Anonymous asked in Cars & TransportationAircraft · 1 decade ago

how do modern airplanes land?

how do modern airplanes land? do they point the nose down a little? please explain...

11 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Airplanes land by gliding down onto the runway.

    The pilots set the engines to idle (or nearly idle), so that the airplane gradually descends as it moves forwards. They carefully control this glide so that it is very gentle. When they reach the runway, the airplane gently settles down onto its wheels, and the airplane has landed.

    The pilots don't point the nose down. In fact, it's actually pointed up. This tilts the wings upwards, which causes them to produce more lifting force, even at the slow gliding speed of the aircraft. The advantage to this is that it allows the plane to touch down very gently at a relatively slow speed. Pointing the airplane down would cause it to glide too quickly, and it would be going too fast when it touched down on the runway and would be harder to stop.

    As the airplane gets very close to the runway (about 50 feet), the pilots point the nose up even further (pilots call this the "flare"). This slows the airplane down even more, and increases the lift, so that it descends even more gently. When this is done right, the wheels touch the ground so gently that you can barely tell that you've landed. Pilots say that they "greased" the landing if they manage to land this smoothly.

    In very poor visibility, sometimes the pilots let the on-board computers land the airplane. The computers always make smooth landings, but they are used only for poor visibility because pilots obviously prefer to fly the landings themselves.

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Actually there is more to it than just pointing up and down, my answer is pretty advanced but interesting. Maybe some of you have wondered how does a plane land when the weather is not permitting, most of the answers included the pilot descending and landing with the back wheels but what do they do when there is very low visibility?

    Modern airplanes have a way which planes could actually land without the pilots controls, we mostly call this Autopilot which is pretty familiar to everybody. Firstly the pilots engage the localizer which is found in big airports which support ILS landings, this turns the plane automatically and lines it up towards the runway, then when the airplane gets closer to the runway and hits the glide-slop the pilots also activate 'Approach' key which makes the plane land on the runway with absolutely no margin of error in low visibility days. Then when the airplane gets even closer and the pilots could see the runway they deactivate the autopilot to go in for a smoother touch-down with the nose pointing up and the back wheels hitting the runway first.

    BTW the pilots also slow down alot during the approach because if they don`t do this, when they pull the nose up to get a smooth touch-down the wings would create lift and the airplane regains altitude which means that they would have to do the approach all over again.

    ps i`m studying to become a pilot so there is no way someone could say i`m wrong or came up with things... :)

  • 4 years ago


    Source(s): Most Realistic Flight Sim -
  • 1 decade ago

    The landing phase is constant small corrections for wind and airspeed contol. This is true for everything from jets to small trainers. When on short final for the runway, the aircraft should be fully configured (gear down if applicable with the appropriate flap setting.) A given power setting in the landing configuration should give you a fairly constant decent rate with minimal power corrections needed to maintain target landing speed.

    Depending on where the wind is coming from (down the runway or from the side) a crab or crosswind correction may be used to maintain directional control down to the runway. During a crab technique the aircraft 'weathervanes' into the wind and approaches the runway at an angle. This angle is taken out for landing by using rudder to align the nose of the plane with the runway centerline and the ailerons are used to put the wing slightly down on the side into the wind. This method results in the upwind main gear touching down first, then the other main and finally the nosegear. The crosswind correction method on final is using rudder correction and one wing low down the entire approach and not just in the flare. Which one used is up to pilot preferance/technique.

    Once in the flare, the pilot slowly reduces the power to idle (or near idle) and sets a pitch angle so that the main gear touches down first. On some aircraft this may necessitate pulling the nose up, on others the pitch seems relatively flat. As the aircraft slows, eventually drag overcomes the lift produced by the wings and the aircraft settles to the ground. Even though the plane is now on the runway, crosswind correction must be maintained as the plane slows to maintain directional control. In a strong wind, the plane can depart the runway without proper control inputs for the wind.

    In Simple Words the nose points a little upwards helping the back wheels to land first.

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  • 1 decade ago

    All fixed wing aircraft touch down on the main (back) gear first. There is an exception for tailwheel aircraft. This is accomplished with a flare right before touchdown. This is when the aircraft is put in a nose up attitude seconds before touchdown to slow the rate of descent and also keep the most impact to the main gear, where most of the support is. As for approach, it depends on the aircraft and approach speed. Some Boeings and many other aircraft will have a nose up approach, while smaller aircraft like Cessna 172's have a nose down approach, even the Bombardier CRJ's have a nose slight nose down approach.

  • Teosis
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Planes land by having nose of the plane slowly go down and as the plane reaches the landing site the nose goes up so the back of the plane lands on the landing site

  • 1 decade ago

    when youre talking about airplanes, it divides into 3 or 4 :

    - fixed wing

    - non-fixed wing (helicopters)

    - hybrid (V-22 osprey, etc)

    - rockets

    how they land :

    * hybrid and choppers/helicopters lands as it goes down slowly (decreasing altitude) with very slow horizontal speeds 0 - 3 mph

    * rockets land (to be retrieved and to be used again) usually to the ocean / sea / lake by using parachute(s)

    * the least is the most common which is fixed wing aircrafts, this divides into two, the old generation ( mustang, DC-3 type) usually the nose is level OR pitch up a bit, as the main landing gear touches the runway and gets slower, the aircraft gets more pitch up, the nose is more up til the rear landing gear touches down.

    for fixed wing aircrafts that are made in 1940s and later, the nose is certainly pitch up about 2 to 15 degrees (depends on aircraft type), then as it goes down slowly (decreasing altitude) as the main landing gear touches the runway, the nose is pitched down to level (to about zero degree) as level as the runway, then the nose landing gear touches the runway, and aircraft slows down.

    There are some features when they land, i.e. using parachutes, engine thrust reversing, airbrake, etc

    1 thing common in fixed wing is that when they land, they are slow down to a safe speed (which is a bit higher than stall speed) just to get down (to have the altitude dcreasing)

    NOTE: also, not only using wheels, aircrafts use skiis (and floats)

    when they land in ice and/or water

    Source(s): my own brain + memory
  • 1 decade ago

    for boeing aircraft as long as i know .they land with a nose up attitude .and also a nose up attitude on the glide path ,on some abnormal occasions ,for instance ,supper high .then they need a nose down attitude to descend quickly.usually at normal speed, a 2-3degree nose up attitude can maintain a level flight also .and an attitude smaller than that could cause a descend.

  • 1 decade ago

    Nope they don't point their nose down they use flaps so that they go down slowly if you point your nose down it will increase your speed & it will make your landing hard & possibly you would hit your nose wheel 1st & will make you bounce

  • 1 decade ago

    the back end lands first then the front

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