Hanggliding - How to land with a FLPHG unit

Landing with the Mosquito NRG

Landing with a mosquito is quite easy if done correctly. The most important thing to keep in mind is that the landing has to be executed according to plan. Sudden changes during the final phases of landing with an FLPHG unit are not possible due to the fact that the pilot-motor harness combination is much more sluggish than the pilot-free flight harness combination. To put it simply: even if you are very experienced and can land in turbulent conditions and shifting wind directions with your free flying harness you will still not manage to successfully land in similar conditions with a Mosquito NRG. The extra weight of the motor (and its placement at the back end of the harness) requires small & calm control movements during approach and landing. Big and sudden movements that are normal during landing in turbulent conditions are not possible with the mosquito. No amount of flying experience can change this dynamic.

The following tutorial is aimed to help anybody who is new to FLPHG and chooses to fly during calm, turbulence-free periods of the day. It provides guidelines for planning and executing an easy and safe landing on a large field.

In more detail: landing with the Mosquito NRG in calm conditions is easy to plan and execute. The planning is done in the air with the engine on - that means that you have plenty of time to fly over your landing area, check the wind direction, plan your approach, check the wind direction again, run through the approach in your head etc. As long as the engine is running you can fly over the landing area and plan your movements without having to stress about losing height. Once you are totally sure that you know how to proceed with your landing then you have to go through a small check list:

* Take the engine down to idle (but don't switch it off yet)
* Mouth gas pushed in the harness all the way
* Zipper down all the way
* Mosquito legs down and facing backwards
* Propeller brake on
* VG set for landing
* Correct position over the landing area as per plan
* Enough height to give you time to excecute a long and calm approach pattern (around 400 to 500 meters over the ground)

If everything is OK and you are ready with your planning, your check list and your mental preparation then and only then you switch off the engine and start descending towards a committed landing. Please note that an engine that is not switched off will most likely increase its power output when you change position from prone to upright. The increase in power has the potential to create a very dangerous situation. Always land with the engine switched off.

The recommended landing pattern is the classic downwind-base-final approach. With the engine switched off you start descending towards the landing area and begin to execute the approach legs: 

- During the downwind & base your body has to stay in prone position. Making turns with the feet outside the harness is difficult and should be avoided. 
- The last turn you make will put you into a long final at an ample height. You want to be heading into the wind with good safety margins for landing before or after your targer area. You should make a long final that allows you to fly straight and level for a minimum of 40 seconds.
- As soon as you make the turn for the final leg you will have time to aim the wing towards the area you have chosen for landing, align it into the wind and stabilise it. 
- Once you are happy with your actions and your wing is flying in a stable manner towards the landing area you can change your body position from prone to upright (see 00:53 and 01:40 in video). You should still have plenty of height when you do that.  
- Changing position has to go smoothly: Slow down to trim speed, put one hand in the middle of the speedbar and the other one on the upright. Push upwards with the hand that is on the speedbar so that your chest rises and you feel that the hangstrap on the back plate has moved into landing position. If you are still stable and happy with that, move even that hand to the upright. With both hands on the uprights you now have to pull in for some extra speed and glide towards the ground. You should have a minimum of 20 seconds of flying left when you complete the change of body position.
- Please note that once you are upright you will not be able to turn or make any sudden movements. If you need to correct your course because of turbulence then it might be easier to change from upright to prone, make the correction, stabilise the wing and change back into upright position. Ideally you should be landing in calm conditions that do not require corrections from your side.
- While flying in upright position at low height you may fly through a wind gradient. It is important that you continue pulling in for speed when you fly through the wind gradient.
- When you reach the ground flair the wing and land. Your hands should be at chest height. You can either make an explosive flair and stop the glider on the spot (works very well for landings with no head wind) or just run out the landing whilst keeping the nose up until the glider falls on your shoulders (works in all conditions, safer method for landings with head wind, click on link at bottom of page for video).  

Remember that you have the unique opportunity to test the whole procedure at a high altitude (with the motor at idle) as many times as you want. You can run through the items on the check list, change position and get a feel of the wing and the harness when gliding with the feet out and the hands on the uprights just as if you were on final.
If you descend too much, just get into the harness, release the propeller brake and increase the engine power to climb up again. Obviously you cannot flair when practising high in the air but you can practise every other aspect of the landing procedure.
When you feel ready and comfortable with everything you can switch off the engine and commit to nice controlled landing.

Disclaimer: This tutorial is by no means enough to teach you how to land safely. Please enquire with your country's central HangGliding organisation about flying schools and certified FLPHG instructors offering training courses.

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