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Alec

Suggestions of landing simulation practice for real flying?

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So guys!

 

Those of you who remember me, I was having air sickness problem for my first flights, and many of you helped me a lot during that phase. I won't say I never had it again, there was one bumpy ride that made me feel bad, althought not as bad as to loose the ability to be in control of the aircraft.

 

Well, today the subject is different. I'm having touch and go training, getting ready for my solo flight, and as soon as I master the landing, they will let me fly solo for the first time. It hasn't been easy though. I've been having problems flying, either because of bad weather, and now there's the Rio +20 Happening here, and all flights have been cancelled for the entire next week, so a lot of time not practicing. And Landing is practice, practice, practice, so I was wondering if there's something I can do in this free time to improve, or at least don't get worse until my next flight.

 

What I need to improve the most is letting the airplane fly as much as possible before touchdown, I've been letting it settle with too much energy, and my landings have been much worse when there has been some crosswind, so that's another area I need to get better.

 

Any simulator, addon, technique, something you would suggest me doing to see if helps? I know there;s no substitute for real flying, but I can't hop into a plane and do 20touch and go's until I get the technique mastered.

 

Thanks guys ;-)

 

I have three nice addons, RealAir Lancair ( Too fast for training for my PPL training ), BayTower RV-7 ( Actually this one isn't too far off the plane I fly, although the controls are much more sensitive in the RV-7 and the Carenado Beech for X-Plane ( Also too fast for PPL training )


Alexis Mefano

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What aircraft are you flying for your real world training?

 

I learned on the C150's and I find Caranado's C152 to be a pretty good flight model. Great one for touch and go's and mastering the flare.

 

I also use the 30X zoom out so you get as much peripheral vision as you can when making the landings, Little hard to see the gauges at first but I am used to it now.

 

I also use ORBX scenery as it has a more realistic feel about it compared to default FSX scenery.


Matthew Kane

 

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Here are a couple pointers that worked well for my students.

 

1. Look down the runway. The further you look down to the opposite end of the runway you can judge your height and speed better. Most students look about 2 seconds ahead of the aircraft which is only about ~230 feet down the runway. At this focal length all your eyes con perceive is a blur going by and tricks your mind that you are much lower and they usually miss the flare and land flat and fast.

 

2. Once you can get the sight picture worked out the next thing is to work on keeping the aircraft off the runway until it wants to settle down. Treat the runway as if it was lava but you also can't climb up. I have a video I made of myself to help people see what I am talking about. You can see in the video once I get to a point about 1-2 feet off the ground I continue to the yoke back until the aircraft is fully stalled and settles to the runway.

 

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3. Chair fly the aircraft. Visualize yourself flying around the pattern moving the throttle, stick/yoke, pedals and switches. This is pretty close to what we do in the airlines. We use a paper mock-up of the cockpit which is called the Cockpit Procedures Trainer or CPT or also well known as the paper tiger as well. We practice approaches, callouts and emergency procedures in it before we go to the simulator.


Chris Miller

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What aircraft are you flying for your real world training?

 

I learned on the C150's and I find Caranado's C152 to be a pretty good flight model. Great one for touch and go's and mastering the flare.

 

I also use the 30X zoom out so you get as much peripheral vision as you can when making the landings, Little hard to see the gauges at first but I am used to it now.

 

I also use ORBX scenery as it has a more realistic feel about it compared to default FSX scenery.

The aircraft I fly is Brazilian Made, but I guess it kind of looks like a Vans RV-7, low wing, 160HP. Thanks for the tip, I'll try flying with such low zoom, the peripheral vision really makes all the difference in flying. What I miss most about default FSX airport is the tarmac texture, I think x-Plane does a much better job with that than FSX.

 

 

Here are a couple pointers that worked well for my students.

 

1. Look down the runway. The further you look down to the opposite end of the runway you can judge your height and speed better. Most students look about 2 seconds ahead of the aircraft which is only about ~230 feet down the runway. At this focal length all your eyes con perceive is a blur going by and tricks your mind that you are much lower and they usually miss the flare and land flat and fast.

 

2. Once you can get the sight picture worked out the next thing is to work on keeping the aircraft off the runway until it wants to settle down. Treat the runway as if it was lava but you also can't climb up. I have a video I made of myself to help people see what I am talking about. You can see in the video once I get to a point about 1-2 feet off the ground I continue to the yoke back until the aircraft is fully stalled and settles to the runway.

 

[media=]

[/media]

 

3. Chair fly the aircraft. Visualize yourself flying around the pattern moving the throttle, stick/yoke, pedals and switches. This is pretty close to what we do in the airlines. We use a paper mock-up of the cockpit which is called the Cockpit Procedures Trainer or CPT or also well known as the paper tiger as well. We practice approaches, callouts and emergency procedures in it before we go to the simulator.

 

Those are excellent points! I will try looking further down the runway, I think I'm looking not very far away from the nose, and in fact my height judgment needs improving.

 

What happens a lot with me is that I tend to "break" the glide too abruptly, and the aircraft climbs too much, and when it comes back I usually don't feel safe to keep pulling the nose up, since I think the airspeed is already too low because of the float. I really need to work with my inputs to the yoke during the flare, I need to be more gentle in the beginning, and more active in the end.


Alexis Mefano

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As you lose airspeed you will lose authority or the force the elevator is to provide. So to compensate for this as you slow down you slowly pull back on the yoke as you get slower. Don't worry eventually it will all connect and you won't want to do any other flying except for landing! That is my favorite thing to do and I love doing it 4 times a day at work.


Chris Miller

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Alexis,

 

What is helping me in practicing landings is starting a flight at the airport you fly in, then press "Y" to slew, press F4 to fly up, then F2 to stop, then use your down arrow on your keyboard to slew yourself back and setup for an approach.


i7-6700K @ 4.5 GHz, 16 GB DDR4-2400 MHz, GTX 1070 8GB

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As you lose airspeed you will lose authority or the force the elevator is to provide. So to compensate for this as you slow down you slowly pull back on the yoke as you get slower. Don't worry eventually it will all connect and you won't want to do any other flying except for landing! That is my favorite thing to do and I love doing it 4 times a day at work.

I just need to make my muscle memory to understand what my brain has known for ages! Yes I think it's fun also, but I bet it will be a lot more when I can make more decent landings than not so decent ones :LMAO:

 

Alexis,

 

What is helping me in practicing landings is starting a flight at the airport you fly in, then press "Y" to slew, press F4 to fly up, then F2 to stop, then use your down arrow on your keyboard to slew yourself back and setup for an approach.

 

Thank you Diego! That's a nice tip, now I just need to find the perfect addon to give me the closest feel of landing as an actual aircraft! Valeu


Alexis Mefano

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The best and most useful tip on here is one that I was going to mention - looking down to the far end of the runway when you flare. That helps you get on the rudder and ailerons early to correct any veering and to stay centred. And you need to do that because at low landing speeds and with the throttle back, the controls are less responsive and require a bit more deflection to do what they would normally do with less movement in normal flight.

 

Use your peripheral vision to judge the flare and don't be afraid to keep bringing the stick back some more to keep it flying, the aircraft will let you know if you are over-cooking it with some elevator buffet, and you will feel that through the yoke if it happens. Unlike in a PC simulator, any aircraft will 'talk to you' through the seat of your pants and the stick, if you are listening.

 

Some technical stuff to help you understand things better: When you are above the runway and well in ground effect, the spiral flow of high pressure air below the wing (which normally spills over onto the upper wing surface where there is low pressure, causing the vortices you sometimes see, and is what winglets prevent), is largely cancelled out by the ground breaking up that flow. This is what causes a lot less drag when you are above the runway surface, it makes your wing more efficient, which is why you will float a long way and have to get the stick back to slow down more than you might think.

 

Al


Alan Bradbury

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The best addons seems to be tail draggers. A2A Simulations, DCS P-51, etc. I wish RealAir would release the C172 soon!


Alexis Mefano

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I'll actually caution you on using the simulator for practicing techniques involved with landing. In 26 years of simming I have yet to find a sim that replicates the visuals and "feel" of landing. It just takes practice in the real thing and with that repitition will come a comfort level that allows you to add learned skills on top of one another till you "get it". The sim does work very well for other areas of flight but really slow flight, stall behaviour and the eye/hand fine touch coordination skills necessary to stay alive are best taught through frequent repitition in the real aircraft. They will burn into your neurons quite well and remain just like riding a bike (that's a good analogy, there probably are some good bicycle sims somewhere out there but none of them will teach you the balance required!). My caution is from some of the really bad habits you can get when taking the sim and doing things at the edges of the envelope, slow flight and landing technique being two of them. The computer will allow you to do things that can kill you quick and on the computer you will think you have learned something that can be translated into real life. Please don't think you can use the sim to aquire a skill set that requires feeling the real aircraft in that situation to burn in a survivable trait.

 

PS. I own a BATD which if FAA legal and I log approaches on it all the time. I also completed 15 hours of my instrument training on a Redbird motion sim (3.5 hours were on my home sim). There are things the sim does well, landing is NOT one of them.


Dr Zane Gard

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That's a nice advise. It's one of those things you only have to hear once to know it's best to follow the advice and stop doing it the way you were doing before.

 

I will no longer try to use simulators for practicing landing, I too find that no sim to date has given me the feel of an aircraft during the low speed stage of flight, specially over the runway surface.

 

I really believe simulators let you do things that gets you killed in real life in a matter of seconds. I sometimes do some high angle of attack high bank turns in FS that I would never ever do in real life, for sure I would spin to the ground.

 

I hope I can get to fly more often soon, I need more repetition to get it fixated in my mind and muscle memory.


Alexis Mefano

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PS. I own a BATD which if FAA legal and I log approaches on it all the time.

 

 

Do you have an instructor come out to your house to log the instrument time with you?


Chris Miller

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Do you have an instructor come out to your house to log the instrument time with you?

 

My first thought too when I read that... I was like :Shocked: (second thought was he's just logging in the back of the book for "gp" i.e. for his own record not FAR purposes).

 

The computer will allow you to do things that can kill you quick and on the computer you will think you have learned something that can be translated into real life.

 

Wow... very provocative statement. Would you please name these things? Cross-control type "stuff"?

 

I sometimes do some high angle of attack high bank turns in FS that I would never ever do in real life, for sure I would spin to the ground.

 

Well... this would mean either throwing in some significant g (à la an accelerated stall) or e.g. you are near the stall with a large amount of power stuck in at a low airspeed. Yeah not so smart in the pattern for guys like us and what we fly.

 

If you are practicing good technique (like co-ordinated turns, no more than 25° - 30° banked turns, smooth application of power, EYES OUTSIDE instead of buried in the cockpit, etc) I do not see the harm... and I do see the good in practicing what you should do at the point you should do it... (e.g. abeam numbers - power to whatever it should be, first notch flaps, slowing down before descending... or whatever the Proper Procedure is for your plane). Ask your instructor if he/she has FSX and what they think. Chris's advice about just sitting in a chair and visualizing what you need to do at each point in the pattern... primo suggestion. Maybe you could find a poster of your plane's cockpit. And each day spend say... 45 minutes or so just practicing in your mind. Procedures are so important and doing what needs to be done, when it needs to be done can't be overemphasized. You get all that down, you will keep yourself ahead of the plane... and you will be thinking and flying rather than lost and wondering what to do next.

 

I'll actually caution you on using the simulator for practicing techniques involved with landing. In 26 years of simming I have yet to find a sim that replicates the visuals and "feel" of landing.

 

This caused me to remember... I was flying the C172 into Sitka (PASI) once... did a straight in (was one of the FSX missions) properly configured the plane... flared... ran the stick out... got the stall warning horn and the wheels squeakity-squeaked onto the deck... man what a feeling... I just about could have been there it "felt" so real... not the forces of course, but the visual inputs. Man do I love flying...

 

To add to some great advice above:

 

I keep my eyes moving during landing... you can't fixate on any one point. One nice thing about the C172, it had a hinge that ran down the cowl... one could use this to help align the plane with the center line. You can do the same by picking a rivet or something on the cowl directly in front of you. Once that nose starts to come up in the flare you have to shift to the side but still try not to fixate and gradually pull that stick back until it's in your lap. Like you said... too aggressive with elevator and you balloon... too timid and the ground will rush up and smack! and you have the plane wishing you were learning to fly in another one. It's all about finding the "Goldilocks" amount... not too much... not too little... but just right... and that is going to come with practice / experience.

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Do you have an instructor come out to your house to log the instrument time with you?

 

Yes :Nerd:


Dr Zane Gard

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For Great Ozzie:

I already pointed out flying at the edge of the flight envelope in my original answer. First off the way the sim handles trim is not realistic at all but a compromise based on the controller generally being used by most simmers. Trim in the real aircraft is to relieve stick forces so you can fly hands off and does not have any effect on the overall travel of the control surface, in the sim the trim will ultimately modify how much force can be applied at both extremes of movement so you can end up with an aircraft that is "glued" to the runway and won't lift off even with full up elevator or won't allow a full flare (completely unrealistic). The amount of movement required to change attitude for most real aircraft is much much less than the movement required in the sim with most joysticks or yokes and the feel... well there is NO feel in a joystick, just springs. A real aircraft when flown at low airspeeds, high angles of attack and cross control can enter an uncontrollable situation that takes losing a few thousand feet of altitude to regain control if regaining control is at all possible (why spins are not allowed in many aircraft). In the sim you can quickly go to full deflection on the controls and do all kinds of crazy cross control stuff that would probably seperate a wing or the empannage from a real aircraft. A simmer that doesn't know or understand this that gets into a real aircraft and then attempts something they've done thousands of times in the sim is gonna bend the plane at minimum if they get out of the situation they got themselves into alive at all. When it comes to landing you 've got to take those eye/hand coordination skills learned in low speed/high angle of attack flight and couple them with learning the site picture (out front but also peripheral vision to the sides) for that individual aircraft and its individual flight characteristics and putting them all together into a smoothly executed exercise that ends in you smoothly arriving with the ground headed in the correct direction down the runway and with enough runway left to safely come to a stop or pull off. Your first time in real life jumping from a Cessna 172 with very very docile characteristics and flying a Piper Arrow you will be surprised at just how much faster things happen when you're not traveling that much faster and also when you get that wing on the Arrow down below 80 knots it gets really sluggish and will mush before doing what you want it to. The landing position puts you closer to the runway and the low wing responds differently to ground effect so you'll find yourself becoming much more skilled at speed control in the pattern and flaring technique. Jump into a Mooney and you're sitting even lower and have a wing that will really pick speed up quickly, most pilots will flare what feels like 3 feet too high and then literally drop the plane onto the runway when the wing stops flying and make a very rough arrival. The sim does very little to prepare you for this and while some good developers have worked to make some of these aspects more realistic they work much better to fill the gaps for someone experienced with the real thing than to teach a skill to someone that has never experienced it. I really like the bicycle analogy I came up with earlier in the post as that should provide a clue as to how the sim can provide the visual experience but has absolutely no ability to teach anyone the balance required to ride a bicycle.


Dr Zane Gard

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