Can't land a King Air 350

VonKyrin Guest

I am having trouble landing the King Air 350, and would appreciate some advice.

I had some problems getting FS-X to run right in the first place, but I’ll discuss that in a minute. Suffice it to say that the problem is somewhat related to using the MS Sidewinder Force Feedback joystick. This is the original stick with a Serial Port connecter, not the SW2 with USB.

Anyway, after I got the program to stop stuttering like crazy, I immediately started flying around in the King Air 350 since I’ve always dreamed of owning one.

I’m not really having a lot of problems flying the plane except that I can’t trim it. No matter what trim settings I use, I can’t seem to get the plane to maintain a constant attitude. Some settings are worse than others. I read that any change in air speed requires a new trim; maybe I just haven’t gotten that mastered yet. The autopilot flys the plane nicely.

The problem is on approach. I saved one particular landing and I keep trying to make it over and over to get practice and to try and figure out what I’m doing wrong. Somewhere around 160 Knts the plane seems to become a flying rock. If I didn’t know better I’d think I was flying a F117 (flying rock). I think I’m having a tremendously hard time landing because I’m hitting the ground at around 140 Knts (I converted that to MPH and it came out to like 160 MPH. Ouch.) I’d love to land at around 120 Knts (or preferably lower) but that ain’t happening. Some things I’ve read suggest the plane can fly at 100 Knts, so 120 doesn’t sound unreasonable to me and it’s still about 140 MPH. Other things seem to indicate that I should be able to land below 120 Knts like minimum landing and takeoff runway lengths for the plane. At around 130 Knts or maybe as high as 140 Knts, the plane literally falls out of the air. So, I’m fighting air speed all the way in.

Here’s the landing scenario: Four Corners Municipal Airport, Farmington NM. Early Morning. Autopilot lines up ILS runway 25 for approach. 7500 ft at the outer marker. Approach the runway at 140 Knts. I believe the wind is at 44 degrees at 8 Knts and the runway runs at 256 degrees. Seems the wind is mostly straight behind me but it must be a significant crosswind because something is pushing me all over the place (33 degrees off my tail which doesn’t sound extreme). I’ve tried shooting for the right of the runway and the left of the runway, but I’m starting to think it’s best to just shoot for dead center and apply rudder or ailerons to maintain that as best as possible (which is quite a battle but somewhat do-able). I’ve tried landing anywhere between 160 and 120 Knts, usually shooting for 135 Knts because that seems to work best. I’ve had results anywhere for fighting the crosswind so hard that I’ve gone the entire length of the runway before I’m lined up over the runway (probably at the 160 Knts speed) to plowing through the airport fence and landing about 30 feet before the beginning of the runway (falling too fast probably at 130 to 140 Knts). Technically about 80% to 85% of my landings are “successful”, that is the plane is on the ground in one piece and we can “walk away from the landing”. Only about 35% of my landings are true crashes, most of which involve folding the nose gear or driving the props into the ground. In reality, almost all of my landings are probably ones that you could walk away from but about 60% of them or slightly more would have damaged the plane. Most of my “better” landings involve landing with one wheel off the side of the runway before I finally steer back on to the runway and get it shut down. I can usually throw the reverse thrusters on at touchdown and get it shutdown half way down the strip, but some landings have been “successful” though I stopped about 40 feet after the end of the runway (probably indicating it took me too long to get lined up on the runway or, more often than not, the plane hits the runway at 120 Knts then bounces and leaps about 10 feet into the air requiring another attempt to put the wheels on the pavement often resulting in a crash landing because the plane isn’t moving fast enough to actually fly at 130 Knts.

It’s as if the plane is changing it’s required landing speed during the landing. 120 Knts is so fast I bounce off the runway one second, but so slow I crash hard into the runway the next second. I’ve tried maintaining enough airspeed to not fall out of the air but this requires a landing speed greater than 140 Knts.

Mind you, the plane is under a full load, because I wanted to simulate the effects of having 9 passengers and their luggage aboard. After all, what’s the point of having a plane like this if you aren’t going to haul a bunch of people around? Also, I’ve been flying around New Mexico and all the landings are “short jumps”, so inevitably, I’m always landing with a full load of fuel (Hmmm… maybe that’s the problem). (The weight is distributed 220 lbs at every point.)

Why is the plane falling out of the sky at 135 Knts? All measurements are in True Airspeed. Maybe I need to take the sim off of that default and put in on Indicated Air Speed, but I’ve tried not too mess with the defaults too much until I get the hang of flying.

I usually come in well below the glide slope for the landing, so my landing angle should not be so steep as to warrant bouncing off the runway or driving the nose gear into the asphalt. So, it almost has to be a problem with airspeed. The plane just won’t fly if the speed is less than about 160 MPH.

What is up with that? Why won’t the plane fly at speeds that everything published says it will fly at? ( I can take off under 120 Knts! Why won’t it fly at that speed during a landing?) Why is it pretty much impossible to get the plane to maintain any sort of attitude no matter how I trim the plane? Why is it such a struggle to land in an 8 Knt crosswind?

Oh, I mentioned in the beginning that the program stuttered like crazy. I did everything I could think of to get things under control including defragging the harddrive. In the end, the problem was definitely related to the Sidewinder Joystick. With it the game stuttered, without it the game ran ok but then I had the impossible task of flying using the keyboard. The problem seems to have been a conflict with the “sound card” although nothing in Device Manager indicated a problem or even gave a hint of conflict. I tried different base addresses and BIOS settings to little avail. Finally after getting it as best as I could, I turned off the music in Flight Simulator (which seems to have made the biggest difference), and everything ran ok since then. I left the sound effects on, mind you. Just no Symphony playing for me while I fly around Texas and New Mexico (not a big loss). I should mention that I have a somewhat odd “sound card” it is a MOTU. I suspect it’s a MIDI conflict where it can’t figure out whether the MOTU should be in charge of MIDI or the Motherboard. I know originally MIDI ran on the COM ports on computers and having MIDI capability AND a joystick caused problems because they would fight for control of the ports.

Any advice that anyone can give would be appreciated.

11 Responses

VonKyrin Guest

I should also add that I don't fully understand the engine controls, such as Feather. I guess that has to do with an engine going out and streamlining it to reduce drag. Anyway, I may not have the engine setup correctly for landing.

Also, I have just started making sure the engine is at 30 Torque while landing.

Pro Member First Officer
2robplaying First Officer


VonKyrin Guest

I tried landing the plane again last night, and I am getting a little better at it. I had fairly good luck with tipping the wing down putting the nose into the wind and using rudder in the opposite direction so that I'm balancing the nose of the plane using the ailerons in one direction and the rudder in the opposite.

I also noticed one of my big problems last night: I have the weather settings set to "Real World", so it's updating with real weather every 15 minutes. This means that the wind can whip around on me at any moment. Maybe that's realistic, but it makes it kind of hard when I'm unsure where the crosswind is at. Guess I need to set it on one constant crosswind while I'm trying to figure out how to land in a crosswind.

Also, the plane is still flying like a rock at 140 Knts. I took off from the same runway in the same direction (to have the same crosswind) and the plane lifted off the ground under 100 Knts with the exact same payload. I don't understand why 140 Knts is too slow to fly when landing but 100 Knts is more than sufficient when taking off!?!? That doesn't make sense to me. I must be missing something here.

On a brighter note, is spite of all this, my percentage of successful landings is comming up. And I'm even making good landings now (landings where the plane makes the entire landing without ever leaving the runway or running off the end, and the plane is undamaged.) I even FINALLY managed to successfully land the plane at the Aztec airport, a small uncontrolled landing strip NE of KFMN. I had thought it was impossible in the King Air 350, but I did it (though if it had of been real life it would have been kind of a hairy landing in that I came to a full stop about 5 feet from the very end of the runway. Still, almost off the end is NOT off the end. )

If anyone has suggestions for better landings or an explination as to why the plane falls out of the sky at 140 Knts, please let me know.

Pro Member Chief Captain
CRJCapt Chief Captain

Do you have the Flaps down?

VonKyrin Guest

I generally land with full flaps down under the logic that more flaps means more lift, which means the plane will fly at a lower speed; not to mention that flaps should add drag which should slow my airspeed down to somewhat makeup for the gain in airspeed from diving towards the runway. I say “dive” but I actually generally come in at an angle below the ILS glide slope rather than above it. (I rarely match that decent angle perfectly.)

Somewhere I read something that suggested that it might be best to land without flaps, so I gave that a try the other night. Mostly I tried a compromise of half flaps. I did find that with reduced flaps it was a little easier to keep the plane pointed towards the runway, but it also seemed to require me to come in at a faster airspeed for the landing. In the end, I decided I was probably correct in using full flaps.

I noticed it seemed to be a lot easier to land the plane with the camera in chase mode. I think from outside the plane I can see what’s actually going on a lot better. Maybe I am not keeping the plane level when I think I am.

I’ve noticed that the King Air has a higher cockpit than I imagine. That is, in the simulation I think I feel like I’m sitting just a few feet off the ground, when in reality I would be setting several feet off the ground in the cockpit of a real King Air 350. I’ve noticed the fact that I am landing away from the rising sun actually helps; with the sun at my back during the landing, I see the plane’s shadow ahead of me (kind of cool that the plane casts an accurate shadow in the sim). Most of the time, at the moment when I expect the plane’s wheels to touch the ground, I suddenly see the plane’s shadow and realize I’m still about 5 to 10 feet off the ground. So, the ground is usually not where I think it is when I’m in the cockpit view. That could be causing me problems. Also, I have a little bit of trouble telling when the plane is actually completely level. Usually, I try to get the point of the V to line up with the artificial horizon. But occasionally I wonder if that means the plane is 100% level.

I also read somewhere that the engines should be at 30% torque when landing the King Air 350. So, I’ve started trying to get them at 30% torque before I get serious about making my decent.

I guess I should try using the altimeter to tell when I am about to hit the ground rather than by sight. I HAVE been using ATIS to set the altimeter before landing, but on my screen, the altimeter is so small that I find it difficult to read the exact number of feet I am at. A digital altimeter would surely help but I guess that’s not what the King Air actually has. Oh well.

Frag Guest

I highly recommend that you switch your airspeed setting from true to indicated. I do wonder what your level of experience is with flying, not that I'm trying to offend you in any way.

If you want a good challenge in the King Air, try to Yokutat Mail Run mission, or whatever it's called.

Wish I had time to say more, but I have to leave right now.

VonKyrin Guest

No offense taken. In real life I'd probably be crashing about as much as I do in FS-X. (Though in my verylimited experience, flying real planes is easier than flying sims.)

I actually have about 1 hour of logged flight time (wohoo!) and went through ground school ages ago. I'm pretty much a novice.

When I was in high school I was considering a career as a military pilot, which was when I went through (civilian) ground school, and I got a job fueling aircraft at my local FBO. I did aircraft fueling for a hand full of years. The largest things I ever fueled where Hueys and - I think - a Gulf Stream once. I used to fuel Lears on almost a daily basis. Some pilots let me sit in the cockpit of a Lear for a few hours during a flight that they were making to Detroit.

So, I've been around planes a bit, but I'm virtually clueless when it comes to flying them. I've been flying the King Air 350 because I like the plane. They were some of my favorite planes out of everything I fueled over the years.

I should probably spend more time in the Cessna in FS-X, but the King Air is my favorite. I tried flying the Cessna Skyhawk a bit the other night and I noticed that I was getting thrown all over the runway, far worse than in the King Air (because of weight I assume), maybe it's good experience though, because the same thing is probably happening in the King Air, it's probably just happening more slowly in the King Air, so it's far less noticable.

I might also add that I have a strong science background a fair math background, so I understand Aerodynamics somewhat.

I might also add that I haven't been trying to land on the longest runways possible. I've been landing on realistic runways, regardless of whether the plane can handle it. On the other hand, on occassion, I can get the King Air on the runway and shutdown in about 3000 ft. So, I'm thinging I'm giving myself sufficient runway (almost never less than 5000 ft).

Frag Guest

Sorry I haven't checked this forum for a few days.

I just got back from test flying the King Air after reading your most recent post. I left everything at default concerning fuel and weight. I took off to check out the flight dynamics of the aircraft. I think your problem has to do with elevator trim. At its default setting, the thing wants to crash into the ground at approach speeds. Setting the trim all the way up seemed very good for landing.

On your next flight, set trim all the way up and tell me what difference it makes. If all else fails, I would be more than happy to share the cockpit with you in multiplayer to see what's going wrong.

VonKyrin Guest

No that didn't help, the plane went pitched all the way up, stalled and crashed to the ground below... Thanks anyway

Frag Guest

Do you play multiplayer? If so, what is your username and the time you usually play at?


The 350 is a big plane but it's no airliner. For landing, pull the props to 1500 RPM and use around 25% torque. If you have it full, a little bit more. Set them and leave them alone. At 200 kts, approach flaps. 180, gear. 2-3 miles from the runway, below 160, landing flaps. The idea is the airplane is slowing he whole way down. Try to maintain a constant descent rate, and leave that pitch alone! Get it set up and leave it, it will slow down. Keep the nose down, you don't land nose-high like big airliners. You are shooting for around 109 over the numbers if you are at max landing. When you're 100' above the runway (Does FSX call your altitudes out down low?) pull the power to idle and slowly bring your nose to the horizon. You don't need any more flare than that, if you start sinking faster, just a bit more back pressure. You'll probably touch down ~10 below your ref speed, so around 100 kts. If you're lighter, probably 90-95.

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