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Thread: Floating on sunshine

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Westminster, CO


    Quote Originally Posted by jbearnolimits View Post
    Saved a flight at 2000 agl lined up about 5 miles out. Gives me time to catch the glidescope and adjust power and trim.
    If you have to catch the glideslope, then you're not yet ready to progress much. And five miles out is waaaaayy too far out for a Cessna. It shouldn't be more than a mile, and might be better at close to half a mile. If you need that five miles to stabilize the aircraft, then you should go to the practice area and do some exercises strictly in the air until you can get the aircraft slowed from cruise to approach speed, and can make level turns, climbing turns, descending turns, and straight and level flight quickly and easily (this will pay off for you later). You might go to the Real Aviation Tutorials & FAQs section of the forum, under Basic Aircraft Control, where though you already know most of this, the second half describes some very useful exercises to develop your "muscle memory" for the various maneuvers to make them second nature.

    Back to the approach, you need to learn to judge that glideslope visually, which isn't difficult. As you descend down final, notice the spot in the windshield that is staying put, that is, it is neither moving up in the windshield nor down. That is the spot where, if you make no changes, the nose will plow into the ground. This gives you an aim point. A slight pitch change (changing the airspeed) or a slight power change (changing the rate of descent, but keep your eyes outside) will change that point of aim.

    So as you come down final at approach speed, adjust that aim point until it is just a little short of your intended point of touchdown. Then, as you get near the ground (maybe 100 feet up or a bit less- practice will let you find the right spot), be at idle and start easing the nose up (much as Rick describes above). At this point you should be looking at the far end of the runway, which lets you more easily judge your height above the ground, so that you can level off about a foot above the ground, then as Rick describes* or, as I mentioned above, "Hold it off, don't let it touch," keep it that foot off the ground until you're back at the tiedowns, or at least until you are stopped.

    And here, I'm going to make a suggestion that a lot of people may not agree with: Since you are still learning, don't do touch and goes. Make all your landings full stops. I've never let my students do T&G until after they've soloed, which means they know all of this.

    The reason for full stops is two fold. One is that you then practice the complete landing to a full stop, rather than skipping the rollout, where a number of accidents happen. Two is that on the taxi back to the numbers for the next takeoff, you have a chance to think about what you did (and were you with a CFI, time to discuss this too), and to think about how to correct anything that wasn't quite right. Also, you're not in a hurry to get the airplane cleaned up for a safe takeoff, so you can experience the complete takeoff, not just a partial. Many accidents occur on takeoff, also.

    * Quote from Rick: "When I was learning to fly RW, my instructor instilled a thought which to this day has stuck with me."
    Essentially the same thing is what my first instructor told me (which I pass on to students): Hold it six inches off the ground and keep holding it there. Taxi back to the tiedowns still holding it that six inches off the ground. When you get to the tiedowns, put the ropes through the rings and pull the airplane down that last six inches.

    This emphasized two things: one is to fly the airplane until stopped, and the other is you don't actually land an aircraft, rather you try to hold it off, even with power at idle, until it actually lands itself. Your attempts to actually land often result in bounces or worse.

    Larry N.

    As Skylab would say:
    Remember: Aviation is NOT an exact Science!

  2. #12


    Great advice from Larry, who I think is one of the sagest contributors to these threads. I have an additional suggestion: go up a few thousand feet and practice slowing and stalling in the landing configuration (flaps down). When you get used to your airplane's slow flight characteristics, the bottom end of the speed range is a lot less scary.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Boca Raton, Florida, USA.


    go to a safe altitude above AGL and practice STALLS at various Flap settings to get the feeling for the plane as well.

    use these numbers to fly your approach accordingly until TD.

    sincerely g. kirschstein

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