Is This Normal?

Almerick07

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Recently I've been flying with other instructors getting them current, doing BFR's etc...I guess this should be in the petpeeves thread but I feel it is worthy of its own. I have been noticing a lot of instructors/high time pilots dont put the airplane down on the centerline. This drives me absolutely crazy, I personally always make sure I'm on the centerline and cannot get over how some people get 15-20' off the line. I dont say anything about it and was wondering if I should or am I just being too uptight about it? Surely someone with 1000 hours could land on the centerline right? I even had an instructor who didnt do it, it was almost like he just stopped flying the airplane and let it touch the runway where it wanted to. This is killing me, I dont know what to do when someone does this...any ideas?
 

NoPax

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This was a pet peeve of mine also, so I found the narrowest runway I could and took them there to demonstrate landings.

You'll probably find most do fine on the narrow one, however, it is probably lazy feet causing the problem (you know concrete boots on the rudder), and a can't be bothered attitude also to fix it.

I'd definately say something - you're getting paid to instruct
 

Gutenberg

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Say, "I bet you can't put it on the centerline" before turning final.
 

Almerick07

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But they should put it on the centerline, tonight I flew with a 1400 hour instructor and his mains were about 15' to the left of the centerline.....WHY??? These arent 20 hour student pilots, Im talking about some pretty qualified guys here. Infact I have 20 hour student pilots who get it on the centerline better than these guys.
 

landlover

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how about not signing them off for the bfr/ipc until they relearn how to land an airplne.
 

landlover

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how about not signing them off for the bfr/ipc until they relearn how to land an airplne.
 

Kream926

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Almerick07 said:
But they should put it on the centerline, tonight I flew with a 1400 hour instructor and his mains were about 15' to the left of the centerline.....WHY??? These arent 20 hour student pilots, Im talking about some pretty qualified guys here. Infact I have 20 hour student pilots who get it on the centerline better than these guys.
thats cause you are probably teachin the 20 hr guys the right way...primacy comes to mind
 

nosehair

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Almerick07 said:
15' to the left of the centerline.....WHY???
...plain and simple...the DE's let them get away with it.

 

Pilot Doc

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Almerick07 said:
15' to the left of the centerline.....WHY???
OK ... I'll bite.

Because it doesn't matter! If you specifically ask them to land on the centerline, and they can't - that's a problem. Lack of directional control causes accidents. If they land the airplane under control and 25' from the nearest runway edge, so what. Is a 30' wide runway unsafe? No. Neither is landing off center on a 75' wide runway.
 

Goose Egg

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Pilot Doc said:
Because it doesn't matter! If you specifically ask them to land on the centerline, and they can't - that's a problem. Lack of directional control causes accidents. If they land the airplane under control and 25' from the nearest runway edge, so what. Is a 30' wide runway unsafe? No. Neither is landing off center on a 75' wide runway.
I disagree. It's true that lack of directional control causes accidents, but if one lands 25' off the nearest runway edge, the margin for error is greatly reduced should directional control become compromised, i.e. wet or snowy runways, strong crosswind, poor crosswind technique, etc. Landing on centerline is absolutley essential to safe operations, in my book. Saying that a landing off centerline is ok is a bit like saying landing on the second 2/3 of the runway is ok; you can get away with it for a while, but may come back to bite you.

-Goose
 
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NCFlyer

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I'll agree with NoPax. When faced with the same situation I would take the pilot to a nearby field that was 25' or 30' wide and 2200' long to let them do t/o & landings. Most didn't have any trouble. That showed me they were just lazy when landing on the wider runways.

The only other reason I could think of, would be to stay off the centerline lights if any were installed.
 

PaulThomas

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I'd say something, and wouldn't sign them off if they don't start landing on the centerline.

The only time it's alright not to be on the centerline is during a stiff crosswing. I'll get on the side the wind is blowing from, this way if I mess up, I'll be blown on the centerline, not the grass. My CFI is always on my back about this one as I always go for the centerline.
 

KeroseneSnorter

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Pilot Doc said:
OK ... I'll bite.

Because it doesn't matter! If you specifically ask them to land on the centerline, and they can't - that's a problem. Lack of directional control causes accidents. If they land the airplane under control and 25' from the nearest runway edge, so what. Is a 30' wide runway unsafe? No. Neither is landing off center on a 75' wide runway.
How about being "only" 400 feet off your altitude? "Only" 5 miles off course? "Only" 30 gallons off on your fuel calculations?

Landing centerline gives you equal oppertunity to screw up either way. The only time you should be off centerline is when you DO screw up. And we ALL screw up from time to time. If you let yourself fall into the line of thinking that you describe, evenually you will find yourself in the bushes wondering what the heck happened.

If your instructor lets you get away with this without trying to correct it, find a new instructor!

For a supposedly professional pilot such as a Flight Instructor, consistantly off centerline is not acceptable. For such a person who aspires to fly large aircraft one day, it is really not acceptable. The larger the bird, the less screw up room you have. On something like a 747 or other large aircraft even when you are exactly on center line your main gear is only a few feet from the weeds and your wings are 50 or more feet out over the weeds.

Same holds true for taxi lines, get used to not following them and sooner or later you will take out a wing tip on a building, vehicle, airport sign etc.

Do yourself a favor doc, hold yourself to a little higher standard. I hope you do not operate with the same mentality. "Well I only cut 6 inches away from where I needed to, but who needs a spleen anyhow right?"

Off while learning is one thing, off as a low time PPL from time to time, acceptable as long as it's not the norm, off as a Commercial pilot or better and not caring? You have no business as a Comm pilot.
 
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shamrock

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This thread really has me wondering if I land on the centerline or not. Either I do it so regularly that I don't notice or I don't care enough to pay attention.

Hopefully it's the former but I can't rule out the latter.
 

avbug

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A pilot must certainly be able to put the airplane where he or she intends each time...but as to a need to land on the centerline, rubbish.

In some arenas pilots are trained NOT to use the centerline. That comes as a shock to the died in the wool can't think outside the "box" crowd, but some believe that being off centerline makes them more visible.

Me, I prefer to use the centerline, but not because it gives a greater margin for error. If you're worried about that, then you have bigger problems. Your "margin" should be the same weather you're landing on a strip that's as wide as your landing gear, or 200' wide (and hopefully you're not flying something with landing gear 200' wide...).

Landing diagonally across a runway is and old and acceptable means of adding a little bit to a strong crosswind situation to get the airplane down. Starting at the downwind side and landing toward the upwind side, diagonally, means you're not on the centerline, but you're getting a little more wind alignment. Not for every flight, or every operation, but unless you've been faced with landing when the crosswind exceeds the aerodynamic controllability of the aircraft to achieve centerline alignment, you probably wouldn't understand.

If you've ever been fully cross controlled and couldn't get within 30 degrees of runway alignment and you have only one runway from which to choose, then you might understand. On such days, roads, taxiways, and other options are certainly worth considering. Taking into account what you have to work with, what you're flying at the time, etc. That's primarily a light airpalne issue.

The original poster appears to be talking about light aircraft.

The most critical issue with landing is getting the long axis of the aircraft aligned with the direction of travel at touchdown. That accomplished, refinements to landing on centerline are nice...but certainly not critical. Further, if one can put the airplane where one wants each time, then weather one lands on the left quarter of the runway or the right, or on centerline, is really quite irrelevant.
 

Snakum

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When I first started tagging along on the larger airplanes, I noticed the Captains were consistently landing left or right of the centerline, each doing either left or right everytime, according to his habit. I was dying to ask about it, but felt I should keep my mouth shut and keep my eyes and ears open. I was a rank amateur (I still am) and I was there to learn.

Then, the first time all the planets were aligned and I proudly landed the King Air smack dab on the centerline ... BUMP BUMP BUMP BUMP BUMP BUMP BUMP BUMP! The smiling old guy in the left seat said "I'll bet you've been wondering why we don't do that."

Classic. :D


Minh
 

Goose Egg

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avbug said:
Landing diagonally across a runway is and old and acceptable means... but unless you've been faced with landing when the crosswind exceeds the aerodynamic controllability of the aircraft to achieve centerline alignment, you probably wouldn't understand.
I can't say that's ever happened to me, so I will defer to avbug for the specifics of a nearly unmanageable (and unimaginable) crosswind. Understand that, as a flight instructor, I have to be mindful that a student may actually listen to me and go out and try something that I recommend, and I sometimes (read always) have that "filter" on while I post here. While I encourage experimentation, I don't think that I could in good conscience instruct a 15 hour solo student to land off the centerline, when their mastery of aircraft control is so rudimentary. First, they learn how to put they aircraft where they intend, which is the centerline for now. Once they have complete control of that, then they can "think outside the box."


The most critical issue with landing is getting the long axis of the aircraft aligned with the direction of travel at touchdown. That accomplished, refinements to landing on centerline are nice...but certainly not critical. Further, if one can put the airplane where one wants each time, then weather one lands on the left quarter of the runway or the right, or on centerline, is really quite irrelevant.
Speaking of "outside the box" thinking, I regularly land a motorglider on a hard surface with runway edge lights. The wingspan of the glider is 57', and the runway is 100' wide. If you do the math, that allows about 22' of "wiggle" room on either side, which is actually a pretty big margin for error. Now, add in the fact that we land these gliders in crosswinds and that a crosswind landing at the demonstrated value puts the lowered wingtip about 12" off the ground. Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention that the landing gear configuration in these gliders is conventional, and the seating configuration is side by side, not tandem. Now all of a sudden 22' doesn't seem like that much, and landing on the centerline in that scenario is both relevant and critical.

-Goose
 
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Pilot Doc

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avbug said:
A pilot must certainly be able to put the airplane where he or she intends each time...but as to a need to land on the centerline, rubbish.
My thoughts exactly.

Kerosene Snorter said:
How about being "only" 400 feet off your altitude? "Only" 5 miles off course? "Only" 30 gallons off on your fuel calculations?
Because the examples you cite are significant deviations with important consequences. Landing 15 feet off center will not cause a near miss with VFR traffic, loss of separation, CFIT or fuel exhaustion.

Kerosene Snorter said:
If you let yourself fall into the line of thinking that you describe, evenually you will find yourself in the bushes wondering what the heck happened.
I think you're being overly alarmist. Again, you think landing 10' off center line on a 100' runway is unsafe, why would ever consider landing on a 50' runway?

Kerosene Snorter said:
The larger the bird, the less screw up room you have. On something like a 747 or other large aircraft even when you are exactly on center line your main gear is only a few feet from the weeds and your wings are 50 or more feet out over the weeds. Same holds true for taxi lines, get used to not following them and sooner or later you will take out a wing tip on a building, vehicle, airport sign etc.
There are many operational differences between a 747 (or even a 737) and most light aircraft. The mark of a good pilot is noting all of those differences and determing what habits need to change. For example, I fly a 182 out of a 7000' field. I don't ever calculate takeoff or landing data. It's probably reckless that from day to day, I don't know whether my plane will need a 740' or 1100' ground roll. But it doesn't matter. I never verify gear down either. Were I flying a 747, I would change those habits.

Kerosene Snorter said:
You have no business as a Comm pilot.
Why are you resorting to personal attacks?
 

pilotyip

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In the P-3 RAG I was taught to shoot for the centerline as a line up technique. But if drift develops close to the ground do not make corrections close to the ground then may cause your to land in a skid, but align the airplane parallel to the centerline and land with the longitudinal axis paralleling the centerline. I teach the same thing when I am checking pilots out in the DA-20. There should be no close in maneuvering strictly for landing exactly on the centerline. This does not mean I get to look out the side window at the centerline, but not being exactly on the centerline is not a big deal on most 100’ to 150’ wide runways. Now landing on the boat centerline is very important.
 
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Pilot Doc

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pilotyip said:
but not being exactly on the centerline is not a big deal on most 100’ to 150’ wide runways. Now landing on the boat centerline is real important.
That's the important point. Clearly, incompetence or stupidity can put you into the weeds, but a pilot not possessed of those traits can still choose to land off center.
 
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