Out flying this month – the transition period was intense for September. I ended up flying for 10 of the first 11 days, ending in a four day trip with no less than 5 legs per day. I was wiped out by the end of that run. It was nuts and I was tired of being away from home.
It’s all good now. I have since I had three days off, followed by a two day trip with Alan. I’m on another 3 day break and relaxing at home. Looking forward to an awesome vacation run too – 22 consecutive days off for next month.
Regarding landings – I’ve been flying the 100’s almost exclusively the last 3 or 4 weeks. During that time I had the chance to land in the middle of an airshow that was going on, and needed to do a steep approach followed by a quick clearing of the runway. I had the chance to really show off the Dash’s capabilities and the landing went well – space shuttle approach. As we were rolling out though, the Captain asked why I hadn’t held the nose off long and done a wheelie for a bit. It got me thinking that I hadn’t given myself permission to explore that realm of control.
So now I start to experiment with holding the nose off longer and extending my landing capabilities with the airplane. I did several landings in a row where the mains gently touch down, and I have plenty of control to keep the nose up and bleed off more airspeed. I was having some fun and learning something in the process.
Landing in Philly one morning, in the midst of all this success, I managed to really thumped one onto runway 26. I thought we had bounced, and so I kept the nose up thinking we were airborne. Eventually I realized we were ground-bound with we slowed more and there was no drama. The combination of holding the nose up and coming in with no extra airspeed led to a very short landing. Overall it wasn’t a bad landing, but more firm than I’d like. My next landing was the last of the day, and also back in Philly. It was the best so far and I mean I greased that puppy on there. Sweet!
Point of the story is I am still learning. Flying commercially is like playing golf. You keep doing it and modifying your techniques as you learn from others. That means you end up screwing yourself up occasionally and have to get back to basics now and again.
This week I ended up with a trip in the 300’s. That is a longer airplane, and you can strike the tail if the nose gets too high. I’d had an issue with having too much flare in these airplanes before, but was landing them well in recent history. I am aware, however, that the recent techniques I’d been using may get me back to flaring too high for the 300’s again. I made the Captain aware to look at it, and what I was concerned about.
My first landing in the 300’s for this trip was a greaser. I was very happy with it, and figured I was worrying about nothing. Like riding a bike! Second leg now into New Bern, and the Captain alerted me to the 6 degree pitch up warning going off. Bummer on this one. No big deal, but i had to watch that.
Taxiing in now, he tells me that my speed was fine all the way in, but had gotten lower than he likes over the threshold. I could be more consistent by holding my speed to touchdown and bleeding power off more slowly. That nugget of information is the key to why I was pitching too high in these airplanes in the first place, so I think he has hit on something here.
There was one more chance to improve my 300 technique with a night landing in Salisbury last night. I kept my speed up to the threshold, and slowed the rate of power reduction as well as bringing the props to disc. That resulted in a very nice landing. His observation was that my corrections worked, but could even go a bit further.
I will keep working on that, and also focus further down the runway on landing on landing. My perception of groundspeed might be leading to a desire to slow down too early on shorter runways. Land with a bit more speed and disc the props more gradually.
The trick will be to not over-think this. That would create more problems than it cures. Kind of like GOLF.