Slick9

Landing... (elementary question)

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afternoon all,

i've been non-stop simming since FS5 and i always try to educate myself as much as possible to make sure i'm doing things the right way and that i understand why i'm doing things a certain way.  there's one thing i don't have an answer to yet.  I fly both the NGX and the T7, when do you transition from using the glideslope to eyes out on the runway full time?  This weekend i had trips to Chicago, Midway (KMDW) and LaGuardia (KLGA).  Midway is such a tight landing situation short runways with multiple potential obstacles if one is too low, so I was outside the aircraft full time at about 500 feet AGL, and I ended up nailing the touchdown spot,  At La Guardia i kept splitting my time between the glide slope and outside all the way down to the point where i was crossing the threshhold and I ended up landing long.

so i just wanted to ask from those that do this in the real world, what is a rule of thumb for transitioning from inside the cockpit to looking outside full time? thnx

 

richard bansa

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When visual with the runway environment. As long as you are visual with the correct runway and within obstruction criteria and have the visual glide path. Even when flying visual approaches, I like to tune up the ILS for a reference.

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Realistically Richard, if I have the runway in sight then that is my primary reference and the GS indication is a backup.  On clear winter nights I have contacted approach 40 nm out and advise I have runway in sight.  When IMC it is a different story.  Generally the transition to visual is as soon as you have the runway environment in sight, which may only be the approach lights if visibility is low.  In this case, once going visual it is all visual except for glances at airspeed.  If the ceiling is ragged it is possible to get visual and then loose it rapidly so one must use judgement, and the worst scenario is where there is ground fog because you can see down through it very easy but once in it you cannot see a 100 feet ahead of you (time to go around now unless you are CATIII able).

In the simulator, you can pick up the fixed distance marking (the wide white blocks) and pay attention to it. Ideally, those do not move in your windshield. If they are moving higher or lower you need to correct your descent.  Typically, these are your aim points and touchdown will occur within the next 1000-2000 feet.  At KMDW or short runways you might aim for the threshold but you really don't want to land on the numbers.  Much safer to have at least 50 feet under you crossing the threshold.  The NGX gets into KMDW quite easily.

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31 minutes ago, downscc said:

At KMDW or short runways you might aim for the threshold but you really don't want to land on the numbers.  Much safer to have at least 50 feet under you crossing the threshold.  The NGX gets into KMDW quite easily.

I know this is not what you are advocating, Dan, but just for the avoidance of doubt for the OP: it is a really bad idea to aim for the numbers in a heavy jet.

When you "fix" an aiming point in the windscreen, what that means is that is where your eyes are going. The problem is that on a big jet, the wheels will be quite significantly behind and below your eyes: to be specific, in the 777 the eye-to-wheel path height is around 35 feet.

In other words, if you aim at the numbers your main gear will impact somewhat short of the runway. Ouch!

The landing performance data is conservative and based upon crossing the threshold at 50 feet. Whilst you clearly don't want to be floating halfway down a short runway in an effort to 'grease it on', you don't need to go trying to put it down on the numbers either.

The definition of a short field is one where the available runway length is shorter than normally available for the conditions, but still sufficient for takeoff or landing -- it is not a runway which is too short, nor is it one where the runway length is unknown!

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 thnx for all the answers gents.  i always try to cross the threshold @ 50 feet, except in places like Palm Springs RWY 13 (KPSP) where there is an extremely long displaced threshold, whenever I fly there I aim for the numbers.  You guys have answered my question, i had a bad habit of switching back and forth (outside to glide slope) all the way down to about 100 feet because I thought that was "how it was done".  I did notice my landings in GA aircraft were better and more consistent, because I was outside the entire final approach.  I will modify my technique and transition to the outside as soon as the runway is visible, and occasionally check the g/s for reference.  

richard bansa

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Just a quick note as far as aim point goes, you have to be knowledgeable of the aircraft you are flying. Just as others have stated, the GS antenna is located in the nose gear area(nose gear door or nose fuselage area). When looking at an approach plate threshold crossing height, this is the height that the GS antenna will cross the threshold. So if it's 52 feet AGL, your nose will cross at 52ft AGL. Now imagine how your mains cross in reference. Especially if you have an aircraft that has a high pitch on approach. When I flew DC10s, the pitch was about 4.5 on a 3 degree slope. It's a long bodied aircraft. So to deal with this issue, most jets up to heavy have a 1000ft aimpoint. This aimpoint coincides with the two big blocks I refer to as the captain bars since they resemble the rank of captain in the military. A good approach aiming for the 1000ft mark will put you down 1200 to 1500ft with a proper flare. Most long bodied aircraft will use the long bodied VASI if available. In the DC10, we would use a combination of red pink and white. For example, 4 path indicator lights in a row. I would use red, pink, white and white. This ensures my mains are not drug in.

For humor, here's a good story about calling visual. Years ago as a young pup, I'm flying with a guy into miramar California. I was in the right seat on a hazy day. The guy in the left seat called visual and directed that I notify ATC. I strained to look and didn't see the airport at all. I asked where he had it, and he said 1 o clock at 5 miles. I didn't see it due to the haze. He requested again, so i called visual and switched to tower. As he flew the approach, I asked again, where's the airport. At this time he mumbled lightly, thought i had it, but i've lost it. He then pointed it out on the NAV display and proceeded to follow it. Of course at this time, i'm a bit upset. We are in the grey zone at this point illegally navigating to the airport. Regardless if we have it on the NAV display, we are navigating uncontrolled VFR, airport not in sight,  at an IFR altitude on an IFR clearance. I inferred that we should contact approach again for compliance and he mentioned again that he had it on the NAV display. We proceeded uneventful, but I gave him a piece of my mind once in the chocks after shutting down the engines. He admitted we should have followed protocol, and the rest of the mission was fine. 

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I like to keep it as realistic as possible on the approach.  I will switch to outside views during cruise and boring parts of the flight, to admire my aircraft and scenery, but once descending tend to stay in the cockpit, especially when IFR (which virtually all my flights in the NGX are).  Of course, If I am self-vectoring,  I usually use the ND in conjunction with looking out the window, to setup the approach (don't really like switch to outside few in such cases, as the cockpit workload is fairly high).  I might briefly switch to outside view to assist with situational awareness if required, but not for long.

For Visual Approaches, I use a combination of the ND and external references, and obviously once on final, the PAPI lights to maintain glideslope.  In the absence of PAPI, I usually pick a point on the runway to aim to, so can sometimes land a little bit long, or even hard.  Not really an issue with the longer runways, but can get interesting on the shorter ones.  In such a case, I am looking inside and outside (out the cockpit window, not camera view) the whole time to verify my position.

Once I've touched down, I might briefly switch to outside view to visually verify spoiler deployment.

That is basically my procedure (on switching views) when approach and landing either IFR or VFR.

 

 

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On 4/25/2017 at 8:21 AM, Slick9 said:

 I will modify my technique and transition to the outside as soon as the runway is visible, and occasionally check the g/s for reference.  

Douglas seemed to have interpreted this to mean you use an outside view instead of the cockpit view of the outside, something I didn't considered because it seems so implausible.  Of course all flying is done from the pilot or first officer's seat, and not from a camera someplace outside of the cockpit.

If I did want an outside view of for example control surfaces then I would open a new view window instead of switching views.  I don't like leaving the cockpit.

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I'm not a RW pilot but it seems to me in the real world you have many more visual ques landing then on a 2D desk top monitor, such as side vision as well as sensory fed back. (Read that seat of the paints). For this reason I have to shift back and forth from instruments to visual to keep an accurate situation awareness long after runway is in sight. On a monitor do you get an accurate sense of height, sink and speed?  

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1 hour ago, PATCO LCH said:

On a monitor do you get an accurate sense of height, sink and speed?  

It gets better on large screens. Sitting 18 in away from a 40 in 4K screen the peripheral almost includes the picture. Regardless, there is a technique that helps the last 100 ft of descent, flare and landing.  From that point focus on the far end of the runway, which will give you a better sense of height and descent rate. I have found that this gives me an ability to precisely put her on without float or hard landing give other factors such as speed are where they are supposed to be.  The picture changes between types, the B736 is different from the B77W, as it should. This mimics a trick I learned flying real world a long long time ago, especially helpful landing at night when there are no center or landing zone lights rather just blackness between the edges.

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On 4/29/2017 at 0:23 PM, PATCO LCH said:

 

I'm not a RW pilot but it seems to me in the real world you have many more visual ques landing then on a 2D desk top monitor, such as side vision as well as sensory fed back. (Read that seat of the paints). For this reason I have to shift back and forth from instruments to visual to keep an accurate situation awareness long after runway is in sight. On a monitor do you get an accurate sense of height, sink and speed?

 

Vic, 

I tried to transition to the outside from the time I picked up the runway visually, but like you said, with the limited number of visual cues in the sim, i have to constantly come back to my instruments to make sure i don't stray too far away from the glide slope.  I can land without having to look at the instruments, but along the way i constantly find large glide slope deviations.  So at least for me, I have to do a constant inside outside (looking out the window) dance.

Richard

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Part of the problem is distance, but if you are visual you should not worry about the glideslope deviations.  If there is a PAPI/VASI system use it until you can make out the runway markings clearly.

I flew for a couple of years before I started my instrument work and hadn't been told about 3 deg glide slopes; rather, I was taught to visually fly the approach and learn how the picture is supposed to look.  From about 500 AGL down your full attention should be on the picture and not the instruments.

Want to sharpen your skills?  Try the Navy approach:  Normal downwind until the key position where instead of extending the downwind to turn base you start a descending turn and roll out of the turn lined up with runway 50 ft AGL over the threshold.  Add crosswind.  This is really hard to do in a simulator but it is a good challenge.

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As Dan says, learn to recognise an appropriate glide path visually. The simulator has its limitations, but this is not one of the bigger ones; the runway perspective changes quite noticeably depending on whether you are high/steep, on the correct glidepath, or low/flat. In addition, keeping the aiming point fixed in the windscreen works just as well as in real life.

Next time you fly an auto-coupled approach (in decent visibility, obviously!), take a good look out of the window, note the runway perspective, and fix that image in your mind.

Not to say that you shouldn't have the occasional glance inside to check airspeed etc just as you would when flying visually in any circumstance, but you should be able to estimate the glide path visually.

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17 hours ago, downscc said:

Want to sharpen your skills?  Try the Navy approach:  Normal downwind until the key position where instead of extending the downwind to turn base you start a descending turn and roll out of the turn lined up with runway 50 ft AGL over the threshold.  Add crosswind.  This is really hard to do in a simulator but it is a good challenge.

What would be the right altitude AGL at key position?

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On 5/6/2017 at 0:03 PM, PATCO LCH said:

What would be the right altitude AGL at key position?

Depends on distance between downwind and runway, I see these guys flying their local patterns every flyable day here in 'Corpus and they appear to be at maybe 800 ft.  They are flying mostly BE200's King Air (C-12).  For the NGX I would be at 1200 ft.

If you watch fighters coming home to the deck they also perform these descending turns to final but roll out on ship's heading a little earlier to catch the meatball.

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