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Splitter 09-11-2010 06:31 AM

Landing the BF-109
I don't crash without a good reason, like battle damage. Even without a vertical stabilizer or ailerons I can get a plane on the ground in the middle of the runway.

Until tonight.

I know the the BF-109 was hard to land and claimed the lives of a lot of pilots. But I probably have more virtual landings under my belt than any WWII pilot had in real life lol.

Tonight flopped a 109 down hard enough to crumple the landing gear. Coming in steeply enough to see over the cowling gets really tricky at the end when you have to flatten out enough to touch down easily. VERY seldom do I set down without a bounce or two.

Even coming in low and slow, the runway completely disappears under the cowling much too early. My "good" landings are still white knuckle affairs. It seems to be a matter of flying blind and "holding what you got" until the wheels touch.

So I am looking for tips on landing this bird (the search feature on these forums stinks, btw).

What are your approach and touch down speeds?

Since it stalls at about 85mph (around 135kph), do you keep the touch down speed a little higher to prevent pancaking?

Since you can't raise the virtual seat, how do you deal with the terrible forward visibility?

Are you using a 3 degree glide slope or something steeper?

I am seriously falling in love with this plane. Offline against even Ace level pilots you are untouchable. I just can't land the thing smoothly. Oh, I can set it down like a feather with no cockpit but that's cheating.

Lastly, what are your last second "go around" procedures? I learned at altitude that being slow and jamming the throttle forward imparts a nasty roll lol.

Thanks in advance.


Blackdog_kt 09-11-2010 07:16 AM

I'm a 190 driver mostly, but when going through the stock single player campaigns i had spent some time in 109s as well.

The way i did this was not the text-book 3-pointer, but rather a "better safe than sorry" type of approach and strangely enough, i found it easy to land thanks to its good low speed handling.

I line up at 200km/h and drop full flaps and gear, then usually approach at 150-160km/h, maybe even 170km/h. I don't fret about getting perfectly aligned early on, since the plane is pretty sensitive to torque from throttle variations and lacks rudder trim to correct the resulting yawing motion. For some weird reason, i find it easier to land while in gunsight view, i just put the Revi on the runway and point at the first fiew meters of it. By going nose low and slightly fast i maintain visual contant long enough, then when i start my flare i can usually see the edge of the runway beneath my wings to the left and right, which helps me be sure i'm aligned properly by judging how much of it is visible on each side.

In essence, i just use a safe speed that won't have me dealing with the nasty torque-induced roll when you advance the throttle at low speeds and then i don't glide it in like a normal landing, but mostly fly the plane down to the runway with the aim of touching down on the main wheels first. Instead of using a smooth, uniform glide, i fly a steep glide to the start of the runway and then pull the nose up to bleed speed, level off for the flare and touch the main wheels down.

Flare happens usually just as the start of the runway starts disappearing below my nose. The entire idea is to keep the glide steep so as to maintain vision of the runway, then pull back to a mild flare after you're positive you're over it. By keeping a slightly higher approach speed you avoid that nasty roll when advancing throttle in case you need to go around, this also makes it feasible to correct your final glide path during flare by applying bursts of throttle. I normally use 30% or so during the 160km/h approach and correct with short, rapid bursts of as much as 60-70%, depending on how fast the ground is approaching :grin:

Hardly a scientific or pretty method to look at, but it works and gives you some energy reserve and the ability to apply power fast if you need to. When flying the 109, i forget about the 3-point attitude altogether. Instead, what i try to remember is "main wheels touch the ground more time than the tail wheel"...on takeoff i wait until the tail is lifted before rotating, on landing i wait until the main wheels are rolling down the runway before cutting throttle to lower the tail.

Another thing to try is set it off to the side of the runway and bring it in with a curved approach by sideslipping. However, because of the added drag involved when crossing the controls you still will have quite a steep glide angle and might also need a bit more power to maintain your chosen speed. So, if i go in at a similar speed and similar steep glide, what's the benefit you might ask? The good thing about a curved approach is that the runway is shifted to your side view, which affords an overall better visibility not only of the runway but also of the surrounding ground and airspace. Then, when the bird is over the numbers i straighten it up and fly a flare as described previously.

I'm sure there's much more finesse involved in it, but i'll leave the dedicated 109 drivers to give better tips. Hope it helps :grin:

robtek 09-11-2010 08:14 AM

My 2 cents for this are: there are a lot of ways to skin a cat :-D
I, for my part, go every time for a three point landing, regardless of the plane type, taildraggers only, of course.
The easiest way is the curved approach, as mentioned before, in a left hand turn with about 30% throttle, flaps full and gear extended with about 180 km/h ias.
I target the beginning of the runway and steer that i will have about 10 m height over the threshold and be lined up with the runway, then i cut the throttle, HOLD HEADING AND LEVEL WITH THE RUDDER and feed elevator to touch down nose high with 120 to 140 km/h.
With a little training that works like a charm, at least it does for me :-)

jameson 09-11-2010 11:58 AM

See here:

In game,downwind leg @500m height, cut throttle, slow down to 300kph, trim level. Drop combat flap into final turn, at 90 to runway, @ 400m or so boot full rudder hold straight with stick and pull nose up gently, let speed drop to 200 to 180kph. Drop take off then landing flaps. Line up with runway @350m, point nose on ground before run way, throttle to 1.7 to 1.9 ata. Now the tricky bit, fly at the spot, as low as you dare without nosing in, you develop a feel for it, then level out just before or at aimpoint. Speed should be 150/ 160 kph, when threshold appears gently but promptly close throttle. Try to keep it off the ground as long as possible, with gentle pull back on stick. It should land with slight bump. S! Oh forgot, drop wheels after flaps. lol!

Qpassa 09-11-2010 12:05 PM

160-200 kmh and you wont have any problem

AndyJWest 09-11-2010 02:36 PM

I've found landing the Bf 109 relatively easy, though the later versions get progressively heavier, and need more care in consequence. I'd say my initial descent angle is more like 6° than 3°, and I come in on a curve until I'm fairly close. The important thing is to find an appropriate approach speed, and then control rate of descent with the throttle. Counter-intuitively, I'll increase throttle slightly as I cross the runway threshold, to flare, and then hold it off with increasing gentle up elevator. Though you can sometimes manage a genuine three-pointer, this isn't necessary - just land with the nose well up.

robtek 09-11-2010 03:05 PM

During the approach for landing one should ALWAYS use the
ELEVATOR for SPEED control and the

Splitter 09-11-2010 03:16 PM


Originally Posted by Qpassa (Post 180520)
160-200 kmh and you wont have any problem

You land at those speeds? I'm wondering if a higher landing speed might be a good idea. It seems that would solve the pancaking problem.

Blackdog, Jameson, Robtek, I've tried a form of all those things I think lol. I have always prided myself on being able to plop anything down on any runway given all the bush flying I do in flight sims. I don't pay a lot of attention to glide slopes (unless it's IFR) or early alignment to the runway. Blackdog's approach it pretty close to what I have been doing.

Heck, landing a Corsair on a carrier is cake...but this 109 is the damnedest thing. I ended up bouncing another landing so high (after a 4 kill mission...) it stalled on the way back down. I guess the game felt sorry for me and didn't crumple the landing gear on me again.

Grass runways are the worst. Very subtle visual cues in the peripheral vision. I think I am going to try abandoning the three point landing and just set the main gear down at a little higher speed.

I guess I just need a lot more practice in the plane. It certainly is a spoiler, you have to really jerk it around to stall it and take offs are no worse than other planes.


Splitter 09-11-2010 03:31 PM


Originally Posted by robtek (Post 180555)
During the approach for landing one should ALWAYS use the
ELEVATOR for SPEED control and the

Yeah, Andy, I find it a bit easier to be adding a bit of throttle right before touch down to level things out a bit.

Robtek, I guess that's an ongoing debate amongst pilots (and virtual pilots). Honestly, it's never worked for me that way, I can't get the hang of it. I do what feels right I guess. To me that's throttle controlling speed and elevator controlling altitude lol. My brain is just not evolved enough to reverse things :).


Pablo 09-11-2010 04:25 PM

I find 180kph works just fine for me everytime. The 109 does take a bit of gatting used to but when you find the sweet spot you should never have any trouble.

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