May 10, 2013
Does your flight instructor like to draw diagrams to illustrate points about aerodynamics or maneuvers? Now you can turn the tables, while likely acquiring some insights that will turn your landings into masterpieces.
You need not be a talented artist to tackle this drill. But if you can pilot a pencil around a piece of notebook paper and sketch out the desired pitch attitude of your trainer during the phases of a final approach and landing—and say a few words about the angle of attack at each phase—your talent for flying will earn wide critical acclaim.
Before you start your work of art, spend some time watching airplanes land. Then sketch out a side view of some aircraft completing their final approaches. Document details: the pitch attitude, glide angle, the aircraft's height above the runway during roundout and flare. Show the approximate pitch attitude at touchdown. Give a general idea of the angle of attack at each phase. From the roundout through the flare it should be increasing, reaching maximum just at touchdown.
From your observations you will learn to recognize when the angle of attack of an approaching aircraft is a mismatch for its landing phase. If pitch is too low (airspeed excessive) the aircraft may float, skip, or even touch on the nosewheel. If pitch is excessive for the height above the runway, the aircraft is at risk of mushing toward the ground in a semi-stall or dropping in—audibly—from a few feet in the air (unless a go-around is commenced).
Both errors have the same fundamental cause: failure to achieve the appropriate attitude (and therefore, airspeed) for each phase of the landing.
For you and your flight instructor, the goal is to determine whether you have the right impression about this basic concept. Some trainees do, but it turns out that they simply lack the confidence to make the necessary control inputs. That's not the same learning challenge as a misunderstanding of the concept, and requires a more abstract approach to licking the problem.
Creating the diagram is a good way to grade your grasp of the goal. It’s also good practice for the day when you must exhibit your knowledge for the designated examiner on your flight test.
Jeppesen now has e-books available via its website JeppDirect.com. Among the books available is The Aviation Dictionary, a resource to become well versed in the unique language of aviation. The book has more than 10,000 definitions and is a great resource for pilots and maintenance technicians. It costs $21.95.
King Schools has released a free, online nontowered airport operations course. The new course takes customers through the paces of arrival and departure from airports without an operating control tower, and shows how to use skillful communication together with situational awareness to help manage collision risk.
Note: Products listed have not been evaluated by ePilot editors unless otherwise noted. AOPA assumes no responsibility for products or services listed or for claims or actions by manufacturers or vendors.
Question: What are the pilot's responsibilities when conducting land and hold short operations (LAHSO)?
Answer: Aeronautical Information Manual 4-3-11 says that land and hold short operations include landing and holding short of an intersecting runway, an intersecting taxiway, or some other designated point on a runway. LAHSO is an air traffic control procedure requiring pilot participation to balance the needs for increased airport capacity and system efficiency, consistent with safety. A pilot can choose whether to participate in LAHSO operations. Student pilots and pilots not familiar with the operations should not participate and should not accept a LAHSO clearance. The pilot in command has the final authority in accepting or declining a LAHSO clearance and should decline if he or she determines it will compromise safety. Some other factors pilots should consider are the location of the LAHSO point, wind conditions, aircraft conditions, and runway conditions. Once accepted, a LAHSO clearance must be adhered to unless an amended clearance is obtained or an emergency exists. If a rejected landing (go-around) becomes necessary after accepting a LAHSO, the pilot should maintain a safe separation from other aircraft or vehicles, and should promptly notify the controller. Here's a guide from the AOPA Foundation's Air Safety Institute on LAHSO.
Got a question for our technical services staff? Email [email protected] or call the Pilot Information Center, 800/872-2672. Don’t forget the online archive of “Final Exam” questions and answers, searchable by keyword or topic.
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