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cbreeze

Pattern speeds/power settings

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CT, perhaps you and Jim have explained why I scan to the end of the runway occasionally during initial to short final and eventually focus on the immediate area in front of me during my final few hundred feet before landing. Perhaps too I scan to the end more than realized to provide input for position relative the end of the runway. This is interesting to me since I seem to just land the plane without spending much time trying to determine the how's and why's. Many times though, if the landing is particularly bad or I can't seem to be consistent, I do some extra landings or come back another day and start fresh and analyize what I may or may not be doing right. It is a great help that I have an experienced CFI who also owns a CTLS that flies with me or I fly with him and he critiques me in all phases of flight.

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Dick,

 

My thinking is that absolute fixation cannot be good, I want to see the 'end of runway' picture as well as the side of the runway picture while more focused on an area in front of me. My brain can sort the 3 views out without effort.

 

It is much like cross referencing instruments where the combination of the two make more sense while they confirm each other. If my side view tells me that I'm settling and my distant view tells me that I'm settling then it is confirmed. If I need to move my nose left and the long view confirms that my effort is effective I know that my rudder application is working but I still need to know where strait is.

 

My conclusion is that I need to see the long view, the side view, and the normal in front of me view all at the same time and if I do I will have all the information that I need to land on the center line, strait and flare properly.

 

Depending on speed and conditions I can probably raise my nose 20 degrees while rounding out / flaring and this is offset by the knowledge that if I milk it too much that i can fall rapidly and bend my gear and hurt my back.

 

Beyond that things change when winds get around 30kts and when that happens I think 2 things: 1) normal attitudes; 2) soft contacts the vulnerable period where you loose flying speed and become dependent on nose wheel steering happens well after touchdown.

 

 

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CT. Good thoughts. I probably misspoke when I said I only look to my front during the final stage of landing. In reality, I must scan more than I realize during the final phase in order to gather the visual cues needed to be cognizant of where I'm headed with my CT. I'll will try to pay more attention to this and try to determine what I'm doing. Thanks for your reply.

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Bill Kershner is one of my favorite aviation authors.

 

I happened to have his "Flight Instructor's Manual" by my bed. Here's his take (in part):

 

7962107524_f71bf878d4_z.jpg

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And Wolfgang Langewiesche explains it in a different way, especially pp297 in my edition..

 

At least part of Kirschner's discussion is about the approach. I imagine all of us look all over then. My discussion is about the roundout, and float when what we're trying to do is to judge our height above ground.

 

I still land the old fashioned way. There is an approach and short final stage. Then there is a transition from the descending glide to a level off period of time that may be very short - a second or two or could be a few seconds where the plane is in a float stage. My interest is in where one does the roundout from the glide to the float. That determines how high above the runway you are. The next stage, landing, is the flare or "butt sink" phase. That is the stage where we pull back on the stick at the same rate we sink. We're trying to not land and the result is a mains first touchdown just at stall speed.

 

To say again, to help one transition from a low power or idle descent to the "coasting level above the runway" stage is where I believe that a look down the runway, not close to the plane, helps one determine height. I don't think looking out the side or looking closely in front of the airplane helps for this "few seconds" period of time when one is deciding when and how hard to pull back on the stick to leave the gliding descent stage and enter the floating, level stage.

 

I'll admit that another reason I taught students to not look out the side was that this close to the ground, one wants the plane's wheels to be traveling straight down the runway (even if one is wing low). Too many green students "steer where they look" and pretty soon one is touching down in a crab, especially if the level off was improperly judged and occurred too soon.

 

No matter whose book you read, I think a lot of the recipes for landing are a case of "what you see depends on where you stand". When reading Kirschner and Langewiesche, one senses they are in a tail wheel airplane, somewhat taller off the ground than a CT, with perhaps a heavier wing loading.

 

If you look at terminology, it's hard to be sure everyone is talking about the same thing at the same time. "Roundout" "Flare" "Float" mean different things or nothing at all to different authors. The FAA AFH uses "Roundout (Flare)" and "Touchdown". I break the "Roundout" into three phases. To me, one is when the plane is transitioned from a descent to level above the runway (I'll accept roundout for this if that's all it encompasses), another is the period of time when the airplane floats in a level position (may be extremely short, may be a number of seconds) and the next is the flare or "butt sink" phase when one is lifting the nose to increase angle of attack and maintain enough lift at a slower airspeed to prevent the plane settling to the runway, which of course it does in the touchdown phase.

 

 

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The 3 phases that you describe in a power off landing are less distinct in a CT. For instance I may flare from level flight inches above the runway or I may flare as I am sinking the last 5 feet. In both cases if I see my AOA increasing and the process terminates with soft contact the end result is sweet. The difference between the 2 is just an adjustment to the amount of kinetic energy you have to work with.

 

If I am fast the round out will be a distinct phase, float can take seconds and sink / flare are a 3rd distinct phase. If I'm slow the round out can finish with flare/contact and float can be completely non existent. If the slow version is used and the round out is too high then I have to use my throttle to control the sink. and I have to be thinking about adding that power or I will be too slow when the need arises.

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Although logistics probably prevent this due to my distant location from many on this forum, I for one would really benefit from getting together with you other LSA pilots, many who are also CFI's with lots of experience and great thoughts, and shoot landings with each other and try out the ideas and techniques being put forward here. Sort of a "landing clinic" for LSA. I suspect that there may be a commonallity among these ideas which would come about if actual flight was done to try them out. Really a good discussion here with good reference from the published material. Perhaps the Page fly-in would be a place to do this for those who are able to attend? Maybe this is something that occurs?

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Hi Dick,

At the Page Fly-In we talk about everything LSA. We all discuss our flying techniques, maint, regs, ect.... This is a great place to trade ideas and installations or mods, not to mention its a great place for friends to meet.

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I generally only break down the landing into "roundout" and "flare".

 

Roundout is as you go from your final approach speed to about 1' over the ground. I try to begin that at one wingspan or so above the ground.

 

The flare is that portion where you just try to fly at about 1' as long as possible. Ideally the stick will hit the stop as the plane "plotzes" down, done flying for the day.

 

There's also something that I've heard referred to as the "stall down" method, where the transition from glide to stall occurs in one continuous segment.

 

Here's a diagram, also from Kershner:

 

7966212268_e30bb21314_z.jpg

 

The "stall down" method is the lower one, and can result in spectacularly short landings if timed just right. Very little or no "float". But if timed wrong, you can stall too soon and really drop it in, so I don't generally recommend them.

 

BTW, for those of you who looked at the technical article about where novice and experts look on landing, the experts spent a lot of time looking at airspeed. That's fine on the approach, but is quite unnecessary once the roundout and flare begins. So I think a lot of the article was talking as much about approach as the actual landing phase.

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If the slow version is used and the round out is too high then I have to use my throttle to control the sink. and I have to be thinking about adding that power or I will be too slow when the need arises.

 

NO! Leave the throttle alone and push the stick (smoothly, timely, gently) ahead to maintain an adequate airspeed and descend to the desired height, then smoothly, gently, timely ease the stick back to transition to the level float stage. It will only take a slight movement. Timing, as you point out, is important. It's a gentle correction which can be quite precisely controlled. Advancing the throttle, on the contrary, involves some estimate of how much power to add, one has to manipulate the stick and rudder to avoid a balloon and keep coordinated. Too many variables.

 

 

 

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Although I understand what you are saying about using forward pressure on the stick rather than adding power I think for a pilot new to landing the CT that this is advice that must be carefully applied. The CTSW is so sensitive in pitch that it would be easy for an inexperienced pilot to plant the nose wheel on the runway and start an exciting series of PIO's. Not sure if the CTLS is much different in pitch response but I assume it is a bit less touchy. A better idea is to use less flaps and the window of time to learn and react expands dramatically. My advice to a new pilot is that if you are too high when rounding out then go around and try it again.

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Although I understand what you are saying about using forward pressure on the stick rather than adding power I think for a pilot new to landing the CT that this is advice that must be carefully applied. The CTSW is so sensitive in pitch that it would be easy for an inexperienced pilot to plant the nose wheel on the runway and start an exciting series of PIO's. Not sure if the CTLS is much different in pitch response but I assume it is a bit less touchy. A better idea is to use less flaps and the window of time to learn and react expands dramatically. My advice to a new pilot is that if you are too high when rounding out then go around and try it again.

 

I will not disagree on a go around if one is too high. The stick correction is very slight and very gentle, taking the pressure back out is the same. It's only an application of about the same kinds of forces involved in the roundout trasnition from descent to floating. Ultimately, it has to be mastered if one is to learn to land in any way other than "fly it on". I agree it takes a light touch.

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In "normal" conditions I do just fine holding it off, touching on the mains with the nosewheel held off. I do not make a habit of flying it on unless conditions dictate.About 600 landings without folding, bending, or otherwise mutilating.

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A few days ago I "filmed" a couple landings, mainly to try out my new, improved iPhone mount (it didn't work - still too flexible).

 

 

Anyway, though I did not get the airspeed indicator into the frame, you can see its reflection. My goal is to nearly always land in a full stall - this should normally occur as the airspeed hits the "bottom" of the white arc (39k in my Sky Arrow) with the stick about all the way back, and I managed it on these two.

 

Also posted to show my transition from final (about 55k or so) through roundout to flare.

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Your approaches appear much steeper than the standard 3 degrees. Is that right? Also, I see that you aim to hit the numbers. I used to do that. Then, a former WWII guy, 90 years old, said: I aim 1/3 of the way down, in case I lose the engine on short final. The touchdown zone markings on a typical runway suggest a similar consideration. WF

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Greetings,

 

I just recently started flying the FD CTLS. Can someone please tell me some speeds and power settings when flying the pattern? I seem to recall this information posted somewhere but I have been unable to find it again. I have been flyiing for a number of years and I like the CTLS except, well, it is different.

 

Thanks in advance

 

cbreeze

 

 

cbreeze: I like Charlie Tango's words. I personally prefer to fly the aircraft on to the r/wy with a gentle round out (something less than a flare)t, sufficient to keep the nose gear off the ground until the mains touch. I also am an advocate of forward stick to keep the plane on the ground and at the same time getting on the brakes. I really line the "playing chicken" with the runway analogy. I was up today with a neighbor, a Navy Flight Instructor at Pensacola Sherman Field. We flew around and then came home to get in the pattern. After two go arounds he got it, nose down and fly it on with a gentle "flare" he noted that he was surprised at how easy it was to land the CTLS ONCE HE FIGURED OUT IT DID NOT FLY LIKE A CESSNA OR A PIPER. So my advice would be to pay attention to where you are with regard to the runway, don't be too fast (Roger Lee's admonishment to work up to more flap is solid advice). As an aside, it seems to me that the majority of us must fly at places with crosswinds most of the time, I certainly do--and fly accordingly. Landing an airplane is a fascinating exercise in that it is never, ever the same. Enjoy always! See ya, Dr. Ken Nolde N840KN 500+ hours in our CTLS

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For those of you who like to, "fly it on," (I know what you mean, I have done it because I was high, or fast, or both on final.)- how do you manage a short, soft field?

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For those of you who like to, "fly it on," (I know what you mean, I have done it because I was high, or fast, or both on final.)- how do you manage a short, soft field?

 

If I find myself with too much energy on final ( high, or fast, or both ) then I regain control of my energy management as opposed to landing with too much energy ( flying it on. ) My options are 1) closed throttle, 2) flaps, 3) forward slip, 4) altered approach ( s turns ), 5) all of the above.

 

For short field landings my objectives are touching down on the numbers at minimum speed. To accomplish this I use a closed throttle, full flaps, forward slip if necessary, braking may be called for.

 

For soft field landings if necessary I will use throttle to control my sink rate as I contact my mains and then I might use throttle to keep my nose-wheel light or even elevated.

 

If your question is how to manage a short and soft field landing I would have a talk with myself about my CT's capabilities as well as mine. If its both soft and short for my CT then I would not do it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Your approaches appear much steeper than the standard 3 degrees. Is that right?...Then, a former WWII guy, 90 years old, said: I aim 1/3 of the way down, in case I lose the engine on short final.

 

Yes. I would not call 3° "standard" for anything other than an ILS or VASI approach. 3° pretty much guarantees an off airport land if the engine fails, so I like to be higher than that.

 

As far as aiming farther down the runway helping with an engine out, I don't think that follows, for at least 3 reasons:

 

1) Even aiming 1/3 of the way down the runway, you can still come up short with too shallow an approach angle.

 

2) With a steep enough approach, I can lose my engine on short final and still glide to the runway. In fact, I would say if losing the engine on final would make you come up short, then you might be dragging it in with power, making you vulnerable through much of an approach, regardless of aim point.

 

3) You waste a lot of runway, and may not be in practice for shorter fields

 

The touchdown zone markings on a typical runway suggest a similar consideration. WF

 

Great for jets and large multiengine aircraft. Not so much for us little guys.

 

But aim wherever you like - on a long enough runway it makes little difference. But in any case, choose a specific landing spot and try to hit it each time.

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"The descent angle should be controlled throughout the approach so that the airplane will land in the center of the first third of the runway."

 

p8-3, Airplane Flying Handbook.

 

 

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"The descent angle should be controlled throughout the approach so that the airplane will land in the center of the first third of the runway."

 

p8-3, Airplane Flying Handbook.

 

Nice reference. Thanks.*

 

But many of us have trained to Commercial standards and beyond.

 

For Commercial, one must demonstrate proficiency at power off approaches, landing on or within 200' of a selected point (but not short of).

 

That selected point is generally NOT the numbers, but once one has the skill to put the plane down exactly where one wants, they become an option and fun practice. If I can time it so the stick hits the stop as my wheels squeak right on the numbers at 39k, I feel pretty satisfied.

 

I would recommend that if one does not do power off approaches as SOP, that at least one out of 10 landings or so should be practiced that way - power to idle either abeam the numbers or at some altitude allowing an easy glide to abeam the numbers. Will help build confidence in one's abilities to make it to a chosen point sans power in a real emergency.

 

 

*am I reading that right that the "center of the first third of the runway" means touching down 1/6 of the way down the runway? On a 3,000' runway, that would mean 500', and I'd be happy with that kind of performance from a student or Private Pilot. If one "aims" for the numbers at 1.3Vso, normal float should take one about that far down the runway.

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BTW, this link points to a nice FAA take on power off approaches:

 

https://www.faasafety.gov/gslac/ALC/course_content.aspx?cID=34&sID=271

 

It includes this image, which kinda speaks for itself:

 

Figure%203.JPG

 

Check out the aim point.

 

Should that be considered a "normal" approach? Maybe yes, maybe no, but I would not fault a pilot who made that type of approach their SOP. I think its a lot safer than a long, dragged out 3° final.

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So, after watching the embedded (below) AvWeb video, I started researching in depth about the "recipe" for landing the CT and this string was the very best teaching tool I could find.  No surprise since you CT pioneers have learned the very best techniques in all kinds of conditions.  A valuable string for me as I am getting into the CT soup soon when the plane arrives in Oct.

 

 

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