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Do you get the stick full aft when you land?

Ed Cesnalis


24 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you get the stick full aft when you land?

    • It is my target unless conditions are turbulent
    • I have done it but it is not normal
    • No

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I think you can guess my vote...


...though from my most recently posted video you can see I don't always succeed.


BTW, when training primary students in a Cessna, I would often use White-Out™ to put marks about every inch on the yoke shaft.


Then, the landing would be judged partially by how many of the marks we saw at touchdown.


Something like, "Nice landing! But I only saw two marks of the four - you really could have held it off a bit longer. Let's try again."


As stated before, I cared far less about smoothness than I did about speed.

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Hi Eddie,


So you wouldn't care if the student came in slow for a full stall landing and dropped it and smashed the gear verses a perfectly smooth squeaky wheel landing at 10 knots over stall? There has to be balance and always slow or always fast all have their pros and cons and they all have their times of use. So saying it should always do it this way would be poor training because they would be able to adjust when circumstances dictate.

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1.3 VSo provides the margin, that is a reasonable minimum approach speed for the student. He would be far better off approaching at 52kts than at 62. So number 1 the student wouldn't be slow he would be 30% above stall. Number 2 the student wouldn't drop it in because obviously Eddie would advance the throttle or increase the aoa to arrest the unwanted sink.


1.3 VSo ALWAYS makes a safe minimum, it can be increased for gusts.

Extra speed ALWAYS increases risk, 1/2 the gust factor is all you need.


The benefit of the extra speed is a false impression. If volatile conditions exist you have to slow down and relinquish control authority at some point, that risk remains and I don't want to add unwanted energy and increase risk.

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Hi Eddie,


So you wouldn't care if the student came in slow and dropped it and smashed the gear verses a perfectly smooth squeaky wheel landing at 10 knots over stall?...


That implies a slow approach, and I've never advocated any less than the normal 1.2 to 1.3 x stall speed.


And given that choice, the latter.


But before he soloed, my student would need to demonstrate that he could find the ground without excessive ballooning, and how to go around if he misjudged and ended up too high.


There has to be balance and always slow or always fast all have their pros and cons and they all have their times of use. So saying it should always do it this way would be poor training because they would be able to adjust when circumstances dictate.


You're using a straw man argument here. I don't think anyone has said that EVERY landing should be a full stall. You may absolutely need to land well above the stall if...


...you're making carrier landings (Flare to land, squat to pee!)


...you're flying a jet


...it's really gusty


...it's a night landing and your landing light is out


...your plane type requires it.


I have a lot of tailwheel time, most of it instructing. Pilots who were already capable of full stall landings would pick it up in an hour or two - they just had to get used to the need for quick rudder on the ground. But those pilots used to "flying it on" sometimes had to relearn how to land in a stall, taking much longer.


But whatever works for you. Both you and I will, hopefully, finish out our flying careers without ever having a landing accident. I'll stick with going by what the FAA seems to want unless contradicted by the manufacturer.


And let's both keep apprised of current landing accident data to see what's actually causing the most serious accidents.

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I have over 1500 landings (full stop and/or T&G) in my CTLS - over 95% on grass and many times not quite perfect terrain with 30/35 flaps and 40kts IAS at touch down, sometimes with engine at idle, sometimes not - if crosswind is below 15kts and not gusting.

I've learned to land in CTLS with 15 flaps and a little extra more speed - it was easier at the begining, but with the above settings I can put the plane on the ground in a spot of max.20 feets touch down zone and with no significant wind the plane stop in 300fts. Even if not all of my landings are quite "perfect"/greased (but I can do this either every time I want, maybe with a little extra more speed or a little bit of engine), there are "positive landings" at minimum flyable speed. Never bounced, no landing incidents till now :)

But I don't know, maybe I'm a special case because of runways type...


Best regards,


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I'm in the same camp as Alec. Full flap landings over the numbers @ 50kts at idle and always ready to add throttle if I've misjudged things or I've lost lift due to gusting. Full flaps provide high drag which keeps me on the runway after landing. This procedure must be learned under an experienced CFI's guidance which I've been fortunate to have. Once learned and constantly practiced, it is a very useful tool to have, especially for short or grass field. I always revisit 0 and 15 flap landings to remain proficient at these.

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FAA AFH 8-5,6



The touchdown is the gentle settling of the airplane

onto the landing surface. The roundout and touchdown

should be made with the engine idling, and the airplane

at minimum controllable airspeed, so that the airplane

will touch down on the main gear at approximately

stalling speed. As the airplane settles, the proper

landing attitude is attained by application of whatever

back-elevator pressure is necessary.

Some pilots may try to force or fly the airplane onto

the ground without establishing the proper landing

attitude. The airplane should never be flown on

the runway with excessive speed. It is paradoxical that

the way to make an ideal landing is to try to hold the

airplane’s wheels a few inches off the ground as

long as possible with the elevators. In most cases,

when the wheels are within 2 or 3 feet off the

ground, the airplane will still be settling too fast for

a gentle touchdown; therefore, this descent must be

retarded by further back-elevator pressure. Since

the airplane is already close to its stalling speed and

is settling, this added back-elevator pressure will

only slow up the settling instead of stopping it. At

the same time, it will result in the airplane touching

the ground in the proper landing attitude, and the

main wheels touching down first so that little or no

weight is on the nosewheel. [Figure 8-8]

After the main wheels make initial contact with the

ground, back-elevator pressure should be held to

maintain a positive angle of attack for aerodynamic

braking, and to hold the nosewheel off the ground until

the airplane decelerates. As the airplane’s momentum

decreases, back-elevator pressure may be gradually

relaxed to allow the nosewheel to gently settle onto the

runway. This will permit steering with the nosewheel.

At the same time, it will cause a low angle of attack

and negative lift on the wings to prevent floating or

skipping, and will allow the full weight of the airplane

to rest on the wheels for better braking action.


It is extremely important that the touchdown occur

with the airplane’s longitudinal axis exactly parallel to

the direction in which the airplane is moving along the

runway. Failure to accomplish this imposes severe side

loads on the landing gear. To avoid these side stresses,

the pilot should not allow the airplane to touch down

while turned into the wind or drifting."

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The airplane should never be flown on

the runway with excessive speed. It is paradoxical that

the way to make an ideal landing is to try to hold the

airplane’s wheels a few inches off the ground as

long as possible with the elevators.


That's exactly what I was referring to as the FAA's input on the matter.


Hmmmm, holding off "long as possible with the elevators" would result in a touchdown when, exactly?


As a CFI I did try to teach to FAA standards, and they're pretty clear here, don't you think?

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Posted today on SportPilotTalk:


I went flying yesterday and was having a good time, until landing back at KCUB. After reading some recent post on here I looked at the way I was landing and found my self touching down well above the POH recommendation. Well yesterday I had decided to work more on landing at full stall and man am I lucky I did. Had several landings at other airports including a private one that I bought a hangar lot on (I mention this because it is possible that I picked up a nail, there is construction going on there). This was my last stop before returning to KCUB. On landing at KCUB it was text book full stall landing and I was real happy until the right main tire blew and pulled the plane to the right real hard. I kept it going straight because I was on top of the pedals more than normal due to variable winds. No damage to the plane or me other than my left foot is sore today I guess from standing so hard on the left pedal. Moral to this story I now know what it is like to have a blow out on landing and had I been any faster on landing this could have not turned out as good. Now if I just knew if it were a nail or just some random blow out. The POH gives proper tire pressure and I look at the tires but do not put a gauge on them it is not part of the preflight check list to verify exact pressure, but I think I may add this to my preflight checks.

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Confirmation bias notwithstanding...




Because you usually don't know which landing may lead to grief, as in this case often by things beyond your control.


Nice catch, thanks - maybe all these bits of info we're pouring out into the void might actually end up helping someone!

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You're all probably sick of me going on and on about my Sky Arrow landings, so...


...here's a video of another way to do it:



He says there's a 14k crosswind*, so maybe a little extra speed might be required, but this is how some pilots land all the time!



*I'm just not seeing it - watch the ball at the top of the panel. He's barely slipping at all in the flare.

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Until 8 years ago most of my flying was in Alaska and much of that was on gravel. Therefore, unless wind or other factors required, my standard operating practice was to be airborne at the slowest comfortable speed using take off flaps (then ease off and let the plane pick up speed for an initial Vy climb) and land at slowest comfortable speed (and stall horn chirping), usually with full flaps and maybe a little bit of power. Nothing aggressive or upsetting to passengers. This was mostly in C-180, 185, 206, DHC-2.


Although the CT has some differences from the above aircraft, these practices are still common for me. Most landings are with flaps 15 or 30, with 40 usually being for practice to keep proficient. I often will not use more than 15 to land if I have a passenger new to GA since 30 and 40 with power off makes for a more aggressive nose down attitude. On take off I use flaps 15, some back pressure, and allow the plane to fly itself off. I do not look at the a/s until after lift-off at which time I establish a 60-65K climb until 500 AGL then it's flaps up and climb at Vy or faster to get better cooling and visibility over the nose.


When Tom Dunham (of the old FD West) delivered my plane, he taught me (unless wind/turbulence were factors) to be abeam the numbers at pattern altitude and 60K. At that point close the throttle and go to flaps 30. He also taught how to use the SW's drooped wing tip to establish attitude. Then hold 60K until wings level on final then establish 50-55K, throttle still closed and always being assured of reaching the runway should the engine fail. In this configuration energy management is critical and often I will add about 200 RPM during the flare to allow a little bit of room for error and to facilitate a smooth touchdown. But, make sure you have sufficient energy to be able to land the plane without that 200 RPM since you never know, there may come a time when the engine does not respond. As always it is important to fly the plane meaning, among other things, don't become fixated on rote (I think that's the right word) actions such as "now I need to add power because it's when I always do and that's what the instructor said to do". In other words, take what ever action required to make the plane do what you want it to do.


These are my preferences and work well at my experience level. In 684 landings I haven't hurt the aircraft - knock on wood.

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Always remember that a flaps 30 or 40 with 50K on final requires training and practice to do it right. This has more potential to do damage as opposed to a flaps 15 and and a higher airspeed. Typical in such an approach, especially with no power, is that the plane, once leveled at "X" feet over the runway, has a tendency to suddenly drop. If you know your plane, you know when this is going to happen and you can land smoothly with rapid back stick. Adding a little power also helps. It's not a big deal if you know your plane. Those who are on speed and plan the flare past level to touchdown, with minimal extra speed to bleed off in a level attitude, will not have to deal with this sudden drop.


If things don't look or feel right, go around.

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Here are a couple of links (copy and paste into browser) to show the difference between 15 and 30 degree landings in a 2006 CTSW. Note how long the float is at 15 and how this is much easier for a pilot new to the CT to get the feel and sight picture. Although it looks like I have landed I am actually a foot or so above the runway and touchdown about even with the camera with stick back but not all the way back. For 15 degrees typical approach speed is 55 to 60 knots depending on conditions. For 30 flaps I am over the fence at 50 knots, note the reduced time to transition from roundout to flare, stick not full aft at touchdown. The final link is a low and over with a 130 knot turn to final. Not sure of speed over runway, was looking outside.


15 degrees http:www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=la7achx29_g&feature=endscreen


30 degrees http:www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=Ep0E3-toXwE&feature=endscreen


Low and over http:www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQ8dPC-0P5s

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Try this link for the 15 degree landing. The 30 degree flap landing you watched is not difficult to execute once you understand how to manage the rapidly declining energy state. I have done about 1200 landings in this CT. That landing was with closed throttle but you have to be ready to add power as the roundout - float - flare is quite compressed compared to landing with less flaps.



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I watched the second one, and it looked pretty darn normal to me.


Is it that degree of flap setting that's been put forward as difficult or tricky?


The first one doesn't play on my iPad - I'll check it out on my laptop later.



I find the same thing Eddie, from the cockpit the 30 degree landing looks quite unusual, from the left seat the demands to pull it off with a closed throttle are high because you run out of energy so quickly.


From the ground it looks quite normal.


My reason for this is the sight picture is one of the biggest differences and you only see that difference from in the cockpit. With 30 degrees I feel like I am at the dinner table looking down at my dinner plate as i approach, its a perfect view.


The sight picture gives me the impression that I am rotating from nose down to level in the landing but the reality is that I am achieving a nose high landing attitude. A more normal picture, the 15 degree picture, looks like I am rotating from only slightly nose low to nose high as I flare.


Its mostly weird because you can't see the cowling.

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I can land on a short runway or a short field with full stall landing technique, that is clearly and upside. I can minimize my retained energy either in an emergency or as a matter of routine, another upside.


Damaged gear is not the result of landing technique but lack of it ( pilot error ) when you say that 'stall' landings result in damage far more frequently you are removing the pilot from the equation. What is true for a student isn't true for a pilot with thousands of hours including a lot of time in a CT.


You keep advocating 62kts over the numbers, that's 1.5 VSo. Since your aim is to reduce gear and tire damage you should realize that the extra speed makes landing incidents more likely not less. You need around a 20kt gust factor for that much speed to be prudent.

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Allow me to repeat something Roger has repeatedly said, and no one has really disagreed with - there is no ONE right way to land an airplane that covers all wind conditions and aircraft type/configuration.


When I got my Private, I was basically a C-150 pilot. Very soon thereafter, I checked out is a C-172, that back then felt quite different.


I then felt a need to branch out, and got checked out in a Piper Cub, earning my tailwheel endorsement. That allowed me to go on to later get paid to ferry planes that very few pilots were capable of flying. Including this one, ferried from AZ to TN:




DSC01399 by fasteddieb, on Flickr


I can now safely land most planes in a full stall most of the time. I can also land a bit fast when conditions warrant. I can also fly an airplane to the ground with no flaps and firmly plant it when even worse conditions warrant.


Its part of my wanting to be a well rounded pilot.


If a pilot is only going to fly a CT and feels unable to make landings at the minimum possible speed, and always needs a few extra knots to feel comfortable, so be it. If full flaps are scary, so be it - don't use them. If landing with power makes life easier, so be it - land with power every landing. If it were me, I would not just accept these limitations - I'd train to do the full range of possible landings in a CT, and settle on the one I found safest - which in my experience is the one with the least kinetic energy at touchdown.


As far as things looking different from a CT cockpit - I'll stipulate to that. But a well rounded pilot must get used to all sorts of cockpit views, ranging from low panels like in a CT or Grumman right up to something like a Cessna 195, where you can see exactly nothing over the nose in the landing attitude.




Still probably a dead horse, but the poor thing may have one or two breaths of life left!

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