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School methods and landings

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School methods and landings

Old 9th Sep 2021, 11:48
  #1 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Sep 2021
Location: Denmark
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Snoop School methods and landings

Hi Everyone,

I am here almost in tears. Have been on the road to PPL since August 2020. Lots of stop-and-go because of lockdowns. I have about 30 hours but very inconsistent flying as I did not fly at all between November 20 and March 21 with the lockdown.

I have passed all theory and radio with ease and I fly well. I am not struggling with turns, keeping altitude, nor with navigation. However, I have not been cleared to fly solo due to landings. I am extremely frustrated as, though not perfect, I can land and for the most part keep my speeds.

I have not had one instructor consistently but, instead, my school keeps giving me a different one every time and also changing them in the last minute (happened just this morning). There has been no master plan for the practical training, no one sat with me to tell me what I should achieve by when, there is no guidance on how much I should fly. I keep trying to figure this all out on my own.

I have asked them to book me with one or two instructors only for the sake of someone keeping (and hopefully caring about) track of my progress. However, I was told that this is best and their way of teaching is to switch instructors. I think they are just milking me and do not care about my progress. I am a quick learner and normally pick things up very quickly. What to do?

Thank you in advance for any guidance or words of wisdom.
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Old 9th Sep 2021, 14:05
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Farnborough
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Consistency is important with an instructor that you get on with. However, I found having a different instructor occasionally they gave a different perspective on some items which was beneficial. Sounds like you already know what is happening to you there!
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Old 9th Sep 2021, 14:28
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Sometimes north, sometimes south
Posts: 1,797
Do your instructors share with you what they've written in your student records? That will give you clues as to what you need to do to get your landings right - especially if you find that several different instructors all say the same thing!
Don't worry too much about not getting the landings right - lots of students who are otherwise good learners get stuck at this stage, then one day it just "clicks". In my experience the most typical faults are:
1. Unnecessary aileron inputs on short final, leading to inability to stay on the centreline (solution: keep wings level; use your feet only for directional control)
2. Not completing key tasks (full flap; RT call; final checks) early enough, leading to overload/distraction from keeping to the glidepath (solution: get configured and accurately trimmed for the speed as early as you can)
3. Insufficiently consistent and accurate visual scan (should be "Runway numbers - airspeed - runway numbers - airspeed" all the way down final, with small power adjustments in response to changes in flightpath)
NS
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Old 9th Sep 2021, 14:40
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: FL, USA
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There is an old joke in aviation:
Iíll teach you how to fly for $50, Iíll teach you how to land for $9,950 ( or whatever higher amount)

Landings are by far the hardest thing to learn.
This is where Human Factors and a little psychology comes in.
Frustration is self perpetuating, it keeps itself alive and growing.
You go into a lesson anxious for progress and because of it, there isnít. This increases the level of frustration and the cycle continues.

You MUST ACCEPT that landings are the hardest things to learn, stop blaming other people and circumstances and just go with the flow.
Its a matter of time and practice and eventually everyone can put the pieces together.
I have personally had students that soloed at 40+ hours and Iíve had students solo at less time. Everything in between also.
Overall in the big scheme of things learning how to land and how quickly does not determine how good of a pilot youíll become.
Really it doesnít. Flying is 90% a mental game like chess.

Sit down, breathe, accept and calm down.

That on top of continuity in trainings je consistency in critique.
You have to understand that your instructors are probably part time with a second (third?) job to pay the bills and they nay simply not be available when you are.
Talk to an instructor that you feel is helpful and ask if they can contact you when they are available so you can be put on their schedule.
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Old 9th Sep 2021, 14:59
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Join Date: Sep 2021
Location: Denmark
Posts: 2
Thank you for taking the time to respond.

Indeed, I have seen the notes. The issue seems to be the timing of flare and then setting down. The problem is that one day I will fly with one instructor and he/she would say ďlift more, you do not lift enough.Ē The next day another instructor would say - ďyou lift too much.Ē I pretty much do the same thing so it is counter-intuitive to me to understand the difference in advice. I must admit though that I do find the plane rather heavy.

No, the instructors are not part time. We are in Europe, the school is staffed by full-time instructors.

I am not ďblaming other peopleĒ per se. I do, however, expect consistency because all friends who are pilots have largely trained with one instructor who was invested in their progress and gave them guidance. This is very much not the case here and I find it difficult.

I will take the advice to breathe and calm down - that is solid! 😊
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Old 9th Sep 2021, 15:16
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Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: South East.
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Flyingheels.

As Northsouth says, get the drills and flap selection out of the way in plenty of time.
Then TRIM OUT at your constant approach speed/steady power setting.
At the flair, where are you looking ? DONíT look at the touchdown area once youíre over the threshold. Just fly the aeroplane towards the far end of the runway. Leave the power alone and gently hold off.......hold off......hold off. As the speed decays, donít trim any further and you will touch down ahead, close the throttle and just keep straight. When youíre happy you are still in control, GENTLY apply the brakes. Etc etc.
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Old 9th Sep 2021, 15:32
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: UK
Age: 64
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Perhaps the most important thing I was told when learning to land was 'following round out try to keep the plane flying without adding power. It will then land itself when it's good and ready.'

Some you'll grease and some you won't and nor should you expect to.
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Old 9th Sep 2021, 15:57
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Join Date: Sep 2013
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Fly the correct approach speed from the POH. Not the approach speed from POH plus 5 knots plus 5 knots plus 5 knots plus 5 knots. Watch king schools you tube training video on landings. You will be sorted. Then watch the rest of their videos!
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Old 9th Sep 2021, 15:57
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: England
Posts: 699
Flying Heels,

Your dilemma is sadly all too common. I have given ground lessons to many people in your situation and they have all gone solo shortly after. It is all down to technique and if your instructors do not understand this themselves they will never impart it to you. You can PM me if you wish for the possibility of a telephone call.

MM
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Old 9th Sep 2021, 17:10
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: FL, USA
Posts: 2,738
Rule #1
You canít learn how to land from reading.
This is a brain-hand-eye-feet coordination skill and the one and ONLY thing that works is practice.
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Old 9th Sep 2021, 18:40
  #11 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: France
Posts: 972
You learn from trial and success. Not trial and error. Two or three instructors is about the right number, instructors are human and can have a bad day. However, you need to accept that your opinion may be wrong.
Have you asked if you can video a flight? Fixed camera, of course. Get your instructor to demo an approach first, then continue with the lesson. Watch the video and see what is different when you do it.
You might also ask to take a break from circuits and do some navigation, then go back to the circuit.
Remember it's supposed to be fun.
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Old 9th Sep 2021, 18:51
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Join Date: May 2014
Location: Uk
Posts: 180
Consistency is tricky

iíve only got 500 hours under my belt although almost all of my flying is on the same type (C150), and most landings to the same strip.

So I ought to be reasonably consistent

but one day the wind is 110/15 the next itís
80/05. Sometimes it gusts.

sometimes I have a passenger, oftentimes I donít

sometimes Iím coming in with 20% fuel, sometimes 80%

sometimes the grass is wetter/softer than others.

sometimes I land perfectly sometimes I donít (and beat myself up about it). Luckily so far Iíve walked away from every landing and been able to fly the plane again

and the hardest thing is that occasionally I find myself making lengthy XC flights, sometimes IFR. So you get to the end of a three hour stint, lowish on fuel, mentally challenged by the navigation and instrument flying, needing a pee and you still have to do the most difficult thing of allÖ

Keep at it, one day it clicks. It doesnít matter whether that is 10 hours or 40 hours so long as you get there
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Old 9th Sep 2021, 19:26
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Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: USA
Posts: 673
Yes from your description it sounds like there's no one driving the ship of your training, and you're getting disconnected haphazard (and contradictory) advice.

First, in the way of bad advice, to address one piece from this thread: it was mentioned that the ailerons' job is to keep the wing level, and this is not true. Their job is to maintain your straight-ahead track down the centerline, which may or may not mean keeping the wings level! Depending on crosswind (even tiny amounts, which change second to second) this will require small aileron inputs, resulting in barely-visible bank changes. Keeping the path straight with the ailerons, allows the rudder to do its job (which is completely separate and independent) of keeping the nose pointed straight (not the path, only the pointing).

If you do the incorrect thing and keep the wings level using the ailerons, this leaves both jobs of path and pointing to the rudder, which is often an impossible task to do both, and you have to choose one or the other. So the right way is ailerons to control path, and rudder to do the pointing. Now both tasks can be accomplished simultaneously.

Now for your landing question. Of course it's impossible to really see, but what I'm about to describe is a common issue, and the contradictory advice you quoted ("do not lift enough"/"lift too much") points to it. A lot of people are never taught what to actually look for/target in their flare, and are left to shoot in the blind with some sort of scripted sequence of increasing pull force, starting from a hopefully repeatable initial condition (flare height/speed, etc.) But if the initial condition varies even a tiny bit (say, arrived at the flare with a bit higher speed) or one of a number of other things varies later during the flare (catch a gust, or accidentally twitch your hand and pull more than you intended, etc.) that scripted pull sequence results in a balloon. Or, if the changes were the other way, you land too hard/early. How to react to that? If you were never taught what to target, and just do the monkey see/monkey do repetition thing, you've got no clue on how to improve. If you're observant and you think "I ballooned, I should flare less next time" that's a good mental attitude in observing the error and applying a correction for next time... but it's a naive reaction in this case, because the error was a result of a specific combination of the multitude of factors that was only in effect for THAT particular landing. And maybe in your next flare, you won't have that combination, or you'll have the opposite combination (you'll have too little speed where the last one had too much, or you'll catch a down gust where the last flare had an up gust.)

Another way to think of it is like this: Driving to work every day, do you stay on the road by memorizing every turn and turning the steering wheel by a scripted sequence of turns to match, which can be accomplished blindfolded if successful? Of course not, but the elevator equivalent to this, is too often the thing that pilots end up doing by being taught to "pull more/pull less" with no target reference.

So if you can't react to the last landing, and if the initial conditions don't allow for enough repeatability to do a scripted pull, then what do we do? Track a target! Namely, your height above the ground, which should always be decreasing and never increasing. And in the last few seconds, you can simplify away "not decreasing" to simply "flying constant height," (which does not mean constant attitude!) and it will come down and touch the ground anyway. You have to be constantly conscious of what's happening to your height, and constantly be making QUICK but SMALL corrections to what it's doing. If you start going down? Increase the pull. Stop going down at all? Or even worse, going up? Decrease the pull! These evaluations and corrections should be happening at least a few times per second. It may seem obvious, but it's not. So many times, the airplane will start ballooning up and up, and the student is oblivious and continues pulling, because that pull increase is part of their scripted sequence. It will never work. You have to be constantly and immediately RE-active to all these changes. To be clear, yes you should also try to give yourself the most repeatable starting conditions, but that, given all the possible following variations and upsets, will not nearly be enough. So you're not using a scripted sequence of turns on your steering wheel to match the road, but rather you're constantly watching how your actual position is doing compared to the desired position, and correcting accordingly.

Lastly, the "Rule #1" from a few posts up, which is woefully incomplete. It is BOTH a reading exercise and a brain-eye-hand-feet coordination exercise. If you're just out there shooting in the blind hoping for lucky results, and then trying to repeat those few diamonds in the rough, it's hopeless. You have to understand the concepts behind WHAT you're tracking and HOW you're tracking it, and internalize those into your brain (under the comfort and lack of competing tasks, of being outside the cockpit) for you to have a chance to then engage those concepts under the physical reality of actually doing it.
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Old 9th Sep 2021, 20:13
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Lestah
Posts: 173
Originally Posted by Vessbot View Post
Yes from your description it sounds like there's no one driving the ship of your training, and you're getting disconnected haphazard (and contradictory) advice.

First, in the way of bad advice, to address one piece from this thread: it was mentioned that the ailerons' job is to keep the wing level, and this is not true. Their job is to maintain your straight-ahead track down the centerline, which may or may not mean keeping the wings level! Depending on crosswind (even tiny amounts, which change second to second) this will require small aileron inputs, resulting in barely-visible bank changes. Keeping the path straight with the ailerons, allows the rudder to do its job (which is completely separate and independent) of keeping the nose pointed straight (not the path, only the pointing).

If you do the incorrect thing and keep the wings level using the ailerons, this leaves both jobs of path and pointing to the rudder, which is often an impossible task to do both, and you have to choose one or the other. So the right way is ailerons to control path, and rudder to do the pointing. Now both tasks can be accomplished simultaneously.

Now for your landing question. Of course it's impossible to really see, but what I'm about to describe is a common issue, and the contradictory advice you quoted ("do not lift enough"/"lift too much") points to it. A lot of people are never taught what to actually look for/target in their flare, and are left to shoot in the blind with some sort of scripted sequence of increasing pull force, starting from a hopefully repeatable initial condition (flare height/speed, etc.) But if the initial condition varies even a tiny bit (say, arrived at the flare with a bit higher speed) or one of a number of other things varies later during the flare (catch a gust, or accidentally twitch your hand and pull more than you intended, etc.) that scripted pull sequence results in a balloon. Or, if the changes were the other way, you land too hard/early. How to react to that? If you were never taught what to target, and just do the monkey see/monkey do repetition thing, you've got no clue on how to improve. If you're observant and you think "I ballooned, I should flare less next time" that's a good mental attitude in observing the error and applying a correction for next time... but it's a naive reaction in this case, because the error was a result of a specific combination of the multitude of factors that was only in effect for THAT particular landing. And maybe in your next flare, you won't have that combination, or you'll have the opposite combination (you'll have too little speed where the last one had too much, or you'll catch a down gust where the last flare had an up gust.)

Another way to think of it is like this: Driving to work every day, do you stay on the road by memorizing every turn and turning the steering wheel by a scripted sequence of turns to match, which can be accomplished blindfolded if successful? Of course not, but the elevator equivalent to this, is too often the thing that pilots end up doing by being taught to "pull more/pull less" with no target reference.

So if you can't react to the last landing, and if the initial conditions don't allow for enough repeatability to do a scripted pull, then what do we do? Track a target! Namely, your height above the ground, which should always be decreasing and never increasing. And in the last few seconds, you can simplify away "not decreasing" to simply "flying constant height," (which does not mean constant attitude!) and it will come down and touch the ground anyway. You have to be constantly conscious of what's happening to your height, and constantly be making QUICK but SMALL corrections to what it's doing. If you start going down? Increase the pull. Stop going down at all? Or even worse, going up? Decrease the pull! These evaluations and corrections should be happening at least a few times per second. It may seem obvious, but it's not. So many times, the airplane will start ballooning up and up, and the student is oblivious and continues pulling, because that pull increase is part of their scripted sequence. It will never work. You have to be constantly and immediately RE-active to all these changes. To be clear, yes you should also try to give yourself the most repeatable starting conditions, but that, given all the possible following variations and upsets, will not nearly be enough. So you're not using a scripted sequence of turns on your steering wheel to match the road, but rather you're constantly watching how your actual position is doing compared to the desired position, and correcting accordingly.

Lastly, the "Rule #1" from a few posts up, which is woefully incomplete. It is BOTH a reading exercise and a brain-eye-hand-feet coordination exercise. If you're just out there shooting in the blind hoping for lucky results, and then trying to repeat those few diamonds in the rough, it's hopeless. You have to understand the concepts behind WHAT you're tracking and HOW you're tracking it, and internalize those into your brain (under the comfort and lack of competing tasks, of being outside the cockpit) for you to have a chance to then engage those concepts under the physical reality of actually doing it.
It really is not that complicated.

Advise to OP is simple. Take your concerns and questions, all of which are valid, to the CFI at your school. They either listen and apply themselves and you gain. Or they don't and you leave for somewhere else.
Local Variation is offline  
Old 9th Sep 2021, 20:21
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Southampton
Posts: 750
Long times between lessons is not the best way to learn. If you have the time and money, bite the bullet and book a week where you can fly a couple of times per day (weather permitting). You will soon master it, plus you won’t spend the first half of each lesson going over what you did in the previous one.

If you think that you are being given conflicting advice between different instructors, bring them together and discuss it with them. They are there to help you.
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Old 9th Sep 2021, 20:44
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Join Date: May 2015
Location: Somewhere better soon
Posts: 24
Originally Posted by Local Variation View Post
It really is not that complicated.

Advise to OP is simple. Take your concerns and questions, all of which are valid, to the CFI at your school. They either listen and apply themselves and you gain. Or they don't and you leave for somewhere else.
This.

At my first flying school I had an instructor who was more concerned about progressing his career through flying traffic surveys and earning money as a casino dealer than instructing.

As a result I couldnít get the continuity required (many broken appointments and reschedules) and spent too much of each lesson relearning what I had forgotten due to breaks in training.

I remember vividly the day I turned up for a lesson and the instructor being elsewhere. The CFI was most unhappy and made a call on speakerphone. I did the rest of my training at that school with the CFI himself and later left for a larger mob.

Completely changed my experience at that school and went on to bigger and better things.

Shouldíve spoken to the CFI earlier.

Good Luck!
Thumb War is online now  
Old 9th Sep 2021, 20:51
  #17 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Europe
Posts: 667
Most learners who struggle with flare don't look in the right place. You should be looking slightly ahead of the aircraft. If you're looking straight below the nose, you will flare too late. If you're looking to the far end of the runway, you'll likely flare too high. This one is applicable to any aircraft, light or transport.
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Old 9th Sep 2021, 21:32
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Moray,Scotland,U.K.
Posts: 1,613
In 1964, after soloing in 3 hours on a taildragger biplane (with solo glider experience), my landings deteriorated. My instructor chopped the lesson, saying he didn't know what to do. Later that day I flew with a more experienced instructor, who'd been briefed.
Took-off, at a few hundred feet he took control, flew a low circuit, and handed me control for final. Another bad landing. Repeated 3 times. No comment from him. He now knew what I was doing wrong, and told me what to do to fix it.
A few more landings to be sure I was fixed, and I was back with my previous instructor for most of the rest of my 30 hours PPL. After allowing my PPL to lapse for 20 years, I had instruction to regain it.
What you need is a few flights with good, briefed, instructor, who can spot what YOU are doing wrong. And no long breaks. I did the PPL residential at Thruxton from 27/7 to 21/8 1964.
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Old 9th Sep 2021, 21:39
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Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Bressuire
Posts: 510
I have asked them to book me with one or two instructors only for the sake of someone keeping (and hopefully caring about) track of my progress. However, I was told that this is best and their way of teaching is to switch instructors. I think they are just milking me and do not care about my progress. I am a quick learner and normally pick things up very quickly. What to do?
Being prepared to fly with two Instructors is reasonable. You have said that your school only employs full time instructors so this should be achievable. When a student is being taught by two instructors it is critical that each understands the standards taught and learned with the other and therefore each is clearly in tune with your progress. It is fundamental that there are no contradictions in standards from the instructors. The CFI/HOT should ensure consistency. You have a right to expects all this.

It is simple, they provide this to you or you leave and learn where they do. All the rest will then take care of itself. Most instructors do care and do a good job. Bad eggs unfortunately do it exists but they are easy to spot.
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Old 9th Sep 2021, 21:41
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: not where I want to be
Posts: 275
Flyingheels There has been a lot of good technical advice here on how to land, but as has also been said you can't really learn to land from reading about it.

Practice is the thing but, as I see it, consistent practice ably educated by one, or at the most two, competent instructors is crucial, as I think you've identified.

I well recall when I was learning, many years ago, experiencing just the same frustrations as you with different instructors telling me quite different things. 'Leave you hand on the throttle', 'don't leave your hand on the throttle' etc etc.

I did not think this ok and said so. Ultimately I insisted that I fly with just one instructor that I was happy with, except for certain checkouts required along the way, and things went a lot more smoothly from there.

Given I was the customer (and had a few clues around learning/teaching techniques) such a request did not seem unreasonable to me. Perhaps you could have a similar discussion with the head of your school? There is a time and place to be firm and while the interruptions are not the school's fault, inconsistent teaching techniques are, and as the person on the receiving end of that you should tell them. Up to you how to do that but being firm doesn't necessarily mean being stroppy; what you want is a partnership with the school and someone at that school who can help you achieve your goal, and the trick is to convey that in a way that doesn't brook argument.

If that doesn't bring something you're happy with are there other schools/clubs nearby that you could trial?


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