Approach Philosophy...

CapnJim

Well-Known Member
I was hoping to spark some debate about two different modes of thought when approaching to land in visual conditions, which one people prefer, and why. I have been taught two methods so far: Pitch for airspeed-power for rate of descent, and pitch for point-power for airspeed. It seems apparent after thinking about it that both methods do the same exact thing: Stabilize the intended touchdown point in the glareshield, and maintain a relatively stable airspeed until roundout and touchdown, so they are really just different philiosphies on how to achieve that same results; six of one, half a dozen of the other. The latter method seems more intuitive, easy to learn and often yields better results, but the former is a more accurate representation of how an aircraft behaves in the region of reverse command, and would be more useful in avoiding stall/spin situations at slow airspeeds.

What do you think?
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
I was hoping to spark some debate about two different modes of thought when approaching to land in visual conditions, which one people prefer, and why. I have been taught two methods so far: Pitch for airspeed-power for rate of descent, and pitch for point-power for airspeed. It seems apparent after thinking about it that both methods do the same exact thing: Stabilize the intended touchdown point in the glareshield, and maintain a relatively stable airspeed until roundout and touchdown, so they are really just different philiosphies on how to achieve that same results; six of one, half a dozen of the other. The latter method seems more intuitive, easy to learn and often yields better results, but the former is a more accurate representation of how an aircraft behaves in the region of reverse command, and would be more useful in avoiding stall/spin situations at slow airspeeds.

What do you think?

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I personally use the latter. Really, conditions permitting, the optimal thing to be able to do on a precision approach is to set one power setting, and fly off of that pitching or banking as necessary; though rarely in the soup will one be able to do this. Either methodology can easily be practices on an ILS or PAR approach, and in the times that I've actually paid attention to how I was doing it second nature, I've found that on the glidepath:

if slow, I goose the throttles a bit or retract the speedbrakes a few degrees while maintaining the same power setting.

if fast, I fan the speed brakes a few degrees more

if below glideslope, I pitch up to level the aircraft momentarily and recapture the glidepath, while simultaneously goosing a bit of power in to maintain airspeed, knowing that as soon as I hit the glideslope again and pitch a few degrees down, I'll take out the previously applied power.

If above glideslope, power back bit and pitch down to increase my descent rate a few hundred FPM to recapture.

All the same, really.

MD
 

pljenkins

Resident Knucklehead
I prefer the "constant pitch, power controls glide" approach, as it requires less work, at least in my perspective. I've found that if I attempt to remain aimed at a point, the changes in pitch will require a change in power anyway, but now I'm chasing one with the other. In a light aircraft, it's not that big of a deal, since application of power has a prompt result. When dealing with a heavier aircraft though, there is quite a lapse between an input and a result. If you're trying to change too many things at once, you might find yourself behind the airplane at a point in time when being behind the airplane would be a Bad Thing(tm).

Paul
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
When dealing with a heavier aircraft though, there is quite a lapse between an input and a result. If you're trying to change too many things at once, you might find yourself behind the airplane at a point in time when being behind the airplane would be a Bad Thing(tm).

Paul

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Which is one reason I don't play with the power too much, especially with slow-spool turbofans. Managing the speedbrakes gives the same results.

MD
 

davetheflyer

New Member
I think that the whole debate is overblown. If you adjust pitch, you will also need to adjust power and vice versa. It's like they say in Alabama, "it's all relative."
 
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