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bönan

Landing the Stratocruiser - tips?

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Hi fellow simmers!

 

The A2A Boeing Stratocruiser is easily one of the best FSX planes ever. I have a feeling I am going to spend most of my flight hours in this bird... However, I would like some suggestions on landings from the more experienced pilots out there...

 

The manual suggests a landing speed of 120 knots. I decend through 100 feet with full flaps and gear down, maintaining 120 knots. The manual clearly warns against cutting power while in the air. The drag from deployed flaps, gear and cowl flaps are massive, so I understand this. However, at 120 knots, it's very hard to get the main gear down first. My last three landings have all resultet in very long flares and touchdowns halfway down the runway. I really need to improve my landings, especially if I'm going to land her on shorter runways.

 

What should I do? Reduce speed on final approach? Use a lower flap setting? All tips are welcome! :)

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For good and bad.. A2A captured the spirit of this bird (beast).. there are some great stories out there.. many about how difficult the Strat was to land..

 

Here's a good site:  http://www.ovi.ch/b377/articles/speedbird/

 

A quote from an article there:

 

The Strat was a peculiar beast. Its pilots never knew for certain what might happen next, but we never had to ditch one, as Pan-Am had to do on two occasions. An engine once caught fire, burnt itself out, then conveniently fell off, and there were a few landing accidents (not too surprisingly). That great first gentleman of the air, Capt O.P. Jones (we were on the same Strat course) later landed one short at Goose Bay, fortunately without hurting anyone. Next day he went out to examine where his wheels' marks were. He resigned and never flew for BOAC again. He had done enough for his airline and country.

 

 

To your question... plan the approach way way way out...  Convince yourself that you cannot be too low...  120 is fine on approach.. but try for 100 at the threshold .. hand FLY it right down to the runway, little if any flare (nose-wheel first landings were not uncommon)  **eek**

 

If you're running Accusim.. the fun is just beginning at touch-down...  get it rolling out straight (runway adhesion is awful), and get on the reversers...  good luck not breaking something in the engines.. :)

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Its been a while since I flew the 377 but I'll try and help best I can.

 

As said above, a well planned approach is a must. Give yourself lots of time and room to get the speeds and heights right. You want to be set up so that you are coming in at 120kts descending at no more than 500FPM - I've actually often found that a shallower approach than usual works better for this aircraft. 

 

Secondly, as you come in to flare, cut the throttles - whilst you will need them on approach, you can cut them for a moment or two as you touch down, you'll need to to get the reverse pitch set anyway. However make sure not to leave them in the cut position for long - too long and those plugs will start to foul!

 

She can be a handful, but with practise is quite gentle and well controllable!

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I have spent around 25 hours in the Stratocruiser, and I'm really getting the hang of it now. My landings are becoming much better, even though I still have to get rid of that bounce at touchdown! But overall she is a joy to fly.

 

I'm just a bit curious about those engines, they doesen't appear to be very reliable. I have had both an engine fire shortly after takeoff a few days ago, and just now a turbo failure while cruising between Kansas City and JFK.  I do not believe I'm doing anything wrong, as I have read through the manual and follows it as good as I can. I have not pushed the engines beyond limits for more than a second or two. Was the real engines really this unreliable, or is the plane designed to generate more "interesting" flights? Or have I just had a streak of bad luck? :)

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The engines were really like that.  See the link in the post above, or the Wikipedia entry.

 

Also worth a visit: the Stratocruiser forum at A2A.  Lots of knowledgeable people and lots of good information there.

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Couple of things:

 

As fun as Accusim might be.. the Strat is too much for one pilot.. There's an option in one the pop-ups (2, or 3, can't remember), that turns turbo managing over to the First Officer.. "he", acknowledges this by saying, "I've got the turbos".

 

.Remember to turn on the water injection (set all to auto), for the takeoff/climb.. and you usually have to throttle back a bit on inboard engines (watch CHT) until you reach cooler air, or can achieve cruise speed.

 

I've gotten +50 hours on the engines before they even wear past "excellent"... gotten as many as 100 hours before any troubles (hard starting, rough running), and even squeezed 300 hours out of an engine, before I felt a need to "rebuild"..

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