Landing. The hardest thing to master when landing an aircraft. Having done so 1000 times and learned a lot in the process, i’ll share what i’ve learned with you. So, here are some tips on how to land.
- A good landing starts with a good approach
If you’re not stable on final, that may mean you will be off centerline, or your vs will be off, resulting in a hard landing or float down the runway.
How do I have a stable approach?
- Try to make minor corrections - move your device/joystick/yoke just a little to get back on centerline or glideslope. This gets you back on the localizer/glideslope without becoming unstable. It also means you won’t have to correct on short final.
- Use the FPV to find angle of attack and crab angle (if there is a crosswind) - Ideal angle of attack on approach should be 4-5 degrees between the FPV and pitch. Make sure that your pitch is about 1-2 degrees (some planes will differ, ex. DC-10 and MD-11 approach at 3-4 degrees pitch). This will ensure you are on centerline and glideslope.
- Do not correct a lot on short final - the glideslope and localizer are sensitive on short final. So if you correct a lot, you will become unstable and have to go around. If you find yourself in a situation where you would have to correct a lot on short final in order to land safely, go around.
Know your flaps and speeds - Typical flaps setting is fully extended or close to fully extended (ex. flaps 3 or full on an Airbus or flaps 30 or 40 on a Boeing). At these speeds, your angle of attack should be around 4-5 degrees (1-2 degrees pitch with a 3 degree descent angle). To increase angle of attack, fly a bit slower, and do the opposite to decrease angle of attack.
Flare timing - the hardest part of a landing to master:
The aircraft will behave similarly during the flare as long as your angle of attack is the same (the only exception is speed - If you’re slower and lighter you’ll have to flare a bit later than normal to avoid floating), so you can use this method for al weights. Typically heavies flare at 25-30 feet, lighter jets flare at 15-20 feet, and prop GA aircraft flare at around 10 feet. Before these altitudes, don’t let the nose rise - this could result in a float.
Execute the flare correctly - timing is one part of the flare. How you flare is also important. Don’t jerk the yoke back, as you may float down the runway. Flare gently, but not too gently to avoid slamming the plane into the runway.
Decrabbing - Use the rudder to align the nose with the centerline, and keep the wings level. Don’t decrab a lot, as you may become unstable.
Congratulations, you landed! After that, pull back a little to keep the nose in the air for as long as possible. Activate reverse thrust and vacate.
That’s it! Hopefully this helps you land!
Vocabulary for those who didn't know
Flare - A maneuver used to reduce the airplane’s vs before landing in order to touch down smoothly.
Float - When the aircraft flies down the runway for an extended period of time (commonly results in a go around or stall)
Crabbing - crabbing an airplane you do on crosswind landings. The nose of the aircrafts points towards the wind, while the aircraft moves toward the runway. De-crabbing is when you apply opposite rudder (mostly done just before touchdown) to eliminate the crab.
Regulars, if you want to add anything, you can :)