CHAPTER 11. Approaches and Landings

180° Power-Off Approach

The 180° power-off approach is executed by gliding with the power off from a given point on a downwind leg to a preselected landing spot. [Figure 11-33] It is an extension of the principles involved in the 90° power-off approach just described. Its objective is to further develop judgment in estimating distances and glide ratios, in that the aircraft is fl own without power from a higher altitude and through a 90° turn to reach the base-leg position at a proper altitude for executing the 90° approach.

The 180° power-off approach requires more planning and judgment than the 90° power-off approach. In the execution of 180° power-off approaches, the aircraft is fl own on a downwind heading parallel to the landing runway. The altitude from which this type of approach should be started in the downwind leg is at a normal pattern altitude. This power-off approach should be the normal procedure except for normal light wind landings, the throttle can be brought back to idle between the downwind leg key position and the turn onto the base leg depending on the height and distance from the runway. When abreast of or opposite the desired landing spot or a location closer to the turn onto base if the WSC is further from the runway, the throttle should be closed and the WSC aircraft set to the best glide speed. The point at which the throttle is closed is the downwind key position.

The turn from the downwind leg to the base leg should be a uniform turn with a medium or slightly steeper bank. The degree of bank and amount of this initial turn depends upon the glide angle of the aircraft and the velocity of the wind. Again, the base leg should be positioned as needed for the altitude or wind condition. Position the base leg to conserve or dissipate altitude to reach the desired landing spot. The turn onto the base leg should be made at an altitude high enough and close enough to permit the aircraft to glide to what would normally be the base key position in a 90° power-off approach.

Although the key position is important, it must not be overemphasized or considered as a fi xed point on the ground. Many inexperienced pilots have the false understanding of it as a particular landmark, such as a tree, crossroad, or other visual reference to be reached at a certain altitude. This leaves the pilot at a total loss any time such objects are not present. Both altitude and geographical location should be varied as much as practical to eliminate any such conception. After reaching the base key position, the approach and landing are the same as in the 90° power-off approach.

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