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how to teach perfect landings?

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Jan 13, 2002
I wonder if you guys can share and contribute some ideas how to grease every landing. Here I give you one of my ideas. I'm a CFI and my biggest challenge was to teach new students to recognize two feet above the runway in order to hold and then gently touch down. Students were holding either too high or flu into the runway. I consequently learned to have my students approach with no flaps at higher speed let say 80 or 90 mph in order to float over runway for a long time. Objective to hold just two feet and not sink or balloon. That gave them more time to practice in one approach sequence and shorten learning time by 50%. I look forward to hear from you guys so I can develop more tools to become a better CFI. I also include my web page for more info. Darius
One trick my instructor used was to force me to fly the entire length of the runway 1 to 2 feet off of it. With full flaps, you were only going about 55 knots and consequently you were in the "flare" for almost a minute. If you do that on a x-wind day, you get lots of side benefits from it as well since they have to track the centerline as well as maintain altitude.
2 things:

1.)Make sure they are looking down the runway and not at the pavement right in front of the plane. This eliminates at least 50% of the problems.

2.) The flying down the runway thing is good. Here is another take on it: Use the whole "positive transfer of learning" thing they taught you in the FOI stuff. If you're practicing landings regularly, I hope you've already done quite a bit of slow flight. Tell your student that you want him to do slow flight down the runway at 6" off the ground. Tell the student that the challenge is not to touch the ground. Inevitably, he will bump the gear down a few times but that's ok, it will be gentle, which is what we're looking for right? They'll usually start to get the picture. Once they get good at it, tell them to do the same thing, except Take over the throttle on short final. Brief them thoroughly in the pattern. You will make small throttle changes while they try to keep the airplane at exactly six inches NO HIGHER, NO LOWER. They will work very hard at it. Do one all the way down the runway. Next time, do the same thing, except after a couple throtlle changes, very slowly pull the throttle back to idle. They will be trying very hard to keep it at six inches, and as the plane runs out of energy, the mains will kiss the ground very gently, resulting in a perfect landing. The student will be amazed.

3.) During the debrief, stress that the key to landing is to try as hard as possible not to touch the runway. You want to hold six inches with no power. Next lesson, repeat the exercise one or two times, and then give the whole plane back to the student. They will love you for it.
When I was learning, I had to force myself to look down the runway, like flyibrian was talking about. It made the diffrence between bad ones and greasers. Just a thought.
I thought you already knew how to teach landings. I read this right off your website there...

You will grease every landing after few flights with me. For that I utilize different airports specifically chosen for emergency landings, runway holding effect and touch and go's. That's why my students are capable in achieving PPL so fast. I'm proud to say I have 100% passing rate of my students and I only intend to get better. This is the difference between time building instructors and instructors who do it for the love of it.


Also, what is runway holding effect?

Anyways, everything above is great advice. The only thing I would add would be that I always start with no flap landings and then add flaps later. Reason is that in a no flap landing there is more float, and the aircraft doesn't slow as quickly, making the flare easier.

Of course I do!! I just want to learn even more good ways you fine people use to teach landings. Most of your ideas are very similar to mine but thank you anyway.
Teaching landings

I remember clearly from twenty years ago how my instructor told me to "transition my glance" to the end of the runway. Students tend to look down in front of the nose and they hit hard.

Of course, we all know how a good landing is preceded by a good flare which is preceded by a good final which is preceded by a good base which is preceded by a good downwind, etc. During these phases student should be especially cognizant to make sure an appropriate, small pitch change accompanies any appropriate, small power change. This is especially true on final and in the flare. People may pull back on power but don't pull back on elevator and consequently let the nose drop. These moves have to be coordinated.

I always liked to go up to altitude and practice flying a complete traffic pattern, setting up all the decents, bases, turns to final, etc., and telling my student to try to "land" on an altitude, i.e. holding that altitude in the hold-off as they reduce the power, etc. until the airplane stalls. Also a good way to get in some stall practice.

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