As pilots, we all strive for that perfect landing. Sometimes we grease it, sometimes we don’t. Even after thirteen years of landing these airplanes, I still embarrass myself with the occasional sloppy approach or disgraceful landing. I think a lot of the reason we fail to make a clean landing is because we tend to forget the basics. Keep these six tips in mind next time you turn base to final.
- Don’t stop flying the airplane. Just because the mains are on the ground does not relieve you from flying the airplane. Gently lower the nose and gradually increase your crosswind correction to full aileron into the wind during rollout.
- Maintain the centerline. Discipline yourself to remain on the centerline throughout final approach. Do this by looking down the runway and maneuvering your airplane to make the centerline appear to stand vertically.
- A good approach makes for a good landing. By squaring off your pattern, hitting your target airspeeds, and staying on altitude throughout the approach, you are setting yourself up for a spectacular landing.
- Configure early. Don’t fall into the habit of keepin the gear and flaps up until short final. This tends to destabilize your approach as the aircraft dramatically changes its speed and pitch through rapid deployment of gear and flaps. Instead, configure incrementally and early. This will allow you to focus completely on the task of landing the aircraft throughout final approach.
- Trim the airplane. A properly trimmed airplane will land itself on a calm day. Trim your airplane and cut down on pilot workload by making small corrections to guide your bird down.
- Aim for the numbers. Keep the numbers in the middle of the windshield. If they move up, you are getting to low: add power. If they move down, you are getting too high: reduce power.