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A320 Smooth landing technique


Robert Gaylord

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Robert Gaylord

After a year of practicing different techniques I finally figured out how to consistently land smooth. don't flare until 20-30 feet, let the autothrottle give you a little juice before you idle, and then hold backpressure battling the a320s normal law nose down landing technology that happens at 30 feet, works everytime. Full packs about 1400 lbs of cargo in this vid.

Before hand I would preflare at 50 feet and retard at 20 feet. This would give me landing rates between 100-200fpm and I would float a lot more. Now I just fly it down to the runway and let the autothrottles give me a little power before going to idle. Now my landings are under 100 fpm and I don't float as much.

 

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Wanthuyr Filho

You almost doubled the touchdown distance, in a short runway it makes a difference. I noticed that the few latest versions of the A320/21 are handling MUCH better that the previous ones, the controls are so much more (promptly) responsive (in all axis), which makes things so much easier. In the first versions every input must be done with some anticipation and the odds of an over input were high.

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Koen Meier
2 minutes ago, Robert Sutherland said:

Wanna perfect your landings? Forget about FPM and landing rates. It's hardly a measure of a good pilot. 

Indeed. A good landing is one you can walk away from.

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Simon Kelsey
4 hours ago, Robert Gaylord said:

don't flare until 20-30 feet, let the autothrottle give you a little juice before you idle, and then hold backpressure battling the a320s normal law nose down landing technology that happens at 30 feet, works everytime

You may be interested to know that is essentially what the Airbus FCTM tells you to do.

Who knew that following the manufacturer's advice could provide consistent results? ;):D

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Stu Antonio

At vEZY, for example, you get penalty points for too smooth landings. It definitely altered the way I think about landings. My goal is (in that order) touchdown zone, centerline, landing rates. I aim for 100-150 fps and I try to avoid floating. 

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Robert Sutherland

From my understanding, slightly more firm landings are better because they help to trigger the automated breaking and spoilers.

Even those landings that are 'greased' tend to be firmer than you'd imagine. 

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Robert Gaylord
9 hours ago, Koen Meier said:

Indeed. A good landing is one you can walk away from.

If we were real pilots we would go by the feel of the landing to judge it. But we are sim pilots, the only real way we can judge a smooth landing is the fpm indicator on landing.

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Robert Gaylord
11 hours ago, Wanthuyr Filho said:

You almost doubled the touchdown distance, in a short runway it makes a difference. I noticed that the few latest versions of the A320/21 are handling MUCH better that the previous ones, the controls are so much more (promptly) responsive (in all axis), which makes things so much easier. In the first versions every input must be done with some anticipation and the odds of an over input were high.

This touchdown was well within its limits. Indeed if im going to land on a short runway I will touchdown quicker. Watch this video of an a320 pilot landing on the same runway as I did. He intentionally floated the plane for a smooth landing and landed further down the runway than I did. 

 

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Stu Antonio
3 minutes ago, Robert Gaylord said:

If we were real pilots we would go by the feel of the landing to judge it. But we are sim pilots, the only real way we can judge a smooth landing is the fpm indicator on landing.

Or somebody comes up with a device that you can sit on an that uses electrical shocks connected to the sim‘s g-meter :D  Another way to „evaluate“ your landings :D 

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Robert Gaylord
Just now, Stu Antonio said:

Or somebody comes up with a device that you can sit on an that uses electrical shocks connected to the sim‘s g-meter :D  Another way to „evaluate“ your landings :D 

theres actually a thing called a buttkicker, which is a subwoofer you put to your seat. I don't have it, some youtuber does he says it works very well with the FSlabs because they did a good job with their sounds. 

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Stu Antonio
4 minutes ago, Robert Gaylord said:

theres actually a thing called a buttkicker, which is a subwoofer you put to your seat. I don't have it, some youtuber does he says it works very well with the FSlabs because they did a good job with their sounds. 

Sounds more like a DIY project to me .... Is this a real thing for purchase? Never heard of it but it sounds cool. 

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Robert Gaylord

image.thumb.png.ee8d3408e0da9270e89d5e67e489f080.png

Yep its real, youtuber named Mcslmn uses it say it works great with the fslabs, like it will shake your chair when u deploy speed brakes and so on.

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Stu Antonio
Just now, Robert Gaylord said:

 

Yep its real, youtuber named Mcslmn uses it say it works great with the fslabs, like it will shake your chair when u deploy speed brakes and so on.

Haha, nice..... I might be crazy enough to try that out. 

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Brad Zimmer

Along the same lines, I recently upgraded my GPU to a more powerful card and it greatly enhanced my sim performance and allows me to increase some settings.  It was amazing to me to notice how my landings have significantly improved because of this.  I guess I never realized what "performance" in the sim meant but found my previous set up made it difficult to hand fly at times.  Now, after the upgrade I can see first hand what better "performance" means.  The busses almost feel like new planes compared to my previous setup.  I'm pretty happy about it!

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Artur Araripe

Mine was quite the opposite. My brain was used to 18,20 fps on final. When i got a new pc, and frames got eventually higher, i had a hard time adapting to such fluidity. 

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Patrick Ojanen
On 2/24/2020 at 8:38 PM, Robert Gaylord said:

ALL you anti smooth landing pilots here giving me a hard time this is how you land.

So now you get toxic while community said that landing rate is not so big deal? It's just better when you get tires on touchdown zone and on center of runway. G-forces are those that you should watch out about soft landing.

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Marvin Toepfer
On 2/24/2020 at 7:38 PM, Robert Gaylord said:

ALL you anti smooth landing pilots here giving me a hard time this is how you land.

 

HAHA...well, everyone needs to learn it ;D the countdown was quick and then "ok idle at 30." but great reaction from the cpt :D

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Angelo Kühberger
On 2/24/2020 at 7:35 PM, Robert Gaylord said:

image.thumb.png.ee8d3408e0da9270e89d5e67e489f080.png

Yep its real, youtuber named Mcslmn uses it say it works great with the fslabs, like it will shake your chair when u deploy speed brakes and so on.

nice have this anybody in use from here ? :) 

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Roi Bennoun
On 2/24/2020 at 7:38 PM, Robert Gaylord said:

ALL you anti smooth landing pilots here giving me a hard time this is how you land.

 

BTW, look how fast the engines are spooling up. I really think spool up speed should be increased on Fslabs.

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Robert Gaylord

this vid may be erroneous I came in extremely shallow, when I try to stay on glide path its harder to make a smooth touchdown

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Victor Buchkov

landing with a crab (ye, even a slight one) results in a much worse landing experience than a firmer touchdown without a crab. Often a slightly reduced ROD below 30-20, a later retard and a decrab are enough to get you in the grease zone. That is a smooth air theory though :)

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Antonio King
On 2/28/2020 at 10:55 AM, Angelo Kühberger said:

nice have this anybody in use from here ? :) 

I have it actually. Don't fly without it.

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Antonio King
On 2/29/2020 at 1:56 PM, Robert Gaylord said:

this vid may be erroneous I came in extremely shallow, when I try to stay on glide path its harder to make a smooth touchdown

I've learned from some of the actual EasyJet pilots in vEZY that you shouldn't arrest your descent rate until it's time to flare around 30ft-20ft. What I was doing before that was waiting until the 20ft call out to command 4 degree pitch, but realized after learning the recc' technique that I was commanding that pitch rate too quickly, aggressively.

In fact, if you watch the PFD around 40ft, you'll see the FD cross hairs start flaring at around 45ft.

So I loaded up Milan, Italy, and did about 6-7 touch and goes in the FSL practicing (rather attempting to break my habit of flaring too aggressively too late) a slow and gradual pitch at the 35ft call out. It took til around the 4th touch and go before I finally got the hang of it to where I'm 150fpm-190fpm consistently now. 


Touch and goes are your friend.

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Simon Kelsey
On 2/29/2020 at 8:56 PM, Robert Gaylord said:

I came in extremely shallow, when I try to stay on glide path its harder to make a smooth touchdown

And here's exactly the problem with the obsession over the VSI, because doing that would at the very least result in a big black mark and a ticking off from an instructor.

It is a very common fault for people to 'duck under' the glidepath in order to try and acheive a smoother touchdown or in a misguided effort to reduce the landing distance on a short runway. The problem with this is that flying a shallow glidepath compromises obstacle clearance in the later stages of the approach, may compromise your ability to obtain the visual references you need in less than ideal conditions, increases the tendency to float and makes it harder to acheive a precise touchdown on the desired spot which in turn increases the landing distance and invalidates your landing performance calculations.

To be clear: nobody is suggesting they want to be literally flown in to the ground and everybody enjoys a nice smooth touchdown. But it shouldn't be at the expense of practicing the correct technique which will give consistent, safe results that won't break the aeroplane or anybody in it and provide performance that is closely aligned with the book figures, in all conditions as opposed to getting in to bad habits like this in an effort to produce a perfectly smooth touchdown.

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Robert Gaylord
6 hours ago, Simon Kelsey said:

And here's exactly the problem with the obsession over the VSI, because doing that would at the very least result in a big black mark and a ticking off from an instructor.

It is a very common fault for people to 'duck under' the glidepath in order to try and acheive a smoother touchdown or in a misguided effort to reduce the landing distance on a short runway. The problem with this is that flying a shallow glidepath compromises obstacle clearance in the later stages of the approach, may compromise your ability to obtain the visual references you need in less than ideal conditions, increases the tendency to float and makes it harder to acheive a precise touchdown on the desired spot which in turn increases the landing distance and invalidates your landing performance calculations.

To be clear: nobody is suggesting they want to be literally flown in to the ground and everybody enjoys a nice smooth touchdown. But it shouldn't be at the expense of practicing the correct technique which will give consistent, safe results that won't break the aeroplane or anybody in it and provide performance that is closely aligned with the book figures, in all conditions as opposed to getting in to bad habits like this in an effort to produce a perfectly smooth touchdown.

yeah ducking under the glide path wouldn't fly at any airline. You can see in this vid the FO ducks under the glide path and the captain immediately tells him something to get him back on glide. Ducking under the glide is something im used to flying 172s and is a practice for ga flying not airline flying. 

 

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Artur Araripe

It's all about getting the flare timing right at 25-20 ft and touching down very smoothly

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Jiekeng Luo

I think the fpm is not the key ,the key is G-force,especially the g-force of the landing gear compression,which is not easy to control

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Artur Araripe

Not easy at all, exactly. You either time it right or you hit it hard.

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Artur Araripe

It's possible, although not an easy feat. Might need to float half way down the runway and risk an overrun to land that smoothly.

Back in the day, I would always float as much as possible to farm low landing rates. Now, I came to terms with the fact that short runways demand a slightly firmer touchdown and been working hard on timing the flare right, which makes smooth landing rates on TDZ very possible, but also a double edged sword as it could also mean a very - and when i mean very, i mean VERY - hard landing if the v/s is a little higher than usual.

I usually come down on glide path, -700 (when it's -800, i pitch up a little at 60-70 to make sure it's -700, because a -800 glide path makes the timing part even harder), and then at 30 or so i arrest the v/s just a tad (by -200 or so) to then flare and pray at 25-20. Good timing results on sub 100 and sub 1g. But if time it wrong it's either an overflare + abrupt touchdown or float. Thankfully, i've been getting it right. High risk x reward ratio. Very satisfying when done right. Heartbreaking when done wrong. Thrilling.

 

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Peter Hastings
7 hours ago, Koen Meier said:

Is there a situation where you land so softly the spoilers wont extend.

Isn't the deployment triggered by compression of the landing gear?

The obsession with the vertical speed on landing (of YouTubers and maybe some people on here) makes me smile.  It reminds me of a humorous term that was used (and maybe still is) to describe photographers who get caught up with the technical performance of their cameras and lenses.  They would take endless photos of charts to measure the resolution and then adjust the focusing settings to get the 'perfect' sharpness, but never seemed to capture 'real life' images.

They were known as 'measurebators' :D

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Patrick Ojanen
On 3/3/2020 at 1:51 PM, Jiekeng Luo said:

I think the fpm is not the key ,the key is G-force,especially the g-force of the landing gear compression,which is not easy to control

Yeah that's the thing. Landing rate just tell you ROD on touchdown, but G-forces are variable and depends more by your weight. Landing G-force on landing rate on 200ft/min is way different 54.8t and 76.4t. And ofc too soft landing will increase your landing distance and going far further from tdz.

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  • 6 months later...
Camille MOUCHEL
On 3/3/2020 at 9:17 PM, Peter Hastings said:

Isn't the deployment triggered by compression of the landing gear?

The obsession with the vertical speed on landing (of YouTubers and maybe some people on here) makes me smile.  It reminds me of a humorous term that was used (and maybe still is) to describe photographers who get caught up with the technical performance of their cameras and lenses.  They would take endless photos of charts to measure the resolution and then adjust the focusing settings to get the 'perfect' sharpness, but never seemed to capture 'real life' images.

They were known as 'measurebators' :D

because all read pilots makes greasers (based on thousands of bideos watched), the only time a firm landing occurs is because of the weather conditions but in normal conditions, they are all making greasers. Maybe if pilots landed always at -500-400 ft/min, simmers would stop chasing <-100 ft/min

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Camille MOUCHEL
On 2/24/2020 at 6:15 AM, Robert Gaylord said:

After a year of practicing different techniques I finally figured out how to consistently land smooth. don't flare until 20-30 feet, let the autothrottle give you a little juice before you idle, and then hold backpressure battling the a320s normal law nose down landing technology that happens at 30 feet, works everytime. Full packs about 1400 lbs of cargo in this vid.

Before hand I would preflare at 50 feet and retard at 20 feet. This would give me landing rates between 100-200fpm and I would float a lot more. Now I just fly it down to the runway and let the autothrottles give me a little power before going to idle. Now my landings are under 100 fpm and I don't float as much.

 

how do you get that landing rate pop up ?

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Alessandro Dallago

The 320/321 can be tough to be consistent with smooth landing. 

The usual way the "roll it on" is slight forward pressure just prior to the mains touching... Or if you're not feeling as brave.. just relax backpressure. 

The reason this works is because the mains are located behind the center of pressure and increasing your pitch will only drive the mains into the pavement. 

Another consideration is the airport you're landing and the specific runway.. some runways will cause you to bang it on no matter what you do. 

There is also the Caribbean... Most runways are not grooved. When faced with non grooved runways, you want to get into the habit of making a firmer landing just because of the constant threat of rain and hydroplaning..

I don't really care about rolling it on anymore. Just get it in the touchdown zone, on speed and let the FACs do the rest. 

 

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Riccardo Masia

If I can share my technique: Quite a bit of a pull-up at 40, but very shortly. Hold it and idle at 30 and below that readjust according to what the end of the runway tells me. Works most of the time for me. Saw this on a post about landings earlier.

Sometimes I'm not focussed on the landing properly and my brains just shuts causing me to flare way too late and getting those nice 2.4G -660fpm touchdowns ouch.

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