CHAPTER 11. Approaches and Landings

360° Power-Off Approach

The 360° power-off approach is one in which the aircraft glides through a 360° change of direction to the preselected landing spot. The entire pattern is designed to be circular but the turn may be shallowed, steepened, or discontinued at any point to adjust the accuracy of the fl ightpath. The 360° approach is started from a position over the approach end of the landing runway or slightly to the side of it, with the aircraft headed in the proposed landing direction. [Figure 11-34] It is usually initiated from approximately 2,000 feet or more above the ground—where the wind may vary signifi cantly from that at lower altitudes. This must be taken into account when maneuvering the aircraft to a point from which a 90° or 180° power-off approach can be completed.

After the throttle is closed over the intended point of landing, the proper glide speed should immediately be established and a medium-banked turn made in the desired direction to arrive at the downwind reference position opposite the intended landing spot. The altitude at the downwind reference position should be approximately 1,000 feet above the ground. After reaching that point, the turn should be continued to arrive at a base-leg key position.

The angle of bank can be varied as needed throughout the pattern to correct for wind conditions and to align the aircraft with the fi nal approach. The turn to fi nal should be completed at a minimum altitude of 300 feet above the terrain.

Common errors in the performance of power-off accuracy approaches include:

  • Downwind leg too far from the runway/landing area;
  • Overextension of downwind leg resulting from tailwind;
  • Inadequate compensation for wind drift on base leg;
  • Attempting to “stretch” the glide during undershoot;
  • Forcing the aircraft onto the runway in order to avoid overshooting the designated landing spot.
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