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Landing Hesitation


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Hey guys!

 

I'm only just starting to get the hang of hovering, and now my instructor has started to let me take off and land. With the take offs I'm quite happy, but on the landings...

 

Basically when I come in for landing I do the transition to hover, and then I move over to where I want to land, get the nose into the wind, settle down down until it's nice and stable-ish, and then lower the collective until I'm about 15 or 20cm off the ground.. by this time I've taken quite long to get there, and by now I've sort of lost my positioning, either I'm yawing a tiny bit, or I've started drifting very slightly. Now I think the helicopter can take it, but I'm so scared to death of dynamic rollover that I want to really stop allll movement - but now I'm so close to the ground I'm afraid of correcting too much - and now I just screw it up, and lose my nice stable hover..

 

It sucks, because I get all the way down there, hovering right over the numbers or wherever I want to land, and then screw it up at the last second because I'm hesitating too much. Out of the 10 or so landings I've done now I think maybe 2 were 'acceptable'.. The rest were either too hard, or I forgot my right pedal on the last bit after I lower collective (as if I "stop controlling" after I touch the ground... :o ).

 

I suppose it will get better as my hovering technique improves.. I also find that I land a bit better at the first part of the lesson, maybe by the end my brain is tired - not to mention my cyclic hand!

 

Does anyone have any tips for landing, just to get over that last-inches mental hurdle?

 

Thanks!

DF

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What ship are you flying? I found when I tried to take my time and make a landing perfect and slow, it was always worse than if I just was direct to it. Fly it right to the ground from hover. This was my experience anyway. Better to just get it on the ground, there is less time to over correct and yaw around.

 

Dave

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Don,t worry almost everyone has foot trouble for quite a while.

The last few CM. is possibly due to not being sure how far off the ground you are ? when in the hover try to get a real steady decent and just keep it going.

I found much the same thing when training in a 300, just relaxing the muscles in my hand was enough to get down from the real low hover, I was like you and hung around to long before landing.

We all have trouble with one thing or another you will get the hang of it.

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I had the same problem in the beginning. I'm training in a R22. One of the things that help was to take my mind off it. Either count down in my head or have my instructor chat to me. I find if I think about landing too much I ended up going all over the place.

 

Wait till you do slope landings. :)

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Hi DF.

 

I had same problem. Make sure that you are not staring just front of you before touchdown. Keep you eyes close to horizont (I often tended to move my eyes down in attempt to "better" judge the height :rolleyes: ). Also you can allow slight movement forward. Good luck.

 

Petr

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Hey guys!

 

I'm only just starting to get the hang of hovering, and now my instructor has started to let me take off and land. With the take offs I'm quite happy, but on the landings...

 

 

Does anyone have any tips for landing, just to get over that last-inches mental hurdle?

 

Thanks!

DF

 

Wassup Fudge!

 

I can only offer you some words of encouragement at this stage of my career since I am a low time (almost 30 hours) helicopter newbe. I can relate to your situation though! I had a lot of trouble in the beginning making those smooth, soft touchdowns. I am by no means an expert yet, but it is getting a bit easier. My troubles according to my instructor were related to both hesitation AND hurry. I hesitated at the beginning instead of letting it settle, and I lowered colective too fast at the end resulting in a small thump. What has worked for me is to really concentrate on the smooth, slow lowering of the collective at the setdown stage, and to be careful not to move the cyclic forward and left too early. (Or too much) In addition, application of the correct pedal pressure to maintain that heading has helped a lot too.

 

Just keep at it and it will come to you! One day it will click and your setdowns will be like buttta!

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With time, everything will become easier. I second that looking off into the distance, ie. a lightpole or flagpole or something a few hundred yards away, will definitly help with the pedal control.

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Eyes way out front, not on the ground in front of your aircraft.

Keep a little forward movement until touchdown.

 

Relax, the more you do it the easier it gets.

Just like when you were a child learning to ride a bicycle.

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It's nerves. "Pad monster" my first Instructor called it.

 

Whatever the MAP/torque at the hover is, decrease it by an inch (or 5%, whichever) and I guarantee you're going to settle to the ground, all you have to do is fly it all the way down. For general purpose, you can try to remember how much "throw" (travel/movement) of the collective is required to decrease the MAP/torque below the magic hover number and then you will begin to be able to "feel" how much collective reduction it will take to land your helicopter. There may be a little more technique involved for manual throttle helicopters.

 

When I find a junior birdman with a Pad Monster on his back, I'll play a little game. I'll start the clock and I'll do controlled takeoffs to a hover and landings for one full minute. I can usually do 4 and sometimes 5. The rules are to not yank the aircraft up off the ground and not to plop it onto the ground and bend the skids (an automatic disqualification). Also, you have to pause at the prescribed hover height for the helicopter (3 feet for mine). So, my 4 is usually because I exaggerate my stabilized hover.

 

Anyways, I'll do one minute and then give the other pilot the controls and have him do his minute, then I'll do another minute, and then he does a second minute, etc.. These are guys with 200+ hours, so if you have a Pad Monster early on, like I did (way back at 10 hours), I guess I'm saying that you can overcome it. I've seen it done!! ;)

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Aw heck, I still move all over the place. Mostly I think it's PIO, unconcienciously(sp) of course. First the right skid bounces, then the left, then right, then left, then we're doin' the cha-cha. Come on everyone, do the helo dance. Pad monster-a-go-go.

 

Like the others say; distraction, slow down, and move forward, it helps immensly.

 

Later

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Often times that 'hestiation' is not so much nerves, but a failing to appreciate the effect of ground effect.

 

Does this sound familiar?

 

As you lower the collective from 5 feet, you will descend. In the descent you might find that your descent stops very close to the ground, and you have to make another collective input to get down all the way. In this time as nerves increase, you stiffen up on the controls and a wobble sets in...then its all to pot. You panic a little and pull collective to try again. Then you're back to square-1!

 

There has been a lot of good advice on this thread so far.

 

In addition, rather than the two-step descent, ,my advice would be to aim to envisage / think / make a 'smooth' descent all the way to the ground. This requires a slow, but continual lowering of the collective to over-come the ground effect.

 

Then, as your skids touch the ground, you need to simply think how you are going to keep the disc level. If the back of the helicopter touches first, then with more lowering the disc is going to lean forward, so back cyclic must be applied - not before, but during. If the left skid touches first, then left cyclic must be applied.

 

Normally a combination of both inputs will be needed.

 

Good luck!

 

Joker

Edited by joker
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The fix is easy and works forever, because this problem WILL come up again. Thousands of hours, and tens of thousands of landings, this problem shows up periodically for me.

 

The Fix:

Forget about how high you are at any point in the landing process. Once positioned over the point, concentrate on holding the helo steady. Commence a S-L-O-W descent as you continue to concentrate on holding the helo motionless. When the collective hits the bottom stop, you've landed. You'll have to accept some roll and pitch changes to hold the helo stationary, but yaw never varies. Don't feel for the ground, the aircraft attitude will vary a little when you get ground contact, but may also do so as ground effect increases- Just hold the bird in place until the collective's on the bottom stop. This works for slopes, too.

The secret of good landing technique is that there isn't any "Landing technique", it's just hovering. If you're over the point you're landing to, it doesn't matter if you're 0.1 or 10 inches off the ground, as long as the helo is not moving.

Edited by Wally
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I like to think of it as flying it all the way to the ground. The ideal is a constant slow descent, but in practice that usually doesn't happen, there are stops and starts because of changes in lift caused by gusts or wind changes, or pilot technique. It's what you should strive for, though - a constant, slow rate of descent from the hover to flat pitch. Just fly it all the way to the ground, and remember that every flight, and every landing, is different, so there is no one way to get it done. Stability and lack of hurry are always essential, though. I started out sloppy, but after logging more than 9,000 landings in one 7-month period, I started to get the hang of it. I still bang one now and then, though.

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The "Pad Monster" as described to me when I was a young student actually corresponds to that last minute ground effect Joker mentioned, however, it describes the psychological reaction of "feeling for the ground", if you will, when the expected ground contact does not occur, and the result, when most young pilots "lose it" and overcontrol the helicopter in the hover and then either just plop it down or else pick it back up to a hover to try it all over again. I was one of the latter.

 

Luckily most of those days are well and far behind me. Many are the days when we throttle down, or even climb out, and the aircraft "settles" on the skids because I've put her down too smoothly. :) So, I always give thanks to my instructor for teaching me that little training drill.

 

Given the same airfield and relatively the same conditions you took off in, the aircraft will touchdown on the ground at a collective position just less than the collective position where it lifted off. In order to be on the ground, you actually have to get the collective back to that position or less. It corresponds to an angle of attack that you can't see and a power setting that you can see, but most importantly, it corresponds to that feeling of the helicopter touching the ground. But, what it does not correspond to is a slowing and stopping of descent, which is often mistaken for approaching ground contact...close, but no cigar.

 

Even at that collective/power/pitch setting that will not support any ground effect hover, there is still the danger of dynamic rollover. I had this illustrated to me once by an OH-58D instructor who demonstrated that at 1/2 to 2/3 of hover power you could generate enough lift to raise one skid off the ground. So, Joker's and Wally's and Gomer's admonitions to continue to hover the aircraft all the way to the ground and Wally's qualification to hover it until the collective hits the down stop are extremely valid.

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Its called the "Student force field." You get right to that point and stop. When I was doing my training I had the same issue and it was because I was looking right in front of me. Once I got rid of that habit, it went away. UNTIL I started landing on dolly's. Then it came back because I was looking down at the dolly. So just look straight out and relax.

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i think everyone experiences this in the begining of their training. I overcame this by working the pedals for ten minutes while my instructor lowered the collective and used the cyclic. I found that whenever I was getting very close to the ground I would add some power then take away some power, which was fine , but I would be yawing all over the place. so i just had to relax my feet and work the pedals alot more. the pedal controls were always the hardest part for me to overcome.

 

I think if you let the instructor fly the collective and cyclic while you just consentrate on the pedals, your landings might become smoother and safer...

 

then after you work on the pedals, then just work on the collective while the instructor controls the pedals and cyclic, that way you are only working on one control at a time...

 

 

and if this fails, by 30-40 hours, your landing will be almost perfect. time will help you the most, their is no substatute for experience...

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Thank you so much for all your advice guys! I've tried the technique today where I just look at a reference point on the horizon and keep the attitude and heading the same while smoothly lowering collective - and it actually worked!

 

I must say however that out of the 10 or so landings I did today a good majority were absolutely crap though.. But - I haven't been flying for a few days due to technical problems with some of the school's R22s, and the lovely gale force winds here in Cape in South Africa, so I felt like I lost my touch..

 

Thanks again!

DF

Edited by DigitalFudge
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When in a steady hover, come down to half the height and stop. Then halve the height and stop again. half and stop. Half and... look at that, we are on the ground!

 

if you form the thought "I am hovering, and now I will land", you will stuff it up. Landing is not different from hovering.

 

 

Just hover lower until the ground takes the weight.

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Here at Rucker my IP's called it the Anti-Gravity Pad. Damn thing gets me everytime. Just give yourself a Hovering Auto... Then you don't have a choice. He he, just kidding, don't do that.

 

 

CHAD

Edited by FLHooker
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  • 4 weeks later...

I have similar difficulties lately. I have found that I can set-down an R44 Astro quite well (fairly smooth, minimal movement) but in a Raven I have alot more movement and also never seen to provide the correct pedal pressure when nearly on the ground and have a slight bit of left rotation. Drives me nuts. The hydraulic controls in the Raven are to lightweight for me on setdown, plus in the old Astro I can trim the controls out a bit and give myself a little more room to move the stick (yes, I'm fat).

 

Other than proper control actuation, the key is definitely focusing outside not straight down, once I beat that into my head I have done a great deal better. Taking the doors off makes a world of difference to me as well (easier to "feel" the wind).

 

I had the same problem, until we got in to doing no hover landings. My no hover landings were better then my normal landing!!! Then I finally started to get better at my normal landings.
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It's amazing how much looking off in the distance will help you to not over control. I was doing the same thing and looking right in front when we got close to the ground and I didn't even realize it. My instructor suggested a couple other things to me as well that might help. Don't search for the ground; the skids will find it on their own. Also, once you start the decent from a hover, don't raise the collective. Establish your decent and smoothly push through that last layer of ground effect when it comes up.

 

When in a steady hover, come down to half the height and stop. Then halve the height and stop again. half and stop. Half and... look at that, we are on the ground!

 

[wiseass]

Well technically, if you keep lowering it half way you'll never actually touch the ground. :P

[/wiseass]

Edited by me shakes fist
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From stabilized three foot hover eyes outside 50 - 75 feet. Initiate the decent by lowering the collective, once you hit that little "cushion" that holds you up, continue lowering the collective untill your skids hit the ground. Once you have ground contact, slowly lower the collective the rest of the way, neutralize cyclic and pedals. One of the problems I had when I was in training was not flying the helicopter all of the way to the ground. My skids would touch the ground and I would try to neutralize the pedals before the collective is fully down and so on. The best thing to think about is, hover it all the way to the ground until the collective is fully down. The only change in the hovering is the lowering of the collective and a little right pedal. Just keep the helicopter stable and always remember, EYES OUTSIDE! Good luck!

 

P.S. Landing with a little bit of forward motion helps if it is windy.

Edited by Autorotator
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