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Steering on final with rudder

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OK it's been driving me crazy. A thread with this heading has been on and off the instructors forum for weeks. What is the secret that the instructors are keeping to themselves? What pearl of wisdom would make my landings more predictable and professional? What are those two pedals for anyway?

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Yeah, been looking at that myself and wondering......?

Perhaps general access to read but "authorised" to post would be good.

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OK it's been driving me crazy. A thread with this heading has been on and off the instructors forum for weeks. What is the secret that the instructors are keeping to themselves? What pearl of wisdom would make my landings more predictable and professional? What are those two pedals for anyway?

Aaahhhh grasshopper, I sense a tailwheel endorsement in your future, :-)

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Im not a instructor but i use the rudder peddles to keep the Aircraft straight.

dazza you spelt pedals wrong, LOL

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OK it's been driving me crazy. A thread with this heading has been on and off the instructors forum for weeks. What is the secret that the instructors are keeping to themselves? What pearl of wisdom would make my landings more predictable and professional? What are those two pedals for anyway?

Practice for the first question and foot rests for the second. On a serious note it's about keeping a plane in balance as opposed to making corrections on final with rudder, a no win argument but what I can say is go out in a decent cross wind close to the planes limit in a familiar plane and instructor and do some circuits and learn to understand the effects of the controls and you will do predictable landings.

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dazza you spelt pedals wrong, LOL

 

Pedals are used to peddle you away from running into puddles.:roflmao:

Alan.

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Some people have a good connection between their brains and their feet. Others, like me, have to keep reminding their feet to kick when they are swimming. A tail wheel endorsement would be challenging.

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Some people have a good connection between their brains and their feet. Others, like me, have to keep reminding their feet to kick when they are swimming. A tail wheel endorsement would be challenging.

It is different and a bit of a challenge but it isnt black magic. It is just a different technique.

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I had to put a post-it-note on the dash saying "FEET" to remind myself to actually peddle when I was on finals! Makes a big difference, and you don't want to lower a wing at that low speed. I still remember the instructor shouting "Stop waving the stick around and use your feet!"

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the rudder does one Major function, to keep the aircraft BALANCED! (or unbalanced if the situation, such as strong crosswinds require it to keep the nosewheel straight on touchdown)

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On approach they are used to maintain directional control ie aimed at the touchdown point

Forget the balance stuff that is for coordinated turns.

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the rudder does one Major function, to keep the aircraft BALANCED! (or unbalanced if the situation, such as strong crosswinds require it to keep the nosewheel straight on touchdown)

 

What about those with tail wheels?

Regards

Keith Page

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This is a topic close to my heart as my profession is training. So this may sound critical of instructors, but my aim is to help instructors. I can only use the experiences i had and those of the students and instructors i have dealt with.

 

What i hypothesise they are discussing is exactly how early to put the rudder in with students that are having trouble landing and are getting confused. My father is coming out of that stage of learning right now and we have been discussing this at length. I have also discussed it with a number of other student pilots and trainers.

 

I believe many trainers are great flyers but some dont know how to correctly identify the students error and break it down to the exact problem, then design a drill to teach that. Many students ive spoken to and trainers say students get rudder use in crosswinds all wrong over and over and over. They put in the wrong amount of rudder, the wrong direction and get crossed up.

 

I believe there are a few main issues with rudder and a student pilot at landing.

1. With the crab method the problem is the student who kicks it straight in the hold off only gets to practice it for about 4 -5 seconds per landing and they get it wrong half the time or more at first. And even within this 4-5 seconds they get it wrong maybe 2-3 seconds. So they get to practice the skill they need (correctly) in a one hour flight of say 8 curcuits, maybe 3 or four times per 1 hour circuit session and for 1-2 seconds of correct technique. No wonder they struggle.

2. They fail to realise at the time that as the plane slows during the round out and hold off that the rudder needed to do the same job is a lot more. They got taught it in class , but they forget in this critical moment.

So the student and trainer sit there confused about why the student keeps getting the rudder wrong on landing.

 

So i believe they need to be taught to use the rudder in two different ways to the normal approach.

1. they need more practice then a few seconds per circuit and

2. they need to practice it away from the confusion of the hold off (which is when a student suffers from information overload) and thus learning is severely retarded.

 

So i think the answer is the student needs to put the wing down many hundreds of meters out and start using the rudder to eliminate the crab.

This has many benefits.

1. It allows the student to practice identifying and using the correct rudder pedal

2. It allows them to practice using it for a long time per circuit

3. It allows them to practice using rudder away from the hold off which is the area they are already struggling with

4. They need to dance on the rudder pedals (tiny movements) with wing slightly down on the way in, not just hold pressure on one, because that allows them to practice the landing technique prior to doing it when they have to combine it with the hold off (and more importantly the stress and overload of the hold off.

 

Then if they still cant get it , get them to fly along the runway at 50ft practising holding it straight with wing down. That way in a several circuits they get minutes worth of rudder practice.

 

See instructors need to realise that when someone starts flying every decision they make is manual and has to be thought about and then has to be compared to information the student barely knows, then they make a decision. which is why we suck at complex things at first.

The next stage is a few of the easier steps start to be come quicker for us to process because we have seen this situation before and we know understand it to the point we can make a reasonably quick decision.

The third stage is some decisions become automated or reflex. eg we recognise we are rising so we stop bulling back.

The fourth stage is it all becomes automated and we can then think about it, analyse it and even do other things while its happening.

 

In the two stages above the student has zero ability to analyze whats going wrong. They are so busy making decisions and mistakes that they cannot recognise what they are doing wrong or why.

 

The problem with teaching landing in crosswinds is the student has literally many many decisions to make per second. So the more decisions we can eliminate or automate for the student the better.

 

Some students i speak to say their instructor gets frustrated at this stage and asks the student why did you do that , or why do you keep doing that. But yet offer no solution and the student gets stuck in the cycle of repeating the same mistake of wrong rudder, incorrect amount of rudder, rudder too late, too much rudder, not enough wing down etc. Even if the instructor does tell them what they are doing wrong the student repeats the same mistakes, because they still cant process the information and make the right decisions quick enough.

 

The most basic solution i can offer to instructors is talk your student through it before they make the mistake. Resist the temptation to see if the student can do it. You will knwo when the student can do it. Letting a student fail in a complex task like this is very very counter productive. Because it ads to confusion, it reduces the students ability to make the decision and it shatters there confidence. Letting them fail this task repetitively and then talking to them afterwards or askign why they do it that way, is actually a failure of instruction.

 

And if they do get crossed up and information overloaded, remember your explanation will mean very little. Because they where so information overloaded that they have not committed anything to memory. They only mental picture they have of what just happened is the biggest moment of being scared and they will have little to no recollection of the control inputs that caused it. So you go ahead and give a great explanation of what happened, but they cant use this information, because they have little recollection of what just happened. In the later stages of landing practice, they will know exactly what you mean. But in the early stages they will look at you with a blank face or just nod and agree, and really they will be clueless to what you are saying.

 

A good instructor will try to identify that the student is using wrong rudder, wrong amount, wrong timing and on the next 10 or 20 circuits they will talk them through it in advance with concise verbal cues that are long enough the student knows what you saying, but short enough that they dont have to listen to a sentence to get two pieces of information. . A great instructor is there to speed up the learning process , not observe it and offer critique. That is assessment. And beginning pilots need pre-instruction to keep them ahead of the plane. Sure assess it afterwards, but what they really need is you to help them keep them thinking just ahead of the plane.

 

They need to be talked through the entire landing over and over and over before things happen. Eg with a right cross wind. A few hundred meters out remind them its a right cross wind , your going to need left rudder to straighten the plane. Try it now, put in some left rudder and put your right wing down slightly. Thats great or a bit more left rudder. Then about 100m out remind them as the plane slows you need bigger control input. etc etc etc. Keep them ahead of the plane by telling them just before it happens. And dont be afraid to do it over an over and over.

 

You need to remember the student has a very blurry mental picture of what a landing looks like, because they are so dynamic and ever changing. And students almost always fail tasks when they dont have a clear mental picture of the requirements. So your job is not to critique until the later stages, your job is to help them make faster and better decisions, until they have a better mental picture of the many types of landing scenarios and until thier own decision making can keep up with the aircraft. And the most effective way to do this is to talk them thru it slightly in advance. The exact technique a dance instructor uses.

 

Remember the crazy drama teacher out the front mouthing the words to you in advance when you had to practice a class poem performance. Well thats the perfect teaching technique, as it keeps them just ahead of the task.

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What about those with tail wheels?

Regards

Keith Page

Pretty sure the thread is about rudder use on finals, not on the ground. Laurie

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Dr Zoos, that's the kind of long & complex explanation that gave me trouble when I was learning crosswinds.

Eg with a right cross wind. A few hundred meters out remind them its a right cross wind , your going to need left rudder to straighten the plane. Try it now, put in some left rudder and put your right wing down slightly. Thats great or a bit more left rudder. Then about 100m out remind them as the plane slows you need bigger control input. etc etc etc. Keep them ahead of the plane by telling them just before it happens. And dont be afraid to do it over an over and over.

 

The problem with that explanation is it doesn't answer the question of how much rudder and aileron is required. How do you translate what the instructor is asking for into what you see through the windscreen? How do you translate what you see through the windscreen into the correct rudder & aileron to keep the instructor quiet?

 

Crosswinds clicked for me when they were boiled down to a few simple principles:

1) Every landing is a crosswind landing. The wind is rarely straight down the runway, so use crosswind technique every landing, even if it is for only 2 knots crosswind. That way, you get lots of practice and it becomes automatic, rather than thinking OK, I've got a crosswind today, was it right rudder and left aileron or vice-versa?

2) Crosswind technique is:

a) Point the nose down the runway, exactly the same as when you are taking off. Stop thinking left crosswind, right rudder, just point the nose down the runway. You do the same thing taking off and even just taxying around, so you actually get plenty of practice at this.

b) Stop the drift with aileron as required.

 

The problem with pre-planning left rudder and right aileron or whatever is that it depends on how much you put in initially. If you put in too much, all of a sudden you need the opposite. Or maybe you have too much aileron and not enough rudder, so need to apply left rudder and left aileron (i.e. less right aileron).

 

Just look out the window, align the nose with the runway and stop left/right drift with aileron. This is something that is easy to understand, and easy to see the feedback visually rather than waiting for your patient/exasperated instructor to tell you whether you got it right.

 

I also had a problem with the early wing down method. When you have one wing down, adding up elevator to break your descent has a temporary turning/sideways component to it, moving you sideways across the runway. So I found I was on centerline, wing down, then rounded out above the runway. All of a sudden I found myself drifting sideways off centerline. So I corrected the drift with aileron, which also requires rudder corrections. But breaking the descent was a temporary state, so as soon as you transition to the holdoff, you don't need the corrections and you drift the other way and have more rudder/aileron corrections in the opposite direction.

 

This is the advantage of the crab method. If you put in the crosswind correction after breaking your descent, you are coordinated when you add the up elevator to stop the descent, so you don't add a temporary sideways force. My current method for crosswind landings (and every landing is a crosswind landing!) is:

1) Crab as required to maintain runway alignment on final

2) After stopping the descent i.e. between round out and hold off, align the nose with the runway and stop any drift with aileron

 

I acknowledge this might not work for every aircraft. Extra inertia might make it more difficult with heavier aircraft. Some people find the wing down method works fine for them. A flatter approach will definitely reduce the sideways component when you round out with one wing down.

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Another point is that with the rudder straight ahead it is less effectual when you move it. It has to " take up slack" against the airflow before you get a result. Whereas with a bit of rudder either way, it is already working and the response is instant.

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Sometimes I swing the rudder left and right a few times on early final to get a feel for it on the day......helps with gauging inputs required later on..

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This is a topic close to my heart as my profession is training. So this may sound critical of instructors, but my aim is to help instructors. I can only use the experiences i had and those of the students and instructors i have dealt with.

 

What i hypothesise they are discussing is exactly how early to put the rudder in with students that are having trouble landing and are getting confused. My father is coming out of that stage of learning right now and we have been discussing this at length. I have also discussed it with a number of other student pilots and trainers.

 

I believe many trainers are great flyers but some dont know how to correctly identify the students error and break it down to the exact problem, then design a drill to teach that. Many students ive spoken to and trainers say students get rudder use in crosswinds all wrong over and over and over. They put in the wrong amount of rudder, the wrong direction and get crossed up.

 

I believe there are a few main issues with rudder and a student pilot at landing.

1. With the crab method the problem is the student who kicks it straight in the hold off only gets to practice it for about 4 -5 seconds per landing and they get it wrong half the time or more at first. And even within this 4-5 seconds they get it wrong maybe 2-3 seconds. So they get to practice the skill they need (correctly) in a one hour flight of say 8 curcuits, maybe 3 or four times per 1 hour circuit session and for 1-2 seconds of correct technique. No wonder they struggle.

2. They fail to realise at the time that as the plane slows during the round out and hold off that the rudder needed to do the same job is a lot more. They got taught it in class , but they forget in this critical moment.

So the student and trainer sit there confused about why the student keeps getting the rudder wrong on landing.

 

So i believe they need to be taught to use the rudder in two different ways to the normal approach.

1. they need more practice then a few seconds per circuit and

2. they need to practice it away from the confusion of the hold off (which is when a student suffers from information overload) and thus learning is severely retarded.

 

So i think the answer is the student needs to put the wing down many hundreds of meters out and start using the rudder to eliminate the crab.

This has many benefits.

1. It allows the student to practice identifying and using the correct rudder pedal

2. It allows them to practice using it for a long time per circuit

3. It allows them to practice using rudder away from the hold off which is the area they are already struggling with

4. They need to dance on the rudder pedals (tiny movements) with wing slightly down on the way in, not just hold pressure on one, because that allows them to practice the landing technique prior to doing it when they have to combine it with the hold off (and more importantly the stress and overload of the hold off.

 

Then if they still cant get it , get them to fly along the runway at 50ft practising holding it straight with wing down. That way in a several circuits they get minutes worth of rudder practice.

 

See instructors need to realise that when someone starts flying every decision they make is manual and has to be thought about and then has to be compared to information the student barely knows, then they make a decision. which is why we suck at complex things at first.

The next stage is a few of the easier steps start to be come quicker for us to process because we have seen this situation before and we know understand it to the point we can make a reasonably quick decision.

The third stage is some decisions become automated or reflex. eg we recognise we are rising so we stop bulling back.

The fourth stage is it all becomes automated and we can then think about it, analyse it and even do other things while its happening.

 

In the two stages above the student has zero ability to analyze whats going wrong. They are so busy making decisions and mistakes that they cannot recognise what they are doing wrong or why.

 

The problem with teaching landing in crosswinds is the student has literally many many decisions to make per second. So the more decisions we can eliminate or automate for the student the better.

 

Some students i speak to say their instructor gets frustrated at this stage and asks the student why did you do that , or why do you keep doing that. But yet offer no solution and the student gets stuck in the cycle of repeating the same mistake of wrong rudder, incorrect amount of rudder, rudder too late, too much rudder, not enough wing down etc. Even if the instructor does tell them what they are doing wrong the student repeats the same mistakes, because they still cant process the information and make the right decisions quick enough.

 

The most basic solution i can offer to instructors is talk your student through it before they make the mistake. Resist the temptation to see if the student can do it. You will knwo when the student can do it. Letting a student fail in a complex task like this is very very counter productive. Because it ads to confusion, it reduces the students ability to make the decision and it shatters there confidence. Letting them fail this task repetitively and then talking to them afterwards or askign why they do it that way, is actually a failure of instruction.

 

And if they do get crossed up and information overloaded, remember your explanation will mean very little. Because they where so information overloaded that they have not committed anything to memory. They only mental picture they have of what just happened is the biggest moment of being scared and they will have little to no recollection of the control inputs that caused it. So you go ahead and give a great explanation of what happened, but they cant use this information, because they have little recollection of what just happened. In the later stages of landing practice, they will know exactly what you mean. But in the early stages they will look at you with a blank face or just nod and agree, and really they will be clueless to what you are saying.

 

A good instructor will try to identify that the student is using wrong rudder, wrong amount, wrong timing and on the next 10 or 20 circuits they will talk them through it in advance with concise verbal cues that are long enough the student knows what you saying, but short enough that they dont have to listen to a sentence to get two pieces of information. . A great instructor is there to speed up the learning process , not observe it and offer critique. That is assessment. And beginning pilots need pre-instruction to keep them ahead of the plane. Sure assess it afterwards, but what they really need is you to help them keep them thinking just ahead of the plane.

 

They need to be talked through the entire landing over and over and over before things happen. Eg with a right cross wind. A few hundred meters out remind them its a right cross wind , your going to need left rudder to straighten the plane. Try it now, put in some left rudder and put your right wing down slightly. Thats great or a bit more left rudder. Then about 100m out remind them as the plane slows you need bigger control input. etc etc etc. Keep them ahead of the plane by telling them just before it happens. And dont be afraid to do it over an over and over.

 

You need to remember the student has a very blurry mental picture of what a landing looks like, because they are so dynamic and ever changing. And students almost always fail tasks when they dont have a clear mental picture of the requirements. So your job is not to critique until the later stages, your job is to help them make faster and better decisions, until they have a better mental picture of the many types of landing scenarios and until thier own decision making can keep up with the aircraft. And the most effective way to do this is to talk them thru it slightly in advance. The exact technique a dance instructor uses.

 

Remember the crazy drama teacher out the front mouthing the words to you in advance when you had to practice a class poem performance. Well thats the perfect teaching technique, as it keeps them just ahead of the task.

Or you can do a TW endorsement, nothing else will really teach you what those pedals are really for, simply, because it becomes extremely critical to get it right. The school I did the endorsement with had me lifting the tail and running down the strip without letting it lift off, you learn really fast ,

Matty

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A bit of high speed taxying with the tail off the ground in a tailwheel plane will teach you what the rudder does.

Normally it's a balance control unless you are kicking it straight on landing or things like a crosswind taking off or taxying or a deliberate sideslip.. Some people flying a tricycle U/C plane will hardly use the rudder. If your plane has aileron drag you should lead slightly with the rudder entering a turn ( as you roll the aileron ON) and coming out of a turn likewise. You certainly use it positively on a twin ( or more ) engined plane when you lose a motor. Nev

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Or you can do a TW endorsement, nothing else will really teach you what those pedals are really for, simply, because it becomes extremely critical to get it right. The school I did the endorsement with had me lifting the tail and running down the strip without letting it lift off, you learn really fast ,

Matty

 

Oh! Yes! I think it is called conditioning the reflexes..

The running along the strip is a wonderful exercise and it teaches feel and we need this to be able to confidently to get in and out of these short narrow country strips, hence "straight" is the exercise.

When I had my first atempt the only time I had the centre line is when I crossed it. What surprised me how quick we twig on. Big thing I did mine in a Light Wing.

Regards

Keith Page.

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