Help with landing on short airstrips

I’ve recently been playing through the Patagonia Bush Trip, and I’ve been having some trouble landing properly on short airstrips.

Basically, I struggle to bring the plane down to a low enough speed so I won’t end up running out of runway. Even if I come down on idle with the flaps fully extended, making for the runway on a straight line with enough distance and descending very gradually, I’m still going at around 60 to 70 knots when I touch down. That didn’t seem like much at first to me, but the plane does inevitably need to cover some ground before coming to a full stop. If I hit the brakes too hard or often, I risk tipping over.

As a consequence, I often end up running into the land beyond the airstrip—and if the place is surrounded by trees or over uneven terrain, then a crash is likely.

For reference, the plane on this Bush Trip is a Cub Crafters X Cub. I have everything set up to manual except for the mixture. I did notice this Bush Trip is windier than others and I do admit, playing on Xbox with a controller, using the rudder is a bit tricky sometimes, but I do manage. Not sure if any of this adds to my troubles.

Anyway, I first played through the whole Yosemite Bush Trip without issue, and I found the Savage Cub to be far easier to slow down and land anywhere. But now, every time I see that the next leg leads to a small airstrip, I shudder. Any tips would be appreciated.

Try applying brake and pulling the yoke all the way back (aerodynamic braking) after landing. Come in as slow as possible with full flaps. Which plane are you flying?

@Liberance the only other remaining item is to retract the flaps after touchdown to increase the weight on the wheels.
This technique is only recommended if you really need to minimise the stopping distance.

An idle steep approach isn’t recommended, because judging the flare is very difficult.
Furthermore you need to carry extra speed to be able to flare at all.
Power on and a standard 3° glide path, or shallower, will work much better.
I haven’t flown the X Cub, but 60-70kts seems to be too fast for a short field landing.

The OP wrote that it’s the X Cub, so no aerodynamic braking possible.

With a conventional tricycle gear, aerodynamic braking will increase the landing roll, because you have less weight on wheels and hence less braking capability.


Yep, that was why I asked what plane. Aerodynamic braking works with tricycle landing gear but not tail wheel.

I always set up for short field takeoff and landings no matter what airport I fly to I highly recommend just practicing short field takeoffs and landings at your local airport in the game until your comfortable doing it on the Bush trip

Haven’t tried with the XCub, but I know what you are talking about on some of those short airstrips. I have recently with the JU-52 developed a knack of stopping it very short when I need to by applying hard brakes and max elevator for a short period on landing. The plane stays level on its front wheels and when it looks like it’s starting to tip forward, I release the brakes. Not sure if this is accurate in real life, but it seems to work. Will need to test this on the XCub now.
You can also try just tapping the brakes a bit to slow it down too ie no jamming them on as you have found out.

The XCub floats like a butterfly but have you tried killing some energy in the descent with a bit of slide slip or by chopping the throttle and lifting the nose?

Lined up straight with runway.
Apply RIGHT rudder while simultaneously adding enough LEFT aileron to keep the aircraft tracking towards the runway.

The extra drag should slow you down.
Once happy with the speed ease rudder and aileron back to neutral to line nose up with runway.

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But you use aerodynamic braking to reduce brake wear, not to reduce the landing roll.

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The cub can take a hard landing if you can avoid smashing the tail

The problem with side slipping is that you need to carry a higher speed during the approach!
It’s only useful to steepen the descent, but not to reduce the landing roll.

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Yeah, your speed sounds about right for a 2 wheel land when you have plenty of runway, but for short field landings you want to be hearing that stall warning just as you touch down. I think this around 55knots in the X Cub although admittedly I haven’t flown since I got the Husky.

With the high AOA on touchdown and tail wheel down immediately, you should be able to get on the brakes immediately and stop in maybe 200-300’ - getting the speed and touchdown precise is the tricky parts - lots of throttle adjustments like landing on an aircraft carrier. And obviously seeing over the nose at aight AOA is an issue.

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I disagree, you can cut your roll significantly by applying brake and pulling the yoke all the way back. Try it in the sim.

CC-19 (XCub) can get down to about 40 kts stall. Don’t be afraid to bounce it a little, that’s what that robust looking undercarriage is for.


Maybe in the sim due to the basic friction and WOW simulation, but not IRL.

Lots of quick help, thanks a lot everyone.

It definitely looks like I’m coming down too fast. I remember being able to slow the Savage Cub down to around 40 kts to be extra careful in my previous Bush Trip and I landed it every time first try without issue. So I’ll work on that with these suggestions.

I had no idea you put on more weight on the wheels by retracting the flaps. Nor about the slide slip.

True indeed. I tend to use it when I am carrying a little more speed and/or altitude than planned…

Side slipping doesn’t help at all, because you can’t land in this condition!

More weight on the wheels doesn’t seem to work in the sim due to flap retraction if @DrumminFliers observation about aerodynamic braking is correct. Only IRL.

No worries, I got it from what you guys were talking about with each other. I’ll keep it in mind.

Just saying I didn’t even know it was a thing.

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Just coming back here to say that I did bring down the speed to somewhere in between 40 and 50kts on the next airstrip and the landing went great. Then I went on to finish the Bush Trip without problems.

Indeed, it was just a matter of pitching slightly up while descending to bring down the speed, while gradually extending the flaps, without fear of stalling. The plane came down gently and came to a full stop pretty quickly. I had airstrip to spare where before it seemed to only last a fraction of a second.


Thats not aerodynamic braking, thats just transferring weight onto the main landing gear (on a tricycle gear on a taildragger you’ll need to push). Aerodynamic braking is what fighter jets commonly do, keeping the nose into the air to increase aerodynamic drag, this is ineffective compared to increasing braking effectiveness on a small GA aircraft.