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Deaf Pilot

Carrier Landing

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I am having a tough time getting the carrier landings done... The nose keeps slamming down hard enough to warrant a crash... am I just approaching too slow? Should I come in faster/flatter?

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Hi Todd,There was a thread started on this exact topic a little more than a year ago at fsdreamteam.com called Carrier Landings. One of the fellas that posted, Microbrewst, said he was a RW Tomcat driver (for a short while) and has some excellent tips. I would highly suggest reading that whole thread. I also posted some things you might find useful.FSX Carrier landings are very tough; you are required to fly the aircraft inside a very narrow set of parameters that include airspeed, angle of attack and rate of descent all while attempting to maintain a precise course and glidepath. In your case, it does sound like your airspeed is too low / AOA is too high.Six or seven weeks ago (or there abouts) Top Gun Simulations started a web competition for FSX Carrier Traps. Once you sign up at the site, you can download (for free) two missions... a "Practice Trap" which starts you at just about 3/4mi from the end of the boat and a second "Day Traps" that you use to fly 6 passes. I can't remember about the Practice Trap mission, but in the Day Traps mission, you will get calls from the LSO if you are off course. You also get "graded" after landing i.e. the LSO will tell you where during the flight you were off-course (e.g. "a little low at the ramp"... in that case something you won't hear during the flight). Another nice thing about using their mission is the carrier is designated KFFA (First Flight Airport) so your landings "count" in the logbook. Previously, I used the Carrier Practice mission and landings were never logged... idk what the problem was there except maybe the carriers need a valid airport designation.My suggestion would be like with anything: practice, practice, practice. If you crash, ask yourself why and if you have an answer, make an adjustment. Same thing if you succeed on a landing: ask yourself, "what did I do that time?" and attempt to repeat what you think you did right. If you can use something to visually record the last mile before landing, that would be a very useful tool to replay. To give you an idea of how much work... I see that I have around 500 to 600 landings with the Top Gun Simulations Day Traps mission. I have no clue (or desire to know) how many crashes I have endured during that time. A crash is rare now... part of that is I prefer a "bolter" to a crash. And as I am going around saying "dang dang dang" I am also doing a quick assessment of why I failed to trap ("you nut... you can't roll out on a 3/4 mile final above glidepath at a 165kts and not expect to float down the length of the deck..."). It requires hitting certain points in the pattern at a certain altitude, a certain airspeed and a certain power setting... And doing it the same way every time. To give a short example/idea: I now launch with about 2400lbs of fuel, 82.5% N2, pitch to 15 degrees nose up till airspeed bleeds below 160kts... bank 30 degrees left and lower the nose to sub 5 degrees until reaching Pattern Altitude (600ft MSL) reducing power to maintain 155kts and rollout on a heading of 260. I practice doing that the same way every single time.Read that thread, keep working at it and keep asking if you don't understand something.

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Thanks Rob - that actually does help a lot. I am getting better at making consistent landings. I found that with flight simulator, something else that also helps is to sort of "play" with the elevator at touch down. It's not a lot but basically when I touch down, I push the nose over a little bit to get the nose wheel closer to the deck under my own power, and then a split second later I give it full aft stick (at the moment that the wire catches). The result is actually a succession of quick movements that help achieve a smoother transistion from a nose-high, 140-knot landing attitude to a nose down/nose oleo compressed/stopped condition.Thanks again!

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Thanks Rob - that actually does help a lot. I am getting better at making consistent landings. I found that with flight simulator, something else that also helps is to sort of "play" with the elevator at touch down. It's not a lot but basically when I touch down, I push the nose over a little bit to get the nose wheel closer to the deck under my own power, and then a split second later I give it full aft stick (at the moment that the wire catches). The result is actually a succession of quick movements that help achieve a smoother transistion from a nose-high, 140-knot landing attitude to a nose down/nose oleo compressed/stopped condition.Thanks again!
Hmmm ... seems about 5 knots too high. Try 135 knots, 600 feet at 3/4 mile. Use power to adjust your altitude relative to the deck. You really don't want to be nose high when you land (no flare) otherwise hitting the wire would slam your nose into the deck, destroying your nose gear (as you've discovered). Anything over about 750 FPS descent rate will crush your main gear.The TopGun simulation is excellent. Even if you don't join, or buy missions, you should download their Practice mission and Day Trap mission (it's free.) Getting graded will really improve your chances.I'll agree with other posters ... this is the most difficult thing you'll probably do in Flight Simulator. I've also found that to stay proficient, you have to keep practicing or you'll lose the feel for it.Cheers!

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I am sure you have heard traps described as a "controlled crash" and that you literally fly it right onto the deck... I must say the second half of that is exactly how I treat the landing... no flare and essentially no stick movement as I cross over the fantail and am committed to landing. I realize with these sims sometimes there a bit of "individual finagling" we must do to be 'successful'... sometimes if I have a touch "extra" airspeed and I see I'm about to hook the No. 1 wire, I'll give a quick rearward flick on the stick in hopes of catching the No.2 or (preferably) the No.3 wire.But I really do attempt to maintain an "Onspeed" indication (yellow circle in the AOA Indexer) power set to what I think I need to maintain a rate of descent that keeps me on the glidepath and fly that pitch & power setting, then maintain the pitch and roll back the throttle just as I am about to come aboard.Btw, the proper airspeed to fly is based on acft weight and the AOA Indexer will let you know if the airspeed is correct. And having a larger screen than I did a year ago makes seeing "the meatball" a whole lot easier.

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