Need Help Learning To Land The Plane!

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I am a new student with just under 10 hours of training. Last 4 hours
doing touch and gos and still can't nail the landing. Biggest problem
is with round out and flare. Biggest challenge seems to be not
letting the plane settle towards the runway and not applying the
proper constant back pressure to flare. Any pointers beyond flying a
good pattern and controlling airspeed on final would be MUCH appreciated.

-- Greg Key, December 5, 2009


Greg: your question inspired me to write

Try to fly your approaches so that you don't need to flare at all. Then it doesn't matter whether or no you are good at flaring!

And definitely don't try to control airspeed unless it is a very short runway. Control attitude and glance occasionally at the airspeed. A trainer aircraft flown to minimums down an ILS might land with half flaps at 90 knots. Doesn't hurt anything. At your level of training you shouldn't be stressing about landing especially short. You're not working as a test pilot. If you're got the runway, use it.

-- Philip Greenspun, December 6, 2009

I have no affiliation with them, but when I was having the same issues in my early training, I bought "The Art and Science of Better Landings" (google it). It was very helpful for me. Good luck.

-- Nick Coburn, December 6, 2009

STOP doing touch and gos. Do FULL STOPS / taxi backs. This will help you focus on your landings and not worry about your prep for take off. TRUST me on this one. Your mind is slipping into the "I gotta get the airplane ready for take off" phase before without fully concentrating on the landing phase. I had the same problem. When another flight instructor told me to "knock off the touch and gos" and focus on my landings, I started to nail all of them.

Make sure your short final height above the ground and airspeed are well under control and setup. That will help contribute to a good landing...and dont flare too EARLY!!!

-- Brad Ellis, December 22, 2009

Its a lot to expect to nail the landing with 10 hours of training. I once asked my flight instructor how many landings until he felt confident. He said about 300. I found that to be about right and that should be about 200 landings after you get your license. So be patient with yourself. In the years since, I had one period before my IR check ride when all of a sudden landings became a problem again. While safe, they just wern't as good as I knew I was capable. A quick ride with an instructor and it boiled down to the ATTITUDE of the plane. In a Cessna the nose must be up some to land well. The right attitude makes the difference between dropping it in, flaring high or landing with such smoothness that the actual landing is inperceptible.

This does not diminish in any way that you need to keep the nose pointed down the centerline with rudder and turn into the wind and keep the speed within about 5 knots but I agree with the earlier post that ATTITUDE is the key. On flare get that nose in the right position, keep it there no matter what crosswind correction needs to be made and you will have a nice touch down. Try to fly the plane on the run way or bring the nose up too high and landing is far more challenging, and you risk bouncing and that just does not have to happen if the attitude is correct.

In addition, if you are really trying to burn the proper attitude in your mind, touch and goes are just too much at once unless maybe the CFI takes over after you nail the landing. I like the time saving of a touch and go but only on about a 7,000 ft runway so I can make a complete landing and reconfiguration without being under time pressure to make it all happen without learning from what I just did.

-- Fred Rohlfing, January 8, 2010