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Thread: Short field approaches

  1. #1
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    Default Short field approaches

    How many of you instructors teach that a low approach angle while carrying engine power is the best approach technique to be used for short field landings? I see a lot of that in this forum, and don't quite understand it . . .

  2. #2

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    I don't teach that, but I've given flight reviews to pilots who flew their short field landings like you just described. I think you and I were taught back in the day when you did a high approach angle in case the engine quits, so you have a better chance of hitting your landing spot. Most of my short field landings were in a float plane to small lakes surrounded by trees and terrain (SE) and that's how I was taught.

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    Quote Originally Posted by northbird1 View Post
    I don't teach that, but I've given flight reviews to pilots who flew their short field landings like you just described. I think you and I were taught back in the day when you did a high approach angle in case the engine quits, so you have a better chance of hitting your landing spot. Most of my short field landings were in a float plane to small lakes surrounded by trees and terrain (SE) and that's how I was taught.
    I doubt that aerodymanics have changed much since the "old days." A steeper angle with lower airspeed does several things, including providing the result of shorter required landing run. It provides more time in the air, and a lower airspeed, translating into a much lower ground speed because of the steeper approach angle. And, at that transition point, at least an engine failure won't see the plane landing short of the intended landing area. In fact, that's why you and I were taught the high angle/low airspeed approach were the much preferred technique. Figure it out - - - - -


    If a low angle approach is made at 50-mph airspeed, the ground speed must be nearly the same. On the other hand, a steeper angle with the same 50-mph airspeed may translate into only a 40-mph ground speed, maybe less. The ground roll (stopping distance) simply must be shorter.

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    I agree, Grizzly 2. I wonder why we're seeing pilots flying the low approach angle short field approaches nowdays.

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    I think the low angle (dragging it in) is the result of folks never being trained correctly, so they just make it up themselves and keep doing it for years. I have seen a couple eternal student pilots doing that over and over. Then you show them the safer higher approach during a BFR or 90 day... But the next day they are back to making the same old slow drag from a mile out...

    I also drives me nuts (a short drive I am told) to watch pilots make a smaller pattern just because it is a small and short strip.
    Thus they tend to bank much tighter (at lower speeds) and then stall themselves and their passengers right into the ground.

    It seems to me that this usually happens when a pilot has been flying lightly loaded for years and suddenly decides to fill up every seat when relatives (friends) arrive. Then the EGO and not the pilot is flying at that point, so they never do a go around... they just let their EGO fly them right to the scene of the crash.

    I agree, Grizzly 2. I wonder why we're seeing pilots flying the low approach angle short field approaches nowdays.
    Video cameras.....
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
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    http://site.dragonflyaero.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    Video cameras.....
    I just got one so not for me.

    One thing is many TW pilots, like me , think the wheel landings are safer especially with higher winds. and many fly those faster as they have more aileron and stabilizer control in the landings. Add in the much much better viewing angle and it makes sense.

    However, you don't have to fly the wheel landing faster less your righting some x-winds.

    I rem flying with an ace 210 pilot. We had a sea food store on Jewel Lake and flew shrimp form Homer to ANC. Well he flew that plane hot onto the toudhdown everytime. I got to admit it was very cool and smooth as glass. Well with 7k-hrs it aught to have been. That said,.....no place for that on bush strips or gravel bars. No place..

    Thanks all for the reasons for the steep slow approach. Makes a lot of sense and 40-deg flaps makes it slow. Ha!

    Rick

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    ITs simple to me for short field landings, you need a steeper angle, followed by a little power to slow sink rate down, like paul claus uses at Valdez, cause the energy can go one of two ways, either down into the ground or or be disipated through additional distance. Just throw a baseball 40 mph and see how far it goes, then throw it the same speed into the ground and see which ball goes farther. Bush wheels help because not only are great on rough terrain, but asorbing the energy and removing allot of stress on the fuselage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry View Post
    ITs simple to me for short field landings, you need a steeper angle, followed by a little power to slow sink rate down, like paul claus uses at Valdez, cause the energy can go one of two ways, either down into the ground or or be disipated through additional distance. Just throw a baseball 40 mph and see how far it goes, then throw it the same speed into the ground and see which ball goes farther. Bush wheels help because not only are great on rough terrain, but asorbing the energy and removing allot of stress on the fuselage.
    Sounds good, but remember that power controrls altitude while the elevator(s) back there controls airspeed. Since the plane must be stalled to finally quit flying and land, why not slow that sink rate with the elevator(s) in the final phase, just before touchdown? Or am I, as usually, just full of prunes . . . . . ?

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    Several years ago the FAA changed the Practical Test Standards for short field landings by eliminating the approach over a 50' obstacle. That's why you see more people using a low approach for short fields now. The fact is that the approach has nothing to do with how far the airplane will roll after it touches down. You can fly a steep approach, a shallow approach, an inverted approach or even a loop on final. The only thing that matters is that just prior to touching the ground, the aircraft is stabilized at the slowest possible airspeed, touches down at the right spot and the pilot uses the most efficient braking available to bring the plane to a stop. The approach is only important to the pilot, not the airplane. There are variables like wind and slope but in my opinion a pilot should use the approach that works best for him or her given the local conditions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tralika View Post
    Several years ago the FAA changed the Practical Test Standards for short field landings by eliminating the approach over a 50' obstacle. That's why you see more people using a low approach for short fields now. The fact is that the approach has nothing to do with how far the airplane will roll after it touches down. You can fly a steep approach, a shallow approach, an inverted approach or even a loop on final. The only thing that matters is that just prior to touching the ground, the aircraft is stabilized at the slowest possible airspeed, touches down at the right spot and the pilot uses the most efficient braking available to bring the plane to a stop. The approach is only important to the pilot, not the airplane. There are variables like wind and slope but in my opinion a pilot should use the approach that works best for him or her given the local conditions.
    Sorry but, while the airspeed is important to flight, ground speed is more important to the landing roll. While I agree that the "lowest possible airspeed" is critical, a steeper angle at the same airspeed will give you a slower ground speed. During any approach, and with the airspeed the same in both a shallow and a steep approach, travel across the ground during the approach will be less with the steeper angle. As for the FAA's having elimated the requirement for approaches over 50' obstacles, carry that odd thought through an emergency landing sequence. I certainly wouldn't opt for a flat approach angle, would you? Without power, there would be no way in which to "stretch the glide" if the plane is just a bit short of the landing spot. With a steeper glide angle, and given the same "just a little bit short" situation, the pilot could always lower the nose a bit for just a little more airspeed. Forward slips, sometimes quite critical in emergency landing situations, are pretty dangerous during flat approaches, since the pilot can't lower the nose much to control airspeed loss during the slip. Scoot out to your favorite gravel bar and try a few both ways . . . . . You may want to change your mind. Or - - - - - you may not................................

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    This is the first mention of slips or rudder use during a steep approach. Griz is right and remember you can trade airspeed for altitude and visa versa until you run out of both.

    Trim the plane 5 knots above stall and keep it high with power then turn the plane sideways if you must to get it down and kick it straight for touch down....use those things on the bottom of your legs. It has worked on everything from a Cub to an Otter for me but they don't teach it anymore, I guess because of the PTS changes.

    3 degree approaches belong on the the ILS!!

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    Whelp I'm just now comfortable in my 180 and learning learning learning. It's fun. Still not as comfortable as the 172 but at the point I don't think I'll kill myself! Ha!

    I started with the wheel landing technique and trying to get it down. Have done the 3-pointers also. They are easier and seem slower but that's just because I haven't gotten the MAF technique down. Here it is with a link following the description. The link is more detailed and a little of it's background/history.

    I'd be interested in hearing comments from all you "Ace Pilots" out there.

    Bill White

    AGAIN TO CLARIFY THIS GREAT TECHNIQUE.

    YOU TURN ON FINAL APPROX 1 MILE OUT

    ADD FULL FLAPS AND REDUCE THROTTLE TO 12"-14" TO GET 500 FPM DESCENT AT 60 KTS INDICATED (65 IF ITS WINDY).

    THE AIRCRAFT IS TRIMMED TO A LEVEL
    ATTITUDE.

    YOUR PLANE IS PARALLEL TO THE GROUND(HORIZONTAL) ALL THE WAY DOWN FINAL AND THERE'S NOTHING TO DO BUT ENJOY THE RIDE, UNLESS THERE'S A CROSSWIND TO CORRECT FOR. UNTIL YOU GET ABOUT 20' ABOVE THE RUNWAY THEN THE ONLY THING YOU DO IS PULL (EASE ON) SLIGHT BACK PRESSURE FOR ONLY 3-4 SECONDS
    AND RELEASE IT TO ASSUME ORIGINAL LEVEL ATTITUDE.

    THIS WILL LOWER YOUR DESCENT TO AROUND 200 FPM UNTIL TOUCHDOWN.

    THE ONLY THING THAT CHANGED WAS YOUR RATE OF DECENT AT THE 20' AGL POINT.

    THAT'S WHY THIS WORKS SO WELL. YOU'RE NEVER CHASING OR WAITING FOR ANYTHING TO HAPPEN. YOU'RE IN COMPLETE CONTROL ALL THE WAY

    http://www.young-river.com/c180/wheel.html

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    Good pilots that are proficient to commercial pilot standards can do a very steep final approach with the nose high touching in a 3-point attitude and stop alarmingly short. They can do it time after time. It's a great technique. Classic short field technique. The shallow, power-on approaches with the plane hanging on the prop is the stuff of contests. Contests are flown to large, wide, paved runways with no obstacles. It doesn't apply where most pilots go. Crosswinds, obstacles, and the combination mechanical turbulence on short final? I'll take the steep approach and the reserve energy options it offers me. When my landings start getting erratic it's usually because I'm approaching too flat.

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    I've only got a few thousand hours of tail wheel time so I'm still learning too. I never taught numbers except stall speed because things can change all the time and so can stall speed....wind or no wind....are you landing down wind....wind shear....cross wind beyond 10 knots...are flaps appropriate/how much....steady wind or gusty....plane at gross or light....water or ice on the runway....CG forward or to the back....external loads...is the runway short and soft....are there rocks to dodge....up hill or down...can you do a go around if necessary....density altitude...are you carrying ice and so on....the list is endless and changing every time you land or take off.

    Make the airplane do what you want or need it to do...whatever it takes to make that happen. Always fly the airplane and don't just go for a ride....if things don't go as planned always have a way out and last but not least.... don't stall the wings until the wheels are on the ground...to do otherwise is bad form.

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    Will start a new thread. I may inadvertently hijacked this one. Sorry for that guys.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RocketRick View Post
    Whelp I'm just now comfortable in my 180 and learning learning learning. It's fun. Still not as comfortable as the 172 but at the point I don't think I'll kill myself! Ha!

    I started with the wheel landing technique and trying to get it down. Have done the 3-pointers also. They are easier and seem slower but that's just because I haven't gotten the MAF technique down. Here it is with a link following the description. The link is more detailed and a little of it's background/history.

    I'd be interested in hearing comments from all you "Ace Pilots" out there.

    Bill White

    AGAIN TO CLARIFY THIS GREAT TECHNIQUE.

    YOU TURN ON FINAL APPROX 1 MILE OUT

    ADD FULL FLAPS AND REDUCE THROTTLE TO 12"-14" TO GET 500 FPM DESCENT AT 60 KTS INDICATED (65 IF ITS WINDY).

    THE AIRCRAFT IS TRIMMED TO A LEVEL
    ATTITUDE.

    YOUR PLANE IS PARALLEL TO THE GROUND(HORIZONTAL) ALL THE WAY DOWN FINAL AND THERE'S NOTHING TO DO BUT ENJOY THE RIDE, UNLESS THERE'S A CROSSWIND TO CORRECT FOR. UNTIL YOU GET ABOUT 20' ABOVE THE RUNWAY THEN THE ONLY THING YOU DO IS PULL (EASE ON) SLIGHT BACK PRESSURE FOR ONLY 3-4 SECONDS
    AND RELEASE IT TO ASSUME ORIGINAL LEVEL ATTITUDE.

    THIS WILL LOWER YOUR DESCENT TO AROUND 200 FPM UNTIL TOUCHDOWN.

    THE ONLY THING THAT CHANGED WAS YOUR RATE OF DECENT AT THE 20' AGL POINT.

    THAT'S WHY THIS WORKS SO WELL. YOU'RE NEVER CHASING OR WAITING FOR ANYTHING TO HAPPEN. YOU'RE IN COMPLETE CONTROL ALL THE WAY

    http://www.young-river.com/c180/wheel.html
    Hey RocketRick - - - I'm not being critical here, but where are you going to land if the engine finally goes to sleep while you're at 60-mpn, hanging beneath full flaps, and one mile out on a looooong final?

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    Never shared this before but it's time has come.

    I was flying a 207 for several weeks with a fuel injected engine...this day, I was returning from Seldovia to Homer in the Otter and was making a high round approach since it was a long runway and I did not want to taxi a long way so I would land near the company ramp. On the last 30 degrees of turn the big round engine sputtered and stopped...prop windmilling. Fortunately, I was high and almost over the runway and I set up to deadstick on the runway. about 100 feet above the runway I realized I had not pulled carb heat and within 10 seconds or so the engine coughed and restarted...landing was normal from there. One passenger asked me if it was a good idea to practice engine outs with passengers on board...I said no and continued to unload the plane.

    If I had been on a long final it very well could have ended differently. What did I learn...keep the plane high and clean on approach and think about what you are flying and what is different in each plane. Had I used the check list as I should have, that would not have happened!!!! When you get cocky... you get bit!!

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    Good story. It reminds me of pulling the mixture when I meant to pull carb heat. Trees look bigger when the motor noise stops.

  19. #19
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    Default Landing Technique 180B

    Griz - Land in the trees? Ha!

    No I haven't been doing the mile out approach. Just doing the normal pattern and the set up on the way mostly on final.

    Gonna try and get 'er to 80-mph on down wind and 10-deg flaps, another 10-deg flaps on base(20-deg total), pull power back on final to get to ard 70-mph and add another degree of flaps(30-deg flaps). Try to get 500-fpm decent or less if possible. Add to 40-deg flaps if strip made. The stalling speed is less then 50-mph so coming to roundout at 65-mph doesn't seem too fast to me yeah?

    PID and Lowrider - My instructor last year and this year did not require me to pull carb heat so I have not been using it at all except during runup. The previous owner said he only noticed it if the temps were in the 50s and high humidity. I always used carb heat on landings in the 150, 152 and 172s.

    Question. With the 0-470k engine, should I ALWAYS pull carb heat before landing?

    Rick

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Pid View Post
    Good story. It reminds me of pulling the mixture when I meant to pull carb heat. Trees look bigger when the motor noise stops.


    Glad you admitted that. I did it once while banner towing. Still have a red face, and that happened over a quarter century ago!

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