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Too High? 5 Things You Can Do To Descend Quickly

This story was made in partnership with Republic Airways. Check out the full series here. Ready to apply for a pilot slot? Submit your application here.

We've all been left a little too high to make a crossing restriction or a safe visual approach. Here's what you can do to descend quickly...

1) Slow Down

The first thing you should do when you need to descend quickly is slow down. The higher your groundspeed, the higher descent rate required to meet a crossing restriction.

2) Configure Flaps Early

Slow below flap extension speed and get the first few notches of flaps down. Increase drag and lift will improve your descent rate at the same airspeed.

3) Put The Landing Gear Down Early

If you really need to slow down, extending the landing gear can be a great way to add a lot of drag. The downside is noise and vibrations caused by flying for extended times with gear-down.

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4) Ask ATC For Turns Or A "360"

There's no harm in asking ATC for a little help when you just can't make a crossing or look too high on final approach. Ask for extended vectors or a quick 360 to allow you enough time to descend.

5) Say "Unable"

When you receive an instruction you just can't comply with, say "unable." Explain you need more room to make the descent and you'll get a new crossing restriction.

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How else can you descend quickly? Tell us in the comments below.


Ready to start your airline career? Want to fly an E-170/175? Get started and apply to Republic Airways today.


Swayne Martin

Swayne is an editor at Boldmethod, certified flight instructor, and a First Officer on the Boeing 757/767 for a Major US Carrier. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota in 2018, holds a PIC Type Rating for Cessna Citation Jets (CE-525), is a former pilot for Mokulele Airlines, and flew Embraer 145s at the beginning of his airline career. Swayne is an author of articles, quizzes and lists on Boldmethod every week. You can reach Swayne at swayne@boldmethod.com, and follow his flying adventures on his YouTube Channel.

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