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Brain Teaser: Vertical Profile | #Flying


You are on the final approach course to a major international airport in a light turbine aircraft. ATC is keeping you high and fast to blend you with the arriving heavy jet traffic on this busy hour of the day.

At the last minute, you are issued a visual approach clearance. However, you are way above your vertical profile and recommended approach speed for a stabilized approach due to ATC restrictions.

You still have a few miles to go, so you elect to slow down the aircraft and lower the gear. Your company SOP (Standard Ops Procedures) dictates that to maintain a stablilized approach criteria, you must not exceed a 1,500’/min rate of descent. You then decide to use full flaps in order to allow for a descent without exceeding that criteria in order to land within the recommended portion of the runway.

Everything goes well, and while you are descending at 1,500’/min the whole way down, you never depart from a stabilized profile during the approach. You must land within the first third of the runway or execute an overshoot as per SOPs. Luckly all goes well and you had planned perfectly, landing with a few feet to spare. 


The use of full flaps slowed you down almost to a crawl during the approach. Although you made the runway without the need of any deviation from a standard approach profile, you know that ATC was counting on you to maintain a fast pace to accomodate following traffic.

Would you have been able to land within the first third of the runway while using less flaps and a higher approach speed?

Leave your comments and thoughts in the comment box below! 🙂


About jdmarcellin

Professional pilot for a major Canadian operator. Interested in helping make a better world for all my fellow pilots out there. Passionate of aviation and all things that fly. Caution: I speak my mind loud and clear! All views are my own.


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