Updated: Dec 8, 2020

Power Off 180 Lesson by wifiCFI


To determine that the applicant exhibits satisfactory knowledge, risk management, and skills associated with a power off 180 accuracy approach and landing.


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. 

Purpose of power off approach.

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


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.

Forward slip operations, including fuel flowage, tail stalls with flaps, and lack of airspeed control.

Power Off 180 (AFH C8)

Power-off accuracy approaches are approaches and landings made by gliding with the engine idling, through a specific pattern to a touchdown beyond and within 200 feet of a designated line or mark on the runway. 

The objective is to instill in the pilot the judgment and procedures necessary for accurately flying the airplane, without power, to a safe landing.

The ability to estimate the distance an airplane glides to a landing is the real basis of all power-off accuracy approaches and landings. 

This largely determines the amount of maneuvering that may be done from a given altitude. 

In addition to the ability to estimate distance, it requires the ability to maintain the proper glide while maneuvering the airplane.

The judgment of altitude in feet, hundreds of feet, or thousands of feet is not as important as the ability to estimate gliding angle and its resultant distance. 

A pilot who knows the normal glide angle of the airplane can estimate with reasonable accuracy, the approximate spot along a given ground path at which the airplane lands, regardless of altitude. 

A pilot who also has the ability to accurately estimate altitude, can judge how much maneuvering is possible during the glide, which is important to the choice of landing areas in an actual emergency.

Unlike a normal approach when the power setting is variable, on a power-off approach the power is fixed at the idle setting. Pitch attitude is adjusted to control the airspeed. 

This also changes the glide or descent angle.

Power Off 180 (AFH C8)

The 180° power-off approach is executed by gliding with the power off from a given point on a downwind leg to a preselected landing spot.

In the execution of 180° power-off approaches, the airplane is flown on a downwind heading parallel to the landing runway. 

The altitude from which this type of approach is started varies with the type of airplane, but should usually not exceed 1,000 feet above the ground.

When abreast of or opposite the desired landing spot, the throttle is closed and altitude maintained while decelerating to the manufacturer’s recommended glide speed or 1.4 VSO. 

Commercial Pilot ACS Standards

Complete the appropriate checklist. 

Make radio calls as appropriate. 

Plan and follow a flightpath to the selected landing area considering altitude, wind, terrain, and obstructions. 

Position airplane on downwind leg, parallel to landing runway.

Correctly configure the airplane. 

As necessary, correlate crosswind with direction of forward slip and transition to side slip for landing. 

Touch down within -0/+200 feet from the specified touchdown point with no side drift, minimum float, and with the airplane’s longitudinal axis aligned with and over the runway centerline.

Common Errors

Downwind leg is too far from the runway/landing area 

Overextension of downwind leg resulting from a tailwind 

Inadequate compensation for wind drift on base leg 

Skidding turns in an effort to increase gliding distance 

Failure to lower landing gear in retractable gear airplanes 

Attempting to “stretch” the glide during an undershoot 

Premature flap extension/landing gear extension 

Use of throttle to increase the glide instead of merely clearing the engine 

Forcing the airplane onto the runway in order to avoid overshooting the designated landing spot

FAA Sources Used for This Lesson

Commercial Pilot Airmen Certification Standards

Airplane Flying Handbook (AFH) Chapter 8

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