May 2010 Issue

Ready To Land?

Preparing to land is also a mental process requiring more than just configuring the aircraft.

Years ago, when I was still just a student trying to figure out a Cessna 150, I managed to convince a CFI to sign me off for soloing a Cherokee 140. It was bigger, had a low wing (not that thereís anything wrong with that) and four seats. At the time, it seemed like a 727. At this point in my training, I also had been signed off for solo flights to and from a couple of nearby non-towered airports. Soon, I decided to go fly the thing around the local area. Hearing this, the FBO asked me to visit one of those nearby airports to drop off some small items. I willingly agreed, loaded the stuff and launched uneventfully. Soon, as I cruised toward my destination, it dawned on me: I had never landed a 727/Cherokee 140 by myself. Since Iím still around to write about it, itís obvious it all worked out. I remembered my training, ran the checklist and spent most of my time in the pattern ensuring the airplane was ready to land. Would that we all paid as much attention to readying the airplane to land as we do simply moving various switches and levers.

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