captain-david-jacobson

How to land a plane.. Our favourite FAQs.. #5 What controls what, on final approach?

We share some valuable insight to a perennial, yet vital question: One which is often explained, poorly.

FAQ #5 ‘I was taught that airspeed is controlled with the elevators and rate of descent is controlled with the throttle. Is this not correct?’

The concept of ‘elevators controlling path angle and power/thrust controlling airspeed’ for normal, powered approaches is not new. The use of the primary effects of the flight controls is essential in achieving a stable approach path on visual and instrument approaches in ANY airplane and has been widely and wisely utilised for decades, by civil and military aviators.

Using the secondary effects of the flight controls, i.e., ‘elevators controlling airspeed’, is certainly valid when gliding, or on a forced landing caused by partial or total loss of engine power or thrust; and is clearly unavoidable when climbing. These are all cases when power/thrust is at a fixed setting, necessarily.

The dubious concept of ‘power/thrust facilitating rate of descent on a normal, powered approach is very clumsy and unintuitive, especially for student pilots, in light airplanes and is totally ineffective on larger/faster airplanes.

The rate of descent on final approach is a function of just two variable factors: flight path angle and groundspeed. Certainly, the variation of power/thrust can facilitate a change in path angle, at a given indicated airspeed, but it does not directly control rate of descent. In any case, it is a very second-hand way of flying an approach and offers no stability. A roller coaster flight path is the inevitable result, leading to unstable approaches. This is one of several major reasons for inconsistent and poor quality landings.

Another critical issue is to consider the two common errors that student pilots (and licensed ones, also) who have been taught this inaccurate method, make frequently:

1. High and fast, on final approach; and/or
2. Low and slow. In each case, the initial response, for a pilot trained to think that the elevators control airspeed will COMPOUND both problems.

The pilot who is HIGH will pitch UP, making things worse and the pilot who is LOW will pitch DOWN – the LAST things the pilot should be doing, to resolve each error! A third major issue is that the roller coaster flight path ensures that the threshold crossing height of the aircraft will be totally inconsistent, making landing judgment and touchdown points quite haphazard.

As if all that is not enough of a problem, the situation worsens at a most critical phase: the flare point. A pilot, pitching the aeroplane with the elevators to control AIRSPEED, now needs to transfer the purpose of the elevators to pitch the aircraft to control the FLIGHT PATH ANGLE. What a ridiculous moment to completely redefine the flight path control philosophy! It defies all logic.

A further point (apart from greatly improved passenger comfort) is that by flying a stable approach with a more-or-less constant body angle, the lowest angle we can see over the nose of the airplane is also more-or-less constant. This fact is crucial in facilitating the Jacobson Flare’s unique visual fix for the initiation of the flare itself – inspired by the 1943 RAF 617 Sqn ‘Dambusters’ – and is responsible for the automatic self-correction of the pre-calculated flare fix for variations in landing flap settings, approach path angles, runway slopes and discounting the height illusions caused by varying runway widths.

But this is just contrary to the way VFR training is frequently taught. I went through several instrument instructors, and never found one who could adequately explain why we (CFIs) teach aircraft control differently to VFR and IFR students. Your explanation was right on, and satisfied my thirst for that understanding with an easily to implement and repeatable solution.” (Mark Santacroce, USA)

Mark was dead right – that aspect has long bemused me, also. Why teach the correct method when IFR, and the flawed ‘speed descent’ method when VFR? After all, the airplane doesn’t know the difference between IFR and VFR! But it does know the difference between a powered and a glide approach And that is the arbiter.

However, this aspect is only a part of the ‘How to aim?‘ second step in using the Jacobson Flare. All five steps must be applied for this comprehensive technique to be applied consistently well.

The full discussion on this and many other related topics may be found in The Jacobson Flare App for iOS and Android devices, available on the App Store and Google Play.

Happy 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, the no fuss – no frills introduction
where we demonstrate, step by step, the application of the Jacobson Flare on a regional grass airstrip.

 

 

We invite you to browse the consistently positive comments that pilots of all levels of experience have made about the Jacobson Flare technique and the App, on our Testimonials page.

Then download the COMPLETE Jacobson Flare app – for iOS or Android. 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.

 

Download The Jacobson Flare for iOS devices now.

 

 

Download The Jacobson Flare for Android now.

 

 

 

 

We invite you, also, to download our new, FREE companion app:

the Jacobson Flare NEWS, on both iOS and Android.

 

For all flight Instructors – anywhere

One of my favourite authors, the American pilot Richard Bach (Gift of Wings, Biplane, Illusions and many more) stated, beautifully:

‘Learning is being reminded that you know something; Doing is demonstrating that you know it; and Teaching is reminding others that they know, also.’

It’s been said, ‘there is nothing more perfect than an idea whose time has come’. However, change in any person or organisation – let alone an industry –can be regarded either as a threat – or as an opportunity.

I would invite you to regard this as a golden opportunity for the industry – and a major gift for you, both personally and professionally. This is a valid toolkit that you can add to your skillset as an instructor, yet one that has benefits for the rest of your own flying careers.

You may be considering the decision to embrace my Jacobson Flare, the world’s first and only universal, quantifiable and unassailable approach and landing training technique.

You may also have never heard of it – until now.

Either way, please, be assured that your experience and qualifications to date are very much respected and valued; your instructing skills and talents are not in any way in question – though you have probably continued to learn and to grow in the role, as many others have done.

Richard Bach also wrote: ‘There is no problem, without a gift for you in its hands.’

Any training organisation and every instructor and teacher must, from time to time, re-evaluate what they teach and how they teach it. I feel certain that somewhere, sometime, you must all have wondered if anyone else felt, as I did in 1965 and then knew by 1985, that the landing manoeuvre was the most neglected and non-standardised sequence in the whole flight training syllabus.

We’ve all wondered why the landing is sometimes difficult to learn and even more difficult to teach. I believe it is because, for nearly 100 years until 1987, there has been no underlying framework.

My original idea, inspired by the RAF 617 Sqn ‘Dambusters’ of 1943, was simple: apply triangulation to apply a fully visual fix to the landing flare point, instead of a guess of vertical height. Turns out, it worked, but it’s become just a part of something much more than that.

I was seriously encouraged to research and develop an explanation for what I had observed for 20 years. I wrote a paper in 1987, for an aviation conference and, over the intervening years, developed what is now known as the Jacobson Flare. The explanation is still very simple but is now a complete approach and landing system: a defined and visible eye path, from joining final approach, right through to touchdown, easily applied to any fixed-wing aeroplane. It’s predictable, consistent, universal and fully quantifiable.

Somebody once said, ‘There are 3 or 4 things that a pilot must know, to land ANY fixed-wing aeroplane consistently well. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are!!’

Well, I contend that there are actually 5 things and I can share them with you, right now:

  1. Where to aim?
  2. How to aim?
  3. When to flare?
  4. How much to flare? And
  5. How fast to flare? (i.e., the flare rate)

Now, I don’t know of ONE reference book or training manual, (not even from the manufacturers such as Airbus and Boeing, or ANY airline), that answers even ONE of those questions, let alone all five. Remember, I’m speaking of ANY fixed-wing aircraft, sailplane to the A380! The Jacobson Flare answers every one of these questions, simply, factually and accurately. The mathematically based arguments are unassailable.

Much more information can be found on www.jacobsonflare.com and it would be great if you would be prepared to do a little research, after reading this. I commend the About and Testimonials tabs, the JF App Preview video and the Jacobson Flare LITE. This is all about sharing information, finessing landing instruction and providing cost-effective training for your students, while minimising wear and tear on aircraft and greatly increasing competency and safety levels.

With respect to competency levels, we even have a means of measuring your students’ levels of competency – not only in the approach and landing, but for all sequences.

Finally, for any further information, you are most welcome to contact me, via these contact details.

 

Happy 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, the no fuss – no frills introduction
where we demonstrate, step by step, the application of the Jacobson Flare on a regional grass airstrip.

 

 

We invite you to browse the consistently positive comments that pilots of all levels of experience have made about the Jacobson Flare technique and the App, on our Testimonials page.

Then download the COMPLETE Jacobson Flare app – for iOS or Android. 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.

 

Download The Jacobson Flare for iOS devices now.

 

 

Download The Jacobson Flare for Android now.

 

 

 

 

We invite you, also, to download our new, FREE companion app:

the Jacobson Flare NEWS, on both iOS and Android.

 

You really can’t appreciate the value of the Jacobson Flare … until the penny drops

After more than 100 years, pilots are still being taught to land by guesswork. Triangles have been around a lot longer and work much better.

Since flight instruction started to become more formalised during and following World War One, pilots have pursued the consistently perfect landing. ‘What’ to do is generally understood; the ‘where’, ‘when’ and ‘how’ involved in landing an airplane has been far more elusive.

The conventional wisdom on landings has been that it just takes indefinite hours of practice to finally ‘get the hang of it. And many of us did get the hang of it – some faster than others. Many others didn’t and gave up, or were ‘scrubbed’ off a flying course.

Sadly, many have died in the process – and still do, to this day.

For those who did get to first solo and beyond: What then? How did you go on your next airplane type conversion? Or in a decent crosswind? Or at a different airfield? Or at night? The only conventional and honest answer is … ‘by trial and error and with difficulty’.

The Jacobson Flare technique is the quantifiable explanation of what pilots have been trying to achieve by repetition, feel and guesswork, with varying results, for over 100 years.

Apart from the simple and logical solutions to determining where to aim and how to aim (at an appropriate initial aim point on the runway), how much to flare and how fast to flare (i.e., the flare rate), the unique key to the Jacobson Flare is the eclipsing of a longitudinal flare point, short of the initial aim point by the airplane’s windscreen lower visual cut-off angle.

This flare cut-off point is easily derived for any fixed-wing airplane that flares for landing; it can even be applied to the autorotation manoeuvre in helicopters. The essential thing to understand is that while the flare is still commenced at the optimum flare height, that height is visually recognised by the flare cut-off point ahead, on the ground, which corresponds to that height.

Triangles have had 3 sides for a very long time and to this day and, historically, we only ever used 2 of them: the hypotenuse (slanting)  side represents the pilot’s eye path and the opposite(vertical) side represents the flare height.

The adjacent (horizontal) side was simply ignored. If the flight path angle had been drawn more accurately at around 3º, instead of the typical 25-30º, it would have been recognised that the adjacent side is approximately 20 times larger than the opposite side. This means that any vertical error, made in guessing flare height, compounds 20 times longitudinally along the runway, greatly increasing the landing footprint. Moreover, the vertical side is invisible to the pilot.


In contrast, using a longitudinal flare cut-off point in determining a visual fix means that any error made in assessing the flare cut-off point position, in relation the the initial aim point, is reflected by only 1/20th of that error, vertically, making the flare initiation point much more accurate.  Moreover, the flare point, not to mention the entire landing flare manoeuvre, is fully visible to the pilot and tolerant of error, making the Jacobson Flare eminently suitable for unmarked gravel and grass airstrips.

The flare point calculation is only made once, for each airplane type (or variant) and the technique actually self-compensates (geometrically) for variations in flight (approach) path angle, runway slope and landing flap angle. The vertical height illusions, encountered when landing on an un-familiar narrower or wider runway can be discounted with a consistent and fully visible, longitudinal flare cut-off point, rather than a conventional guess of flare height.

 

So triangles and their structure work much better than antiquated guesswork.

When the penny drops, your ‘aha moment‘ will make you smile and that’s when the value of the Jacobson Flare will be appreciated.

 

Happy 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, the no fuss – no frills introduction
where we demonstrate, step by step, the application of the Jacobson Flare on a regional grass airstrip.

 

 

We invite you to browse the consistently positive comments that pilots of all levels of experience have made about the Jacobson Flare technique and the App, on our Testimonials page.

Then download the COMPLETE Jacobson Flare app – for iOS or Android. 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.

 

Download The Jacobson Flare for iOS devices now.

 

 

Download The Jacobson Flare for Android now.

 

 

 

 

We invite you, also, to download our new, FREE companion app:

the Jacobson Flare NEWS, on both iOS and Android.

 

The Jacobson Flare NEWS App – Bug resolved

To our valued Jacobson Flare NEWS App subscribers:

We became aware of a bug affecting the operation of the News App: It has now been resolved and we apologise for any inconvenience.

 

For future reference, all the articles in the JF NEWS App can always be accessed via the Blogs tab on www.jacobsonflare.com .

 

Happy 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, the no fuss – no frills introduction
where we demonstrate, step by step, the application of the Jacobson Flare on a regional grass airstrip.

 

 

We invite you to browse the consistently positive comments that pilots of all levels of experience have made about the Jacobson Flare technique and the App, on our Testimonials page.

Then download the COMPLETE Jacobson Flare app – for iOS or Android. 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.

 

Download The Jacobson Flare for iOS devices now.

 

 

Download The Jacobson Flare for Android now.

 

 

 

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.

Happy 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?

Read all of the consistently positive comments pilots of all levels of experience have made about the Jacobson Flare technique and the App, on our Testimonials page.

Then download the COMPLETE Jacobson Flare app – for iOS or Android. 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.

 

Download The Jacobson Flare for iOS devices now.

 

 

Download The Jacobson Flare for Android now.

 

 

 

 

We invite you, also, to download our new, FREE companion app:

the Jacobson Flare NEWS, on both iOS and Android.