Features

September 2016 Issue

Bottom of the White

When we get slow, we increase the likelihood of losing control, along with the consequences.

When transitioning between Earth and sky and back again, we fly at the lower end of the controlled-flight regime—as Goldilocks might say, “Not too fast, not too slow, but just right.” Pilots departing generally spend less time in the bottom range of their aircraft’s airspeed envelope than during arrivals and approaches. Departing, we accelerate into the takeoff roll, lift off and, still accelerating, climb. Arrivals are the opposite. We descend and slow to approach speed, enter the pattern, and decelerate even more when sliding down the final.

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