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Normal 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"
  • While this procedure is for normal landing, assuming the wind is blowing right down the runway, that will almost never be the case
  • Calculate performance data, examples found here
  • Reference traffic pattern
  • The traffic pattern is the ultimate goal, which began with the Rectangular Course
Margin Of Safety In Flight Phases
Margin Of Safety In Flight Phases
Margin Of Safety In Flight Phases
Margin Of Safety In Flight Phases

Normal Approach & Landing Procedure:

WARNING:
All procedures here are GENERALIZED for learning.
Always fly in accordance with Pilot Operating Handbooks (POHs)
and/or current Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)


  1. Complete the Descent Flows/Checklists
  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 and set the flaps , begin a gentle descent and call
    • Controlled: "[Tower], [Callsign] abeam, gear 3 down and locked, [Landing Type]"
      • ATC: "[Callsign], [Winds], cleared for [Landing Type], [Runway]"
    • 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
  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

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
    • Immediately change to ground control frequency when advised by the tower and obtain a taxi clearance
  • 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
    • The tower will issue the pilot instructions which will permit the aircraft to enter another taxiway, runway, or ramp area when required
  • Once all parts of the aircraft have crossed the runway holding position markings, 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
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

Normal Approach and Landing Airman Certification Standards:

Conclusion:

  • Every good landing starts with a stabilized approach
  • 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!
  • Consider practicing maneuvers on a flight simulator to introduce yourself to maneuvers or knock off rust

References: