I am told there comes a time when you just “get it”

Sadly, I have not found that time yet.

I still can’t land for shit.

Fly? Yep. Airmanship? Getting there, but am adequate right now.

Correcting for wind? Easy Peasy.

Navigating? Not that hard, really.

Pilotage? Meh, a breeze.

Pattern? Not that difficult.

Not beating the plane up trying to return to the ground? Yeah, That’s a challenge still.

Were it not for landings, I’d have soloed by now.

Of the 31 landings I have done, 2 were good by skill, 5 more were adequate due to skill. The others were hard, or drifting, or not centered, or too fast, too early, too late, too hard, etc. Any other good ones were, at best, luck.

Tomorrow promises steady winds at 8 from the east. I shall try again to get my “Aha” moment.

Remind me never to buy a plane that has been owned by a flight school.  

6 thoughts on “I am told there comes a time when you just “get it”

  1. Practice, practice, practice. Our small town is frequently visited by a USN P-3 Orion Sub Hunter-killer, big 4 motor prop job. I met one of the pilots last week, giving him a hard time about hunting
    subs up here in the high desert plateau, but of course the crew was
    doing touch and goes time after time after time. He said on their
    actual missions, they go out to sea, power down the two outboard
    motors and cruise in circles for up to 13 hours. Which limits their
    takeoff and landing experiences. Had a couple guys used to work for
    me that took flying lessons. One became a skilled bush pilot, landing routinely on those tiny mountain dirt strips. The other guy
    loved flying, but could never get instrument flying: they put that
    blackout hood over the face and he would get claustrophobia. He was disappointed but laughed it off, saying as long as the airport was in
    sight, he was a great pilot. IMO, landing takes some skill and is probably the most difficult of pilot maneuvers. So..practice, practice…

  2. What are you talking about?
    You walked away from all of them didn't you?


  3. Assuming you are using the 172, you should be starting to get a good feel for the sight picture just above landing height. The early time in a 152 may be hindering you still by causing a late flare, so perhaps a go or two with the instructor handling the controls (I know, paying to watch) and you simply absorbing the final and flare/touchdown picture?

    I found the 172 quite forgiving of a slightly high flare but very insistent (i.e. beating the crap outta you) in the case of a late flare. What kind of issue are you dealing with most consistently, and perhaps a couple of the CFI's reading could advise of possible ideas. I will say that if speed control on final is an issue, that alone will destroy your efforts until mastered. Solid control of speed on final will payoff at touchdown in spades, and is truest indicator of approaching mastery of the aircraft.

  4. Speed I got handled. Roundout is my issue.

    Plus, of course, we haven't had a day where we haven't had a wind close to the runway. At least 30 degrees off any of the 4 (9/27, 36/18)…the nearby airports aren't different enough to make it worth the trip just for the slightly different runway headings…

    Tuesday was a good session with a different instructor (my main one had a family emergency). He did one landing then coached me through several others.

    I still have issues in the last 20 feet. Good stable approaches, speed is right. Just the roundout gets me.

  5. Welcome to the pre-solo slump stage. Pretty much everybody goes through it.

    Sounds like you're doing everything just as you should. Give it time and keep at it as landing is the hardest part.

    I finally figured it out after being told about the actual target speeds, about pitch for airspeed and power for altitude and to level out at hangar height and then back-pressure just enough to keep it there and continue increasing back-pressure as you sink to prevent sinking as long as possible and you'll land fine.

  6. On my first solo…My instructor hopped out and said, "Take her around!" I did. Was excited as could be. Small rural airport in WV. Turned final, approached the threshold, just about ready for the wheels to touch… a very strong gust of wind hit me on the right side. It blew me completely off the side of the runway and almost into a forest! I powered up, took it around again and completely nailed it into a quartering wind. Never had trouble landing after that initial near debacle. It was as if my first solo landing was on a lurching aircraft carrier. That was 1983…
    Have faith, be patient.

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