View Full Version : Rod's simple carrier landing tutorial

10-27-2004, 04:00 AM
Ok for those of you who have been having a terrible time with carrier landings, I prepared this little tutorial that hopefully might help. Since last night I've just about landed ALL the flyable a/c's with arresting gear in PF, so I'm pretty confident that my method works.

However, before you begin reading this tutorial, I hope you let go of you "me-macho-I-only-play-in-realistic-mode" attitude and press CTRL-F1 twice to get rid of the cockpit, because learning the tool that I'm about to introduce to you is the key to making perfect landings even with the cockpit on.

Ok we shall begin by examining this screenshot:

As you can see, here is my a/c (Wildcat) on the Saratoga. Pay attention to those two circles. Notice that the larger circle has your gun-aiming point. This is because this circle tells you where your airplane is pointed (naturally, you aim your fighter by pointing the entire airplane in the direction where you want to shoot, the basis of fighter combat). The smaller yellow circle, which is right now pointing at the deck of the carrier is what could be described as your VELOCITY VECTOR or VV. It tells you where your airplane is GOING. This is important to know because some people forget that the airplane doesn't necessarily fly towards the direction that it's nose is pointed at--THUS, it's imperative to distinguish between where the airplane is POINTED and where it is actually HEADED. If you notice that the VV is pointed at the deck, you might wonder, "Does that mean the airplane is moving that way? But it's at rest!!!" Not really...the carrier itself is moving forward at around 20kmh, and thus the VV computes that as a slow speed for an aircraft and calculates that if the a/c was 20 meters in the air and moving at 20 kmh, it would drop to the see, where the VV is pointed now. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif Do you get what I mean? http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif So to understand how the VV works, let's try to move the plane forward a bit...

Look at image #2:


As you can see, I nudged the throttle a bit and pulled it back, just to move the plane a bit forward, and you can see the VV moves up, meaning the plane is now moving forward at 30+ kmh and the VV moved up, telling us that the aircraft is now moving in a direction almost parallel to the surface of the sea. If viewed sideways, you will see this relationship clearly:


The reason why this difference between pitch angle and flight path angle(thanks for the correction, Valentin S.) very important upon landing, is because it provides the greatest chance/probability for the aircraft's arresting gear/hook to snag a cable, if the angle is almost equal to the angle of the plane while at rest on the deck of the carrier. Meaning, you have to execute a near-perfect "3-point landing" in order to ensure that the aircraft's tail is low enough, so that the hook can snag.

Ok now let's try to land. Takeoff from your favorite carrier using your favorite plane and line up for landing. Again, press CTRL-F1 twice to get rid of the cockpit and the guides, and just focus on the white gunsight, the Yellow VV, and the a/c parameters on the lower left hand corner of the screen. Don't forget to do the landing checklist (i.e. gear down, canopy open, hook down, flaps down, throttle down to 50% or less) as you line up. Request for landing permission and then get yourself in this attitude:


(sorry, deck is actually 10 meters high sorry for error)

As you can see, you really have to maneuver the plane in such a way that you would only have about 50-80 meters of altitude left while still about a kilometer out, and you should control your descent by maintaining this angle and adjusting throttle so that you are near-stall yet still able to control your descent rate. REMEMBER...ALWAYS CREATE THAT NICE ANGLE!!! MAINTAIN THAT UNTIL TOUCHDOWN! BTW, all this time, the yellow VV should always point a bit above, on or a bit below the carrier, doesn't really matter, it's up to you, as long as you are able to adjust that VV so that it would "drift to the very center of the carrier deck as you approach it a few seconds just before touching down, which should be like this:


Ok at this point, set throttle to idle and then try to do a flare by pulling the stick gradually (DON'T DO THIS QUICKLY OR YOU WILL GO INTO A BAD STALL/SPIN!) until you can feel that the plane is "floating" down towards the deck, still maintaining that high angle, to ensure that the hook snags. Once the wheels touch down, immediately pull the stick up to ensure that the tail is firmly planted on the deck, and then PRAY that it catches something! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif BE SURE YOU ARE LESS THAT 120 KTS when you do this otherwise the cable might break even if you do manage to snag it! Try pressing your wheel brakes (B) too so that it can help slow you down as your hook tries to snag, but don't overdo it as you might flip over!!!

Whew...I hope that helped! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

A KIND SOUL BY THE NAME OF VALENTIN S. POINTED OUT THAT THE ANGLE OF ATTACK I was referring to only applied to the angle between the wing of the plane and the wind--the proper term I was looking for was difference between pitch angle and flight path angle. So basically, the elements of my technique still remain the same, only the terms have been messed up, sorry http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif and many thanks to Valentin S.


10-27-2004, 04:13 AM
whoa nice Rodion.

while I already understood the mechanics, it's always nice to be able to read through it in a nice page like this!


10-27-2004, 04:18 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Fresshness:
whoa nice Rodion.

while I already understood the mechanics, it's always nice to be able to read through it in a nice page like this!

kudos! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I know what you mean. It's nice to know that your thoughts on how a process is done is confirmed by another person. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif That's why the scientific method always rocks http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Video of that Wildcat landing I featured above available here (just 779 kb)! Right click the link and "Save target as..." http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif



10-27-2004, 05:08 AM
Nice one http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

10-27-2004, 05:20 AM
Again, very nice! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif keep 'em coming! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

for fun: a picture in where I landed a TB3 on a japanese carrier. loads of fun to try http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif


10-27-2004, 06:54 AM
Nice tutorial! I also found that when landing using cockpit views, you must use the seat adjust option when the cockpit is open. Doing this improved my view and subsequently my success rate immensely (i.e. not getting run over by the moving carrier in my ditched aircraft!)!!

10-27-2004, 07:05 AM
Thanks for the tut.
After only 3 attempts without cockpit I now can land the Zero even with cockpit on. At least almost always http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

10-27-2004, 09:27 AM
Great tutorial...but dont get frightened away from the full cockpit view, if you fly the right approach and speeds then your vision isnt impeaded that much.

Try flying shorter circuits so you have a slightly curved approach before touch down, hold the speed around the 160 mark in the turn and kick in the rudder when you need to bleed off speed at anytime. Get your aircraft TRIMMED, very important, if you hold a high AOA on approach like you should you will always feel a bit on edge when you have the stick pulled all the way back into your belly, trim it out so you dont need so much input to hold the nose up. I would also add that when your speed is 150ish over the edge of the deck - dont throttle back to idle too early, these birds slow down quick at slow speeds and you will end up bouncing, throttle back slowly and get ready for a bolter. There isnt much wrong with catching the wire with some power on just incase you miss. Dont try and land just after the edge- unlike modern carriers with 4 wires - there are quite a few running far down the deck, make sure you clear the edge and flare nice for a 3 point (all three wheels together) landing.

I just got the game this morning, all I done was carrier landings, forst 10 were bolters, next few I bounced hard, caught the wire then slammed into the deck. Once I mastered it I was getting 4 out of 5. It is the best fun ever, I have pulled a wheel off hitting the edge of the deck, torn wings off on the superstructure..its all there.

Thats a really good tutorial with great illustrations, the carrier landings are very difficult, I thought they would be easier but Im glad they are harder as its always a good challenge to land even for the experts.

I cant beleive Im working late shift and cant play the game, when I go home I have to pack up my PC as Im moving house this weekend...arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

10-27-2004, 12:37 PM
This is worth a bump...

10-27-2004, 01:05 PM
very nice tutorial, short and clear.

10-27-2004, 02:58 PM
Great post.
Thank you very much... now I'll just have to practice... no more excuses for not being able to land on a carrier http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

10-27-2004, 03:49 PM
Thanks for the nice replies http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif Dr. Watson's points should really be taken as part of the tutorial http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif Very good points, esp. on trimming and not killing engine immediately--I keep forgetting about go-around preparation, but perhaps I'll reserve that for a more advanced tutorial, like one with cockpit on and seat raised. The reason why I dislike seat raised position is because you cannot monitor the instruments, which are the things you rely on in a realistic landing, but there are remedies for this and that will be in my next tutorial. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif Again thanks to all for the positive comments!


10-27-2004, 05:54 PM
can you check your pm's please rod http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

10-27-2004, 07:57 PM
Thanks alot. This will be a huge help, as long as I can get the game to run on my computer!

10-27-2004, 08:17 PM
Nice tutorial, rod. Clear explainations, and good use of the symbology available in the game to build good habit patterns. I'm looking forward to giving your techniques a try.

10-28-2004, 01:25 AM
With full cockpit on your view can be obscured even if you have the correct approach (especially for planes that don't have adjustable seats). To compensate, you can use rudder to slide-slip your way on. Here is a track illustrating it in the Seafire:

Side slip landing (http://www.witchell.eclipse.co.uk/Side_slip_landing.zip)

I started a thread on landing tracks over at SimHQ here;


It may be a good idea to either add to that thread or start one here.


10-28-2004, 02:49 AM
Thx Rod!

I had totally forgot about the raised seat postition until last night, I tried it in the Corsair - ewwww, wierd or what http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-surprised.gif Obviously you can see over the nose better, but it feels like you are 20ft out the cockpit, how big are those booster cushions!

Na, I stick to normal cockpit view, swing the nose around a bit to help me see and hope for that bit of luck that you will always need http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

I was actually online on HL for 1st time with PF last night, flying the zero, it rules in the turns, combat flaps and full power and I could keep my nose inside the corsairs turning circle easily..but landing that thing, tried about 3 or 4 perfect landings but the hook just doesnt reach the deck arrrrr

10-28-2004, 05:18 AM
Hi guys, I'm constructing a guide to carrier landing and will be using parts of this thread as content. Hope you are all ok with your work being included, fully credited.

Carrier Landing Guide (http://www.airwarfare.com/Sims/IL2_PF/pf_carriertutorial.htm)

10-28-2004, 05:42 AM
Fine by me Snoopy. I'll review my track and if I think I can do a more elegant one, I'll PM you with it.


10-28-2004, 10:09 AM
One important thing to remember is that at a given glide slope angle, your visual angle to the carrier during the approach will differ depending on the speed the carrier is making. The phenomenon is there when landing in headwinds as well, but the impact is less severe as you have more visual references.

If you are approaching a carrier using a three-degree glideslope, the angle you will be seeing the deck at during your approach is for a carrier moving at 18 knots 3,78 degrees. Notch the speed of the carrier up to 30 kts and the visual angle will be 4,6 degrees, or well enough to throw you off should you not account for it.

In other words, your angle to the carrier during the approach should be steeper if the carrier is moving at a fast rate. If it is not, you will find that you have to use more power to remain on the glideslope and vice versa - even though the visual situation is identical.


10-28-2004, 12:33 PM
Thanks Fred! BTW I have the new tutorial up here:


I emphasized the importance of your glidescope/carrier speed issue there as well http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif


10-28-2004, 01:26 PM
Thanks. These tips will help.. I hope...

Dunno who said it, but someone did:

'A carrier landing is a controlled crash'

That is what it is, you 'drop' your plane onto the deck, it's just what the final few feet are on a normal landing, just let it drop down a bit... on a carrier deck you just start dropping a bit higher

10-29-2004, 01:04 AM
Fixed a little error in my terminology http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif


10-29-2004, 04:35 PM
Bumping this up for those who just got the game and been eating a lot of carrier butt or getting run over by it as of late. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif


10-30-2004, 04:09 PM
*bump* Managed my first succesful carrier landing using this guide! Thanks.

10-30-2004, 04:24 PM
Very nice guide indeed, I still flap a lot on the deck, but at least I know where I am going wrong http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/59.gif

10-30-2004, 05:55 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Mulleteer:
*bump* Managed my first succesful carrier landing using this guide! Thanks. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Very good! Now try my other guide, for "cockpit-on" http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif



10-30-2004, 07:19 PM
check pm's pls rod

11-04-2004, 10:38 AM
Say something odd is happening here : The first time i looked at this tutorial I was able to see all the images & print the whole thing out.Later that day I returned to this thread & the images no longer were there but were replaced by a little box that says "bandwidth exceeded"- ditto on the other of your excellent tutorials ...wa' happened ? Is there away of getting a downloadable printable version ? Do I need to send you my email address or what? By the way many thanks for youe efforts!