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Simple triangulation means that the Jacobson Flare self-corrects for just about everything: Does yours?

The innovative and long-proven Jacobson Flare owes its 1965 inspiration to the famous 1943 RAF 617 Sqn ‘Dambusters. Critical to the accuracy of Barnes Wallis’s 6-ton ‘skipping’ bomb, the simple principles of two different visual fixes were utilised, to solve the dilemma of accurate low-flying over dark water, at night:

The first fix employed 2 spotlights, mounted beneath the Avro Lancasters with the beams of light focused to intercept each other just 60ft/18m below the aircraft. The resulting ‘figure 8’, projected onto the water surfaces of 3 large reservoirs, confirmed, simply and accurately, that the aircraft was at that precise and critically low height above the water.

The second application was a simple wooden bomb sight that triangulated from the anti-aircraft gun emplacements on each of the 3 dam walls back to the aircraft, providing longitudinal confirmation of the bomb release point.

These revelations became the cornerstone of what is now the Jacobson Flare, providing the third vital and consistent ‘when-to-flare fix‘ component of the five that define the pilot’s visual eye path, throughout the Jacobson Flare approach and landing.

We gratefully acknowledge the generosity of the noted British artist, Mr Nicolas Trudgian, for his very kind permission to display images of our print (No 139/500) of his magnificent painting (1996), ‘Breaching the Dam’.

During the research and developmental stages from 1985 onward, it became apparent that the visual fix, applied to the landing manoeuvre, actually self-compensated, geometrically, for a number of key variations that would otherwise require a conscious correction by the pilot, in every such case.

Does your current technique (do you have one, other than trial-and error, judgment and experience?) self-compensate, varying the actual flare point (or height) to suit the considerations, summarised below?

Take a close look at the details depicted in the following example illustrations. (In the Jacobson Flare app, these illustrations are enhanced with comprehensive text sections, accessed via the ‘read‘ button at centre R.)

IMPORTANT NOTE: These illustrations, from the Jacobson Flare app, apply generically to the B737 series, NOT necessarily to your airplane type. The aim and flare cut-off points are pre-calculated – just once in your life, per airplane type. The Jacobson Flare app reveals HOW. 

  1. Non-standard landing flap settings – what corrections do you make?

Automatically compensates for variations in landing flap angle. (Note: With less flap extended, the aim point is lower in the windscreen.)

 

2. Approach path angle variations – what corrections do you make? and how much of a correction?

Automatically compensates for variations in approach path angle: Earlier (higher) if steeper; later (lower) if less steep than the normal 3º.

 

3. Runway slope variations – what corrections do you make? and how much of a correction?

Automatically compensates for variations in runway slope variations: Earlier (higher) if landing uphill; later (lower) if landing downhill.

 

4. Runway width illusions – have you been caught out, flaring too high over a wider-than-usual runway, or too low over a narrower-than-usual one? It need not ever happen, again.

Automatically compensates for variations in runway width: understand the visual illusions, but trust the reliable visual fix.

 

 

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

Read what pilots of all levels of experience have to say 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 airplane : You’ll recover the cost of the app, in just ONE LESS-NEEDED CIRCUIT.

We invite you, also, to download our new, FREE companion app : the Jacobson Flare NEWS.

** NEW ** The Jacobson Flare Apps – for iOS

Download The Jacobson Flare for iOS devices now.

 

** NEW ** The Jacobson Flare Apps – for Android

Download The Jacobson Flare for Android now.

 

 

Where? + How? + When? + How much? + How fast? = the 5 Simple Keys to the Jacobson Flare

Our www.jacobsonflare.com home page describes The Jacobson Flare:

Precisely. In just 3 simple sentences:

1. The Jacobson Flare uses a logical, geometric visual ‘framework’ to guide the pilot from final approach to a perfect touchdown – in the right place.

2. This framework confirms to the pilot exactly what is happening at every stage, dispelling the myths that ‘trial and error‘, ‘developing a mental picture‘ and ‘feel‘ are the only ways to master the landing.

3. Since the development of The Jacobson Flare from 1985, pilots are presented with a fully-defined visual eye path, determined by the airplane type – making the landing safe, sure, simple and universal.

The page continues:

‘Accounting for all – even self-compensating for many – of the variable parameters that have distracted the attention of pilots away from the 5 essential elements of all landings: Where to aim; How to aim; When to flare; How much to flare; and How fast to flare?, the Jacobson Flare explains landings as never before.

Flown initially at a constant angle, the eye path translates to the classic exponential flare curve that generations of pilots have attempted to execute by judgment alone. The flare is initiated from a visual fix, derived from the cockpit lower visual cut-off angle (the lowest angle visible ‘over the nose’) and the flight path angle, offering a precise and visible model for both student and instructor.

The improvement in confidence, competence and progress of pilots – at all levels – is not only breathtaking: It’s consistent and it’s measurable.’

So far, so good, you say, but you are well entitled to ask: OK, but what’s so different from what I’ve just been taught?” … or … “Why would I need it?  I’ve been landing airplanes for 20/30/40 years?” These are fair questions but, in a truly honest moment: Do you fully understand, can you explain, can you determine how and why you can perform a ‘greaser’ of a  landing on most occasions and then a ‘howler’, the very next time? We can blame a gust or some inattention or distraction; but are these reasons, or just excuses?

 

DISCLAIMER:

The following material is descriptive, only, to provide a simple discussion to offer an initial understanding of the principles that underpin The Jacobson Flare. It is not intended to to provide flight instruction advice to individual readers. The fully comprehensive and illuminative description of The Jacobson Flare is contained and presented in The Jacobson Flare App (see further details, below).

 

Let’s take a simple look at the 5 simple pillars that underpin the Jacobson Flare: Where to aim; How to aim; When to flare; How much to flare; and How fast to flare? For these are the keys to understanding the vast differences from the conventional, non-standardised methods, that derive from the pioneering aviators of World War One, passed down without serious challenge or development, for over 100 years.

Where to aim?

Conventionally drawn, a final approach elevation profile diagram, published in text books and manuals, then depicted on whiteboards and flight training software, will usually display just one sloping line to depict the approach path angle. This line is generally never defined and these depictions never explain, or nominate the development of an aim point, let alone offering any method to calculate an appropriate aim point for every airplane type (size). This is critical, to assure runway threshold clearance by the landing gear, yet still maximise the landing distance available.

The minimum number of lines needed to depict the approach path profile is two: one line to represent the pilot’s eye path and a second – lower than and parallel with the first – to represent the main wheel path. It should be appreciated that the bigger the airplane, the deeper the aim point must be, in order for the main landing gear to clear the runway threshold safely.

The Jacobson Flare treatise starts with an understanding of the runway threshold landing gear clearance height, appropriate for the airplane type, projected down to a runway ‘impact point‘ (assuming, for the moment, no flare). The upper and parallel pilot’s eye path is projected down to a runway ‘aim point 1‘. The aim point 1 location, in relation to the runway threshold, is simply the sum of the distance to the impact point, plus the additional longitudinal distance from the impact point to the aim point 1. This latter distance is a simple function of the flightpath angle (usually the standard 3º), the vertical height of the pilot’s eyes above the main wheels and the horizontal distance from the pilot’s eye back (or forward, in a small tail-dragger) to the main wheels. It is not a complex calculation.

The Jacobson Flare App describes the method simply and factually.

How to aim?

If one can visualise the main wheel path as a virtual ‘wet concrete ramp‘ that we are trying to ‘roll‘ down, on the main wheels, it becomes very clear that using the elevators to control airspeed simply won’t achieve the aim: to leave a continuous ‘tyre tread impression‘, down the imagined ‘wet‘ surface. Pitching for airspeed results in a roller-coaster path that would oscillate all the way down the approach, necessitating constant changes in engine power/thrust and the imagined tyre impression would be in-and-out of the ‘wet‘ concrete. The threshold crossing height is inconsistent, resulting in differing height cues and erratic landing consequences. That is why it is essential to select a suitable aim point and then ‘fly our eyes‘ accurately towards that selected aim point on as straight a line as possible, using the elevators and controlling the airspeed with the throttle(s). That is to say, using the primary effects of the controls, instead of the secondary effects.  (The obvious and rare exception, these days, is when engine power is unavailable, such as in the case of total engine failure; this then becomes the subject of a non-normal forced landing procedure.) On most approaches flown today, reliable and variable power/thrust is a given. When the power or thrust value is fixed, such as on take-off, then airspeed is controlled with the elevators.

Flying a ‘path-based’ approach, rather than a ‘speed-based’ approach has several key advantages, the most important one being that it obviates the need to retrain pilots transitioning to more advanced operations:

It is vastly more stable – therefore much safer – than pitching up and down, chasing airspeed; a stable approach is essential – in any airplane.

The technique is equally applicable to both visual and instrument approaches;

The technique is standard and mandatory on heavier and/or high performance airplanes;

It minimises the two common student pilot errors of becoming ‘high and fast‘ or ‘low and slow‘ on final approach; and

It eliminates the need to ‘convert‘, at the worst possible time (the flare point) from flying a ‘speed descent‘ down final, to a ‘path descent‘ through the flare, to touchdown.

When to flare?

Historically, the decision on when to flare has been no better than an ‘educated guess‘ of vertical height, above the runway. The word ‘educated‘ is really no better than a euphemism for trial-and-error, repetition, judgment and experience, none of which can be taught; these each come at some indeterminate time, for each individual pilot. Some pilots take longer than others, in ‘getting the hang of it‘. Even after they first solo and consolidate their competency, it all starts again on, at the next airfield, or the next airplane conversion. Moreover, flare height is invisible to the pilot; without a radio altimeter and GPWS computer-generated height callouts, as in modern airliners (“100”, “50”, “40”, “30”, “20”, “10”), it can only be a subjective guess, the consistency of which wears off, anytime ‘absences from our comfort zones‘ occur.

Worse, the approach path angle depicted in just about all flight training books, manuals and briefings, is misrepresented, exaggerated at approximately 25-30º. The actual standard approach path angle is just 3º. This significant error, perpetuated for more than 100 years, has masked the fact that using a guess of vertical height to determine when to flare is further flawed, mathematically. A 3º path angle is a slope of about 1:20. This means that a 1ft error in that guess of flare height compounds x 20-times, longitudinally, along the runway.

Thankfully, triangles have had 3 sides for very long time and we can utilise the hitherto-unused third side, which happens to be the runway centre line. Not only is this side visible; it is, if sealed and painted, a calibrated ruler (with 100ft/30m centreline marks and spaces between). With the stable (and straight) pilots eye path and a second position line, projected at the lowest visible angle over the nose, from the pilot’s eye to the runway centreline, short of the aim point, an accurate visual fix can be derived, accommodating both the flight path angle and the appropriate flare height for the subject airplane. It is 400 times more accurate than a conventional guess of flare height, alone, because instead of the vertical height error compounding x 20-times, any longitudinal error diminishes x 20-times.

This vastly improved tolerance to error facilitates application of the Jacobson Flare fix to unsealed grass and gravel airstrips. It is without peer – any  longitudinal error in assessing the flare fix diminishes to a 1/20th error, vertically.

How much to flare?  

The ‘how much’ and ‘how fast’ to flare questions are closely inter-related, so it is useful to link them, to simplify the explanation of the landing flare manoeuvre. First, the Jacobson Flare does not reflect the conventional and misleading terms, ‘round-out‘ and ‘hold-off‘. In my 50-yrs’ experience, they confuse and misrepresent what we are meaning to achieve:

A pilot, attempting to ’round-out’ often achieves exactly that – pitching up too quickly and then ends up flying straight and level far too early and, as a direct result, too high above the landing surface. Complex corrections are then required.

The expression, ‘holding off’, misrepresents the aim, completely. The aim is really not to attempt to fly straight and level, as long as possible, as low as possible, swapping increasing angle-of-attack for decreasing airspeed (as I thought it was, for many years). The objective should be to execute a manoeuvre that transitions the flight path from a constant 3º path angle to the flare fix, to an exponential curving path that reduces both the flight path angle and rate of descent, each part-second throughout the flare, yet never actually reaches 0º or horizontal (except, perhaps, when executing a 3-point landing in a tail-dragger (tail-wheel landing gear configuration).

There is a actually a very simple answer to the ‘how much‘ question. We’ve done a great job flying an accurate eye path to the appropriate aim point, so why not utilise a second aim point and transition our line of sight progressively along the runway to that pre-determined point? On runways of approximately constant slope (not necessarily level), the optimum position to locate this aim point 2 is at the end of the runway centreline at the upwind (far) threshold. It is not the fence, or the horizon, but on the ground, at the far end of the runway. This will ensure that the final flight path angle is not level, but converges with the runway surface, at an optimal angle of approximately 0.5º.

If the landing surface is undulating, then a simple correction can be made, as follows:

Uphill landing zone: Select aim point 2 at the ‘top’ of the up-sloping landing zone, where it starts to level off; anything beyond this point is not usable.

Downhill landing zone: Select aim point 2 at the ‘bottom” of the down-sloping landing zone, where it starts to level off, to prevent a very deep touchdown.

How fast to flare?

The Jacobson Flare model utilises a 4-second flare (a simple, mental count of 1 .. 2 .. 3 .. 4” secs), through which the pilot transitions his/her line of sight  from the original aim point 1, to the supplementary aim point 2, usually at the upwind threshold, as described, above. Assuming that the Vapp airspeed is within limits (+/- 5kts) at the the flare point, the power or thrust is generally reduced towards idle, during the flare, as usual, with the throttle(s) fully closed just prior to touchdown.

The ‘4-second’ flare derives from actual observations, taken by the author, over no less a period than 30 years. From the moment that ANY pilot, in ANY airplane type, commences the flare, the average elapsed time through to touchdown was observed to be 5-6 seconds. Allowing 1-2 seconds for variables such as slightly excessive airspeed, control inputs or environmental factors, such as a wind gust, 3-4-seconds has been proved to be the optimal timing for the flare – for a normal landing – in ANY airplane type. (The 6 enhanced videos in the JF App Preview 190814 and in the JF App, clearly illustrate this point, in actual C172 and A380 airplanes and in B737-400 and B777-300ER full-flight simulators.)

By the end of the 4th second, the pilot’s line of sight should normally be ‘locked-on‘ to aim point 2, at the upwind threshold, with the throttle(s) closed. The airplane is now in a perfect position and attitude to touch down safely and smoothly – and in the right place: on, or very close to the original aim point 1.

Finally, it should be noted that this discussion has not been confined to any one type or class of airplane, for The Jacobson Flare is universal in its application.

Summary

To reiterate, the material above is descriptive, only, to provide a simple discussion to offer an initial understanding of the principles that underpin The Jacobson Flare. It is not intended to to provide flight instruction advice to individual readers.

You now have a better understanding of the 5 keys to The Jacobson Flare. How about a test drive?

The 6 enhanced videos in the JF App Preview 190814 (and in the JF App, itself) clearly illustrate The Jacobson Flare in practice – in actual C172 and A380 airplanes and in B737-400 and B777-300ER full-flight simulators. Similar videos could be produced for ANY airplane that is flared, to land.

The full, comprehensive and definitive description of The Jacobson Flare is contained and presented in The Jacobson Flare App (see further details, below).

 

 

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

Read what pilots of all levels of experience have to say 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 airplane : You’ll recover the cost of the app, in just ONE LESS-NEEDED CIRCUIT.

We invite you, also, to download our new, FREE companion app : the Jacobson Flare NEWS.

** NEW ** The Jacobson Flare Apps – for iOS

Download The Jacobson Flare for iOS devices now.

 

** NEW ** The Jacobson Flare Apps – for Android

Download The Jacobson Flare for Android now.

FAQ #6 Update: Landing by night – just as by day – the Jacobson Flare

A recent question became a timely reminder that an expanded explanation on how to adapt the Jacobson Flare principles to night landings was overdue. So, for current exponents of the JF, here is a suggestion that can tune your night landings into the same, exacting standards that you are now achieving, by day. It updates the information, previously found in FAQ #6, at https://www.jacobsonflare.com/our-most-frequently-asked-landing-questions/

Disclaimer

This is a technical dissertation, intend primarily for more-experienced pilots and to provide an interim supplement to the Jacobson Flare App. Less-experienced pilots are advised to treat the information contained herein, as information, only. Please, do NOT attempt to apply the information, contained herein, if you are a new or yet-to-be user of the Jacobson Flare.

It’s generally NOT a good idea to do anything in an airplane, for the very first time! By this we mean, do it with someone, preferably a flight instructor, who has done it before. Your safety is paramount. So, become proficient at using the Jacobson Flare by day, before attempting to apply it at night.

This information is directed more specifically to pilots of 4-6 place single- and twin-engine-airplanes, below 12,500lb/5,700Kg MTOW, operating onto runways without glideslope guidance.

Any study or application of this content should not be rushed, if full comprehension is to be achieved.

Pilots of larger airplanes should be able to relate the principles to their current airplane, although the aircraft landing lights generally illuminate the runway fixed distance markings well, which helps to identify both the correct visual aim point 1 and the pre-calculated flare cut-off point for the airplane type. Alternatively, please feel welcome to contact info@jacobsonflare.com for further information.

 

Background

Early in the research and development of the Jacobson Flare, around 1985-87, I was a civilian flight instructor at the RAAF Point Cook Flying Club, in addition to my full-time career as an airline transport pilot – at that time, a DC-9-30 line training captain with Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA)/Australian Airlines.

I am not ex RAAF, myself, but was in the ‘right place/right time’, from 1983-89), in a more-or-less voluntary capacity.

The following technique was flight-tested and proven, in C150, PA-28 and PA-38 aircraft, on Runway 17 at RAAF Base Williams, at Point Cook -YMPC – a classic  ‘black-hole’ runway, at night, located SW of Melbourne.

When headed away from the lights of Melbourne city, the immense Port Phillip Bay is the black backdrop and, depending on the prevailing conditions. it can be difficult to discern the horizon. The lights of the Melbourne SE shoreline suburbs are not much help, either, when late on final approach for a landing on 17.

There is no T-VASIS, PAPI or ILS glideslope to ‘hang your hat on‘, so it was a ‘Mk 1 eyeball’ approach. However, this solution proved to work perfectly at YMPC and can be adapted easily to the night situation, at other locations.

Note: If visual glideslope guidance, such as a PAPI system, is available at a particular airfield, then the PAPI aim point comparison calculator (standard in the Jacobson Flare App for iOS and Android), together with the published runway edge lighting spacing and the following information, can be applied to ascertain and then optimise the actual PAPI aim point 1 and flare cut-off point for the subject aircraft, in night operations.

Let’s take a look at the following standard 5 JF considerations, to re-examine what we use by day and what we can adapt for night landings.

Note: The ft/m conversions have been rounded, for convenience. This makes no practical difference to the landing outcome.

 

The 5 Jacobson Flare Considerations – Applied to Night Operations

  1. Where to aim?

The JF-suggested visual aim point, for 4-6 place single- and twin-engine-airplanes below 5700Kg MTOW, located at 300ft/90m from the threshold is still ‘King’, to assure approximately 10ft threshold clearance of the main landing gear (MLG). By day it’s the ’top’ of the first centre line mark, past the runway numbers. So it is, normally, by night. Now, the runway edge lighting is a great reference, as you can use the normal (i.e., 90º) axes across the parallel pairs of edge lights, to determine suitable longitudinal references for both the aim point 1 and the flare point.

The standard runway edge lighting spacing is 60m , but a detailed check of this information confirms RAAF Point Cook -YMPC has a non-standard spacing of 85.6m (approx 90m). Like many things in aviation, edge lighting spacing is not as standard as it might be: For example, Australia’s busiest GA training aerodromes: Adelaide Parafield YPPF 03L/21R, Brisbane Archerfield YBAF 10L/28R, Melbourne Moorabbin YMMB 13L/31R and 17L/35R and Sydney Bankstown YSBK 11C/29C, have their runway edge lighting spaced at approx 90m intervals, yet Perth Jandakot YPJT 06L/25R and 12/30 has the runway edge lighting spaced at the standard 60m intervals.

Fortunately, these variations are covered by the 1:20 tolerance of the unique longitudinal flare point principle of the Jacobson Flare. This point is explained, below, in 3. When to flare?

Note: In addition, YSBK 11C/29C and YPJT 24R each have 3º PAPIs, with 25ft MEHTs.* (*Minimum Eye Height at Threshold) 

By night, the runway threshold is marked by the standard runway threshold green lights.

  • At 200ft/60m standard spacing, the 300ft/90m aim point 1 would lie mid-way between the axes of the first and second pairs of edge lights; the flare cut-off point is 100ft/30m back from aim point 1, at 200ft/60m, exactly on the axis of the first row. See the 60m spacing illustration in Fig 1, below:

 

Fig 1

 

  • At 300ft/90m spacing, aim point 1 would fall exactly on the axis across the first pair of edge lights, at 300ft/90m. However, the flare cut-off point would lie 100ft/30m back from there, at 200ft/60m, unserved by any usable or consistent visual cue at night, except the aircraft landing lights. See the 90m spacing illustration in Fig 2, below:

Fig 2

 

Having different aim- and flare-point indicator cues at night, for the same actual aim and flare point locations is less than ideal; and you may or may not have the luxury of being able to check the light spacing before you land somewhere. In any case, the quality of this data may not be all that accurate.

So, to keep things simple, consistent and conservative, let’s establish a single, consistent assumption for all aerodromes that you are likely to use at night:

We have established above that, at 200ft/60m standard spacing, the 300ft/90m aim point 1 would lie mid-way between the axes of the first and second pairs of edge lights; the flare cut-off point is 100ft/30m back from aim point 1, at 200ft/60m, exactly on the axis of the first row.

Now, if the spacing was actually 300ft/90m – BUT, we aimed at the same NIGHT aim point 1, mid-way between the axes of the first and second pairs of edge lights, then the ACTUAL aim point 1 location would be located at 450ft/135m, somewhat deeper.

Given that the certified landing distance is factored (increased) by 67%, this is not a practical issue, as long as the approach is flown accurately, within +5/-0kts. See the 90m spacing illustration in Fig 3,  below:

Fig 3

  1. How to aim?

No change is needed. Fly the same aim point 1/glare shield relationship as by day, controlled with the elevators and the airspeed controlled with power/thrust – to achieve the essential stable approach path.

Aim point 1, as discussed above, is the mid-point of the imagined axis, longitudinally mid-way between the axes of the first and second pairs of edge lights; in other words, the centre of the black space between the first 4 edge lights.

Now, many pilots find that, at night, things seem to be happening ‘faster than by day’, as the airplane approaches the runway, on short final. This may be due to our eyes ‘zooming-in‘, like a camera lens, on the pre-dominant object in the pilot’s view: the runway shape, outlined by the threshold and edge lighting. The rest of the airfield is often very dark.

It has been found very useful to imagine the airfield as it appears by day, or imagine wearing night-vision goggles, so the visual field more resembles the daylight view: the pilot’s eyes don’t ‘zoom-in‘ and the approach groundspeed appears more ‘normal‘.

 

  1. When to flare?

This where the 1:20 advantage of a longitudinal flare point assists, greatly. We already know that the flare cut-off point is 100ft/30m back from aim point 1 – for 4-6 place single- and twin-engine-airplanes, below 5700Kg MTOW.

For 200ft/60m spacing, aim point 1, mid-way between the axes of the first and second pairs of edge lights, is perfectly located at 300ft/90m, so the flare point will be located on the axis through the first pair, at 200ft/60m, exactly as by day.

As stated above, if the spacing was 300ft/90m – and we aimed at the same NIGHT aim point 1 cue, mid-way between the axes of the first and second pairs of edge lights then the ACTUAL aim point 1 location would be located at 450ft/135m, somewhat deeper. The correct flare cut-off point for that aim point location would lie 100ft/30m back from there, at 350ft/105m.

However, to be consistent with the 200ft/60m case, we might wish to use the same flare point indicator, namely the axis of the first pair of edge lighting, at 300ft/90m. This would create an actual flare cut-off distance of 150ft/45m: an error of 50ft/15m.

Yes, it’s a little earlier – and correspondingly higher, BUT:

The longitudinal error is 50ft/15m: Applying the 1:20 advantage, (dividing by 20) indicates a diminished vertical error of just 2.5ft/0.75m. This is well within the vertical tolerance of any landing, flared using the conventional ‘educated guess’ of height.

Speaking of flare point tolerance, it has been found useful to regard the flare point much like a CG, lying within an acceptable range between a forward and an aft limit. This an example of that comparison. Now, at a normal 3-4º approach path angle and flaring over the usual 4-seconds to a new aim point 2, probably at least 2000ft/600m away, or even further, it makes little difference whether you flare at the aft limit, the forward limit, or anywhere in-between: it is relatively insignificant.

Review Figs 1 and 3, above: The edge lighting spacing is different, but we can use the same visual cues for both the aim point 1 and the flare point, for runway edge lighting spacing of 60-90m spacing and the 4-second flare will smooth out the variations in actual flare cut-off distance, between the aim point 1 and the flare point, due to the 1:20 tolerance of using a longitudinal flare cue.

 

Finally, use EVERY cue at your disposal, including your experienced assessment of vertical flare height, too. Triangles still have three sides! We might as well use all of them.

Airline fleets and other advanced types offer the added advantage of computer-generated call-outs of ‘100..50.. 40.. 30.. 20.. 10‘ ft radio altitude (‘radalt‘), from the ground proximity warning systems (GPWS). However, these are still subject to certain limitations, such as radio interference and the mathematical fact that, on the standard 3º flight path angle, every +/- 1ft vertical error compounds as a longitudinal error of +/- 20ft respectively, along the runway.

 

  1. How much to flare?

Again as by day, transition to aim point 2, at the end of the runway lights. For a runway of uniform slope – not necessarily level –  this is the same as used by day: the upwind threshold.

For undulating runways:

Where the landing zone is located on a downhill slope, aim point 2 is relocated to the ‘bottom end‘ of that downhill slope, before the runway becomes more level; geometrically, the flare cue will occur later/lower than the level-runway case. (* See this app Pp 93-95)

Where the landing zone is located on an uphill slope, aim point 2 is relocated to the ‘top end‘, or ‘brow‘ of that uphill slope, before the runway becomes more level; geometrically, the flare cue will occur earlier/higher than the level runway case. (* See this app Pp 93-95)

This technique will assure a more accurate convergence with the landing zone surface in each case.

 

  1. How fast to flare?

The usual Jacobson Flare 4-second technique, or maybe stop the flare at 3-3.5 seconds, if the runway has a lot of water on it, to reduce the risk of aquaplaning.

(In a jet transport airplane, aiming at aim point 2, after completing the full, 4-second flare, can result in too-smooth a landing! The main wheels don’t penetrate the water layer and make proper ground contact, so apart from the risk of aquaplaning, the main wheels don’t spin up to about 700rpm and, in some airplane types, the pre-armed auto brakes and auto-spoilers don’t actuate – they actually get ‘confused‘.)

So, there you go. It’s a bit to digest:  Try drawing it out on some paper, to scale for your airplane; think it through; sit in a chair and visualise the whole thing. And try it, first time, with someone else, preferably a flight instructor, with you, or better still, have a play in a simulator. It may be very beneficial, to prove it to yourself, first.

Use all available cues, including the landing light-illumination of the centreline and fixed distance runway markings and your accumulated experience, (together with the GPWS ‘radalt’ callouts in larger aircraft), in assessing your height above the runway.

Of the three components to any landing:

1. The initial pilot’s eye path to aim point 1;

2. The commencement point of the flare; and

3. The flare, itself, through to the second aim point, usually at the far, upwind threshold:

The first is the most important; second most is the third and the least important is the flare initiation point, so long as it is within that ‘range of acceptable flare points/heights‘ for the airplane type, as discussed above.

Finally, to reiterate, the one aim point 1 – at 1.5 rows of edge lights – and the one flare point – at the first row of edge lights – may be applied for runway edge lighting spacing of 60-90m spacing and the 4-second flare will smooth out the differences. See the generic spacing illustration for 60-90m edge lighting spacing in Fig 4, below:

 

Fig 4

Happy Landings

 

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

Read what pilots of all levels of experience have to say 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 airplane : You’ll recover the cost of the app, in just ONE LESS-NEEDED CIRCUIT.

We invite you, also, to download our new, FREE companion app : the Jacobson Flare NEWS.

** NEW ** The Jacobson Flare Apps – for iOS

Download The Jacobson Flare for iOS devices now.

 

** NEW ** The Jacobson Flare Apps – for Android

Download The Jacobson Flare for Android now.

You’ll recover the cost of this app in just ONE LESS-NEEDED CIRCUIT

If you are considering downloading the unassailable Jacobson Flare app, please just ask yourself : ‘How many circuits have I flown so far and how many more will I have to fly before I am competent and safe enough go solo?’ And then: ‘What about my next airplane … and the next?’ :  ‘Will I have the same problems, over and over again?’  :  (the answer, sadly, is yes)

We all know it’s frustrating when you are told, only : “it takes time to get the hang of this – quicker for some than others.” That’s the conventional ‘wisdom‘, passed on to student pilots, professional pilots and their instructors, since 1918 : and, since 1987 it’s no longer true, if ever it was.

There is another way to better landings, much sooner, than just wishin’, waitin’ and hopin’ for the judgment, perception and experience (none of which can be taught) to kick in, sometime soon. The key is in understanding a pre-defined pilot eye path, which may be applied to every fixed-wing airplane type you’ll ever fly.

You’re already paying $300+/hour to hire an airplane and an instructor : In today’s busy circuit patterns, you are probably averaging about 5 circuits an hour.

The Jacobson Flare can be taught and you’ll recover the cost of this app in just ONE LESS-NEEDED CIRCUIT.

 

 

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

Read what pilots of all levels of experience have to say 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 airplane : You’ll recover the cost of the app, in just ONE LESS-NEEDED CIRCUIT.

And download our new, FREE companion app : the Jacobson Flare NEWS.

** NEW ** The Jacobson Flare Apps – for iOS

Download The Jacobson Flare for iOS devices now.

 

** NEW ** The Jacobson Flare Apps – for Android

Download The Jacobson Flare for Android now.

Why inflict yesterday’s landing techniques on tomorrow’s pilots?

Of all manoeuvres flown in fixed-wing aircraft, the landing flare remains an enigma, It is usually the most precise flight manoeuvre that pilots are required to master as it is critical to the safe and satisfactory conclusion of every flight. I’t’s often stated that, ‘while take-offs are optional, landings are mandatory‘.

While everything else in aviation has developed throughout the last 100 years, landing training is still regarded, for the most part, as an ‘art‘. Conventional flare practices have involved a critical estimation of height  above the runway and are subject to quite a number of variable factors.

From the dawn of aviation, before and during World War One until 1987, there was no definitive, universal approach and landing technique and, even more puzzling, little recognition of the need for one. The original pilots were self-taught. Their haphazard trial-and-error practices gradually blossomed into a loose collection of landing myths and legends that ultimately came to be regarded as gospel. Surprisingly, these practices have remained for the most part unchallenged by generations of flight instructors.

It is being realised, by many countries, that there may soon be a significant shortage of pilots, world-wide. When this period arrives, the proper training of many new pilots will present huge challenges, especially if there is no change to the status quo.

We no longer have to swing the propellors of modern aircraft, yet most flight training organisations still cling to yesterday’s obsolescence. It is time now to move landing training from the ‘artistry‘ of 1918 into today’s world, where a totally proven, universal, quantifiable and consistent approach and landing flare technique can define new standards in competency.

The Jacobson Flare is the world’s precision tool that enables us to avoid inflicting yesterday’s landing techniques on tomorrow’s pilots. Together, we can help them to be more precise, consistent, efficient and, above all, safer than ever.

 

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

Read what pilots of all levels of experience have to say 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 airplane : You’ll recover the cost of the app, in just ONE LESS-NEEDED CIRCUIT.

 

** NEW ** The Jacobson Flare App – for iOS

Download The Jacobson Flare for iOS devices now.

 

** NEW ** The Jacobson Flare App – for Android

Download The Jacobson Flare for Android now.