Were you just taught to land? … or were you taught HOW to land?

Were you just taught to land? … or were you taught HOW to land?

Many of us are familiar with the adage that ‘it is more valuable to teach someone HOW to fish, than to simply buy them one’. 

There is quite a difference: One is momentary – the other is forever. Landing training is similar.

‘Just taught to land’

Historically, instruction in determining a suitable and consistent landing flare height for each airplane type has been more an art passed on to an apprentice than the formal teaching of a technical skill. Pilots then attempt to recognise and recycle that flare height, consistently, by familiarity and repetition.

The student is expected to remember and reproduce this flawed height estimation, often at another airfield where the visual cues are always different and are offered no alternative: Trial and error have been the arbiters in advancing the soundness of this developing judgement.

Unfortunately, even after the basic skills have been mastered, the same fundamental problem exists because every airplane type requires a different flare height. When needed most – effectively, all the time – an accurate and universal flare model had never been available. After being endorsed on a new airplane type, experienced pilots generally consolidate their assessment of flare-height *. Although subject to the same issues, they become comfortable with the ‘feel’ of their new airplane after some indeterminate time and land it as well as any flown previously – if inconsistently; clearly so, for this method has been accepted and practised for a very long time; in fact, since the end of World War One, in 1918.

(* Even the concept of a ‘flare height’ is flawed mathematically, for every error in judging/estimating/guessing this vertical height compounds by approximately twenty (20) times longitudinally, along the runway.)

It is what is meant, here, by being ‘just taught to land’ by imitating and replicating our instructors’ demonstrations. It is worth keeping in mind that that is how they were taught, too!

‘Being taught HOW to land’

The distinction is very simple: Were you ever encouraged to consider the following five questions and research their answers?

  1. Where to aim?  (your eyes at a nominated aim point on the runway, suitable for the aircraft type)
  2. How to aim?  (using the controls correctly to fly a consistent, stabilised approach path)
  3. When to flare?  (using a simple visual fix to locate an accurate flare point – rather than guessing an elusive and flawed* flare height)
  4. How much to flare?  (utilising a second aim point, together with:
  5. How fast to flare?  (a simple means of developing the perfect flare – an exponential curved eye- and flightpath that we have all been trying – with mixed results – to emulate through judgment, repetition and feel).

The simple explanations and solutions for these five questions – on HOW to apply this technique to ANY fixed-wing airplane on ANY airstrip or runway – and much more – are described in the comprehensive 345-page Jacobson Flare App.

You will then understand the difference between being taught to land and being taught HOW to land.


Wishing you many safe landings


Captain David M Jacobson FRAeS MAP


Would you care to experience that unsurpassed sense of accomplishment, derived from executing consistently beautiful landings, more often?

For starters, Download the FREE Jacobson Flare LITE, our no fuss/no frills introduction. Here we demonstrate, step by step, the application of the Jacobson Flare on a typical grass airstrip at Porepunkah, YPOK.


We invite you to browse the consistently positive comments on our Testimonials page. Many pilots, of all levels of experience, have downloaded our Apps. Read about their own experiences with the Jacobson Flare technique and the App.

Then download the COMPLETE Jacobson Flare app – for iOS. You’re already possibly paying $300+/hour to hire an aeroplane: You’ll recover the cost of the app, in just ONE LESS-NEEDED CIRCUIT. Moreover, you’ll have an invaluable reference tool, throughout your entire life in aviation.

Download the COMPLETE Jacobson Flare App for iOS devices now.


We invite you, also, to review our new, FREE companion app,

offering a convenient way of staying abreast of our latest blogs.


Download the Jacobson Flare NEWS App for iOS devices now.

David Jacobson