Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Greasing It On: 20 Tips To Get ’Er Done

It’s all in the details. And in the pilot’s attitude.

A good landing begins with a stabilized approach. Visualize a definite path that ends on a specific spot, and make it happen.
4. Don’t trim to zero pressure.
Rather than trimming every bit of pressure out, trim so the stick/yoke is just barely pressing against your hand. This way, you’ll have a better feeling of what the airplane is doing, and what to do about it.

5. Keep the ball in the middle.
Except when slipping or fighting a crosswind, the ball should be nailed right in the middle. That greatly increases overall efficiency, which maximizes glide distance and keeps the turns cleaner.

On Final

Once we’ve turned final, the game becomes one of arriving in what some call the “rocking chair,” and others refer to as “the sweet spot—” in the exact spot over the runway, and in the exact condition and configuration the situation calls for. Every airplane has that “sweet spot,” but if we do a lousy job of flying final, finding that spot will range from illusive to downright impossible.

6. The numbers have it.
When on final, make believe the runway doesn’t exist, and focus all attention on the numbers. Using them as a reference all the way down doesn’t mean we’ll land on them, but it does guarantee we’ll touch down in the first 500-700 feet.

7. Throttle follows the numbers.
If doing a power approach, the throttle follows the numbers. If they’re moving up the windshield (away from us), we’re going to be low, and the throttle follows them. Just the opposite if they’re moving down the windshield.

8. Throttle movements should be small and on time.
We visually fixate on the numbers, and every time we see a movement in them, the throttle gently follows them.

9. Nail the speed.
Forget using a speed range on approach, e.g. 85-90 mph. Pick a speed out of the POH, and that’s the speed to be held within one or two mph.


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