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#99883 - 11/08/12 01:37 PM When to pull throttle to idle during a landing
AirFoss1 Offline
New Member

Registered: 02/02/12
Posts: 16
Loc: MD
Forum,

I have made some progress in my training. I recently passed my written exam, 2.9 hrs solo and I am enjoying this adventure. I have some difficulties timing out my throttle on IDLE during landings. On final approach, I follow the PAPI glidescope, cross the number, level the plane, look down the runway. But I do struggle with the power on idle--- Sometimes, I will cut off my power in the flare phase, then the nose will drop and as I counteract by pulling on the yoke, the plane will swing up and down, forcing me to make a go-around--- I truly enjoy flying, but this issue of power idle struggle can be a road blocker to my PPL goal.

Thanks for your input
_________________________
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A plan without a vision is a nightmare

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#99890 - 11/08/12 02:03 PM Re: When to pull throttle to idle during a landing [Re: AirFoss1]
vettdvr Offline
Club Sponsor
Diamond Pilot

Registered: 06/24/10
Posts: 7724
Loc: Slidell La
My guess is you are shallow and carring too much power in the landing. I pull power on downwind begin my turn with nose lowered and can make the field with 20% flaps not touching the power. I can use full flaps before crossing the end of the runway and only add a small touch of power then land with very low power setting.
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#99893 - 11/08/12 02:05 PM Re: When to pull throttle to idle during a landing [Re: vettdvr]
AirFoss1 Offline
New Member

Registered: 02/02/12
Posts: 16
Loc: MD
Thanks for the info.
Yes, too much power on final has been an issue as well. I will NEED to follow all the proper steps in my pattern.
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A plan without a vision is a nightmare

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#99895 - 11/08/12 02:21 PM Re: When to pull throttle to idle during a landing [Re: AirFoss1]
wrecksum Offline
SVP Public Relations
Platinum Pilot

Registered: 09/26/10
Posts: 2704
Loc: Dominican Republic
It's the trickiest part to get right I reckon and I don't think there are any hard or fast rules as each approach and landing is unlikely to be always the same.

When I first started to fly the unfamiliar (to me) 172, the instructor always wanted the power off completely as soon as the numbers went under the nose or the runway was "made", i.e. possible to land.This seemed to work on the school's 172R but I never felt really comfortable with this especially with lots of runway left to play with.

I then discovered that with our 180 'P' model that this doesn't always work as it can run out of elevator authority with no propwash at low speeds and gave me a nasty shock one day and a very hard landing.

The sooner you can get the power off during the landing the better as there's no fun in trying to control a high speed ground device that's not designed for road work but make sure you still have enough flying speed or enough power for full control.
If you have the speed and are still flying just above the runway you don't need power. If you are dropping below your aiming point at low speed then you will need power.

It's a judgement call in any case.

Have fun.
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#99899 - 11/08/12 02:54 PM Re: When to pull throttle to idle during a landing [Re: wrecksum]
oilwell1415 Offline
Gold Pilot

Registered: 09/20/12
Posts: 1906
Loc: Tulsa, OK
I agree with vettdvr. If you are flying the PAPI you are too shallow unless you have a really strange PAPI. If you are flying it 2 white and 2 red now, try flying it with 3 white and 1 red and see if that helps.
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#99902 - 11/08/12 03:54 PM Re: When to pull throttle to idle during a landing [Re: oilwell1415]
November X-ray Offline
Club Sponsor
Gold Pilot

Registered: 08/15/10
Posts: 2303
Loc: Brookshire, Texas, USA

Basically the main thing to focus on is a stable approach. Stable approaches will vary, some of these things are mentioned below.

How long is the runway you are landing on? Which way is the prevailing winds? Are they normally straight down the runway, are they cross, or perhaps it is mostly calm. Ambient Temperature/Density Altitude will also make a change. Not trying to overwhelm you, just simply naming some things to consider.

If you have enough runway, try to shorten your approach distance (turn base sooner) and increase your angle slightly (you will need more flaps and if there is a stiff crosswind too much flaps are not always the best idea). As already mentioned sometimes it requires prop blast to make the tail maintain effectiveness, so you will have to learn this only by experience.

The old saying "Practice makes Perfect" does hold true, although don't get hung up on trying to be perfect, but instead try to be proficient. There is also an old saying that goes, "any landing you can walk away from is a good landing". I believe if you can use plane again without any work than it is a GREAT landing, just some are better than others!

Hang in there and you'll get it and remember rarely does two planes of the same make fly exactly the same, so learn the little idiosyncrasies of each and have fun!
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#99906 - 11/08/12 05:13 PM Re: When to pull throttle to idle during a landing [Re: oilwell1415]
AirFoss1 Offline
New Member

Registered: 02/02/12
Posts: 16
Loc: MD
Thanks Oilwell!
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A plan without a vision is a nightmare

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#99920 - 11/08/12 08:29 PM Re: When to pull throttle to idle during a landing [Re: AirFoss1]
genel Offline
Second in Command

Registered: 03/10/10
Posts: 112
Loc: c81, Ill
I've found that slow flight practice helps a lot. Full flaps, just above the stall horn speed, just enough power to maintain altitude. 90 degree turns back and forth. You might want to practice this with your instructor.

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#99923 - 11/08/12 08:55 PM Re: When to pull throttle to idle during a landing [Re: genel]
Ward Holbrook Offline
Gold Pilot

Registered: 03/26/10
Posts: 2436
Loc: Kaysville, Utah
To begin with, I'd simply pull the throttle to idle as you're rounding out in the flare and go from there. That seems to work quite well in anything I've ever flown.

Remember, when it comes to a stabilized approach it's always FTDA. Make it do what you want it to do. Establish the sight picture you want then FTDA. As you gain experience, you'll be able to "finesse" this a bit, but for now that's what I'd recommend you try.

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#100147 - 11/09/12 04:55 AM Re: When to pull throttle to idle during a landing [Re: Ward Holbrook]
vettdvr Offline
Club Sponsor
Diamond Pilot

Registered: 06/24/10
Posts: 7724
Loc: Slidell La
Minor point, no two landings are the same, they are ALL different, which is why I joke with others when I go to fly and tell them I am going out to learn how to land.

But you must have some consistency in the approach by being on glide path/centerline. That is VERY important.


Edited by vettdvr (11/09/12 04:56 AM)
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Vettdvr

Single/Multi/instrument/type/commercial But then I am still learning.

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#100276 - 11/10/12 12:58 AM Re: When to pull throttle to idle during a landing [Re: vettdvr]
Nightowl Offline
Club Sponsor/Speed Demon
Gold Pilot

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 1826
Loc: Northwest lower Michigan
Vettdvr is entirely correct. You learn something from every landing.

I did a lot of power-off spot landings (NCAA spot landing contests) when we owned our first airplane, a C-150D around 1970, and I got pretty good at it. Power off on downwind about 45 degrees beyond the end of the runway/touchdown point, then use flaps, trim, and slips to land as close to the numbers as you can without ever touching the throttle again. Got pretty good at it and still am. Got so I could do this in a C-182T as well a year or two ago. If you do need to use throttle, then use it, but (IMHO) don't use throttle to drag yourself into the runway. That's just asking for trouble should you have a problem, find yourself too low, with engine not available.

Always easier to use flaps and/or slip to get down than to use potentially non-existent engine to extend glide path. At least that's how I was taught 45 years ago, and I'm still a believer.

John


Edited by Nightowl (11/10/12 12:59 AM)
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#102848 - 11/28/12 07:48 PM Re: When to pull throttle to idle during a landing [Re: Nightowl]
Digz Offline
New Member

Registered: 12/22/11
Posts: 6
Loc: NE
I am by no means an 'experienced' pilot, I got my card a couple month s ago, but I can tell you from my experience that is all depends on the approach. I have nearly 100 hrs under my belt and I can relate when others say every landing is different. A local crop sprayer buddy of my has given me hell by asking me where I am going on my downwind. I have experimented with shortening my pattern and the last landing I cut my downwind short and pulled power on entry to base. It turned out to be a great landing with a 10 knot crosswind. I rode the upwind main for about 50 feet before the other landed, a proud accomplishment as far as I was concerned as it was very smooth. I think that shortening up your pattern and pulling power sooner is great practice for when things go bad.


Edited by Digz (11/28/12 07:48 PM)

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#104253 - 12/08/12 10:19 PM Re: When to pull throttle to idle during a landing [Re: Digz]
DougRez Offline
New Member

Registered: 02/20/11
Posts: 11
Loc: New York
I think flying your established air speeds helps with this. If you are trimmed for your airspeed on final and your sight picture is looking like you are going to be a little low than give some throttle early and take throttle out as soon as approach is back on track. This way you can avoid the change of attitude while in the flare. Obviously all conditions are different but I do think that consistent use of the trim will make your landings much easier, regardless of throttle use. You will be much less likely to over control and porpoise.

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#104256 - 12/08/12 10:56 PM Re: When to pull throttle to idle during a landing [Re: DougRez]
Showboatsix Offline
Gold Pilot

Registered: 12/04/10
Posts: 1816
Loc: KUAO, Aurora, Oregon
I pull it when I am abeam the numbers, or the spot where I want to touch down, then use energy to take me to that touch down point. I very seldom use power to drag me to the airport while on final.

Traffic Patterns and Good Landings
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#104262 - 12/09/12 12:55 AM Re: When to pull throttle to idle during a landing [Re: Showboatsix]
Jfwineinger Offline
New Member

Registered: 12/08/12
Posts: 7
Loc: Virginia
I was generally taught to idle the engine when you are guaranteed to make the runway. This can vary but it usually happens for me on short final.
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#104322 - 12/09/12 11:13 AM Re: When to pull throttle to idle during a landing [Re: Jfwineinger]
Propduster Offline
Gold Pilot

Registered: 08/30/10
Posts: 1105
Loc: Nova Scotia, Canada
I normally carry about 1500 right up till just before the flare.

Of course, if I'm trying to get into a really tight spot or have precious little runway to deal with, I'll cut power earlier so that I can be down to 50-55 mph as soon as the wheels are over something usable.
_________________________
1963 Cessna 172D C-FPEC

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#104331 - 12/09/12 12:54 PM Re: When to pull throttle to idle during a landing [Re: AirFoss1]
Steel61 Offline
Safety Pilot

Registered: 02/19/12
Posts: 61
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA
I pull it to idle just prior to turning from downwind to base at pattern altitude. I will "clear" the engine on base leg and apply any necessary throttle if I got too low due to misjudging the wind or height. I go to full flaps when landing is assured.

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#104694 - 12/11/12 06:22 PM Re: When to pull throttle to idle during a landing [Re: Steel61]
JKunzy Offline
Pilot in Command

Registered: 07/18/11
Posts: 423
Loc: United States
I try to keep it at 1500rpm until the I have the runway made, full flaps already engaged ( x-wind depending). But as others have said. No landing is the same and I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I've never had to cut it on base, or drag the plane over the numbers, because I have. At familiar airports its easy to come up with shortcuts like your crop duster buddy suggested, but that Ll goes out the window when actually going somewhere. Try to get into a routine and fly by the numbers and you'll do just fine.

+1 on slow flight practice


J
_________________________
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#104753 - 12/12/12 04:33 AM Re: When to pull throttle to idle during a landing [Re: JKunzy]
malte Offline
Second in Command

Registered: 06/05/11
Posts: 177
Loc: Aachen / Germany
I am just stepping up to the C150 (i.e. getting my European FI rating) and thus can quote our curriculum. We teach stabilized approaches as follows (Figures of the C150):

-> abeam the touch down point you reduce speed to 70 mph, 10 degree flaps, maintain altitude.
-> entering base leg, we sink with about 200-300 fpm until final, flaps 20 degree in most of the cases (to prevent great changes in the momentum on final)
-> in final, flaps as needed (most times 30 degrees) and trim to 62 mph, sink rate is controlled with the throttle. Close the throttle as needed.

If you are heavy loaded, you may carry power through round out and close it just before the wheels touch the ground, or, if you come in high, you may close throttle halfway down the final.

That is the procedure given by our authorities in Germany. I personally am no friend of setting up RPM numbers for approach, because even within the same type of aircraft, there may be substantial differences in power needed, despite effects of weather / terrain / approach procedure required. So I figure, trimming the plane for a certain speed and adding power as much as needed to maintain a certain sink rate would be the cleaner way to get down. Plus, with knowing the approach speeds, you can literally land every (powered) airplane that way. Flying a Stuka-Approach comes with different views and reactions of every different airplane type.

I also think, closing the throttle quite high and Flying a "Stuka-Approach" just adds stress for pilot (and instructor) and does nothing for safety, given that you fly those bulletproof Continentals and Lycomings, built in nearly every piston single. If the engine is reasonably well maintained and gets it's fuel, there is no reason for it to quit. But in setting up a stabilized approach, you have the possibility to stretch or shorten your approach with just adding / cutting power, you have more time to round out and more margin for error (more gentle to the instructor's heart) and mostly passengers ease up if you slowly progress to the ground.

Nonetheless, practising steep approaches with / without flaps is a good thing to improve your flying skills. For those with electric flaps, an engine-out electric-out situation isn't too far fetched to be practised. The Cessna does slip quite well (However, at least the 150 needs more rudder authority to make slips great fun, but perhaps I am spoiled by German glider trainers or the Moranes.)

Many happy landings,
Malte

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#105078 - 12/15/12 07:30 AM Re: When to pull throttle to idle during a landing [Re: malte]
Steel61 Offline
Safety Pilot

Registered: 02/19/12
Posts: 61
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA
Is this the right height for crossing the threshold in a no flap landing?

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#105085 - 12/15/12 08:10 AM Re: When to pull throttle to idle during a landing [Re: Steel61]
Don Tedrow Offline
Platinum Pilot

Registered: 07/16/10
Posts: 3659
Loc: Bastrop, TX
So long as there's no Volvo SUVs crossing near the threshold....
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#105103 - 12/15/12 01:23 PM Re: When to pull throttle to idle during a landing [Re: Steel61]
Ward Holbrook Offline
Gold Pilot

Registered: 03/26/10
Posts: 2436
Loc: Kaysville, Utah
Originally Posted By: Steel61
Is this the right height for crossing the threshold in a no flap landing?

But it's probably not the best pitch attitude to have at that point. (Grin)

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#105104 - 12/15/12 01:30 PM Re: When to pull throttle to idle during a landing [Re: Don Tedrow]
November X-ray Offline
Club Sponsor
Gold Pilot

Registered: 08/15/10
Posts: 2303
Loc: Brookshire, Texas, USA
Originally Posted By: Don Tedrow
So long as there's no Volvo SUVs crossing near the threshold....


That was my first thought too when I saw the picture! But then I also thought, "Look at the elevator, he's not landing but instead demonstrating the mighty 172's short field takeoff capability!"
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www.cessna172club.com

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#124350 - 04/23/13 01:19 PM Re: When to pull throttle to idle during a landing [Re: November X-ray]
malte Offline
Second in Command

Registered: 06/05/11
Posts: 177
Loc: Aachen / Germany
I did a video (jammed the RAM mount with my cellphone on the copilots backrest) of an approach / pattern.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Csm9fLpoxaM

I hope you get the idea of what we teach as a normal approach. (just the workflow in the clubs planes are "left to right" and in our '61 C172B it is "bottoms up".

enjoy!

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#124370 - 04/23/13 06:07 PM Re: When to pull throttle to idle during a landing [Re: malte]
Craig B Offline
Pilot in Command

Registered: 12/16/12
Posts: 255
Loc: Georgia
Not that I'm anything close to an expert, but I would say the plane is a little too low and nose high.
_________________________
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1979 172N


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