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3 Secrets to Smooth Landings

Source: Wally Moran

Subscriber question:

"What are the top three magic bullets for making good landings?" - Roy B.


"The magic bullet for good landings, I wish I had one.

A few things I do know about good and bad landings is that the approach is the first part that must be right. So if your approach is not on speed and stable, save that bad landing by going around and setting it up again.

On speed means having the correct speed for the conditions and stabilized at that speed. A common mistake I often see is not getting the elevator trimmed for the desired speed. If you do this then the control pressures are the same for every landing. If you don't, then every landing is different.

Another mistake I see is that the pilot gets fixated on the aim point. Remember the purpose of the aim point is just to get you to the runway at a safe height. Once you have accomplished that, the aim point is no longer useful.

On final, you should frequently move your focal reference point from the aiming point to a ways down the runway, then to objects on the airport adjacent to the runway. As you approach the aim point, you need to focus your vision farther down the runway. The distance should be proportional to the speed of the aircraft. If you focus too close, things will be blurred and the reaction can be too abrupt or too late resulting in over control or drop in landings. If you focus too far away, the result can be a nose first landing.

Since the visual point is dependent upon speed, you will need to move your visual focus closer to the airplane as you slow down in the flare. Another problem can be trying to look over the nose. As the cowling starts to block our vision over the nose, we have to move our view over to the 10:30 or 11:00 position.

So make sure you have a stabilized approach, are in trim on final and try looking a little further down the runway after you cross the threshold, but then after you have started the flare bring it back a little closer to you. Maybe that will help you get those greasers we all want."

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