A normal approach and landing involves the use of procedures for what is considered a normal situation; that is, when engine power is available, the wind is light, or the final approach is made directly into the wind, the final approach path has no obstacles and the landing surface is firm and of long enough to bring the airplane to a stop.
The selected landing point is normally beyond the runway’s approach threshold but within the first 1⁄3 portion of the runway. (aiming point)To help the pilot better understand the factors that influence judgment and procedures, the last part of the approach pattern and the actual landing is divided into five phases:
1. the base leg
2. the final approach
3. the round out (flare)
4. the touchdown
5. the after-landing roll
1. BASE LEG
The placement of the base leg is one of the more important judgments made by the pilot in any landing approach.The pilot must accurately judge the altitude and distance from which a gradual, stabilized descent results in landing at the desired spot. The distance depends on the altitude of the base leg, the effect of wind, and the amount of wing flaps used. When there is a strong wind on final approach or the flaps are used to produce a steep angle of descent, the base leg must be positioned closer to the approach end of the runway than would be required with a light wind or no flaps. Normally, the landing gear is extended and the before-landing check completed prior to reaching the base leg.
2. FINAL APPROACH
After the base, pilots will turn into final approach, final approach is when the airplane is aligned with the centerline of the runway or landing surface so that drift is recognized immediately. On a normal approach, with no wind drift, the airplane is kept aligned with the runway centerline throughout the approach and landing. After aligning the airplane with the runway centerline, the final flap setting is completed and the pitch attitude adjusted as required for the desired rate of descent. Slight adjustments in pitch and power may be necessary to maintain the descent attitude and the desired approach airspeed.
The flare is a slow, smooth transition from a normal approach attitude to a landing attitude, gradually rounding out the flightpath to one that is parallel with, and within a very few inches above, the runway. When the airplane, in a normal descent, approaches within what appears to be 10 to 20 feet above the ground, the round out or flare is started. This is a continuous process until the airplane touches down on the ground.
The touchdown is the gentle settling of the airplane onto the landing surface. The flare and touchdown are normally made with the engine idling and the airplane at minimum controllable airspeed so that the airplane touches down on the main gear at approximately stalling speed. As the airplane settles, the proper landing attitude is attained by application of whatever back-elevator pressure is necessary.
5. AFTER-LANDING ROLL
The landing process must never be considered complete until the airplane decelerates to the normal taxi speed during the landing roll or has been brought to a complete stop when clear of the landing area. Numerous accidents occur as a result of pilots abandoning their vigilance and failing to maintain positive control after getting the airplane on the ground.