I need help with landing the Airbus 320

For reference, i am a complete newbie so this question might come off as ignorant but figured this would be a good place to ask. For reference I have the logitech x52 stick.

When landing the Airbus, do i need to use the ILS to make a smooth landing? Everytime I try to land manually, without autopilot I really struggle to land.

Is it possible to literally just land the plane with a joystick and is it just a matter of practice or is it impossible to land without the ILS system?

Thank you all in advance.

You should always aim for a 3° glidepath. With or without the ILS.
The 2 red and 2 white PAPI lilghts will also show a 3° glidepath
ILS has nothing to do with the actual landing.

The ILS indication is a nice help to align correctly with the runway.

It just requires a lot of practise and if you are a newbie I highly recommend that you start with a training aircraft, as IRL.

E.g. the C152. A lot less training required until you can successfully and most important consistently land your aircraft.

Most of it is just comes down to practice.

I find that selecting a runway end to “Set as arrival” is a good way to practice landing, as the aircraft will spawn in-line with the runway and on the glideslope. All you need is to manage your power and pitch and the descent angle.

And above all the landing speed and the flaps. Then it’ll work

Lots of good advice already given, one more piece if it helps:

A stabilized approach is key, especially when learning.

Make sure to be aligned with the runway, on the glide path (the PAPI or VASI lights), on the final approach speed, in the right configuration (gear and flaps), no later than 1000 ft above the runway (500 ft in good weather and with some practice). Then it is just a matter of maintaining that stable approach using small corrections all the way to the flare and touch down.

Much easier than trying to make large corrections at low altitude, chasing alignment and airspeed trying to get all those variables to line up just right at the time of the touchdown. That is hard to get to work.

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There are some great tutorial videos on YouTube.
Have a look for 320 Sim Pilot. He’s a real A320 pilot and provides a lot of helpful hints.
There are many others of course but I find his very helpful.


A few more useful things to know:
You can easily stabilise a 3 degree glidepath if you are at 3000ft and 12nm from the runway threshold, and at 130knots airspeed using autothrust, with full flaps and gear down. Then keep going at 3000ft in this configuration until you are exactly 9nm from the runway threshold. When you are 9nm from the runway and 3000ft altitude, then your angle to it will be 3degrees. At that point lower the nose slightly until you are descending at 3 degrees straight towards the runway.

130kts doesn’t mean anything if you don’t know the aircraft weight.

But it’s easy to find out the correct speed on a 3° GS with full flaps.
~2° nose up pitch attitude and the speed will be automatically correct.

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Can you pls explain the physics behind this method?

The correct AoA for the approach with full flaps is ~5°.
Substract 3° for the glideslope and the required pitch attitude is ~2°.

The approach speed considerable varies with weight, but the AoA is always the same.
In case of the A320 Vref varies between 106kts and 147kts

Most military aircraft use AoA as the primary indicator for the approach speed instead of IAS.

But a good pilot always crosschecks both, speed and AoA and you should always know at least approximately if the calculated approach speed matches the actual AoA/pitch attitude.


Thanks for that info. So looking at it the other way around, if i set autothrust speed in “managed mode” to V_APP (as displayed on the MCDU’s Perf page) and if I fly with +2deg of pitch on the attitude indicator, then I should be on a -3deg descent path?

Correct, but it’s the 3° glidepath which is fixed.
If the pitch attitude is e.g. 0° you are too fast and if the pitch attitude is +4° you are too slow.

If you have don’t have a ~ +2° pitch attitude when flying the computed speed something is wrong.
E.g. either the flap setting and/or the aircraft weight.

I’m talking about hand flying the descent but with autothrust maintaining a steady V_APP. Then if I push the stick forwards or pull it back I’ll change the pitch, and consequently the glidepath will also deviate away from the ideal 3 degrees. No?

That’s correct.

That’s called attitude flying and how you fly most jets.

e.g. after takeoff you initially don’t aim for a certain speed, you pitch up to a fixed pitch attitude and hold it.
The correct speed will be a result of that .

The way most pilots learn to fly in US is using airspeeds.

However, using angles is also a correct method, very much akin to the chicken vs the egg.

Some branches of the armed forces teach angles instead of airspeeds.

In civil aviation it’s 99% airspeed you are using for the approach, not only in the US.

I’ve mentioned the AoA only to find out how to establish the correct speed.

I was agreeing with you. I was just adding the color since you were asked about using AoA to hit the airspeed.

My flight operations experience is wholly within the US, so I’ve learned not to paint too wide of a brush in case it’s taught differently elsewhere.

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That’s if there is an AOA gauge in the cockpit?
I don’t know about Boeing, but in an Airbus fly-by-wire aircraft there is no AOA indicator for the pilot.

Both, Boeings and Airbuses can display the FPV (flight path vector) which makes it easy to read the AoA directly on the PFD.

Why do you need an AoA gauge to find out what the AoA is?

Again, 3° GS + 2° pitch = 5° AoA.

But that equation won’t always work ie. if you are hand-flying the plane and therefore you can’t be certain you’re actually doing a -3deg GS!