Landing ... FSX

FSX cockpit at landing

Landing: Slow the rate of descent and air speed in preparation to flareout and touchdown at Provincetown, Cape Cod, Mass.

The old cliché on flying is that a good landing follows a good approach. That certainly is true. If your aircraft isn't lined up with the runway to your satisfaction, final approach is not the place to be dancing about to make things right. If things aren't right, do a go-around. That procedure is covered in the next section.

NOTE: Whether you fly the DC-3 with or without the autopilot, you should always manually fly the final approach. Turn OFF the autopilot–Press the "Z" key.

Now, if everything is OK on final, you're nearing the runway, satisfied with your alignment, full flaps are down, your final approach speed is nailed on 85 kts, you're having a hard time keeping the smile off your face, and the landing is assured, pull back the throttles to bleed off the speed. Cross the fence at 75 to 80 kts, and smoothly, without floating, flare out and touchdown at 70 kts, just slightly above stall speed, to the applause of your passengers.

Don't lose it at this point, though. More landing accidents occur when a pilot loses control of the aircraft after touchdown than any other phase of the landing. Keep flying the plane even though it has touched down. Stay on the runway, keep the tail low with back-pressure on the yoke and sparingly apply the brakes—nothing ruins a flight quite like a nose-over.

From the C-47 Flight Manual: "Touch down main wheels first in a slight tail-low attitude. When the main wheels contact the runway, check power off, relax pressure, flaps up. As the aircraft decelerates, lower the tail wheel gently on the runway ... maintain back pressure on the column until the landing roll is completed."

Tail low landingIf wing flaps are used in high-wind conditions, retract them as soon as the wheels touch the ground to prevent "ballooning."

Fun, wasn't it? A thirty-minute flight, and you practiced throttle- and propeller-control management for takeoff, climb, cruise, descent and approach.

Got a little exposure to the ADF and Localizer, too. The more you learn, the more fun it is.

Note: If after flying the Newport to Provincetown route a few times you find that your power and trim settings differ slightly from those on the checklists, simply edit the dc3_check.cfg file.

Submit your time for this flight on the PIREP form ... Flight No. is 1200-PVC.

Crosswind Landings

Landing cross windA crosswind landing in a DC-3 is not the time to let the mind wander or the aircraft may just wander off the runway, or worse, ground-loop.

On final approach, keep the nose of the airplane lower than usual and use no more than half flaps when the crosswind component exceeds 12 kts. Touch-down, using a combination of drift correction and wing-down to keep aligned with the runway. When the wind is gusty, increase the final approach speed approximately 8 knots. At approximately 100–200 feet above the runway, align the nose of the airplane with the runway with rudder control and increase the amount of "wing-down" into the wind.

When you reach the normal flare-out point, slow the airplane to minimum touchdown speed and decrease the rate of descent. Fly the airplane onto the runway at the minimum touchdown speed. Avoid a three-point landing because of the probable bounce and drift and don't let the airplane touchdown while drifting sideways.

Keep the nose aligned with the runway by use of rudder control, and compensate for drift across the runway by increasing or decreasing the amount of wing-down correction. When the wheels contact the runway, ease the control column forward slightly, flying the downwind wheel onto the runway. Adjust the power of the upwind engine as necessary and direct the co-pilot to raise the flaps. Gradually increase the amount of aileron pressure into the wind as the airplane decelerates. Maintain directional control with rudder, differential power and brakes.

Horizontal gusts affect an airplane much less with flaps retracted.

Short-Field Landings

The procedure for a minimum run landing is the same as for a normal power-on approach - power-off landing, except for the following differences: Under most minimum run landing conditions, it is preferable to make a wheel landing rather than a 3-point landing. A wheel landing allows better control for immediate use of brakes to come to a quick stop. Retract the wing flaps immediately upon contact with the ground. This will prevent the aircraft from leaving the ground again and thus make the brake more effective.

Exercise caution when using this technique on sod fields since the possibility exists of locking a wheel and digging in.