jonss1948

Flying The Nose

Recommended Posts

I have watched a lot of Plane Spotting videos lately, in the hope I can improve my Flight Sim performance which is hit and miss, at best. I have observed that most Pilots delay landing the nose until quite late in the process of coming back to Earth. All the Pilots of the really ' big iron ', A380's, 787's, 777's, everything employ this technique. Why do Professional Pilots hold the nose aloft for so long?

Jon

Share this post


Link to post
Help AVSIM continue to serve you!
Please donate today!

The pilots are reducing the rate of descent before making contact with the ground. By increasing the angle of attack, they increase the lift generated by the wings and thereby make the touchdown gently.

That said, I believe that the majority of heavy aircraft, don't try to keep the nose up for as long as possible in the same way that many light aircraft would. In light aircraft it is advantageous to maximize aerodynamic braking by rolling with the nose up even after ground contact

In heavier aircraft, I see that most promptly lower the nose and extend braking surfaces and reverse thrust. There are plenty of specialized tools to aid in braking and it helps to steer with the nose wheel on the ground.

There are exceptions that immediately come to mind such as many fighter aircraft. The F16 uses the aircraft as a large aerodynamic brake on rollout.

So the answer depends on the aircraft, but I would argue as a general point that tubeliners don't maintain a noise high attitude during landing any longer than necessary to control the rate of descent on touchdown acc then to lower the nose wheel to the ground in a controlled fashion.

Share this post


Link to post

In addition to the above excellent examples, it's also for the same reason the pilot rotates the nose wheel off the runway during the takeoff roll before the main landing gear wheels would be able to leave the runway.  Quite simply, the nose wheel infrastructure(s) are nowhere near as "sturdy" or "rugged" as the behemoth main landing gear structures.  There is no real need (in most cases...there are SOME exceptions) to keep the nose wheel on the ground longer than necessary during a takeoff roll, nor put it on the ground any earlier than necessary at higher speeds than needed during the landing rollout.  Wear and tear on the infrastructure, more risk of unwanted incidents (blown tires, etc) when the tires/wheels are being "abused" at 160 kts than at only 120 kts (or whatever V-speeds will allow the pilot to keep the nose wheel OFF the runway rather than ON it).  

Another way of looking at it would be what if your question was slightly different?  As in...

"Why doesn't the pilot just leave the nose wheel on the ground during the TAKEOFF until he could pull back on the yoke and have ALL the airplane's wheels leave the ground all at the same time?"

Any pilot who did that wouldn't be flying for the airline very long.  He'd be looking for a new profession.  :biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post

I guess the airport your at isn't that busy.  In NY, ATC wants you off that runway ASAP.  I used to hear "plan minimal time on the runway".  

Share this post


Link to post

Just because you are at a busy airport does not mean you have to be hard on the plane. The controller is not flying your plane. Trying to rush something like a landing rollout is how accidents begin. A safe and comfortable arrival is always first, once you are at a safe taxi speed and the aircraft control is well in hand, do we even begin to remember anything they may or may not have said to us about the manner of handing the runway over to the plane behind us.

Share this post


Link to post

True, a very memorable occasion was when JFK was landing 13R and the controller was arguing with an AA pilot telling him to speed it up and the pilot told him any faster and we'll miss the airport like you made us do the last time :)

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now