SHORT FIELD APPROACH AND LANDING

Short Field Approach and Landing Lesson by wifiCFI


Objective

To determine that the applicant exhibits satisfactory knowledge, risk management, and skills associated with a short-field 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.

Short-Field Approach and Landing (AFH C8)

Short-field approaches and landings require the use of procedures for approaches and landings at fields with a relatively short landing area or where an approach is made over obstacles that limit the available landing area.

Short field operations require the pilot fly the airplane at one of its crucial performance capabilities while close to the ground in order to safely land within confined areas. 

To land within a short-field or a confined area, the pilot must have precise, positive control of the rate of descent and airspeed to produce an approach that clears any obstacles, result in little or no floating during the round out, and permit the airplane to be stopped in the shortest possible distance.

These procedures generally involve the use of full flaps and the final approach started from an altitude of at least 500 feet higher than the touchdown area. 

A wider than normal pattern is normally used so that the airplane can be properly configured and trimmed. 

In the absence of the manufacturer’s recommended approach speed, a speed of not more than 1.3 VSO is used.

Touchdown should occur at the minimum controllable airspeed with the airplane in approximately the pitch attitude that results in a power-off stall when the throttle is closed. 

Care must be exercised to avoid closing the throttle too rapidly, as closing the throttle may result in an immediate increase in the rate of descent and a hard landing.

Upon touchdown, the airplane is held in this positive pitch attitude as long as the elevators remain effective. 

This provides aerodynamic braking to assist in deceleration. Immediately upon touchdown and closing the throttle, appropriate braking is applied to minimize the after-landing roll.

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.

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

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

Touch down at the recommended airspeed.

Touch down within 200 feet beyond the specified point, threshold markings or runway numbers, with no side drift, minimum float, and with the airplane’s longitudinal axis aligned with and over runway centerline.

Use manufacturer’s recommended procedures for aircraft configuration and braking.

Execute a safe and 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, +10/-5 knots, or as recommended for the aircraft type and gust velocity.

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

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

Touch down at the recommended airspeed.

Touch down within 100 feet beyond the specified point, threshold markings or runway numbers, with no side drift, minimum float, and with the airplane’s longitudinal axis aligned with and over runway centerline.

Use manufacturer’s recommended procedures for aircraft configuration and braking.

Execute a safe and 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

Failure to allow enough room on final to set up the approach, necessitating an overly steep approach and high sink rate.

Unstable approach 

Undue delay in initiating glide path corrections 

Too low an airspeed on final resulting in inability to flare properly and landing hard 

Too high an airspeed resulting in floating on round out 

Prematurely reducing power to idle on round out resulting in hard landing 

Touchdown with excessive airspeed 

Excessive and/or unnecessary braking after touchdown 

Failure to maintain directional control 

Failure to recognize and abort a poor approach that cannot be completed safely 

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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