Jump to content

Getting Lined Up


Recommended Posts

Hi Guys


I've just come back to Flight Sim after a lengthy break.


I am getting to grips with hand flying the Cessna 172. I've done a couple of flights between Manchester (EGCC) and Leeds/Bradford (EGNM) via the Pole Hill VOR. This is my test flight path.


I've set up a VFR flight plan which is loaded into my GPS and I follow the pink line.


However, I am wondering how I know when to start my descent and when to get lined up. I am currently aiming for the end of the green ILS flare on the GPS and then starting the descent. Does that sound about right ? My landings have not been great as I think I'm coming in with too much speed, because when I flare the aircraft with the throttle at idle, I seem to coast up into the air before crashing back down to earth.


I know it's probably not the most realistic way etc, but I just want to be able to practice the basics before adding in more complexity and realisms.


Any advice would be great :)




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Mathew,


Welcome back...


Typical pattern altitude is to start 1000 feet over the elevation of the runway...


This thread discusses airport approaches at length:




In addition - the stabilized approach when on final is all about airspeed control - control your airspeed and everything else should be easy... If I recall correctly - you should be flying a C172 around 65 kts to 68 kts on final with full flaps...




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Scott is right, airspeed is critical. If you have full flaps out, but too much speed on, when you start your flare you'll "balloon" upwards. If you're speed is just above stall, for full flaps, what you want is, as you cross the threshold, you chop the throttle, settle into the ground effect, then, as your speed bleeds off, you can raise your nose higher and higher, to try to maintain you altitude (about 7-10' off the ground), and you will settle onto the runway. A Voila! Landed you have :D

As to "Lining Up", as was mentioned by Scott, the pattern is usually 1000 to 12000' AGL. I try to set my distance from the runway on both upwind and downwind legs by my wing. If the wingtip is just touching the edge of the runway, I am at the right distance from it. The end of The leg is when the runway is about 45° behind me. So at about 45° aft, start a Stanrd Rate Turn 90° onto your crosswaind leg. Crosswind and Base are timed. If you finish the turn from upwind to crosswind, then fly straight and level for 1 Minute, let us say, well then when you turn from downwind to base, 1 minute will line you up perfectly for final. OR you can use the wingtip/45° aft method. So after you turn to crosswind, just keep the runway on the wingtip until it's again 45° aft, then turn to downwind.

And each leg has it's own altitudes and airspeeds. Upwind at 1000', let us say, with Flaps 1, whatever the correct speed for that setting is. Then on downwind descend to 800' and hang out more flaps to slow down more.then on base, down to 700', slow some more, hang out Flaps 3, then on final be totally set. Full flaps, airspeed just above (5-8kts) stall, and descending at about 500'/min on final, should all place you at the right place on the runway, at 0' altitude and linied up perfectly.

It's a lot to practice. Build to it all slowly. Practice Standard Rate turns until they are instinctive. Go up to 7000', and practice patterns, with correct altitudes, airspeeds, flaps, all of it, until you're sick of them, then do it at an airport.

If you want, you can set up at the end of the ILS green triangle of an airport, at the correct speed and altitude, etc, then pause the sim and save the flight right there. That way, you can load up the flight, make a final to landing, and then do it again. And again, and again, ad nauseam :D It won't be long before making a landing is easy-peasy for you. Or set the flight up at the entrance to the pattern, and save it, then practicce patterns. Do touch-n-goes, over and over.

Then take a break, go sightseeing down in the Grand Canyon. Fly an F-111 through New York City at 200' and Mach 1. Dodge those buildings! Do anything BUT fly a pattern.

Then back at it again. You'll be a Master Aviator in no time :D

Remember, I am NOT an Instructor Pilot. Not even close, but I know what's worked for me.

Another way to go is to follow the Lessons in the Learning Center. That way you DO have an IP on-board, although AI and a roayal PITA.

A GREAT site to read and work with, IMO, is this one. Great lessons on How-To.

Hope all my rambling helps a little bit...



Had a thought...then there was the smell of something burning, and sparks, and then a big fire, and then the lights went out! I guess I better not do that again!

Sgt, USMC, 10 years proud service, Inactive reserve now :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

..I just want to be able to practice the basics before adding in more complexity and realisms..


In that case fly manually by eyeball and seat of your pants in external view for a while to get a good idea of how the plane sits in the air and "feels" during manoeuvres and stuff.

You haven't lived until you've landed an FSX airliner by eyeball/pants alone without looking at the instruments and glideslope readouts etc, it's great fun, I do it all the time!

You can't learn good old basic airmanship if you rely on instruments too much.

Remember, Armstrong took manual control to hop over a crater, and in 'Airport 1975' the stewardess had to do it manually when a midair collision knocked out the pilots..:)-


Kennedy- "She's flying it herself!"

Heston- "Climb baby, climb!"


Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...