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Airplane Flying Handbook
Approaches and Landings
Normal Approach and Landing

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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



Flap deflection of up to 15° primarily produces lift with
minimal drag. The airplane has a tendency to balloon
up with initial flap deflection because of the lift
increase. The nosedown pitching moment, however,
tends to offset the balloon. Flap deflection beyond 15°
produces a large increase in drag. Also, deflection
beyond 15° produces a significant nose up pitching
moment in high-wing airplanes because the resulting
downwash increases the airflow over the horizontal tail.

The time of flap extension and the degree of deflection
are related. Large flap deflections at one single point in
the landing pattern produce large lift changes that
require significant pitch and power changes in order to
maintain airspeed and descent angle. Consequently, the
deflection of flaps at certain positions in the landing
pattern has definite advantages. Incremental deflection
of flaps on downwind, base leg, and final approach
allow smaller adjustment of pitch and power compared
to extension of full flaps all at one time.

When the flaps are lowered, the airspeed will decrease
unless the power is increased or the pitch attitude
lowered. On final approach, therefore, the pilot must
estimate where the airplane will land through
discerning judgment of the descent angle. If it appears
that the airplane is going to overshoot the desired
landing spot, more flaps may be used if not fully
extended or the power reduced further, and the pitch
attitude lowered. This will result in a steeper approach.
If the desired landing spot is being undershot and a
shallower approach is needed, both power and pitch
attitude should be increased to readjust the descent
angle. Never retract the flaps to correct for undershooting
since that will suddenly decrease the lift and cause
the airplane to sink even more rapidly.

The airplane must be retrimmed on the final approach
to compensate for the change in aerodynamic forces.
With the reduced power and with a slower airspeed,
the airflow produces less lift on the wings and less
downward force on the horizontal stabilizer, resulting
in a significant nosedown tendency. The elevator must
then be trimmed more nose up

It will be found that the roundout, touchdown, and
landing roll are much easier to accomplish when they
are preceded by a proper final approach with precise
control of airspeed, attitude, power, and drag resulting
in a stabilized descent angle.

During the approach, roundout, and touchdown, vision
is of prime importance. To provide a wide scope of
vision and to foster good judgment of height and
movement, the pilot's head should assume a natural,
straight-ahead position. The pilot's visual focus should
not be fixed on any one side or any one spot ahead of
the airplane, but should be changing slowly from a
point just over the airplane's nose to the desired
touchdown zone and back again, while maintaining a
deliberate awareness of distance from either side of
the runway within the pilot's peripheral field of vision.
Accurate estimation of distance is, besides being a
matter of practice, dependent upon how clearly objects
are seen; it requires that the vision be focused properly
in order that the important objects stand out as clearly
as possible.

Speed blurs objects at close range. For example,
most everyone has noted this in an automobile
moving at high speed. Nearby objects seem to merge
together in a blur, while objects farther away stand
out clearly. The driver subconsciously focuses the
eyes sufficiently far ahead of the automobile to see
objects distinctly.

The distance at which the pilot's vision is focused
should be proportionate to the speed at which the
airplane is traveling over the ground. Thus, as speed is
reduced during the roundout, the distance ahead of the
airplane at which it is possible to focus should be
brought closer accordingly.

If the pilot attempts to focus on a reference that is too
close or looks directly down, the reference will
become blurred, [Figure 8-5] and the reaction will be
either too abrupt or too late. In this case, the pilot's
tendency will be to overcontrol, round out high, and
make full-stall, drop-in landings. When the pilot
focuses too far ahead, accuracy in judging the
closeness of the ground is lost and the consequent
reaction will be too slow since there will not appear to
be a necessity for action. This will result in the
airplane flying into the ground nose first. The change
of visual focus from a long distance to a short distance
requires a definite time interval and even though the
time is brief, the airplane's speed during this interval is
such that the airplane travels an appreciable distance,
both forward and downward toward the ground.
Figure 8-5. Focusing too close blurs vision.

Focusing too close blurs vision.
Figure 8-5. Focusing too close blurs vision.

If the focus is changed gradually, being brought progressively
closer as speed is reduced, the time interval and the pilot's
reaction will be reduced, and the whole landing process
smoothed out.