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4 Answers

Approach Flaps

Asked by: 1535 views Aerodynamics, General Aviation

Why is the reason for the term "approach flaps"? Why not simply use whatever amount of flaps needed for landing?

Thanks for the feedback.

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4 Answers

  1. humble and fly on Mar 05, 2016

    Because if you look at your Pilot Operating Hand Book,

    In certain circumstances, you can’t use full flaps
    ex.) Strong cross wind, One engine inoperative Landing.

    So flap setting may differs time to time.

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  2. John D Collins on Mar 05, 2016

    If you are asking about why the term is used, it is to describe a specific flap detent setting. On my Bonanza, there are no flap settings other than full down or full up, although continuous positions between these two points are possible. The flap selector for my Bonanza has three positions, extend flaps, retract flaps, and off. The extend and retract position move the flaps until they reach the limit or the switch is positioned to off. Approach flaps is not a term used with my model.

    Later models had three flap switch positions or detents, flaps up, approach flaps, and flaps down. Setting the flaps to the Approach flap position, moves the flaps to approximately 15 degrees of flaps, setting the switch to the down position provides full flaps of 30 degrees. Larger aircraft have more flap detent positions and more benign names such as Flaps 1.

    So you have to give the flap detent position a name, could call it Dan’s flap position, but more pilots would understand what it means if you title it “Approach Flaps”. In the later Bonanzas with the Approach flap detent, this setting is often used during instrument approach procedures, but it is also used for landing when partial flaps are called for or for takeoff when a shorter takeoff run is desired.

    It is just a convenient name on some aircraft for specific flap detent setting. A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet.

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  3. Mark Kolber on Mar 05, 2016

    Although the term is used by the FAA, it doesn’t have a specific regulatory definition. As far as I can tell from reading various FAA references, the FAA refers to it generally as a flap setting that permits a climb, as in a go-around or missed instrument approach, typically the initial flap setting. You can find it’ for example, in FAA discussions of gear warning tied to flaps being deployed – no gear warning for “approach flaps” but yes for greater extensions.

    Not coincidentally, the “reason” for the term is that it is the flap setting used for a instrument approach by those who fly the FAC on an instrument approach with that flap setting.

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  4. Dan Chitty on Mar 06, 2016

    Thank you John and Mark. Very good insight.

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