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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."

PHD. MBA. MHS. Type rated on A350, A330, B777, B747-400, B747-200, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration. Fighting for Aviation Safety and Airline Employee Advocacy. Safety Culture and SMS change agent.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A330 Happy Landings

A week ago a new pilot, Scott Grieve, told me that his instructor said, "You can't teach landings, it's all feel." He wanted to know if this was true.

Truth is an individual reality. Your truth may not be my truth, and we're both right. His instructor is not necessarily wrong based on his experience. But trust me... a good teacher can teach anything. And "feel" comes with experience. A good landing comes with doing the right thing, at the right time, after a stabilized approach.

Enjoy the Journey!

~ Karlene


  1. Excellent post Captain! .. I agree, feeling counts, but also learning, practice, tips, training .. Stabilized approach, its let's say a "jet" thing that may be sometimes impractical in crowded airports for small airplanes..but its the way to go for a "happy landing" hehe

    Best Regards

  2. Oh, let's not forget our airplane's mood .. Shes not always the same.. and we gotta listen and understand her, and treat her different sometimes! ;)

  3. Rear mains, forward mains... never even thought about that flying piston singles till I read this!

  4. what an amazing explanation on landing! TRULY AWESOME! =D

  5. Thanks for your comment Carlos! A man that understands feeling. Yeah! It is a jet thing. But I love little planes! They are the most fun.

  6. The best training I had that really fixed my landings, was taking the glider rating. Flying gliders, you MUST touch down with minimum energy (speed). That translates to pulling the stick until it won't go back anymore, in a horizontal glide. I think tailwheel landings are similar.

    Barry Schiff wrote something similar - he said that the best way to land was not to land. I'm teaching my daughter the same way. Pretend that you are trying to fly the whole length of the runway 6 inches off the ground with no power. Keep pulling back to keep the wheels off the ground - try to be surprised when the wheels do touch, and your passengers will be surprised at the smoothness of the landing.

    It works great in my Sundowner, which is known for being tricky to land. I have no idea how well this would translate for big iron - from your description, I would guess not well. Except for the big iron glider - the Shuttle.

  7. Carlos... you understand feeling and realize the mood of the princess too. And you listen? You are brilliant!

  8. Thank you JuJu! I really appreciate your comment~

  9. Wunderful Command from you Karlene and Carlos, and yes we must treat her like a lady,else she can bite...
    Maybe a good suggestion I make a film from the good old B744 I-know I-know, old fashion no sticks but you know I love her like my own wife..
    Thanks for the film and end
    Greetinx from a cold and wet Holland...

  10. D.B. You are so right... we need power. But, we're also flying her right down to the runway too.
    The power off... and running out of stick. That actually happened on this plane to me. My OE instructor said, "Hold the nose off." What he meant was, don't let it drop. I took him literally. It worked great until one flight I ran out of stick. Luckily that was the same moment the nose was touching down. That was pure luck. And also when I realized you don't hold the nose off, like you may in other planes, but you fly her down. Running out of stick on the A330 is definitely not a good thing.
    Thanks for the comment and sharing your story!
    Keep that daughter of your flying.

  11. Hans, thank you for the comment. You know if I could have a wife, I too would pick the 744. ;) She is the best. Most forgiving. Slow. And can go the distance. Beautiful. Strong. Excellent choice!

  12. I love how you wrote this, I could almost imagine flying it!

  13. Thanks for the comment Pilot! It's a complicated world in these big jets. Enjoy that single engine piston!

  14. Thanks Victoria. And... guess what? I can imagine you flying it too. Soon you will.

  15. Hi Karlene,
    Always interesting to hear about airbus products- you start flaring at 30 feet? how high is the flight deck on touchdown? passed the commercial oral today! Flight friday or sat- tell that check airman I would like a recomendation to get hired at Delta in a few years please ;)
    Have fun flying!

  16. Hi Dan, I will tell him to give you a recommendation for sure. But... maybe I'll be in pilot hiring by the. ;) Yes... you just stop the descent rate at 30 feet. Kind of a flare, but not really. I'm trying to figure out how high the flight deck is, and cannot find it in our manual. I'm thinking around 22 feet...just a guess. I'll find out tomorrow and let you know.

  17. Sorry Karlene, but I am this moment in Hong-Kong with the good old B-744, she is an old lady and so strong and distance no problem..!!

    "De kat op het spek binden", that's really Dutch, I know the author An very good, she is a friend.

    Greetinx from China Bami number 29 with prawn crackers.. Bye bye Hans...

  18. Hans, Just like the B-744, I too am an old lady, so strong, and without distance being a problem... haha. I do love that plane.
    So, what does DE kat op het spek binden mean? An is a wonderful lady. Hoping she comes to visit me in Seattle one day.

    Have fun in China!

  19. when landing, do you follow a precision approach path indicator or do you use visual references to make sure you are on the correct approach path?

  20. Hi Anonymous... if there is a glideslope, I'm following it. I can't be as precise on my own. At 100 feet I transition outside. I hope. If I don't it's never pretty. I'm trying to get the "picture" while on the glideslope... so I do cross reference.


Thank you for your comment! If your comment doesn't appear immediately, it will after I land. Enjoy the journey!