Real Answers from Real Pilots

Prospecting Student Pilot

I was curious, I’ve wanted nothing more than to be a pilot, I’ve always dreamt of it. Recently I went flying with my step-dad and we practiced some take-offs and landings. I am confident with more practice I can fine tune the take-offs, but when it comes to landing I was having trouble with it and we attempted it 3 times and each time I would level off too soon and flare too soon. keep in mind we didnt go over any ground beforehand but did after. Also flying in a “high performance” aircraft RV-10 and he kept saying this isnt a training aircraft but I still feel like I should have been able to get it on the ground. I know if I want something bad enough then do the extra work but should this discourage me? I start ATP flight school at the end of May, just waiting on my Class medical.

Hello Gabriel,

I’m going to apologize before I get started because this is not going to be pretty. While I hate to make sweeping indictments it appears many of the youth in this country are all somewhat confused? You all grew with the concept of “immediate gratification” (movies on demand, food delivered in a flash, the World’s information at your fingertips) and while these are wonderful times to grow up in many seem to lack this wonderful character trait called PATIENCE! This my friend is not the Matrix and you cannot simply “plug in” and download the skills and knowledge you desire. Landing an aircraft is the single most difficult pilot skill to accomplish let alone be proficient at. You (by your own admission) had no ground instruction and were flying a high performance plane (I actually have time in the RV-10, it’s stall speed is 20kts above a 172s and it likes to be flown onto the rwy UNLIKE most training aircraft) yet you somehow think you should be able to land it after 3 attempts. Seriously, DUDE, ARE YOU KIDDING? If that were possible it wouldn’t take ATP 9 mos to train you (or Embry Riddle 4 yrs!). Again I apologize for being harsh but you need to relax my friend. NO ONE is born knowing how to fly an airplane, if they were trust me there’d be a lot more pilots. These are skills you need to not only learn but you need to work HARD to learn. There will be frustrations along the way I guarantee it. This is actually a really good wake up call you just received because if you thought you were just going to show up and be “Ace of the Base” that ain’t happening (you do know there are people who aren’t successful and don’t complete the training right? Not saying that’ll be you but it does happen).

The REALLY good news is there’s no reason you can’t be Ace of the Base and be a masterful aviator but it is not innate and it will not happen overnight. If you’re willing to work hard to achieve your dream then you will but if you’re going to get frustrated and doubt yourself after 3 attempts (with NO TRAINING in a Hi-Perf airplane NOT MEANT for training) you need to realign your perspective. Make sense?

Adam

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Gabriel,

I have thousands of hours in all sorts of airplanes. If I got in an RV-10 without any briefing or experience in it I can guarantee you that I would be all over the place. Too fast, to slow, too high or too low I would be doing something. It takes time to learn a new airplane and your step father is exactly right that an RV-10 is not a training airplane.
This should in no way discourage you, not one bit. You will start your training in a more appropriate airplane with an instructor and by no means will you be expected to master landings after only three attempts.

Chris

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During my PPL training it took a good few hours until I was even comfortable landing the plane and many more before I would call myself profecient. Even after that there would be bad landings, but you learn from your mistakes and learn to not do them again, and before you know it your landings seem to become fairly consistent!

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Not to mention that even seasoned airline pilots still get that occasional landing that we aren’t so proud of.

Except Adam, the word on the street is that his landings are perfect every single time.

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That’s true BUT only because I fly Da Bus which practically lands itself (and actually will) and has VERY forgiving gear. Now the 717…

Adam

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Adam,

I have heard many airbus pilots refer to the airbus as “Fifi”, I take it you have heard it… where does that name come from?

Tucker I don’t believe there’s a definitive answer to that question (it just is?) but this comes mainly from a friend/former Airbus factory pilot (I’ll try to not sound too sexist but I’m not sure the question can be answered without being a little? I apologize if I offend anyone as that is not my intent). First we generally give planes, cars and other mechanical things of beauty women’s names (Christine, Memphis Belle, Glamorous Glennis, etc). Fifi is of course French and most important Fifi has some unique characteristics. Without getting too complicated Fifi is a “fly by wire” aircraft. What that means is you’re not actually moving any of the control surfaces (ailerons, rudder, elevator etc), Fifi’s computers are. Moreover its not that you’re even moving the stick (aka “input device”) and that’s telling the computer to move the flight control. When you move the stick you’re putting in a “request” and the computers will take all the relevant information it’s receiving and decide how best to accommodate you, if at all (“excuse me Fifi, if it’s ok with you we’d like to climb?”). So putting it all together the Airbus is a beautiful yet somewhat finicky and exacting creature that we love but don’t completely understand? She can be gracious and accommodating (but not always) but she also makes you look good when it counts. Sounds like Fifi to me? :slight_smile:

Adam

That was beautifully written and I think I understand the idea of the name now. Haha :joy:

This was hilariously well redacted.:laughing:

Gabriel,

I think Adam summed it up pretty well here. I’ll just add and say that from my instructing experience, there were students that got it after 3hrs of takeoffs and landings, and there were the ones that only figured it out after 20-30hrs. I have never seen a student land an airplane after 3 tries…

Yarden

I believe I had about 300 landings in my book before I got my PPL, and it was probably about 50 before my instructor would even let me land without having his hand resting on the yoke just in case… This was all in a 172 which isn’t even a difficult airplane to land. Definitely don’t sweat the first 3, in any airplane, my first 3 were undoubtedly ugly.

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Actually this was extremely relieving to hear that. Thank you so much. I know and am not of the generation that expects things asap by the way. I know things take time but I only asked because my father in law seemed so bewildered and questioned why I couldn’t get it and I was just like… should I have in that airplane?? Anyways, thank you for the honesty and it’s probably just because he has very high expectations and maybe because he’s been a captain for united for years so who knows.

Gabriel,

My first “flight” was in a 737 simulator. Needless to say I didn’t begin to get it and was worried that I would never be able to figure it out. Fast forward several years and I have thousands of landings on the 737 and do just fine. So will you, in time.

Don’t judge yourself by your father in law’s abilities, I bet it has been a long time since he was a student or flew a little airplane.

Chris

Gabriel,

In no way do I want to disparage your father-in-law but with all due respect I’m VERY certain he has a short memory (something you’ll see often in senior airline pilots). They seem to forget what it was like to be new and most have blocked out any of the hurdles and challenges they encountered. This also demonstrates why not everyone should be an instructor. It’s an art and requires skills beyond just being a good stick. I have a good friend here at Hawaiian who’s 3rd generation Hawaiian pilot. When we first met he told me how he had his father as his check airman for IOE (Initial Operating Experience). I responded “that must’ve been cool?”, he quickly snapped “IT WASN’T!”. He then asked if my father taught me how to drive, I said sure, he asked was that fun? I said actually no, he said well imagine that on STEROIDS! He then explained apparently his grandfather did the same to his father. Not sure that’s the best legacy to pass down but you get the point.

As for you generation not being the only without patience, you are of course correct BUT you guys seem to have perfected it :slight_smile:

Adam

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