Saturday, August 25, 2012

Landing the C-130: Almost Decent Now - Video Included!

I've mentioned before that I want to perform a tactical landing in the C-130 in the civilian flight simulator X-Plane 10. A quick reality check took me back into the drawing board: how to avoid the huge tendency of the C-130 to yaw during my flights.

Flying over Lake Ontario. In my flight from Andrews AFB (MD)  to Niagara Falls International Airport (NY), I strayed a bit too far north, almost reaching Canada.
Apparently, all my yaw issues were due to negative torque (a condition where the incoming airflow is actually driving the rpms of one or more propellers). The real C-130 has a negative torque sensing (NTS) system that alerts the pilot of the issue, which in the C-130 is corrected adjusting the rpms of the affected engine (usually by a combination of adjustments of the propeller's pitch and throttle). The C-130 in X-Plane 10 has no such a thing, unfortunately (it even lacks a 3D cockpit!).

But I can feel the negative torque by seeing how the aircraft yaws leading to a drop in one of the wings. Nasty stuff. Adjusting the propeller pitch solved my issue and I had a pleasant flight over PA and NY states. Finally I could take my hands off the joke and throttle and fly straight and level with my C-130 trimmed for 293 KIAS (no autopilot!). 

This helped me a lot for landing, yet I still have an awful tendency to execute shallow and fast (130 KIAS) approaches. I think I need a bit more landing practice before going tactical. :)



Anonymous said...

good choice of music for such a huge airplane ! :-)

? would be x-plane 10 a good flight sim for beginners, or too complex ?

rgds, Koen

JC said...

Hi Koen,

Thanks for your comment. Tough question and the answer will boil down to a matter of personal preferences. Nonetheless, for the beginner civilian flight sim enthusiast I would recommend FSX. I think it’s more polished, it is stable, it has wonderful tutorials/flight lessons out of the box and an boasts an incredible availability of add-ons. After some time flying in FSX I steered away from it because of its chronic choppiness (I don’t have the time or patience to tweak, I just want to fly) and now I am enjoying XP10. What’s great in XP10 is its fluid flight experience. Gauges move smoothly, winds sway your aircraft … You really feel like you are flying. Now, in XP10 (as in previous releases) some trivial things can drive you insane: setting up your joystick again almost every other flight session, the very C-130 I’m flying has only a 2D panel that I have to pan around without ever seeing my engines rpms, long loading times (I once completed my kids’ school emergency forms while waiting) and others.

As for visuals, FSX has marginally better scenery (XP10 caught up very nicely, but it is still a bit short IMHO). Instrument flying is seemingly better in FSX too.

I don’t know, what are you planning to do? Flying, sightseeing, missions?


Jayson Ng said...

Be sure to check the c-130's approach speed relative to your weight. It should be able to approach comfortably at 110 kts or less for short landings.

JC said...

Hi Jayson,

You bet. This landing was at 15 knots over that speed and I had to use a lot of runway.

Another thing that I noticed is that the enormous wingspan of this bird makes it hard to keep it with all wheels on the runway.