Chapter 8—Approaches and Landings
Table of Contents
Normal Approach and Landing
Use of Flaps
Estimating Height and Movement
Stabilized Approach Concept
Go-Arounds (Rejected Landings)
Crosswind Approach and Landing
Crosswind Final Approach
Crosswind Roundout (Flare)
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
Late or Rapid Roundout
Floating During Roundout
Ballooning During Roundout
Bouncing During Touchdown
Touchdown in a Drift or Crab
Wing Rising After Touchdown
Reverted Rubber Hydroplaning
GO-AROUNDS (REJECTED LANDINGS)
Whenever landing conditions are not satisfactory, a go-around is warranted. There are many factors that can contribute to unsatisfactory landing conditions. Situations such as air traffic control requirements, unexpected appearance of hazards on the runway, overtaking another airplane, wind shear, wake turbulence, mechanical failure and/or an unstabilized approach are all examples of reasons to discontinue a landing approach and make another approach under more favorable conditions. The assumption that an aborted landing is invariably the consequence of a poor approach, which in turn is due to insufficient experience or skill, is a fallacy. The go-around is not strictly an emergency procedure. It is a normal maneuver that may at times be used in an emergency situation. Like any other normal maneuver, the go-around must be practiced and perfected. The flight instructor should emphasize early on, and the student pilot should be made to understand, that the go-around maneuver is an alternative to any approach and/or landing.
Although the need to discontinue a landing may arise at any point in the landing process, the most critical go-around will be one started when very close to the ground. Therefore, the earlier a condition that warrants a go-around is recognized, the safer the go-around/rejected landing will be. The go-around maneuver is not inherently dangerous in itself. It becomes dangerous only when delayed unduly or executed improperly. Delay in initiating the go-around normally stems from two sources: (1) landing expectancy, or set—the anticipatory belief that conditions are not as threatening as they are and that the approach will surely be terminated with a safe landing, and (2) pride—the mistaken belief that the act of going around is an admission of failure—failure to execute the approach properly. The improper execution of the go- around maneuver stems from a lack of familiarity with the three cardinal principles of the procedure: power, attitude, and configuration.
Power is the pilot’s first concern. The instant the pilot decides to go around, full or maximum allowable takeoff power must be applied smoothly and without hesitation, and held until flying speed and controllability are restored. Applying only partial power in a go-around is never appropriate. The pilot must be aware of the degree of inertia that must be overcome, before an airplane that is settling towards the ground can regain sufficient airspeed to become fully controllable and capable of turning safely or climbing. The application of power should be smooth as well as positive. Abrupt movements of the throttle in some airplanes will cause the engine to falter. Carburetor heat should be turned off for maximum power.
Attitude is always critical when close to the ground, and when power is added, a deliberate effort on the part of the pilot will be required to keep the nose from pitching up prematurely. The airplane executing a go- around must be maintained in an attitude that permits a buildup of airspeed well beyond the stall point before any effort is made to gain altitude, or to execute a turn. Raising the nose too early may produce a stall from which the airplane could not be recovered if the go-around is performed at a low altitude.
A concern for quickly regaining altitude during a go- around produces a natural tendency to pull the nose up. The pilot executing a go-around must accept the fact that an airplane will not climb until it can fly, and it will not fly below stall speed. In some circumstances, it may be desirable to lower the nose briefly to gain airspeed. As soon as the appropriate climb airspeed and pitch attitude are attained, the pilot should “rough trim” the airplane to relieve any adverse control pressures. Later, more precise trim adjustments can be made when flight conditions have stabilized.
In cleaning up the airplane during the go-around, the pilot should be concerned first with flaps and secondly with the landing gear (if retractable). When the decision is made to perform a go-around, takeoff power should be applied immediately and the pitch attitude changed so as to slow or stop the descent. After the descent has been stopped, the landing flaps may be partially retracted or placed in the takeoff position as recommended by the manufacturer. Caution must be used, however, in retracting the flaps. Depending on the airplane’s altitude and airspeed, it may be wise to retract the flaps intermittently in small increments to allow time for the airplane to accelerate progressively as they are being raised. A sudden and complete retraction of the flaps could cause a loss of lift resulting in the airplane settling into the ground. [Figure 8-14]
Unless otherwise specified in the AFM/POH, it is generally recommended that the flaps be retracted (at least partially) before retracting the landing gear—for two reasons. First, on most airplanes full flaps produce more drag than the landing gear; and second, in case the airplane should inadvertently touch down as the go-around is initiated, it is most desirable to have the landing gear in the down-and-locked position. After a positive rate of climb is established, the landing gear can be retracted.
When takeoff power is applied, it will usually be necessary to hold considerable pressure on the controls to maintain straight flight and a safe climb attitude. Since the airplane has been trimmed for the approach (a low power and low airspeed condition), application of maximum allowable power will require considerable control pressure to maintain a climb pitch attitude. The addition of power will tend to raise the airplane’s nose suddenly and veer to the left. Forward elevator pressure must be anticipated and applied to hold the nose in a safe climb attitude. Right rudder pressure must be increased to counteract torque and P-factor, and to keep the nose straight. The airplane must be held in the proper flight attitude regardless of the amount of control pressure that is required. Trim should be used to relieve adverse control pressures and assist the pilot in maintaining a proper pitch attitude. On airplanes that produce high control pressures when using maximum power on go-arounds, pilots should use caution when reaching for the flap handle. Airplane control may become critical during this high workload phase.
The landing gear should be retracted only after the initial or rough trim has been accomplished and when it is certain the airplane will remain airborne. During the initial part of an extremely low go-around, the airplane may settle onto the runway and bounce. This situation is not particularly dangerous if the airplane is kept straight and a constant, safe pitch attitude is maintained. The airplane will be approaching safe flying speed rapidly and the advanced power will cushion any secondary touchdown.
If the pitch attitude is increased excessively in an effort to keep the airplane from contacting the runway, it may cause the airplane to stall. This would be especially likely if no trim correction is made and the flaps remain fully extended. The pilot should not attempt to retract the landing gear until after a rough trim is accomplished and a positive rate of climb is established.
Ground effect is a factor in every landing and every takeoff in fixed-wing airplanes. Ground effect can also be an important factor in go-arounds. If the go-around is made close to the ground, the airplane may be in the ground effect area. Pilots are often lulled into a sense of false security by the apparent “cushion of air” under the wings that initially assists in the transition from an approach descent to a climb. This “cushion of air,” however, is imaginary. The apparent increase in airplane performance is, in fact, due to a reduction in induced drag in the ground effect area. It is “borrowed” performance that must be repaid when the airplane climbs out of the ground effect area. The pilot must factor in ground effect when initiating a go-around close to the ground. An attempt to climb prematurely may result in the airplane not being able to climb, or even maintain altitude at full power.
Common errors in the performance of go-arounds (rejected landings) are: