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Harrier Take Off and Landing Demo
Thanks to Frederf from, here is a demo about the take off and landing of a Harrier.

Harrier Demo:


Congratulations on your purchase of an AV-8B Harrier aircraft. As we walk around the one before us we note the tandem landing gear with additional outrigger wheeled struts, the four adjustable nozzles arranged in a box with two on either side of the fuselage, the internal gun located on the forward left hand side of the fuselage below the canopy, and the external armament attached to weapon pylons.


We walk around the aircraft before getting in to inspect for obvious physical damage and to count the number of external stores. This aircraft looks to be in pristine shape with the following load out:
    - Station 1-- GBU-12
    - Station 2-- GBU-12
    - Station 3-- GBU-12
    - Station 4-- Empty
    - Station 5-- AN/AAQ-28 LITENING
    - Station 6-- GBU-12
    - Station 7-- GBU-12

This aircraft looks ready to dish out some air-ground damage with its five 500lb laser-guided bombs and targeting pod to make sure they land right on the enemy's head. Before entering the aircraft we go through the pre-entry checklist.

Pre-entry Checklist: Area around aircraft clear CHECK, our joystick throttle is at idle CHECK, and the joystick trigger is not pressed CHECK. Pre-entry checklist complete.

We're ready to get in the seat and have a look inside.


With the engine off we note the canopy is open still and we can inspect the health and fuel level of the aircraft. We see a perfectly healthy aircraft with a full load of fuel. Good.


Looking inside at the cockpit we notice 5 main displays:

    1. Aircraft status panel-- this shows us the speed, altitude over the ground (AGL), health, fuel level, and currently selected weapon and number of that weapon available.
    2. Radar panel-- this shows us our current heading along the heading tape as well as a radar window where radar contacts will appear. The right half of the display represents all directions from straight ahead through 180 degrees right, and similarly the left side represents the arc from straight ahead through 180 degrees left. The dim white box in the center represents the bounds of our current vision.

    3. Left MFD-- The left MFD has on it an electronic display which shows an artificial horizon.

    4. Right MFD-- The right MFD has on it an electronic display of our heading.

    5. HUD-- The HUD has many useful pieces of information that can be seen without looking down into the cockpit.

Looking down we can see the rest of the cockpit. There is a backup artificial horizon which will become useful if you suffer damage to the left MFD as well as a vertical speed indicator behind the joystick (in future patches the joystick will move and seeing this gauge might be possible). There also might be a backup altimeter here but it's not likely to ever been needed. Before touching any controls we should change our current weapon. Currently we have the GBU-12 selected. Change to the GAU-12 25mm cannon.


The GAU-12 cannon is much safer in the event of an accidental fire while on the ground. Dropping a 500lb bomb while taxing makes a much larger mess. Always have the cannon selected when not prepared for weapons release.


Ok let's turn the engine on via the action menu and let it spool up to full RPM while we do some pre-taxi checks. First the map when you start the game looks like this:


This is no good for flying and moving things around while going 450 knots is probably not a good idea so let's change it to look like this:


Pre-taxi Checklist: Map OK, Reviewed mission before takeoff CHECK, flaps fully up CHECK, nozzles aft CHECK, aircraft healthy CHECK, weapons on safest weapon CHECK. Pre-taxi checklist complete.

Advance throttle slowly until you get a response from the aircraft and then back off on the throttle. Take a left turn using the rudder pedals and align with the yellow taxiway centerline heading down to the west end of the runway. Keep taxi speed around 20-30 knots. Pulling back on the stick aids in slowing down a little bit. As you reach the end of the taxiway follow the yellow line as it curves right. Depending on your taxi clearance you would continue onto the runway or hold in the short stretch before the runway to keep it clear for landing or taking off aircraft. This is where you should stop given the instruction "Taxi to runway nine and hold short."

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Waiting for takeoff clearance is a good time to do the pre-takeoff checklist. For this take off we'll use the first notch of flaps but keep the nozzles pointed aft for a normal fixed wing takeoff.


Given our clearance "Position and hold" we move onto the runway and stop on the numbers "9" as best we can. Given "Cleared for takeoff" we wouldn't stop in this position but continue on our take off run.

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Really the last time to check we're good to go. "Cleared for takeoff." We smoothly advance the throttle to full and follow the runway centerline using the rudder pedals. At V-R we rotate the aircraft into a 10 degree nose up attitude and raise the gear once clear of the ground. After that we're going pretty fast and can raise the notch of flaps we put in safely.

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Now we're free to maneuver in a "clean" gear/flaps up state and go and have a little fun. For now let's have a closer look at the HUD when in GAU-12 mode and find out what all the symbols mean:


    - Altitude Ladder: The altitude ladder is a visual representation of your MSL altitude. The short horizontal line on the left of the HUD moves up and down in response to changes in MSL altitude. The ladder has a min at 0m MSL max at 500m MSL. Any altitude higher than 500m will show as the ladder at the top of its scale. The horizontal line that seems to cut the HUD glass in half marks 350m MSL altitude, a very useful altitude for both GBU-12 weapons release and for landing.
    - Vertical Speed Pointer: Attached to the right side of the short horizontal line that is the altitude ladder is the vertical speed pointer. If the line extends down thenthat indicates a descent. A line extending up indicates a climb. The length of the line shows how rapidly you are gaining or losing altitude.

    - Nose Reference: The diamond with the horizontal line though it represents where the nose of the aircraft is pointing.

    - Flight Path Marker: The FPM shows where your jet is going to go. Placing the FPM on a point on the ground would mean you would impact with the ground at that point. The FPM is extremely useful. If you want to fly level simply put the FPM on the horizon line. If you want to land on a runway put the FPM on the near edge of the runway and you will drive right to it. When using the rudder pedals in flight you'll see the the FPM drift left or right of the centerline of the HUD.

    - Gun Cross: The gun cross is an aiming reference used with the GAU-12 25mm cannon. This only shows up when the GAU-12 is the current weapon.

    - Pitch Ladder: The pitch ladder is a series of lines parallel with the horizon. They are spaced 5 degrees apart in pitch. Ladder lines showing positive pitch will have short tail lines pointing down. Ladder lines showing negative pitch will have the short tail lines pointing up. The ladder line at 0 degrees is wider and has no short tail lines. This is called the horizon line.

    - Airspeed Ladder: On the right of the HUD is the airspeed ladder and consists of a tick mark and a number. The number is your speed in knots and the number and tick mark move up the ladder toward the top of the HUD as the airspeed increases.

After flying around a bit we return to the airbase and prepare to land. Today we will be doing a normal fixed-wing landing with full flaps. Flying over the runway we turn west and prepare to land.

Decent checklist: Weapons safe CHECK. Decent checklist complete.

After about a minute flying to the west at 400m altitude and 400kts we drop a notch of flaps and turn around heading east. Using the GPS and map we make sure we're as close to due west of the runway as we can. Satisfied with that we drop the 2nd notch of flaps and drop the gear. Depending on how close your are to the final approach path one or two items will appear on your HUD. Definitely you will see the landing AoA bracket show up on the bottom of your HUD. This lets you know that the gear are down.

Let's decend to between 300m and 350m to intercept the ILS glidepath. The horizontal line at the dark and clearer halves of the HUD pane is exactly at 325m so it makes an excellent reference. Slow to 250 kts. Being too fast and too high will make the landing very difficult.


If you're close to the right path and within range you will see one or two ILS lines as well. The localizer works out to 3km and shows your position relative to the idea flight path. If the vertical needle (localizer) is to your right then the flight path is to your right. If you fly a heading a little more north than east you will cross it. Once the needle starts to return to center turn back east again. The glide scope needle is harder to use. It shows the relative position of the flight path in altitude. If the line is at the bottom of the HUD you are too high, if the line is at the top of the localizer line then you are too low.


Fly level at your altitude of 325m and adjust your position so the vertical localizer needle is centered and turn so you are facing the runway direction (090 or East). The runway threshold should be in sight. As you fly level toward the runway the threshold will start to drift down the HUD. As the runway threshold drifts down to 3 degrees down on the HUD the horizontal glide scope needle should decend down the HUD. When the needle reaches the center (or a little before) move the FPM from the horizon to the threshold of the runway. Slow to approach speed as you decend. With a little adjustment we can get the ILS lines to make and maintain a nice "Plus" and let us know we're exactly on the right approach path as we track the localizer and glidescope in.


Things happen fast on landing. We confirm landing gear are down, flaps full, weapons safe, and cleared to land. When you have the runway visually you should ignore the localizer lines as they are very sensitive. Looking out the window at the concrete is much better. Just as you cross the outer approach lights slowly reduce power to idle and slowly walk the FPM up from the beginning of the runway along the dotted runway centerline to the far end of the runway. If you time it right you will settle your wheels on the black rubber marks where others have landed before you.


If you don't like how the landing is going, put in full power, raise the gear and then raise the flaps in stages as you go faster and faster. Assume 10 degrees up climb and track the runway direction east outbound to try it again.

As soon as you land raise your flaps to zero, track the centerline of the runway with the rudder pedals and let the airplane slow down to about 60 knots. When under about 100knots you can pull up on the joystick to help the aircraft slow down. When the speed gets to around 60 knots you should transition to taxi and take the next right turn onto the taxiway at again 20-30 knots until you are off the runway and stop.

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Go through the after landing checklist and get taxi permission from ground control back to the hangar. Park so that you can leave later (jets don't have reverse) and shut the engine off before getting out.


For those of you still hanging in there here's some extra tips for the harrier:

1. Configure gear up and gear down to be the same button on your joystick. This makes a gear cycle control.

2. Setting an exact speed is very hard unless you use this trick: Exceed your desired speed by a bit then go idle thrust. The aircraft will bleed off airspeed and right where you want the speed advance your throttle forward until you hear the engine kick in (stupid flight model) and you can maintain +/-10 knots pretty easily.

Also I've done some research about view distance and how far away you can get a laser target lock. Along with that is the range where you release the GBU-12 in 300 and 400kt level passes at various altitudes (250m up to 1500m in 250m levels). This should help you plan your runs and prevent having release ranges that exceed lock range!!

Source: Frederf at BIS Forums
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Updated: Monday 23rd of April 2007 05:54 PM,  Submitted by: Big,  viewed 6584 times