Touchdown with large airliners....

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harkonnen
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Touchdown with large airliners....

Post by harkonnen » Thu Sep 22, 2005 1:20 pm

After watching that pilot bring in that Jetblue A320 with the bad nosegear yesterday at LAX, and so nicely flare it just a hair as the rear gear was about to touch, I wondered how these guys (and gals) know how close the gear is to the runway. Pure experience, I'm guessing. I can land 'em like that in FS2002 but I cheat and have spot view from the side and can see it all so well! Is it like driving a bigger truck around and getting such a feel for the vehicle that you can feed it between two posts with an inch to spare on either side? (my experience) There's not a video feed to the cockpit of the underbelly or anything is there? .....Also while typing this post I began wondering if there were many women piloting airliners and if not, is the number increasing as times change?

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Post by bluetop » Thu Sep 22, 2005 2:06 pm

I think its what you said,these pilots develop a feel for the plane. I have a good friend,his sister flies dc9's for northwest. She belongs to a group called the 99's they are the first 100 female commercial pilots. That was about 8 years ago so I'm sure there are more all the time.

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Post by Max » Thu Sep 22, 2005 2:23 pm

That is only partially correct. All PAX operations are done with multiple crew members piloting the aircraft. So, in the abscence of a GPWS, the pilot not flying the aircraft would be calling out altitudes above ground all the way till 10ft AGL. So, at either 20 or 10 feet, the throttle would come down to IDLE and the pilot would raise the nose to get the VSI needle to the 0 position....with the aircraft losing speed slowly, it will start descending those last 10 feet, and a nice soft touch will occur.


The GPWS is a system with pre recorded altitude calouts that just plays the correct sound for a particular readout. Making it easier for the pilots to work the other systems.
Dont point your plane where you brain hasnt been 2 minutes ago.

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Post by skipperdan » Thu Sep 22, 2005 4:34 pm

Max:

Do they really set the VSI to zero at 10 feet above the runway or do they keep the nose elevated so that the main wheels touch before the nose wheel? 8) 8)
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Post by Max » Thu Sep 22, 2005 5:06 pm

No, didn't mean set it to zero on the autopilot, I meant to raise the nose to make the VSI visually show an approximate zero. The closer the needle to zero the better.

Yes, I am pretty sire the nose wheel is suppsed to touch the ground last....why? The exception would be general aviation aircraft and stold aircraft like the DHC-6 which also does a three point landing like the taildraggers.
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Post by ricktobin » Thu Sep 22, 2005 5:34 pm

I think skipperdan's point was if the VSI is at zero, that would imply that the A/C is in straight and level flight, which would not allow the A/C to land main gear first followed by the nose gear. When the A/C finally lost enough airspeed, it would touchdown on all wheels at the same time.

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Post by Max » Thu Sep 22, 2005 5:59 pm

I think skipperdan's point was if the VSI is at zero, that would imply that the A/C is in straight and level flight, which would not allow the A/C to land main gear first followed by the nose gear. When the A/C finally lost enough airspeed, it would touchdown on all wheels at the same time.
Are you trying to say that the aircraft is in a straight and leve flight when it's ATTITUDE is zero (resulting in the nose hear and the main gear being in level), because that is completely incorrect. Have you ever heard of an expression called "high drag, high angle of attack" which is an aircraft in a landing configuration flying in level flight. High angle of attack means that even though the aircraft is flying with it's vertcal speed indicating ZERO, doesn't mean the aircraft will have all wheels level towards the ground.

EDIT: here's an image taken from the Federal Airplane Flying Handbook that should make it all cristal clear :)

Image
Last edited by Max on Thu Sep 22, 2005 6:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by ricktobin » Thu Sep 22, 2005 6:13 pm

I'm not trying to say anything...

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Post by Max » Thu Sep 22, 2005 6:22 pm

Neither am I... :lol:
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in short

Post by myheadspinsincircles » Thu Sep 22, 2005 6:24 pm

in short, having the VSI needle at 0 doesnt exactly mean that the plane is level.

flying level at 100 kts on a commercial airliner would mean the wheels touch first. not saying thats a recommended landing speed though... :wink:
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Re: in short

Post by ricktobin » Thu Sep 22, 2005 7:04 pm

myheadspinsincircles wrote: flying level at 100 kts on a commercial airliner would mean the wheels touch first.
...the wheels touch first as opposed to what, the passenger cabin?

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Post by Captain_Sean » Thu Sep 22, 2005 7:18 pm

Ok, This is a very good question, and I dont know the true answer to it either. After reading all of these posts, I am getting confused what you are sopose to do. You know....with the VSI thing. I am a pilot, and what I do know is that you are sopose to fly the airplane down onto the runway (Touching down on your back wheels--unless flying a taildragger), and flare at the last second. From an airliner point of view, I would say that would be 10-20 feet. Also, based on the correct landing speeds of that paticular aircraft, the aircraft will require more pitch to maintain altitude (Like what happens durring a stall) so having the VSI at "zero" somewhat makes sense if you are at the correct landing speed. If any one else could give harkonnen, myself, and any others a clearer explanation, that would be greatly appreciated.

Sean

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haha

Post by myheadspinsincircles » Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:14 pm

HAHA! oops. yeah u know what i meant. the rear wheels touch first :D
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Post by Max » Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:16 pm

Okay, once more. The landing is one of the trickiest parts of a flight (well most of the time). Timing and coordination between the power, pitch and altitude are the most inportant. So, you will establish a normal (and more important a stable) approach path and get the speed under control. Then as you do below the Decision Height, forget about the localizer beam, and focus on what you see out the window. If you see nothing, go around. If you see a runway centerline (or lights), align your craft to it. As you go down to 50 feet, reduce vertical speed to aim for the designated touchdown zone. As you pass 20 feet, you should be in the rwy centerline, and you shouldn't make any more fast movements (unless hard crosswind). When reaching 10 feet, cut down the throttle, and pull the nose up in the air, take a look at the Vertical Speed Indicator and pull the nose till the needle is almost zero (a little below), and after you hear the main gear touch the ground, verify the spoilers are deployed, and when the main gear touches the gnd, use reverse thrust and hydraulic brakes to slow the aircraft down....(brakes only below 80kts, when the reversers go off)


That should be it.
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nah

Post by myheadspinsincircles » Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:17 pm

umm...if ur question was

if its at the correct landing speed and the VSI is at 0, is it level?

then no. In commercial airliners at their landing speed with full flaps and gear down, they will be tilted up a little bit.

if that wasn't u question then.....i didnt get it haha
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Post by skipperdan » Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:53 pm

Thanks Max:

Your original response was excellent.

It just does not pay for me to run home over my lunch period to check emails. Next time, I will think before responding to FS postings.

While I was driving home from the office, I started thinking about my response. I was thinking that the "Angle of Attack" should be tilted upwards which would allow for the Main Wheels to touch first while the VSI is almost zero as the plane drops slowly to the runway.

Again, I admit that I responded too quickly without thinking first. 8) 8)
I AM NOT A PILOT. I JUST LOVE AVIATION.

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...Instructor at the Florida Wing Conference 2012.
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...Attended two day class conducted by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center
...Completed training for Flight Line Marshall, Flight Release Officer, and Mission Radio Operator.

You should visit your local Civil Air Patrol Squadron and complete an application for membership.
.
Please watch this video that my son made of a Discovery Flight from Albert Whitted Airport (my home base). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EMUg1jiCss
.
Please check out scenery that I helped develop for Albert Whitted Airport http://www.surclaro.com/download.php?query=KSPG&op=search&cid=
.
Check out this article in Air and Space Magazine concerning Albert Whitted Airport:
http://www.airspacemag.com/history-of-flight/The-Airport-That-Wouldnt-Die.html

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Post by harkonnen » Fri Sep 23, 2005 4:43 am

Thanks all, I never even thought of the pilot calling out exact altitudes and the answers all kind of come together to paint a good picture...and I personally have that slightly pitched back attitude pretty close to where I want it when simming by the time I'm over the runway, using that throttle and maybe just a SLIGHT further flair just before my rear gear touches, trying to get the spoilers up at touchdown and killing throttle completely as soon as I touch. Oh yeah, can't forget about reverse thrust either! I was talking with my Dad on the weekend and learned that the spoilers on large airliners are actually armed prior to deployment, one click back arms them and it's confirmed that this is so, the second click kicks 'em up. I did not know that.

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Post by Pilotwannabe » Fri Sep 23, 2005 2:08 pm

Yep, you can simulate arming the spoilers in FS. Just press Shift + /. Or you could open the throttle quad and usually do it from there by clicking on it with the mouse :)

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Post by myownman » Fri Sep 23, 2005 6:47 pm

At Vref, the final approach/landing speed, any aircraft will have a nose-up attitude. This is necessary to maintain that low a speed. When you flare to bring the VSI to zero, the nose gear will be higher than the main gear. Just be sure the nose is not up more than ten degrees so as to avoid a tail strike (rear of airplane hits ground before main gear). Also, even AFTER decision height be prepared to go around (retract flaps to minimum, gear up, takeoff power, trim for climb). Busy momment? You bet - be as prepared as possible all the way. When coming down on autopilot on the ILS, once the altitude control has been kicked off by APP, I set the A/P altitude to the climb-out altitude and the A/P vertical speed to whatever is appropriate for that aircraft. At this point I, and NOT the A/P will have conrol of the airspeed, so I only need advance the throttle, hold the aircraft in level flight a momment and click on the A/P ALT button/switch, still holding level until the A/P kicks in and the aircraft begins climing. At that point ONLY do I announce the go-around.(Avigate, Navigate, Communicate). Only when secutre in normal climb do I begin adjustments to conform to the published missed approach procedure. However, once the main gear have touched down, gently but quickly lower the nose until the nose gear is down. Then, and only then, kick in the reverse thrust (jets Only) until speed is down to 60 KIAS. At that point disable reverse thrust and apply brakes as needed. On non-jets, begin braking as soon as the nose gear is on the runway.

Richard

NOTE to moderators: I hope you don't consider this submission too long.

RRE

Edit by Exx: Complicated questions require complicated answers...not a problem...

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Flare and Touchdown

Post by 747-4Captain » Thu Dec 29, 2005 12:39 am

As a 747-400 Captain, Instructor and Check pilot this is one of the most important and difficult maneuvers to teach. Even highly experienced First Officers and Captains coming to the aircraft after completion of four weeks of simulator training have little feel for the actual aircraft in this important phase of flight. Amazingly, even the latest $15 million dollar simulators at major airline training facilities provide precious little visual imformation during the flare and touchdown. So don't be surprized if its more than a little difficult to flare that FS2004 172. I can barely do it myself, even with hundreds of hours of real 172 time.

Newer "glass" airliners will most likely have a computer voice callout of radio altitudes at 50, 30 and 10 feet. Lacking that, the pilot-not-flying would call them out. If these are not in the desktop simulations they should be! As for the actual flare and touchdown, here is what I teach.

Prior to the 50 foot callout, you must have competed transitioning from cross wind crab to wing-down to compensate for any crosswind. Hopefully you know what this means, they do. At the 50 foot callout focus your eyes on the far end of the runway. This allows your peripheral vision to detect subtle changes in aircraft height above the runway. Don't start the flare yet. At 30 feet start reducing the thrust to idle so that by 10 feet the throttles are at idle. Begin flaring so as to have completed half of the flare by the 10 foot callout. Now the fun begins. The rate of the 50-30-10 foot callouts gives a clue as to the rate of descent and the progression of the rotation of the aircraft from the approach through the flare and touchdown. The faster the callouts come the more you better be pulling on the wheel. Then its simple, just level out one inch above the runway and let'r slam in from there.

Narrow-body aircraft won't be starting their flare until nearly the 10 foot point.

As for the notion of using the vertical speed indicator during flare, this may be a technique to use in desktop simulation, lacking any real view of the runway, but don't even think about it in a real aircraft. You need to be looking outside. Trust me here. My suggestion is to look for ways for get your simulator program to work for you and not the reverse. Try changing your view height in virtual cockpit mode or switching to virtual cockpit view prior to the start of the flare. It is important to be on-speed and properly configured for the approach and landing as well. Enjoy.

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Post by bball61790 » Thu Dec 29, 2005 2:25 am

since im guessing most or atleast some of you are real pilots, when you land a commercial airliner how long do you use autopilot.

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Re: Flare and Touchdown

Post by Richy2237 » Thu Dec 29, 2005 2:47 am

[quote=Then its simple, just level out one inch above the runway and let'r slam in from there. [/quote]

:lol: :lol:

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Autopilot use

Post by 747-4Captain » Thu Dec 29, 2005 2:48 am

Autopilot use, as opposed to autoflight which we almost always use, for most airline and corporate use is typically restricted to the cruise, descent and early approach phases of flight. Strictly speaking, for autoland equipped aircraft (like the 737-300, 757,767,777, 747-400, newer Airbus etc.) the autopilot can be engaged at its minimum altitude (usually 400 feet AGL) and left on through the climb, cruise, descent, approach, landing, flare and rollout, being disengaged to enable the turn off of the runway and onto the taxiway. Why you would want to do this in a simulator I don't know, real flying is so computerized we mainly manage the autoflight systems now.

For proficiency reasons we mainly restrict the autopilot use to cruise flight, and during descent and approach use it to reduce the crew workload. Landings are manual, not because the autoland system isn't capable of butter smooth landings but again to maintain proficiency. The 737-300 autoland system being the exception as it only has a two axis autopilot, i.e. roll and pitch during autoland.

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Post by bball61790 » Thu Dec 29, 2005 2:54 am

i dont leave the autopilot on untill 400 ft in fs, i was just wondering wut the real pilots do

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Post by Shankar » Mon Jan 02, 2006 5:06 pm

I am aware that the Captain has quit in a huff - but can somebody else please tell me what is the difference between autopilot and autoflight?

BTW I never thought that there was a limit on the length of posts so I believe I have rambled on in some places. Will try to be more concise :?.

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