Microsoft Flight Simulator Handbook

by Jonathan M. Stern

Common Mistakes Made During Landing

Landing is one of the most difficult maneuvers for new pilots. Some of the more common mistakes that pilots make during the landing and the signs of these errors (along with my attempt at levity after having instructed many of the pilots who experienced most of these errors) are listed in Table 6.1. The appropriate corrective actions are listed in Table 6.2.

TABLE 6.1 Common Mistakes During Landing
Mistake Signs
Approach Too Low The runway numbers have disappeared over the horizon; tree limbs are scratching the new paint job; the touchdown target is constantly being revised.
Approach Too Slow You can't concentrate because that darn stall warning horn won't stop blaring; you've never before seen the airspeed needle below the white arc while in flight; a bird just passed you on the right.
Flare Too High You note what a nice smile that tower controller has; your nose bleeds spontaneously; your passengers use their cellular phones to make dentist's appointments.
Flare Too Late All of your passengers suddenly assumed the crash position; the asphalt just keeps coming at you; runway numbers fill the windscreen.
Too Much Float Your passengers compliment you on the smoothest landing they've ever experienced but only you know that you haven't yet touched down.
Ballooning (Over-pitching in the flare.) Your passenger asks where you're going this time; the tower controllers remind you that it was a landing they cleared you for; as the stall warning horn comes on, your passengers are on the phone with the dentist again.
Bounce On Touchdown Your instructor logs three landings for the flight; you recognize that an airplane does indeed have some of the same properties as a basketball.
Hard Landing Your passengers do not cancel their appointments with their dentists; local aircraft mechanics greet your flight to offer quotes.
Sideload On Touchdown You hear sounds like those made by fingernails on a chalkboard; your derriere slides in a downwind direction in the seat; you see the mechanics on their way to greet you again.
Ground Loop The old timers tell you that you've just joined a club that many of them belong to; the tower supervisor wants you to call in; the flight school suggests some additional instruction.
TABLE 6.2 Corrective Actions for Common Landing Mistakes
Mistake Corrective Action
Approach Too Low Add power; then increase pitch to arrest any further descent until the airplane is back on a normal glide path.
Approach Too Slow Add power; if necessary, increase pitch to arrest descent.
Flare Too High Stop increasing pitch and allow the airplane to continue descent before starting the flare again (assuming sufficient airspeed); if necessary, add a slight amount of power.
Flare Too Late Begin the flare earlier and higher or don't make as steep an approach.
Too Much Float Keep your speed down to the recommended approach speed; higher speeds require the use of the excess energy during the flare, which can last a very long time.
Ballooning Use pitch control more gradually in the flare; add power to cushion the landing.
Bounce on Touchdown If the bounce is severe, execute a go around; otherwise, add power and maintain proper pitch control.
Hard Landing Because the hard landing can result from flaring too late, flaring too high, or flaring too early, look at what I said about those.
Sideload on Touchdown Control lateral drift during flare and touchdown in crosswinds.
Ground Loop Maintain positive directional control with rudder during landing; land on a well maintained runway.

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