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10 Ways To Perfect Your Landings

Do you have a perfect landing every time? Neither do we. If you want to make your landings better, remember these 10 tips.

1) Fly your pattern speeds.

Most manufactures have recommended pattern speeds, at least for final approach. And if they don't, the FAA recommends 1.4 x VS0 for base, and 1.3 x VS0 for final.

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2) Avoid major power changes.

If you're having to make a series of major power changes during legs of the pattern, you aren't flying a stabilized approach. Use known power settings for each leg of the pattern, and make small corrections to for a constant, stable descent to landing.

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3) Know where the wind is coming from.

Wind corrections are important for every leg of the pattern. One of the most common pattern errors is overshooting final, which happens for several reasons - the first of which is wind.

If you have a tailwind on base, you'll have a high groundspeed on base. The higher your groundspeed, the earlier you need to start your turn to roll out perfectly on centerline.


4) Your aiming point shouldn't move in the windscreen.

This tip goes way back to your first few flights as a student pilot. The spot you're aiming for shouldn't change its position on the windscreen (up or down). If you're stabilized, your aiming point will be glued to one spot on your windscreen the entire time on final.

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5) If you're having a hard time with a crosswind, try less flaps.

One of the few cases you may not want to use full flaps is in strong crosswinds. By landing with less than full flaps, you'll land at a slightly higher airspeed, which makes your flight controls more effective at counteracting the crosswind.


6) Use your visual aids.

If the runway has a VASI or PAPI installed, follow it for vertical guidance during your final approach.

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7) Watch for the runway to zoom in size. This is when you should begin your flare.

As you approach the runway, it expands in size steadily. Once you get to approximately 10 feet above the pavement, the runway will begin to expand rapidly in your windscreen. When this happens, it's time to flare.


8) Transition your eyes down the runway during flare.

During your round out, look 3-4 centerline stripes down the runway to get an accurate sight picture. If you focus too close in front of your aircraft during the round out, you can flare late, and if you focus too far down the runway, you can flare too early.

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9) Fly your plane all the way to the ground.

Don't give up when you're a few feet above the runway. Maintain positive control all the way to the ground.

Wes Van Dell - Windland Photography

10) In strong crosswinds, increase your aileron deflection as you decelerate on the runway.

After you touch down, you need to keep your plane from weathervaning into the wind. To do that, slowly add full aileron deflection into the wind to keep your wings level. At the same time, use your rudder to keep the nose aligned with the runway. In most cases, you'll be cross-controlling the airplane. In the picture below, you'd use left aileron and right rudder to control yourself on rollout.


Want better landings? Sign up for the our Mastering Takeoffs and Landings online course. It's full of tips and techniques you can use on your next flight.


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