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Personal procedures you've introduced to your flying as a result of reading accident reports

On retractable gear an SOP I use is a. extend gear first, before flaps, in a similar phase of flight for every flight (downwind in a visual circuit, or one mile before FAF) and b. wait to get three greens before using flaps.

Extending partial flaps, usually modern MEPs allow 10 degrees (eg Piper) or 15 degrees (eg Cessna) flaps to extend above Vle speed without triggering the gear warning, seems to be a recipe for landing gear up.

I understand some airlines also have an SOP of extending the gear before using flaps, although I imagine this does not preclude using speed brakes in the descent, if required.

Oxford (EGTK)

WingsWaterAndWheels wrote:

Interesting, but was the down wheel also stuck on down? I’m just being curious because if not, you could potentially have landed on water with all wheels up?

Depths of winter, no water available. Once I had it stuck one up, one down, I wasn’t going to fuss it any more. The wheel down side would not risk any keep damage. If I played around, I could have got it stuck one up, and one partly down, and that would be worse!

WingsWaterAndWheels wrote:

The landing on ice with one side down the other up must have been ‘interesting’…

Ironically, I have had to do it twice – on exactly the same set of floats, though installed on two different planes, more than two decades apart! A design shortfall in that model of EDO floats leaves the landing gear system vulnerable to “getting too stiff” in very cold conditions.

Home runway, in central Ontario, Canada

Makes a lot of sense, thanks for the detailed explanation!

ENVA, Norway

Airborne_Again wrote:

Sure it can. The point represents the area of the rectangle with one corner in the point and another corner in the origin of the coordinate system.

Not when it is colored as a tiny little colored square of its own. Not without a necessary amount of creativity. Besides, it’s a matrix, and the values of each element is a color. Not a value, not an area, but a color. Slightly joking here, but the point is, the matrix is highly subjective, and the results are even more subjective. At best it can be said to differentiate the relative risk between a few alternatives, although with zero measure of what exactly the relative difference is in terms of magnitude. This is “good enough for governmental work” I guess, but it must be understood for what it is: A simple tool to organize the subjective and relative threat for a few alternatives. Real risk assessment is hard statistical work with numbers.

Antonio wrote:

One of the best things we could buy from the airlines is the culture that we should always analyze risk (and yes the risk matrix method does vouch for the 20/80 rule as shown in the overwater flying example above by @Airborne_Again ) , and apply corrective or mitigating actions.

Perhaps, but the numbers are clear. 80-90% of all GA accidents are pilot error of some kind. 50% of all accidents are pilot induced errors during take off and landing. Using that matrix with “persons” and “phase of flight” as variables. What we get is a blood read, sizzling hot little square where the “private pilot” and take offs and landings intersects. Hence, we must prevent the “private pilot” from interfering with take offs and landings at all costs This isn’t even a joke, this is it. Just replacing private pilot with a pair of professional pilots, and the risk is close to none. From this we can infer that landing/take offs are not in itself particularly risky. All the risk is between the ears of the GA pilot. Which again is exactly what the statistics show.

Again, it’s not like we don’t know what the cause of the risk is. This is all too evident in all statistics and all the risk analysis one could ever do. The point is we chose to let ourselves be distracted with everything else instead of solving the main issue.


gallois wrote:

IMO one of the reasons the idea was brought in was to make pilots more aware that there is no shame in the go around rather than trying to salvage a good landing from a bad approach.
Accident statistics show that many landing accidents were the result of an unstable approach.

Yes, but it’s kind of hard to deduce exactly what is meant when a “stable approach” is not clearly defined. It becomes just fancy words. All that can be deduced is unstable approaches causes accidents, therefore accidents during the landing phase are often caused by unstable approaches. It’s a circular argument void of tangible meaning.

What we do know for sure is that a good landing is the result of all the steps leading up to that landing. This includes everything from downwind at least, and often earlier, but not necessarily so.

Ibra wrote:

I guess it make sense if one views it as “gate”, a first interpretation where you decide to continue or to go-around

Sounds like a good concept. We always do power off landings. Power at idle at key point. Is this a stable approach or not ? Depends on the definition. The last “gate” just before touch down is essentially the only thing that counts. Correct speed, correct alt, correct direction, correct position, correct configuration. To get all that consistently correct is much easier if the “gates” leading up to the last gate also are correct. But that doesn’t mean all the gates are necessary. The only necessary thing is to remember it is a gate, and do a go around if the requirements aren’t met. Otherwise, crash and burn is a likely result.


@LeSving do you really need someone to tell you what a stable approach is? Surely as a pilot you know instinctively what is and is not stable in a particular aircraft. IMO there is no one size fits all which is why it is a good idea to make your initial flights on a, new to you, type of aircraft with someone who has a good knowledge of type.


LeSving wrote:

The last “gate” just before touch down is essentially the only thing that counts. Correct speed, correct alt, correct direction, correct position, correct configuration. To get all that consistently correct is much easier if the “gates” leading up to the last gate also are correct. But that doesn’t mean all the gates are necessary.

This is absolutely correct. A lesser experienced pilot will benefit from “stabilizing” all those factors in the approach further back, and that’s perfectly fine. A pilot who’s very experienced on type, and in that landing environment can stabilize their approach closer to landing, and indeed, perhaps as the flare is begun.

In an airline environment, it is necessary for consistency to define a stabilized approach beginning way back, and that’s appropriate, to cater to the varied pilot skills who could be flying it. In the GA world, as pilots gain skill, the point at which the need for the approach to be stabilized, will move closer to the runway. For any one pilot to try to define to another pilot where their approach should be stabilized is probably pointless, until they have lots of experience together. Certainly in past times, while I was flying in the company of more experienced pilots, I would be shown how my imperfect approach set up could be fixed, rather than cause a go around. That’s certainly not appropriate to a regulated airline environment, but a definite skill builder in other environments. Many was the time where I’d mutter aloud: “Oooo, I don’t know about this…” to have my mentor say: “You can do it from here no problem, just do…”. They saw in me a skill I had not yet seen in myself.

My greatest (and still) nervousness come in landing a helicopter up to an object, such that a go around would not be possible. My helicopter instructors would fly right up the hangar door, and land – go around was not in their mind at all! I had to learn a different mindset: Just land. So I went back to setting up a good approach a way back, to assure that I had dissipated the energy safely, so when I got to the hangar door, I had built up the disc properly. They could just fly in and land – skill.

Home runway, in central Ontario, Canada

@Pilot_DAR, whilst I concurred with what you wrote in the early part of your last post, I cannot agree with the “just land” approach. All you have to do is read incidence and accident reports from around the world and one thing leaps out and that is the amount of times pilots would have been better to go round.
I, for one would not fly with anyone who thinks he can always pull off a good landing when being unstable going into the round out,and that includes some top class aerobatic pilots in aerobatic aircraft.


The reference to a “just land” approach is specific to helicopters, which, for my experience seem to be regularly flown to landing spots from which a go around would be impossible. These make me (low skill helicopter pilot) nervous, so I like to approach to a hover site, which if not go around able, at least has more room to adjust my approach.

As for airplanes, there have been a few water landings I’ve flown from which a go around would not be possible because of terrain – in one way, out the other. In these cases, of course (like a forced landing) you’re extra focused on the approach being as good as possible, as far back as possible. That said, in an SEP, every approach could become a forced approach, so having a plan to restabilize [a perhaps suddenly different] approach is a good idea. My present plane has a less than admirable glide ratio, and my home runway is two miles of forest up to my fence, so I fly high approaches, which others might struggle to see as having a nice “gate” anywhere until short final. A curving approach keeps me over fields longer, and I used to fly those in my previous plane, but a curved approach is even less stable in my present plane, so straight in high is my preference.

Another example of an approach becoming less stable can be found in the Cessna Caravan. You’re set up just beautifully, and really proud of what a great approach you’re in, with the power set to about 500 foot pounds of torque, and you reduce power… The propeller blade angle changes as designed, and it really begins to slow down! You just destabilized you own approach, with a power change which would have been hardly noticeable in a piston powered plane. Great, if you’re trying to change your approach at the last few moments to tuck it in somewhere tight with good skill. Poor, if you were trying to just fly a smooth approach. The experience to know that a Caravan is designed with that characteristic can prevent you to need to apply skill to fix things, or a sudden go around….

Home runway, in central Ontario, Canada

“Just replacing private pilot with a pair of professional pilots, and the risk is close to none.”
Or: Just replace the private pilot with a more current private pilot, the aircraft with one with more inertia, and the airfield with one meeting international standards.

EGPE, United Kingdom
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