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adjustments in NPA


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I was trying some NPAs at Aldergrove (EGAA) VOR on runway 35, in my Aerosoft A321. It's a fairly easy approach. First time around I made a long landing, it was very safe - only slightly long. Had it been seriously long then presumably a go around would have been needed. In my case should I have corrected by idling the engines a little sooner or simply accepted the long landing?

What do you expert pilots do if an NPA is going to be short - do you increase speed to maintain height, or go around? I would be reluctant to make any serious adjustments to the aircraft in the last 200 feet. But then I'm no great Airbus pilot!



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What is an NPA approach (that's a new abbreviation to me)? Non-Precision Approach maybe? Your description doesn't sound like anything IFR, thus my confusion. Actually it sounds like VFR, though most any IFR approach becomes visual at the end.


So if your question is just what you do about an approach (VFR or IFR) that has you long when ready to touch down, then it depends on how much too long. If there is adequate remaining runway for a normal landing, you may land. If there is not enough remaining for a NORMAL landing, then go around.


do you increase speed to maintain height

Increasing speed doesn't maintain your altitude -- without a change in your power setting it will reduce your altitude, so perhaps you mean add power to hold altitude? You certainly don't want to increase your speed, but adding a touch of power is OK (perhaps with a light touch of back pressure to maintain speed). But since jet engines don't respond instantly, you may be a little late adding power, then late reducing it again, getting out of sync, so you need to anticipate what the aircraft will do.


Once again, regardless of approach type (IFR/VFR/ILS/VOR/Visual/???), if you can touch down and make a normal landing then do so (or perhaps a touch of power if you're short), otherwise go around.


A general principle is that no two approaches are identical, so there is always some sort of adjustment (hopefully minor) that the pilot must do to land where he wants (generally within the first third of the runway, but that's assuming there is a lot of runway).


A normal landing is one where you are not trying to force the aircraft on the ground and you don't have to stand on the brakes after touchdown to get stopped before the end of the runway.


Perhaps you get the idea there is no fixed answer -- if so, then you understand correctly. Training and experience are the keys.


Larry N.

As Skylab would say:

Remember: Aviation is NOT an exact Science!

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It's a balance of available runway length, weather and aircraft performance.

The balanced field length and go-around minima are aircraft type specific and include calculation based on engine performance, so even if you landed `long`, as long as you are within the aircraft runway requirements it's, to paraphrase the old pilot adage, only about the runway in front of you NOT the runway behind you.

The piano keys on a runway are really only an indication (which is a reason grass fields tend not to have them) and I was always taught to treat them only as an aiming point unless the runway or conditions are marginal. You do not retard throttles until landing is certain, and if there is any doubt you should go around.


In your situation it sounds like you did everything right, and the slightly long landing was acceptable.

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