March 2011 Issue

Accuracy Landings

Putting the airplane down where you want it is a matter of picking the right spot, controlling airspeed and monitoring your progress.

One of the rewards from operating personal aircraft involves meeting and overcoming challenges, particularly those self-induced by targeting an outcome and nailing it. Many pilots feel an understandable sense of accomplishment with spot-on flight planning. "Got it within two minutes!" one close friend exclaimed a few weeks back about an ETA. Others get seriously into predicting their fuel consumption, then comparing their flight-plan numbers to those on the fuel truck. My aviation upbringing valued many factors, but my mentors were a little like drill sergeants over accurate landings. That meant nosewheel (or tailwheel) on the centerline, inside the touchdown zone, ideally within an airplane length of the threshold paint.

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