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When to select full flaps for landing?

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Flight Instructor

Years ago, when I was a student pilot it was common to hear that you should select full flaps "when the landing is assured". In other words, make sure you can glide to the runway if you lose an engine. Nowadays, the FAA emphasizes the stabilized approach concept and Chpt 8 cited below seems to support the concept. I currently believe in setting final flaps when rolling out on final approach rather than waiting till short final or very close to the threshold.


What do you favor and what do FAA Examiners favor for CFI's to teach?


Reference: Chapter 8 (“Approach and Landing”) in the FAA’s Airplane Flying Handbook?

"After aligning the airplane with the runway centerline, the final flap setting should be completed and the pitch attitude adjusted as required for the desired rate of descent. Slight adjustments in pitch and power may be necessary to maintain the descent attitude and the desired approach airspeed."

1 Answers

  1. Brian on Jan 31, 2013

    Why can you not stabilize an approach using either method? Personally I teach the runway made full flaps method. Stable approach via pitch attitude for a 5 knot fast approach, dump the last 10 degrees while maintaining the pitch attitude when runway is made. The result is an on airspeed approach without ridiculous use of power.

    Then again I down fly a 3 mile pattern or teach to use a 3 degree glide slope. I’m dangerous. No complaints yet though. 🙂

    Fwiw, I think what they want is a stable pitch attitude. Each notch of flaps is typically 5 knots of speed if pitch is left unchanged. So fly a pitch and do whichever method you prefer and I imagine nobody will complain.

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