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Thread: Nose Down trim for landing?

  1. #1

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    Nose Down trim for landing?

    I noticed that a lot of the pros appear to have a good bit of nose down trim when their controls are relaxed on the ground. Anyone have any insight on this? does it help to land on the mains only to keep tailwheel up? I've been trimming to alleviate elevator pressure on final and noticed on the ground that my controls are either trimmed neutral or slightly nose up. Loni is an expert so I figure there is some reason for the nose down trim. I see it consistently in pictures of his and other experts cubs'.

    Last edited by garrett490; 04-14-2012 at 07:51 AM.

  2. #2

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    Good question, I've been thinking about this a lot lately and I am looking forward to others responses.

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    aktango58's Avatar
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    Think about where their survival gear and weight need to be with heavy breaking...
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

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    16-bravo's Avatar
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    I always trim full forward for landing, and takeoff. On landing I find that when you touch down, all you have to do is relieve the stick pressure, and you are planted. On takeoff on wheels it just gets the tail up quicker so I can see where Im going. ON skis in deep powder I still trim full forward for landing, but for takeoff I trim it back about 4 or 5 turns, kind of helps get you up on "step," for lack of a better word. I was taught this technique by an Old time bush pilot with thousands of hours, and it has always worked for him, and seems to work great for me. I am still a fairly, what I call low time pilot, 1000+ cub hours, so take it for what it is, but it works great . Ron

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by 16-bravo View Post
    I always trim full forward for landing, and takeoff. On landing I find that when you touch down, all you have to do is relieve the stick pressure, and you are planted. On takeoff on wheels it just gets the tail up quicker so I can see where Im going. ON skis in deep powder I still trim full forward for landing, but for takeoff I trim it back about 4 or 5 turns, kind of helps get you up on "step," for lack of a better word. I was taught this technique by an Old time bush pilot with thousands of hours, and it has always worked for him, and seems to work great for me. I am still a fairly, what I call low time pilot, 1000+ cub hours, so take it for what it is, but it works great . Ron
    wow full forward trim...I'm gonna experiment with this a little. Based on the pictures above does it look like they have full forward trim as well to you?

  6. #6
    16-bravo's Avatar
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    I think so, I am pretty sure that this is what Lonny teaches in his course, but Im not positive. Take a look at my pictures, it looks about the same.

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    will check it out

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    anyone else have experience with this forward trim landing technique?

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    DW's Avatar
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    With my old cub 160 hp full forward for short landing, with my new cub 180hp it doesn't work as well so I'm back to useing a little nose up, yes Loni teaches nose down and has fown my plane and agrees no nose down so your plane may work nose down or not????? It feel not normal at first so give it a chance.

    DW

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    alright thanks for the input guys. I got something new to practice.

  11. #11
    DW's Avatar
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    Work up to it slowly get the plane as slow as your comfortable with, the stick pressure will decrease the slower you get, I find it works best behind the power curve.

    DW

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    Sounds like an accident waiting to happen. How would full forward trim aid with braking? Also, if you're loaded with gear and require full forward trim, aren't you near or even outside of the w&b envelope?

  13. #13
    n40ff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dougc905 View Post
    Sounds like an accident waiting to happen. How would full forward trim aid with braking? Also, if you're loaded with gear and require full forward trim, aren't you near or even outside of the w&b envelope?
    +1

    Whatever(reply must be 10 bits)

    Defies logic

  14. #14
    aktango58's Avatar
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    "loaded" is a variable...


    Where the gear is 'loaded' was what I was saying.

    I use about three turns back from full down, good easy place to hold the stick. That way when things start going really bad I am not fighting the plane... But then again, I am not Loni.

    This conversation came up a while back. I tried it, but I came to the conclusion that hitting the spot was much more important, and fighting the stick pressure was not what I considered fun...

    If I want to fight control pressures, I would be flying a CESSNA!
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  15. #15
    16-bravo's Avatar
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    Full forward trim is not a problem at all for braking. And like dw said it works best behind the power curve. Stick pressure is almost eliminated once you get slow enough, and I agree that hitting the spot is the most important thing. Once you master this technique it will shorten your landings, it eliminates ballooning back up into the air. I usually touch down at about 43- 45 ground speed. But if im totally honest I dont really use my airspeed its all about "seat of the pants feel" on short final. Ron

  16. #16
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    I make every landing with full forward trim. I would agree with everything 16 Bravo said. It feels very natural, is easy to hit your spot, rolls up to a nice tail position with firm braking and is already set for a quick tail rise on takeoff. I use the same technique on skis too.
    "Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything." Wyatt Earp

  17. #17
    SpainCub's Avatar
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    Cool stuff, I have to give that a go, I was trimming slightly forward for landing. How about take off? I set it to neutral at the moment...
    For me sitting in this forum gives me an opportunity to really learn how to fly the cub...

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    I wonder if it makes any difference at 43 mph? For me, the best Cubs fly wirh the same trim on takeoff and landing, and the worst have such strong bungees they cannot comfortably be flown out of trim.

    Maybe those Cubs you see on the ground have weak bungees?

  19. #19
    SJ's Avatar
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    Personally, I don't think it is worth the risk for everyday flying. If you get distracted, temporarily incapacitated, whatever and no matter how unlikely, if you let go of the stick you are going to go down quick. I prefer being stabilized and letting the airplane fly itself. I agree that a well rigged (standard) super cub makes great landings with full flaps and level flight cruise trim. I realize we are talking about wanting to shave off a foot or two here on landing.

    Just my opinion. Your mileage may vary.

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
    ------------------------------------------

  20. #20
    SJ's Avatar
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    P.S. Great Shaun Lunt shots. I miss that guy and his incredible camera work. That was a very sad day.

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
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  21. #21
    mvivion's Avatar
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    I use pretty far nose down trim for wheel landings pretty routinely. It's no big deal...just spend some time experimenting with it, and keep your head out of.....uh...well, you know.

    MTV

  22. #22
    SchulerJL's Avatar
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    Ok - i'm interested - what exactly is the "technique" ? When do you roll in full down trim? Short final two notches power on dragging it in when you have to push forward? Seems the instant you cut power it will go nose down. The exact technique has to be very important. If you cut your power on downwind and do a biplane slipping 180, full down trim does not seem to be a good idea. If you do a stablized approach with full flaps, dragging power to hit an exact spot maybe full down would be important. When you cut the power, you had bettter be prepared to plant it. I am not the most experienced pilot - indeed I am a new cub pilot - learn me - this seems to be a Jedi secret - what is the Cubdriver749er technique?

  23. #23

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    The Cub has some of the most delightful and responsive controls of any airplane (yes I have time in the Extra 300). I cannot believe you can do something with the trim that you cannot do with the elevator. Fly the airplane, and plant it where you want. I find slower touchdowns with the tail very low, and I approach in the 3-point attitude.

    Opinion. Low time Super Cub, but 5000 tailwheel.

  24. #24

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    Yes I agree, I wish someone had a more clear explanation as to what the full nose down trim does that cannot be achieved with a more neutral trim settting while still behind power curve to touchdown. Main take I got was that it helps keep tailwheel up on landing with less forward stick/braking combination and helps tail come up with less forward stick pressure for take off. If that is the point, then it sounds to me that all the nose down trim does is help with keeping the tailwheel up....not necessarily shorter landing/take off distances.

  25. #25
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    So, is this the same guy http://www.supercub.org/forum/showth...Columbia-River who teaches full nose down trim for landing?????????? If so perhaps it needs to be rethought.
    N1PA

  26. #26
    aktango58's Avatar
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    When I tried this method, (landing only, works great for getting the tail up on takeoff), I found myself fighting the stick. Yes, fighting is a severe term for holding a slight bit of back pressure, but I am used to setting trim to exactly where I want it to fly...

    43 mph? I am at that speed or slower with her trimmed out and hands off, so I don't see the improvement. What I did notice was that with the bird out of trim I was in constant scan to keep her flying at my speed, so no matter what I had to be 100% focused on the landing and my airspeed... not so with a trimmed aircraft.

    Once on the ground, if you fly a slow approach, I think you will find that the trim is set nose down usually just from the need at slow speed.

    Bob, trim may be close if you take off and land with the same load, but if you come in heavy and leave light, or visa versa, better check your trim...

    Now aerodynamic thoughts, if you have a full nose down trim, and are compensating with elevator, you have a much higher camber in your tail surface. Your angle of attack becomes more negative the higher the stabilizer is trimmed. At some point you will stall this surface on landing. VGs really improved the tail flying, but if you need 100 lbs of down force on the tail to achieve the attitude you want to approach in, (pulling numbers out of my hat here), does it matter if the stabilizer is 10 degrees up with the elevator 30 degrees up, or the stabilizer is 4 degrees up and the elevator is 15 degrees? (again, numbers are just for example- no reality here). or does it matter that you have 100 lbs of down force?

    My question is simple: if you can achieve the down force on the tail to fly at the attitude you desire with the plane trimmed hands off, (for approach here only), why do you think that having the tail full nose down will improve landing distance????????

    Landing distance is a function of energy reduction. the faster you fly, the more energy. If you can slow down more by using the tail to produce upward lift, you can shorten your landings, but if you are having to produce more lift in the wing to compensate for more tail down force, you now are set up for needing more energy, (here is where the power curve comes in if you ask the prop to provide the energy), BUT, (MTV, come in with your thoughts here), if I can fly in at 40 trimmed out hands off, and you can fly in at 40 with it out of trim nose down, who has more energy to disperse?

    Again, I don't know for sure. it did not work for me, only made me sweat more and destabilized my speeds. Please explain how this reduces your energy?
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  27. #27
    n40ff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dougc905 View Post
    Sounds like an accident waiting to happen. How would full forward trim aid with braking? Also, if you're loaded with gear and require full forward trim, aren't you near or even outside of the w&b envelope?
    Didn't have to wait long

  28. #28
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Think about the fact that when you trim the airplane the leading edge of the horizontal stabilizer is moving up or down. Then think about the optimum angle for that stabilizer in the landing configuration.

    There are those that have and those that will. The are many aggressive pilots on this website. They enjoy that type of flying and assume the risk. They are also some of the best because they know what the edge truly is.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

  29. #29
    aktango58's Avatar
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    Steve,

    optimum angle for what?

    the tail is usually down force on landing. for speed x with weight y you will need the same amount of down force to fly... so the angle of the tail plane seems moot... it is the factor of how SLOW you can get due to reduced energy as you reduce your speed.

    Again, speed is energy, landing short is a factor of scrubbing energy quickly... why will the tail plane trim affect this?

    I am asking to learn. What changes with trim nose down in the physics?

    (not arguing your other point of have/will... again, I am not Loni, so don't try what he does)
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  30. #30
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    I don't understand it completely but have been giving it some thought and that is what I posted. I know people who like full nose up. Every airplane is different so I suspect you should experiment on your own airplane.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

  31. #31
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    George, I would agree with you that the trim position is not going to make a difference on the approach speed. I like nose down trim primarily for two reasons. First, while descending on final, for me it feels natural to be pulling back on the stick to be stabilized. If I release the stick, the nose immediately points downward, especially with higher airspeeds. As you get slower in a high AOA, behind-the-power-curve attitude, as others mentioned, the stick force diminishes. For me this force acts like an airspeed indicator. 16 Bravo said for him it is all seat-of-the-pants when he lands. I suspect that for him, like it is for me, that this stick force is part of that feel.

    The second benefit I like is that when transitioning from that high AOA on final to a flatter AOA to make a wheel-landing the airplane flies a little slower at this flatter AOA. As 16 Bravo said; a little release on the stick pressure and and you're down and because of the reduced lift from a flatter AOA you're stuck down. There isn't a bouncing tendency because of too much airspeed with a high AOA. This is much like pushing some forward stick whem making a wheel-landing. In this situation it is exactly that; pushing some forward stick but the trim is helping do it for you. Braking is more effective when you're glued to the ground.

    My normal routine then, when on wheels, is to get on the brakes and adjust stick position as needed to keep the tail height where I want it. For me this technique gives me the shortest landings possible. It also gives me excellent visibility over the nose both just before landing and on the ground. If I don't need to get stopped right away I'll also roll in some power while on the brakes and ease the tail down by adjusting both power and stick.

    I trim the same for making 3-point landings on skis.

    How much trim is needed depends on the CG, rigging and a biggy in my opinion is the thrust line. The original nose-down thrust line on PA18's makes this technique harder to master and full nose down trim could easily be too much trim without a rearward CG. Another very worthwhile addition to a Cub using this method is the elevator gap seals. They make the elevator more responsive in this regime.

    Someone asked when do you roll in the forward trim. For me it is when I first pull some flaps.

    Since Loni was brought up in this discussion and in the other thread I thought I'd make a few comments about my experience with Loni. In my PA18 I was using the technique I described here but had a close call on a gravel bar nearly running it into the river. I decided that some expert instruction and advice from someone like Loni might save me at some point in the future. So a few years ago I flew to Washington in my Cub and took his course. He reinforced this landing procedure and helped me refine my flying. And more than that he offered insight on how to make judgements from the air on potential gotchas on the ground. I rode in his backseat as he demonstrated getting into and out of tight places. After I got back home an expereinced PA18 friend asked me if Loni was as good as he appeared in his videos. I told him he definately was. I told my friend that I thought you could lay a dollar bill on the ground wherever you wanted to in some gnarly spot and tell Loni which main tire you wanted him to plant on top of it when he landed. He'd hit it every time and then get stopped in about 150'. He is that good.

    I think Bob Breeden hit the nail on the head with his answer to Loni's recent incident. Flying a heavy Cub that flew differently than the one he has so much time and landings in changed things enough that he had a problem.

    I like pictures in a post so have edited and added this one from a landing a few days ago. You can see my elevator is at the top of its travel.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by spinner2; 04-15-2012 at 11:29 AM. Reason: added image
    "Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything." Wyatt Earp
    Likes scotthayd liked this post

  32. #32
    aktango58's Avatar
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    Dan,

    Thank you, that makes sense.

    I only question the change in AOA from high to flat being able to fly slower... but I think you are getting into ground effect at that point which would allow slower speed, flatter deck angle for vis, and all the good things that come with it.

    As far as Loni's situation, I have not met him, seen him fly, (that I know of) or taken his class. Same said for Paul C. But I have seen some video, and know what they do day after day, and will agree with you that they are good with planes. No judgment on what happened... could be as simple as a flat tire, different cub (as Bob stated), or his luck day-(did not happen 1,000 miles out in the Aleutian Islands, and did not get hurt). Maybe the sand changed because a barge went by and sent a wake...

    Appears that DW earned a brew or two in the deal also

    Hope he can laugh about it soon, it sucks but no one is immune
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  33. #33
    SteveE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aktango58 View Post
    Steve,

    optimum angle for what?

    the tail is usually down force on landing. for speed x with weight y you will need the same amount of down force to fly... so the angle of the tail plane seems moot...
    George,, you talk about optimum angles, tail down force, speed and weight........ Let me put those terms into something you, and others, can understand.... Okie terms, so to speak.

    "The down force of the TAIL, is proportionatly related to the angle of the dangle and the increased speed of the down force of the TAIL is also proportionately related to the angle of the dangle,,, But, inversely, the speed of an increased TAIL WEIGHT (heavy tail force) can damage the dangles angle beyond repair."

  34. #34
    aktango58's Avatar
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    ok,

    clear as mud now!

    I am going fishing
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  35. #35

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    [QUOTE=skywagon8a;533696]So, is this the same guy http://www.supercub.org/forum/showth...Columbia-River who teaches full nose down trim for landing?????????? If so perhaps it needs to be rethought.[/QUOTE


    Yes. Thanks for saying that.
    Kevin

  36. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by aktango58 View Post
    When I tried this method, (landing only, works great for getting the tail up on takeoff), I found myself fighting the stick. Yes, fighting is a severe term for holding a slight bit of back pressure, but I am used to setting trim to exactly where I want it to fly...

    43 mph? I am at that speed or slower with her trimmed out and hands off, so I don't see the improvement. What I did notice was that with the bird out of trim I was in constant scan to keep her flying at my speed, so no matter what I had to be 100% focused on the landing and my airspeed... not so with a trimmed aircraft.

    Once on the ground, if you fly a slow approach, I think you will find that the trim is set nose down usually just from the need at slow speed.

    Bob, trim may be close if you take off and land with the same load, but if you come in heavy and leave light, or visa versa, better check your trim...

    Now aerodynamic thoughts, if you have a full nose down trim, and are compensating with elevator, you have a much higher camber in your tail surface. Your angle of attack becomes more negative the higher the stabilizer is trimmed. At some point you will stall this surface on landing. VGs really improved the tail flying, but if you need 100 lbs of down force on the tail to achieve the attitude you want to approach in, (pulling numbers out of my hat here), does it matter if the stabilizer is 10 degrees up with the elevator 30 degrees up, or the stabilizer is 4 degrees up and the elevator is 15 degrees? (again, numbers are just for example- no reality here). or does it matter that you have 100 lbs of down force?

    My question is simple: if you can achieve the down force on the tail to fly at the attitude you desire with the plane trimmed hands off, (for approach here only), why do you think that having the tail full nose down will improve landing distance????????

    Landing distance is a function of energy reduction. the faster you fly, the more energy. If you can slow down more by using the tail to produce upward lift, you can shorten your landings, but if you are having to produce more lift in the wing to compensate for more tail down force, you now are set up for needing more energy, (here is where the power curve comes in if you ask the prop to provide the energy), BUT, (MTV, come in with your thoughts here), if I can fly in at 40 trimmed out hands off, and you can fly in at 40 with it out of trim nose down, who has more energy to disperse?

    Again, I don't know for sure. it did not work for me, only made me sweat more and destabilized my speeds. Please explain how this reduces your energy?


    Or in short...
    Trimmed to fly hands off = less drag.
    Think about it.
    Fighting control pressures = more drag.
    Kevin

  37. #37
    aktango58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevind View Post
    Or in short...
    Trimmed to fly hands off = less drag.
    Think about it.
    Fighting control pressures = more drag.
    How do you figure that????

    fighting control pressure means that you are compensating, not the mechanics.

    The bird will still stall at the same speed...

    Think about that!

    Once I want to plant, I lift the tail a scosh and get plenty of drag...
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  38. #38
    mvivion's Avatar
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    And, by the way, in most tight landing sites, you are working thrust against drag to place the airplane where you want it, at the speed you need it.

    MTV

  39. #39

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    No expert, have tried it, use it some but not all the time because I like a neutral control feel. It's different and for slow loitering I do use it as since the tail stays up better (full fuel, empty back seat, 1 knotch of flaps = easy to plod along looking at stuff at 55-65 indicated even with a cruise prop with full authority (but no steep banks or circles!!) and what I really like is small throttle bumps are very noticeable in a good way because you go, forward/up without having lag while lifting your saggy arse before it will go (when the need really arises and neutral trim you'll swear it won't go for a week) but you'll learn to scratch your nose with your left hand and for a long run my arm gets tired. If I happen to decide to land in this configuration I can and it's typically shorter especially with a long river approach but usually I take a look around make a plan then set up for more of a stabilized approach rather than a dragger because the forward trim had me pushing the envelope more and more into that realm when there was no need for the additional risk (assuming you'd have a spot to put it in if the fan quit) and what really made me go back a bit to more conservative approaches was looking at the cylinders I was flying before I did the top last fall :0.
    Last edited by OLDCROWE; 04-16-2012 at 10:41 AM.
    Remember, These are the Good old Days!

  40. #40
    this would be a title NimpoCub's Avatar
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    To me, trim is adjusted for LONG time attitude balance. For SHORT time attitude changes (landing, takeoff) I just use the stick.
    I think it's what it's there for.

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