Hi, I have a question for the real-world pilots on this forum. When I land in Infinite Flight, I completely rely on the VI (vector indicator). However, if you take that away, I cannot land the plane smoothly. I either flare too little, or too much.
In X-Plane 10, I’ve learned to use the FPV on the PFD to judge the flare, but that doesn’t always work. My question is, how do you judge the landing flare without the VI? Or is there some form of VI in all aircraft?
Pick a point down the runway and keep an eye on it. Honestly it just takes practice and skill. When I first started flying and landing I couldn’t get any flare on my landings they ended up flat: now that I have a license landings are second nature to me
If you are landing on a very large runway, or at night or if you flying a taildragger, the aforementioned technique may not be fully appropriate. To avoid any optical illusion (you will want to start your flare higher if it’s a large runway or if you are flying at night)/ to see the runway (if you’re flying a taildragger), you will need to take quick looks at the runway shoulders in order to evaluate your height.
Otherwise, you have to look way down the runway and judge your height descent rate (you’ll need some experience to do that correctly). Beginning the flare is all about height judgement!
Oh, and you can also simultaneously look at your VSI and AGL indicators and simply start your flare about 50-100 FT AGL and slowly pull the nose back until you touch down or ground effect diminishes if you came in too high/fast.
Look at your instruments during the flare and you’re a dead man. The VSI has a 3 to 7 second delay meanwhile most altimeters (most airplanes don’t have a radar altimeter which displays the height of the aircraft) have a 3 hectopascal inaccuracy.
Now, a hectopascal is equivalent to 28 feet. Do the math and you’ll see why you must look outside.
I was thinking in terms of low visibility without the APPR function. Should’ve been clearer than that. Ultimately though, you’re right, because they even look outside during CATIII approaches since they’re praying to see lights before minimums. Haha
In order to have nice smooth landing a few items needs to be taken care of long before the landing.
configuration: make sure to have the airplane configured consistently for the landing. This means gear down and flaps on full ~3nm before the airport.
altitude controle: 3nm before thye runway you should be ~1000ft AGL
airspeed: you jeed to be coming at ~1.3 Vs0 (find the stall speed at altitude in the landing configuration and multiply by 1.3. That should be your approach your maximum approach speed. Minimum approach speed being 1.1Vs0 for short field landings)
Passing 2nm from the runway you should now be at ~700ft AGL, on speed, on glide slope (if available)
Passing 1nm from the runway you should be at ~400ft AGL still on speed still on glide slope if available.
You should cross the runway threshold at 50ft AGL you can bring the power to idle and bring the nose up gently (3~5 degree) to “glide” to the runway reducing slowly your airspeed.
With that in mind it should help you with your landings. Each plane is different and requieres some adjustment but having a good setup before the landing helps make things much smoother then.
Fully depends on the plane and situation. You wouldn’t want that in a GA aircraft. And when it gets super gusty, you want to avoid the flap full setting.
Not exactly. Firstly it depends on the glide path angle. Secondly, if you are on a standard 3 degree glide path, at 1nm you should be at 300ft; at 2nm you should be at 600ft and at 3nm you should be at 900ft.
Really depends on the plane and on the runway configuration. Most planes will touch down super firmly if you idle at 50f, 10ft-15ft is a much better figure. Concerning the runway, crossing the threshold at 50ft only works if there is a proper touchdown zone and no distance limitations. Given the fact that most runways have visual markings, you would try to touch right at the threshold and not after (for those runways).
I have yet to see an aircraft with a “gusty landing” checklist. The configuration should be used based on the checklist otherwise you become a test pilot. I can think of some airplanes though where with reduce flaps you would not be able to flare without hitting the tail or going to fast…then throwing your landing distance planning in the weeds.
You are entirely correct that it depends on the glide path angle and so on. The number I gave are simple generic target and you need to adapt, but it is often a good starting point when you teach someone to land so that they can find what power setting to use to keep a constant airspeed and VS speed.
Again you have to adapt on the circumstances. Yet at 50ft coming at 60Kts (GA airplane) ground/airspeed speed (no wind condition) would take 10 second to come down. Assuming you touch down at Vs0~46Kts that gives you 10s to loose 14Kts. That is nothing more than a gentle flair.
Touching right at the threshold is necessary of you have a short runway that barely meets the POH/AFM, otherwise you probably want a bit of margin so that you don’t land just before the threshold and hit something at 60Kts (GA again). It is safer to come on the departing end of the runway at 5kts in the grass!
The most important part of a landing is being able to walk away from it!