September 2017 Issue

Stabilizing Your Approaches

Once you establish the correct airspeed and descent rate, fly to your aiming point.

Stabilized approaches have gotten a lot attention lately, not only with those who fly airplanes, but also with the general public. The proliferation of video cameras has done quite a good job of educating people on how an otherwise airworthy aircraft can be flown into the ground. As the images play out on the screen, a disembodied voice inevitably will at some point attribute the carnage to an approach that was not stabilized.

While the voice might not mention just what that thing that was lacking in said accident really is, people will at least remember the phrase the same way they remember words such as shark, fire, disco or myocardial infarction. The true meaning is vague, but they do know it is usually associated with something bad. With that in mind, letís add some clarity by reviewing what a stabilized approach is. Perhaps if we understand what it is, we can then fly it.

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