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Taller pilots, advice with landings?


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Im in my first semester of private, 3 flights done, 1 1/2 practicing landings. I'm 6' 2 1/2", I find it difficult to get a good sight picture to know when to start an approach. My instructor says when the LZ is in line with the bottom of the compass, he starts. I always come up 5-10' shy of the LZ. Any advice on what to look for when starting the approach? This is in an R44 Raven II btw.

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Im in my first semester of private, 3 flights done, 1 1/2 practicing landings. I'm 6' 2 1/2", I find it difficult to get a good sight picture to know when to start an approach. My instructor says when the LZ is in line with the bottom of the compass, he starts. I always come up 5-10' shy of the LZ. Any advice on what to look for when starting the approach? This is in an R44 Raven II btw.

 

Ahh, a short guy. Everyone's perspective is going to be different. Your problem coming up 10 feet short is not because of your height, or your sight picture. Quite frankly, it's because you are a brand new pilot just getting the feel for the ship.

 

An R44 is easy to make some slight adjustments along the way in. If you feel like you're coming up short again, just add a touch of power to carry you to the pad. I think you're just being too critical of yourself at too early of your training stage.

 

Of course, just my opinion. Maybe others, more demanding of perfection in your first 4 or 5 hours will have a different opinion!

 

As far as tips, just draw a mental line between you and your desired landing spot. Slide down that line at a smooth even descent. Especially helpful when you start doing some more advanced manuevers.

Fly safe,

 

Goldy

Edited by Goldy
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While sitting on the ground, extend your left arm straight ahead, with your thumb holding your little finger, i.e. you have three fingers horizontal at arm's length in front of your face.

 

Put the top of the top finger on the horizon. Your ideal glideslope will be the bottom of your third finger. Learn where it is in the window relative to the horizon, that gives you a consistent glideslope in any aircraft, whether it has rivets on the canopy bow, compass cards, Vne cards, whatever.

 

Airborne you might want to check it once or twice until you develop a feel for where it has to be. Some instructors throw a hissy fit if you take your hand off the collective. They are not worth getting upset about.

 

If your instructor says you are too steep, use 2 fingers. But make sure you have a normal length arm and it is full extension.

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There is a frozen rope, or a very narrow laser beam projecting towards you from the middle of your landing spot. The angle between level ground and the rope/beam is 10 degrees. Make your eyeball intercept that angle, and stay on it, for a normal approach. Don't rush yourself by giving yourself a short final.

Edited by aeroscout
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Remember that whatever reference you use, it will change somewhere on short final. If you're flying the "shallow angle" to the ground, it will move farther away and earlier than a steep approach to a hover, but it always starts moving at some point.

Reference points on the airframe give you an idea what the angle will look like on the ground before you take off, but in flight the airframe's pitch will change that angle constantly.

What worked for me as an ab initio was a fixed height above the ground at a fixed distance from the selected point to get an idea what the angle would look like.

 

Finally, "smooth" works wonders improving the perception of the quality of your flying. It won't make a 'steep to the ground' into a 'shallow to a hover', but reducing the amount of maneuver induced 'g' makes everybody think you know what you're doing. Incidentally, it makes you think ahead and plan changes, which is where you're going anyhow...

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You have stated that you can not perceive or recognize the sight picture for a normal approach. Perception is Level One Situational Awareness. With so little time in the helo you are still developing SA L-1.

 

Ask you CFI to fly inbound to the proper approach sight picture(he calls it out loud) and have the CFI continue flying the approach so you can sit back and develop recognition of what it looks like. Reference where the sight picture is on the wind screen. Forget about the compass, top of this or 3 rivets from whatever as this is not SA development. Also, ask him/her to talk you thru the bottom end where you must shift your eyes forward, pull in some power and apply forward pressure on the cyclic to continue to the spot! If you do not shift your eyes forward you will land short with a perfect sight picture. As you pull in power the pitch attitude will increase (nose comes up) and you must apply slight forward cyclic pressure to make it to the spot.

 

Always discuss your lack of understanding with your CFI. They are there to solve your problems and help you reach your goals. If they are not willing or skilled to do this, look for another CFI.

 

Best wishes,

 

Mike

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Good points posted above. I used to tell my students that there is no such thing as "ending up short" or "going long". Shooting approaches isn't like shooting basketballs or putting in golf where you can miss. The only reason a person doesn't end up on their spot is because they didnt fly there.

Edited by Pohi
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Thanks for the tips everyone. Training is going great with my CFI, just looking for more advice. I was finding myself unsure of when to start approaches, making the whole approach a bit more flustering than it probably should've been. My last few were pretty good. I guess muscle memory will kick in once I get more landings in.

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When on final, there is a "gate" at about 300' agl and 60kt.

When you are at the gate, select the hover attitude and reduce the power to hold the aim point steady in the window. Do not use attitude to keep the aim point steady.

 

Attitude is airspeed, power is glideslope.

 

You want an apparent walking pace over your toes, and if the aim point moves up (under-arc) the power must go up to put you back on path. Remember the secondary effects of power - the nose will want to come up, making you slow down and sink further. Don't let the attitude change.

 

Down the slope you come, airspeed / groundspeed slowly bleeding off. As you get closer to the ground, your apparent walking pace is still the same, because your groundspeed has decreased. Around 30kt or lower, you come through the bottom of the drag curve, and drag will increase with a decrease in speed. The aircraft will want to sink. Use power to stop it, and then move your aim point further upwind by 2 aircraft lengths - otherwise your eye will fly down the original line and your skids will hit the ground short of the target.

 

Now, as you continue to maintain a walking pace and a glideslope to the new aim point, the speed is bleeding off and the power is slowly coming in. Be aware of how fast this power is increasing - are you approaching downwind? If so, go around before you run out of translational.

 

Around 15kt you will start to lose translational, needing more power - don't let the nose come up! Stay with the hover attitude, and miraculously you will finish over the target in the hover, and your re-selected aim point will still be in the correct- glideslope part of the windscreen.

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