Basic flight knowledge will probably get you far enough in Microsoft Flight Simulator. Taking off? Not too difficult. Flying once you’re a few thousand feet in the air? There’s plenty of leeway to learn. But the one area that will forever be difficult until you learn the correct techniques is landing. To help, we’ve put together this guide which will explain how to land a plane in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020.
There are many things to consider when you need to land a plane. The tutorial, for example, will walk you through approach patterns which you can choose to ignore if you’re just flying around willy-nilly. What we’re going to focus on instead, is the physical act of landing the plane.
Descending – How to Land a Plane
Assuming you’re lined up with the runway, you just need to get down smoothly for a nice decent onto the runway. To do this, we’re going to be playing with a few different things:
- The Throttle
- Flaps Percentage
- Flight Trim
And while we mess with these, we’re going to be watching our RPM and airspeed.
When you’re far enough away from the airport, you can descend however you’d like. Have your flight trim at the right angle and throttle at whatever you’d like. But things get more complicated when you go to finish the flight and only have so much runway to land on.
Final Descent – How to Land a Plane
For a smooth landing, you should be aiming for about a -500 ft/minute on your Variometer. That is, the thing that displays how much height you’re losing or gaining every minute. Doesn’t seem too hard, does it? Just turn down the trim a bunch and the plane should get to that descent speed pretty quickly. While that’s true, you’ll also be gaining a bunch of speed with that method. We’re trying to land and we can’t be going too quickly if we want to do this right.
Instead we’re going to primarily rely on throttle and flaps. Flaps are a great way to introduce more drag to the plane, slowing you down. The problem is they can’t be deployed above a certain speed. In the case of the Cessna planes, that’s 80 knots. So to get below that, first dial back on the throttle and slow the plane down. You may also have to pitch the plane’s nose up a bit to further help as it will want to tilt further towards the ground as a result.
Once you’re at or below 80 knots, you can increase the flaps on the plane. Make sure to adjust your trim to keep your plane heading in the same direction. Doing so will further slow your airspeed down, but also increase the rate at which you’re descending. Increasing your flaps on the Cessna 152 to the maximum value can double your rate of descent. To return that back to normal we have to do something unintuitive: increase the throttle. By putting more power into the plane, you’ll stop it from descending as quickly without gaining speed because you’re fighting the drag.
You may need to play with these values a few times to find the right balance between throttle, flaps, and pitch. With the exception of wind and runway length, there’s a correct balance for every plane.
This should get you all the way up to the runway safely. But what’s the best way to get it to land gracefully instead of slamming into the ground?
Touchdown – How to Land a Plane
As soon as you’re just barely above the runway and ready to land, cut back on the throttle completely and let the plane glide. At this point, it’s only a matter until you “fall” out of the sky. All you need to do is angle the plane’s nose up gently and keep it up as long as you can. Like we said, at these speeds with this much drag, the plane will hit the ground. Your only goal here is to do it gently. By keeping the plane from hitting the ground as long as possible, it’s much harder for the impact to be rough.
After that you can obviously slow the plane down with the brakes if needed or taxi on through to your destination.
Congrats on landing the plane! Hope it went well!