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Quick Tips: Short Field Landings

If you're flying into an airport that has a short runway, or a runway with obstacles at the end, you need a more precise landing. Here's how to do it...

Nicolas Shelton

The perfect short field landing starts with a great pattern. Fly your normal pattern speeds until your final leg, where you will maintain your manufacturer-recommended short field approach speed. This allows you to clear obstacles with a steeper glidepath, but also allows you to flare without excess floating.


As you roll out on final, focus on your aiming point, which should be 1-2 stripes in front of your touchdown point.

As you approach your touchdown point, keep reducing power and start flaring. Your goal is to touch down on your point at the minimum controllable airspeed, which is just above stall speed. By touching down at stall speed, you have the lowest possible ground speed, and you're setting yourself up for the shortest possible ground roll.


Once you touch down, continue holding back pressure on the controls and use your elevator as a drag surface.

Now apply your brakes firmly, but avoid skidding. If you start to skid, reduce your braking pressure slightly. Smooth application of your brakes is the key to a good landing rollout.


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You'll learn strategies, tactics, and fundamental principles that you can use on your next flight, and just about any takeoff or landing scenario you'll experience as a pilot.

Plus, for less than the cost of a flight lesson, you get lifetime access to tools that increase your confidence and make your landings more consistent.

Ready to get started? Click here to purchase Mastering Takeoffs and Landings now.


Nicolas Shelton

Nicolas is a flight instructor from Southern California. He is currently studying aviation at Purdue University. He's worked on projects surrounding aviation safety and marketing. You can reach him at

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