John Swanson was an All-American fencing champion at the Air Force Academy, then became a …
Factors of a Stabilized Approach
Maintain a specified descent rate.
Maintain a specified airspeed.
Complete all briefings and checklists.
Configure aircraft for landing (gear, flaps, etc).
Be stabilized by 1,000 feet for IMC operations; 500 feet for VMC approach.
Ensure only small changes in heading/pitch are necessary to maintain the correct flight path. Go-Around for Safety If these factors are not met, the approach becomes “unstabilized,” which means a go-around for another attempt at landing. If you choose to continue with an unstabilized approach, you risk landing too high, too fast, out of alignment with the runway centerline, or otherwise being unprepared for landing. These situations can result in loss of control of your aircraft.
Are Stabilized Approaches Always Safer? Yes, if you’ve incorporated the checklists and are prepared for a safe landing. It’s a good idea to execute a go around if your checklists are not completed. Your safety depends on your ability to focus on safely touching down.
Tips for a Stabilized Approach:
Pay attention to the wind in traffic pattern operations, especially on the base to final turn.
Adjust your stabilized approach guidelines to your type of aircraft based on manufacturer’s guidance.
Aircraft should be configured for landing at some predetermined distance from the airport or altitude, after which only small corrections to pitch, heading, and power setting should be made.
If not stabilized, go around.
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