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Landing style


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Hi all,


since the thread about take off has evolved to landing, I'd like to ask for opinions on that as well. After all, my takeoff improved by your input.


In my experience there are basically two approach styles which I'll call "highlanders" HL and "lowlanders" LL. Actually, the HL would be better called "steep descent lander" and the LL "flat descent lander", but HL and LL just sounds so nicely Scottish :).


Anyway, a typical HL does this:


- remain in circuit altitude up until the end of downwind


- bleed off speed for first level of flaps until end of DW


- set first stage on base, but basically keep altitude


- set second stage on final, set approach speed, let the engine idle


- therefore come in rather steeply


- round out and by that loose 10-15 kts, now beeing at almost stall


- let her sit down after only a very short remaining flare


A LL is of this type:


- prepare almost everything on the second half of DW


- start to loose altitude when turning base, set second stage in base already


- turn into final at not much more than 2/3 of circuit altitude


- come in at about 3 degrees at approach speed, this requires some power left


- round out and by that loose not enough speed to let her sit down immediately


- let the engine idle while flaring at about 1-3 feet above the RWY


- wait...stick back...wait...stick back...wait


- let her sit down when speed has bled off with stick full back


I have tried both and I feel a lot more comfortable as a LL. Of course I also have that habitude from the C172. Initially I had been warned that the J400 has a very long flare and therefore I expected to become a HL, but with full flaps at least my plane also bleeds of speed quite nicely in the flare.


I do appreciate that the HL technique has a lot of advantages, like more obstacle clearance, secure landing even if the engine fails on final and a potentially shorter flare.


However, I also feel that with a light aircraft you have to get that round out from steep descent to almost sit down at exactly the correct altitude. If you do it too late, well, you sit down harder that you planned.


If you do it too early you end up in the air at 5 feet with no speed left - might also result in a harder than planned landing.


The LL round out is, for me, much more relaxed. I usually reduce the remaining power not before I'm beginning the round out, sometimes even a bit later, i.e. when beginning the flare.


Any opinions?


Have some of you started out as LL and, when becoming more familiar with the J400, gone to HL style?





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Well I do the HL style most, probably because that's what I was taught, but a few of the benefits of this style that I like, is -


: Less turbulence on finals due to the higher altitude from the ground, at first anyway.


: If for some reason your engine stops (which jabs do have a tendency sometimes on finals!!) you can make the strip easily...


: Landing on a strip surrounded by houses, feels a lot better than skimming the roof tops, probably makes for happier residence as well.


: Easier to pinpoint an aiming point where your gonna land, Well I find that anyway, probably because that's what I do most of.


: A great view to everything out front, due to the lower nose attitude, until leveling out anyway.


Just a few of my reasons for liking the HL landing, but remember I'm only a new pilot, so I don't no a real lot:blush:



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If you are in the circuit and your engine stops and you can't make it to the runway, surely you would look a fool?


So I reckon its fine to add some power as long as you didn't really need it to get to the runway.


Otherwise, the low approach method fails the first page of the operating handbook.


"it should be flown with a view to the engine ceasing at any time....."


cheers, Bruce



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Hi Tomo,


yes, those are the advantages of HL. I've not heard of engines stopping on final yet. In an older thread I have read about engines stopping when they should idle, but on final I'n not on idle yet. On the flare it would not matter much, except the embarrassement that you could not leave the RWY as fast as expected (when one has to track back).


I'm not sure about the turbulence advantage, that probably depends on what the ground looks like. In my experience it is sometimes the other way round, especially a rougher wind can be quite calm once getting closer to the ground.


I do understand the visibility advantage, but have a remark: 5cm of additional height on the seat made a WORLD of difference for me. I can now really float in the flare seeing the complete RWY. Only on touchdown, when the nose really goes up for a few seconds I'm out of sight, but this is a very short time. I then lower the nose again until I can see enough again or until the nose wheel slightly touches the RWY.


I would not have thought before that 5cm would make such a difference.





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Hi Bruce,


true enough. For me it's a risk trade-off. If I'm a mediocre HL (and I think, I am), I will one day misjudge the round out and do a hard landing. Not happened yet, but I feel I have potential there :/


So I trade off the risk of a worse than necessary landing against the risk of an engine failure on final.





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You mentioned J400 and extended flare, this is usually due to exess speed and seems to come up regularly with those coming from heavier AC.


Also I think Jabs must be "positively" landed, by that I mean dont land and let excess speed run off with wheels on ground, land slow as you can, this helps stop the second much harder landing or uncontrolled sideways action from wind etc


Theres a certain speed there where control surfaces are doughey but on the ground wheels too sensitive not tracking too well- get either side of this speed quickly - take off or land.


Therefore the more abrupt flare of HL seems to work well. Use power if needed to make up for location, wind, circut size etc, but use it to get into position for a normal (non powered) touchdown.


When I was learning (and having trouble) I actually found Nil flap landings better as AC has less of a float, was faster but more positive. Learnt to handle flare Ok by this. Other tip was to look a long way ahead, improves perception somehow.


HL, is often the approach in Recreational training perhaps due to the fact we seem to more aware that the engines to stop sometimes, moreso than GA. It does give good skils in landing without power as emergency landing is similar, and you become better at managing height vs sink.


I agree with Bruces comment that you should be OK land from anywhere in the circut, if the engine stops, in a LL approach mid final, you will be short and in the weeds.





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Read somewhere that majority of engine failures occur during a change in power setting. power failures late in finals usually the result of carb ice or poor idle setting or one mag has dropped out or rapid throttle closure.


i found that changing my view from straight ahead to the side and slightly forward in the flare gives a better judge of height and gives better perspetive for touchdown.



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I've had several engine stoppages on final, due mainly to rpm too low and cold conditions, but it could happen any time, so always ensure that you can glide to the threshold. I have often seen GA planes coming in to Old Station, very flat and there is a 2m vertical drop off at the threshold. One cough and it could be very interesting.



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Hi thebun 88,


I was referring to Tomo, because he wrote: "which jabs do have a tendency sometimes on finals!!"


So he thinks that the 3300 in the J400 discriminates indeed when deciding to stop.


There could have been reasons for that, but I did not find evidence. I did read, however, in another thread about engines stopping when idling after landing.


I think I must have at least some basic trust in an engine that it will run. I do go on top sometimes, I have been over the ocean with no land in gliding distance, I do cross mountaineous areas where finding an emergency spot for landing is sometimes a matter of luck and I have been flying in the night (the last one not in the J400).


My current decision to go in low is a tradeoff.


In HL I get everytime to the field an have, based on my current limited experience on the J400, a chance to produce a bad landing there.


In LL I produce a gentle landing everytime but have a chance (engine!) not to get to the field.


I see, however, that most of you here use the HL style with the Jab and with obviously no ill effects. So I may start to rework my technique once I feel more confident that I can handle the Jab in any configuration from almost empty to MTOW and from zero to full flaps.





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Hello, i pretty much always pull power later on down wind and do glide approaches, if im a little high on finals after using flap. I normally throw in a little bit of a side slip to reduce height. I only ocasionally do a power assisted approach in the case of short field landing. (to help stabilize airspeed/height if coming in a little low.



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I was referring to Tomo, because he wrote: "which jabs do have a tendency sometimes on finals!!"

Yeah, the only reason I said that, was because if the idle is set to low on the Jabs, when the throttle is pulled back on its stops the engine cuts out some times. I've never had it happen, but when learning to fly the Jab, the instructor said don't pull the throttle to hard back or it might stop... you may bend the idle stops on the carby maybe!?


I think the problem has been rectified now though.



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I have a Jab 430/230 and I employ both landing styles. Two considerations I have are:


- the high/no power approach should probably be preceded by some partial power engine cooling time which equates to a slower downwind leg. The jab engine has attracted controversy regarding reliability and it does not have the heavy mass of a GA engine so rapid cooling on every landing might accelerate wear.


- In a high/ power off final I am under the impression that at 700kg a little more speed is required to get a decent flare. I have not worked out what the right number is yet.



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The power-off/glide does require you to carry a little more speed because the rate of descent is greater than in the power-on case. With the high rate of descent you need more elevator authority to cancel out the sink in the flare. Also because there is less slipstream from the prop over the wings and flaps, the stall is slightly greater and again less slipstream over the elevator can catch you out if you get too slow and botch the flare. Because you have no power, speed control with the stick is important. If you don't get it right, there is more chance of a heavy landing or a big bounce off a glide approach.


The reason most find the powered approach produces better landings is because of the much lower rate of descent, thus making it easier to judge the flare. Speed is controlled with throttle and flight path with the stick (and yes I have heard all the contrary arguments). Also, if the speed is right, as soon as the power is cut in the flare, the slipstream effect lessens, 5-10 knots is wiped instantly off the speed and the landing just happens without any further floating. The only thing to get right is the flare, which is at a lower height than in the pure glide case, but it's easier to judge because the rate of closure with the ground is so much less.


But, as mentioned above, both techniques have their place and a good pilot will be proficient in both. If the undershoot area is benign, the powered approach is great and will make you look good to your passenger. But if there are rocks and trees and things in the way, the steep glide is obviously the way to go.



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