Chapter 8—Approaches and Landings

Table of Contents
Normal Approach and Landing
    Base Leg
    Final Approach
    Use of Flaps
    Estimating Height and Movement
    Roundout (Flare)
    After-Landing Roll
    Stabilized Approach Concept

Intentional Slips
Go-Arounds (Rejected Landings)
    Ground Effect

Crosswind Approach and Landing
    Crosswind Final Approach
    Crosswind Roundout (Flare)
    Crosswind Touchdown
    Crosswind After-Landing Roll
    Maximum Safe Crosswind Velocities

Turbulent Air Approach and Landing
Short-Field Approach and Landing
Soft-Field Approach and Landing

Power-Off Accuracy Approaches
    90° Power-Off Approach
    180° Power-Off Approach
    360° Power-Off Approach

Emergency Approaches and Landings (Simulated)

Faulty Approaches and Landings
    Low Final Approach
    High Final Approach
    Slow Final Approach
    Use of Power
    High Roundout
    Late or Rapid Roundout
    Floating During Roundout
    Ballooning During Roundout
    Bouncing During Touchdown
    Hard Landing
    Touchdown in a Drift or Crab
    Ground Loop
    Wing Rising After Touchdown

    Dynamic Hydroplaning
    Reverted Rubber Hydroplaning
    Viscous Hydroplaning


A normal approach and landing involves the use of procedures for what is considered a normal situation; that is, when engine power is available, the wind is light or the final approach is made directly into the wind, the final approach path has no obstacles, and the landing surface is firm and of ample length to gradually bring the airplane to a stop. The selected landing point should be beyond the runway’s approach threshold but within the first one-third portion of the runway.

The factors involved and the procedures described for the normal approach and landing also have applications to the other-than-normal approaches and landings which are discussed later in this chapter. This being the case, the principles of normal operations are explained first and must be understood before proceeding to the more complex operations. So that the pilot may better understand the factors that will influence judgment and procedures, that last part of the approach pattern and the actual landing will be divided into five phases: the base leg, the final approach, the roundout, the touchdown, and the after-landing roll.

It must be remembered that the manufacturer’s recommended procedures, including airplane configuration and airspeeds, and other information relevant to approaches and landings in a specific make and model airplane are contained in the FAA-approved Airplane Flight Manual and/or Pilot’s Operating Handbook (AFM/POH) for that airplane. If any of the information in this chapter differs from the airplane manufacturer’s recommendations as contained in the AFM/POH, the airplane manufacturer’s recommendations take precedence.


The placement of the base leg is one of the more important judgments made by the pilot in any landing approach. [Figure 8-1] The pilot must accurately judge the altitude and distance from which a gradual descent will result in landing at the desired spot. The distance will depend on the altitude of the base leg, the effect of wind, and the amount of wing flaps used. When there is a strong wind on final approach or the flaps will be used to produce a steep angle of descent, the base leg must be positioned closer to the approach end of the runway than would be required with a light wind or no flaps. Normally, the landing gear should be extended advisable to discontinue the approach, go around, and and the before landing check completed prior plan to start the turn earlier on the next approach rather to reaching the base leg. than risk a hazardous situation.

Base leg and final approach Figure 8-1. Base leg and final approach.

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PED Publication