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On Speed, On Spot

Source:, Featuring Wally Moran

Bob Martens:

"Wally, I think that pilots at almost all levels seem to always be carrying extra speed on final, and they use the excuse that it's a wider safety margin. How would you address that subject?"


"Well Bob, I feel it's important to land on speed, on spot. And if you're making the approach at the improper airspeed, you're not going to land where you think you will land. It's important to pick the appropriate speed for the approach given the weather and the wind and the conditions you have for the day. To arbitrarily add additional speed does not enhance safety - it merely results in a longer landing.

We should touch down as slow as possible because we then have dissipated as much energy as we can. We eliminate the bounces; we eliminate the hard braking and the wear and tear on our airplane that a fast landing causes. We also want to keep the nose wheel light if we can. Again, not banging it on the runway to scare our passengers saves wear and tear on the nose wheel and it also helps provide aerodynamic braking."

Bob Martens:

"Obviously many of our General Aviation airports will accommodate us landing well down the runway, and we can consider that a safe landing. But at any time in our flying career we may be literally called upon to put an airplane down on speed, on spot due to a short field environment, an obstacle or worse yet, an engine failure. So we're talking about discipline and establishing a way of doing it all the time as opposed to taking the easy way out."


"You make a great point, Bob. If we practice on speed, on spot all the time it will become our habit and we'll be confident that we can do it on the day we need it. If we haven't practiced it in a long time, we probably won't do it very well and that may be a day when we really need to do it."

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