Why did my landings improve at night?

Waples15

New Member
Here's a post for all you CFI's. I'm in the middle of my private pilot flight training and frankly my landings have been less than... okay... they sucked. Not very consistent at all. It's keeping me from my solo and it's been dragging me down.

Tonight I went up with my instructor and after a little assistance on the first two landings I pretty much nailed em all night long.

So maybe I'm thinking about this too much, but what do you folks think drives that? My instructor thinks maybe it's because there is less information I'm dealing with. Ideas?

Thanks much
Dave
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
Here's a post for all you CFI's. I'm in the middle of my private pilot flight training and frankly my landings have been less than... okay... they sucked. Not very consistent at all. It's keeping me from my solo and it's been dragging me down.

Tonight I went up with my instructor and after a little assistance on the first two landings I pretty much nailed em all night long.

So maybe I'm thinking about this too much, but what do you folks think drives that? My instructor thinks maybe it's because there is less information I'm dealing with. Ideas?

Thanks much
Dave

[/ QUOTE ]

Reccommend you only fly at night for the remainder of your flying career.


Seriously, your IP is probably right, less to scare you, though most people are the other way around....at night they tend to flare high and plop it in. You're lucky.
 

E_Dawg

Moderator
It could be because at night you're forced to take in the entire sight picture (you can't see the runway directly at night). Therefore your night landings improve because your looking at EVERYTHING instead of just the land underneath you.
 

cj

New Member
You're probably looking further down the runway at night. I bet part of your problem during the day is that you're looking right over the nose of the plane and thus dropping it in.

Has your instructor had you fly low passes over the runway during the day? If not, have him do so. The goal is to fly as close to the runway as possible without touching down. If your wheels touch it's OK, but the goal is not to. It's a great exercise to help develop the site picture.

Best of luck, and hang in there. The solo will come!
 

Mr_Creepy

Well-Known Member
I take students with landing troubles up at night for several reasons:

1) Less Wind. This is a biggie. The wind calms down and is more stable, not as many gusts.

2) Less traffic. More concentration.

3) Less Scope of attention. All you can see is the lights and the runway in your headlight. It helps students to concentrate.

Of all the above, I would say Wind is the biggest factor.

JT
 

Tim

New Member
I think at night you concentrate more on what is at hand..landing. During the day you usually have to deal with traffic and that sometimes can get you uptight and you try to think too much. Relax and let things come natural. Dont over think you landing.
 

Waples15

New Member
The more I think about it I believe there are a few clues.

1. For the first time I really could feel the plane start to sink after round out. During the day I had a difficult time knowing when to start flaring.

2. The point about the full sight picture is a good one. During the day I think I focus too tight on that point in the runway where I will begin my round out that I lose the whole picture. At night there was much less information coming at me and I didn't have that tunnel vision.

3. For whatever reason I was more relaxed at night than during the day. I remember working a little harder at night to keep the plane trimmed.

Well, now I need to go make the transition to day. Good thoughts by everyone. Thanks!
 

pscraig

Well-Known Member
Don't feel bad...my night flying is usually much better than in the daytime. Maneuvers, landings, approaches included. Most of my friends say I was destined for a freight career....
 

John_Jones

New Member
I just think maybe over time landings improve simple...Winds can also be a factor but maybe stress can be taking you over (job, familly, etc) during the day, but after a couple of hours of non-work atmosphere (night) it becomes easier to concentrate. All the technical points JT and others added can also be a factor as well, But like I tell my students, its all in you're head man, chill out and relax...
 

Waples15

New Member
Well here's the follow up. After my good experience with night landings I had another lesson. The landings weren't as good and both my instructor and I were a little frustrated. The next lesson it all came together... consecutive quality landings. Today I went out again and my instructor asked for three good landings. So I gave him what he asked for and he cut me loose. Three trips around the pattern and it's in the books. Thanks for the input everyone.
 

aloft

New Member
Though it can be eminently frustrating up until then, that moment when the light goes on over your head and things finally click happens for everyone. Kudos to your instructor for not soloing you before your "landing light" lit up.

There are many more of these moments of enlightenment in store for you in your aviation career: the precision landings light, the maneuvers light, and further down the road, the partial-panel light and the Vmc demo light to name only a few.
 
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