The Jacobson Flare self-corrects for just about everything

The Jacobson Flare self-corrects for just about everything

Simple triangulation means that the Jacobson Flare self-corrects for just about everything

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.


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