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TheFrisco

New CTLS Owner Needs Landing Advice

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So I am NEW in many ways, a new pilot (PPL in Sep 2019, 80hrs total time, license in C172, flown various LSAs and recently got my tailwheel in a Citabria) and a new 2008 CTLS owner. And here is my challenge, I suck at landing my CTLS. This is to the point where I landed the plane really hard the last time with some skidding, just glad my CFI was with me.

Yes it was Maui, yes it was windy, yes we had radio issues and yes I flared too high so lots of problematic circumstances. But this was the worst landing I had, ever, not even the C172 during my training I ever screwed up this badly. So ...

Is there some good written material for me to read or videos to watch before I go out for my next transition flight? And yes I have read the POH including the 2 different landing patterns ūüėČ

Thanks Robert

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Hi Robert,

If you PM me your email I can send you our standard operating procedures document we put together for our students.

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Hey Robert,

I had thousands of landings in Cessna's the last 20 years, and could do any conditions with masterful greasing it on.  Then I jumped in a CT and proceeded to make a mess of it for the first few hours.  I had tendency to flare too high / too fast, and a bit of directional control as well, the CT came slowly to me.  I had 1.7 hours all in one time of rental and probably was doing so poor they would not have solo'd me, granted only an hour was pattern work.  Then I bought my bird and insurance only needed 2 more hours in type, which I received locally at airport I bought it through Airtime Aviation.  I was doing better a couple more hours in and at point to safely solo, but still far from ideal.  I'd say up until about 10 hours of time I was still shaky, then it clicks, the pattern work, site picture, and flair all becomes the new perspective.  Don't sweat it, just keep at it, it will happen.  Have fun and enjoy it, you'll pick it up soon enough.

My instructors had me flying 65k approaches, and 15 degrees of flaps, both on longer runways.  My home strip is 1800' and I took about up to 10 hours to work up to skill to bring into my home base, which I use 55k and 30 degrees.  That was an easier transition once I was landing well with 15 degrees I then moved into the higher flap settings.  I'd stick to 15 degrees, don't complicate things experimenting with other flap settings, I don't think that is the secret sauce here, just get seat time and it comes.

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5 minutes ago, coppercity said:

Hi Robert,

If you PM me your email I can send you our standard operating procedures document we put together for our students.

Do you do transition training in CTLS? I could come out to AZ for the weekend if that's possible.

Thanks Robert

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4 minutes ago, GrassStripFlyBoy said:

Hey Robert,

I had thousands of landings in Cessna's the last 20 years, and could do any conditions with masterful greasing it on.  Then I jumped in a CT and proceeded to make a mess of it for the first few hours.  I had tendency to flare too high / too fast, and a bit of directional control as well, the CT came slowly to me.  I had 1.7 hours all in one time of rental and probably was doing so poor they would not have solo'd me, granted only an hour was pattern work.  Then I bought my bird and insurance only needed 2 more hours in type, which I received locally at airport I bought it through Airtime Aviation.  I was doing better a couple more hours in and at point to safely solo, but still far from ideal.  I'd say up until about 10 hours of time I was still shaky, then it clicks, the pattern work, site picture, and flair all becomes the new perspective.  Don't sweat it, just keep at it, it will happen.  Have fun and enjoy it, you'll pick it up soon enough.

My instructors had me flying 65k approaches, and 15 degrees of flaps, both on longer runways.  My home strip is 1800' and I took about up to 10 hours to work up to skill to bring into my home base, which I use 55k and 30 degrees.  That was an easier transition once I was landing well with 15 degrees I then moved into the higher flap settings.  I'd stick to 15 degrees, don't complicate things experimenting with other flap settings, I don't think that is the secret sauce here, just get seat time and it comes.

That's super encouraging that it's not just me, makes me feel a little better. If you had to put it into words, what are the differences to landing the CTLS? I read the longer glide wants a little bit of throttle rather than full idle as it sinks out if flared too high.

Thanks for your suggestions, will stick with 15 degrees of flaps for now,

Robert

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7 minutes ago, TheFrisco said:

Do you do transition training in CTLS? I could come out to AZ for the weekend if that's possible.

Thanks Robert

Hi Robert,  Yes we have a couple CTLS's we train folks in.

Better yet, we will come to Hawaii :)

 

 

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Robert,

I know exactly what you are experiencing, I went through the same challenges that you are going through presently.  I went flying today and last week and at danger of jinxing myself, I am actually getting the hang of it -- landing well that is... The lines crossed for me after I realized that with the CT I had to "fly" the airplane onto the runway, not stall it in like a cub... I had been stall/landing which works out 75% of the time, but not so much on a gusty day.  The key is to get the plane onto the ground ASAP, so I come in slower on Final, near or at the speeds in the Handbook... until now, I had been giving myself WAY too much of a speed margin, by about 7 knots.  When I had that much of a speed premium over the runway numbers I would inevitably float way down the runway (the plane wants to fly) and then ham-hand the stick pulling up way too much on the flair and then having to re-align and land again, or go around.  On a gusty day, while hanging out above the runway, I was giving myself way too many opportunities for the wind to win.  Thank God the plane loves to go around and climb well. 

PS:  I was experiencing a climb rate of 1,200 feet a minute today, could have done more... I had 18.5 gals on board, it was 40 degrees out, and I weigh 185 lbs...plane empty weight is 837 lbs... the CT is a superb climber.   The SW is even better at 100 lbs lighter empty weight.

I am fortunate enough to have some amazing CT pilots as pals such as Kent Wien and the FD Master Dealer Tom P... who I insist land the plane when I am with them and I try to emulate their technique, especially on rough days.  They are masters.  My instructor, who is new to the CT, has the landing down as well... all are great stick and rudder guys.  

First, talk to as many guys on this site as you can.  Flying Monkey has some excellent short field vids out, study his technique.  Search for as many FD flight videos as you can find on the net... like this one:

https://favids.com/en/watch/AKdMbyKzDrU/

Second, how many transitional hours did you get from the Citabria to the CT?  You may need a lot more.  It's only money...; )

Third, and this is the clincher... read the recent thread about C-172 vs CT... the common point is that the CT is every bit as capable and "easy" to fly as the C-172, but only after one has mastered the landings.  The plane is much lighter than a C-172 or a Citabria so the momentum is much different.  The rudder inputs are critical, but, the major problem is probably with your whole pattern strategy.

1) get in the habit of trusting your plane's published Operating speeds in all phases of the landing.  Don't deviate in speed or vertical speed or the deviation(s) will throw you off.

2) Come over the numbers at the published speed vis your flap settings... no faster.  

3) fly the plane all the way to the runway... flare low, not high.

4) keep the nose wheel OFF the ground (see #3 above)... until the plane is well under control.  Combining #3 and #4 is the big trick.  Takes practice.

5) repeat... about 60 times... ; )  Try mornings and evenings before the winds get crazy first... then graduate to windier days.

6) take a break from it for a week and settle your mind down... you will get it... 

Good luck... Andrew

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7 minutes ago, TheFrisco said:

That's super encouraging that it's not just me, makes me feel a little better. If you had to put it into words, what are the differences to landing the CTLS? I read the longer glide wants a little bit of throttle rather than full idle as it sinks out if flared too high.

Thanks for your suggestions, will stick with 15 degrees of flaps for now,

Robert

Realize you're talking with someone here having a whopping 40 hours logged in CT, but am sharing what I think is sound advise, and I have developed a technique landing this bird well both on short and long runways, in all flap settings.  I view throttle as to be used only when in higher wind conditions and you have lots of runway to work with, and even then limit it, normal landing is power to complete idle.  Understand at idle that prop is still moving a lot of air, notice how much brake you need when under taxi at idle...

The approach from over numbers to flare seems to be flatter, almost flying it on the runway, with less flare / nose high at the end.  One instructor told me to consider how low you are in the seat compared to even a C-150, which is accurate.  I think some of this is just the site picture of your mind saying its time to rotate, and this bird still has a couple more feet to go in decent before adding that back pressure in.  Try to hold the plane off the runway without the mains touching as far as you can, don't think normal landing, think how far can I stretch this landing out without wheels touching and then site picture develops being closer to ground.  Then once you have the feel for rotating and landing, work on getting it on the numbers and approach.  Approach is a whole new topic, I've been slipping this bird in, I hate the long / low / drag it to runway finals.

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The CT series is *not* an easy airplane to learn how to land.  Low inertia, narrow gear...there are several things working against the pilot.

Definitely use Eric's documentation, he's got as much time as anybody instructing in a CT.  Here are some quick thoughts (keep in mind I fly a CTSW and not a CTLS, but they are very similar):

*   The most common cause of bad landings is a high flare.  It's easier said than done, but you have to flare low.  I have often described landing the CT as "playing chicken with the ground".  I used, on every landing, say out loud "all the way down" in the last few feet to remind myself to get lower than felt comfortable.  The flare window is narrow because the CT's low weight means it has very little inertia.  So when you flare with power off, speed bleed off very fast.  If you are high the airplane gets slow while still a foot or two over the runway, gets into excessive sink, and drops onto the runway in a "carrier style" landing.  To compound the problem, you might still be fast enough to have directional control issues on the runway if you over-control the rudder/nosewheel pedals.

*¬† All of the above behaviors are magnified with higher flaps settings.¬† 15¬į is more forgiving than 30¬į, and 35¬į or 40¬į is even less forgiving.¬† The extra drag just makes the speed bleed off from a high flare even worse.¬† You should not be afraid of higher flaps settings (see my next point), but just be aware of the differences.¬† Also higher flaps settings in high crosswinds are a real handful.¬† I have landed at 30¬į at 15G19 crosswind, and it was quite a ride.¬† I usually use 15¬į flaps if the crosswind component is over 8-10kt.

*¬† Excess speed is not your friend when landing the CT.¬† The whole "add a few extra knots for safety" will not serve you well in the CT.¬† Extra speed will lead to the airplane floating a *long* way and/or having directional issues on touchdown.¬† A slow approach and landing at 30¬į flaps in low winds is a real pleasure and feels like you are at walking speed on touchdown.¬† When solo I use 55kt at 15¬į and 50kt at 30¬į as my final approach speeds.¬† This is not really near stall, but is slightly below the "standard" 1.3 * Vso; when landing on grass in low winds I often use 48kt, and have gone as low as 46kt when landing in a short field (~1200ft).¬† But 55/50kt are good numbers with good margins.¬† You might have to adjust your patterns to be tighter and closer to the runway if you want to avoid needing power on final.

Good luck!

 

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13 hours ago, GrassStripFlyBoy said:

The approach from over numbers to flare seems to be flatter, almost flying it on the runway, with less flare / nose high at the end.

At what flaps setting and speed?¬† I fly a pretty steep approach, and use slower speeds than most.¬† 62kt at 15¬į flaps has a fly on feel...48-50kt approach at 30¬į doesn't!¬† :D

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Andy's way of landing works well for someone who is experienced in the airplane, but for teaching someone to fly the airplane not so much. Sight picture, sight picture, sight picture, you need to learn the sight picture. While on the ground taxiing around learn the sight picture. learn what straight looks like. With the Citabria you have the bump on the cowling for the spinner that is right in front of you to line up with. The CT just has the base of the windshield. Everyone wants to pull the crown of the windshield in front of them, but that makes the airplane crooked with the runway. To add to this the seat backs are not perpendicular to the center line of the aircraft, they are canted towards the nose. This means your body is not square with the runway, and contributes to why you want the center of the windshield in front of you.. Develop that sight picture. While you are taxiing around sneak a peak forward out the bottom of the side window. Use this to help you judge your height above the ground, don't stare just sneak a peak while landing. The rest of the time you should be looking down the runway.

For teaching a new student landings I always start out with 15¬į flaps. I use 60 kt for approach speed. I start a normal flare at least 1 wingspan above the ground.¬†The flare is just creates a radius between you glide angle and the runway. It should be slow but steady and completed when you are just above the ground, then try to hold the airplane off the ground as long as you can in that position. With experience you will be able to judge your height above the ground down to the fraction of an inch. Also the CT likes to glide crooked. You will need to physically alight the airplane with the center line of the runway. While this can be done while you are flaring the airplane I prefer to make a conscious effort to do it while on short final. Once aligned all you need to worry about is the flare, (easier said than done). Once you develop the sight picture and alignment¬†database in your¬†head everything will get easier.¬†

Landings in any aircraft can be frustrating, but you have to remember that they are also the hardest part of flying to get experience with. Everything in flying except landings you can practice for hours on end. The critical part of landings can only be practiced for 10-15 seconds at a time. For an hour of doing landings you only get an actual 1-2 minutes of the critical information your brain needs. Doing it with an instructor who knows the airplane will make that time more valuable. Once you have the basics down then you can start working on the slower approach speeds and more flaps. You need to build a foundation before you build a building.

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my 2 cents with runway alignment help.  Take your CT over to an open parking area with painted lines.  Set it up with the front tire on the line and the plane sitting 100% lined up straight.  Sit in the seat and use a piece of tape to mark the center line on the wind shield, 2 to 3 inches is enough.  I did this on both sides to help my CFI know alignment.  This works great for taxiing and landing.  I removed it to clean the window and never put it back.  Def helped build the right sight picture in a short amount of time.

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15 minutes ago, johnnyjr said:

my 2 cents with runway alignment help.  Take your CT over to an open parking area with painted lines.  Set it up with the front tire on the line and the plane sitting 100% lined up straight.  Sit in the seat and use a piece of tape to mark the center line on the wind shield, 2 to 3 inches is enough.  I did this on both sides to help my CFI know alignment.  This works great for taxiing and landing.  I removed it to clean the window and never put it back.  Def helped build the right sight picture in a short amount of time.

Love this, tape is coming out for sure

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As a new CTLS owner who just passed his checkride I have used all the above comments to help me learn to land the plane.

Stick to set your speed and power for climb or descent rate.

One thing that I noticed too, especially on night landings, is to set up a stable 2-300 feet per minute descent.  This allows me to fly the plane on to the runway.

Also, I add just a touch of power, maybe 2400 rpm(ish) right before the flare.  It really has helped me polish the landings.

As I build time/experience I will add in the 30 degree landings but for right now I only use that setting on super still days.

 

I also joined a flight club this week to have access to other planes if mine is inop for whatever reason.

My CFI, who is also in the club, signed me off on the 172 yesterday after 1 hour of flying and 4 landings.  That thing is WAY easier to fly and land.  I feel like I never touched the rudder!

I do believe the CTLS has made me a better pilot, especially after yesterday and I sure do appreciate the modern avionics in my bird.

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One other thing:  someone put a black sharpie dot on my wind shield that is directly in line with the center of the runway when lined up.

It looks like it's actually in between some kind of layer of the canopy.  Really helps me.

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4 hours ago, FlyingMonkey said:

At what flaps setting and speed?¬† I fly a pretty steep approach, and use slower speeds than most.¬† 62kt at 15¬į flaps has a fly on feel...48-50kt approach at 30¬į doesn't!¬† :D

I suppose mentioning rather flat approach is relative to one's perspective.  My C-150 with 40 degree flaps in had sharp angle of approach, and I have wires at road 700' from threshold, I never gave them a thought in the Cessna, 50k and 40 degrees it was very safe margin, and would produce nice nose high full stall landing.  Enter me in the CT, I'm all eye's on those wires even at 30 degree flap setting, this is what lead me to migrate to slipping from higher final approach, I'm holding the slip until well past the wires, say about 200-300 feet from numbers I straighten it out, I like a technique that creates the outcome where I don't have to worry if I am clear of wires.  Completely agree with your speeds & flap settings = 15 is fly it on, 30 @ 50k is more of a rotation.  Also, I've noticed a significant difference in landing relative to loaded weight as well.  I weigh in about 135lbs, and when light on fuel, coupled with my minimal equipped SW has an empty weight at 711, it likes to float much further than when I have more fuel + passenger.  With passenger my base to final turn is a bit tighter to factor the sink rate in. 

I'm looking forward to mounting some GoPro's on the CT and making some videos, will do one to demonstrate what is being shared here when weather improves, winter is not ideal season for video work.  Following video I made in old Cessna showing some of my world, jump to the 15:30 mark for a good shot of the rwy 09 over wire approach.

 

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I think we are all saying the same things just worded differently.  Andy’s advice is next level.  And yes the 30 degrees flaps step should be eased into.  However landing with 30 degs flaps is really fun and in my opinion a major positive with the design vs the Cessnas I flew.

Robert the sight picture issue goes away fast.  The design is sleek and we don’t have the benefit of seeing the prop spinner ergo the challenge.

On the CTLS, there is a screw head on the panel that lines up perfectly with the centerline.  When you do johnny’s line trick and you determine exactly where the center is, Take note of the screw head.  If you need more than that, a quick guide point is merely placing a strip of colored tape at the top of the panel in line with the centerline.  Easy.

You are stuck in that weird zone where you know it will come, but just not today.  But you will get there.  To me, the CT cannot be compared to a Cessna, a fairer comparison is to that of a taildragger.  

I might get skewered for this next comment but it is my understanding that the CTLS is way easier to land than the SW and many of the frequent posters here are SW veterans.  Their planes are 100 lbs lighter and have other features that make them harder to land for a newbie.

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2 hours ago, AGLyme said:

On the CTLS, there is a screw head on the panel that lines up perfectly with the centerline.  When you do johnny’s line trick and you determine exactly where the center is, Take note of the screw head.  If you need more than that, a quick guide point is merely placing a strip of colored tape at the top of the panel in line with the centerline.  Easy.

I might get skewered for this next comment but it is my understanding that the CTLS is way easier to land than the SW and many of the frequent posters here are SW veterans.  Their planes are 100 lbs lighter and have other features that make them harder to land for a newbie.

On your CTLS there is a screw that lines up with the center line. Not all CTLS's will have that screw, or it may not be in the same location. His CLTS is an earlier generation with the smaller mushroom that is a different shape different avionics, and it will likely not have the same screw. Each one of these airplane are different in some respect, and this is something people often forget when giving advice.

I am not saying that you or anyone else should stop offering advice.

I don't know that this is exactly skewering, but both the CTSW and CTLS suffer for the same issues while landing. They both have the same sight picture, they both glide crooked, and they both have flaperons. What the CTLS does better is after the landing. It is more stable on the ground due to placement of the landing gear. It is also less likely to bounce from a bad landing do to the shock absorption design on the main landing gear. I think the CTSW might even have a little nicer feel during the flare.

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Fair point Tom. 

I found an old photo of my panel... and I placed a piece of red tape on top of the dash revealing the center line of the plane (left, upper side of the photo).  Yes, the landing gear is totally different in the two models.  I had a few carrier style landings early in my training, fortunately never felt a jolt, much smoother than I anticipated.  I have the "tundra" tires (really Cherokee Six tires) for that reason, I figured they would add another element of protection in landing.

 

tape.jpg

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I have flown 3 LSs and 1 SWs and they all land differently. One thing that will save a bad landing is to squeeze a little power into it if you feel a little high and getting slow.

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22 minutes ago, Tip said:

One thing that will save a bad landing is to squeeze a little power into it if you feel a little high and getting slow.

That is definitely true.  You can salvage it if you over-rotate and balloon that way as well.  However, you have to be quick and you have to get just the right amount of power in (not much, just a couple hundred rpm).  For beginners I would say "if you flair and the airplane feels like it's about to drop to the runway or you balloon..just go full power and go around".

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I have posted this before, because I think it might be helpful to others...here's the closest I ever came to crashing my CT, sometime within the first year of ownership.  Basically I landed slightly misaligned with a mild crosswind.  I tried to correct the alignment, over corrected, and then over corrected again the other way.  The right wheel got light and may have left the ground.  The airplane was now pointed to the left side of the runway, and pointed directly at a runway side.  The inertia of the airplane was still shifting, and I knew if I corrected back the other way there was a high likelihood of the weight shift pulling the airplane over and digging in the right wingtip.  My choice was to either hit the sign or go full power and try to climb over it, at the risk of higher impact energy if I failed.  I made a split-second decision, went full power, and probably cleared the sign by 5 feet or less.

It the video the swerving of the airplane doesn't look too bad, but trust me with my butt in the seat it felt pretty violent.  Lessons learned and all that; I now have over 1200 landings in the CTSW and haven't bent anything yet.

The landing sequence starts at about the one minute mark in the video.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGtZF9oSMx8&feature=youtu.be

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I was flying C172s PA 28s and then a PA32 prior to purchasing CT and at first I thought I was never going be able to land it but after time it’s no problem and going in and out of strips a short as 750 feet, Basically it’s the advice from all the above posts that help and I find in particular the speed needs to be very close to book figures , you will get there and as suggested in the above posts try to practice on days when wind is light and not turbulent.  

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I just want to say THANK YOU to all who responded and shared their thoughts, so helpful. And I am glad I asked because this thread seemed pretty popular, made me feel better I wasn't alone in this ūüôā

#GoCTFlierForum

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19 minutes ago, Snoopyeagle said:

the speed needs to be very close to book figures

I learned the above point after almost a year of keeping a +5-7 knots margin in there instead of trusting the manual.  Dumb, then again I learn everything the hard way... Andy, thanks for posting thte vid.  I think getting a GoPro is a good training tool for any pilot.

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