Normal Approach and Landing


Understand the importance of a stabilized approach, the effects of wind, density altitude, and ground effect, as well as the proper use and coordination of flight controls.


This is the required reading for this lesson. Numbers in [brackets] indicate the starting and ending page in the referenced reading material. Read all the pages and sections referenced.


The notes below highlight the important parts in the referenced material. Reading the notes without having read the actual referenced material is generally not sufficient to pass the written exam!

AFH Chapter 8

  • Normal approach (VS0 - Stall speed or minimum flight speed in landing configuration):
    • Base: 1.4 VS0, partial flaps (full flaps not recommended)
    • Final: 1.3 VS0, final flaps, aim for center of first ⅓ of runway.
    • Flare: 10-20 feet above ground, idle power, gently raise nose while descending
    • Touchdown: Touchdown at stall speed, hold nose wheel up and gently lower as speed decreases
    • After-landing roll: Continue "flying" the airplane as it rolls out; maintain control and centerline during rollout.
  • Stabilized approach
    • A landing approach in which the pilot establishes and maintains a constant angle glidepath towards a predetermined point on the landing runway.
    • Maintain constant speed and rate of descent toward aiming point.
    • Trim for steady pitch, power, and airspeed.
  • Ground effect
    • Within one wingspan of the ground, drag is reduced and the aircraft's performance appears to increase. (This is often the cause of "floating.")
  • Crosswind correction: 2 methods
    • Crab Method:
      • Turn aircraft into the wind, wings level to maintain a straight path toward the runway.
      • Remove crab angle just prior to touchdown to align with runway.
      • Be careful to avoid sideways drift while removing the crab angle! (See below method.)
    • Wing-Low (Sideslip):
      • Align the airplane's nose with the centerline of the runway using rudder.
      • Use aileron to lower the wing into the wind to stop drift.
      • This requires opposite rudder and aileron direction.
    • Roundout and touchdown:
      • Controls become less effective as speed decreases. Increase control deflection as speed decreases.
      • Touchdown is made on the upwind main wheel.
  • Turbulent Air Approach and Landing
    • Avoid full flaps and use partial flaps.
    • Increase approach speed by one-half the wind gust factor.
    • Only reduce throttle to idle after main wheels contact surface.
    • Landing attitude is intentionally flat - just high enough to prevent the nose wheel from hitting the runway.

PHAK Chapter 11

  • Landing distance is affected by proper procedure, weight, wind, density altitude, and landing speed.
    Factor Effect
    Braking During landing roll, at speeds less than 60 to 70% of touchdown speed, braking must be used to continue deceleration
    Weight Heavier weight results in longer landing distance.
    +10% weight → +10% landing distance
    Wind Tail wind of 10 kts increases landing distance by 20%.
    Density Altitude High altitude results in longer landing distance.
    +1000 feet of altitude → +3.5% landing distance
    Landing Speed High speed results in longer landing distance.
    +10% landing speed → +20% landing distance

AIM Para. 4-3-11

  • LAHSO stands for "Land And Hold Short Operations"
  • Includes landing and holding short of an intersecting runway, an intersecting taxiway, or some other designated point.
  • The pilot-in-command has the final authority to accept or decline any LAHSO clearance. Pilots are expected to decline if the LAHSO clearance will compromise safety.
  • To conduct LAHSO requires pilots to have readily available:
    • Available Landing Distance
    • Runway slope information
    • Knowledge about landing performance data
  • Accepting a LAHSO requires the pilot to land and exit the runway at the first available taxiway (unless directed otherwise) before reaching the hold short point. If the hold short point is reached, the pilot must hold short.
  • If a rejected landing (go-around) is necessary, the pilot should execute the go-around, maintaining safe separation, and notify ATC promptly.

Sim Pilot Notes

These notes highlight the differences between simulator and real-world flying. These differences are most often due to simulator limitations or specific VATSIM rules.

  • Stabilized approach: To select the proper descent rate to maintain a 3-degree descent angle: Take half the airspeed, then add a 0 to the end.
    Airspeed Descent Rate to Maintain 3-degree Descent Angle.
    50 250 fpm
    60 300 fpm
    70 350 fpm
    80 400 fpm
    90 450 fpm
    100 500 fpm

Tomas Hansson (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Chief Flight Instructor, VATSTAR
DISCLAIMER: all information contained herein is for flight simulation purposes only.
June 2021

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