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Can A Pilot See The Runway During Flare At Landing  
User currently offlineJAM747 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 550 posts, RR: 1
Posted (11 years 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 11476 times:

When a plane is coming in for landing and the nose is flared a bit, can the pilot still see the runway? Does he/ she line up then flare and use instruments to navigate the aircraft onto the runway? I noticed the drooping nose of the Concorde allowed pilots to see the runway better when landing.

32 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
User currently offlineAJ From Australia, joined Nov 1999, 2406 posts, RR: 24
Reply 1, posted (11 years 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 11474 times:

In a word....yes.

Some taildraggers and the like require some use of sideways vision or sideslip to ensure adequate depth perception during the flare.

User currently offlineWoodreau From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 1190 posts, RR: 7
Reply 2, posted (11 years 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 11422 times:

For the most part, landing is a visual maneuver (not talking about Cat III ILS approaches). So the pilot shouldn't be looking at the instruments during the landing flare.

Forward visibility is very limited in a tailwheel aircraft necessitating some of the maneuvers you'll see them do, like S-turns down the taxiway, etc.

Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
User currently offlineAeroVodochody From Czech Republic, joined Feb 2005, 540 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (11 years 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 11315 times:

It really depends on the type of A/C....

Try not to be jealous, we can't all be Czech.
User currently offlineBirdwatching From Germany, joined Sep 2003, 4096 posts, RR: 50
Reply 4, posted (11 years 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 11290 times:

Well, I'm sure HE can see the runway!

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User currently offlineVSIVARIES From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 108 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (11 years 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 11273 times:

In a P28, and in order to make best use of runway, I was taught to cut the power to tickover at the threshold (you should be at 50ft now). With drag flaps you need to then plant the nose down to the runway to keep 70knts IAS.
At 10 feet you level and then with eyes on the end of the runway flare when it feels right.
Believe me during the last 50 feet I can see nothing BUT runway (no horizon). Only the letters 26 or 08 approaching with what to the casual observer would look like impending doom.

In a small plane last instrument scan about 250 feet.

Every landing is different mind.


[Edited 2005-05-26 22:27:15]

For every action there is always an unequal but mostly similar reaction.
User currently offline762er From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 542 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (11 years 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 11233 times:

In a long body mooney (i.e. a bravo, ovation, or eagle) you can't see much out ahead of you just prior to touchdown (at least the way I like to do it). On the ground the airframe sits at a positive pitch angle of about 5 degrees, so your typical landing attitudes are in the area of 8-10 degrees nose up. If it's relatively calm I tend to like to be closer to 10 degrees. It makes for a smoother landing and ensures that the mains touchdown first (nosegear-first landings are a common and costly mistake on the long bodied mooneys). At the 10 degree point I'm usually only a couple feet from touchdown but am also blind out the front as a result (and I'm 6 feet tall). If I've got some serious gusts to deal with I'll keep the pitch closer to 7 or 8 so as to maintain a visual of the centerline. It's tougher to land her smooth but at least your longitudinal axis is in allignment with the centerline and I'd take that over smooth and crabbed every time (landing with a high crab angle is really tough on the gear and the airframe).

User currently offlineB744F From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (11 years 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 11217 times:

The concorde has an usually high pitch altitude when landing but if you can't see the runway when flying a commercial airplane, prepare for a tail strike

User currently offlineRalgha From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 1614 posts, RR: 5
Reply 8, posted (11 years 1 week 14 hours ago) and read 11106 times:

Quoting AJ (Reply 1):
Some taildraggers and the like require some use of sideways vision or sideslip to ensure adequate depth perception during the flare.

A sideslip doesn't help you see the runway out front, and if you land in a forward slip in a taildragger, you'll be practicing your ground loops quite quickly.

If the airplane you fly obstructs your view of the runway during the flare, then you deal with it. Use peripheral vision and look to the side of the nose.

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0
User currently offlineVaporlock From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (11 years 1 week 13 hours ago) and read 11080 times:

Quoting Ralgha (Reply 8):

If the airplane you fly obstructs your view of the runway during the flare, then you deal with it. Use peripheral vision and look to the side of the nose.

Ralgha, you said it!!! This technique always works....no matter what!!


User currently offlineSchooner From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 139 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (11 years 1 week 7 hours ago) and read 11024 times:

Can A Pilot See The Runway During Flare At Landing?

Not when I have my eyes closed!


Untouched and Alive
User currently offlineDw747400 From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 1276 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (11 years 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 10789 times:

As said above, it depends on the type of aircraft... I fly a 172P (1985) where I need to use peripheral vision to land. On an older 172 (technically a T-41 circa 1962) I get a bit of forward vision thanks to the smaller panel, but peripheral vision is still critical. In a 152, I can see out the front just fine--even during steep climbouts (of course, with 110HP... steep climbout is not the best term to use).

Just for reference, I'm about 5'9".

CFI--Certfied Freakin Idiot
User currently offlineRalgha From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 1614 posts, RR: 5
Reply 12, posted (11 years 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 10776 times:

Interesting, I've experienced the opposite. Forward vision in a 152 sucks in climb and during landing, while it's much better in a 172 in all phases of flight.

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User currently offlineJamesbuk From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 3968 posts, RR: 4
Reply 13, posted (11 years 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 10613 times:

when i fly the 152 on landing all i do is flare up and look out to the side as you can tell were the line is with that and also how far down the runway you are

You cant have your cake and eat it... What the hells the point in having it then!!!
User currently offlinePilotaydin From Turkey, joined Sep 2004, 2561 posts, RR: 48
Reply 14, posted (11 years 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 10557 times:

Quoting Birdwatching (Reply 4):
Well, I'm sure HE can see the runway!

haha right on!

Excellent question by the poster, some of my students have troubles with their landings, purely because of this reason! They don't adjecy their seat height in the 172 when they board. Every flight they're sitting on a different eye level, this messes up everything from landing to steep turns!

Im not sure about airlines, but i know that in the 172, if you're tall, not short, u have more trouble seeing the runway. One would think the taller would see better, BUT since they have to sit back so far, they lose the depth view, bc of the cowling!

so the answer is yes, some pilots have trouble seeing the runway

The only time there is too much fuel onboard, is when you're on fire!
User currently offlineModesto2 From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 2898 posts, RR: 5
Reply 15, posted (10 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 10067 times:

When I flare in the 172, I just cross my fingers and hope the runway is still beneath me!

User currently offlineSanthosh From India, joined Sep 2001, 548 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (10 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 9935 times:

In Airliners pilots can adjust the seat height. Wouldn’t that help them see the runway better during the flare?


Happy Landings :)
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 66
Reply 17, posted (10 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 9811 times:

Unless you've landed off-airport!

I don't need to. I just fly the glideslope until I hear my copilot gasp - then flare. Anyway, when the tail hits the ground, you get a nice leveling bounce.

Edit to give more useful response:

As has been stated, with the exception of some long-nose taildraggers, yes, you can see it pretty well. Concorde was an anomaly in many respects and the delta wing does produce some pretty high angles. I recall watching F-102 and F-106 landings that were also very nose-high.

In the rest of the airline fleet, you can see the runway down to a few yards in front of you, and you are going to get a better landing if your gaze is way down the runway anyway. Start looking right in front of the nose and you are not going to get any compliments on your landing.

[Edited 2005-06-14 15:38:18]

Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineF1ISBEST From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 6 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (10 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 9662 times:

You can always look to your left and right windows and usually always see the RWY

User currently offlineRyanair737 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (10 years 11 months 3 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 9565 times:

Don't think so on this one! Big grin

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User currently offlineDCrawley From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 371 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (10 years 11 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 9522 times:

Ryanair737 - Now THAT'S what I can nose-high landing.. jeez, that's horrible! Almost looks like he was about to activate the stick shaker. If he slammed down that hard, might have lost lift (stall). Wonder what his speed was?

Interesting food for thought,

-D.K. Crawley

"Weather at our destination is 50 degrees with some broken clouds, but they'll try to have them fixed before we arrive."
User currently offlineBsergonomics From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2002, 462 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (10 years 11 months 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 9506 times:

I have an acronym for you:

DEP - Design Eye Point.

This is the point at which all pilots' eyes should be in order to avoid parallax error on mechanical displays (also, it is within the tolerances for LCD displays). It also means that, from this point, all vital controls and displays are visible.

In the documentation that I've seen for some civil aircraft, this is translated into a, "Design Eye Range", which is a small area (a couple of inches cubed), in which the pilot's eyes should be. Remember that, for military aircraft, we're now designing for people at least in the range 5'1" to 6'3" (154-191cm) (5th percentile female to 97th percentile male, using UK military pilots (male) or personnel (female), as defined by Def Stan 00-25)

In theory, this means that all pilots should have the same visibility, irrespective of whether they are below or above average height. The taller pilots should, in fact, lower their seats in order to make sure that their eyes are at the DEP or within the DER. Everything else (e.g., pedals) is adjustable so that you can achieve this.

It should also be noted that, when you first sit in the seat, you tend to sit upright, with a straight back. However, once relaxed, your eyes drop by to 2-4 inches (5-10cm). This means that, when you set yourself up in the cockpit, you MUST do it from the position in which you will normally be sat, not in the position that you think that you 'should' use. Just to confound matters, your spine shrinks by up to 2 inches (5cm) over the course of the day. This isn't too much of a problem for your average Spamcan pilot, but it may/will have an impact on long haul pilots.

Many aircraft (particularly in the military world) have a couple of markers on the side and front of the Main Instrument Panel and on the side of the windscreen, in order to help you set up the correct position.

While this isn't too important during the cruise, it does become very important when you start thinking about Head Up Displays, not only for bombing runs (using CCIP), but also for Enhanced Runway Recognition (EHR) and other civil references to the outside world.

I should also note that aircraft manufacturers are not great at pointing this concept out to users. In addition, flying instructors aren't 100% reliable for passing on this information.

So, ask your instructor what is the DEP. If he/she doesn't know (and there aren't any markers or helpful tips in the manual), write to the manufacturer.

As a last point, the view out of the front is (usually) only good for assessing your position with respect to the centreline (and spotting obstructions). Your peripheral vision is much better for assessing your speed (with six degrees of freedom). Therefore, assuming you are set up correctly on the centreline before entering the flare and you have correctly assessed any crosswind, your peripheral vision should be more than sufficient to assess and provide inputs to your landing manoeuvre.


The definition of a 'Pessimist': an Optimist with experience...
User currently offlineWingscrubber From UK - England, joined Sep 2001, 862 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (10 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 9477 times:

A friend of mine was telling me just yesterday about a flight he'd had in a Yak-52, apparently no fun atall on a approach - it's all about lining up first with the nose down, drop the gear and flaps and then HOPE because you simply can't see over the engine cowling once you flare.
I also seem to remember reading that spitfire pilots used to have to make curved approaches so they could keep the strip in view for as long as possible before they flared - the RR merlins were sorta big to see over Big grin
In a tricycle undercarraige aircraft with no engine in front of you I would imagine it's probably a lot easier!


Resident TechOps Troll
User currently offlineMonteycarlos From Australia, joined Mar 2005, 2107 posts, RR: 27
Reply 23, posted (10 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 9231 times:

I think its a good question - I've noticed that the A330 has a pretty high flare angle (it seems that way but is it really?)

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User currently offlineCosmicCruiser From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 2268 posts, RR: 6
Reply 24, posted (10 years 11 months 2 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 9145 times:

Without going into a long post here may I just remind you that on landing you're looking way out in front of the a/c not directly down at the runway. I've never flown a tricycle gear plane, especially a jet a/c, that I would lose sight of the runway. Most normal flares are somewhere around 5 or 6 degrees. At about 10 to 12 you will be in the tailstrike regime (on all the jets I've flown). Actually having the seat too high will give you an abnormal sight picture resulting in probably a bad landing. In the MD-11 I adjust my seat lower than the sighting balls would dictate.
Yes in taildraggers you can lose the runway in the flare but my goodness pilots looked out the side and down the runway for decades with no problem.

25 Mirrodie : to get back to the OP's question, think the answer is, depends on the aircraft in question. On the 717 and MD-11, I saw that there is a device just un
26 CosmicCruiser : On most planes yes, even the 727 had little painted stripes to use but it's really to give the pilot regardless of his/her size the same sight pictur
27 AA777 : The A330 also has an usually slow sink rate at touchdown.... I have never ever seen an A330 do a hard-ish landing. They are always greasers, in fact
28 Ryanair737 : Yes it does. The A330 flares at around 7-8 degrees, while most other airliners flare at around 3-4 degrees. That said, the A330-300 flares slightly h
29 MD-90 : Patty Wagstaff once wrote that she would get chills when landing a plane other than her Extra. "Wow, there's the runway!" It's impossible to see over
30 Post contains images Sudden : Hi guys, this thread was one of the most funny threads I have read in a long while! Not because of the main question, but more of the amusing comments
31 Notar520AC : I can't see out of the 172 when I'm landing & I'm 6'4"... Wouldn't the GPWS on airliners help quite a bit while landing? I mean once you hear "ten [fe
32 Post contains links HighFlyer9790 : http://images.airliners.net/open.fil...=173&prev_id=192059&next_id=189436 A normal flare for an A340 in the picture As a rule of thrumb when you reach
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