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making that perfect landing

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I am trying to do a textbook perfect landing every time I fly and the only plane that I can do that with is the Cessna C-172SP Skyhawk and that is the only plane I can do a picture perfect landing in all the others I am comming in either to fast or to slow any suggestions on how I can fix my problem?

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For starters, when approaching the pattern or straigt-in, at say 120 knots.................. pull back power and keep the plane level until the airspeed bleeds down to around 90 knots (actually depends on aircraft). At that point, you can worry about adding more flaps, and dropping the speed farther as you approach the runway.With real life, power reduction will depend on possible engine shock cooling, you need to worry about flap and gear extention speeds, etc. Too much to throw into this reply. But just get that extra speed bled off. Even some smaller GA aircraft can take miles to do this before getting to the pattern.Edit---- if your too slow, then just add throttle, so you won't loose any additional altitude. L.Adamson

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When on final, practice using the throttle for rate of descent control and nose up/down for speed control. Once you learn to do this it is much easier to maintain both the correct speed and rate of descent.Regards,Dewey

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some other practice is doing slow flight (at the stall horn) - this is what is done with people learning to land in real life (before then they must be comfortable manuevering an airplane at slower speeds).take the 172 up to 2500' agl. Pull power to 1500-1700rpm and maintain a level attitude, and watch the airspeed bleed off. Now recognize the fact that you can use pitch to control airspeed and throttle to control altitude. Pitch for 70kts and maintain 2500' agl. Drop 10deg flaps and watch as bleed to 65. Drop 20 and watch as go down to 55. Drop 30 and pitch for horn all the while maintaining your original heading and 2500' agl. Then practice turning (max of 20deg) while doing this trying to maintain 2500' agl.Landing is nothing but slow flight with a power off stall at the end.I teach my students 80/70/65 for airspeeds in the pattern (downwind/base/final). 65 is based on 1.2 or 1.3 x stall speed (dirty). You can do this for any other airplane.For example, everytime i download a new airplane (say a lear 35 for ex.) I takeoff and climb to a safe height and drop flaps and gear and see what the stall speed is (at the horn). I then use 1.2 or 1.3 times that for my final approach speed and build in the base/downwind factors. Basic experimenting I guess.Just remember (although not everyone agrees) that pitch controls airspeed and throttle controls altitude. After awhile you will realize that the two are really intertwined (eg if on short final and you are high you reduce power, you must also lower the nose to maintain 65 though)Hope this helps.

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>>Just remember (although not everyone agrees) that pitch >controls airspeed and throttle controls altitude. After >awhile you will realize that the two are really intertwined >(eg if on short final and you are high you reduce power, you >must also lower the nose to maintain 65 though) >Glad you said "intertwined"! :)This argument went on for days here, a few months ago, and at Flightsim.com in the last few days. As usual, there are just too many circumstances to call it one way or the other.L.Adamson

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Thanks I will try that and let you know if you want to send my a aol instant message my screen name is verticalvelocit

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Just a suggestion -- lessons 2-5 at our helicopter training facility would help you learn the principles outlined above if you are willing to put some effort into it. I have flown both rotary and fixed wing in real life and I can assure you the basic principles are identical.These self-teaching lessons are available at http://members.shaw.ca/hoversafe/Hoversafe.htm on the Flying School page.FWIW.Calhover long and prosper

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thanks Cal I will get every lesson that I can because I also fly helicopters on FS2002

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In the C172SP:When abeam the landing numbers on downwind, throttle to 1800 RPM, flaps to 10 (if within the max speed range for flaps 10), but pull back on the yoke as the nose wants to fall to maintain level flight until at 70 KIAS (I realize this varies with another poster's airspeeds here, but we all have our personal preferences in real flying).Once at 70 KIAS, trim the aircraft to maintain that airspeed. Low time students become fixated with the airspeed at this stage, but as you get more experienced you know attitude the plane needs to be in at 70 Kts and configured like this, so you never look at the airspeed indicator (other than quick glances to confirm what your senses are telling you).When in base, assuming a 1/2 mile final, flaps to 20. Now, trim to maintain 65 KIAS. Turn to final (throttle is still at 1800 RPM), then when you know you "have it made", flaps to 30 (speed will tend to 60 KIAS), then when at the threshold, power off.It's all to do with speed control. You will note that I am using pitch (trim) to achieve speeds, with constant power. Once again, various people do this differently too. If you ever sense that you're too low, add more power- but always be able to make it when you add flaps to 30, as there's lot of drag then.But, in real life, it's not as easy as this. I fly out of a Class D airport, and often are given extended downwind and told to follow another a/c in. So, I don't want to bring my power down or add any flaps until I'm ready to descend. And then there's winds, which have a profound effect on timing of all these steps. The end result is judgement, every landing (even on the same day at the same hour at the same airport) is unique. And it's always challenging. And even the best have some bad landings! But when you squeak it onto the runway, the feeling is oh so sweet!!Good luck- Bruce.BJC, Jeffco, CO.

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Bruce I will try that I think I have not been doing the right approach procedures

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Hey. I was having the same problem, until I picked up a book at a used bookstore called "Positive Flying", by Richard Taylor and William Guinther. It was written to help pilots flying real aircraft, but the techniques work for the simulator, too. The basic premise of the book is that each airplane will perform exactly the same everytime at a precise power and pitch combination. Flaps, wind and gear add variables to the equation, but the basic premise is sound. If you put the plane in a particular configuration, it will always do the same thing as it did before, in terms of performance.So, the trick is to trim the airplane for level flight at the speed you want on downwind. You can hang some flaps out if you want to, but there isn't really a need to, unless you are flying a real slick airplane, like a Mooney or a Commander. Trim the plane to the best rate of climb airspeed. That is a ref speed that is always listed in the POH, so it's easy to find. In the 172, that's about 90 KIAS. If you trim for level flight at 90 knots, you'll find that you are slightly nose high, and about 2050 RPM. Now, on the turn to base, ease the throttle back about 50-100 RPM. That's all you need to start a gentle descent. As you roll into the turn, your rate of descent will increase as you lose some of the vertical component of lift. Lower the flaps a notch. The two factors will cancel each other out, and you'll be descending at 500 FPM at about 80 knots. On your turn to final, drop the flaps another notch to cancel out the loss of vertical lift, and roll out aligned with the runway. You'll be descending at about 70 KIAS at 500 FPM. Perfect. As you cross the perimeter fence, drop the last notch of flaps, which will slow you down to about 60-65 KIAS. As you cross the approach end, and hitting your touchdown point is assured, reduce the power and round out to level flight. Gently bring the yoke back to put the far end of the runway right where your view of the dash ends and the windscreen begins and leave it there, while wiping off the last of the power. IF you pick out a visual target that is visible above the end of the runway (i.e. a tree or something), and freeze it in your view, you'll touch down straight and centered (assuming you were lined up correctly). Hold it there and wait. Full stall landings are de rigeur in conventional gear, but you can roll it on to the pavement a little bit short of full stall on tricycle gear. (I know, I know, the purists are shaking their fists....as they bounce the landing and go around again because they stalled the airplane too high....)...You GREASED it. Works every time.Better than that, it works real well with most GA airplanes. The trim is the trick. Once you are set for a particular airspeed, the plane wants to fly that airspeed, and will either climb or descend in order to do it. Flaps take off about 10 KIAS per notch. Point is, you don't need to mess with trim too much while you're busy trying to control airspeed, and rate of descent. Trim it once and leave it there. And, you only need to mess with the throttle a little to maintain a stablized descent. If both VASI lights go red, increase the throttle by about 50-100 RPM, but don't yank the stick back. The airplane will climb, because you trimmed it to fly at a particular airspeed. It'll begin to climb all by itself. If you're high, throttle back a little. The airplane will descend a little faster, but it won't gain much airspeed, because you told it not to with the trim. Here's another trick if you find that you are overshooting in a low wing airplane. Remember that a low-wing airplane has more float in the round-out and flair, because the wings are closer to the gound, and ground effect has more influence on the sink rate. On an airplane like the Mooney or Commander, kill a notch of flaps as you flair. This will spoil some of the lift, and you won't float as much.By the way, that book (Positive Flying) has reference speeds for about two dozen airplanes, including the 172, 182, BAron, Cherokee 140, Archer II, Arrow, Aztec, Traveler and Tiger.....you can find it in used book stores cheap.Have fun, and roll 'em on!

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I used to teach a "pinch hitter" course for spouses/friends/kids of pilots. There were both one-lesson and four-lesson courses but the premise was to teach just enough of the basics for a non-pilot to get the bird on the ground.Anyway, on the one-day course I would get the student abeam the numbers, have him/her pull the power back to 1500(?) RPM, and pitch to maintain 70(?) KIAS. Zero flaps are used. When flying a standard pattern in light winds this will put the aircraft down on the first 1/3 of the runway without any real need to flare. With a zero flap setting, 70 KIAS will produce ~ 500 fpm sink and the nose-up attitude will keep the nose wheel from hitting first. Ground effect produces a reduction in sink and the aircraft solidly, but safely touches down. This is the least complicated, easiest to remember, easiest to replicate landing technique for a complete "non pilot" to master. The ? is because it has been a long time and I don't remember the exact number.The only reason I mention this is because you may wish to experiment with either zero or partial flap usage before you master landing with full flaps. The higher approach speed will result in greater control authority too. Depending on the aircraft you may wish to leave in just a touch of throttle until on the ground. Another technique would be to open a spot view window and watch yourself fly 2 ft above the entire length of the runway without stalling or touching down.Also, keep in mind that for anything larger than a 172 you're approaching a stall when you land, but the technique is not always to stall her onto the runway. Chirping of the horn is OK in light singles, but you'll have a rude awakening if you try to stall something like a 421 onto the strip. The larger the birds like to be flown all the way to the ground.

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>Here's another trick if you find that you are overshooting >in a low wing airplane. Remember that a low-wing airplane >has more float in the round-out and flair, because the wings >are closer to the gound, and ground effect has more >influence on the sink rate. On an airplane like the Mooney >or Commander, kill a notch of flaps as you flair. This will >spoil some of the lift, and you won't float as much. >Don't know, and have to question this one?????............ because I havn't flown a real Mooney or Commander. The closest for me is the Piper Arrow and some heavy wing loaded low wing homebuilts.Personally I can't imagine taking out some flap during the flair (or is it flare?... I'm brain dead this morning). IMO, it would change the sink rate too quickly, and possibly even the angle of the aircraft itself, realitive to the runway.With the heavier GA aircraft (retract gear/CS props)I've experienced, it's almost necessary to carry a little power through the flare to keep the nose up, and arrest the sink rate. Planes such as a Cessna 172 and Piper Archer will just float over the threashold with power pulled back. The main trick is to get the approach speeds nailed, so you won't be floating "long" to start with. But then that's why you do hundreds and landings when a student----- to get a memorized idea of it all..L.Adamson

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