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6 Answers

New plane – lost my ability to flare

Asked by: 2287 views Aerodynamics

I have plenty of time in 172's, mostly R's and SP's.  Flaring hasn't been a particular problem.  I recently started flying P models, and suddenly I can't help but three point it.  These things seem particularly nose heavy.  Even with the yoke all the way back, I can't get it on the mains first.  I do my normal routine (full flaps) - over the threshold, slowly reduce power and smoothly level out, pull to idle parallel to runway and continue to pull back smoothly and BAM, three point.  I'm not a fan of chop and drop landings, but I've tried pulling the power earlier too.  Part of the problem seems to be that they balloon really easily.  I am not coming in too fast and not making abrupt inputs.  Maybe I was never doing it right to begin with, but are why are these things so hard to land gracefully?

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6 Answers



  1. Brian on Jul 03, 2014

    Try to fly in a flare attitude at a longer runway. Get a feel for the machine in ground effect (though the P model is not much different feeling that the R or SP). I’d venture to guess that a bit of it is psychological. That is easily broken by flying down the runway a few feet off the ground in slow flight with some power.

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  2. Wes Beard on Jul 04, 2014

    Adjust your seat!!!!

    Most probable cause is your are sitting too low or too high. Our brain tries to get the same sight picture everytime and it can’t with a seat adjusted differently.

    Sit in a R model and sight down your fingers (which are placed on the glareshield) just like looking through the crosshairs of a gun and line up your eye with the top of the cowling. This should adjust tour height for that airplane. Go back to the P model and get the seat to where the sight picture is the same

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  3. Mark Kolber on Jul 04, 2014

    Never easy to tell without also being in the cockpit but Wes’ answer makes a lot of sense.

    For example, if you’ve been flying R & S models with an adjustable seat that you set way high. you may be able to see some of the runway in front of you as you touch down. With a lower seat or in an earlier model without adjustments, the same aircraft attitude may have the nose covering the runway in front of you completely. Landing with the same view will be flat or worse. It’s one of the primary landing issues in even simple make/model transitions and it may well apply here.

    My key – which I use myself, even when it’s simple to fly a familiar make/model I haven’t flown in a while – for all transitions is to make it a point to notice the pitch attitude view out the window when the mains leave the ground. And reproduce that same view for when the mains touch back down.

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  4. Chris4321 on Jul 04, 2014

    Wes/Mark, you might be on to something there. The few times I’ve pulled it off right, it felt uncomfortably nose high. I do crank it up on the R’s and S’s and the P’s is lower. Guess I need to start doing some visualization exercises…

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  5. Mike on Jul 05, 2014

    Try using two or three rolls of nose up trim on final. Just don’t forget to take it out before you add power on a touch and go.

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  6. Chris4321 on Jul 06, 2014

    Thanks for the answers everyone. I think I’m getting the hang of ’em now. Needed a slightly new sight picture. I also noticed that this particular plane seems to idle really high – around 1000 – which makes it difficult not to float/balloont a whole bunch. Avoiding that one now.

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