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JayL

What I learned from Flight, and what I need to learn

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Hello, another new guy. I would consider myself mostly a casual flight simmer, I enjoyed FS9 and FSX, but haven't flown a virtual plane in a few years. A few times I wanted to load up FSX again, along with all my Flight1 and PMDG stuff, but my version wouldn't install on my system, so I dropped it. A friend and I were talking one day about how great it would be if MS made a new flight sim. I decided to google, and ha, they are! And it's out in like a month! I were excited.

 

And still am, I *love* Flight. I think MS has done a great job so far, it looks fantastic, and I can't wait to see what it's like in another year or two when they have had time to beef it up. In FS9 and FSX, I never bothered with "small" planes. The only flying I actually did was to taxi my PMDG plane to the runway, hit the throttle, get it off the ground, then hit the AP and let it land itself however many thousands of miles away, in the meantime not really having touched anything in the cockpit, much less actually fly the plane. Well Flight has forced me to learn to actually fly the things. ^^ And I enjoy it quite a bit. I've learned how to trim the plane for hands off flight, and capture the ILS using instruments, follow the glideslope using the lights, etc. I've done the landing challenges, including the hover-land at the observatory which was awesome, all the missions, aerocaches (except the fl80 one)... I'm bouncing in my chair for Alaska.

 

What I am having trouble with, is figuring out how to approach an airport that doesn't have ILS, so that I'm lined up with a runway. I check the job board to see what I wanna do, then exit to the map to see what direction the destination runways are facing, and altitude. I then head in the general direction, aim either to the left or right of the destination, then turn towards it in hopes I am somewhat close to the direction the runway is facing. Rarely do I hit it on the nose, it's usually a fair distance off. It doesn't let you use the map during a mission, I'm assuming so you can't click n' drag your plane, so I really have no idea how to tell where to turn to line up. Sometimes I end up just flying past it and turning in the right direction, fly out a mile or so, then turn a sharp 180 and land. So... what am I not doing?

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Rather than try to set yourself up for a straight-in approach, have you tried to fly an overhead circuit or standard traffic pattern? I recently posted an example of this in the Tutorials section: http://forum.avsim.net/tutorials/article/57-flying-the-traffic-pattern/

 

You will still need to take note of the runway directions so you can approach the airport and enter the pattern from the proper direction, however.

 

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Two things that have helped me with small field landings. One, make sure you're flying high enough to see the airport from a distance. I usually fly about 1000 feet Above Ground Level. Two, in the absense of a map, the top down view is a great help as an aid to situational awareness.

 

Hook

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Just read your turtorial for the first time of likely many, thanks for pointing that out to me, it's just what I needed.

 

@hook Yeah pretty sure I'm high enough, but I am going to pay more attention to the right agl altitude. I find myself leaning closer to the screen and saying "crap i'm way off" haha. Didn't think about the top down for landing, I have been using it to find the right taxiway.

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I was originally doing landings on the small airstrips flying the pattern at 500 feet. That's just not high enough to see the runway in many cases.

 

Oddly enough, when the moon is out at night, you can often see the airfields better than during the day because of the increased contrast. We would never take advantage of this, of course. :D

 

Hook

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Interesting link Robo . Thanks. I just wish there WAS traffic to worry about during approach and landing.

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+1 on the traffic hehe. I'm sure it will be coming. I got a laugh recently, the female cargo co-pilot said something like "aren't there usually more planes than this? i guess we can just go..." lol

 

Tried doing a traffic pattern twice last night, at the proper altitude, in the right direction, etc, was so much better. I also did it at the right speeds, which was hard, I always land way too fast. When I'm at the right speeds it feels like it's on the verge of falling out of the sky and the nose is so high it's hard to see over, but I guess you just have to get used to it.

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I think you may be coming on too low if you're holding the nose high during final. You are using your flaps right?

 

Also you should generally reduce power to idle or very close to it just as you pass abeam your landing point on the downwind leg. If you maintain the right airspeed control, you should be able to glide in with minimal power adjustments.

 

If you're keeping power in, you will come on nose high and give yourself a little more workload. Try to keep the power down.

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Yeah I use my flaps, but it sounds like I do use too much power then, 40-50% sometimes, esp when the flaps are all the way down. When I do slow to the proper speed and pull the power low, I don't feel like it's going to make it to the runway, like it's gonna touchdown before I get there, even though I have 2 white lights and 2 red. I end up giving it power and pushing the nose down a bit and coming in too fast. Maybe now that I'm learning to use the traffic pattern this will sort itself out.

 

Something else I have trouble with occasionally is flairing? too soon, then dropping 6 feet onto the runway. It's hard for me to tell when I'm at the right height above it. Is there a visual cue, or do you have to use the altimeter when landing, because I haven't been...

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Get used to the picture when the plane is sitting on the ground before you takeoff. Look just to the to left side of the view where you can see the edge of the runway. That is the image you want to see when you are flaring. You'll get used to holding it just a few inches off the ground with practice.

 

I wouldn't put in full flaps until you are very close to the runway. Probably 10 seconds before leveling off is when I would put the last settings of flaps in. I put the second setting of flaps on the base leg. You may be to far away when you are turning from base to final.

 

There are a lot of factors to consider, but I think it would be great to practice gliding in with no power or flaps from the abeam point on downwind. This will help you get more control of managing your glide, and distance from the runway.

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The Maule is a tricky plane to land power-out. I used to try to do that and my landings suffered, before I read this. The bolded part, in particular...

 

The first trip down final was an interesting experience because I didn't expect the airplane to need so much attention to maintain a given airspeed. I also didn't expect it to require such accurate airspeed control. Frank said the factory advised 65 mph for a normal approach and 58-60 mph for a short approach. We used full flaps, 48°, in almost all approaches . Using less flap for a crosswind moved the approach speed up to 70 mph.

As I played with the airplane, I found it changed personality twice in the speed band between 60 mph and 70 mph. At 68-70 mph, it was a floater and demanded getting all the power off to let it land. At 64-66 mph, it had a moderate float and might need a touch of power in the flair, but usually not. At 60-62 mph, you'd better be right there with the throttle all the way through flair because power-off, it had no ground effect at all and would flop onto the ground like a dead flounder, if you'd let it. Reducing flaps to 40° didn't seem to change anything. Bear in mind, these are not criticisms as much as recognizing specific characteristics.

Of equal interest was that in the area of 70 mph, it didn't want to give up speed very quickly. However, as it came down around 65 mph, it was all too willing to shed mph and you had to watch it constantly to keep from getting too slow. "Too slow" in this case was 60-62 mph.

 

I'm keeping the power in more than I did previously when landing the Maule, even adding some during the flare, and I'm definitely doing a better job of setting it down gently. Like the real-world M7, Flight's version seems very sensitive to throttle settings at low speeds. 1 or 2 MPH can also make a big difference in your sink-rate.

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Thanks for all the info everyone. Armed with new information, I'm gonna go practice for the rest of the evening. I'm getting in a new controller thursday from newegg, replacing my 10 yr old cyborg stick that makes creaky noises will likely help too. :)

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I have a lot of issues landing the Maule since it is so speed sensitive, like Ray says. Too little power and she drops like a rock.

 

However at the right power, speed, and flap settings the Maule will go into what I call "float mode" and it almost feels like you are hovering or parachuting. That is when I realized just how short the L part of the STOL performance could be. In "float mode" you can make extremely short landings.

 

I still can't land it very well, as I find it hard to both hit this sweet spot with the plane at the same time I am trying to hit my mark on the runway. I end up doing faster landings than I should, but I know if I had the skill that Maule will land on a dime.

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There is a guy who flies a Maule out of my airport. When he does short field landings it always looks very harsh. The plane comes down rather firmly. Normal landings are nice and smooth.

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