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AF heavies

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Active member
Jan 5, 2002
Just a question on other folks' experience in larger jet - all my time so far (less than 100 hours) has been in Cessna single-engine stuff (IFT, mainly). I got a chance to fly a KC-135R simulator today (full motion, FlightSafety type of stuff - way cool) and was having all sorts of problems holding centerline on final - lots of problems overcorrecting. Just wondering how other people have flown getting into a heavy aircraft for the first time. Any info or experiences would be appreciated.


me too

I flew a 767-300 sim a few months ago and had the same problem. I don't think the airplane is quirky, rather I think it just takes a little time to get used to the feel of the controls.
And I'll repeat what I said in my response to av8raaron's same post under the "General" section. It's not the aircraft, it's the simulator. For a more detailed response, you can refer to that thread.
Sims are notoriously quirky like that. When I was a tanker IP, S-turning down final was very common for the first sortie or two, even after having sim time. Like everything else, it's just practice and experience.
A common tendency for newbie heavy pilots is to land the airplane right or left of centerline, and this is often because the new pilot tends to land on the side that they are sitting on. I have no idea why new pilots do this, but everytime I change seats after having not sat in the other one for a while (left to right, vice versa) I have to anticipate that I'm going to try and land with a bias to the seat I was sitting in.

After you fly and get a few hours under your belt, you develop a sight picture and should start nailing centerline all the time. And don't beat yourself up over landing a sim....landing sims are always more difficult than the real thing because of the lack of normal visual cues.
Flying heavies

I was a T-38 instructor for the 1st 4+ years of my military flying carreer and as a result I was used to flyng an extremely responsive aircraft (roll rate ~ 720 deg/sec). When I transitioned to the C-141 I was humbled to say the least. The TOP (tube of pain) is not responsive to say the least and reacts very slowly to pilot inputs. I found that I would be making my 3rd or 4th correction to present conditions when the 1st correction would finally take effect. As a result, it was hard to make a smooth approach at first. Don't worry about it. You will adjust like I did to the aircraft within a few shots down final. Previous posts are correct this is a much greater problem in the sim than in the aircraft. That's just the way it is. There is nothing particularly hard about it, you just need to get used to the handling characteristics of the aircraft.

The sim is almost always more sensitive to controls than the airplane but especially to the rudder. Small aircraft use a lot of rudder and that seems to complicate new transitions. Of course, the other problem could be the 4 engines weren't putting out the same thrust, but if the 135 sim is like ours, the only engines in the fleet that all put out the same are in the sim.

As to responsiveness, forget it. Lots of small controls (and some big ones) and even more patience. I had the opportunity to take a test pilot for a flight whose main background was F-18s. At the end of the flight, he certainly wasn't envious of the mighty E6 but he was respectfull about the skills required to fly the heavies.

Hope it helps.:cool:

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