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7 Answers

Instructor wrong normal airspeeds for LSA

Asked by: 2192 views Student Pilot

Hi, I'm a student sport pilot. I like my instructor very much but I'm concerned about the airspeeds she recommends for normal operations for the LSA I'm training in. Example: POH says normal takeoff climb should be with 10 degrees flaps at 65-75 KIAS. The CFI is teaching me to use no flaps and climb out at 80 KIAS. Example: Landing approach speed with full flaps:  POH = 55-60. Instructor: 65. I'm having trouble landing without ballooning or floating. I'm wondering if the 65 airspeed might be part of the problem. Thanks

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7 Answers



  1. Sam Dawson on Oct 26, 2013

    I would have to look at the POH for this LAS, but normally there is no reason to land 5 knots above the recommended speed. 1.3xVso is 1.3xVso. Inability to control energy (speed), is a leading cause of landing accidents- and the ballooning and floating you describe is a symptom of poor energy management. If anything you could probably operate on the slow side during approach (55 KIAS) as the speeds may well be based upon maximum gross weight.

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  2. airhead on Oct 26, 2013

    When we have discussed it she said she likes the added airspeed as insurance against gusts. I assume these numbers from the manual are for a gust-free day?

    It’s a C162
    Vs = 42, Vso=37, from the manual:
    Unless otherwise noted, the following speeds are based on a maximum
    weight of 1320 pounds and may be used for any lesser weight.
    TAKEOFF
    Normal Climb . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 – 75 KIAS
    Short Field Takeoff, Flaps 10°, Speed at 50 Feet . . . . . . . . .55 KIAS
    ENROUTE CLIMB, FLAPS UP
    Normal, Sea Level. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 – 75 KIAS
    Best Rate of Climb . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .62 KIAS
    Best Angle of Climb. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57 KIAS
    LANDING APPROACH
    Normal Approach, Flaps UP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 – 70 KIAS
    Normal Approach, Flaps FULL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 – 60 KIAS
    Short Field Approach, Flaps FULL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50 KIAS

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  3. Matthew Waugh on Oct 26, 2013

    This is more common in the instructor community than you’d hope. It’s the adding 5 knots for the wife, 5 knots for the kids, you get too many pets and you’ll end up with instructors landing at cruise speed. It’s not just LSAs people do it in C152s and C172s etc. and everybody has a different opinion on landing without and without flaps. Show me an instructor and I’ll show you some strange quirk they hold dear.

    In this case, as I understand it, the idea is to add more cushion so the student doesn’t stall, and yes, it’s almost certainly contributing to your difficulty landing.

    You can either live with this instructor (assuming you cannot get them to change) or find a new instructor. But I’m fairly sure your next instructor will have some quirk you don’t agree with.

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  4. Jim F. on Oct 26, 2013

    Yeah, that extra airspeed is definitely the problem. I’m curious what that instructor’s “gust” factor is; Especially in an LSA, that can’t be much… I don’t even start thinking about added speed in a single or light twin until the gust/sheer factor is in the 15-20 range. As Sam said, the speeds in the POH are based on maximum landing weight. The majority of the time, you’ll be quite a bit less than that, and the lower weight will zero-out the need for the +5kt gust factor.

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  5. Sam Dawson on Oct 27, 2013

    The only time you actually need to add airspeed for gusty winds is when there are gusty winds, and even then it should be 1/2 the gust spread. As an example, if the winds of 240@10G20, the gust spread is 10 knots (20-10=10). 1/2*10=5. So in this case one would add 5 knots to the approach speed. In normal conditions, however, it is poor piloting skill to just arbitrarily add more speed and it is one of my pet peeves as an instructor. I would venture to guess that about 75% of the flight reviews I give in owner operated high performance airplanes high approach speeds is a big issue- Bonanza and Mooney pilots especially seem to love 90 KT approach speeds. Heck, I even had a 172 instrument student who was taught to make his approaches with zero flaps and 90 kts. He used up most of an 8500′ runway. We had to spend time on his basics before we proceeded to instrument training.
    In addition to the problem with ballooning you mentioned, the extra speed leads to prop strikes, bent firewalls, collapsed nose gears and losses of directional control.

    I don’t know the entire picture of your CFI, but I would be loath to recommend a CFI who is weak on something as basic and critical as airspeed control.

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  6. airhead on Oct 27, 2013

    Thanks much for the input. I’m going to speak with my instructor about trying some landings a bit slower.

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  7. Brian on Oct 27, 2013

    “This is more common in the instructor community than you’d hope. It’s the adding 5 knots for the wife, 5 knots for the kids, you get too many pets and you’ll end up with instructors landing at cruise speed.”

    I add 5 knots for every shot I had the night before the flight. 😉

    In seriousness, I think the others already covered the topic.

    On an aside, however, it can be fun to do an approach with flaps up at cruise speed with a goal. That goal being to determine how long you can keep that up before you must chop the power and slow down by any means necessary to put the bird down on a pre determined spot on the runway. It’s good practice for energy management and a situation you may get at a big airport flying behind larger aircraft.

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