Need Landing Tips for Hornet

Bunch of landing tips in this topic as well. Didn’t want to move them as everyone gets confused as we fuss around, but for future readers they could come in handy.


Good Stuff… Thanks,


Am I the only one finding I’m all over the place when it comes to catching a steady descent rate? I’m having a terrible time keeping it consistent and smooth when it comes to throttle corrections, finding I’m going from +1000 fpm to - 1300 fpm in what feels like an eyeblink.

It’s no use finding that perfect descend rate or magic throttle position, just observe the ball and work that throttle. When I’m high I put my throttle back for split second and bring it back up, if too low bring it up then back again, check the ball, repeat. I’m working this throttle all the way to the deck.

A bit, but you might be naughtily using pitch? What helped was keeping my paws off the pitch once trimmed out, and using that throttle like I’m some sort of hoverjet. To get that feeling better remembered after what seemed like a infinite number of bolters I did the following:

  • Downwind leg, 600 feet, gear down, full flaps, FPM on the horizon, trimmed up 11 or so degrees so that the yellow donut is lit and I’m generally in the e-bracket. The trick with trimming is don’t do it too soon, as in let the flaps ‘sinkhole’ settle and apply back power and then once things are calm then start to trim.

  • Now just circle at 600 feet all the time (as in don’t descend at all, just keep going around), as in, don’t you dare move the stick forward or back. Just move it side to side to do a 30 degree turn (or shallower) and to correct the roll out. Purely use the throttle to keep that FPM just above the horizon - even in the turn, which is hard but needs anticipation on the roll angle.

  • After getting dizzy doing racetracks it helps to then get the feeling of the VSI rate, as in as you are ‘pulsing’ the throttle a bit to keep that horizon steady whatever.

I heard in one of the videos I watched today that pilots will do around 300 practice trap landings on land before even going near a carrier, so it’s a minor miracle to get it down at all really, regardless of sink rate. :slight_smile:


Yeah, I’m still having that issue over land too- I’ve only tried the carrier approach three times so far, and each time I’ve ended up in the water before I can even turn on final.

I set up a practice mission, took the Hornet up to 10,000 ft and dirtied up. I can keep the AOA centered with trim, but I’m still all over the place with climb and descent rates. I’m not sure if I’m just not catching things fast enough with the throttles, or what.

I’ll try the practice like you’ve set up- thanks for the tips!

One other thing I played with today, as I too have trouble keeping station with that bloody S-3 Viking, is throttle movement stiffness. On the X-55 I’m using there is a wheelie to turn to set how hard it is to move the throttles and I’m playing around with it. I made it a lot looser, not so that they would move on their own but that I could make much smaller movements with little force. It seems to help a bit, although it takes some getting used to, especially when throwing the levers around in big movements (like post-flaps and rev’ing those engines up it seems like I’m going from near MIL to almost back to idle in the space of a second or two…).

Anyway, just something else to play with.

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Good call. Soon as I read that, I loosened the friction wheel on the Warthog all the way. We’ll see if this helps.

For very small power changes, maybe try adjusting one power lever?

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I don’t seem to be catching it fast enough for it to be small power changes- I’m often going from idle to full mil, back to idle as I’m bouncing all over the sky- and this is while trying to do the “add-subract-add half back” exercise that was posted about this earlier.

Is there anything I should be really looking for as a guide, or is this just something I’ll have to get with (dozens more) hours of practice?

If anybody’s interested, here’s the track from my latest attempt.

HornetLandApproachSecondCrash.trk (4.4 MB)

What’s your trim situation, hermano?

Only stick input is for roll correction (I sometimes get a slight drift to the right that I can never seem to fully get rid of).

Hrm, I’ll have to take a look at your track. The only time I felt I had to make such drastic, throttle inputs was when I was fighting the PA mode trimmer and the oscillations it was causing. Once I got used to trimming on speed, the jet is generally rock steady on the descent.

@Navynuke99, my take away is you’re using overly exaggerated throttle inputs which is causing PIO. A 33,000lb Hornet will be on speed somewhere in the neighborhood of 135-ish knots. Try and achieve that with the flaps down, then trim the E bracket onto the FPM. From there I was seeing alot of pushing through to afterburner and then back to idle, which is exacerbating the issue. Military (dry) thrust should be sufficient to adjust your approach high, and your “mean” throttle input should be a bit below it. The goal here is increasingly small, smooth, and prompt adjustments to power.

These guys are having a pretty good time on a live stream with the LSO mod. It’s fun watching people of all skill levels learn stuff…


Starting to put it together. Applying the lessons learned and getting in some stick time is starting to make a difference. I think I have to adjust the curves and friction in my HOTAS to find a new sweet spot, although I believe the friction knob on my throttle has no effect. Although my throttle is smooth, it is rather tight and remains that way no matter how I adjust the friction knob. hmmmmm…

Anyway, I’m slowly getting there. Thanks again for all the input and suggestions.


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Actually what they do are touch-and-goes–called “bouncing”–at an outlying airfield designed for the purpose. For NAS Oceana jets , the airfield is NALF Fentress (KNFE). It is set up with carrier deck markings and an “LSO Shack” where squadron LSOs grade every pass. I don’t know about “300” for new pilots–it wouldn’t surprise me. Even fleet squadrons, if they haven’t flown “off the boat” for a while, require a specific number of day and night " bounces" for each pilot, before they get their first look at the ship. Then the first few passes at the boat are graded “hook up” touch-and-goes.

I’ve spent a few long hours in the LSO shack (two personnel are required. One must obviously be the LSO, the other does’t even have to be an aviator…“Ensign Kotheimer!…I hope you didn’t have plans for tonight.”…you get the picture. Still it is pretty cool watching the bouncing. With three jets in the pattern we’d spend a couple hours out there…I never caught the number but it was a lot for each pilot…probably 10+…again, these were fleet pilots brushing up on their proficiency…for “nuggets”??? a lot more.

Don’t take this for gospel but I’ve had naval aviators tell me that they keep the throttles moving all the time. The idea is that you are never going to “hit the sweet spot” and leave it there, even for a few seconds…but you can “average it out” by anticipation and keeping the throttles moving. I have tried it in FSX and Falcon 4.0 and it seems to work.

BTW, does the DCS FA-18C not have atuto-throttle? There are some naval aviators that use it a lot.

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The only tip I have is the same one for “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?”

Practice, practice, practice. :slightly_smiling_face:


This is the 23 end of KNFE. The 05 end looks the same except the carrier deck markings are on the other side of the centerline. I’ve highlighted the IFLOLS and LSO shack. I don’t know if DCS would be willing but if they could make scenery for a small airfield to look like the, in whatever theater…we could bounce to our hearts content.


It does, but currently it’s only functioning in the cruise mode. Approach mode is broken.

Re: LSO plat cam above, I’d Kill to have a session like with a gang of hapless Mudspikers. Less popular I’m sure but a similar camera system on the Admiral K with Su33s would also be a kick.