Power off 180º Accuracy Landing

power off 180

Now we’re going to execute a Power Off 180º Accuracy Landing. Simply, we’re reducing the power to idle abeam the touchdown point, and exercising the same requirements for a short field landing in terms of our spot — 0 + 200 feet.


What is the purpose of a power off 180?

Why would we be doing this power-off procedure on the commercial pilot level, anyway?

Well, it takes a lot of skill, great energy management and the proper execution increases your (and your passenger’s) likelihood of survival if you ever have an engine out. Therefore, it’s actually quite a practical maneuver to learn. If you were to have any issue, you will now have some tools in your toolbox to get down on a perfect spot, maybe THE only spot, to land.

This power off 180º maneuver (or short approach, as ATC calls it) is a fantastic way to learn how your airplane flies. It’s one thing to fly around with a bunch of power, and to approach with power. It’s an entirely different thing to feel all the extra energy your airplane has on its own, with the addition of gravity bringing you down.

A great way of thinking of this is ‘buoyancy’.

Like a boat, we have a certain amount of that buoyancy left in the wing as we work our way down. It’s a matter of timing and precision, feeling out the constant energy state of the airplane, and flying accordingly.

As you’re abeam and setup, pull the power. Immediately shoot for your best glide. In my case, it’s 80MPH or about 70KTS. You’ll fly one continuous arc to the runway touchdown spot, constantly evaluating your energy state.

Several tools are available to you to nail this landing. The first is distance. As you draw that curve to 180º, the size of that arc really matters. You get to pick how much distance you cover over the ground on the way to your landing spot. Shallow out your bank and stay out a bit longer. Even consider squaring up your turns if you’re still too high.

The next tool is drag.

Think flaps. The timeliness of your flap deployment is essential. Too high, or too fast? Consider adding the drag earlier, to slow down and increase your descent angle, or simply slow down. Too low, too slow, or just enough energy? Use your distance to go more direct to your landing point, and don’t think about adding drag yet unless necessary. You don’t even have to add those flaps. Keep the speed up and get there if you’re running out of distance.

Now, hit your target with final adjustments. This will take time to understand. It’s better to come in a little too high than too low. You can always slip down, or zig-zag on the final to make some more distance.

Don’t forget to use the ground effect to your advantage. It’s amazing what a little bit of floating in the ground effect will do. It could give you that extra little bump to get to the touchdown zone, so don’t panic.

Also, too much energy and you’ll float.

There you have it, now you’re ready to take on a power off 180º

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