PDA

View Full Version : Slow Flight Tips (and Carrier Traps or Landings)



wickedpenguin
10-20-2004, 07:19 AM
Hi there,

I've been seeing a lot of threads here and other places about sim pilots who've been having trouble landing. I recently started my Private Pilot flight training and think there are a couple of things out of the syllabus that could help people for their landings:

<UL TYPE=SQUARE>
<LI>Slow Flight
<LI>Stalls
<LI>Accuracy Approaches
[/list]

Slow Flight: SF is a really tricky balance of power and pitch. You want the airplane to generate as much lift as possible, so you have your nose pitched up and your flaps out, but at the same you want to lose altitude to make the landing.

Power control is supremely important when you're flying as slow as you need to in order to hit the carrier. Power - contrary to what many might think - controls your altitude. If you're too low on approach, increase power, which will extend your approach and arrest your descent rate. The opposite is true - cut the power and you will lose altitude quicker.

Practice: Go up to a certain altitude - say 3000ft. Throttle back, drop your flaps and gear (and hook), and attempt to fly as slow as possible *without* losing altitude. You most likely will be flying in a nose-high altitude to generate the most lift. Stay ahead of the airplane, especially when you're in such a high-drag configuration (any altitude you lose will not easily be won back). The second you start seeing the altimeter drifting counterclockwise, add in more power to maintain altitude.

--------------

Stalls: Learn your airplane's stall characteristics - both Power On and Power Off. Today's Cessnas and Pipers are gentle when they stall - the plane will shudder, the nose will drop, and then you just recover after speed has built up. High performance WWII planes are quite different. They range from violent to gentle when entering a stall. Some, like the P-39, enter a flat spin easier because their engine is mounted in the center of the plane and there's not enough weight forward to pull the nose down.

For those who don't know the difference: Power-Off stalls typically happen when you're flying dirty and slow, such as on landings. You're pretty much flying wings-level and your throttle is pulled back. Power-ON stalls simulate abrupt climbs, like if you're taking off and there's something on the runway and you NEED to get off the ground. They involve full power and extremely nose-high pitch angles (in essence, you're trading speed for altitude as quickly as possible).

Practice Power Off Stalls: Do the same procedure as for slow flight, but when you're flying as slow as possible, cut the power and attempt to hold the airplane at altitude. Use your rudder to maintain heading, since the ailerons will be plenty mushy and a dropped wing could result in a spin. The airplane will stall, and you'll find out how it behaves. Good stuff to know in case you make your approach too slow.

Practice Power On Stalls: Fly at 3000 feet and throttle back until you're flying at takeoff speed. Simultaneouly add full throttle and pull the nose as far back as possible. You'll most likely be standing on a rudder pedal to counteract the torque. Keep the nose pointed as far up as possible until airspeed drops and the plane stalls - then take note of its characteristics.

--------------

Accuracy Approaches: Basically, do whatever it takes to put the plane *safely* on a specific patch of runway. In real life, you could choose the numbers or other runway markings, but I guess in PF or FB, just tell yourself "I'm going to set it down next to that 3rd AAA gun" http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif.

I haven't actually done this part of my flight training yet, but essentially, it's a matter of finding a balance between all your options. Coming in too high? Add full flaps and reduce power and you'll sink like a stone without gaining forward airspeed. Coming in too low? Add power to extend your final approach.

Practice: Take off and do a left-hand pattern on the airfield. Do touch and go's, choosing a single point on the runway as your touchdown point. Don't change that point until you're absolutely confident you can nail it each time and every time, using any and all options under your control.

Remember: if you're coming aboard a carrier, that point will be in constant motion, both forward and laterally, so you will have to "chase" it. The good thing is that your actual relative touchdown speed will be lower your airspeed.

Also - try it under different combat or damage configurations. What if your flaps are shot away or jammed and you need to make the landing with no flaps? What if you had to abort and you're landing with a full load of fuel? What if your rudder is inoperative?

--------------

I hope this helps some people who've been having trouble controlling their aircraft in the low-speed area of flight and making accurate landings. I know my sim landings have improved a lot since I started studying real-life flight. I've yet to apply these to a carrier landing (PF's not out here yet) but what I put here is pretty general and should apply I hope.

It's all a matter of knowing your airplane and keeping it under control in all aspects of flight, no matter how slow or fast or high or low.

wickedpenguin
10-20-2004, 07:19 AM
Hi there,

I've been seeing a lot of threads here and other places about sim pilots who've been having trouble landing. I recently started my Private Pilot flight training and think there are a couple of things out of the syllabus that could help people for their landings:

<UL TYPE=SQUARE>
<LI>Slow Flight
<LI>Stalls
<LI>Accuracy Approaches
[/list]

Slow Flight: SF is a really tricky balance of power and pitch. You want the airplane to generate as much lift as possible, so you have your nose pitched up and your flaps out, but at the same you want to lose altitude to make the landing.

Power control is supremely important when you're flying as slow as you need to in order to hit the carrier. Power - contrary to what many might think - controls your altitude. If you're too low on approach, increase power, which will extend your approach and arrest your descent rate. The opposite is true - cut the power and you will lose altitude quicker.

Practice: Go up to a certain altitude - say 3000ft. Throttle back, drop your flaps and gear (and hook), and attempt to fly as slow as possible *without* losing altitude. You most likely will be flying in a nose-high altitude to generate the most lift. Stay ahead of the airplane, especially when you're in such a high-drag configuration (any altitude you lose will not easily be won back). The second you start seeing the altimeter drifting counterclockwise, add in more power to maintain altitude.

--------------

Stalls: Learn your airplane's stall characteristics - both Power On and Power Off. Today's Cessnas and Pipers are gentle when they stall - the plane will shudder, the nose will drop, and then you just recover after speed has built up. High performance WWII planes are quite different. They range from violent to gentle when entering a stall. Some, like the P-39, enter a flat spin easier because their engine is mounted in the center of the plane and there's not enough weight forward to pull the nose down.

For those who don't know the difference: Power-Off stalls typically happen when you're flying dirty and slow, such as on landings. You're pretty much flying wings-level and your throttle is pulled back. Power-ON stalls simulate abrupt climbs, like if you're taking off and there's something on the runway and you NEED to get off the ground. They involve full power and extremely nose-high pitch angles (in essence, you're trading speed for altitude as quickly as possible).

Practice Power Off Stalls: Do the same procedure as for slow flight, but when you're flying as slow as possible, cut the power and attempt to hold the airplane at altitude. Use your rudder to maintain heading, since the ailerons will be plenty mushy and a dropped wing could result in a spin. The airplane will stall, and you'll find out how it behaves. Good stuff to know in case you make your approach too slow.

Practice Power On Stalls: Fly at 3000 feet and throttle back until you're flying at takeoff speed. Simultaneouly add full throttle and pull the nose as far back as possible. You'll most likely be standing on a rudder pedal to counteract the torque. Keep the nose pointed as far up as possible until airspeed drops and the plane stalls - then take note of its characteristics.

--------------

Accuracy Approaches: Basically, do whatever it takes to put the plane *safely* on a specific patch of runway. In real life, you could choose the numbers or other runway markings, but I guess in PF or FB, just tell yourself "I'm going to set it down next to that 3rd AAA gun" http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif.

I haven't actually done this part of my flight training yet, but essentially, it's a matter of finding a balance between all your options. Coming in too high? Add full flaps and reduce power and you'll sink like a stone without gaining forward airspeed. Coming in too low? Add power to extend your final approach.

Practice: Take off and do a left-hand pattern on the airfield. Do touch and go's, choosing a single point on the runway as your touchdown point. Don't change that point until you're absolutely confident you can nail it each time and every time, using any and all options under your control.

Remember: if you're coming aboard a carrier, that point will be in constant motion, both forward and laterally, so you will have to "chase" it. The good thing is that your actual relative touchdown speed will be lower your airspeed.

Also - try it under different combat or damage configurations. What if your flaps are shot away or jammed and you need to make the landing with no flaps? What if you had to abort and you're landing with a full load of fuel? What if your rudder is inoperative?

--------------

I hope this helps some people who've been having trouble controlling their aircraft in the low-speed area of flight and making accurate landings. I know my sim landings have improved a lot since I started studying real-life flight. I've yet to apply these to a carrier landing (PF's not out here yet) but what I put here is pretty general and should apply I hope.

It's all a matter of knowing your airplane and keeping it under control in all aspects of flight, no matter how slow or fast or high or low.

Lateralus_14
10-20-2004, 10:04 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by wickedpenguin:

_Accuracy Approaches:_ Basically, do whatever it takes to put the plane *safely* on a specific patch of runway. In real life, you could choose the numbers or other runway markings, but I guess in PF or FB, just tell yourself "I'm going to set it down next to that 3rd AAA gun" http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif.

I haven't actually done this part of my flight training yet, but essentially, it's a matter of finding a balance between all your options. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I have. It was only my fifth or sixth lesson; we were circling the pattern to come in for a touch-and-go. Usually we had a routine where we would start our landing sequence as we passed by the numbers written on the runway. Right as we passed them, I was reaching up to pull back the RPMs when my instructor grabbed it and pulled it all the way back to 0%. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif
'Engine failure!; He said.
'Bring the plane in so your wheels hit the numbers.'
He took the controls to show me 'how it's done'. We came around final, gliding in real slow, starts to become obvious that we're short. He gets miffed, throttles up to max and we scoot out of there to go around again.
So we get back into position, throttle out to 0% again, this time I take it. Flaps deployed just slowly enough to maintain a slow descent and proper loss of airspeed, keep the base and final turns real smooth and slow, lined up with the runway, looking good. Coming in, find myself a little low, but unlike my instructor I have a little extra speed built up, so I pitch back just a hair to get the properly adjusted. Start the flare just as we pass over the edge of the grass, that familiar little moment of uncertainty as the plane starts to stall at the end of the flare, wheels screech happily as they touch right smack on the numbers.

Oh yeah, my instructor is pissed. I'm feeling pretty **** good about my flying skills. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_cool.gif Fortunately I don't have to repeat it to prove it wasn't just a fluke. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Fliger747
10-20-2004, 11:35 AM
Not having the game as yet, I cann'a be specific to it's qwirks. However the main things to remember is youwillneed to develop and maintain good airspeed and pitch control. Once this is accomplished you can train your eye to evaluate your path, and adjust it with pitch and power such that you can land within a few feet of the same spot, everytime,within a knot or two of the desired airspeed. Takes a lot of practice!

Trim is the secret, being trimmed in pitch for the desired airspeed and power setting. Listen to the 'engine/prop' pitch (sound) for power setting and use what you need. Once you can make a stabilized approach, very small corrections will be all thatis necessary. With power change, pitch changes (due to airflow over the tail) and rudder input changes (torque/P factor etc). So eventually one learns to automatically apply rudder with power change, tweak the trim etc.

At the 'cut', the nose will fall as the airflow over the tail is reduced, so one can suck the stick back to compensate for this. If done right, one will squat tail low ( probably not three point) and catch a wire (if in the right spot).

If the 'game' ever shows up here in the wilds of Alaska I might have some more specific ideas. Each aircraft will have a best approach speed of it's own, depending on weight. For a F4U try 85 knots or so on final to the cut, which will give about 75 knots in the flare, which should typically work out well.

Good Luck!

darkhorizon11
10-20-2004, 01:59 PM
"Stalls: Learn your airplane's stall characteristics - both Power On and Power Off. Today's Cessnas and Pipers are gentle when they stall - the plane will shudder, the nose will drop, and then you just recover after speed has built up. High performance WWII planes are quite different. They range from violent to gentle when entering a stall. Some, like the P-39, enter a flat spin easier because their engine is mounted in the center of the plane and there's not enough weight forward to pull the nose down."


Although trainers fly easier than a Mustang or and bf 109 stalls are actually pretty similiar. IL2's stall model is pretty inaccurate.

The key to the way an aircraft will stall is the planform (wing shape) and configuration, actually there are many other pre-stall variables but we'll stick with those for now. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif A straight wing aircraft like a Cessna 172, Piper Warrior, or even a Hellcat will experience seperation of airflow at the wingroot giving the pilot aileron control throughout most of the stall. An elliptical wing aircraft like a Cap 10B or a Spitfire will will experience seperation across most of the trailing edge or the wing simultaneously. A swept wing aircraft like an Me 262, 737, or any modern jet liner will first stall at the wing tip, then the seperation moves inward untill the entire wing is stalled.

I've had my private for almost 2 years now and I'm almost done with instrument. Here's a tip:
in slow flight (aka on the backside of the power curve), pitch control airspeed and power controls altitude or rate of descent. Remember that. It will help alot, especially if you do instrument and start flying approaches.

Fliger747
10-20-2004, 02:30 PM
The point of practicing approach to stalls is to learn recognition and recovery. This is not a manuver that one will use in almost any flight operations. The biggest difference between a sim and a real airplane is that the seat of pants feel in a plane will with a little experience give some warning. This is not always the case, but sims give zip for feel.

Stall is not your only problem. Power approaches are nmade to provide maximum control of a spot landing on a moving target. Many planes of that era had what we would call a VMCA (min control speed in the air) on a multi, because of torque and P-factor issues. One great example of this is the F4U, which (depending on the model) will roll before stalling with power application. In that case keep the airspeed above 82 knots till the cut. Violate this rule and you will probably 'die' upsidedown.

Wing wash modifies the aileron (tip flow) at the stall. Other issues such as presence of slats or slots also affect controllability at high angles of attack by energizing the airflow there! Rudder is an important issue in controlability at these speeds as well. The P51 had a very narrow window when it was tried out for carrier quals, because of small rudder (running out of directional control).

Been flying planes for 31 years, including the Supercub and 747-400, both of which I fly every week. Gott'a buy my own gas for the cub though!

Looking forward to this thing showing up at my local store (support your local merchant) and embarassing myself. Of such things are made challenges!

Jungmann
10-20-2004, 03:07 PM
F4U, like most big-engined fighters, very susceptible to torque rolling with a heavy application of power at a low airspeed. I remember seeing a film (does anybody have the video?) of a Corsair being shot off a starboard catapult. The pilot had apparently forgotten to crank in right rudder trim--the plane rose ten feet, snapped to the right, and went in the drink off the bow.

Cheers,

wickedpenguin
10-20-2004, 03:10 PM
Man, we've got some pros amongst us. Much respect!

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>The key to the way an aircraft will stall is the planform (wing shape) and configuration <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Definitely. I've seen some videos where they attach a number of streamers across the wing's surface so you can see the airflow. Most straight wing planes stall from the wingroot out.

Also, you have to take in factors like "wing twist" (can't recall the exact term). Basically, different sections of the wing have different angles of attack. For instance, the Cessna 172's outer wing has a lower angle of attack than the inner wing - resulting in the inner wing stalling first while you still have some aileron control and lift on the outer wing.

Flaps also change the characteristics - extending flaps move the stall area rearwards. In an aircraft where the wing root stalls first, this can extend the amount of time you have aileron control and lift on the outer wings.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>The point of practicing approach to stalls is to learn recognition and recovery. This is not a manuver that one will use in almost any flight operations. The biggest difference between a sim and a real airplane is that the seat of pants feel in a plane will with a little experience give some warning. This is not always the case, but sims give zip for feel. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yeah - that's something definitely lacking. From little things like your ears popping when you change altitude too quickly, to engine vibration giving you clues to what RPM you're at, to the G-forces pushing you into or lifting you off of your seat - it's so important to knowing what's going on.

In many ways, I think flying a real airplane is easier than the sim because of these sensations. You don't need to rely on instruments so much to know what's going on with the airplane.

It'd be interesting if, as part of your private pilot training course, you had to take one flight with all of your instruments blacked out. Pure feel, pure seat of the pants. Obviously, the instructor would still have their instruments in case of an emergency, but I think it'd be a great learning experience for the student. On my last flight in fact, we covered the RPM on the engine throughout a number of maneuvers. Pretty cool being able to gauge the actual engine power by sound and feel.

Fliger747
10-20-2004, 07:34 PM
Sounds as if you have the right idea! One of the reasons early pilots liked open cockpits was for the feel of the wind and sound in the wires. I try to fly airspeed pretty closely, even in the cub. But one time I encountered unexpected icing (freezing rain) almost at my destination and had to land with no airspeed indication. I was quite surprised, that with enough experience in the plane, flying it by attitude, that I was still spot on. The Whale is another matter, the window is very small, though the plane is relatively easy to fly, just has to be done precisely.

My daughter just finished her liscense in a Champ. Anyone her that can make it happen, it's a great experience!

Tomorows pilots gott'a come from somewhere!

Derzasi
10-20-2004, 07:53 PM
When I was a Flight instructor, i used to cover many instruments to help my students to learn how to "feel the plane" (including airspeed indicator/climb/RPM indivator)
the ones that learn that way were the best students I had...
Derzasi

IV_JG51_Razor
10-21-2004, 12:39 AM
Great thread wickedpenquin, and some great responses!

I would only add to this by saying you have to become very familiar with the location of your airspeed indicator and altimeter for each plane you fly. The vertical speed indicators in every plane I've flown in IL-2 have way too much lag in them, and do not give you any real help in determining whether or not you're flying level (something that is very easy to determine while in the real thing). So, get a good instrument scan going. It will have to be almost as good as one neccessary for instrument flight, since that is pretty close to what you're doing without the benifit of that feel in the seat of your pants! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

effte
10-21-2004, 04:24 AM
"Wing twist" would be washout. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

I like to stay well clear of the stall even on carrier approaches and it doesn't present a problem so far... while a stall on short final is a killer even if you don't have a fantail to hit.

I basically fly the aircraft into the deck, pitching up at the last moment before impact to arrest the sink rate a bit and get the attitude right for hooking a wire. A proper flare? No friggin way, not going to drift down a rolling, pitching deck and let the energy bleed off. That E goes into the wires, and that is it!

Does anyone have a good reference on how they were trained to fly carrier hooks back then? Online preferably, but if not a book or two which describes the procedure?

Jungmann
10-21-2004, 11:05 AM
Basically, you flew into the deck. When you took the cut from the LSO, he (and you) had put the aircraft in a postion where its sink would drop it down onto the arresting wires. It was basically a splat--the landing gear was designed with enough travel and pneumatic cushion to take the shock. Why landing gear on carrier aircraft are so much stronger (and bigger, heavier: a design trade-off) than on land-based planes.

Cheers,

gbleck
10-21-2004, 03:23 PM
Flaring to land is like squating to pee.

effte
10-22-2004, 04:30 AM
Pop quiz: The same goes for certain land based aircraft... http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Stuntie
10-22-2004, 04:45 AM
Pop quiz answer - the SAAB Viggen, as it uses short road strips and needs to stop fast.

In real life the nose of the Corsair obscured the carrier during landing so pilots devised a curved approach to help with landing.

effte
10-22-2004, 08:55 AM
Stuntie,
congratulations! You win a free trip to the SwAF museum, everything excluded! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

The fish hook approach is very handy for many aircraft in various versions of Il-2, not only for carrier landings.

Fliger747
10-22-2004, 10:35 AM
Go find the 'Black Sheep' (VSS) pages and they have a pretty good explanation of carrier ops. this was written for CFS2, but is pretty good. VF15 has somepretty good stuff for CFS2 which is also applicable as well, including navigation etc.

1: use an approach that will keep the deck (LSO) in view, a circular approach works well but takes practice to be able to roll out pecisely.

2: failing the circular approach, a little slip helps keep the deck in sight.

3: Use a stabilized airspeed, this will kep power canges at a minimum, which will keep rudder, trim and elevator inputs resulting from the power changes to a minimum.

4: Somewhere around 1.3 times stall speed seems to work well, for a F4U, this works out to about 10 knots over stall.

5: At the cut (probably just before you cross the ramp) the nose will drop and sucking the stick back will bleed remaining energy off and the plane will squat tail low and catch a wire.

6: all of the above will only work if your approach airspeed is correct.