The following stories from the May 15, 2009, edition of AOPA ePilot were provided to AOPA members who expressed an interest in the particular subject areas. Any AOPA member can receive information tailored to their areas of interest by updating their preferences online.
Abeam the numbers
Timing is everything. That’s certainly true if a landing approach is to work out perfectly and avoid such problems as floating before touchdown, as the subject of the May 8 “ Training Tip” explained. But timing isn’t important only during the final approach, roundout, and flare. Precise timing is required throughout the entire pattern, with the payoff coming when you finish with a great landing. Timing is especially important when you transition from straight and level to a descent when you are abeam the numbers.
“This leg should be approximately 1/2 to 1 mile out from the landing runway, and at the specified traffic pattern altitude. During this leg, the before-landing check should be completed and the landing gear extended if retractable. Pattern altitude should be maintained until abeam the approach end of the landing runway. At this point, power should be reduced and a descent begun,” explains Chapter 7 of the Airplane Flying Handbook . Then what happens? “The downwind leg continues past a point abeam the approach end of the runway to a point approximately 45 degrees from the approach end of the runway, and a medium bank turn is made onto the base leg,” the chapter continues.
That’s the basic idea, and it’s a time-tested way to learn traffic pattern procedures. But airport operations may require a modified method, as flight instructor and aviation humorist Rod Machado explains in a discussion of “When to descend” on the AOPA Flight Training Web site.
The term abeam has other uses too. “When landing at a towered airport, you may be asked to report your position abeam the tower,” Elizabeth A. Tennyson wrote in the September 2000 AOPA Flight Training’s “ Aviation Speak.” “Your aircraft is abeam a given point when that point is approximately 90 degrees off your left or right side.”
Add “abeam” to your aviation glossary. It will add quality to your flying!
Powerful Learning offers IFR review study
Powerful Learning has introduced a new study software: the “IFR Pilot Review System.” The software is designed for pilots who already have an instrument rating but want to prepare for an instrument proficiency check or flight review. It includes a full IFR library, a database of FAA knowledge test questions, virtual flashcards, and more. The program is available on CD for $75 or as a download for $65.