Topic Author
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2008 8:46 pm

### Questions From A Student Pilot

Dear All,

I am a student Pilot, currently doing my flying in Florida, in the United States - I am training to become a Commercial Pilot, but right now am at the very early stage. I have 20.8 hours of flying right now.

I have a few questions for the experienced pilots and other aviators about some things which relate to my training.

I do not know if I am literally making this like a teaching session, but I really need help, and I know the a.net forum can help me, and consists of many professional and experienced pilots and aviators.

1) I have read that the best scanning method while flying is to scan 10 degree sections, focusing 1 second on each 10-degree sector. But If we spend 1 second each on 10-degree sectors, it would take you close to 15+ seconds to scan the entire windshield from one end to the other. An a/c on a head on collision at 17 seconds from impact would look like a dot - this means that we don't have 15 seconds to do 1 complete scan. Is there any other useful scanning technique which can be used effectively in terms of time and accuracy?

2) When we fly traffic patterns, I have been told to maintain my distance while flying by using reference points like roads, and mounds, and stuff - this i find completely stupid, because we can't take those roads and mounds to other airports....So how do we determine our distance from the Rwy while flying in the pattern? I read that you can use the runway position in relation to your strut - it should be halfway up your strut, and ur about 1/2 a mile from the Rwy. But I don't know at what altitude halfway up your strut is half a mile. (I am guessing its at a 1000 feet, but i want to be sure)

3) During the landings, I need help in establishing for myself the visual cues which can help me get the not-hard (safe) landing I want - I have felt how the correct flare is (once), but I realize that during the flare, I'm literally looking right in front of the a/c...I have been told to look how i would look if i was driving a car at 60 miles an hour - But the thing is, what visual cue must I look for, while maintaining such a field of vision?
Any help on visual/feeling cues in this regard will be GREATLY appreciated.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read this.
Happy& safe Landings,

Ceph
Posts: 104
Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2007 1:29 pm

### RE: Questions From A Student Pilot

I'm a fesh PPL holder so I can't be qualified as an experienced pilot but here are some tips I use my self.
On finals, the perspective of the runway is what is used as a cue.
For the runway perspective while flying other legs of the circuit, you don't really need to mind about the altitude as circuits are supposed to fly at the designated circuit height.
For scans I just do a quick scan at random intervals.

Don't know how much this is going to help but just my 2 cents!
Cheers!

SlamClick
Posts: 9576
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2003 7:09 am

### RE: Questions From A Student Pilot

Don't know about 'best' but a couple of things here. It is better to move your entire head and not just your eyes when scanning. Things pop out of the background better that way. A sector or two outside, glance inside, back out. Keeps your eyes focusing at different distances. If you spend too long just looking out at empty sky a phenomenon known as empty-field myopia will prevent your eyes from focusing at great distances. You could be looking at another plane and not see it because the lens of your eye wasn't focusing it on the fovea.

You are absolutely right. You need both kinds of reference. In relation to your window and outside parts of the airplane for all airports AND it is a good idea to have some ground references to keep your pattern 'standardized' while at your home 'drome.

 Quoting Aditya340 (Thread starter):During the landings, I need help in establishing for myself the visual cues

This will come to you soon and probably stay with you, but you need to be gazing far down the field during the flare and landing. If you are looking at the ground near your airplane you are going to fly into the ground near your airplane. You will quickly get a 'feel' for wings level, landing pitch attitude, height above the pavement, deceleration, crosswind, and all the other factors by taking in the whole scene in front of you. Look down the field farther.

By the way, if you are driving a car 60 mph and looking 'right in front of it' you are going to crash. You need to be looking out where the action actually is - farther ahead. You need reaction time! You'll hear the phrase 'being behind the airplane' and a major indicator of it is being fixated in very close to you.

Welcome and good luck.
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.

FlyUSCG
Posts: 520
Joined: Sat Jun 03, 2006 5:29 pm

### RE: Questions From A Student Pilot

 Quoting Aditya340 (Thread starter):Is there any other useful scanning technique which can be used effectively in terms of time and accuracy?

Don't even worry about it man. I was taught that day one and have NEVER used it. I randomly look around whenever I feel like it. And the more experienced you get at flying the more your head will be outside. Besides, you are going to pick up movement better by NOT looking directly at it, day or night.

 Quoting Aditya340 (Thread starter):I have been told to maintain my distance while flying by using reference points like roads, and mounds, and stuff

It's a pretty good method actually. Once you get your reference points set, focus on remember what your site picture to the runway is and once you've done it a couple hundred times, you won't even be thinking about it. Honestly, none of us will EVER fly the exact same pattern every single time, even at our own airport. And frankly, it doesn't even matter how close in or far out you are (within reason)because no one cares and you'll adjust accordingly on your base leg.
Go Trojans! Fight On!

cptspeaking
Posts: 567
Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2006 2:49 pm

### RE: Questions From A Student Pilot

 Quoting Aditya340 (Thread starter):I read that you can use the runway position in relation to your strut - it should be halfway up your strut, and ur about 1/2 a mile from the Rwy. But I don't know at what altitude halfway up your strut is half a mile. (I am guessing its at a 1000 feet, but i want to be sure)

The traffic pattern ALTITUDE is what is most important in this...the TPA is published for each airport in the A/FD, although it is generally 1000 feet AGL for Piston-powered aircraft and 1500 AGL for turboprop and turbojet. When you're at this traffic pattern altitude, you can pick a reference point on your plane to judge a good distance from the runway to fly your downwind leg...your instructor will be able to show you about how far and you can pick your points from that.

Other than that, keep the blue side up and you should be fine
...and don't call me Shirley!!

njxc500
Posts: 216
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2007 6:47 pm

### RE: Questions From A Student Pilot

First off, all the scanning you do outside the airplane is great watch for traffic, but don't forget you still need to be flying your airplane, and there are things to check inside too. Get some instrument time with your instructor and you may appreciate this more. Also, I don't think GA pilots use flight following as much as they should. Sometimes you can't even pick out the traffic they tell you about. Traffic also is affected by altitude. All the input so far applies well for this, take their advise.

Pattern work like finding references is all about building habits. You will fly these references for a period of time, then you will just know where to be, and never think about it again.

I have always had a habit of looking outside to the left before flare, it's kind of like I'm checking that my view down the runway isn't misleading me, and it never has, but I still do it. It's about a ten feet to go check. Landings are all about habits and feeling natural doing it. Flying is an art.

Now I'm not exerienced like thousands of hours, but I'm less than 5 years out of training and haven't forgotten this stuff.

My favorite quote applies:

"A good landing is one you can walk away from"

"A great landing is one after which you can use the airplane again"

Look forward to your first "Roller". Mine happened around 350 landings.

pilotpip
Posts: 2830
Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2003 3:26 pm

### RE: Questions From A Student Pilot

 Quoting Aditya340 (Thread starter):3) During the landings, I need help in establishing for myself the visual cues which can help me get the not-hard (safe) landing I want - I have felt how the correct flare is (once), but I realize that during the flare, I'm literally looking right in front of the a/c...I have been told to look how i would look if i was driving a car at 60 miles an hour - But the thing is, what visual cue must I look for, while maintaining such a field of vision?

On final, you should be aiming for a specific point. As you get to about 30 feet, start transitioning your view down the runway. By the time you're in ground effect you should be looking at the other end of the runway and for flare a good attitude is to have the prop spinner pointing at some tree tops in the distance. Don't forget that you shouldn't stop flying the aircraft until you come to a stop on the taxiway. Keep adding crosswind correction, and use those rudder pedals.

This is how I taught my students. When I transitioned to the ERJs (145 then 170) in both instances my landings sucked until I got myself back to these basics minus the prop spinner thing

In the next 10-15 hours the lightbulb is going to go off and all this stuff will come together at once. Keep plugging away and keep us updated on the progress.
DMI

khelmDTW
Posts: 203
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2007 1:55 pm

### RE: Questions From A Student Pilot

AHHH!!

You're a pilot, you should know whats wrong here!

"Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration"

BAE146QT
Posts: 981
Joined: Sun Sep 24, 2006 4:58 am

### RE: Questions From A Student Pilot

 Quoting SlamClick (Reply 2):Don't know about 'best' but a couple of things here. It is better to move your entire head and not just your eyes when scanning.

Apologies for the long post, but it's not a simple question.

From a purely 'human factors' point of view, I couldn't agree more with SlamClick. It would be impossible to explain all the reasons why here, but I submit the following;

Our eyes face forward giving us excellent stereoscopic vision. Although you see only one image, your brain processes the images separately and then combines them for you to give you depth (though even that is faulty because we're bad at judging the speed of things coming toward us). This is all very well, but your brain is really lazy when doing this and it tends to filter out anything that it thinks is extraneous information - like anything that isn't in your direct line of sight.

The rules of first-order motion perception demand that we take notice of things that are different from the background, like a yellow Piper Cub against a blue sky. But only if you're focusing on that area of the sky. Unless you move your head, your brain does not see the aircraft because it already thinks it has a picture of what's around it, and has discarded everything else. Moving your eyes doesn't disturb our stereoscopic view enough to force the brain into re-evaluating what it's seeing.

This is one of the many 'visual illusions' that you will encounter as you progress through your career. Bearing in mind that they are coupled with your other senses, it's quite clear that Njxc500 has a very valid point - your instruments are there for a reason too. Your senses sometimes lie to you.
Todos mis dominÃ³s son totalmente pegajosos

lowrider
Posts: 2542
Joined: Wed Jun 30, 2004 3:09 am

### RE: Questions From A Student Pilot

 Quoting Aditya340 (Thread starter):2) When we fly traffic patterns, I have been told to maintain my distance while flying by using reference points like roads, and mounds, and stuff - this i find completely stupid, because we can't take those roads and mounds to other airports....So how do we determine our distance from the Rwy while flying in the pattern?

As you make the seemingly endless trips around your local pattern, to focus less on the fixed references for your airport and more on the result that it yields. The roads and other reference points are simply training wheels to get you in the right position so you can see what the picture should look like. After you have seen the right picture several times, you will start to know the wrong picture when you see it.

 Quoting Aditya340 (Thread starter):During the landings, I need help in establishing for myself the visual cues which can help me get the not-hard

As others have said, you want to look as far down the runway as you can see. The more you do this, the more cues you will have to show your vertical movement. As you round out the plane, raise your eyes. You can chair-fly this at home to help build the habit and establish muscle memory.
Proud OOTSK member

wilco737
Posts: 7275
Joined: Sun Jun 20, 2004 12:21 am

### RE: Questions From A Student Pilot

Basically everything was said! I just want to add one thing my flight instructor said to me during my first lessons:

If you "stare" too long on one thing, some other COULD get out of hand... So, keep your eyes moving... but not too fast so that you cannot only see the information given, more like you see and know what kind of information given or maybe a trend can be seen, e.g. during level flight with power and pitch set properly and you see that your speed is starting to increase and you havent changed the power, is an indication for a slight descent, so adjust the pitch a little bit and here you go. Primary and seconday instruments. Get as many information from the secondary insturments as well...

Happy flying!

WILCO737 (MD11F)

soon7x7
Posts: 2267
Joined: Thu May 04, 2006 10:51 am

### RE: Questions From A Student Pilot

sprout5199
Posts: 1681
Joined: Sat Feb 26, 2005 8:26 am

### RE: Questions From A Student Pilot

 Quoting Aditya340 (Thread starter):When we fly traffic patterns, I have been told to maintain my distance while flying by using reference points like roads, and mounds, and stuff - this i find completely stupid, because we can't take those roads and mounds to other airports.

Yes, but most two lane roads are the same width so your "sight memory" of the relationship of the aircraft to them will be the same.
In the pattern I use the relationship of the wing strut to the runway. And when turning base, I start when the end of the runway is at a 45 between the strut and tail.

 Quoting Aditya340 (Thread starter):But the thing is, what visual cue must I look for, while maintaining such a field of vision?

In my limited experience, it is the cowl vs the horizon thing to me. Also dont forget your peripheral vision when in the flare---helps me a lot.

Dan in Jupiter

Topic Author
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2008 8:46 pm

### RE: Questions From A Student Pilot

Dear All,

I am very very happy to view so many detailed and informative replies - All of which I found helpful, and very interesting to read.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read and reply to my posts.

Please know that your words are helping me a lot, and that any progress wouldn't have been the same without your the words derived from your valuable experiences.

Once again, thank you very very much.!

Regards and Fly High,

HaveBlue
Posts: 2120
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2004 3:01 pm

### RE: Questions From A Student Pilot

Adytiya340, where in Florida if I may ask? I got my PPL in December of 2001 here at the Daytona Beach airport a few miles from where I live, in Port Orange.

And good luck with your flight training, it is well worth it!
Here Here for Severe Clear!

Topic Author
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2008 8:46 pm

### RE: Questions From A Student Pilot

HaveBlue, I'm doing my flying at Ormond Beach, which is 10 minutes from Daytona Beach.

SlamClick
Posts: 9576
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2003 7:09 am

### RE: Questions From A Student Pilot

 Quoting Soon7x7 (Reply 11):When I fly (rent) 172's

 Quoting Soon7x7 (Reply 11):THE CARDINAL RULE IN FLYING IS

Well, see. There is the problem. You are flying a 172 using Cardinal rules.
Use 172 rules, the Cardinal is a dog!

(Sorry, couldn't resist.)

Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.

Mir
Posts: 19383
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 3:55 am

### RE: Questions From A Student Pilot

 Quoting Aditya340 (Thread starter):1) I have read that the best scanning method while flying is to scan 10 degree sections, focusing 1 second on each 10-degree sector. But If we spend 1 second each on 10-degree sectors, it would take you close to 15+ seconds to scan the entire windshield from one end to the other. An a/c on a head on collision at 17 seconds from impact would look like a dot - this means that we don't have 15 seconds to do 1 complete scan. Is there any other useful scanning technique which can be used effectively in terms of time and accuracy?

You are correct in thinking that if you start all the way at the back left and proceed all the way around to the back right it'll take too long. You shouldn't be focusing on one thing (be it traffic watch, navigation, using the flight computer, or something else) for more than ten seconds. I like to do the 10-degree section scan, but not as one complete circle. I'll scan a few sections on the left, then a few sections on the right, come back to the sections that I missed on the left, take a look inside to make sure that everything is still as it should be, scan the sections on the right that I missed, etc.

 Quoting Aditya340 (Thread starter):2) When we fly traffic patterns, I have been told to maintain my distance while flying by using reference points like roads, and mounds, and stuff - this i find completely stupid, because we can't take those roads and mounds to other airports....So how do we determine our distance from the Rwy while flying in the pattern? I read that you can use the runway position in relation to your strut - it should be halfway up your strut, and ur about 1/2 a mile from the Rwy. But I don't know at what altitude halfway up your strut is half a mile. (I am guessing its at a 1000 feet, but i want to be sure)

It varies, but as long as you're around TPA and you have the runway more or less halfway up the strut, you're fine.

 Quoting Aditya340 (Thread starter):3) During the landings, I need help in establishing for myself the visual cues which can help me get the not-hard (safe) landing I want - I have felt how the correct flare is (once), but I realize that during the flare, I'm literally looking right in front of the a/c...I have been told to look how i would look if i was driving a car at 60 miles an hour - But the thing is, what visual cue must I look for, while maintaining such a field of vision?

Look down the runway. I fly my approach based off of looking at the threshold markings, but as I get progressively closer I start looking further down the runway toward the end. By the time I touch down, my eyes are at least at the halfway point of the runway (farther if it's a short runway).

 Quoting CptSpeaking (Reply 4):the TPA is published for each airport in the A/FD

Not always, in fact published TPAs are the exception rather than the rule. The TPA is only published if the airport wants you to adhere to a specific one for traffic or noise abatement purposes. If it's not published, you can fly at whatever TPA you want (anywhere from 800' to 1200' works, but I use 1000' just because it's easiest).

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day

P3Orion
Posts: 381
Joined: Tue May 30, 2006 10:53 am

### RE: Questions From A Student Pilot

From a controller's perspective, my advice is to keep your transmissions "short and sweet." Such as requesting VFR advisories. Just give us the pertinent information: Who you are, where you are, where you want to go and at what altitude. An example "Albany Approach, Bonanza 12345, five miles west of Saratoga Springs, enroute to Buffalo, leaving three thousand for six thousand five hundred, request VFR advisories."
Baker's 7 year, Carpano Antica, Luxardo, Bittercube cherry bark vanilla bitters

ALexeu
Posts: 1447
Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:01 am

### RE: Questions From A Student Pilot

Since I am interested in taking PPL, I am curious what was the hardest lesson you found while flying as a student pilot?

N353SK
Posts: 910
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 5:08 am

### RE: Questions From A Student Pilot

 Quoting Aditya340 (Thread starter): read that you can use the runway position in relation to your strut - it should be halfway up your strut, and ur about 1/2 a mile from the Rwy. But I don't know at what altitude halfway up your strut is half a mile.

I'm guessing you have reference points you use on the ground at your home airport, correct? When you know you're level in the pattern and a half mile out, just look over and try to get a good mental picture. If the strut doesn't work, try to see how far up the window the runway is. It won't always be halfway for every pilot depending on their height. Also, as you continue to gain experience, you will begin to realize that you've been on crosswind for X seconds and it's about time to turn downwind. from there, you can adjust the rate of you turn to hit the spot.

 Quoting Aditya340 (Thread starter):I realize that during the flare, I'm literally looking right in front of the a/c...I have been told to look how i would look if i was driving a car at 60 miles an hour

This is hard for a lot of people to learn. When you practice night landings, ask you instructor if you can do a few landings without the landing light on (assuming there isn't any other traffic). Since you literally can't see the runway in front of you, you have to force yourself to look at the lights on the sides and end of the runway as a reference.

Mir
Posts: 19383
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 3:55 am

### RE: Questions From A Student Pilot

 Quoting AlexEU (Reply 19):Since I am interested in taking PPL, I am curious what was the hardest lesson you found while flying as a student pilot?

The last 30 feet of a landing. I could fly the approach just fine, I could keep the airplane on the runway just fine - it was getting the plane from the air onto the runway that was the problem.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day

SlamClick
Posts: 9576
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2003 7:09 am

### RE: Questions From A Student Pilot

 Quoting Mir (Reply 21): - it was getting the plane from the air onto the runway that was the problem.

That (and getting from the runway into the air smoothly and safely) is where most of the problems dwell. A plane way out in the middle of the air is pretty safe. A plane sitting firmly on the ground is pretty safe. It is that transition when you are neither fish nor fowl that has given all of us problems at one time or another. Beware the place where the edge of the sky meets the edge of the earth!

(especially when that place is hiding behind clouds)

[Edited 2008-05-10 12:33:39]
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.

atct
Posts: 2472
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2001 6:42 am

### RE: Questions From A Student Pilot

Regarding #2 (pattern work)

I always fly my downwinds and base legs that if I would lose an engine, I would make the runway. I fly a VERY close in pattern compared to most, but at all times im within runway gliding range (except just after departure and crosswind)

Regarding landing, thats just all feel. You should be able to sense how far you are from the runway when you start your flare. I look all over, not just way out ahead of the aircraft as manuals state. Ive also found just before impact in a 172 adding 100RPM with the throttle (on long runways) 90% of the time makes em smooth as silk.

ATCT
(learned old time stick & rudder pilot...even though im young, grew up in J3's)
Trikes are for kids!

HaveBlue
Posts: 2120
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2004 3:01 pm

### RE: Questions From A Student Pilot

 Quoting AlexEU (Reply 19):Since I am interested in taking PPL, I am curious what was the hardest lesson you found while flying as a student pilot?

For me, the first hardest part was taxiing. It takes some getting used to 'not' using the 'wheel' to steer, and the differential braking. Secondly for me it was radios. Being that my airport was a very busy general aviation airport, Class C with 5 flight schools including ERAU, the protocols for Clearance Delivery, Ground, Tower, Departure, and Approach were a bit overwhelming at first, as what they want to hear when you call is a bit different for each. And the taxi instructions at fairly large airport with runway hold shorts and crossings is a bit much at first, when all of the taxi ways and intersections are abstract. Once you get the site picture in your head and know what they are talking about visually, its better. That and using a kneeboard to copy down instructions as they are given so that you can read them back accurately and have them correctly in front of you.

Then the only hard thing was landing, which just takes time and experience before you get it down. No part of 'flying' seemed too difficult to me, but landings are definitely the hardest part of actually flying imo.

But there is nothing more gratifying, with one exception   , then flying an airplane. And I think we all know what that one thing is, and can agree.
Here Here for Severe Clear!

SilverComet
Posts: 85
Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2007 3:04 am

### RE: Questions From A Student Pilot

 Quoting HaveBlue (Reply 24):But there is nothing more gratifying, with one exception , then flying an airplane. And I think we all know what that one thing is, and can agree.

Would it have anything to do with this?

(http://darwinawards.com/darwin/darwin1994-19.html)

HaveBlue
Posts: 2120
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2004 3:01 pm

### RE: Questions From A Student Pilot

 Quoting SilverComet (Reply 25):Would it have anything to do with this?

Ding ding ding Johnny, we have a winner!!! Hehe yes of course, and it should be said that those two endeavors should probably not be attempted at the same exact time, in the small autopilotless planes I fly in anyhow.
Here Here for Severe Clear!

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