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Really struggling with transition to landing config


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Damn, I must have made 200 attempts at landing this thing and can't seem to get it right. I can do OK with a 10 mile final with plenty of time to slow down and stabilized before the threshold, but I am really struggling with standard overhead patterns. There just doesn't seem to be enough time/distance to get this thing slowed down and stable before turning to base. What I find is when I make the brake and pull the speed brake, it starts to slow and when I hit 250 the gear goes down and I am fine. It continues to slow and when under 200 I put down flaps and bam, it balloons up and I have to apply forward stick to keep from shooting up well over 1500 feet AGL and then bam, airspeed drops like a rock and the thing falls out of the sky. There doesn't seem to be much time between the two to manage throttle. If i try to apply power to keep from dropping out of the sky, it just adds to the balloon and off I go into the wild blue yonder. I've even tried a two step flaps process - apply half flaps, delay while it slows, and then apply full flaps. By the time everything stabilizes I am either way downwind with a 2 mile final or into the base/final transition and unstable. I understand stroking the throttle and have tried that, but haven't found the right method to make that work.

 

Not bitching, just frustrated.

 

Any hints to get this under control? I have watched every YouTube video I can find.

 

I'm also having trouble maintaining pitch and altitude in normal flight and turns. Perhaps I have something set up in my joystick incorrectly. I do have a curve in as recommended by others but the Hornet sure appears to have a lot of pitch instability to me.

 

Comments?

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I land this bird 100% of times perfectly with flaps auto (I too have issues with flaps down). Then just lift the air-brake and lower the gear the speed will decline fast, surely you need the throttle to adjust engine power\speed. Last thing point the velocity vector to the edge of the runway and trim ( T/O trim). It works.

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Damn, I must have made 200 attempts at landing this thing and can't seem to get it right. I can do OK with a 10 mile final with plenty of time to slow down and stabilized before the threshold, but I am really struggling with standard overhead patterns. There just doesn't seem to be enough time/distance to get this thing slowed down and stable before turning to base. What I find is when I make the brake and pull the speed brake, it starts to slow and when I hit 250 the gear goes down and I am fine. It continues to slow and when under 200 I put down flaps and bam, it balloons up and I have to apply forward stick to keep from shooting up well over 1500 feet AGL and then bam, airspeed drops like a rock and the thing falls out of the sky. There doesn't seem to be much time between the two to manage throttle. If i try to apply power to keep from dropping out of the sky, it just adds to the balloon and off I go into the wild blue yonder. I've even tried a two step flaps process - apply half flaps, delay while it slows, and then apply full flaps. By the time everything stabilizes I am either way downwind with a 2 mile final or into the base/final transition and unstable. I understand stroking the throttle and have tried that, but haven't found the right method to make that work.

 

Not bitching, just frustrated.

 

Any hints to get this under control? I have watched every YouTube video I can find.

 

I'm also having trouble maintaining pitch and altitude in normal flight and turns. Perhaps I have something set up in my joystick incorrectly. I do have a curve in as recommended by others but the Hornet sure appears to have a lot of pitch instability to me.

 

Comments?

 

 

What's your control setup like? That can play a large role in it I found.

I found I too apply some forward stick to keep it level, and yes I'm always on the throttle during the approach.

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I have learned that when you drop the airspeed below 200 Knots, airbrake out - wheels and flaps down not until 180 or less then the balooning is minimal. You will need gentle throttle at this point while you trim for AOA. Then gently does it with the throttle.

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I also apply forward stick sometimes. Make sure that you start trimming to 8.1 degree AOA when the jet feels like it's about to start losing altitude. After you turn downwind, don't stay at idle throttle too much, to the point where you start falling. You need to find the sweet spot between losing lift due to the low airspeed and gaining because of the trimming, so you can stay at the desired altitude.

Practice without a boat, just level transitions from gear/flaps up to gear/flaps down and try to maintain altitude. Getting the thing I describe above correctly, should help you get used to the process. After that, try the same during turns.

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Not bitching, just frustrated.

 

Comments?

 

Well, you should be bitching:D… Powered Approach mode is unfinished so you just have to do whatever it takes to transition to onspeed without gross deviations. Push the stick into MPCD, start applying power as son as velocity vector starts dropping (but before it plummets;)) and trim at the same time. I just push the trim up for 3 or 4 seconds paying most attention to settling VV with power and pushing the stick down to remain around 600 feet. By that time I'm already past 180 but that's OK. Most of the times I'm onspeed at that point, if not I make minor trim adjustments while turning inbound.

Now, I always have the boat moving at 22 - 30 knots depending on wind. I also set the wind to at least 5 kts so the 180 point comes up quick and even when flying single ship I try to break no further then .5 nm. (350kts from initial to brea). You can always make it easier on yourself by breaking at 1nm past the bow which is fine. You can fit a 4-ship formation 2.5, 3nm. #4 guy will have it easy:D

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Try Banklers approach mission, you can practice doing it the right way.

 

 

The main Pro-tip I can offer is to use the flight path marker, and keep it on the crotch of the ship (ish).

 

Worst case, just setup a straight in mission, distance (1-3nm) set alt (1000), speed(250), etc (you will need to tweak it) drop gear/flaps/hook and just focus on auguring in that way, do it that way until you can get the hang of the final. And then go back to doing actual patterns using the trainer.


Edited by Harlikwin

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I have Banklers mission. Don't do very well with it for the same reason. I have set up a ground based approach with a break complete with gates. I just have to practice more I guess.

 

Question: Do you guys have your HOTAS throttle axis tune set linearly or have you applied a curve to it to give you finer granularity in the center? Right now mine is set up linearly. I may put a curve in it to help prevent over correction. Not sure what might cause in other flight configurations.

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I have Banklers mission. Don't do very well with it for the same reason. I have set up a ground based approach with a break complete with gates. I just have to practice more I guess.

 

Question: Do you guys have your HOTAS throttle axis tune set linearly or have you applied a curve to it to give you finer granularity in the center? Right now mine is set up linearly. I may put a curve in it to help prevent over correction. Not sure what might cause in other flight configurations.

 

It won't help due to spool-up time for these motors in the PA range. You have to constantly seesaw the throttles to "average out" the power for a steady approach. Don't go too far though.

On my Warthog it takes an inch or so, back and forward, sometimes a little more or longer duration of power change. This part really takes time getting used to... well, depends on your experience.

I do have a slight curve on my WH throttles since I use mech. detents/finger lifts and had to fine tune the AB position. There are other ways to do it.

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I have Banklers mission. Don't do very well with it for the same reason. I have set up a ground based approach with a break complete with gates. I just have to practice more I guess.

 

Question: Do you guys have your HOTAS throttle axis tune set linearly or have you applied a curve to it to give you finer granularity in the center? Right now mine is set up linearly. I may put a curve in it to help prevent over correction. Not sure what might cause in other flight configurations.

 

So the pro tip from flying helos in dcs is dont use curves. Your brain expects linear input output responses and doesnt do well with non linear. I do use a 25 curve on most of my conventional planes to. But you can get away with messing with lowering saturation as well. But then be advised you will never get the full response out of the jet.

 

Ive never used a curve on a throttle. Best practice is to punch slightly up say "one" and return to where you were. Or down etc. To get nore fine control.

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I can nail a straight in approach 90% of the time. My pattern approach still sucks but slowly getting better. During the upwind approach I keep it at the recommended 350k and drop the hook early. I have also started setting the flaps to full and gear to down at the same time. They won't actually move until speed drops below 250. So I start the first 180 turn by chopping the throttle to idle at the same time I crank in the bank and start pulling slightly back on the stick. This way the flaps and gear drop down while I am at a 30+ deg bank and so I don't get a balloon effect. Getting my self set at proper altitude, AOA, etc on the downwind takes way too long and I get dinged for that. I generally get dinged more in the final turn for altitude but I have noticed that Bankler often says that when I am on the ICLS glide slope so not sure why. I don't know how many traps I have done but it is certainly in the several hundreds so yeah, it is not easy and takes a long, long time to get it right.

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Just barrel roll hard if you're going too fast/ballooning. My method:

 

Beeline fast at a point a half mile from the threshold, on slope.

Flaps select full

Break to line up with runway.

Barrel roll until below 200, lowering gear at 270. Keep VV on the grass in front of threshold.

Land (on taxiway or apron if runway is busy)

Veer off and park before people complain.


Edited by Preendog
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Just barrel roll hard if you're going too fast/ballooning. My method:

 

Beeline fast at a point a half mile from the threshold, on slope.

Flaps select full

Break to line up with runway.

Barrel roll until below 200, lowering gear at 270. Keep VV on the grass in front of threshold.

Land (on taxiway or apron if runway is busy)

Veer off and park before people complain.

 

 

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My solution to the ballooning problem is to find a combination of entry speed into the break and g force that allows me to drop the gear and flaps at 250 knots when 90 degrees through the turn. Then I loosen off the turn a little to ensure the 1.2 ish miles lateral displacement on the downwind leg. Getting the flaps down in the turn minimises the ballooning and helps get the speed down so when you rollout downwind you can concentrate on getting ‘on speed’ (that’s the part I struggle to do quickly). Having said that, I enter at 350 knots which is ‘standard’ so I’m not doing anything radical.

 

Cheers

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Well, you need practice.

 

Opening flaps will cause pitch up moment and you need to keep it in control with forward stick input until you bleed the speed enough. Then you release forward stick input, add power and trim for landing AoA.

 

My advice is to select gear down + full flaps as soon as you reach 250kts. Usually, you reach 250kts at mid of break turn. When you select gear down + full flaps, control pitch up moment with bank angle and forward stick input. 30 degrees of bank angle will prevent it to pitch up excessively. Rolling out on downwind, AoA should already be close to landing AoA, descending for base leg altitude.

 

Btw, it is not forbidden to use pitch control in PA mode. It's just not being used in final turn and approach.

 

This is pretty much what I do as well..... gear+flaps while still in the turn to downwind once below 250Kts. Porpoising is fairly minimal at that point and then trim for on speed AOA. The finesse comes with throttle management when you enter the base turn and then roll out on final. I find I have to lead the turn with a little bit of throttle to maintain speed and AOA due to the bank angle and then pull throttle slightly before rolling out on final. I find if I don't lead both - I then chase the AOA all the way to the wire.

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On straight in approaches I don't drop flaps til 180 or so. This way all that happens is you get a quick loss of speed and no ballooning. As the speed is dropping, I start bringing in some throttle (off of idle) at 145 or so, because I know my speed, once stabilized on AOA, I will be at about 135, and anything below that will result in rapid altitude loss. In a pattern approach, although it's not the standard technique, one could wait until on the downwind to drop flaps.

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It sounds like your issue is that you spend a lot of time tyring to hold 600ft in the downwind.

 

As other have mentioned two good techniques to minimize the ballooning is to:

 

1. drop the gear and flaps in the turn; or

2. wait to your airspeed is around 180 knots.

 

 

You should also try to anticipate the ballooning and use the joystick to adjust the pitch to offset it.

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It sounds like your issue is that you spend a lot of time tyring to hold 600ft in the downwind.

 

As other have mentioned two good techniques to minimize the ballooning is to:

 

1. drop the gear and flaps in the turn; or

2. wait to your airspeed is around 180 knots.

 

 

You should also try to anticipate the ballooning and use the joystick to adjust the pitch to offset it.

 

Yes I struggle with altitude combined with the ballooning. I will practice getting gear and flaps in in the crosswind turn. I've been getting gear down OK but not flaps until in the downwind. Then it is chasing the AOA and altitude all the way in.

 

Thanks for all of the feedback. This thing has been a beast for me to learn to fly.

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I do not use curve for my throttle. I like having the direct control.

 

When banking the hornet it needs a lot more juice when in landing config at AoA, off memory i'm talking like 80%ish to maintain altitude. Then need to remember to remove that extra when going wings level. In the groove I'm moving the throttle (again this is muscle memory as I'm at work right now) between maybe 40-80% with "finer" movement in the 50-70% area. The movement is constant so it would be like 50 to 70 to 60 to 70 to 45 to 70 to 80 to 50 to 60 for example. The throttle basically doesn't stand still. I've also found it easier to once set up for AoA to never move the stick pitch forward and back, just don't, resist, as it will muck up the whole balance. Left and right bank ONLY once on AoA.

 

 

It's essentially the same movements for AAR (Air to Air Refueling) other than the AoA and dirty bits out. But keep the throttle moving, there's no sweet "spot" only a sweet range. And for the love of god relax your hand. This is by far the most influential but also the hardest thing to remember. When I find myself overcorrecting for AAR I'll think of my grip and sure enough I'm white knuckling it. Relaaaaaaax almost finger tip the stick. I'm not sure which resource I read it from but make much smaller movements than you think are necessary (credit might be @104th_mavrick). I'll repeat in my head "smaller movements than you think are necessary and relaaaaaax".

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