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Lukemeister

Learning Manual Landings

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Hi all,

 

I can fly the PMDG 737NGX fine. My only shortcoming is that I have to have an ILS CAT III landing or I can't land the plane. For instance if I disengage the autopilot at around 100ft agl, the plane just seems to have way too much lift and I just start gaining altitude, a bit like a feather in the wind!! so to be able to land on the main gear is nearly impossible as I have to pile the nose into the runway to even land the thing!

 

Does anyone know, or can anyone recommend how I can practise these landings and achieve them properly?

 

Thanks.

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Start with a alley plane maybe.

 

You have to learn the basics, use the FSX tutorials maybe

 

Are you configured properly for landing?

 

Lee

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Don't leave it to 100ft to take over.

 

Run the tutorials a couple of times until you are comfortable with what needs to be done and when. (If you have time, it is worth putting the effort into understanding the why).

 

Watch the AP land the plane a few times and pay attention to when it reduces power, drops flaps etc. then turn to AP off about 10 miles out, and follow the flight directors in. Remember that you need to be ahead of the plane, not behind it. That means instead of reacting to what has already happended, you know what you are going to do next, and what effect it will have.

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Make sure you are matching the throttle position on your controller to the thrust currently set by the auto throttle before disengaging it. That will prevent you from having a large change in thrust when you disengage. There is an option in the Aircraft Setup of the FMC to display the hardware throttle position on the engine display to make this a little easier.

 

When you are ready to take over manually disengage both the autopilot and the auto throttle. Adjust your thrust and pitch attitude to keep the aircraft on the glideslope your speed at Vref + 5. When you get to about 20 feet over the runway slowly reduce throttle to idle and add about 2 degrees of pitch to the nose for the flare.

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Hey Luke,

 

The first step in landing a plane is coming to the understanding that landings by hand are the way landings are done. "Manual landing" is a term I'd like to take out back with a shotgun, particularly after answering all the questions from friends and family about this Asiana accident (mostly all related to aircraft being able to land themselves, which is seldom used, or the pilot being reliant on the ILS for reference). Sorry for the side rant, but it's my personal mission to kill this trend in the sim realm.

 

In order to be able to land well, you must be able to actually fly the plane. I'm not talking about telling the autopilot to fly the plane for you; rather, I'm talking about actually getting the yoke in your hand and being able to feel how the plane responds to you. You will not get this in the last 100' of flight, and there's a lot more to it than understanding that the ailerons (along with the rudder) turn you, and the elevator and thrust makes you climb and descend.

 

Instead of doing the old "revenue service flight" (from point to point), put yourself in the PMDG livery, give yourself a good 10,000 pounds of fuel, a normal passenger load, and fly the pattern. Take off, climb out, level off at 2000' above the field elevation, turn around, fly parallel to the runway, continue past the other end of the runway (by about 5-10nm), and then turn back inbound to land. Make sure to turn weather off, and fly all of that by hand.

 

Here's the catch:

Even if you plant the aircraft into the ground at the end of all of that, you will have gained that hand feel that is so important in all landings. One thing that you will want to do is assign as trim up and trim down command on your yoke. If you have two buttons (ideally two where one is above the other), set them to the trim up/trim down commands in FSX. This way, you can keep the plane in trim so that you're not battling the aircraft's want to climb/descend based on your flaps and airspeed.

 

Things to think about:

-It is not your aim to make it look pretty - especially on your first attempts.

-DO NOT tune the ILS frequency. Use the approach path indicator lights to gauge how high you are. Trying to chase the ILS indications isn't going to help you at all in landing the plane. You need to be concentrating on keeping the aircraft stable, and seeing how your inputs make the plane react, not chasing after needles.

-Pay attention to your reference speeds. You want to be at about VREF+5 (in the no-wind situation I mentioned earlier.)

-Watch the autopilot fly a coupled approach to an autoland, and pay very close attention to what it is doing. It'll do just about everything you need to do to land the plane yourself. Watch what the picture out the window looks like.

 

The problem with this simism of flying coupled approaches and autolands all the time is that you don't get the hand time. Nobody expects a six year old to grab a pencil and paper and have pretty handwriting. Actually, we expect that the six year old will have rather terrible handwriting. Only through actual hand practice does this skill improve. So, pick up the pencil and do a little handwriting of your own.

 

To be honest, we're having this same discussion in the real world as well:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3kREPMzMLk

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Following on from what Kyle said, I know we're all different (thank goodness) but I fail to understand the challenge of conducting an ILS landing in full AP, when in the real world, manual landings are the norm and not the other way round. In fact, I have to hold my hand up and say that I have not, to date, conducted  a single auto landing in my NGX!! FWIW, I disengage the AP once on the final approach, usually about five miles out.

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Hi Kyle,

 

I hope you don't mind me jumping in here.

 

I can definitely appreciate what you're saying: that in order to have the full experience of flight, one needs to learn how to fly the plane without automation. But this doesn't take into account the many different motivations people have for simming. I, for one, love the systems and their interaction. I also like sitting on my recliner with my laptop (or two laptops: one for the addons). This makes it rather difficult to have a proper controller for flying. I use a little gaming controller with two miniature joysticks that aren't exactly conducive to precision flying. And yet I get everything I want out of the experience, even though autolanding is all I ever do.

 

I sim for the pure fantasy of it all. While some strive for 100 % realism, I simply do it to find myself in other lands and in part to relive some of the aspects that I did enjoy when I fixed planes. Some will fly nothing but real routes with real planes. I fly my Guppy that someone was nice enough to repaint in Swiss colors all over the world. Swiss don't have 737s, nor do they fly from Portland to San Jose. :-) And yet I don't think I love the experience any less.

 

So even I ask myself what the point is of my post. I realize that Luke was just asking for pointers on how to land the airplane. I guess I felt this was as good a place as any to convey to those of you who don't dive fully into flying that you're not alone.

 

Best,

 

Walter

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Hey luke, since my early flying days in the military i've been a technical flyer. In the Airforce we had many formulas and techniques to achieve optimum landings.  Personally, I feel the NGX is a bit too slippery. I currently fly the G5/550 RW and it's as slippery as you can get. So slippery that you have to pull to idle at 100ft to keep her from floating. As slippery as it is, it out performs the NGX in idle descents. Now i'm comparing a real world jet to a simulated one, but it gives you an idea of the aerodynamics in the NGX. With that in mind, here's what you can do for the NGX. First, use the HUD. The first time I used a HUD was in the G5. It was akward and obstructive at first, but I grew to love it. There are performance cues and a flight path vector to help when hand flying. There's a 3 degree line that you can drag and place over the runway to get a 3 degree glide path. The performance indicator gives you engine power to selected airspeed information. Finally, just like the G5 there is a flare cue that is accurate as long as you load the threshold elevation.  If you use automation or not, main thing is to be stable by 500ft agl. On speed, on glide path with very minor maneuvering/ throttle movement. This technique is based on flaps 30 in the 800.

 

1. Put the flight path vector right on your aim point(1000ft down the runway). Use small inputs to prevent overshooting and chasing the vector.

2. Around 200ft to 100ft, disconnect automation.

3. Between the 30ft and 20ft call out, reduce to idle and smoothly raise the nose to reach 4 to 4.5 pitch just prior to touch down.(roughly 2 degrees added to app pitch attitude)

 

This should put you down between 1000 to 1500 down. If you find that you are floating further down, decrease the pitch half a degree. The closer you pitch to 5 degrees, the longer you will float.

This technique will get some good results. Practice makes perfect. After a few circuits here and there, you will not need the HUD.

 

Rich

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And yet I get everything I want out of the experience, even though autolanding is all I ever do.

I sim for the pure fantasy of it all. While some strive for 100 % realism, I simply do it to find myself in other lands and in part to relive some of the aspects that I did enjoy when I fixed planes. Some will fly nothing but real routes with real planes. I fly my Guppy that someone was nice enough to repaint in Swiss colors all over the world. Swiss don't have 737s, nor do they fly from Portland to San Jose. :-) And yet I don't think I love the experience any less.

 

The difference is that you see that there's a step back from the realism there.  You're flying to what you'd want to get out the sim.  I have a feeling you understand that autolanding every time, while convenient, is not a common practice.  Reading the forums, however, it seems that most believe that it's almost the exception that the pilot lands the plane.  Why else would someone say "manual landings," as if "manual" were the exception?  And I can't blame them, because as the presenter in that video states several times over, we created that.  We created it (as an aviation community) either through being inattentive, or somehow more directly.

 

I'm just trying to push a more active stance on things like this.  We can't have potential future aviators growing up to be dependent on this sort of stuff.  The amount of people trying to tell me that the pilots involved in the Asiana accident couldn't land without the ILS showed me that it's a lot worse than I thought.

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Do you have a yoke? If so youre trim may be interfering with your pitch on the landing..... Take Autopilot off and see if you can flight straight and level at a higher altitude.

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Hi all,

 

I can fly the PMDG 737NGX fine. My only shortcoming is that I have to have an ILS CAT III landing or I can't land the plane. For instance if I disengage the autopilot at around 100ft agl, the plane just seems to have way too much lift and I just start gaining altitude, a bit like a feather in the wind!! so to be able to land on the main gear is nearly impossible as I have to pile the nose into the runway to even land the thing!

 

Does anyone know, or can anyone recommend how I can practise these landings and achieve them properly?

 

Thanks.

 

That's a pretty significant shortcoming. 

 

All I can say is make sure your controls are setup properly and practice a lot,  I did quite a few touch and goes with the NGX when it first came out. 

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Thanks guys, luckily I have a seperate throttle and joystick so it's a bit easier.

 

I have found I can land pretty well if I disengage the autopilot once I enter the glideslope/localiser area. I keep the autothrottle on to keep a steady speed as I descend and line up by hand, I set engines to idle as I cross the threshold and my plane brings itself down nicely as I flare and hit the centerline :). I guess what I was doing wrong was trying to take control in the very final moment of the flight. As a result of flying Airbus I thought that reducing throttle to idle would disengage the autothrottle but clearly it doesn't. No wonder I was floating.

 

 

I'm gonna keep practising flying manual circuits.

 

With Ryanair, for instance, how many of their landings will be "fully manual"?

 

Thanks

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Don't be afraid to fail some, you're in the sim. You will not learn to hand fly the aircraft without first crashing a few times and learning what the incorrect technique is. If you've never crashed it, how will you know what inputs will crash it when it comes to a non training flight?

 

Lukemeister, on 15 Jul 2013 - 7:10 PM, said: With Ryanair, for instance, how many of their landings will be "fully manual"? Thanks

 

Almost all in good conditions will be "fully manual".

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Hi to all,

as Scandinavian has well explained learning manual landing is paramount...is a necessary skill for an airline pilot...

to which using are used to autoland everytime  I'd like to ask a simple question...what would you do if, for any reason, autoland would fail? Could you execute a manual landing and save your's and the others 180 souls you've just behind of you? If the answer is "maybe or "problably" you need a lot of training..'cause in the world of pro-pilots "maybe" or "problably" are not acceptable

answers...you're a pro and have to take 180 people from A to B in a safely manner...otherwise manual landings are amusing...every now and then you can be wrong on "timing" so arriving to an "hard landing" sometimes a little "harder" but also in real life it can happen...using always autoland it's very frustating...

Best Regards

 

Andrea Buono

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I have found I can land pretty well if I disengage the autopilot once I enter the glideslope/localiser area.

Good.

 

 


I keep the autothrottle on to keep a steady speed as I descend and line up by hand,

Not good.

While not forbidden per se, it is heavily recommended by Boeing to avoid using autothrottle modes other than N1 modes with autopilot off. Due to the nature of the combination pilot/computer (pilot is proactive, autothrottle is reactive), the autothrottle cannot properly correct for induced changes in flight stability.

 

Turn the autothrottle off as soon as you turn off the autopilot, and work the throttle yourself. You will get a better hand for the approach, and you will find it more stable.

 

 


As a result of flying Airbus I thought that reducing throttle to idle would disengage the autothrottle but clearly it doesn't. No wonder I was floating.

Airbus is indeed different, even if principially reducing throttle to idle should disconnect autothrottle in the 737 as well. But the simulation is behaving a bit different since we are missing the actual motors on our controllers...

 

 


With Ryanair, for instance, how many of their landings will be "fully manual"?

 

Almost all of them.  Autolands are a "couple times a year" occurence to the flightcrew, and even then it is often just to keep current. Most airports in Ryanair network cannot even support an autoland.

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Most airports in Ryanair network cannot even support an autoland.

 

As long as an ILS is available at the airfield it will support autoland.  To the OP, download a good freeware twin engine prop and do touch & Go's for a week, forget airline flying just hand fly the circuit in a small prop.

 

Then get back in the NGX and do the exact same thing, no automatics, just touch and go's around your favourite airfield for a week until you are sick of hand flying,. 

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I know I'm probably going to be seen as a little overboard on this topic for saying this, but can we please get rid of this "manual landing" business?

 

99% of the time, you're going to land the plane yourself.  This is simply called landing.

 

The term for what happens when you fly a coupled approach and let the aircraft put itself on the ground is called an autoland.  It is rare.  You only do it when you have to, as Peter mentioned: very poor weather, or for currency purposes.

 

 

 

A little pedantic, sure, but there wouldn't so many people who think planes fly themselves if the knowledge had been out there before.

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I know I'm probably going to be seen as a little overboard on this topic for saying this, but can we please get rid of this "manual landing" business?

 

99% of the time, you're going to land the plane yourself.  This is simply called landing.

 

The term for what happens when you fly a coupled approach and let the aircraft put itself on the ground is called an autoland.  It is rare.  You only do it when you have to, as Peter mentioned: very poor weather, or for currency purposes.

 

 

 

A little pedantic, sure, but there wouldn't so many people who think planes fly themselves if the knowledge had been out there before.

 

Err, so if i said i need help performing landings what would your response be? I could be asking what the procedures for an autoland are, or i could be asking for hints on how to land by hand flying. That's why we have these lovely things called verbs.

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Err, so if i said i need help performing landings what would your response be? I could be asking what the procedures for an autoland are, or i could be asking for hints on how to land by hand flying. That's why we have these lovely things called verbs.

 

If you said you needed help landing, I would've assumed you meant the normal act of landing (by hand, since that's apparently too ambiguous).  If you were asking for autoland procedures, the expectation would be someone would ask for autoland procedures.

 

...and I may be misreading what you're getting at, but if you're referring to the addition of 'manual' that would be an adjective.

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If you said you needed help landing, I would've assumed you meant the normal act of landing (by hand, since that's apparently too ambiguous).  If you were asking for autoland procedures, the expectation would be someone would ask for autoland procedures.

 

...and I may be misreading what you're getting at, but if you're referring to the addition of 'manual' that would be an adjective.

I meant "hand flying" as a verb, even though it's two words really. But anyway i can see why you want people to consider hand flown landings as the norm, far too many simmers these days have learned to become button pushers, i'd like too see if they would still fly the same way in the sim if they took a few real flying lessons. I used to fly Grob Tutors way back before i got into simming and rarely ever autoland.

 

But you do come across pedantic as you say ;) and i think it would fast get confusing in the FS world to ban the term "manual" before the word "landing".

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I meant "hand flying" as a verb, even though it's two words really.

 

I see what you're getting at.  Adjective + verb combination, but that's definitely getting pedantically semantic...haha.

 

 

 


But anyway i can see why you want people to consider hand flown landings as the norm, far too many simmers these days have learned to become button pushers, i'd like too see if they would still fly the same way in the sim if they took a few real flying lessons. I used to fly Grob Tutors way back before i got into simming and rarely ever autoland.

 

Yeah.  My main point is getting rid of the idea that manual landings are unique, odd, and rare.  I guess I just find it absurd because I've never referred to a landing as manual.  Granted, I've never flown an aircraft capable of an autoland, but I doubt I'd even use it then.

 

 

 


But you do come across pedantic as you say ;) and i think it would fast get confusing in the FS world to ban the term "manual" before the word "landing".

 

I may be somewhat of a jerk to people, but I don't mince words when taking shots at myself either...haha.

I'd argue that the only reason ridding the world of the use of manual before landing would be confusing is that we've allowed it to get to that point.  The assumption should be the landing is made by hand, which would mean 'manual' would be superfluous.

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The advice given by Scandinavian13 is what I started typing but no point repeating it. I think his comments are good. I fly small planes, medium sizes and heavies and each one is, of course different. But what they all have in common is that you become more proficient with practise. Flying the aircrafts by hand is what we should do. I have been a simulator "pilot" since 1983, if I remember rightly, and my ultimate aim when I fly any aircraft for the first time is to taxi, take off, do the circuit and land without any autopilot. It takes time and discipline to know the configurations for each phase of the flight and repeat it until it becomes second nature.

 

I would advise that pilots who are having problems landing planes without the autopilot should just take a small plane such as a Cessna 172 or a Mooney and do the circuit day in day out until it becomes second nature without using the autopilot. I learnt by practising under windy conditions. The next thing I did was to move to turbo props. They respond differently around the circuit during take off and landings when you change throttle settings. When these types of planes are mastered, then moving to the jets is somewhat "easier" than just jumping into the jet "seat" without knowing how to hand fly the props.

 

In order to stay proficient, I regularly fly the smaller planes, turbo props, medium jets and heavies. But when you fly any of them, forget about other planes; just fly what you have at that time.

 

As a start with PMDG 737NGX, take off with settings for altitude, vertical speed, heading and then turn on the autopilot. Do the circuit and 10 nm out, and at the right altitude configure for descent. But do not use the ILS. Just fly the plane at the right speed and descent rate. When this is done properly we only have to make pitch adjustments for changes in descent rates and power for speed. But above all, the changes should be small.

 

If this is practised often and with the plane well configured, we smile every time we land.

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"Manual Landing"

It is not a big deal. What else are we going to use to distinguish from a fully-automated landing? That is, either the plane landed without human input (automatic) or it landed with the guidance of human inputs (manual).

Personally, I try to fly in what the conditions call for: low IFR probably calls for allowing for full or partial autolanding. However, as I've usually taken the 737 up in the skies over both Europe and North America, I am mostly greeted with conditions that warrant a visual approach and landing. While I will tune the ILS to confirm sight picture with localizer and, more rarely, my descent with the glide path, practice will allow for good judgment for visual. Also, if you want to NAIL near-perfect visual/manual landings, drop that HUD down and you'll realize better landings very quickly. If you keep the Flight Path Indicator (that circle-like symbol in the middle of the display) on the aiming point markings - look here: http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/atpubs/aim/aim0203.html and in the Flight Crew Training Manual on page 6.9 - you'll hit paydirt almost all the time. Of course, as has also been mentioned earlier, maintaining proper approach speed is important as well.

The only significance of sharing this is that I find the potential to hand fly present at least 9 our of 10 times in daylight (perhaps less so at night).

Among the good morsels of advice I've seen in this thread is the importance of having trim mapped to your controller/yoke. Also, don't forget to adjust the repeat rate to half for more realistic response in trim. Also, try flying inter-island in Hawaii; shorter hops allow you to experience the full flight regime and also practice visual landings. The inter-island jet pilots will approach PHNL 8L by doing a quick base leg and short final very consistently (B737-200s when Aloha still did passengers and B717-200s for Hawaiian) for flights coming from the east. Those were always visual and "manual."

The NGX hand-flies quite well and practice will make perfect.

 

Edit: Good places in the Flight Crew Training Manual to look for more guidance on doing visual approaches and landings:

 

Visual Approach and pattern work:  Chapter 5: 5.77 to 5.81

Landing: Chapter 6 (in particular the parts on flare and touchdown - 6.10 to 6.32)

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Personally, I try to fly in what the conditions call for: low IFR probally calls for allowing for full or partial autolanding.

 

...and this is why I get so irritated by phraseology.

Note: I'm not saying upset (irritated) at you, and the following is not an attack.  I'm simply using what you wrote as an example of the larger issue.

 

 

 

Could you explain what a partial autoland is?  You either let the plane hit the pavement on automation (which is an autoland), or you land the plane yourself (a landing - note the lack of 'manual,' because the alternative is an autoland.)  You can certainly couple the approach and then kick the AP off late, but that's not at all a partial autoland as you're still in the air when you kick the AP off.  That's called a coupled approach.

 

This confusion of terms is exactly why I brought this up in the first place.  People who are learning about aviation see this stuff - either those wanting to get more into aviation, or the public trying to find out more information - and they get misguided opinions about what is going on here.  The public (and news) continue to have bad information, and those getting into aviation have to be retrained out of the bad information.

 

Go up to any airport and shoot the [breeze] with a whole bunch of pilots.  I guarantee every single one of them will use the term landing, and many will probably give you a weird look if you use "manual landing."  Why?  It makes no sense and implies landing with your hands is irregular.

 

 

 

Think of it this way:

If I ask someone for some pointers on parallel parking - despite the existence of certain cars that can do that via automation (called "park assist") - you're going to assume I mean I'm trying to do it myself.  The only difference is the visibility.  The general public are around cars so much, and see all the adverts so much that they know that most people park their cars on their own - it's only certain models and certain situations where you use park assist.  That visibility isn't available in aviation, so when they see people refer to landings as manual, then it looks like that's abnormal, and it most assuredly is not.

 

One needs only look as far as the threads where people are wondering why you can't autoland on [such-and-such non-precision approach], and there are several.  It's an issue of perpetuated misinformation, and it perpetuates because people don't step up to correct people (and as I'm seeing here, simmers stepping up to defend their own unique - and often incorrect - vernacular.)  Without correction, people never learn what's correct, and then they start sharing what's incorrect with others.

 

 

 

Pedantic, sure, I know.

...but if nobody ever stepped up to put me in my place (and believe you me, many here have), I'd be continuing to tell people all kinds of crazy things.

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