Don’t Make a Flat Final Approach

Last Sunday, I got to witness a lot of approaches and landings. One consistent observation is that many were coming in low, flat, and slow over the fence.

I feel uncomfortable doing that. The ground is rather hard and unforgiving and I like to give myself more margin clearing obstacles if I can. Obviously sometimes you can’t if the field is exceptionaly short, but this is not the case at Blairstown. Even more so because folks are not taking advantage of their effective spoilers to shorten up their approach.

Instead, come in higher and steeper, aiming for the middle of the runway. When you’ve “got it made”, then lay in the brakes and shorten up the approach. Clear the fence ~ 25-50ft with lots of spoiler and keep the brakes open into the flare. Then ease off the brakes a bit when you’re in the flare to avoid hitting the tail and then stabilize into the float. Once established in the float, start opening up more brakes slowly. Once you touch down, bring the spoilers to full, stick all the way back for taxi and clear the runway.

Doing this, you will land short while clearing the fence at a steeper angle.

I’ve set this up in Condor as a visualization. For folks who have the sim, you can also practice it… fpl file attached below. The red curve is what I saw a lot of people doing. The orange curve is what I like to do.

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