the ground, and missing.

This would suggest that landing is throwing yourself at the ground, and only just hitting.

Having taken to the air and flown around a bit at height where there is little impression of speed it does come as a surprise when on landing the ground suddenly seems to rush up towards you. Firstly nail the approach speed (and flap setting). My own view is that initially at 20 or 30 feet you need to put in a fairly coarse pull back to ensure that you don't actually fly into the ground, then there's a second phase where you try to get the aircraft flying a foot or two (others say 6" but they must be far more accurate than me!) off the ground and then ease the last bit of throttle off whilst gradually bringing the stick back enough to keep the nosewheel off the ground when the landing comes, but not so much that you start to balloon. Also for directional control from the flare onwards use rudder not aileron.

{By the same argument all you have to do to score a goal in the world cup final is run with the ball past the opposition defenders and kick the ball in the back of the net.}

In both cases the theory is comparatively simple. It's actually achieving it that's difficult. And it's a combined visual stimulus and learned muscle memory thing so it will take practice to improve. Also, at least until you go solo, if all gets too much you can just shout "YOU HAVE CONTROL!!"
T6Harvard liked this
Rob P wrote:I have been flying for about thirty years.

I'll drop you an e-mail when it finally clicks and every landing is a greaser.

Rob P

Email will be like fax by the time all mine are greasers. We will be communicating by thought then and mentally smiling when we remember the internet and how slow it was at times :D
Hey T6:- I had three schools to choose from as I live equidistant from them. Biggin Hill, Shoreham and Headcorn. By small coincidence I had taster flights as presents from my kids at the first two and a Glider lesson at a nearby field also. But it was a recommendation from AndyR for the flying school, which was at Headcorn. I called the school several times for a chat and visited a couple of times. The team at Weald Air Services were very friendly and patient to hear the same questions they must of been asked a thousand times. During the conversation, Julie the Ops Manager, was trying to decide which Instructor to recommend to me. Unfortunately the CFI, who she recommended based on my desire to do my CPL eventually, wasn't taking any new novice students. But on a subsequent visit I spotted the CFI from his photo and just got chatting to him. He was busy but happy to talk, about flying. He was direct and asked my intentions. Five mins later he offered to be my Instructor.

In my experience it comes down to the person you're going to be sat next to for many many hours! The school and the plane and the location will choose themselves. Don't rule any out until you've met the people you're going to entrust your dream to!

BTW, Headcorn has a rotor school, a parachute jump school, an aero legends flight experience operator and an aerobatics school. Not to mention the visitors and members. I've had a go around with a Spitfire on the runway a couple of times now, and the radio chatter is fascinating. The whole experience is thrilling!!!!

Good Luck.
T6Harvard liked this
Landings should be thought of not as putting the plane on the ground, but flying parallel and close to the ground, along the runway, with power off so you are decelerating, until the plane lands itself. As soon as you throw variables such as wind and mass of aircraft into this, no two landings are the same. Then to further complicate it, when it's very windy you do actually want to put the plane on the ground - because very windy also implies it's changing quickly so the transition from flying to not or back again isn't smooth.

Well that's my take on it and I haven't quite got my PPL yet.
T6Harvard liked this
Thanks Wicksay! I've visited Biggin Hill for the fly with a Spitfire experience, so not been to the flying school but still loved the atmosphere. And the Spitfires!!! In fact that was my first experience of mass and balance considerations. We were a party of 5, inc 2 kids so they couldn't use the 'average adult' calc. We each had to step on the scales, and were allocated seats to suit CoG! It was also an interesting flight because our pilot was having a formal check (don't know which one) so we had 2 up front.

I did wonder how schools allocate students to instructors (I bet that's a whole other thread!).

I am still reading Pooleys and stuff is definitely sinking in from that but I can't wait to get into the air.

Good luck to you, too. Hope the driving is going well. At least those vans are not going to have an EFATO!
By johnm
Two landings yesterday, one into wind greaser, one cross wind off an instrument approach anything but. Mr Rusty forgot to slow down enough in the final stages of the instrument approach to compensate for lack of headwind, need more practice :roll:
Thanks tcc1000. I bet you can't wait to get going again! Are you close to final airborne tests? Have you done all the ground exams??

Landing - I was surprised about how much work my FI was doing on short final. The rudder and ailerons were much busier than I had imagined! Leaving aside the prev dealt with throttle, flaps and radio work as we turned for final.

One thing I was relieved about was that my lack of fear as we began the descent continued as we headed for the concrete. I was worried I'd be terrified heading for the ground at approx 70mph. I suppose having confidence in the professional on the right is the main thing 8) . I actually enjoyed it.

The only time I felt slightly disconbobulated was when I heard ATC telling an approaching commercial that we were traffic at 3nm NE at 1800' (it was an international airport, I mean, you might as well start big). That made me 'eyes out' pretty sharply!
Hey John, you're here to tell the tale so that's OK!
Good point about headwind not being there.

All these little snippets you folks mention will stick with me. Reading things from the horse's mouth goes a long way to reinforcing my textbook stuff. Not sure how others learn but I seem to need to read or be told something 3 times before my brain accepts it. Perhaps i shouldn't write that here in case my future FI is reading....