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Airplane Flying Handbook
Approaches and Landings
Power-Off Accuracy Approaches

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Airplane Flying Handbook


Table of Contents

Chapter 1,Introduction to Flight Training
Chapter 2,Ground Operations
Chapter 3,Basic Flight Maneuvers
Chapter 4, Slow Flight, Stalls, and Spins
Chapter 5, Takeoff and Departure Climbs
Chapter 6, Ground Reference Maneuvers
Chapter 7, Airport Traffic Patterns
Chapter 8, Approaches and Landings
Chapter 9, Performance Maneuvers
Chapter 10, Night Operations
Chapter 11,Transition to Complex Airplanes
Chapter 12, Transition to Multiengine Airplanes
Chapter 13,Transition to Tailwheel Airplanes
Chapter 14, Transition to Turbo-propeller Powered Airplanes
Chapter 15,Transition to Jet Powered Airplanes
Chapter 16,Emergency Procedures




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 will glide
to a landing is the real basis of all power-off accuracy
approaches and landings. This will largely determine 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.

With experience and practice, altitudes up to approximately
1,000 feet can be estimated with fair accuracy,
while above this level the accuracy in judgment of height
above the ground decreases, since all features tend to
merge. The best aid in perfecting the ability to judge
height above this altitude is through the indications of the
altimeter and associating them with the general
appearance of the Earth.

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. The
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
will land, regardless of altitude. The 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.

The objective of a good final approach is to descend at
an angle that will permit the airplane to reach the
desired landing area, and at an airspeed that will result
in minimum floating just before touchdown. To
accomplish this, it is essential that both the descent
angle and the airspeed be accurately controlled.

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 will also change the glide or descent
angle. By lowering the nose to keep the approach airspeed
constant, the descent angle will steepen. If the airspeed is
too high, raise the nose, and when the airspeed is too low,
lower the nose. If the pitch attitude is raised too high, the
airplane will settle rapidly due to a slow airspeed and
insufficient lift. For this reason, never try to stretch a glide
to reach the desired landing spot.

Uniform approach patterns such as the 90°, 180°, or
360° power-off approaches are described further in this
chapter. Practice in these approaches provides the pilot
with a basis on which to develop judgment in gliding
distance and in planning an approach.

The basic procedure in these approaches involves closing
the throttle at a given altitude, and gliding to a key
position. This position, like the pattern itself, must not
be allowed to become the primary objective; it is
merely a convenient point in the air from which the
pilot can judge whether the glide will safely terminate
at the desired spot. The selected key position should be
one that is appropriate for the available altitude and the
wind condition. From the key position, the pilot must
constantly evaluate the situation.

It must be emphasized that, although accurate spot
touchdowns are important, safe and properly executed
approaches and landings are vital. The pilot must never
sacrifice a good approach or landing just to land on the
desired spot.

The 90° power-off approach is made from a base leg and
requires only a 90° turn onto the final approach. The
approach path may be varied by positioning the base leg
closer to or farther out from the approach end of the runway
according to wind conditions. [Figure 8-25]
The glide from the key position on the base leg through
the 90° turn to the final approach is the final part of all
accuracy landing maneuvers.

The 90° power-off approach usually begins from a
rectangular pattern at approximately 1,000 feet above
the ground or at normal traffic pattern altitude. The
airplane should be flown onto a downwind leg at the
same distance from the landing surface as in a normal
traffic pattern. The before landing checklist should be
completed on the downwind leg, including extension
of the landing gear if the airplane is equipped with
retractable gear.

After a medium-banked turn onto the base leg is completed,
the throttle should be retarded slightly and the
airspeed allowed to decrease to the normal base-leg
speed. [Figure 8-26] On the base leg, the airspeed,
wind drift correction, and altitude should be maintained
while proceeding to the 45° key position. At this
position, the intended landing spot will appear to be
on a 45° angle from the airplane's nose.

The pilot can determine the strength and direction of
the wind from the amount of crab necessary to hold the
desired ground track on the base leg. This will help in
planning the turn onto the final approach and in lowering
the correct amount of flaps.
, never try to stretch a glide
to reach the desired landing spot.