him to let the clutch out half-way, stop the foot movement, and count to three. Then, he could let it out the rest of the way.
This was obviously a mechanical solution, and not very smooth, but it ended the stalled engine, the rolling back, and the super-high rpms. Then after a few sessions of this system, he began to get the feel of
blending clutch and gas.
When they first told me of this little break-through, I gave it all of the attention that I felt it deserved. "Yes, Dear. How interesting." But then I
realized that I was going through exactly the same situation with a pre-solo student. One time he would flare too quickly, resulting in a balloon, and leaving us with no airspeed at fifteen feet in the
air. The next time he would flare too slowly, resulting in a flat touchdown at a high speed. I thought I was saying all of the correct things ("More,,more, . . not yet, . . ooooh, . .
right there, aaah") but nothing seemed to be working.
Since I seemed to have the same problem, perhaps I could use the same solution. So, the next flight, I said, "OK, we are going to try something new. We
are going to hold the proper glide slope on final, aiming at the numbers as we have been doing. Then, when the runway numbers go out of sight under the nose, I want you to bring the throttle to idle and bring the
nose up to a level-flight picture. I want the horizon in the same place on the windscreen that it is when we are in level flight. And I want you to use whatever amount of backpressure on the yoke that it
takes to maintain that. And then, I want you to count to three."
"Then, when you have counted to three, I want you to bring the nose up to the takeoff-climb-slow flight picture. Then, I want you to hold that picture as long
as you can, even after the main gear touches down."
So, does this technique result in smooth, perfect, grease-job landings? No! In fact, it results in landings that are consistently dropped in from three or
four feet in the air. And it will test the strength of the sturdiest landing gear. But, it will eliminate the nose-wheel-first landing and the over-flare, balloon landing. The landings won't be sweet,
but they will be consistent and safe. Then, with that set of worries mostly past, you can spend some time working on right rudder to keep the nose pointed straight, and you can work on using the ailerons to
stop the drift. Then, when your student is making consistently safe, straight, center-line landings, it will be time to work on finesse.
This technique isn't necessary for every student. But it is one more technique to stick in your bag of tricks.