CoolGuy
Topic Author
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What Are Landings Like?

Sun Feb 25, 2007 3:31 pm

As a passenger, I find landings exciting and interesting. Some other posts have talked about how a landing was "hard" or that one wheel touched down before the other, but this is advisable in rain and high winds, respectively. My question to pilots is, what else makes landings interesting or memorable (in a positive way). I'm trying to learn more about the technical aspects of commercial flight. I know there's a lot more to learn but recently I've become bored and frustrated trying to get my hands on some more technical aspects of flight.
 
deltamike172
Posts: 62
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RE: What Are Landings Like?

Sun Feb 25, 2007 3:40 pm

The most common variable with respect to landings are the wind speed and direction. While the proper technique in a crosswind landing is to touch down the main gear on the side that the wind is coming from, the end result can be anywhere from pleasant (that helps make it memorable) to painful (also memorable).

Another main element is the airport or runway itself. Short runways can be exciting, as well as airports with hazards around (mountains, lakes, towers, etc).

A fun way to make landings a fun game is to pick a very specific spot on the runway, and then land as close to it as possible. The key is to time the flare just right.

My most memorable landed was at GFK in on 35R, the wind was 280 at 22. I held it perfectly steady on final, landed softly, and rolled out right on the centerline. Everyone else was landing on runway 28, but the tower requested that I make my full stop on 35R so they could get a departure or two off on 28 in our slot. As we were exiting the runway, the tower gave a wind check, and we realized the wind was up to 22 knots. My instructor started clapping, and the tower even gave me a "wow, nice landing, well done, contact ground...." Its been all downhill since.

DM
 
IAHFLYR
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RE: What Are Landings Like?

Sun Feb 25, 2007 4:02 pm

As a GA pilot I am not able to answer your question but from an air traffic controllers perspective I will tell you that there are any number of things to make landings eventful.

You have airport noise abatement, terrain, short runways, terrain or obstacles in the approach path, missed approach procedures that require an unusual maneuver to start the missed approach, and then the loved airport construction projects that get into the mix..........just walk away baby and be happy is my motto!!!  Smile
Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
 
thegreatchecko
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RE: What Are Landings Like?

Sun Feb 25, 2007 5:41 pm

I'm really happy if I can get the plane to land exactly where I wanted it to. If it was a smooth landing, then I get really excited.

Most recently, my most memorable landing was one that involved coming just over some mountains and dropping into a valley, entering the traffic pattern, and landing. The captain took that one and I just got to look out the window in awe of the sheer beauty of the pass.

Checko
"A pilot's plane she is. She will love you if you deserve it, and try to kill you if you don't...She is the Mighty Q400"
 
newagebird
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RE: What Are Landings Like?

Sun Feb 25, 2007 7:40 pm

Hey
The most interesting part of it is obviously the approach, something i find really cool is the CAT3 instrument approaches. You can find one on youtube, just type in CAT3 or ILS. its really cool.
The best time i ever had was landing in heavy rain, its slippery and visibility sucks but you can see enough to get to the runway. WE'd come back from a trip around australia and were confronted by very heavy showers and we were the last to come in before they shut the GA airport, i brought it in on speed, on altitude and flared at just the right time to pull off a greaser.
Xwind landings can be quite hard, but you can nail them if you did everything right. Its the hardest to get perfect, especially in gusty conditions
 
highflyer9790
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RE: What Are Landings Like?

Wed Feb 28, 2007 9:05 am

Quoting CoolGuy (Thread starter):
My question to pilots is, what else makes landings interesting or memorable (in a positive way).

Well, as a GA pilot, i say that a greaser always stand out. just a nice, smooth flar, no ballooning, and right down the center line. But, i do say that if you have a soft touchdown and eat up 3,000ft to do it, then a "solid" landing in the touchdown zone is better. in xwind conditions, usually a firm touchdown will do fine because the more you try to make soft, the more drift you have to deal with.

highflyer
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ZKSUJ
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RE: What Are Landings Like?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 1:32 pm

Some airports are great and have interesting approaches. Others have different runway characteristics (short or skinnier runway). A greaser is always nice but the most satisfying is when everything goes well. What I man by this is you approach is stable, speed and direction does not require too much adjustment during finals, profile is kept well, and the touchdown is carried out within the intended landing area. This is what many aim for when landing, the smoothness of the landing is bonus, but not essential (ie if you are on a short runway or on a windy day, a smooth landing may make things harder if you float for too long etc...)
 
KELPkid
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RE: What Are Landings Like?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 1:51 pm

Quoting CoolGuy (Thread starter):
My question to pilots is, what else makes landings interesting or memorable (in a positive way).

For me, it has always been the firsts (the confidence builders  Smile ). My first solo crosswing landing. My first ILS to minimums in actual IFR conditions (that one happened on a flight lesson...and my instructor made sure that never happened again  Wink ). My first landing on a one-way, uphill strip 1800 feet wide by 30 feet wide (located in a mountain valley-you were commited to the approach once you turned final).

However, don't remind me of my first landing without the instructor on the controls  Sad [but he was supervising from the right seat...] Let's say that 1) I learned the importance of flaring and 2) the Cessna 150 is one damn tough bird when the nosewheel comes in before the mains  Wink My instructor told me I owed the mechanic a beer for that one...(seeing how the nose strut was properly inflated)  Smile Lesson learned, I always flared in time after that one.
Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
 
JETBLUEATASW
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RE: What Are Landings Like?

Sat Mar 03, 2007 6:09 am

stupid question but, what is a IFR? I know its some sort of rating i think because alot of commercial airlines require it. I know American Eagle does. anyways i believe ILS is instrument landing syndrome. I know landing must be tough, my intro flight, my instructor didnt let me land. Anyways i want to say i appreciate you all taking the time to answer my questions. I want to become a commercial airline pilot one day and obvious there is alot to learn!!! I want to go to heritage flight academy in Long island, hopefully it wont interfere too much with my job and all. Im pretty sure its hard work, but im prepared to make it work anyway.
"DO ME A FAVOR WOULD YA, THE NEXT TIME U LAND A PLANE ON MY STRIP, BONE UP ON YOUR MORSE CODE"-Tom Berenger
 
LAXspotter
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RE: What Are Landings Like?

Sat Mar 03, 2007 7:06 am

Quoting JETBLUEATASW (Reply 8):
stupid question but, what is a IFR? I know its some sort of rating i think because alot of commercial airlines require it. I know American Eagle does. anyways i believe ILS is instrument landing syndrome.

1. IFR: Instrument flight rules: Certification that is recommended for General Aviation and is imperative for Commercial and Airline Transport Pilot. All commercial flights are done via IFR meaning with the help of the instruments which means you can fly "above the clouds" hence you dont need any visual references expect for your six main instruments: Altitude indicator, horizontal situation indicator, turn and bank indicator, Airspeed indicator, vertical speed indicator and heading indicator.

2. ILS: Instrument Landing Syndrome????  laughing  who told you? Think of what you just wrote.

Anyway, ILS is Instrument Landing System which means when visibility is low and conditions are not optimum for visual landings, ILS landings are done.
"Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel" Samuel Johnson
 
KELPkid
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RE: What Are Landings Like?

Sat Mar 03, 2007 7:20 am

Quoting LAXspotter (Reply 9):
Anyway, ILS is Instrument Landing System which means when visibility is low and conditions are not optimum for visual landings, ILS landings are done.

And that consists of a localizer and a glideslope...plus the appropriate receiver gear aboard the aircraft  Smile

An ILS is a very accurate form 3-dimensional instrument guidance, intended to bring an aircraft to within 200 feet of a runway (Category I) or even lower (Category II or Category III). The aircraft is simultaneously following two beams: the localizer (which lines the aircraft up with the runway) and the glideslope (which guides the aircraft's descent profile).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instrument_Landing_System is a good reference.

And to you, JETBLUEATASW, the only dumb question is the one never asked  Wink Just don't ask the ones that are asked frequently on this site, lest you incur the wrath of users saying "Don't you know how to use the forum search?" Big grin
Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
 
ferrypilot
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RE: What Are Landings Like?

Sat Mar 03, 2007 6:14 pm

Quoting CoolGuy (Thread starter):
. My question to pilots is, what else makes landings interesting or memorable

For me landing has always been the most fun aspect of flying aircraft, except for flying close formation.
 
AirWillie6475
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RE: What Are Landings Like?

Sun Mar 04, 2007 4:40 pm

Airplanes are designed to fly, it's always going to be difficulty to bring them back down on the ground. There's a whole bunch of technical stuff they've come up with but at the end, when the runway is below you, the goal will always be the same as the day they invented airplanes, don't crash. If at the end of the roll the plane is still intact, you had a good landing. That's all you really need to know.
 
pilotaydin
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RE: What Are Landings Like?

Sun Mar 04, 2007 6:14 pm

if you think too much about the landing, it ends up sucking, if you just do a lil chop drop and baby's butt flare like i try then it turns out much much cooler  Smile

you said you wanted to get more technical here are some things for you...the 737 basically tail strikes at 11 degrees...so landing the bird is sometimes tricky when you come into airports with a glideslope larger than 3 degrees...you have to land manual with any glideslope that is more than 3.25 degrees on the boeing 737 and you cant operate with a g/s greater than 4 degrees per my airline. Bodrum airport in south turkey is 3.9 degrees over moutains, so u can imagine the deck angle it makes a huge difference, flaring and landing there is tricky because the overall flight path angle changes a lot compared to a normal approach.

my best landing ive ever done was coming from Lisbon...we landed runway 06 in IST and the wind was producing a groundspeed of 95 knots, i touched down, according to my captain, with a speed of 97 knots groundspeed, so no reverse andno braking, we were out in 10 seconds off that runway....and it was so easy/soft because the slow groundspeed made it feel like a 50 ton cessna 172 and i had do much time to correct the airplane for a picture perfect landing....

here is something more technical...
on a normal 3 degree glideslope, if you multiply your groundspeed by 5, you will get the ideal descent rate in fpm...
so if your groundspeed is around 140 5 x 140 = 700 fpm

also, when the aircraft ahead of you is vacating the runway, if it vacates at the END of a short runway and you are on approach mode, the localizer signal is blocked for a few seconds, so if you ever experience a smooth lil turn to the left and then a turn to the right for about 3 -5 seconds each at about 500-1000ft AGL, that's probably why, the loc signal is skewed for a lil bit!

anything else let us know  Wink
The only time there is too much fuel onboard, is when you're on fire!
 
ferrypilot
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RE: What Are Landings Like?

Mon Mar 05, 2007 6:47 am

Quoting AirWillie6475 (Reply 12):
Airplanes are designed to fly, it's always going to be difficulty to bring them back down on the ground.

Speak for yourself.
 
CoolGuy
Topic Author
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RE: What Are Landings Like?

Mon Mar 05, 2007 8:25 am

I was just a passenger in a landing at a windy LGA and it was pretty cool to feel the right wheel touch down first (runway 22)! That must take a lot of skill to get just right.
 
EridanMan
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RE: What Are Landings Like?

Mon Mar 05, 2007 5:56 pm

Coolguy,

There are two distinct types of crosswind landings, the 'airliner' style is called a crab landing - the aircraft is kept wings level on approach with the nose pointing off-centerline to account for the 'cross-wind' component, or the portion of the wind which is blowing the aircraft out of alignment with the runway. A normal flare is initiated, and then at the moment of touchdown the pilot uses a firm rudder movement to swing the nose forward before the mains contact the ground. The crab landing is mandatory for aircraft with low-slung wing engines, but is also used by most airliners because it does not subject the cabin to much in the way of 'weird' forces (force vectors other than directly down). The final alignment action is fairly tricky to time, however...

Most light aircraft, like the one I fly, land in what is called a 'slip'... in this situation, the crosswind component is handled instead by approaching 'wing low' (thus a portion of the wing's lift, and not the aircrafts forward thrust, are used to cancel the crosswind component). Rudder is used to maintain alignment with the centerline. In this configuration, a standard flare (like you would use on any landing) will naturally bring the low-wing wheel down first, followed by the upwind wing, followed by the nose.
 
ferrypilot
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RE: What Are Landings Like?

Tue Mar 06, 2007 6:56 am

Quoting CoolGuy (Reply 15):
I was just a passenger in a landing at a windy LGA and it was pretty cool to feel the right wheel touch down first (runway 22)! That must take a lot of skill to get just right.

The handling element of flying aeroplanes is not as difficult as many people imagine. ...My favourite sports are windsurfing, skiing and golf and I consider all of them to be much more difficult to achieve a good standard in. I know that I can roll an aircraft on to one wheel in a xwind every time. ...But I would be lucky if I hit a green with a golf ball three times in ten. Seriously if landing aeroplanes straight was anywhere near as difficult as hitting golf balls straight, ...aeroplanes would be crashing left, right and centre every day.
..."ERIDANMAN" above has written a very nice description of the two most advertised methods of compensating for a crosswind whilst landing. My method is slightly different and I believe that it will usually combat the single highest xwind component for most aircraft.
...Basically it is an optimum derivation or combination of both methods. ...I start the approach by maintaining a crab angle into the wind (with my wings level) and I continue like this all the way down until I have levelled the aircraft a few feet above the runway. Then I immediately kick it straight with the rudder whilst simultaneously starting to lower the into wind wing with the ailerons as necessary to exactly maintain the runway centre line. During this process I think in terms of quite literally winding the into wind wheel onto the ground. ...Thereby exercising what I think is a greater degree of control over the aircraft throughout the whole process and than is afforded by either flying the approach with the wing down or simply hoping to kick the aircraft straight at the last second.
 
CosmicCruiser
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RE: What Are Landings Like?

Tue Mar 06, 2007 10:15 pm

Quoting EridanMan (Reply 16):
There are two distinct types of crosswind landings, the 'airliner' style is called a crab landing - the aircraft is kept wings level on approach with the nose pointing off-centerline to account for the 'cross-wind' component, or the portion of the wind which is blowing the aircraft out of alignment with the runway. A normal flare is initiated, and then at the moment of touchdown the pilot uses a firm rudder movement to swing the nose forward before the mains contact the ground. The crab landing is mandatory for aircraft with low-slung wing engines, but is also used by most airliners because it does not subject the cabin to much in the way of 'weird' forces (force vectors other than directly down). The final alignment action is fairly tricky to time, however...

I don't think you can make a blanket statement like that. Of the transport cat. a/c I've flown YS-11,B-727, DC-10 & MD-11 none were landed as you write. They all were landed with standard slip to a ldg. Sometimes a little crab may still be there at touch down because ther pilot just didn't have quite enough rudder. I've seen it in the sim where the instructor will tell a student "you still had 2 deg of drift at touchdown, get the nose ALL the way around, more rudder". Yes I know the 747 was certified to land in a crab.

Quoting EridanMan (Reply 16):
Most light aircraft, like the one I fly, land in what is called a 'slip'

I flew a Jetstar many moons ago and as you write it was landed in a slip. Just think how low slung those wing fuel tanks were to the ground and yet I know of one wing tip scrape in a very gusty ldg and the tank never touch the ground!
 
vikkyvik
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RE: What Are Landings Like?

Wed Mar 07, 2007 2:35 am

Hey, random landing question (don't think it needs its own thread  Smile):

Especially for GA pilots, you may land on runways of varying widths, anywhere from 50 to 200 feet. If you're shooting visual approaches, how much does a narrower (or wider) runway width than to what you're accustomed throw off your altitude perceptions?

Obviously, if there's a VASI/PAPI, you can just follow that. But even then, you could feel like you're too high/low.

This question was brought to you by FS2002, where I almost landed several thousand feet short of a 75-foot-wide runway  Smile

Thanks...

~Vik
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
KELPkid
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RE: What Are Landings Like?

Wed Mar 07, 2007 3:18 am

Quoting Vikkyvik (Reply 19):
Especially for GA pilots, you may land on runways of varying widths, anywhere from 50 to 200 feet. If you're shooting visual approaches, how much does a narrower (or wider) runway width than to what you're accustomed throw off your altitude perceptions?

Lots...I'd say a typical runway at a GA airport is 75 ft. wide (there's a few 100 footers out there for various reasons  Wink ). The monkey wrench a wider or narrower runway throws at you is in beginning the flare too early or starting it too late. For myself, in a Cessna, I've found the best way to accurately gauge the proper altitude to flare at is to briefly look out the side window...you can even stare at the mains if you think that will help  Smile Of course, you can't look out the side in low wing types...maybe out the corner  Wink

Narrower strips (~30 ft.) usually present less problems, ironically...maybe it's the psychological effect of knowing that there's much less margin for error  Smile

If you flare too early in the Cessna 172, you will float for a while and then abruptly drop in in a teeth-rattling landing  Sad
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Fly2HMO
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RE: What Are Landings Like?

Wed Mar 07, 2007 3:42 pm

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 20):
Lots...I'd say a typical runway at a GA airport is 75 ft

I've never really had a problem with runway illusions. I guess it all depends on where you learned to fly.

I.E. here at PRC we have wide variety of rwys, 21L/3R is 7550x150ft, 12/30 is 4400x75 and 21R/3L is 4800x60. 21L is about the average size found in bigger Class C airports and is perfectly flat (as in it doesnt slope, though it has a very slight uphill climb). 12/30 has a significant slope; on both ends of the runway you are going downhill until the 21L/3R intersection, then it goes uphill. It is a concave rwy I guess you could call it. And if you do a touch-n-go on 12 and time it right, the big hump caused by the 21L/3R intersection will launch you into the air very nicely. Rwy 21R/3L is relatively level and looks very slim.

I guess that variety in PRC and the surrounding airports kinda made me immune to rwy illsuions, but that doesnt mean I don't take them into consideration still.

During night landings though i do tend to flare high sometimes, specially if its been a while since I've flown at night.


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SEPilot
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RE: What Are Landings Like?

Thu Mar 08, 2007 11:09 pm

Quoting Vikkyvik (Reply 19):
If you're shooting visual approaches, how much does a narrower (or wider) runway width than to what you're accustomed throw off your altitude perceptions?

Strange airports in different settings (narrow, wide, or sloped runways) can lead to changed perceptions and poor landings. The one that surprised me the most was one time landing on 35 at MPV; normally I land on 17, but decided on this day to land on 35. The surprise came from the fact that 17-35 at MPV, while plenty long and wide, has a pronounced slope (with landing on 35 being uphill, 17 downhill.) I have landed many times at MPV and of course knew of the slope, but for some reason this time my perceptions were off and I flared high and had a very abrupt arrival. I was of course unhappy with this, so I went around the pattern to try again, and I did the same thing again! I tried again, and this time got it right. As to runway width, that has never really bothered me. I still do not know why the upsloping runway gave me such trouble. I was flying a Cessna 182, by the way.
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
 
seattleflyer
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RE: What Are Landings Like?

Tue Mar 20, 2007 5:41 am

Quoting JETBLUEATASW (Reply 8):
Anyways i want to say i appreciate you all taking the time to answer my questions. I want to become a commercial airline pilot one day and obvious there is alot to learn!!!

Might I suggest... get yourself a copy of "Stick and Rudder: An Explanation of the Art of Flying" by Wolfgang Langewiesche. It's a great explanation of all the fundamental forces involved in flying and landing an aircraft. Basic concepts that apply to all fixed wing aircraft.
 
aviator1990
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RE: What Are Landings Like?

Thu Mar 22, 2007 12:39 pm

Landings are like when the heavenly wheels of god touch the Earth and roar down the runway. LOL

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