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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2002 1:21 am

Early-day ILS Procedures

Sun Mar 24, 2002 9:21 am

When I took my Instrument check ride, the check pilot impressed me as knowing more about instrument flying than any 10 other pilots I'd ever met. He said that he flew his first ILS in a P-51 in 1945 and that he was taught that it was a true "0-0" landing system. The procedure was to hold localizer and fly the full glideslope all the way to where it flares above the runway, chop power and drop it in. Was this truly the SOP in early ILS flying in the military? Has anyone here done this and lived to tell about it?

RE: Early-day ILS Procedures

Sun Mar 24, 2002 12:31 pm

My CFII had his students do a few during the course of our instrument training. One of his favorite tricks was to put the hood on you as soon as you started the engine and you didn't remove it until you were back at the blocks at the completion of the lesson. It was "vectors" out of the ramp and to the runway, followed by an ITO. After the landing it was "vectors" back to the ramp. (I can remember one flight where he had given me a series of very precise heading, altitude, and airspeed changes. He told me to lift the hood out and look outside. We were flying "formation" 100' above the middle of a long freight train out in the Utah desert. After that, I took him very seriously when he told me to hold airspeed, altitude and heading VERY precisely!)

I've made it a point to make sure that all of my instrument student had a few ILS approaches to touchdown prior to their checkride. It's a real confidence booster.

Back in my "Air Ambulance" days, our company instructor insisted that we shot a couple of ILS approaches to touchdown under the hood during our 6-month recurrent training. We were flying Mitsubishi MU2s, so it wasn't like you could tell the difference in the smoothness of the landings either.

Now, during our 6 month recurrent sim training we will occassionally do one or two for fun. There are certain emergency scenarios where you're going to put it on the ground regardless of the weather. It's good to have done a time or two before.

Personally, the guys that I really admire are the airline pilots that flew the old "range" approaches down to 200 and 1/2 back in the '30s and 40's. I've seen copies of the old approach plates that those guys used. Now those guys had gonads.

Topic Author
Posts: 1411
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2002 1:21 am

RE: Early-day ILS Procedures

Sun Mar 24, 2002 12:52 pm

OK, Jetguy, I now have to find an instrument instructor to fly right seat while I fly the glideslope onto the runway a few times. Onto, not into.
With you about the guts it took to fly a 4-course low freq approach to minimums. One of the last low freq ranges in ths country was at SHV and, before it was decomissioned in about 1963, I got some old books and flew a few true-fade and average-bisector orientations and some low freq approaches. I once flew "Red 10" from SHV to MSY; you should have been there when I filed the flight plan.
I haven't used these skills very much in the last 40 years, though. I still think that I could do an average-bisector orientation.
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Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2001 10:34 am

RE: Early-day ILS Procedures

Sun Mar 24, 2002 2:22 pm

Have done this in a B707 in Japan...worked OK. When fuel is low....few options remain.
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Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2001 11:07 am


Mon Mar 25, 2002 3:14 am

Just to clarify you did flares and landings with the foggles on? I've done this on Sims, but never in a aircraft. Could you describe to me how you flare?


Ziggy  Big thumbs up

RE: Early-day ILS Procedures

Mon Mar 25, 2002 7:21 am

Flair? What flair? We don’t need no stinking flair…

To answer your questions, yes we wore foggles or a hood when doing it in the piston and turbo-prop aircraft. In the jets we didn’t – you don’t wear view-limiting devices in turbojet aircraft. As far as the flair goes, there isn’t much of one. These are not real pretty landings; they are emergency procedures, to be used when you have few, if any, options left. You shouldn’t even practice them without a safety pilot or instructor supervising you. However, in my opinion, if you’ve never done any you really ought to go at try one or two – you just never know when you might have to do one for real.

The procedure is relatively easy in a turbojet or turboprop – just stay with the V-Bars on the flight director until you’re at about 35’ radar altitude (varies according to aircraft – the “heavies” would have to a higher altitude and you’d use a lower altitude if you were in a light single) then pull power and level it off. You’ll settle onto the runway without too much ado. In the MU-2s we used Flaps-20. That, by itself, gave us the proper landing attitude. The touch down was firm, but they are usually that way normally. The jets will have a tendency to either pitch up or down slightly when power is reduced. It all depends upon the engine placement. The Astras and Galaxy that I fly tend to pitch up slightly with power reduction (kind of an "auto flair"). It’s a function of the engine placement and thrust line. I’ve never done an actual ILS to touchdown in either the Astra or the Galaxy, but in the simulator it’s pretty straightforward. Other jets with engines mounted under wing have a slight tendency to pitch down with power reductions. How much and to what degree depends upon the individual aircraft.

As far as piston single and twins go. A good starting point is to use as little flap as possible so that you have to fly at a higher angle of attack. Carry power to touchdown and pull it after you’ve “arrived” – kind of like a glassy water landing in a floatplane or a wheel landing in a tail dragger. Like ThirtyEcho mentioned, the G/S will flair slightly as you get near the ground. You can try to use that as a signal to flair, but this is where most guys loose it – they over compensate and balloon. Not something you’d want to do in zero-zero. Hopefully you’ll be able to see something when you get near the ground, but even it you can’t, chances are very good that both you and the airplane will be none the worse for the wear.

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