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

Moderator: AndyR

By v8burble
#1617797
Did my first landing this week.
Wasn't expecting to do a landing yet as only on early lessons but I had a fab instructor who encouraged me to do the final turns to line up and then he just decided I was doing well, conditions were good and with verbal guidance and hands held very close to the controls he let me put it down!
Think he just applied some light back pressure at the last second.
I touched down the starboard wheel slightly before the port wheel but no bump or bounce.
What a buzz! Haven't come down off it yet and can't wait to fly again.
Morten, Straight Level, WelshRichy and 8 others liked this
By Straight Level
#1617863
I remember when I did my first "landing".
My instructor was getting me to fly down the runway at a couple of feet, and when for the first time the wheels touched.... once or twice.
I asked - "was that a landing?" (in a pleased with-myself-voice)
Instructor - "more of a crash".

Didn't take me long to realise how honest my instructor was being.
I still do the odd crash landing and always reminds me of him and that day :-)
Wish he was still with us :-(
By johnm
#1618122
Well done! You've done the hard bit (learning to land) it's just practice now :-)
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By David Wood
#1618495
TopCat wrote:After most touchdowns my instructor would say....

"Well, you could have held it off a bit longer"

It was so seared into my brain that I still hear it today. On the plus side, there is zero chance I will ever land nosewheel first.


Well, you had a good instructor then; one who taught you to do it properly! :D . May you forever be preserved from a busted nose-wheel!

The ones that break my heart (and I see a few at won't-mention-where) come in from a nearby un-named long-tarmac runway airport and do circuit after circuit of flat, fast, un-held-off landings where they just slap it onto the deck on all three wheels. It beggars belief sometimes. It's enough to make yer cry....

I feel so very sorry for their students.
By TopCat
#1618559
David Wood wrote:Well, you had a good instructor then; one who taught you to do it properly!

I really did. I count myself very fortunate.

I flew with him a few years ago for the first time after quite a lot of years, and he paid me quite a compliment...

"Well you're better than you used to be..."
By carlapilot
#1618635
I am also a very beginner, and this thing is really awesome! sometimes I catch myself up in the air, looking to my instructor, looking out, and feel like wooooow OMG I fly this plane!! how awesome!!
Even when an instructor sits next to me, it is still a big deal.. so congrats for your landing :D

I have the problem with the landing, then when my instructor says whoa it was good I feel it was just accidentally good and I can not redo it on the same good way.... :(


v8burble wrote:Did my first landing this week.
Wasn't expecting to do a landing yet as only on early lessons but I had a fab instructor who encouraged me to do the final turns to line up and then he just decided I was doing well, conditions were good and with verbal guidance and hands held very close to the controls he let me put it down!
Think he just applied some light back pressure at the last second.
I touched down the starboard wheel slightly before the port wheel but no bump or bounce.
What a buzz! Haven't come down off it yet and can't wait to fly again.
By v8burble
#1618650
Thanks everyone. I'm still buzzing from it. It was only my fourth lesson, so wasn't expecting to get the opportunity to have a go at landing yet but it was amazing. Good to have an instructor that is so experienced that they can go with the moment and adjust to how the student is doing at that moment in time. He just said he looked at how I was approaching and thought I was on it so he let me carry on. He was ready to take over immediately at all points which was reassuring.
What is meant above when you talk about holding it off, is this sitting just above the runway and letting the speed decrease? This is something we should aim to do?

Another thing was I felt as though the plane sat on a cushion of air as we got really close to the runway, like it didn't want to go down. Is that ground effect?
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By TopCat
#1618661
v8burble wrote:What is meant above when you talk about holding it off, is this sitting just above the runway and letting the speed decrease? This is something we should aim to do?

Yes. The idea is to approach at the correct speed, and then with the throttle closed fly at a constant height of a few inches. The objective is to not land for as long as possible, with the throttle closed.

As you slow down, you'll need to gradually bring the stick back to prevent landing, and then when the wing quits flying, you'll touch down on the main wheels with the nosewheel well off the ground. Then gradually bring the stick right back to hold the nose off until it comes down on its own.

Then you need to pay attention to keeping it straight in the roll-out until you've slowed down to taxying speed.

Another thing was I felt as though the plane sat on a cushion of air as we got really close to the runway, like it didn't want to go down. Is that ground effect?

If it doesn't want to land, your airspeed is too high.

Absolutely do not stuff the stick forward to get it on to the ground before it's ready to land. Although amusing to watch, as you porpoise along the runway, that way lies broken nose-legs, bent propellers, engine overhauls, and a very red face.

You might get away with it in a PA28, but it's Very Bad Practice. If your instructor is any good, he will moan at you loudly and persistently if you touch down in a nosewheel aircraft with all three wheels at the same time.

Don't be like this guy:

By TopCat
#1618678
carlapilot wrote:.... when my instructor says whoa it was good I feel it was just accidentally good and I can not redo it on the same good way.... :(

This is normal at the beginning.

To start with, it all happens too fast to be able to really take in what's happening, and you'll do good landings by accident, and bad landings by accident.

Then as you do more landings, you'll be able to analyse what you're doing more.

The key points to aim for are:

- Get the airspeed correct. Not too fast, not too slow.
- Flare, or round out, at the right height. This is where you transition from descending, to straight and level a few inches above the runway. You want to neither fly it into the ground (too late!) or end up dropping from several feet (too early!!).

If you do both of these, all you need is patience as you hold off, gradually bring the stick back without gaining height again, and the aeroplane will land itself quite gently.
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By David Wood
#1618694
In a good landing you are really trying not to land...

In other words, as TopCat says, you aim to hold the aircraft a few inches above the ground by progressively moving the stick back as the speed decreases and the nose rises so that when eventually the lift-gremlins can hold on no longer you settle gently onto the main-wheels only, holding-off the fragile nose-wheel still further until that too settles. If you can do that consistently you will have learned how to land an aeroplane, as oppose to have simply driven it onto the runway. But of course your instructor has already explained this, right?