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Approach & Landing

Introduction:

  • Landing is the most dangerous phases of flight, as it is in a terminal area when the pilot is most likely to be fatigued and concentrating on the "get-there-itis"
  • Calculate performance data, examples found here
  • Reference traffic pattern
  • The traffic pattern is the ultimate goal, which began with the Rectangular Course

WARNING:
All procedures are GENERALIZED.
Always fly per Pilot Operating Handbook procedures,
observing any relevant Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

Descent Flow/Checklist

Normal Approach & Landing:

  • Margin Of Safety In Flight Phases
    Margin Of Safety In Flight Phases
  • Normal approaches and landings are the building blocks from which all other landings build
  • While this procedure is for normal landing, assuming the wind is blowing right down the runway, that will almost never be the case
  • Margin Of Safety In Flight Phases
    Margin Of Safety In Flight Phases
  • Normal Approach & Landing Procedure:

    WARNING:
    All procedures are GENERALIZED.
    Always fly per Pilot Operating Handbook procedures,
    observing any relevant Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)


    1. Complete the Descent Flows/Checklists
      • This should include a quick briefing of the airport (i.e., runway vs. taxiway orientation to avoid a wrong surface landing) where and approach and landing procedure being conducted
      • Gather any documents you may want to have ready during the approach or immediately after landing
    2. Talk to tower as appropriate to the airspace you're operating within
      • Controlled: "[Tower], [Callsign], [Location], [Information], [Intentions]"
        • Example: "Palms tower, Cessna one seven two seven victor, fives miles to the west for touch and goes"
      • Uncontrolled: "[Facility Name], [Callsign], [Location], [Information], [Intentions], [Facility Name]"
        • Example: "Palms tower, Cessna one seven two seven victor, five miles to the west for touch and goes, palms tower"
    3. Abide by tower's instructions and plan to enter the traffic pattern at Traffic Pattern Altitude (TPA) on a 45° entry to the downwind, maintaining a one-half mile distance from the runway on the downwind leg
    4. Set power to establish and maintain traffic pattern speed
      • Trim as necessary
    5. Abeam the point of intended landing, reduce power , lower the lanidng gear, set the flaps , and begin a gentle descent and call
      • Keeping your hand on the landing gear until given the down and locked indication will prevent forgetting
      • Controlled: "[Tower], [Callsign] abeam, gear 3 down and locked, [Landing Type]"
        • ATC: "[Callsign], [Winds], cleared for [Runway], [Landing Type]"
        • ATC: Cessna 1727V, wind 130 at 5 knots, runway 12, cleared to land
      • Uncontrolled: None
      • Anticipate the balloon effect when lowering the flaps
      • Trim as necessary
    6. At the 45° point to the intended touchdown point, commence a turn to the base leg
      • ICS: "Cleared left, forward, clear right, turning [Left/Right]"
      • Controlled: None
      • Uncontrolled: "[Facility Name], [Callsign], turning base for [Runway], [Facility Name]"
      • The wind is now at your side, so depending on its strength, you will need to compensate for drift with a crab angle
    7. Set the flaps, then establish and maintain base leg airspeed
      • Anticipate the balloon effect when lowering the flaps
      • Trim as necessary
    8. Visually verify that the final approach (including the extended final and the opposite base leg) is clear, and turn final
      • ICS: "Cleared left, forward, clear right, turning [Left/Right]"
      • Controlled: None
      • Uncontrolled: "[Facility Name], [Callsign], turning base for [Runway], [Facility Name]"
      • Check your heading indicator against the runway heading to ensure you're lined up with the correct runway
      • Be mindful of wake turbulence considerations
        • That is look for larger, slow, heavy aircraft and offset your flight path higher & upwind)
        • ATC will generally include "caution wake turbulence" before giving winds when clearing an aircraft to land
    9. When landing is assured, set the flaps for landing and establish approach speed
      • Anticipate the balloon effect when lowering the flaps
      • Trim as necessary
    10. By 300' above landing, complete a GUMP check
      • GUMP Check:
        • Gas: Fuel Selector and Pumps - SET
        • Undercarriage: Gear - DOWN AND LOCKED (if applicable)
        • Mixture: Mixture - FULL FORWARD
        • Prop: Prop - FULL FORWARD (if applicable)
      • If the approach is stabilized, call out, "300 feet, stabilized, continuing"
      • If the approach is not stabilized, callout, "300 feet, not stabilized, going around," and execute a go-around
    11. Approaching the runway threshold, verify the runway number (heading) matches your clearance
      • You are checking to verify you are landing on the correct runway as this is your last opportunity to wave off
    12. Before the round out, begin smoothly reducing power, continuing the power reduction to idle during the round-out while increasing the pitch to maintain a constant glide path to the desired touchdown point (airspeed will begin decreasing)
      • Don't focus on the runway but instead look long to flare
        • You will see the horizon flatten as if you're sitting on the ground
      • Avoid closing the throttle rapidly, which may result in an immediate increase in the rate of descent and a hard landing
      • Touch down at minimum controllable airspeed with a power-off stall pitch attitude, on the main wheels first (minimum float), and with the throttle at the idle (closed) position
      • Hold the nose wheel off with back pressure throughout the rollout; allowing settling gently
    13. Increase aileron deflection into the wind if present or has shifted from expected
    14. Maintain directional control throughout the roll-out with the rudder, slowing sufficiently before turning on a taxiway
    15. Exit the runway without delay at the first available taxiway or on a taxiway as instructed by ATC
      • An aircraft is considered clear of the runway when all parts of the aircraft are past the runway edge and there are no restrictions to its continued movement beyond the runway holding position markings
    16. Proceed with taxi procedures
    17. Base Leg and Final Approach
      Airplane Flying Handbook, Base Leg and Final Approach
  • Normal Approach and Landing Common Errors:

    • Inadequate wind drift correction on the base leg
    • Overshooting or undershooting the turn onto final approach, resulting in too steep or too shallow a turn onto final approach
    • Flat or skidding turns from base leg to final approach as a result of overshooting/inadequate wind drift correction
    • Poor coordination during turn from base to final approach
    • Failure to complete the landing checklist in a timely manner
    • Un-stabilized approach
    • Failure to adequately compensate for flap extension
    • Poor trim technique on final approach
    • Attempting to maintain altitude or reach the runway using elevator alone
    • Focusing too close to the airplane resulting in too high a round out
    • Focusing too far from the airplane resulting in too low a round out
    • Touching down prior to attaining proper landing attitude
    • Failure to hold sufficient back-elevator pressure after touchdown
    • Excessive braking after touchdown

Crosswind Approach and Landing:

  • Crosswind Component Chart
    Crosswind Component Chart
  • Heading Indicator Crosswind Rule-of-Thumb
    Heading Indicator Crosswind Rule-of-Thumb
  • Heading Indicator Crosswind Rule-of-Thumb
    Light Aircraft Association - Crosswind Calculations Made Easy
  • The goal of a crosswind landing is to safely and accurately establish and maintain a stabilized approach to landing, correcting for a crosswind during the approach, touchdown, and roll out
  • Heading Indicator Crosswind Rule-of-Thumb
    Light Aircraft Association - Crosswind Calculations Made Easy
  • Determining Crosswind Component:

    • Crosswinds can be determined through a number of methods which each serve a purpose, depending on the phase of flight
    • When calculating the crosswind always use the full gust component meaning, calculate crosswind as a "worst case" scenario
    • Chart Method:

      • Crosswind charts can be found in nearly every POH/PIM but are not aircraft specific, so any will do
      • Using the example provided in [Figure 1], plot your point using the number of degrees off the runway heading, at with the full gust component as strength
        • Lets say we're going to land at runway 360 and the wind is coming from 020 at 20 knots
        • We'll plot the wind strength at the 20° radial line (representing 20° off the runway) on the 20° point (representing the wind strength)
        • From that point we plotted we can move straight left for the headwind component: roughly 19 knots
        • We can also move straight down for the crosswind component: roughly 6 knots
    • Heading indicator rule of thumb:

      • Find the reported wind direction on the outside of the DI (shown as a large blue arrow). You now have the first piece of information; the wind is from the right [Figure 2/3]
      • Mentally drop a vertical line down from the wind direction on the outside of the DI to the horizontal centerline (shown in blue)
      • The horizontal center line (red) represents the crosswind axis so visually scale-off the crosswind component as a proportion of the length of the crosswind axis, ie, the wind speed
        • Using our example this means our crosswind component is just less than 20 knots (mathematically the answer is 19 knots)
    • Sixths Rules of Thumb:

      • If angle = 10 deg then crosswind component = 1/6 wind strength
      • If angle = 20 deg then crosswind component = 2/6 (1/3) wind strength
      • If angle = 30 deg then crosswind component = 3/6 (1/2) wind strength
      • If angle = 40 deg then crosswind component = 4/6 (2/3) wind strength
      • If angle = 50 deg then crosswind component = 5/6 wind strength
      • If angle = 60+ deg then crosswind component = wind strength
    • Additional methods:

      • Additional methods of calculating crosswind component exist however, they may not be as prudent for use during approach and landing as they would for other phases of flight, such as takeoff
      • They include:
  • Crosswind Compensation Techniques:

    • Slip:

      • A slip is a cross-control procedure where you are using "wing-low, top-rudder" to track the aircraft straight for the purposes of altitude loss (forward-slip) or crosswind compensation (side-slip)
        • In doing this, you will need to lower the nose as the increase in drag without an increase in thrust will cause a rapid loss of airspeed risking a stall
        • Simply stated, the higher the angle of bank, the lower the nose must be
      • Forward-slip:
        • A forward slip is used to increase the aircraft's rate of descent without increasing airspeed in the process
        • The pilot accomplishes a forward slip by hanging as much of the fuselage (increasing drag) in the breeze as possible
        • This increase in drag bleeds energy
        • Assuming that the runway is properly lined up, the forward slip will allow the aircraft track to be maintained while steepening the descent without adding excessive airspeed
        • This is accomplished by applying full rudder and utilizing the angle of bank to maintain a ground track
        • Since the heading is not aligned with the runway, the slip must be removed before touchdown to avoid excessive side loading on the landing gear, and if a crosswind is present an appropriate side slip may be necessary at touchdown as described below
        • Using the maximum amount of rudder deflection possible will create only one variable (the aileron)
        • Ensure that the flaps are set to the final setting and the throttle is in the idle position
        • Initiate the slip by simultaneously providing aileron input (bank) to lower a wing (upwind wing in a crosswind condition) and rudder input (yaw) in the opposite direction so that the longitudinal axis is at an angle to the original flight path
        • Maintain the appropriate amount of bank and yaw to maintain the extended runway centerline
        • Maintain the appropriate amount of bank and yaw to maintain the extended runway centerline
        • Note that the amount of slip (sink rate) is determined by the bank angle: the steeper the bank-the greater the descent rate-the greater (steeper) the descent angle-the greater the need for opposite direction yaw (rudder) up to the "practical slip limit" (banking capacity exceeds rudder effectiveness)
        • Adjust the pitch attitude, as appropriate to maintain airspeed
          • Trim as necessary
        • Note that because of the location of the pitot tube and static course, airspeed indicator error maybe observed when performing slips
          • Recognize a properly performed slip by the airplane's attitude, sound of the airflow, and flight control feel
        • Prior to the round-out, discontinue the forward slip
        • Complete the appropriate approach and landing procedure
      • Side-slip:
        • Airplane Flying Handbook, Figure 8-16. Side-slip Approach
          Airplane Flying Handbook, Side-slip Approach
        • A side-slip is used to compensate for a crosswind on final approach
        • First you apply aileron into the wind to compensate for the crosswind blowing you off centerline
        • Next you use the rudder to maintain alignment with the runway centerline
        • The horizontal component of lift forces the airplane to move sideways toward the low wing
        • The aircraft's rudder is used to align to center while the wings are dripped (toward the wind) to maintain track (drift)
        • Held all the way to touchdown, this will result in the low side wheel touching down first, followed by the high wheel, and lastly the nose/tail wheel
        • Note that when performing a slip, the Pilot Operating Handbook may impose certain restrictions such as:
          • Avoiding slips with full flaps
          • Avoiding slips for prolonged periods of time which may result in fuel ports becoming uncovered
          • Airspeed indications may vary due to static ports receiving direct wind
            • If your static port is located on the left side of the fuselage, a slip using right rudder will cause the perceived static pressure to be higher than actual as ram air is forced into the static port, resulting in your indicated airspeed being less than actual. Therefore, it would normally be advisable to maintain an airspeed comfortably within the middle range of the white arc (flap operating range) to avoid being either too close to a cross-control stall or a flap over-speed condition
        • Ensure to check POH for side-slip limitations as some aircraft do not allow them with full flaps
    • Crab:

      • Airplane Flying Handbook, Crabbed Approach
      • Coordinated flight whereby you are pointing the nose of the aircraft upwind enough to keep the airplane's ground track straight
      • The angle by which the aircraft is flying relative to the runway is considered the crosswind correction
      • It is most preferable, in general aviation, to fly a crab and transition to a slip for landing to avoid side-loading the landing gear
      • At some point during the final approach, a transition from crab to sideslip for the landing flare and touchdown should be made
  • Gust Factor:

    • On all approaches, but especially crosswind approaches, you'll want to determine the gust factor
    • Gust factors are agnostic to the wind direction
    • To calculate, take your gusts and subtract them from the sustained wind
      • If your wind is 10 knots and the gusts are to 20 then we can subtract 20 from 10 to get 10 as our gust factor
    • On approach we'll want to add half of the gust factor to our approach speed in order to create a margin of safety within a gusty environment
  • Crosswind Approach & Landing Procedure:


    1. Complete the Descent Flows/Checklists
      • This should include a quick briefing of the airport (i.e., runway vs. taxiway orientation to avoid a wrong surface landing) where and approach and landing procedure being conducted
      • Gather any documents you may want to have ready during the approach or immediately after landing
    2. Talk to tower as appropriate to the airspace you're operating within
      • Controlled: "[Tower], [Callsign], [Location], [Information], [Intentions]"
        • Example: "Palms tower, Cessna one seven two seven victor, fives miles to the west for touch and goes"
      • Uncontrolled: "[Facility Name], [Callsign], [Location], [Information], [Intentions], [Facility Name]"
        • Example: "Palms tower, Cessna one seven two seven victor, five miles to the west for touch and goes, palms tower"
      • Abide by tower's instructions and plan to enter the traffic pattern at Traffic Pattern Altitude (TPA) on a 45° entry to the downwind, maintaining a one-half mile distance from the runway on the downwind leg
    3. Set power to establish and maintain traffic pattern speed
      • Trim as necessary
    4. Abeam the point of intended landing, reduce power , set the flaps , lower the landing gear, and begin a gentle descent and call
      • Keeping your hand on the landing gear until given the down and locked indication will prevent forgetting
      • Controlled: "[Tower], [Callsign] abeam, gear 3 down and locked, [Landing Type]"
        • ATC: "[Callsign], [Winds], cleared for [Runway], [Landing Type]"
      • Uncontrolled: None
      • Anticipate the balloon effect when lowering the flaps
      • Trim as necessary
    5. At the 45° point to the intended touchdown point (or as appropriate for wind conditions), commence a turn to the base leg
      • ICS: "Cleared left, forward, clear right, turning [Left/Right]"
      • Controlled: None
      • Uncontrolled: "[Facility Name], [Callsign], turning base for [Runway], [Facility Name]"
      • The wind is now at your side, so depending on its strength, you will need to compensate for drift with a crab angle
    6. Set the flaps, then establish and maintain base leg airspeed
      • Anticipate the balloon effect when lowering the flaps
      • Trim as necessary
    7. Visually verify that the final approach (including the extended final and the opposite base leg) is clear, and turn final
      • ICS: "Cleared left, forward, clear right, turning [Left/Right]"
      • Controlled: None
      • Uncontrolled: "[Facility Name], [Callsign], turning base for [Runway], [Facility Name]"
      • Check your heading indicator against the runway heading to ensure you're lined up with the correct runway
      • Be mindful of wake turbulence considerations
        • That is look for larger, slow, heavy aircraft and offset your flight path higher & upwind)
    8. When landing is assured, set the flaps for landing and establish approach speed (+1/2 gust factor, if applicable)
      • Anticipate the balloon effect when lowering the flaps
      • Trim as necessary
    9. Transition from a crab to a slip
    10. By 300' above landing, complete a GUMP check
      • GUMP Check:
        • Gas: Fuel Selector and Pumps - SET
        • Undercarriage: Gear - DOWN AND LOCKED (if applicable)
        • Mixture: Mixture - FULL FORWARD
        • Prop: Prop - FULL FORWARD (if applicable)
      • If the approach is stabilized, call out, "300 feet, stabilized, continuing"
      • If the approach is not stabilized, callout, "300 feet, not stabilized, going around," and execute a go-around
    11. Approaching the runway threshold, verify the runway number (heading) matches your clearance
      • You are checking to verify you are landing on the correct runway as this is your last opportunity to wave off
    12. Before the round out, begin smoothly reducing power, continuing the power reduction to idle during the round-out while increasing the pitch to maintain a constant glide path to the desired touchdown point (airspeed will begin decreasing)
      • Avoid closing the throttle rapidly, which may result in an immediate increase in the rate of descent and a hard landing
      • Don't focus on the runway but instead look long to flare
        • You will see the horizon flatten as if you're sitting on the ground
      • Touch down at minimum controllable airspeed with a power-off stall pitch attitude, on the main wheels first (minimum float), and with the throttle at the idle (closed) position
      • Hold the nose wheel off with back pressure throughout the rollout; allowing settling gently
    13. Once the aircraft touches down, it will tend to find centerline on its own; you need to be judicious with your inputs to avoid any induced oscillations
    14. Subsequent runway centerline tracking requires only small rudder inputs to initiate directional corrections
    15. Increase aileron deflection into the wind as you decelerate, due to less airflow decreasing aileron effectiveness
    16. Maintain directional control throughout the roll-out with the rudder, slowing sufficiently before turning on a taxiway
      • Remember to maintain taxi control inputs for winds
    17. Exit the runway without delay at the first available taxiway or on a taxiway as instructed by ATC
      • An aircraft is considered clear of the runway when all parts of the aircraft are past the runway edge and there are no restrictions to its continued movement beyond the runway holding position markings
    18. Proceed with taxi procedures
    19. Airplane Flying Handbook, Crosswind Approach and Landing
  • Crosswind Approach and Landing Common Errors:

    • Attempting to land in crosswinds that exceed the airplane's maximum demonstrated crosswind component
    • Inadequate compensation for wind drift on the turn from base leg to final approach, resulting in under or shooting
    • Flat or skidding turns from base leg to final approach as a result of overshooting/inadequate wind drift correction
    • Poor coordination during turn from base to final approach
    • Failure to complete the landing checklist in a timely manner
    • Un-stabilized approach
    • Inadequate compensation for wind drift on final approach
    • Maintaining too much speed on final to compensate for winds
    • Failure to adequately compensate for flap extension
    • Poor trim technique on final approach
    • Failure to compensate for increased drag during side-slip, resulting in excessive sink rate and/or too low an airspeed
    • Attempting to maintain altitude or reach the runway using elevator alone
    • Focusing too close to the airplane resulting in too high a round out
    • Focusing too far from the airplane resulting in too low a round out
    • Touching down prior to attaining proper landing attitude
    • Failure to apply appropriate flight control inputs during roll-out
    • Failure to maintain directional control on roll-out
    • Touchdown while drifting
    • Excessive airspeed on touchdown
    • Excessive braking after touchdown
    • Slip:
      • Failure to reduce power to idle
      • Failure to add or increase flaps when available
      • Failure to apply and maintain full rudder deflection
      • Failure to use appropriate rudder/aileron combination during a crosswind situation
      • Failure to reduce pitch to maintain proper safe gliding airspeed

Short Field Approach and Landing:

  • The goal of the short-field approach and landing is to maximize aircraft performance in order to safely and accurately land when runway distance is limited
    • The approach is made with minimum engine power commensurate with flying towards the aiming point on the runway
    • This will result in a steeper approach than otherwise flown with other landing procedures
    • Speed must be reduced progressively as the aircraft's height reduces, and after reaching the airspeed for final approach it must be maintained accurately. After touch-down, the pilot applies maximum wheel braking and maximum up-elevator. Wing-flaps are sometimes retracted to allow better braking performance
    • Tips:
      • Touchdown as close to the approach end as safely possible
      • Utilize maximum braking available
      • Keep tires on the ground to keep friction
      • Land into a headwind
      • Land as the lowest weight possible
  • Short Field Approach & Landing Procedure:


    1. Complete the Descent Flows/Checklists
      • This should include a quick briefing of the airport (i.e., runway vs. taxiway orientation to avoid a wrong surface landing) where and approach and landing procedure being conducted
      • Gather any documents you may want to have ready during the approach or immediately after landing
    2. Talk to tower as appropriate to the airspace you're operating within
      • Controlled: "[Tower], [Callsign], [Location], [Information], [Intentions]"
        • Example: "Palms tower, Cessna one seven two seven victor, fives miles to the west for touch and goes"
      • Uncontrolled: "[Facility Name], [Callsign], [Location], [Information], [Intentions], [Facility Name]"
        • Example: "Palms tower, Cessna one seven two seven victor, five miles to the west for touch and goes, palms tower"
      • Abide by tower's instructions and plan to enter the traffic pattern at Traffic Pattern Altitude (TPA) on a 45° entry to the downwind, maintaining a one-half mile distance from the runway on the downwind leg
    3. Set power to establish and maintain traffic pattern speed
      • Trim as necessary
    4. Abeam the point of intended landing, reduce power , lower the landing gear, set the flaps , begin a gentle descent and call
      • Keeping your hand on the landing gear until given the down and locked indication will prevent forgetting
      • Controlled: "[Tower], [Callsign] abeam, gear 3 down and locked, [Landing Type]"
        • ATC: "[Callsign], [Winds], cleared for [Runway], [Landing Type]"
      • Uncontrolled: None
      • Anticipate the balloon effect when lowering the flaps
      • Trim as necessary
    5. At the 45° point to the intended touchdown point (or as appropriate for wind conditions), commence a turn to the base leg
      • ICS: "Cleared left, forward, clear right, turning [Left/Right]"
      • Controlled: None
      • Uncontrolled: "[Facility Name], [Callsign], turning base for [Runway], [Facility Name]"
      • The wind is now at your side, so depending on its strength, you will need to compensate for drift with a crab angle
    6. Set the flaps, then establish and maintain base leg airspeed
      • Anticipate the balloon effect when lowering the flaps
      • Trim as necessary
    7. Visually verify that the final approach (including the extended final and the opposite base leg) is clear, and turn final
      • ICS: "Cleared left, forward, clear right, turning [Left/Right]"
      • Controlled: None
      • Uncontrolled: "[Facility Name], [Callsign], turning base for [Runway], [Facility Name]"
      • Check your heading indicator against the runway heading to ensure you're lined up with the correct runway
      • Be mindful of wake turbulence considerations
        • That is look for larger, slow, heavy aircraft and offset your flight path higher & upwind)
    8. When landing is assured, set the flaps for landing and establish approach speed (+1/2 gust factor, if applicable)
      • Anticipate the balloon effect when lowering the flaps
      • Trim as necessary
    9. Transition from a crab to a slip
    10. By 300' above landing, complete a GUMP check
      • GUMP Check:
        • Gas: Fuel Selector and Pumps - SET
        • Undercarriage: Gear - DOWN AND LOCKED (if applicable)
        • Mixture: Mixture - FULL FORWARD
        • Prop: Prop - FULL FORWARD (if applicable)
      • If the approach is stabilized, call out, "300 feet, stabilized, continuing"
      • If the approach is not stabilized, callout, "300 feet, not stabilized, going around," and execute a go-around
    11. Approaching the runway threshold, verify the runway number (heading) matches your clearance
      • You are checking to verify you are landing on the correct runway as this is your last opportunity to wave off
    12. Before the round out, begin smoothly reducing power, continuing the power reduction to idle during the round-out while increasing the pitch to maintain a constant glide path to the desired touchdown point (airspeed will begin decreasing)
      • Avoid closing the throttle rapidly, which may result in an immediate increase in the rate of descent and a hard landing
      • Don't focus on the runway but instead look long to flare
        • You will see the horizon flatten as if you're sitting on the ground
      • Touch down at minimum controllable airspeed with a power-off stall pitch attitude, on the main wheels first (minimum float), and with the throttle at the idle (closed) position
      • Hold the nose wheel off with back pressure throughout the rollout; allowing settling gently
    13. Increase aileron deflection into the wind if present or has shifted from expected
    14. Increase "up" elevator to increase braking effectiveness
    15. At nose wheel touch down:
      • Callout, "flaps up, max braking"
      • Retract the flaps to the up (0°) position (for maximum braking effectiveness)
      • Hold the control wheel full back, and
      • Apply braking as necessary to stop within the shortest distance possible, consistent with safety and controllability
    16. Maintain directional control throughout the roll-out with the rudder, slowing sufficiently before turning on a taxiway
      • Reference board speeds: you should be traveling no faster than twice the distance remaining
      • Example: at the 3 board, you should be traveling no more than 60 knots
    17. If required, raise the flaps to decrease lift over the wings and therefore increase weight on the brakes
    18. Exit the runway without delay at the first available taxiway or on a taxiway as instructed by ATC
      • An aircraft is considered clear of the runway when all parts of the aircraft are past the runway edge and there are no restrictions to its continued movement beyond the runway holding position markings
    19. Proceed with taxi procedures
    20. Base Leg and Final Approach
      Airplane Flying Handbook, Base Leg and Final Approach
  • Short Field Approach & Landing Common Errors:

    • Inadequate wind drift correction on the base leg
    • Overshooting or undershooting the turn onto final approach, resulting in too steep or too shallow a turn onto final approach
    • Flat or skidding turns from base leg to final approach as a result of overshooting/inadequate wind drift correction
    • Poor coordination during turn from base to final approach
    • Failure to complete the landing checklist in a timely manner
    • Un-stabilized approach
    • Failure to adequately compensate for flap extension
    • Poor trim technique on final approach
    • Attempting to maintain altitude or reach the runway using elevator alone
    • Focusing too close to the airplane resulting in too high a round out
    • Focusing too far from the airplane resulting in too low a round out
    • Touching down prior to attaining proper landing attitude
    • Failure to hold sufficient back-elevator pressure after touchdown
    • Excessive braking after touchdown

Soft Field Approach & Landing:

  • The goal of the soft-field approach and landing is to maximize aircraft performance in order to safely and accurately land the airplane, obtaining maximum performance, by touching down at the slowest possible airspeed
  • Soft Field Approach & Landing Procedure:

    WARNING:
    All procedures are GENERALIZED.
    Always fly per Pilot Operating Handbook procedures,
    observing any relevant Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)


    1. Complete the Descent Flows/Checklists
      • This should include a quick briefing of the airport (i.e., runway vs. taxiway orientation to avoid a wrong surface landing) where and approach and landing procedure being conducted
      • Gather any documents you may want to have ready during the approach or immediately after landing
    2. Talk to tower as appropriate to the airspace you're operating within
      • Controlled: "[Tower], [Callsign], [Location], [Information], [Intentions]"
        • Example: "Palms tower, Cessna one seven two seven victor, fives miles to the west for touch and goes"
      • Uncontrolled: "[Facility Name], [Callsign], [Location], [Information], [Intentions], [Facility Name]"
        • Example: "Palms tower, Cessna one seven two seven victor, five miles to the west for touch and goes, palms tower"
      • Abide by tower's instructions and plan to enter the traffic pattern at Traffic Pattern Altitude (TPA) on a 45° entry to the downwind, maintaining a one-half mile distance from the runway on the downwind leg
    3. Set power to establish and maintain traffic pattern speed
      • Trim as necessary
    4. Abeam the point of intended landing, reduce power , lower the landing gear, set the flaps , and begin a gentle descent and call
      • Keeping your hand on the landing gear until given the down and locked indication will prevent forgetting
      • Controlled: "[Tower], [Callsign] abeam, gear 3 down and locked, [Landing Type]"
        • ATC: "[Callsign], [Winds], cleared for [Runway], [Landing Type]"
      • Uncontrolled: None
      • Anticipate the balloon effect when lowering the flaps
      • Trim as necessary
    5. At the 45° point to the intended touchdown point (or as appropriate for wind conditions), commence a turn to the base leg
      • ICS: "Cleared left, forward, clear right, turning [Left/Right]"
      • Controlled: None
      • Uncontrolled: "[Facility Name], [Callsign], turning base for [Runway], [Facility Name]"
      • The wind is now at your side, so depending on its strength, you will need to compensate for drift with a crab angle
    6. Set the flaps, then establish and maintain base leg airspeed
      • Anticipate the balloon effect when lowering the flaps
      • Trim as necessary
    7. Visually verify that the final approach (including the extended final and the opposite base leg) is clear, and turn final
      • ICS: "Cleared left, forward, clear right, turning [Left/Right]"
      • Controlled: None
      • Uncontrolled: "[Facility Name], [Callsign], turning base for [Runway], [Facility Name]"
      • Check your heading indicator against the runway heading to ensure you're lined up with the correct runway
      • Be mindful of wake turbulence considerations
        • That is look for larger, slow, heavy aircraft and offset your flight path higher & upwind)
    8. When landing is assured, set the flaps for landing and establish approach speed (+1/2 gust factor, if applicable)
      • Anticipate the balloon effect when lowering the flaps
      • Trim as necessary
    9. Transition from a crab to a slip
    10. By 300' above landing, complete a GUMP check
      • GUMP Check:
        • Gas: Fuel Selector and Pumps - SET
        • Undercarriage: Gear - DOWN AND LOCKED (if applicable)
        • Mixture: Mixture - FULL FORWARD
        • Prop: Prop - FULL FORWARD (if applicable)
      • If the approach is stabilized, call out, "300 feet, stabilized, continuing"
      • If the approach is not stabilized, callout, "300 feet, not stabilized, going around," and execute a go-around
    11. Approaching the runway threshold, verify the runway number (heading) matches your clearance
      • You are checking to verify you are landing on the correct runway as this is your last opportunity to wave off
    12. At the round out, commence reducing power as necessary and initiating the flare to hold the airplane 1-2 feet off the surface in ground effect as long as possible (to gradually dissipate forward speed)
      • Use power throughout the level-off and touchdown to ensure touching down at the slowest possible speed
      • Don't focus on the runway but instead look long to flare
        • You will see the horizon flatten as if you're sitting on the ground
      • Touch down at minimum controllable airspeed with a power-off stall pitch attitude, on the main wheels first (minimum float), and with the throttle at the idle (closed) position
      • Hold the nose wheel off with back pressure throughout the rollout; allowing settling gently
    13. Touch down on the main wheels first, holding the nose wheel off with back pressure throughout the rollout; allow settling gently
      • Use power and control wheel back pressure (elevator deflection) to control the rate at which the airplane's weight is transferred to the main wheels
    14. Maintain directional control throughout the rollout, slowing sufficiently before turning onto a taxiway
      • Conduct all taxi operations with the control wheel fully aft
      • On softer surfaces, additional power may be needed to maintain taxi speed and to avoid becoming stuck
      • Avoid the use of breaks to prevent imposing a heavy load on the nose gear, causing the nose gear to "dig" into the soft surface
  • Soft Field Approach & Landing Common Errors:

Tips for Staying Stable on Final:

  • The FAA Safety Team has some recommendations to stay stable on final:
    • If it’s not right, GO-AROUND! Execute a timely go-around decision when a stabilized approach cannot be made, or for any other condition that may result in an unsafe approach or landing
    • The further from the runway that you establish a “3:1” flight path profile, the greater your probability of successfully flying a stable approach
      • NOTE: Every runway is unique and the published glidepath should be flown when available
      • A method to estimate the appropriate descent rate in feet/minute to maintain a 3-degree glidepath is to multiply the groundspeed in knots by 5
    • When available, use a visual approach system such as a VASI or PAPI, or precision instrument approach to help maintain glidepath
    • Increase your knowledge on stabilized approaches:
      • The GAJSC website (www.gajsc.org/loss-of-control)
      • AC 91-79A (www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/advisory_circulars)

Noise Abatement:

  • Aircraft noise problems are a major concern at many airports throughout the country. Many local communities have pressured airports into developing specific operational procedures that help limit aircraft noise while operating over nearby areas. As a result, noise abatement procedures have been developed for many of these airports that include standardized profiles and procedures to achieve these lower noise goals
  • Airports that have noise abatement procedures provide information to pilots, operators, air carriers, air traffic facilities, and other special groups that are applicable to their airport. These procedures are available to the aviation community by various means. Most of this information comes from the Chart Supplements, local and regional publications, printed handouts, operator bulletin boards, safety briefings, and local air traffic facilities
  • At airports that use noise abatement procedures, reminder signs may be installed at the taxiway hold positions for applicable runways to remind pilots to use and comply with noise abatement procedures on departure. Pilots who are not familiar with these procedures should ask the tower or air traffic facility for the recommended procedures. In any case, pilots should be considerate of the surrounding community while operating their airplane to and from such an airport. This includes operating as quietly, and safely as possible
  • Noise abatement rules are the domain of the FAA however, that will not always stop municipalities from creating their own restrictions such as Scottsdale, AZ
    • When flying to new airports, consider researching local rules
    • If you hear phrases from ATC such as "noise abatement procedures are in effect" then this can be a huge clue
    • While the FAA rules should overrule municipalities, it is always a good idea to be a good neighbor
  • Always consult the aircraft's Pilot Operating Handbook for amplifying information regarding noise abatement

Approach and Landing Case Studies:

Aim Point Vs. Touchdown Point:

  • When on approach to land, you will select an aim point
  • That aim point is your anchor for your approach, but its not supposed to be where you actually touch down
  • Instead, that is where your round-out should occur, making touchdown a few hundred feet down the runway

Night Approach and Landing Considerations:

Exiting the Runway After Landing:

  • Exit the runway without delay at the first available taxiway or on a taxiway as instructed by ATC
    • Pilots must not exit the landing runway onto another runway unless authorized by ATC
    • At airports with an operating control tower, pilots should not stop or reverse course on the runway without first obtaining ATC approval
  • Taxi clear of the runway unless otherwise directed by ATC-An aircraft is considered clear of the runway when all parts of the aircraft are past the runway edge and there are no restrictions to its continued movement beyond the runway holding position markings
    • In the absence of ATC instructions, the pilot is expected to taxi clear of the landing runway by taxiing beyond the runway holding position markings associated with the landing runway, even if that requires the aircraft to protrude into or cross another taxiway or ramp area
    • Once all parts of the aircraft have crossed the runway holding position markings, the pilot must hold unless further instructions have been issued by ATC
  • The tower will issue the pilot instructions which will permit the aircraft to enter another taxiway, runway, or ramp area when required
  • Guidance contained in subparagraphs a and b above is considered an integral part of the landing clearance and satisfies the requirement of 14 CFR Section 91.129
  • Immediately change to ground control frequency when advised by the tower and obtain a taxi clearance
  • The tower will issue instructions required to resolve any potential conflictions with other ground traffic prior to advising the pilot to contact ground control
  • Ground control will issue taxi clearance to parking
    • That clearance does not authorize the aircraft to "enter" or "cross" any runways. Pilots not familiar with the taxi route should request specific taxi instructions from ATC

Conclusion:

  • Remember that go-arounds are always free
  • Every good landing starts with a stabilized approach
    • Avoid any urge to "chop and drop"
    • Be smooth and remember slow flight/stall practice/characteristics to settle the aircraft onto the runway
    • Check out the FAA stabilized approach and landing fact sheet
    • The direction with which the wind may impact the pattern
      • With all things constant, headwinds increase lift, decreasing descent rate while the opposite is true for tailwinds
  • Always fly the airplane all the way to the taxiway
    • Resist the urge to talk on the radio or switch frequencies if the aircraft is not firmly under control-ATC can wait in this case
    • Maintain and increase (as airspeed decreases) any crosswind inputs!
  • Landing surface is critical, as landing on fields that are frozen or wet may provide the same control and braking actions of paved runways with ice
  • When expecting clearance to land, listen for the wind call to best prepare for crosswinds
  • Consider keeping the speed up on approach to commercial airports when sequenced in with other, generally turbine (faster), aircraft as a courtesy to traffic flow
  • Additional resources are available through tools such as the FAA's Runway Safety Simulator
  • Before every clearance to land, tower will give you the winds
    • Pay attention to this information! It may indicate a wind-shift you did not expect!
  • When receiving a clearance to land, pay special attention to the runway for which you're cleared
    • This can be especially important when expecting a certain runway either from the ATIS, ATC, or repetitive operations out of the same airfield whereby procedures are usually the same
  • When performed correctly, your traffic pattern leg ground track will be straight as if flying in no wind conditions
  • Before every clearance to land, tower will give you the winds
    • Pay attention to this information! It may indicate a wind-shift you did not expect!
    • Set the heading bug, if available, to wind velocity to keep situational awareness to direction
  • If wind shear is a concern, consider carrying a higher airspeed on final to increase stall margin
  • Check with your Pilot Operating Handbook for the appropriate limitations for your aircraft
  • If flying an instrument approach into a crosswind and you subsequently break out, avoid the temptation to point at the runway if you already have a correction in for the crosswind, let it work and adjust as necessary
  • Remember the lessons learned while performing power-off stalls, which simulate the conditions and demanded response of a stall experienced while on approach
  • Consider practicing maneuvers on a flight simulator to introduce yourself to maneuvers or knock off rust
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References: