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Thread: "If you can't make the field, you're too low."

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  1. #1
    N404CX's Avatar
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    "If you can't make the field, you're too low."

    When I got my tail wheel endorsement a few years back, my instructor asserted that you should always have enough altitude to reach the field if you loose your engine during the approach.

    That sounds good to me, but I see a number of videos online that do not seem to support this recommendation; that is, they're dragging it in.

    I'm not good at math, so I don't know how being on the glide slope, or other altitude aid, (VASI) would compare with the glide angle of the aircraft.

    All things considered, do you think "If you can't make the field, you're too low." is a good rule to follow Thanks. ~glen

  2. #2

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    Normally yes, but if you want to land on a short bush area you probably need to drag it in. Just part of the risk. Try to avoid words like "always".
    For normal runways I like to make the approach high enough so I can at least make the grass threshold.
    Last edited by Bill Berson; 04-21-2018 at 11:47 PM.

  3. #3

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    +1 to normally yes. My normal pattern keeps me within gliding distance of the runway. I pull power to idle when abeam the numbers on downwind then 'glide' through base and final to touchdown on the numbers. I consider it a 'failure' if I have to add power due to miscalculating winds, etc.

  4. #4
    George Sychrovsky's Avatar
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    I compare the difference between the two approaches to the difference between piloting and airplane driving ,
    If you do it S3flyer describes every landing is an engine out practice , and if (when) your engine actually quits , you don't have to think about how and what to do to land it , you will just land the way you always do, be it a runway or a field.
    Disclaimer ; opinions of others will vary depending on what they’re selling.

    http://the-grand-design.com/

  5. #5

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    99% of the time when you're flying, there is no runway in gliding distance. Why do we pretend the traffic pattern is the only place where the engine might quit?

  6. #6

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    This is one of the reasons I'm working towards what amounts to a parachute drop onto the end of the runway, as my aircraft has the glide angle of a rock.

    However, not every strip is the same, and not all conditions are ripe for it.

    I tend to close up to the airport on the downwind, though, as I'm in a very slow aircraft.

    When the winds are closing in on max crosswind I tend to shallow up the approach a bit, which requires power.

    @ Marty - the wife was noticing my flight paths as described on the map in CloudAhoy and asked if there was a reason I tend to avoid flying over trees in favor of skirting them with fields to one side or another. Yep, dear, there is.
    The opinions and statements of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by S3flyer View Post
    +1 to normally yes. My normal pattern keeps me within gliding distance of the runway. I pull power to idle when abeam the numbers on downwind then 'glide' through base and final to touchdown on the numbers. I consider it a 'failure' if I have to add power due to miscalculating winds, etc.
    This is a very effective technique for landing an LSA. Most, due to light weight, have a very good glide ratio. On short final, slip if too high, add power if too low.

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