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Both hands on yoke during landing?

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Well-known member
Jun 10, 2005
Like most pilots, I was told that you need to keep your right hand on the throttle and your left on the yoke when landing small GA aircraft. I had one instructor, however, suggest that I keep both hands on the yoke if I felt like it would improve my control during the flare. I found that it actually did. Not long after, I read an article in AOPA flight training which suggested that with the time it takes to move your hand from the yoke to the throttle, you only gain an additional 22 feet of landing roll. Later, I flew with another instructor who scolded me for it and said that examiners would bust me on it. What do you guys think?
whatever works for you. As long as you can get on the throttle quickly in case of a go around. Personally, I always keep my hand on the throttle/thrust levers during landing
I guess it depends on what you are flying. On small GA stuff I think it best to always have a hand on the throttle in case of go around, excessive sink, or whatever. So much of my time is in airplanes with a stick that I developed the habit of always keeping one hand on the throttle. During IOE, a check airman scolded me for not having both hands on the yoke. Different strokes I guess. For me it feels good having immediate access to all the controls, including the throttle.
Most instructors teach their students to keep one hand on the yoke and the other on the throttle. Normally, this is the proper way to fly an airplane. I teach students to always keep the hand on the throttle during taxi, takeoff and landing.

There are many good reasons to keep your hand on the throttle during the landing and flare. The main reason is the ability to quickly add power if necessary. You will find also that you may need to incrementally add and/or reduce power in very fine increments during your landing. This may be due to an excessive or slow sink rate, shifting winds and changes in velocity, bouncing, excessive floating, misjudging, go-arounds, etc.

It's best to get into the habit of keeping your hand on the throttle during certain phases of flight. Even if you're not taxiing, taking off or landing, you will usually need to keep the idle hand busy by tuning radios, writing things down and making any other control adjustments in flight. You will want to be able to fly the airplane with one hand skillfully and proficiently so that the other hand is free to attend to other tasks. This is sonething you will ultimately get use to.

When I was learning how to land, I too felt it helped to flare with both hands. By using both hands I was able to get a better feeling of the correct control movements required during the flare. It also allowed me to focus more attention on the landing and less on power management. I don't think there's anything wrong with learning to land with both hands initially, just don't get into the habit of it. You will find that once you've become very good at landing with both hands that you will be able to do it just as well with one.

I think some of the awkwardness of using only one hand is that you'll find that you tend not to keep the yoke straight and end up turning it unconsciously while flaring.
Doesn't matter. One hand on the throttle is a good idea for students (unless strength is an issue) since they are still learning where everything is. probably good when flying an unfamiliar airplane also, for the same reason.

Once you know where everything is, it doesn't really matter. Whatever works for you.

DPEs, like everyone else, have their own peculiarities and mistaken beliefs. Fly the way the DPE wants you to fly during the practical.

So, do you drive with one foot always on the brake?
I find that sometimes I land one handed, other times two. Depends on how bumpy the day is. Either way I keep my hand on the throttle til I'm at least in the flare and the engine is idling.
Land a Saratoga without the trim wheel turned back about 4 times on final and you'll need both hands.

Otherwise I teach my students to keep only one hand on the yolk. When it's gusty and the wind keeps increasing and decreasing on final I let them know that they may need to add a little power here and there on as the come in. It also comes in (handy):) when they balloon the plane and need to add just a touch of power or go around. Not that I'm trying to preach a lesson on this board, I'm just telling you why I make it mandatory. I've seen 110lb freshmen girls fly and land a plane with one hand just fine, so there is no real strength issue at hand and if you think it's a safety issue then I guess you just need more practice.

If you can pass a medical exam, there ain't no reason why you would have two hands on the yoke on landing if you are doing what you are suppose to be doing.
Metro752 said:
If you can pass a medical exam, there ain't no reason why you would have two hands on the yoke on landing if you are doing what you are suppose to be doing.

I started gripping the yoke with two hands upon returning to flying after a several year hiatus. My first several flights back, however, were in pretty strong winds. I think it just felt more comfortable to have two hands on the yoke in a significant crosswind. I guess it's sort of habit now and I probably would be fine with a hand on the throttle during the flare - atleast in normal winds.
Trim the aircraft for a stabilized approach.

In any of our single engine trainers (Cessnas, Pipers), if the students needs two hands on the yoke to land the plane, the student better be initiating a go-around.

Strength should never be an issue in those planes, especially if the aircraft is properly trimmed. If the student cannot control the yooke with one hand, perhaps the student should try another plane.

That throttle is going to save them more than having that extra hand on the yoke, especially if it is windy and the student has to use throttle to control the plane (add a little, take away a little, full throttle for the go-around).

I have seen this more frequently with students who have learned through JAA. Not sure if there is a trend there, just they often have two hands on yoke for takeoff and landing and fly the plane with two hands. To me that just increases workload. I had an instrument student who told me his instructor had him fly the plane with two hands as it is easier to control, and I questioned him on this the first time I did a 'hold' with him.

I also had an instrument student (200 hours) who had his own plane, C172. Every landing he did he bounced, small bounces and usually got it down after two to three bounces. It turns out he learned in the C152, and NEVER used trim for anything except straight and level. Once we started using trim for takeoffs and landings, things really smoothed out.
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