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Landing ifr question. Bravo


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Yesterday I did my check ride in the bravo.  My examiner was concerned that I use full flaps after the faf  ( half flap prior to the faf ) in a stable configuration to the Mda or da.  I have always used full flaps gear and  set appropriate speed at about 500 fpm . His point was in the event of an engine failure I would just have too much drag. 
Thoughts .and what is your normal config on approach 
am I doing this incorrectly.?
peter
 

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17 minutes ago, pkofman said:

Yesterday I did my check ride in the bravo.  My examiner was concerned that I use full flaps after the faf  ( half flap prior to the faf ) in a stable configuration to the Mda or da.  I have always used full flaps gear and  set appropriate speed at about 500 fpm . His point was in the event of an engine failure I would just have too much drag. 
Thoughts .and what is your normal config on approach 
am I doing this incorrectly.?
peter
 

I assume it was only a suggestion and did not affect the outcome of the exam.

I'd fly the airplane in a manner that increases my odds of successfully finding and landing the hundreds or thousands of times that my engine does not fail, rather than the one time that it does fail.  If I lose an engine in the soup, inside the FAF, a little extra drag from full flaps will be the least of my worries.

The biggest argument for using less than full flaps until the runway in sight is to reduce the amount of pitch up caused by retracting flaps when you have to go missed approach.  That's much more likely to happen than losing an engine.

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Nothing worse than flying in IMC out of trim in the backside of the drag curve with lot of power, even AP disconnect on that scenario as it can't keep up with trim rate of change !

If the engine quits on IFR 3deg glide slopes (5% gradient or 1:20), it's game over to reach the runway from the FAF, you will unlikely to make the runway even on clean flaps (max will be 1:10 glide or 10% gradient even 747 will struggle to make it with 1:17 unless they are bloody fast ;))

If engine failure on approach is a concern, I suggest looking outside once or twice in VMC how things look outside in a sunny day, if landing options looks ugly put the hood and trust your instruments :lol: 

Edited by Ibra
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The DPE may be more experienced in non-Mooneys than in Mooneys, nonMooneys fly like a rock on the downslope. The issue with Mooneys is that they don’t like to slow down. In my 231 I drop the gear at the FAF, throttle back to 14 “ (which is close to idle in my turbo) and have to put in half flaps to be able to manage the speed to around 90 on the downslope. Somewhere on the slope I am going to have to put in a few inches (up to about 20”) to maintain speed, but it is going to take the Mooney awhile to slow down. If you don’t manage your speed on the downslope you will never get it to landing speed at a 200 ft. DA.  I wouldn’t use full flaps to do that, but then I don’t ever use full flaps for anything but a performance short field landing. If I find I really really need more speed management then I will briefly deploy the brakes, they don’t give me the pitch movement that flaps do.

Honestly, these “what if the engine should fail on final” types of questions are, to me, not very smart. Having survived a full power takeoff, a full power climb to altitude (what we do in turbos), hours at 75% in cruise, the engine is then going to crap out in a near-idle descent down the glideslope? Doesn’t happen, because for one thing the prop is helping the engine and the power requirements out of the engine are way lower than in level flight much less climb.  Speed management is much more important in the Mooney to avoid a float at the runway. Do what you need to in order to manage your speed. Tell your DPE.

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2 hours ago, pkofman said:

His point was in the event of an engine failure I would just have too much drag. 

Too much drag for what? My bigger concern in the event of an engine failure would be too little thrust! ;-)

 But seriously, I can see that being a consideration in a multi-engine (perhaps he teaches on light twins as well?) but in a single, you ain’t making the runway with an engine failure from a 3 degree slope unless you are very close in, so either way you are landing off-field. Perhaps delaying the full flaps might stretch your glide a bit but at the FAF you are only about 1500 feet AGL so you don’t have much time. 
 

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4 hours ago, pkofman said:

Yesterday I did my check ride in the bravo.  My examiner was concerned that I use full flaps after the faf  ( half flap prior to the faf ) in a stable configuration to the Mda or da.  I have always used full flaps gear and  set appropriate speed at about 500 fpm . His point was in the event of an engine failure I would just have too much drag. 
Thoughts .and what is your normal config on approach 
am I doing this incorrectly.?
peter
 

In a visual approach do you put full flaps in that far out (FAF)?

I'm with @irishpilot, no full flaps until you break out, if you decide to use full flaps.

Missed approach with full flaps is awkward at best at a busy time.

In my opinion, the best mindset to have on the approach is that you are going to go missed approach, that way you're prepared for it and it doesn't surprise you. 

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I configure for the approach outside of the FAF, I prefer to have gear down and half flaps, so that if anything isn't working I've already debugged it, and just reduce power at GS intercept/FAF.   90kt final target speed. 

If it is a ILS/LPV down to 200 & 1/2 I will expect to land with the half flaps.  Runways with precision approaches will be long enough.    If I need to go around for any reason, I am already in T/O configuration.

If it is non precision and /or shorter runway, I will select full flaps after the runway environment is in sight and the possibility of going missed is minimized. 

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@pkofman for what this is worth, your SOP is similar to what is done in the airline world. Most airlines have a Stable Approach policy that requires that you be fully configured for landing by 1000’ AGL. Some have a lower altitude for VMC but this is becoming more rare as Stable Approach guidance evolves.  Many big airport arrival controllers will specify a minimum speed to the FAF so the net result is that final configuration starts as we pass the FAF to be fully configured by 1000’ on a stable approach. That means stable in configuration, speed, sink rate, thrust, and lateral and vertical alignment on the approach path.
Our Mooneys are going a lot slower and the flaps go from 1/2 to full very quickly so that decision could probably be delayed a bit quite safely. If you do plan to go to full flaps while still IMC you definitely want to have practiced a go-around or two in that configuration so you can be prepared for any trim changes. On the other hand, delaying the deployment of full flaps until you break out could result in trim and speed changes on short final if the ceiling is low. This is also a risk as it destabilized the approach. 
As @PaulM suggested, nothing wrong with a half flap landing if you have enough runway. But that is something you want to have practiced as well.

Stable Approach policy is a hot topic with the world’s major airlines and regulatory authorities right now. You can expect to see revised guidance from regulators over the next couple of years for the airlines. This kind of guidance usually trickles down to the GA world in due time.

 

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Btw the examiner did not fail me for this it was only a suggestion. I will try the 1000 Cr to full flap rule. My normal procedure will require about 18 inches +\- with full deployed.  I don’t know why but I hesitate to go lower than 17 to 18.  I see how 1000 works and I need some speed reduction I can use brakes. My entire objective was not to modify configurations much after the faf except maybe some trim.  However there is undoubtedly tons of trim forces that need to be dealt with if a missed is initiated.  Just have to be ready for it to get positive rate of climb.  Unfortunately I also don’t always have the luxury of really long runways

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I am really against the full flaps on approach - I honestly don't know of anyone that codones this in a light GA aircraft.

Consider why we use flaps at all - purely for landing. But landing is optional - it better be or we're setting our selves up to become a statistic. 

Then add the consideration that we don't want to make any configuration changes on final as we are flying the approach so we can keep out approach stabilized.

But going to full flaps all the way on final is not the solution when the landing is NOT guaranteed. 

Personally, I prefer to be optimized for going missed and flying the approach in the worst possible conditions - i.e. I prefer to practice for the worst case scenario. Which drives me to:

  • make all approaches flapless (or approach flaps for those that must)
  • Use an approach speed or 100-110 - right at or above max flap speed (or a little slow with approach flaps) - but the faster approach speed makes the aircraft much more stable and easier to fly down the GP with precision.
  • Learn how to get my steed slowed down to approach speed without flaps.
  • This makes going missed very easy by just adding power and pitch, then raising gear - with very little trim forces while IMC - which is far more important to me than landing visually 
  • Further, if I have a contaminated wing, from icing, I am not going to use any flaps for landing nor on the approach - and my standard approach practice keeps me proficient in doing so.  
  • If I am flying into a mountainous airport (skiing is hobby of mine), I sure don't want full flaps if I need to level off or even need to climb up! Not in a GA light plane.
  • So that only leaves the added challenge in landing:
    • If I am breaking out at minimums of 200' with good visibility, I have no problem putting in all the flaps and trimming and getting slowed to my 75 kts even by the numbers.
    • If I am breaking out any where near minimum visibility, the real challenge, I'll only use approach flaps as a maximum and expect to land on the IFR landing zone - 1000' down the runway (i.e. where the GP takes me)

When I get an instrument student, if he/she is headed for the airlines, I will encourage approach flaps on final just to get them in the habit given what they're training for. But when working with an owner pilot to maximize their survival skills in instrument conditions, I encourage no flaps and bit of faster approach speed. Incidentally that faster approach speed slows very quickly to 90 kts for max circling speed at a level attitude. 

Personally, brakes should never be touched in IMC if the temperatures are near or below freezing. So best to avoid the habit entirely since you won't be thinking about temperature when you deploy them.  I can't stress enough the importance of learning to slow down the aircraft with good planning before resorting to full flaps and speed brakes. 

Personally, I learned the above technique with the shortest ILS runway in the country - its not hard, but it takes some practice.

Edited by kortopates
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You must have done great on the check ride for him to complain about this minor and indeed absurd point. As stated, engine failure in the soup on a 3 degree slope, reduced flaps are not going to get you there. I find if a guy is complaining about issues like this, he has to find something to make himself valuable. Just take the white slip and thank him for his observation. Here is the thing. When you are IFR, at 1000' be in on course, on path and in a position to land the airplane in the TDZ with all your checks complete. The only reason for reduced flaps is tail plane icing.

This reminds me of the time I was checking out a new Captain, which requires an FAA observance on the final 2 legs to insure that I made the right call. This guy was flying a great ride, absolutely, nothing I could complain about. Then on the last leg, cleared for the visual, turning left base to final he turns, points and says, "Oh look there is my girlfriend's house." I smack my forehead with my hand, he smiles.I debriefed it and the FAA guy said, "Watch the sterile cockpit" and left. Walking back to operations he said, "I knew I flew a great ride, I decided to give you a debrief item." Now that is confidence, LOL!

 

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I guess it comes down to how important you think a stabilized approach is in a light GA airplane. For big jets, it is critical. For a Mooney, maybe not so much. Selecting flaps below 200 feet is probably very possible to do safely in a Mooney, but it is definitely not a stabilized approach by any definition. I have spent so long being in a big jet mindset, that is the way I fly my Mooney. Every time I start flying it like a little airplane I seem to do something dumb, so I go back to conservative SOPs and checklists and get slightly less dumb - or rather those SOPs and checklists help to protect me from my dumbness.

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30 minutes ago, GeeBee said:

You must have done great on the check ride for him to complain about this minor and indeed absurd point. As stated, engine failure in the soup on a 3 degree slope, reduced flaps are not going to get you there. I find if a guy is complaining about issues like this, he has to find something to make himself valuable. Just take the white slip and thank him for his observation. Here is the thing. When you are IFR, at 1000' be in on course, on path and in a position to land the airplane in the TDZ with all your checks complete. The only reason for reduced flaps is tail plane icing.

This reminds me of the time I was checking out a new Captain, which requires an FAA observance on the final 2 legs to insure that I made the right call. This guy was flying a great ride, absolutely, nothing I could complain about. Then on the last leg, cleared for the visual, turning left base to final he turns, points and says, "Oh look there is my girlfriend's house." I smack my forehead with my hand, he smiles.I debriefed it and the FAA guy said, "Watch the sterile cockpit" and left. Walking back to operations he said, "I knew I flew a great ride, I decided to give you a debrief item." Now that is confidence, LOL!

 

Well the ride went only  OK. I was not sure I  even passed while flying. I admit to being nervous and flying like a new pilot. It just happens to me at times when im under the gun. Strive for perfection and end up looking like my first day on the job.. It was interesting in that it was way more of a information and learning experience then I had in the past , The big take ways were. When to hit the app button with an aspen/gpss ( proper tracking) and a king 150 ,, properly using the cws vs rocker switch and alt selector that I have in the plane. I learned a lot and to be fair my examiner has a huge amount of mooney time and I respect the ride and experience. To me any info I get is good info , how I use it is the important part!. 

Hey  ,gotta love the girl friend story .. I was not that confident..

 

 

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The question is when you break out at 200' with rain pounding on the windshield, hopefully not at night, with the ALS glaring in, glassy runway, do you want to be stabilized so the only thing left to do is land, or do you want to be fumbling for flap switches, changing pitch, descent rate and speed and the view out the window. Me? I want that runway to stay in the same reference in the windshield. So important to me is the point that if I am in an auto land airplane, anytime I am below 400' ceiIing auto land the airplane. If not, like my Mooney, I want the airplane in a steady decent, speed and closure to the runway. I recently performed a 200 and 1/2. approach at night in my Ovation and I was actually was a split second on the throttle to initiate a missed approach. Only being fully stabilized allowed me to continue to a safe landing and I would hate to be messing with flaps, pitch and power below 200'  in that circumstance. All I had to do was continue the descent, pull the throttle and land, on the TDZ. Don't make it more difficult than it needs to be.

 

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I fly a J.

I do practice approaches all the time at 90k with half flaps....on LPV and such low da, plane is so hot that I need to “slam the brakes on” to touchdown at the 1,000’ marker.   I need full flaps and retard throttle, trim to 70k or I’m going to end up halfway down the runway.

in normal operation full flaps is something I only use when I feel I have the runway made...it is especially helpful when there is no wind, or when you land with a slight tail wind.  It will shorten your roll quote a bit

Edited by larrynimmo
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4 hours ago, larrynimmo said:

I fly a J.

I do practice approaches all the time at 90k with half flaps....on LPV and such low da, plane is so hot that I need to “slam the brakes on” to touchdown at the 1,000’ marker.   I need full flaps and retard throttle, trim to 70k or I’m going to end up halfway down the runway.

in normal operation full flaps is something I only use when I feel I have the runway made...it is especially helpful when there is no wind, or when you land with a slight tail wind.  It will shorten your roll quote a bit

I fly the GPS approaches at little airports around AZ a lot in VFR for practice, and sometimes the LPV or LNAV+V or whatever approaches with vertical guidance will dump you out at DA/MDA very high in the middle of the runway.   It's weird, but some of them are like that.   If you get one of those on a bad day, your chances of actually getting it on the runway if you're a little hot or not fully configured for landing are significantly reduced.

The tradeoffs and variety of opinion being discussed here is good, I think.   The different points of view are educational.

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I am curious what would be the guy reasoning for gear config dn/up and in-glide range in case engine fails?

It would be another answer to the non-ending question: when you drop the gear? when I can make it engine off with gear down :lol:
 

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I personally don’t go to full flaps from approach flaps until I break out. I even routinely practice landing with approach flaps. I would go no flaps if I had icing, but wouldn’t retract approach flaps if I was stable and near touchdown when I noticed icing. Keep the speed up and avoid speed brakes and full flaps in icing conditions.  Precision approach runways to minimums are plenty long  for higher speed approaches.

I don’t like the idea of using full flaps from the FAF in actual IMC at/near minimums since going missed will require a bigger configuration change at the worst time. If your flying approaches in weather well above minimums then you’re flap configuration won’t matter as much, but I train and fly consistently for those rare days at minimums.
 

I’ve never used full flaps on IFR approaches in the various singles and twins I’ve flown. In a cessna 172, I don’t use any flaps until near landing if I so desire. If you still choose to fly from the FAF with full flaps, be careful to hand wheel trim drown and smoothly add full power to avoid excessive pitch up as you retract the flaps on the MAP go around. 

 

Edited by HXG
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I forgot to mention congratulations on getting your IFR certificate! File IFR as much as possible even on severe clear days. Also, practice some higher speed approaches for times you may be asked to keep your speed up on final. On these, I still settle in at 100-110 knots from the FAF if IMC.  If that doesn’t work for ATC, they can vector and resequence me, but they usually won’t if you prepared them for your approach speeds before and after the FAF. 

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For additional insight... find the MAPA book for power settings And configuration during approach...

Full flaps and going missed, adds to the challenges... In a sort of one handed wallpaper hanger kind of way...
 

Sure you can do it...

But, in IMC?

 

If you haven’t done a go-around in a while... try it out, going from full landing configuration to climbing out...

Lots of forces, lots of trim change, lots of visibility in VMC...
 

To many people have messed up the high power and full flaps... in VMC...

Sort of a PSA...by a PP...

Best regards,

-a-

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3 hours ago, Ibra said:

I am curious what would be the guy reasoning for gear config dn/up and in-glide range in case engine fails?

It would be another answer to the non-ending question: when you drop the gear? when I can make it engine off with gear down :lol:
 

IMO this thread make much too big a deal of this. I work with several DPE's and none of them would have liked this technique. I bet the CFI got the real brunt  of this criticism rather than the student but I also think the DPE more likely gave several explanations why all that drag was not wise  both for the approach and the missed. Of course I wasn't there and have no knowledge of what was said, but I trend to think the statement about the not making it to the runway in an engine out was cherry picked among many. We know that's way down on the list of a great many other important reasons why that isn't a good practice - and really too low to even deserve mentioning IMO. But focusing on it steals attention from the much more important reasons. 

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2 hours ago, kortopates said:

IMO this thread make much too big a deal of this. I work with several DPE's and none of them would have liked this technique. I bet the CFI got the real brunt  of this criticism rather than the student but I also think the DPE more likely gave several explanations why all that drag was not wise  both for the approach and the missed. Of course I wasn't there and have no knowledge of what was said, but I trend to think the statement about the not making it to the runway in an engine out was cherry picked among many. We know that's way down on the list of a great many other important reasons why that isn't a good practice - and really too low to even deserve mentioning IMO. But focusing on it steals attention from the much more important reasons. 

When I did my MEI I flew with the school's check pilot the day before my check ride.   I don't recall the context, but I had the gear and approach flaps out and was a little low on a single-engine approach.   The check pilot made a point of letting me know that pulling the gear up is a totally fine thing to do in that situation if needed since it sheds a lot of drag and can help you make a field where you otherwise might not make it.

The next day during the check ride I got a waypoint off during my single-engine approach (with kind of unfamiliar equipment) and had gotten a little low when I finally figured it out.   I was having the dialogue with the DPE about what I was doing and I said I could pull the gear up to help, and was reaching for the gear handle and the DPE more or less freaked, and then we had the discussion about never, ever making such configuration changes on approach.   I told him I used to feel that way until the day before when the check pilot made a pretty good case for doing it.

It was an interesting debrief.   I still passed.   I think there were subsequent discussions with the check pilot, who is one of those grizzled 15k hour pilots who has flown everything.  I would have liked to have been there for that discussion.   ;) 

So, yeah, there are a lot of varied opinion about how to do things, and there's always somebody willing to tell you how you're doing it wrong.  ;)

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Well thank you everyone. Great advice that is open and honest. Professional attitudes and discourse are the mainstay of mooneyspace. The best place to ask a mooney question.  I should know better but I asked The same question on a facebook page about ifr training and I got roasted as a inexperienced hack who obviously was not trained properly. I was called   a   moron for asking the same initial question and that obviously I have no mooney time. ( I do have 800 hours and counting on 3 models  ) .  .  I should know better than to ask in an open  Facebook forum filled with inexperienced people ,trolls and hubris filled wannabes. Thank you.  
peter 

Edited by pkofman
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