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Guest Divergent Phugoid

Pitch in GA while on final?

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I have been flying Fsim for some years now - mostly GA tricycle a/c - and have pretty much perfected my landings . However, I have lately been enoying the Airhead Super Decathlon and have had to completely change my landing "style" to take into account the fact that it is a taildragger and you must land with as little airspeed as possible to prevent bouncing .This has led me to think about my landing style in the GA tricycles - and although I am landing securely each time, I wonder if I am really doing it correctly. What degrees of pitch on final do people use - I guess it varies from a/c to a/c - but for example, do you come down the final glideslope with a couple of degreees up or down , level, etc -- how many degrees of upwards pitch would you expect to utilise while flaring?Thanks for any thoughts on this Barry

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I usually am not as conserned with pitch on approach as I am speed. I pitch to maintain a speed and power to control descent. If I get fast, I pull back. If I get slow, I pitch forward. If I get high, I power back. If I get low, I power forward. I know in the Piper Warriors, from my real world flight training, that I want 90 knots on downwind and that 2200 RPM usually gets me that. Abeam my touchdown point I want 90knots with one notch of flaps and a gradual decent, 1700-1800 RPM is the norm. On base it's 80 with the 2nd notch of flaps and still holding 1700-1800 RPM. On final it's 70 knots with the 3rd and final notch of flaps (unless there's a good crosswind then it stays at 2 notches) and still 1700-1800 RPM. Once the runway's made (you know you can glide to it), you cut the throttle idle. In the flare, it's mainly just trying to touch down on the runway as softly as possible, with as little speed as possible if it's a short runway. If it's a long runway and you know your turn off is way down the runway, you might as well land long so you aren't taxing down the runway forever like the AI does.Ultimately, you get a feel for the handling of every aircraft and learn it's numbers. ----------------------------------------------------------------John S. MorganReal World: KGEG, UND Aerospace Spokane Satillite, Private 130+ hrs.Virtual: MSFS 2004"There is a feeling about an airport that no other piece of ground can have. No matter what the name of the country on whose land it lies, an airport is a place you can see and touch that leads to a reality that can only be thought and felt." - The Bridge Across Forever: A Love Story by Richard Bach

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What I find hard about landing taildraggers in FS is the lack of true 3D. It's hard to judge how high you are and how much to pitch up when touching down. You need to really memorize what it looks like from the cockpit when you're on the ground. It also helps to look slightly to one side and downward (enough so it looks like you're level when in th 3-point attitude) when touching down, at least for me.I had pretty much mastered it with the RealAir Scout, then I got the Aerosoft Super Cub and find myself constantly pulling back too little causing me to bounce into the air again. With the Aerosoft Beaver on the other hand, I often flare too late causing me to hit the runway hard, probably because you sit much higher in a Beaver.

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>What degrees of pitch on final do people use - I guess it>varies from a/c to a/c - but for example, do you come down the>final glideslope with a couple of degreees up or down , level,>etc -- how many degrees of upwards pitch would you expect to>utilise while flaring?>The tri-gear will still be a tail low attitude like a taildragger to prevent the nosewheel hitting first. Your approach in a small GA airplane such as a 172 will generally be nose pitched down (unless really trying to bleed off too much airspeed), followed by a roundout to near level flight (20 to 30' off the ground); and then the flare, where you keep adding some backpressure to keep the nose up as airspeed diminishes. Just attempt to stay a few inches off the runway until flying speed is lost, landing on mains first. L.Adamson

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Thanks L AdamsonI kind of figured this out myself (from a point of view of logic) as it seems to me that if you come down the glide slope in a nose up attitude, then it is much more difficult to flare when you want to. The only problem then that I see is that to land a taldragger such as the Decathlon in a 3 wheel landing , then you need the a/c to be 10 degreees nose up at landing. I am finding that if I come down the glideslope at around 5 degrees , I can achieve the slow speed I want and then have room to flare at the runway to around an 8 degree nose up attitude and not bounce. The biggest problem with Fsim is that it is very difficult to perceieve height above the runway - so as a bit of a "cheat" I install a small Radar Altitude gauge in all my a/c. Helps me a lot.Barry

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You can always get a mental picture of the planes attitude, and what you see of the runway, as you're sitting there on the runway before takeoff. I tend to do this, and don't rely on a marking or line on the cowl as some do. IMO, this is the great advantage of virtual cockpits, as most 2D panels give little clue to whats going on. I never enjoyed landings much, while stuck with 2D panel in your face scenarios...I was just playing around with the RealAir Decathlon, and found that I was within a foot or less off the ground while letting airspeed decrease for a 3-point stall landing, nearly every time. Just pause and look at a side spot view. Back in the days of flight instruction, I tended to land in a flat attitude, which is of course fine for wheel landings in a taildragger, but not too healthy for nose wheels. The instructor pounded the "fact" into my brain, which is now thought about ever since! Luckily had another instructor that pounded "rudder use" into my brain also!!! :D L.Adamson

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Light aircraft don't pitch up during final (nose above horizon). You should be in the area of 400 fpm descent rate and about 75(ish) knots (both can be worked out as stall speed * 1.3 for your approx speed on final and ground speed * 5 for your approx descent rate). Swept wing aircraft will generally be nose on final because of the lack of lift produce at low speed and so they use a high angle of attack to maintain the desired descent rate at final speeds.

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