we’ve-always-done-it-this-way

“If you don’t know that something exists, you’ll never go looking for it” – Geoff Tually

On December 17, 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright made four brief flights at Kitty Hawk. The Wright brothers had invented, flown and somehow landed the world’s first successful powered aircraft. Ever since that historic event, pilots – with a wide range of aptitudes – have pursued the elusive, consistently perfect landing. Sadly, this seemingly formidable task remains elusive to too many pilots, over 100 years later : Sadly, because it is no longer elusive.

The first generation of pilots, who pioneered the next 10 years leading to World War One, virtually taught themselves and each other. By 1914-1918 through to 1987, no formal approach and landing training system had yet been developed, other than trial-and-error and individual pilot opinions. Myths, legends and misinformation were added to the mix and re-cycled, unchallenged by generations of flight instructors who claimed, collectively, that it was a matter of repetition, judgment and experience – none of which can be taught.

In 1965, as a young student pilot trying to fly an approach, I was taught to pitch the airplane to control airspeed and then use power to control the rate of descent. It made no sense to me to use the secondary effects of controls to fly the approach which, for most pilots, is the most precise manoeuvre they are required to perform; and then, ‘getting the hang‘ of the landing flare from a combination of guesswork, the ‘look’, the ‘feel’, repetition and luck – but with no universal explanation or system to use on subsequent aircraft type conversions, or executing final approaches in challenging, even critical conditions. The silence on precisely ‘HOW’ to land a plane, from flight training books, manuals and videos, is both deafening and worthless.

I went searching for better answers and solutions : and found none. Fortunately I did ‘get the hang of it’, personally but, even twenty years later in 1985 as an experienced flight instructor, I hadn’t been able to resolve the range of problems inherent in teaching landings – in both large and small aircraft – without a comprehensive, fact-based system. That became my dream – and then my dream became a reality.

My good friend and mentor, Geoff Tually, a renowned specialist in agricultural business, financial advice and farm succession planning, recently hit the nail on the head when he said, “If you don’t know that something exists, you’ll never go looking for it.”

I’ve realised that these wise words captured the essence of my work : Finally, by 1985 I knew I was looking for a solution to the circus that conventional landing training has become. By 1987, I had found it from an inspiration back in 1965 and had written my first Paper.

Today, it’s called the Jacobson Flare : and, now, you’ve found it, too.

 

 

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.

OK. Let’s settle some misconceptions, right now.

No parlour trick
“The Jacobson Flare is not a parlour trick. It doesn’t involve a deck of cards or a pact with the devil. 

It’s my considered opinion that pilots who learn to apply Jacobson’s techniques can make consistently good landings, provided they know how to configure their aircraft and fly a stable approach at the appropriate airspeed.’ 

‘I’m excited to have a cool, new tool in my teaching toolbox. I can’t shake this feeling of a kid in a candy store.” 

– John Ewing, Flight Instructor, California, USA

“If this was any good, it would have been developed by someone, years ago!” is a lame and unenlightened alternate response. “But we’ve always done it THIS way”, is another. If similar attitudes had prevailed through the rest of aviation, we would not have progressed beyond spruce, wire and fabric structures, unreliable power plants and navigating by DR.

The truth is it was developed over 30 years ago by Captain David Jacobson, a career flight instructor and airline pilot. Since the original Jacobson Flare Paper, ‘Where to Flare‘ was published in 1987, the multifarious responses by pilots have been insightful, to say the least.

Many pilots have been open-minded, self-aware and honest enough to realise that conventional landing training methods have been inadequate, at the very least. The most common and insightful observation, by a great many pilots celebrating that ‘Eureka’ moment when they execute another consistently sound landing by applying the Jacobson Flare, is: “This probably what we’ve all been trying to achieve, without realising!”

These more enlightened pilots understand that the best that generations of flight instructors and flight training organisations have been able to manage is to attempt to describe what they, themselves, do and this loose collection of opinions has been passed down, as fact. This explains why every flight instructor has a different explanation, none of which really explain ‘how’ to land an airplane. Trial and error is not good enough, when the rest of aviation has grown from the days of World War One.

At best, all conventional landing methods have revolved around opinions, myths and legends that have well and truly passed their use-by dates. They lean heavily on judgment, perception, false information, experience, repetition and an educated guess of vertical height above the landing surface – none of which can be taught. They are inconsistent and unreliable. Competence comes at some indeterminate time, for each individual pilot and is fallible in differing circumstances. From the dawn of aviation until 1987 there was no definitive, universal landing technique and, even more puzzling, little recognition of the need for one – to this day.

The Law of  Primacy in the discipline of education, refers to the way that many people tend to believe implicitly what they are first taught, creating unshakeable views about any given subject. This very much includes any attempt to discuss a different viewpoint on landing training, which the majority of pilots regard as an ‘art‘.

It has been noted by the author, often during the past 35 years, that when a pilot is presented with an alternative to conventional ideas on landing training, defence mechanisms kick in and any new idea can be regarded as a personal challenge to their ego. Instead of listening, or reading, or watching and then considering, many pilots tend to become quite defensive, immediately throwing up as many reasons as they can think of, as to why the Jacobson Flare “cannot work“. They will argue – from a position of total ignorance in relation to the principles and advantages of the Jacobson Flare – about the wide number of variables that certainly do affect the outcome of all landings (all of which and more are, in fact, embraced and diminished by the sound principles behind this innovative technique. They are not to know yet that it does work and has always worked, ever since the sound mathematical principles used to explain David’s 1965 inspiration were applied. Typical comments/questions include:

‘The glareshield must be at the right height’;

JF: There ARE differences between aircraft, but there is a correct seat position to achieve the design eye point.

‘The pilot must be sitting at the right height’;

JF: The pilot should always be sitting at the right height, for adequate control and for ground and flight visibility.

The approach path angle is not consistent’;

JF: Pilots can be taught HOW to fly a consistent path angle, without electronic glideslope guidance.

‘Our runways have no approach path angle guidance systems’ (ILS, PAPI, etc);

JF: The Jacobson Flare actually self-compensates for higher or lower flight path angles, scheduling an earlier/later flare, respectively.

‘What about up- or down-sloping runways?’

JF: The Jacobson Flare actually self-compensates for these runways, scheduling an earlier/later flare, respectively.

‘What about a different flap setting?’

JF: The Jacobson Flare actually self-compensates for different flap angles, scheduling a flare at a similar main-wheel height, but higher pilot eye heights, for lesser flap settings than normal. (The aim point will be lower in the windscreen, due to the slightly higher body angle of the airplane.)

‘What about strong headwind components? Or crosswinds? Or other ambient environmental issues?

JF: These, too, are compensated for, by flying the prescribed pilot eye path. 

‘Every airplane type has a different flare height … and that height is critical’.

JF: Agreed and it is critical. BUT: using flare heightper se, is flawed, because any vertical error compounds 20 x times, one way or the other, along the runway.

“This method is inflexible.”

JF: This technique is more flexible than any other, making it quantifiable and universal in its application.

The ‘instant critics’  cannot yet appreciate that the development of the Jacobson Flare accounts for all of these variables – and many more – by using the flight controls, correctly, to maintain a pre-defined, tolerant and totally visible pilot eye path, from the intercepting of final approach right through to a perfect touchdown – in the right place. They rely instead on browsing for landing videos on channels such as YouTube, essentially shopping for one that conforms with their limited view, just like a person who ‘shops for a physician who will agree with their own uninformed diagnosis.

So, what’s different about the Jacobson Flare?

Essentially, the Jacobson Flare uses a logical, geometric visual ‘framework’ to guide the pilot through the entire manoeuvre. Since the development of The Jacobson Flare from 1985, pilots are presented with a fully-defined visual eye path, specified by the airplane type – making the landing safe, sure, simple and universal.

Accounting for all – even self-compensating for many – of the variable parameters that distract 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.

Simply put: Consistently sound landings are obtained through ‘flying’ a constant-angle final approach to a suitable initial aim point, commencing the flare at an equally-suitable pre-determined visual fix and then executing a 4-second flare through to a new, secondary aim point. That’s it. The 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.

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 and the flight path angle, offering a precise and visible model for both student and instructor.

The airplane type/size determines the exact positions of aim points 1 and 2 and the flare initiation point and, on a normal powered approach, is flown using a PATH descent – using the elevators to aim the pilots eye and power/thrust to control airspeed. The technique is equally applicable and adaptable to both light and heavy airplanes, from sailplanes to A380s.

(For those pilots taught that airspeed is controlled with the elevators and rate of descent is controlled with the throttle, the use of elevators to control airspeed, on final approach is more correctly applied to the Non-Normal cases when power/thrust is fixed – or failed – such as in a forced landing. For further explanation, please see FAQ #5, in the FAQs tab.)

The flare fix determines a longitudinal flare point on the runway centreline (based on the correct conventional flare height) while gradually reducing power/thrust back to idle). The concept of using a longitudinal flare point rather than flare height has three great advantages:

The flare point is visible and therefore easily identified and able to be repeated, consistently;

Any longitudinal error made in mis-identifying the longitudinal flare point DIMINISHES 20 times, compared with the fact that any error in mis-identifying a conventional vertical flare ‘height’ COMPOUNDS 20 times. This is due to the fact that the standard approach path angle is 3º – approximately a 1:20 gradient. Overlooked by the entire flight training industry for 100 years, this angle is routinely misrepresented in text books and manuals as approximately 25-30º and this has masked its significance; and

Triangles have 3 sides and only 2 were ever utilised. The third (adjacent) side is fully visible as the runway centreline and, on sealed and painted runways, is effectively a calibrated ruler.  The 1:20 tolerance, afforded by utilising a longitudinal flare point, has the great advantage of being so tolerant of error that the technique can be equally applied on unsealed airstrips of grass or gravel, where an estimation of runway segment distance is required.

Summary  – The Jacobson Flare Advantage

Overall, the Jacobson Flare offers the following advantages over conventional practices:

Landing an airplane can now be regarded as a skill that can be logically taught and learned, rather than as an art to be mastered eventually. This innovative technique defines the entire landing flare manoeuvre for any airplane from day one, greatly enhancing self-confidence for all pilots;

Most of the variable factors affecting perception and estimation of flare height may be discounted because pilots can fly a clearly delineated eye path, from final approach through to a predictable touchdown. The distinctions between aircraft types are reduced to just the aim point and flare cut-off point positions;

The concept of a longitudinal flare cut-off point on the runway is extremely tolerant as any errors in the selection or identification of this position are greatly diminished, vertically;

The Jacobson Flare offers standardisation throughout an organisation and facilitates accurate assessment of increasingly vital evidence-based competency standards;

Elementary and advanced pilot training is simplified for student and instructor, representing a meaningful reduction in total training time and costs; this pilot-portable technique adapts simply to successive airplane endorsements throughout a pilot’s career;

Experienced pilots, especially when returning from a period of leave or non-flying management duties, can achieve better landing consistency by using the visual flare fix to complement their highly developed levels of judgement, coordination and skill;

Runway occupancy times are minimised, optimising traffic flow. More consistent touchdown points lead to reduced airplane tyre, brake and undercarriage wear and tear, which may then reduce runway wear and tear;

No device or modification of the airplane is required – therefore no additional costs are incurred;

The approach path, flare fix and flare rate are very similar to, and compatible with, those commanded by Head-up Guidance Systems (HGS) on the B737NG and other airplanes;

The likelihood of landing accidents causing aircraft damage, loss and ensuing insurance claims is greatly diminished;

Safety is greatly enhanced, because pilots no longer need to rely solely on guesswork and ‘feel’, perception, judgment and experience; the entire approach and landing manoeuvre is virtually visible to the pilot; The Jacobson Flare is universal, quantifiable, consistent and unassailable.

The Jacobson Flare is comprehensive yet practical, simple to master and extremely effective. Since 1985, it has been adopted in 65 nations by thousands of civil and military pilots of various ages, abilities and experience, in airplane types ranging from sailplanes and single-engine light airplanes to large jet transports. The improvement in confidence, competence and progress of pilots – at all levels – is not only breathtaking: It’s measurable.

The Jacobson Flare addresses obvious differences between airplanes but embraces their similarities. It delivers a basic system of flight training that may be adapted as necessary to meet specific requirements. Its universal application is long overdue and the App presents the Jacobson Flare clearly and comprehensively as never before – on both iOS and Android devices.

Would you care to experience, more often, that great feeling of fulfillment, derived from executing consistently beautiful landings?

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.

‘We’ve always done it this way! … What’s wrong with that?’

“We’ve always done it this way.”

The ‘Law of Primacy’ in education is very powerful:  What we are first taught on any given subject often creates a strong, almost unshakable impression. We believe it, implicitly. Perhaps that’s why generations of flight instructors have resisted looking at landings in other way than the 100-year-old ‘conventional wisdom’: that pilots develop landing judgment and proficiency only by ultimately ‘getting the hang of it’, though repetition and practice. And again and again, on every subsequent aircraft conversion.

This is time-consuming and can be unnecessarily stressful and very expensive – for the student – and for the operator, in terms of wear and tear and damage to aircraft.

30 hours to first solo is not unusual. It is, however, unnecessary and quite harmful to a pilot’s confidence. If this sounds familiar, please read on.

When the elements of this ‘conventional wisdom’ are examined, they don’t stack up very well:

What’s wrong with conventional methods?

Simply stated,

  • Triangles have had 3 sides for a very long time.
  • We only ever used 2 of them – the hypotenuse for the pilot’s eye path (correct) – and the opposite side to guess the flare height for each type (highly inconsistent and mathematically flawed).
  • The opposite side (flare height) is invisible to the pilot (forgetting radio altitude call-outs); the conventional wisdom is to develop landing judgment by repetition and trial and error; this height changes with every aircraft conversion.
  • Because the final approach flight path angle (FPA) is exaggerated in books and manuals and all training aids and depicted at around 25-30°– instead of the normal – the actual FPA has been masked; 3° is near enough to a 1:20 gradient, a very flat gradient. The significance of this exaggeration is crucial:
  • It means that every vertical error in flare height judgment or control compounds, one way or the other along the runway, by 20 times  that vertical error.
  • Until the Jacobson Flare, no-one thought of using the 3rd side of the triangle: the adjacent side.
  • This is the runway centreline – effectively, a calibrated ruler (consistent centreline markings) and fully visible to the pilot (under most conditions and where not, options are available).
  • A visual fix (based on the RAF 617 Sqn ‘Dambusters’ operation of 1943) becomes available, using a ‘flare cut-off point’ on the runway centreline, short of the initial aim point, to identify the flare point, rather than a haphazard guess of flare height.
  • Any longitudinal error is reflected as only 1/20th, as a vertical error, making the technique extremely tolerant for use on grass and gravel airstrips, (without any central line calibration).
  • The Jacobson Flare addresses all aspects of the approach and landing, including where to aim; how to aim; the key difference – the use of a visual fix to identify the flare point, rather than a haphazard guess of flare height; how much to flare; and how fast to flare.

 

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.

 

 

“We’ve always done it this way!” Part 2

In part 1 of ‘We’ve always done it this way, (7 June 2016), I noted that EVERYTHING in aviation has progressed over the last 100 years –  except training technique for the manual landing flare manoeuvre.

I am often asked why I thought it necessary to ‘bother’ with trying to turn the landing into a ‘science’, when most pilots have been indoctrinated to believe it to be an ‘art’.

For a start, I regard the landing as a SKILL, not a science. But to explore this a little more, I was drawn to looking at how the rest of the flight training syllabus has been taught, historically.

I am indebted to the School for Social Entrepreneurs Australia for the succinct ‘Change as a Learning Process’, referenced from their ‘INTRODUCTION TO ACTIVE LEARNING’ participant workbook (page 3, v.2.0 2015):

SSE_CaaLP 160731

Clear distinctions are drawn here, between head- and heart-based learning processes.

It is well understood that pilot training is generally based on head-based learning, however there is a ‘stand-out’ exception.

Since the earliest days of aviation, head-based or technically definable training processes have been applied to just about all flight training sequences, but not the landing manoeuvre.

TJF TLaaLP 160731

It is fascinating to note how the most precise manoeuvre that most pilots have to master, has been relegated to esoteric expressions such as, “about here”, about now”, and getting the ‘hang’ or the ’sight picture’ or the ‘feel’ of it.

That is why the Jacobson Flare was developed, in 1987. Without a technically factual explanation, pilots have had no hope of predictable, consistent and universally quantifiable landings. The proven and potential cost savings in training time and competency at all levels, wear and tear on pilot and machine and airport runway occupancy times are immense.

Isn’t it about time that the industry re-considered the statement, “We’ve always done it this way”?

IF you are seeking some fresh information on landing issues, different from the non-quantifiable and inconsistent results you may have experienced;

IF perhaps you’ve now realised by now that you were never actually taught HOW to land, but just WHAT to do, when landing;

IF you have always felt that there had to be a better way to teach, to understand and to learn HOW to land an airplane, WITHOUT having to ‘getting the hang of it’, on every successive airplane conversion: THEN …

You are invited to view the wealth of information on this website: www.jacobsonflare.com/

 

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.

“We’ve always done it this way!” Part 1

We don’t start aero engines as we did, back in 1918 – by hand. In fact EVERYTHING in aviation has progressed since then – EXCEPT training technique for the manual landing flare manoeuvre. It’s still taught by trial and error. Many pilots remain underconfident and those who are confident still cannot describe HOW they land. ‘You just get the hang of it!’, ‘Cross my fingers’ or ‘Stuffed if I know!’ are very common responses.

The most dangerous phrase in the language is ‘WE’VE ALWAYS DONE IT THIS WAY!’

In 1987, I developed the world’s first and only universal, quantifiable and consistent approach and landing training technique – a solution to a problem that is not even acknowledged or understood by the aviation industry, TO THIS DAY. Unfortunately, even for such an innovative company, the Cirrus Landing Standardization Course fails to offer any fresh enlightenment, from what has been taught, historically. The silence around the subject of the flare is deafening. Check any manual or textbook.

Then ask your instructor about the Jacobson Flare: You’ll see what I mean, when most either haven’t heard of it, or haven’t ever tried to understand it. Those many instructors who have understood the problems of landing training have had no trouble embracing the Jacobson Flare themselves and introducing it to their students at any level.

The sole basis of my life’s work on this project has been consistent: to IMPROVE FLIGHT SAFETY.

Briefly, conventional techniques require a critical, visual estimation of vertical height to commence the flare. This estimation is subject to many errors and these vertical errors compound 20 times one way, or the other, longitudinally, on the runway. The surface of the airstrip (grass or gravel) or the centreline of a sealed runway is utilised to take advantage of a simple visual fix for the flare point. This creates a flare point which is visible (instead of a guess), tolerant of error (any longitudinal error diminishes 20 times, vertically) and consistent in its results. The technique is easily transferred to, and has been proven by many pilots on, a wide range of aircraft types, from sailplanes to the A380.

If you are seeking some fresh information on landing issues, different from the unquantifiable and inconsistent results you may have experienced;

If perhaps you’ve realised by now that you were never actually taught HOW to land, but just WHAT to do;

If you have always felt that there had to be a better way to teach, to understand and to learn HOW to land an airplane, WITHOUT having to ‘getting the hang of it’, on every successive airplane conversion; THEN:

Please view the wealth of information on this website: www.jacobsonflare.com/

 

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.