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Jan 28, 2018, 02:59 PM
I'd rather be flying!
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Landing tutorial

Here's a generic landing tutorial I put together a couple years ago, which will allow the pilot to put pretty much any plane down 'right on the numbers' nearly every time. It may be of help to some on here:

The key to consistently making great landings with any plane is setting up a proper approach. Any landing will only be as good as the approach that preceded it. Be sure to think ahead of the plane & command it to be where you want it to be when you want it to be there - rather than react to what it just did.

1) Set up for the approach. At this point, you should already know approximately where you want to land, and the plane should already be close to approach altitude. Begin the downwind leg.

2) Around halfway through the downwind leg, start to ease-back on the power (the exact point varies, depending upon what plane you're flying). Add up-elevator as necessary to bleed off airspeed. As you make the turn to base, be sure to keep the nose up. Now is the time to pick your exact landing spot.

3) As you make the turn to final, the plane should be at approach altitude & airspeed. Line-up on your chosen landing spot, and begin to reduce throttle. Remember that when you're on approach, throttle primarily controls descent-rate, while elevator primarily controls airspeed. If it looks like you'll land a bit short, add some power to decrease the descent-rate. If it looks like you'll land a bit long, reduce power to increase the descent-rate. If you're coming in a bit hot, ease back on the stick a bit to raise the nose & slow the plane down. If you're coming in a bit slow, relax the stick slightly to drop the nose & pick up some speed. If you're coming in high & hot, roll the power on & go around. If you're coming in low & slow, roll the power on, keep the nose down to build some airspeed, then pull up & go around.

4) The goal on approach is to minimize pilot workload during the last part of the final, so that only minor corrections are needed as the plane nears the runway. As early as possible into the final, get the plane lined-up & establish a glide-slope that will put the plane 'on the numbers'. Remember that the vast majority of botched landings are caused by a poor approach. You don't want to be making a bunch of large course, glide-slope or airspeed corrections at the last second. If you find that you're rowing the sticks & frantically trying to get the plane lined-up on final, roll the power on & go around.

5) As the plane nears the runway, continue to reduce power and ease the stick back. As the plane crosses the threshold, it should be descending at a slightly nose-high attitude. Smoothly reduce power & smoothly ease the stick back to establish the flare.

6) When the mains are around 6" or so off deck (depending upon the size & weight of the plane), smoothy close the throttle as you continue to ease the stick back. The goal is to have the stick all the way back (or at least nearly so) just as the wheels touch the ground. When you get it right, the plane will settle-in for a perfect 3-point greased landing (taildragger) or a nice greaser on the mains (trike gear).

The above technique will typically result in the shortest-possible landing & roll-out, and will allow the pilot to put nearly any plane down right where he/she wants it to be, nearly every time - rather than essentially being a passenger on approach. Or, as I like to call it - being "a victim of one's own landings".

Latest blog entry: E-flite 850mm Pitts
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Feb 05, 2019, 06:11 AM
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Using technology for landings


When on approach and descent rate is hard to adjust because of ESC and/or throttle movement I use Throttle Curve.
For RC helicopter pilots its common but for not for fixed wingers. Our modern transmitters have a menu that you can adjust to change the default straight line slope into a curved slope. The end result makes fine tuning easier. Where before you had 1/16 inch of throttle adjustment now you have more. I have a slightly different curve for each of my models but the shape is similar. I dont turn on Expo as the straight line slope between any 2 points works for me. Here is what the menu looks like for the Spektrum transmitters.

I also switch on SAFE Self Level as gyros reduce workload and keep wings level for crosswind approaches and landings. I use rudder to maintain a crab angle over the centerline and take it out just before or just after touchdown.
Feb 05, 2019, 11:53 AM
I'd rather be flying!
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Thanks! I also use a throttle-curve on my planes that have a 1.5:1 or higher thrust-to-weight ratio. Makes it a lot easier to grease those landings!

I don't use SAFE, though. Been flying RC for over 30 years. I spent my first 2 years in the hobby mastering takeoffs & landings in all sorts of conditions - including crosswind-crab & one-wheel slip landings in stiff crosswinds. To me, the takeoff & landing comprise 2/3rds of a flight. I don't want to partially automate one of the most rewarding parts of the flight for me - which is executing a textbook-perfect greased landing!

Latest blog entry: E-flite 850mm Pitts

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