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Help, I can't seem to get my plane over the runway.

Old 11-02-2007, 02:09 PM
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vmsguy
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Default Help, I can't seem to get my plane over the runway.

I was having a bad day at the field last Saturday. I'm still learning, haven't soloed yet.. "Almost" my instructor says.

I just couldn't seem to get my plane over the short grass at my field.

I'd do the normal downwind leg, turn for approach, and cut power. Everything looks lined up. My wings are nice and level, the plane seems to be coming in straight, altitude is dropping, I'm adding up elevator so she'lll float in and... Darn it! I'm over the tall grass on the far side of the field. Apply power and go around. I'd be about 6 or 8 feet into the tall grass, nice and parallel to the field. But over the tall grass all the same...

Any hints/tips? Other then being more gutsy and confident the plane can be closer..?

I'm thinking that on the final approach, instead of trying to be straight with the field, I should try to fly the plane straight towards me. Then when I'm over the short grass, as the plane gets closer, give it a little rudder to "straighten it out" onto the grass..


Thoughts???


TIA

Lyndon
Old 11-02-2007, 02:14 PM
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Default RE: Help, I can't seem to get my plane over the runway.


ORIGINAL: vmsguy

....
Any hints/tips? Other then being more gutsy and confident the plane can be closer..?

I'm thinking that on the final approach, instead of trying to be straight with the field, I should try to fly the plane straight towards me. Then when I'm over the short grass, as the plane gets closer, give it a little rudder to "straighten it out" onto the grass..


Thoughts???


TIA

Lyndon
I'm still just a student myself, but as I recall my first go around this hobby that is EXACTLY what my instructor wanted me to do. His thinking was its much easier to move the aircraft 5 feet back out to the runway than to adjust forthe 10-20 feet coming in to you if you come in short as you seem to be doing.
Old 11-02-2007, 02:20 PM
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MinnFlyer
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Default RE: Help, I can't seem to get my plane over the runway.

The best thing to do is to watch as you turn onto final where your plane is in relation to something in the distance.

Maybe it's a phone pole, or a tree, building, mountain, etc.

For example, at out field there is a large bush. I tell my students "Come in directly over that bush"

It LOOKS like doing that will bring you in too close, but in reality, coming in over that bush will put you dead in the middle of the runway.

See if you have something like that that you can use as a landmark
Old 11-02-2007, 02:32 PM
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vmsguy
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Default RE: Help, I can't seem to get my plane over the runway.

Thanks MF....

I do remember making some good approaches... And I even successfully landed. (Of course, my plane floated the entire length of the runway to do it! )))

But I remember my good approaches on my final turn, it LOOKED like I was actually over the pit area. But I ended up sailing in over the middle of the short grass.

A picture is worth a thousand words, I sketched out a drawing of my typical approaches from last weekend. The red "X" is me. Dark green is the tall grass, light green is short grass. Black line with arrows is path of airplane.

Hopefully the winds will be calm tomorrow, and I can get some good flights in. Last weekend was very nerve wracking...


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Old 11-02-2007, 02:46 PM
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Default RE: Help, I can't seem to get my plane over the runway.

MinnFlyer's exactly right--landmarks. That's how full-scale VFR pilots do it.

A final approach from 100 yards away looks as if the plane's headed directly for you, so there's a natural tendency to approach too far out. Turning final using landmarks will help cure that tendency. Of course you still have to hit your marks, not a sure thing while you're still learning, but if you miss you can at least prepare for a go-around.
Old 11-02-2007, 03:23 PM
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Default RE: Help, I can't seem to get my plane over the runway.

You are not alone. And, as mentioned before, landmarks.

Try this. When coming in stand facing slightly AWAY from the approach - so the plane is coming in over your shoulder. This does two things. It telds to bring the plane in closer towards you and it makes it easier to use the controls intuitively. (That is, right aileron stick makes the model tip towards your right arm - opposite of what happens if you face the model). I know older pilots who still do this with "handful" models (those that keep your hands full just landing them).

It will come in time. The natural tendency is to try and keep the model in front of you where you can see it. Bringing it in close means that the farther out you start the more it appears to be heading at you. Practice, practice, practice. Spend a day just doing touch and goes. Heck, I spent hours after work just taxiing, as I couldn't fly . . . but nothing in the rules said we students couldn't taxi while waiting for our instructors to show up.

The field I learned to fly on was horrible. Top of a hill and the end of the approach dropped off steep into plane eating trees (and the updraft at the tree line ment you instinctively gave down elevator and then corrected and caught the ridge right in the kisser) and the windward side did the same but not as steep. Wind was always from the West (the less steep side) and the Wind going over brought eddy wind currents up behind you from the valley. Turn to approach and you're heading into the wind until you get low enough to enter the eddy and then you're landing with a tailwind - or cartwheeling if you weren't prepaired! You had to plan an arc intercept line, not just an approach. That approach probably has killed more P-51 models since 1955 when the club formed than the Germans ever claimed in WWII. We kept a notch on either end cleared of trees and branches so it made a great visual alignment aid. Unfortunately, it was mostly kept clear with our propellers.

Current club is at a full-size grass field and feels like cheating. It's all level?!? I keep coming in too hgh waiting for that downdraft and then the field to rise up and snag my wheels.
Old 11-02-2007, 03:33 PM
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Default RE: Help, I can't seem to get my plane over the runway.

I gotta disagree with the landmark idea. It works for your home field, but what about other fields? You may spend half a day trying to find something to line up with. Fly the plane, not the scenery. Practice and learn what the plane looks like when it's on the correct approach path. Practice, practice, practice. Lining up too far downrange is a common beginner mistake. When you're on the base leg, wait to make your final turn until the plane is at a 90 degree angle (off your shoulder) from you. When you turn, fly the plane directly at you. Make a final correction when it's about halfway between your downwind leg and the threshold. You'll be surprised when it comes in right over the runway.

Dr.1
Old 11-02-2007, 03:44 PM
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Default RE: Help, I can't seem to get my plane over the runway.

If you can't find a landmark then it don't matter. You got the whole desert or body of water to land on.

I see pattern guys "walk the box" all the time getting landmarks and lines programmed into their brains.

But you're correct, of course. The landmarks are just "baby steps" in getting actions pounded into reflexes. Eventally, you do the right things without thinking about them. That takes time and conditioning.
Old 11-02-2007, 03:48 PM
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Default RE: Help, I can't seem to get my plane over the runway.

Something that worked perfectly for my ( then ) 10 year old daughter...

She was told to have the plane coming in with it's nose pointed at her as it come in just over the threshold, then adjust to straighten it out parallel to the runway.

She "got it" quickly this way.

Old 11-02-2007, 04:00 PM
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Default RE: Help, I can't seem to get my plane over the runway.

I believe your shoulder would be a landmark..I used to teach the "fly the plane straight to you" thing..then i realized my students were landing long because of it..Now I teach the landmark and the shoulder method which ever is easiest for the student..
to each his own huh
Old 11-02-2007, 04:44 PM
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Gary L.
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Default RE: Help, I can't seem to get my plane over the runway.

I have that problem when duing a right hand approch, I guess because I learned with the wind out of the south ( making it a left hand approch ).
Old 11-02-2007, 05:00 PM
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Default RE: Help, I can't seem to get my plane over the runway.

A couple of approaches work. (pun intended)

ONE... There is always a far corner at the end of the runway. Get your bearings and have them include where that corner is at the end of the runway you're coming in on. And when you are on your downwind leg, don't start the turn until you're over that corner. And then keep the airplane on your side of that corner. All the way in. That's one............

TWO... Get your bearings at any field by thinking about where the center line of the runway goes. Look out along that line and find something on the horizon that's on that line. When you taxi out, notice where that marker is. From that marker back to you is an invisible line. Use it for your turn onto final. And then fly the airplane down the line. That's the other one............

Remember that there are three parts to the landing. Downwind, base, final. Make the turn from downwind to base anywhere that looks right. But hold the airplane on the base leg until the airplane is past the corner (in technique ONE) or has reached your imaginary line (in technique TWO).

And you can do both at once.
Every one of the techniques starts with you looking around at where you're going to fly before you fly. Like when you're looking to see where the winds coming from is a good time to do that.
Old 11-02-2007, 05:25 PM
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Default RE: Help, I can't seem to get my plane over the runway.

I've been flying for twenty years and still do it at times. I find that if my turn on final looks a little wide I'm right down the center. If i turn final at what looks perfect I end up over the far side of the run way in the tall grass. Try extending your cross wind just a little before turning on final. See if that helps. It's all in the eyes. If you need to make corrections use rudder only. Dennis
Old 11-02-2007, 05:26 PM
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Default RE: Help, I can't seem to get my plane over the runway.

I teach my student to turn when it looks like the plane is going to be behind them. It seems to work for most. Try shooting 8-10 aproaches one after another. Don't land but get down to 10' or so and go around. This will get you used to seeing where the plane should be.

David
Old 11-02-2007, 05:34 PM
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Default RE: Help, I can't seem to get my plane over the runway.

Thats what I mean when I said turn wide on final. Dennis
Old 11-02-2007, 06:17 PM
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Default RE: Help, I can't seem to get my plane over the runway.

I was out to the field with my first instructor. His first flying in several months after a back operation. He chokes up on the pilots box when landing. IE he moves as close to the approaching plane as he can get and still stay behing the barriers. I though this was the way to do it untill after I soloed and went through two planes. One day, the light bulb went off that If I was at the far end of the pilots area, I would have a longer time before I wouldt have to go through the Comming at me, in front of me, and going away from me transistion. I found that when the plane got closer to me, I tried to push it away mentally and that was causing my problem.

One issue is that our pilots line is only about 10 ft from the near edge of the runway, and my mid morning, we usually have a brisk wind across the runwan and in our face.

Practice, practice, and then some more practice. That't what will get down the centere line every time. Or so that's what the old timers keep telling me. Humm, I guess I'm an old timer, just a new hand at this.

Don
Old 11-02-2007, 06:38 PM
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Default RE: Help, I can't seem to get my plane over the runway.

Practice make perfect.

Don't forget about your rudder.
Old 11-02-2007, 07:57 PM
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Default RE: Help, I can't seem to get my plane over the runway.

A lot of people fixate on the plane. Get into the habit of looking at the entire picture. Take your eyes off of the plane every once in a while and look at the runway. Do a regular scan from runway to plane and back. Seeing the whole picture will end those surprise in-the-grass landings that happen when you fixate on the plane.
Old 11-02-2007, 08:23 PM
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Default RE: Help, I can't seem to get my plane over the runway.

Standing with your shoulders parallel to the runway also helps, that also lines up your final turn on your shoulder ( which will sort of look like you are comming in behind your self some ). Lot's of low passes will probably be one of the biggest helps you can do for yourself. ENJOY !!! RED
Old 11-02-2007, 08:41 PM
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Default RE: Help, I can't seem to get my plane over the runway.

Oh good point red...my instructor insisted that as a student I stood with my shoulders and hips parallel to the runway so I always knew where it was...I bet it was 18 months after i soloed before I moved around lol
I teach this way also but not as strict as my instructor was
Old 11-02-2007, 08:41 PM
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Default RE: Help, I can't seem to get my plane over the runway.

The way that I have learned how to hit the runway dead center is to cut my turn to final to here it looks almost too far in..... use a visual landmark where you think it's even with the runway... then cut just past it. then you will be lined up for the runway.
Old 11-02-2007, 09:47 PM
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Default RE: Help, I can't seem to get my plane over the runway.

I was taught to use the shoulder method
Old 11-02-2007, 09:59 PM
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Default RE: Help, I can't seem to get my plane over the runway.

Its just going to take practice. I took out the bottom of my Sukhoi exactly like you talk about being on the other side of the runway. Came down low thinging I was lined up and WHACK right into the dirt bank parallel to the runway.

As far as flying it straight at you then using rudder.....I personally wouldnt worry about using any rudder,just practice more.

I've been flying solo for a few months now and still to this day dont use any rudder ever really. Maybe I should be,but I've got enough controls to concentrate on let alone a rudder that you can do without pending you've got good flying conditions and your flying straight(this is were the practice comes in). I only use the rudder to steer the plane on the ground.


....Just going to take practice M8. No magical tricks going to make it happen.......been solo for months now and getting lined up is still a challenge for me,just try to NOT "jerk" the stick too much during landings.
Old 11-02-2007, 10:45 PM
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MinnFlyer
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Default RE: Help, I can't seem to get my plane over the runway.


ORIGINAL: Dr1Driver

I gotta disagree with the landmark idea. It works for your home field, but what about other fields?
Not many beginners fly at "other fields" and by the time they do, they (should) have mastered landing.

ORIGINAL: vmsguy

The red "X" is me.
Funny, it doesn't look like you
Old 11-02-2007, 10:54 PM
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Default RE: Help, I can't seem to get my plane over the runway.

ONe thing you need to not do, DON'T JERK THE CONTROLS AT ALL. I know I am a beginner, but jerking the controls at any time can put your plane in an unrecoverable postition, be smooth with the controls.

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