NORMAL APPROACH AND LANDING

Normal Approach and Landing Lesson by wifiCFI


Objective

To determine that the applicant exhibits satisfactory knowledge, risk management, and skills associated with a normal approach and landing with emphasis on proper use and coordination of flight controls.

Knowledge

The applicant demonstrates understanding of: 

A stabilized approach, to include energy management concepts. 

Effects of atmospheric conditions, including wind, on approach and landing performance. 

Wind correction techniques on approach and landing. 

Risk Management

The applicant demonstrates the ability to identify, assess and mitigate risks, encompassing: 

Selection of runway based on pilot capability, aircraft performance and limitations, available distance, and wind. 

Effects of: 

Crosswind, to include exceeding maximum demonstrated crosswind component 

Wind shear

Tailwind

Wake turbulence 

Runway surface/condition/length 

Abnormal operations, to include planning for: 

Rejected takeoff 

Engine failure in takeoff/climb phase of flight 

Collision hazards to include aircraft, terrain, obstacles, and wires. 

Low altitude maneuvering/stall/spin. 

Distractions, loss of situational awareness, and/or improper task management.

Normal Approach and Landing (AFH C8)

A normal approach and landing involves the use of procedures for what is considered a normal situation; that is, when engine power is available, the wind is light, or the final approach is made directly into the wind, the final approach path has no obstacles and the landing surface is firm and of ample length to gradually bring the airplane to a stop. 

Base Leg

The placement of the base leg is one of the more important judgments made by the pilot in any landing approach. 

The pilot must accurately judge the altitude and distance from which a gradual, stabilized descent results in landing at the desired spot. 

After turning onto the base leg, start the descent with reduced power and airspeed of approximately 1.4 VSO, which is the stalling speed with power off, landing gear and flaps down. 

The base leg is continued to the point where a medium to shallow-banked turn aligns the airplane’s path directly with the centerline of the landing runway.

Final Approach

After the base-to-final approach turn is completed, the longitudinal axis of the airplane is aligned with the centerline of the runway or landing surface so that drift (if any) is recognized immediately. 

On a normal approach, with no wind drift, the longitudinal axis is kept aligned with the runway centerline throughout the approach and landing.

After aligning the airplane with the runway centerline, the final flap setting is completed and the pitch attitude adjusted as required for the desired rate of descent. 

Slight adjustments in pitch and power may be necessary to maintain the descent attitude and the desired approach airspeed. 

In the absence of the manufacturer’s recommended airspeed, a speed equal to 1.3 VSO should be used.

A stabilized descent angle is controlled throughout the approach.

Roundout (Flare)

The round out is a slow, smooth transition from a normal approach attitude to a landing attitude, gradually rounding out the flightpath to one that is parallel with, and within a very few inches above, the runway. 

When the airplane, in a normal descent, approaches within what appears to be 10 to 20 feet above the ground, the round out or flare is started. 

This is a continuous process until the airplane touches down on the ground.

If the pilot attempts to focus on a reference that is too close or looks directly down, the reference becomes blurred, and the reaction is either too abrupt or too late. 

In this case, the pilot’s tendency is to over-control, round out high, and make full-stall, drop-in landings. 

If the pilot focuses too far ahead, accuracy in judging the closeness of the ground is lost and the consequent reaction is too slow since there does not appear to be a necessity for action. 

This results in the airplane flying into the ground nose first.

Touchdown

The touchdown is the gentle settling of the airplane onto the landing surface. 

The round out and touchdown are normally made with the engine idling and the airplane at minimum controllable airspeed so that the airplane touches down on the main gear at approximately stalling speed. 

As the airplane settles, the proper landing attitude is attained by application of whatever back-elevator pressure is necessary.

After the main wheels make initial contact with the ground, back-elevator pressure is held to maintain a positive AOA for aerodynamic braking and to hold the nose wheel off the ground until the airplane decelerates.

It is extremely important that the touchdown occur with the airplane’s longitudinal axis exactly parallel to the direction in which the airplane is moving along the runway.

After-Landing Roll

The landing process must never be considered complete until the airplane decelerates to the normal taxi speed during the landing roll or has been brought to a complete stop when clear of the landing area. 

Numerous accidents occur as a result of pilots abandoning their vigilance and failing to maintain positive control after getting the airplane on the ground.

Careful application of the brakes is initiated after the nose wheel is on the ground and directional control is established. 

Stabilized Approach Concept

A stabilized approach is one in which the pilot establishes and maintains a constant angle glide path towards a predetermined point on the landing runway. 

It is based on the pilot’s judgment of certain visual clues and depends on the maintenance of a constant final descent airspeed and configuration.

Private Pilot ACS Standards

Complete the appropriate checklist. 

Make radio calls as appropriate. 

Ensure the aircraft is aligned with the correct/assigned runway.

Scan the landing runway and adjoining area for traffic and obstructions.

Consider the wind conditions, landing surface, obstructions, and select a suitable touchdown point.

Establish the recommended approach and landing configuration and airspeed, and adjust pitch attitude and power as required to maintain a stabilized approach.

Maintain manufacturer’s recommended approach airspeed, or in its absence, not more than 1.3 VSO, +10/-5 knots, or as recommended for the aircraft type and gust velocity.

Touch down at speed recommended by manufacturer, within 200 feet beyond a specified point on the runway.

Maintain crosswind correction and directional control throughout the approach and landing.

Make smooth, timely, and correct control inputs during round out and touchdown.

Touch down at speed recommended by manufacturer.

Execute a timely go-around if the approach cannot be made within the tolerances specified above or for any other condition that may result in an unsafe approach or landing. 

Utilize runway incursion avoidance procedures.

Commercial Pilot ACS Standards

Complete the appropriate checklist. 

Make radio calls as appropriate. 

Ensure the aircraft is aligned with the correct/assigned runway.

Scan the landing runway and adjoining area for traffic and obstructions.

Consider the wind conditions, landing surface, obstructions, and select a suitable touchdown point.

Establish the recommended approach and landing configuration and airspeed, and adjust pitch attitude and power as required to maintain a stabilized approach.

Maintain manufacturer’s recommended approach airspeed, or in its absence, not more than 1.3 VSO, +/-5 knots, or as recommended for the aircraft type and gust velocity.

Touch down at speed recommended by manufacturer, within 200 feet beyond a specified point on the runway.

Maintain crosswind correction and directional control throughout the approach and landing.

Make smooth, timely, and correct control inputs during round out and touchdown.

Touch down at speed recommended by manufacturer.

Execute a timely go-around if the approach cannot be made within the tolerances specified above or for any other condition that may result in an unsafe approach or landing. 

Utilize runway incursion avoidance procedures.

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. 

Unstable 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 a too high round out. 

Focusing too far from the airplane resulting in a too low round out. 

Touching down prior to attaining proper landing attitude. 

Failure to hold sufficient back-elevator pressure after touchdown. 

Excessive braking after touchdown. 

Loss of aircraft control during touchdown and roll out.

FAA Sources Used for This Lesson

Private Pilot Airmen Certification Standards

Commercial Pilot Airmen Certification Standards

Airplane Flying Handbook (AFH) Chapter 8

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