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Mar 07, 2021, 03:39 PM
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RC Plane landing.

This discussion is about landing your RC plane. It is probably the hardest thing you'll do assuming you have not flown on a windy day only to let your plane blow away because you do not have the skill to fly the plane back to the field. This is where a instructor comes in very handy. If you've never flown before, you need an instructor or at the very least a simulator where you can get some feel for flight experience. There are many things to know and RC groups has just about every subject for RC hobbies.

I have 26 planes.
The planes vary in size, type and weight.
I have flown many aircraft for other people and I have a lot of experience on all types of aircraft.
The most difficult part of landing just about any plane is space speed and obstacles along with getting used to using a low rate where the plane will be easier to control at alower landing speed at a lower rate on the controls and using expo or exponential as much as possible to compensate for the human hands unsteady movement and a nervous hand that may over-react.

There are trainers that are designed for beginners, but you probably want to go to a flying field and just watch what's going on and talk to some of the pilots.

The most common trainers would be those planes like The apprentice or mini apprentice and others that have three modes of beginner intermediate and experienced mode.
The lesser expensive aircraft would be probably micro and mini size aircraft that can handle crashes better than the apprentices.
If you're really on a shoestring budget and mechanically inclined, you can check out some of the scratch built trainers.
My advice is to start small and it is low cost as you can. Don't be tempted to get something nice and fancy because it won't be nice and fancy after the first time you go to fly it due to a crash.
I have gotten the majority of my planes used second hand sometimes even third-hand. I pay so many times less of what it would cost if you went to the hobby store and bought new.
They used to be a RC flea market near me before covid-19 hit. I used to buy planes real cheap. Plus I have gotten planes from people I know who were tired of the planes and wanted to go on something else. I swapped one drone for 4 planes last time. The guy never learn to fly fixed-wing. He had four planes he could not fly so, he's stuck with his drones. I've known 2 drone pilots that wanted to go to fixed-wing planes and we're not able to. There is a difference. I fly drones to but drones are kind of made for almost for anybody to fly almost. Not the same for planes.

In this hobby knowledge is pretty much everything. You don't have the knowledge you need to get some.

I did not start with a simulator because it wasn't really available back in the 80s. I learned the hard way, but I had the knack and yes you will crash. That's just part of the hobby.

If you are going for a bind and fly planes, you will need a Spektrum capable radio. Some come with everything. Some don't. Things can add up pretty fast.
You can start small and a whole kit that can give you everything included for like $150 or $200 or you can go much higher than that.
Last edited by Alan 3D; Mar 07, 2021 at 03:50 PM.
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Mar 07, 2021, 04:17 PM
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The hardest part for me has always been The landings.

One thing I have done when I made mistakes on landings are flying too slow.

At a low speed you have little to no control of that plane. The plane can stall and drop too soon before you put the wheels on the ground or the plane will bounce all over the place on landing damaging the plane.

Using flaps or flaperons can sometimes make that problem even worse depending on the aircraft and your ability to judge airspeed.

Inexperienced people should avoid using flaps until they get experience and enough experience to judge what went wrong when they decide that they will use flaps and the plane comes in too slow and losing control.

Some planes can stall at low approach speeds, a nose heavy plane will stall at and even higher landing speed.

A Tale heavy plane can be hard to control at any speed. Assuming your wing is straight and not swept, the CG should not be more than 1/3 back from the leading edge of the wing.
If you're straight wing is 10 inch wide, your CG will be 3.3 inches back from a leading edge Max. Some trainers may have the CG back more, but the on board stabilization and self leveling prevents that from being a problem. Until you turn it off.

The apprentices in some ways, they do not teach you how to fly other planes unless you switch to the experience mode. When attempting to land in beginner mode you're practically pushing the stick all the way forward which you would never do in a nother plane that was not like that trainer.
In other words if you cannot fly the apprentices or other planes that have self leveling except for in the beginner mode, then you cannot fly other planes. some people get into the apprentices thinking that they can graduate to a different type of plane that does not have the same capability which is beginner mode.
I have seen two people do just that. They never got beyond the beginner mode because they couldn't. But they could fly drones or quadcopters. That is because those drones had self-leveling. And one guy could not get past the fact that in order to go forward in a plane, all you need to do is throttle up. For a drone it's different.
Last edited by Alan 3D; Mar 07, 2021 at 04:25 PM.
Mar 07, 2021, 04:37 PM
Registered User
Thread OP
The objective of a good landing is basically this.

Putting the wheels on the ground before the plane slows down too much. You have to fly the plane to the ground and not drop it from midair. If the plane is capable of flaring assuming you're already an inch or two off the ground okay but not recommended for beginners because it's too hard to judge flaring.
If stopping is a problem then you have to fix it somehow. Landing on grass fields is usually not a problem for stopping so long as you have enough runway. Belly Landers are airplanes with no landing gear. This type of plane can solve landing problems as far as stopping and rough field surfaces and no landing gear to break giving you more airtime and less drag. These are normally hand launched.

Not landing into the wind is something that beginners should not do unless the wind is low, maybe less than 5 miles an hour. Some planes have built-in stabilization that will compensate for that.

Also one of many problems would be trees and other obstacles that beginners and some experienced pilots will fly into on landings.

Don't misjudge how close you're plane is. Don't try to come in at the edge of the field where you cannot judge distance or where your plane actually is, best to land in the middle of field. I have seen many times planes drop below the tree line or hit a light post. I have seen many planes end up in trees.
I can say even me as an experienced pilot one time flying at a very high rate of speed at a low altitude hit a portable light generator in the middle of field because by the time I saw it, it was too late having tunnel vision on the plane.
From my experience the problem new pilots have is besides controlling left and right and distance and just flying and conditions they should not be flying in especially without an instructor.
Some non trainer planes can roll which for a beginner should not be using because that is a recipe for disaster. Even experienced people make mistakes on the roll control.

Another thing is when the plane is coming towards you and how to steer left or right which is the opposite of flying away from you. There is a mindset for most experienced RC pilots that, when the plane is coming towards you, and the wing tips to the right and you want to level the plane, you move the stick to the right or in the direction of the tip. that is a different mindset from when the plane is going away from you and you want to turn to the left you move the stick left.
Never have the sun in front of you where the plane is between you and the sun. First you'll be blinded and second you'll have a silhouette of the plane. That means sometimes you can't tell if the plane is coming or going.
Keep the plane close but not overhead.
Fly in a safe area not above trees or tall objects.
These things take time and come with experience.
Inverted flight is not for beginners. This takes a lot of time and experience to learn.
The only thing that is the same in inverted flight would be throttle and ailerons, that's it. Rudder and elevator are reversed.

Feel free to ask any questions on this post. I'm sure there are plenty of people out there willing to help.
Last edited by Alan 3D; Mar 07, 2021 at 07:07 PM.
Mar 08, 2021, 01:06 AM
B for Bruce
BMatthews's Avatar
What I've seen a lot is people that go into a shallow dive to get down quickly. But that's a very poor way to do this if one has a fairly streamlined sort of model. It results in a lot of speed which either makes the model zoom along the whole length of the landing area without settling or if forced down with even a slight push results in a lot of excess speed which can cause nasty bouncing.

Grass isn't so bad for this because grass acts like a brake so if the high speed push is done "just right" then one can get away with this poor procedure. Otherwise some nasty things can occur.

Far better to allow the model to glide down at the natural moderate to slow cruise speed. And then just before touch down pull back at the proper amount and time and hold level and allow the model to slow down and touch down naturally from a foot or less altitude.

Using open gentle turns and small inputs and having some patience with the slow reactions helps with the landing approach being smoother and more easily controlled.

And believe me, it's easier typed than it is put into practice in some ways.
Mar 08, 2021, 06:25 AM
Registered User
Just like in full size the trick is to get the final approach properly stabilised and I don't mean with electronics.
What you need is to get the plane facing directly into the wind, coming down at a constant shallow rate of decent, at a constant speed such that the projected flight path intersects the beginning of intended landing area. A long final approach gives you time to set up a stable constant flight path.
If you can achieve that then all you have to do is tiny adjustments to keep it that way until you are really close to the ground, then gently pull the stick back to flare and completely close the throttle. If you get it right the plane will 'hold off', slow right down and gently sink the last few inches to the ground.
So much easier to say than do.
Takes much eye/hand coordination practise to get all the variables 'in sync' so until you can do it 'first time every time' avoid making things whole orders more difficult by landing cross wind.
Even the strength of the wind plays a part as it introduces low level wind shear and possible turbulence effects into the final stages of the approach.
Mar 08, 2021, 08:54 AM
An itch?. Scratch build.
eflightray's Avatar
I prefer pictures, plus, I only show the good ones,

I wonder how many newbies treat landing as the last thing you have to do, and never bother to try practicing landing circuits ?

Successful Landings (2 min 40 sec)

Practice the approach pattern, and the gentle descent using throttle control, (don't dive using elevator).

But importantly -- lead the plane where you want, DON'T follow the plane and then correct.

Mar 08, 2021, 07:52 PM
Registered User
Thread OP
The advice is different depending on if you're landing on a landing strip or in a field where you can land in multiple directions.
Obviously landing into the wind helps a lot but that isn't always possible.
If you're flying gas or nitro sometimes you have to land immediately if your engine fails and you don't get a second chance and sometimes you will have to land downwind or crosswind.
I myself have given up nitro and gas which I used to do years ago and just do strictly electric now so I do not have Dead stick problems but I did lose a propeller in flight once but landed safely. Altitude gives you a margin of safety and keep the plane relatively close to the landing site.
Electrics have an advantage as far as slowing down, when you have no throttle the propeller acts like a break but again remember flying slow and low can be a problem. also keep in mind there is less wind at ground level and it is the most turbulent air on a windy day. You do not want to fly slow on a windy day.
I have gotten into the habit of not using flaps in flaperons improving my landings considerably especially with some aircraft that are capable of slower speeds. Also keep in mind the air is more steady at higher altitudes above tree line. Less turbulent.
If your field is too small, try using a net to catch the plane at end of landing strip. I have not had to do that but I do have a volleyball net on hand if I ever needed it.
The advice I give to the people at the airfield is
Don't fly low.
Don't fly slow.
Don't fly downwind too far.
Don't flying into the sun. Keep the sun to your back if possible.
And land in the middle of the field, not at the edge.
The only other advice I can think of is understand how to program your radio with expo and low rate and other things like mixes.
If you have telemetry, it can help you understand what's going on with your aircraft or at the least give you a in flight battery reading.
Any subject for RC you can look up on this website or just ask questions.
A lot of pilots out there really don't know much and that's kind of what gets in their way. Not having the knowledge.
Last edited by Alan 3D; Mar 27, 2021 at 09:51 AM.
Mar 08, 2021, 09:06 PM
Registered User
Do a traffic pattern, down wind, base and final approach. On final set up your approach descent by adjusting power and directional control. It helps to know where the wind is. You should be landing into the wind. Keep pulling back power and adding until you reach the ground. Then when you feel good and lined up, do a nice easy flair, and pull off your power. Bam done, remember no 2 landings will be the same. LOL!
Mar 10, 2021, 11:55 AM
fools? at least i'm honest :)
korakora's Avatar
Originally Posted by Alan 3D
The hardest part for me has always been The landings..
Hi Alan, i think that is your main problem state that words very strong thus that will haunt you everytime
i'm a person who flying lots of models in "every where" i want and i never think howto with the landing
my spirit is "launch first and get fun with it then think to landing later" but i'm always success...why? because contrary with yours thought i'm always have in mind the landing process is an easy
bond your mind with your plane then it will behave as you wanted

if you see my channel

(just need to watch one first minute and one last minute on each video)
i'm always show how to launch and how to land
if you see...tight landing every time....but please not too much look at the technic...but more to look how confidece i am...that is actually the main key
Mar 10, 2021, 01:28 PM
An itch?. Scratch build.
eflightray's Avatar
Strange how free flight models manage to land themselves, and rarely crash during landing.

Add radio control and someone controlling the sticks, and planes can often crash during landing.

Perhaps there is a clue there. Stop over controlling.

Mar 10, 2021, 01:59 PM
Registered User
Thread OP
I made it sound like I still continue to have landing problems which I don't really anymore. This post was started to help those who do.

There are many factors that determine good landings and I have figured out pretty much most of them if not all.

Last issue I had was my Yak54 with its nose way up high because of the landing gear, making room for a larger prop.
The problem with a nose high plane when landing especially one that can float and land slowly is often when it hits the ground it will occasionally bounced back up in the air and it could be real ugly. Plane can even do a cartwheel.
So I did what I've done with another plane that had the same issue
And that is get the nose less higher to prevent plane from bouncing all over the place. The reason why that is, is when the plan Lands the wing has less of an angle of attack.
The plane wants to stay on the ground.
Planes that have nose gear. Their angle of attack is so low the plane is practically stuck to the ground.
I can say now I do not have any issues with landing.
Where I flying most people would not, on a rough field. I use large tires in front and back. When planes on the ground, the angle of attack is low for
a taildragger, almost all my planes are.
Mar 10, 2021, 02:41 PM
An itch?. Scratch build.
eflightray's Avatar
I think the common factor here is most, (all ?), models look very heavy, so have a lot of mass/inertia to dissipate.

☠ Moments 2012 (7 min 8 sec)

Mar 10, 2021, 03:33 PM
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Thread OP
That video is showing that about every plane was landing at too slow of a speed with too much flaps and the mixing of flaps to elevator was wrong to boot. Basically they had very little to no control on landing.
Don't do what they did. Do you want to have control on landing or be out of control like they were.
Avoid using flaps if possible and land faster. The slower you go, the more chance you will get into trouble.

The planes like the mustangs and similar to that are very difficult to prevent from tipping forward especially on grass. I have broken the retrax landing gear on my Mustang so I just belly landed it perfectly every time with flaps and elevator mix. If you are using landing gear, I recommend very little flaps and hold the elevator on landing to prevent nose over. No guarantees there.
Those guys are landing on a strip and sometimes have crosswinds that complicates the landing.
In crosswind when putting down one wheel at a time, make sure it's the upwind wheel. Touching the downwind wheel first can be pretty ugly.

And you can see a lot of guys lost their wheels. That's not supposed to happen. If you have two, super glue the colit on. Believe me it will come off with a pair of pliers if you need to take it off. I use gel superglue. The colit is the round ring with the Allen screw. Allen screw needs to be tight, grind a little slot in the shaft for the Allen screw to sit in. If the Allen screw is not tight then forget it. My wheels do not fall off with the exception of one time in 35 years and that's because the Allen screw was not tight and the plane was sliding on the pavement sideways making wheel come off. Trying to take off on a narrow street and fishtailed too much trying to keep the plane down the center line. Almost wrecked that plane.
That plane had too much torque at full throttle and would never go straight on take off but once in the air was fine.
So for now on, I just take off in a field knowing that this particular plane will not take off in a straight line. Will always go to the left because of prop torque.
Last edited by Alan 3D; Mar 10, 2021 at 03:48 PM.
Mar 10, 2021, 03:44 PM
Retired USAF
Cobra1365's Avatar
Lots of good info. But, IMHO, needs to be organized a bit better.

Since this is in the Beginner Forum, letís start with the person flying a trainer.

Basics of the landing pattern:
Box pattern consists of Crosswind, Downwind, Base and Final. (recommended for beginners).
Overhead consists of flying up Initial (runway heading at pattern altitude), then an arc to Downwind an arc to Final.
Then thereís the Straight In. Long drawn in approach along runway heading. Unless youíre good at gauging airspeed, Iím not a fan.

Now, letís talk airspeed. Obviously, each airplane is different. But, if youíre zipping around at full throttle youíre whole flight and then have to get really slow, itís going to be uncomfortable at first. Slow your airplane down and see how it handles. First, thing I do with ANY airplane is fly it around the circuit a few times to get a feel for how it reacts to control input AND winds. Then, set up for a ďlanding at altitudeĒ. Fly an approach two mistakes high. Find out where the airplane stalls and HOW it stalls. Some will simply mush forward. Others will drop a wing.

In your landing pattern start slowing on Downwind. BUT...carry enough speed you can still maneuver thru you next two turns to Base and Final! Then, as mentioned earlier, control your decent on final with throttle, NOT elevator. Set the picture you want to see and use power to hold that picture. You want to describe a line from your airplane to the touchdown point. That point should be at the approach end of the runway, not after it has zipped by you so you end up running off the other end.

Donít be afraid to go thru consecutive batteries JUST shooting approaches! Putting the airplane where YOU want it rather than accepting where it goes will make your flying experience much more enjoyable.

Stall: Tip Stall is a phrase you hear a lot in this hobby. Personally, I hate that phrase! An airplane will stall at any airspeed and any attitude! The key is not to get those two combinations together to where it happens! So, even though you THINK you have enough airspeed, if you go into a situation where youíre overshooting the approach course and you reef back to tighten up the turn....guess what. Youíre likely going to induce an accelerated stall.
If you drag out the final approach where youíve descended to soon and are driving it in, itís very easy to misjudge the airspeed and stall. Especially, if the wind is gusting and it pitches your airplane up.
This goes back to setting up that pattern and managing your throttle throughout.

Flare: if your final looks good, then your round out and flare should just be transitioning to arrest the descent and aiming your nose at the other end of the runway. Ideally, 6 inches or less off the runway. Then kill power and let it settle in.

Flying fields and runways will play a huge role in you landings as well. Grass or paved. Tree lined or open spaces. Length of runway.
A short field is going to require you to plan your approach better. Itís critical to know how/when your airplane is about to depart controlled flight! See my above comments about flying a pattern at altitude.

Winds will also play havoc. Always plan to land into the wind. If you canít, remember you may appear to be fast. But, your stall speed is going to be higher!

Once you get more comfortable with your landings, you can start having more fun with them. Spot landings, Roll out competitions, one wheel touch downs, High Key spiral downs (pick a point and kill power. Then spiral down to landing).

I challenge myself on my landings all the time. Iíll be the first to admit I have had some crummy landings! But, when you get it right.....

Iíve posted these before. But, theyíre some of my more fun landings.

Wheels Landing w Cub. (0 min 20 sec)

Two Ship Landing (0 min 47 sec)

P-47 Razorback Landing (0 min 28 sec)
Mar 10, 2021, 04:15 PM
Registered User
Thread OP
There's a lot of advice here but it only pertains to some aircraft and there is quite a difference between craft.

Word of advice

If you are going to stall a plane, make sure you're really high and you're comfortable in a stall because I have seen plenty of people who go into a spiral and don't come out of it. Sometimes you can't even tell which way the plane is spinning. Especially those people that had the sun in front of them and all you see is a silhouette.
In this scenario you may want to dive with no throttle or very little to get out of a spin. If your throttle is wide-open your plane may never stop spinning on the way down. If you don't have enough altitude, you will make the Walk of shame when going to pick up the pieces of your plane.

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