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3 Answers

Landing Help

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Student Pilot

I am a very young student pilot who absolutely loves flying and I need to know when to round out.  Not the landing flare, when to round out.  I'm not having trouble with the landing, I just want a technique that tells me when to round out.  That's my first question.  My second question is this: what are the pitch, power, and flap settings for a Cessna 150 in the landing pattern?  I noticed that if you fly a three degree glideslope, you'll be at 136 feet at a half-mile out.  Isn't that quite low?  What are the visual cues that tell you when to round out? 

3 Answers

  1. John D. Collins on Jul 27, 2012

    A three degree glideslope will require that you maintain some power on final and is a shallow approach.  I don’t recall what the power off glide would be for a Cessna 150 with full flaps, but would expect it would be over 8 degrees and about 6.5 degrees with flaps up. A few things you can do to help determine the height to start to round out:

    1. When you are sitting on the ground, about to takeoff, focus your eyes on the runway lights close to you to get an idea of what it looks like when the wheels are on the ground.
    2. Fly over the runway at as low an altitude without allowing the wheels to touch to gain a good sight picture, move your focus from down the runway to closer to the aircraft to reference your height to the runway lights.
    3. Start your round out in steps where you break the flare in stages, reducing some of the descent rate, but still descending. Each stage will slow you down and reduce the rate of descent. Continue this in steps until you perceive that you are close to the height but a little above the runway you established in the first step when you were on the ground.
    4. Using your peripheral vision, permit the airplane to sink towards the runway and increase the back pressure to arrest the descent until the airplane starts to sink again, repeat this until the main wheels are on the ground.  To recognize the sensation of sinking, stand on the ramp and  focus in the distance while bending your knees. This is what the world will look like when you sink and when you raise up it will look like what happens when you balloon.  Make sure you stop a balloon by releasing the back pressure to prevent the ascent and if necessary add power to go around.  By increasing the back pressure anytime you are sinking to arrest the sink, you will continuously be transitioning to a nose high attitude until the wheels prevent further descent,  At this point you have landed, but keep the nose wheel off the ground as long as you can, ideally until the point where it falls of its own accord and you have the yoke full aft.


    It has been a long time since I flew a C150, but as I recall, about 2000 RPM downwind, lower 10 degrees of flaps, abeam the runway threshold reduce power to 1500 RPM and apply the carb heat, turn base and lower the flaps to 20 degrees, turn final and increase the flaps as needed to maintain your touchdown point, then once all the flaps are down, continue to slowly reduce the power as needed to keep the aim point where you wish to round out, usually between the numbers and 1000 feet down the runway.  Final approach speed should be 70 to 80 MPH without flaps or 60 to 70 with full flaps.  I am sure other instructors will comment on this portion of your question to correct any of my ancient memory.

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  2. Nathan Parker on Jul 30, 2012

    ” I just want a technique that tells me when to round out. ”

    You are probably over thinking this a bit. The only real wrong way to do it is to run directly into the runway at a 3 degree angle. You can begin your flare at a variety of heights above the runway; the lower you are, the more quickly you need to pitch up the airplane. If you begin the flare high, you need to pitch slowly. This is an eye-hand coordination thing you’ll just have to learn by doing it.

    The most important thing when you begin your flare is to shift your gaze from looking directly ahead of you (down) to much further down the runway. This will provide you the visual cues you need to adjust your flare rate based on your height above runway.

    Likewise, there are a variety of power settings, airspeeds, and flap settings which will work in the airplane; they’re all a bit arbitrary, except for your final approach speed. None of them will work in all environmental conditions, so you need to be able to adjust your technique to have the airplane maintain the flight path you want. Ask your instructor for the settings he wants you to use and write them down. Or pick your own and adjust them later if they don’t work well.

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  3. Nathan Parker on Jul 30, 2012

    BTW, to me, the round out is a portion of the landing flare, not a separate maneuver.

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