Features

April 2015 Issue

The Last 400 Feet

Diving for the runway after a precision approach is a really bad idea, especially when waiting a bit longer will take us right to the runway if we let it.

In many conversations with instrument instructors, I’ve noted a common concern about the way many pilots conclude practice precision approaches (ILS or GPS LPV) under the “hood”: They do a great job of keeping the needles near the center as decision altitude nears; airspeed, descent rate and heading all would be appropriate. But when the hood came off at DA and the pilot spotted the runway, it was Katie bar the door. What happened next can be summarized as a whirlwind of activity in the left seat as the power was yanked back, flap deflection increased and a dive for the runway threshold commenced. It was as if there were some sort of prize for landing short.

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