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Thread: When you are too high and too fast

  1. #1
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    Default When you are too high and too fast

    Please forgive my endless stream of questions that I should know the answer to but I lost my ability to pass a medical before I completed much of my training.

    Due to lack of foresight, and only so so math skills, I often find myself way too high and fast when I get within a few miles of the airport. It would seem to me that pulling back on power, nosing over, and using a steep descent is going to create more drag than slowing down, dropping some flaps and coming down that way. Does anyone know how this is modeled in FS9? Is one going to be a lot better than the other or will it mostly depend on the plane? I guess different planes have different amounts of effectiveness on the flaps and landing gear (if retractable) than others but I was just wondering how you try to get down and slow down fairly quickly in a real plane and how it is best in fs.

    Jeff

  2. #2
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    What I try to do is to be 10,000ft around 50 miles out at 250kts. I'll step down to either 3000ft or sometimes 2000ft AGL for the approach. I tend to mimic what I hear aircraft fly on my scanner. I'll step down to 220kts then 180 and finally 170kts for the approach. After deciding to land visually or ILS and I'm established on that approach then I'll slow to landing speeds. hope this helps. Side note: I recently discovered that the GPS will guide you on a decent rate to a waypoint. The VSR indicates a number and f s. You can take this number and multiply it by 60 and get a decent rate. A lot of jets, especially the default ones have a default decent rate of 1800fs. You can use the GPS and wait till the VSR field says 30 then decend at 1800fs for a nice approach or use any other number you want to fly for a suggested decent rate.
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    Last edited by mqytn; 04-12-2013 at 12:57 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default

    To some degree it depends on the aircraft. But it's more than just the drag, because nosing down and speeding up covers ground faster, thus covers more ground in a given time than slowing and using flaps. This makes the angle of descent (should be your biggest concern if you are high and fast and don't want to turn more than necessary) steeper when you are slow. But it depends so much on the aircraft, how much too high, how much too fast and how close to where you want to land/cross something at a specific altitude.

    So it's possible that slowing to get to flap speed would use more distance (thus a shallower angle) than nosing down (especially with gear extended on a retract). But a steep turn (45º or greater bank) adds lots of drag, and can slow you quickly, as well, so perhaps a steep turn of 90º change of direction, followed by the same in the opposite direction, might work better. And, if you're not in a big hurry, there's no need to rush down, but you can just make normal turns, perhaps 360º turns, to give you more descent time -- I'd especially do this latter way in real life with passengers, since so many folks have trouble taking 1,000-2,000 feet per minutes descents.

    But, as with so many things in aviation there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and the answer depends on ALL the variables, likely different in each situation, even with the same aircraft.

    So in real life, as well as in the sim, I'd do whichever seemed most suitable at the time.

    Larry N.

    As Skylab would say:
    Remember: Aviation is NOT an exact Science!

  4. #4

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    Jeff,

    One thing that works for me both in FS9/FSX and in a real world Cessna 172 is to side slip. In other words, cross control the aircraft (left rudder-- while holding right aileron of vice versa) . This will give you an increase in descent rate and and a decrease in airspeed at the same time. To control airspeed, start with the nose level and make sure you don't get near stall speed by adjusting pitch.

    Remember to turn on carb heat to prevent "shock cooling" of the engine.

    Hope this helps,

    Billy

  5. #5
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    Billy bingo'd this one...slide slip is a very good idea in this case. I use to do alot of side slips in the 172 as a student pilot and beyond. Actually it's a fun maneuver )
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  6. #6
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    Thanks for the useful information. You have given me several good things to use, I had not even thought of a side slip.

  7. #7
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    Flight Simulator tends to have less aerodynamic drag in a steep descent than the real world in my perception. Most FS aircraft gain speed quickly when in a steep descent with the engines at idle.

    One thing I learned to do in FS when I'm too high and too fast is to make some 360 turns. I've also done S turns late on approach to provide clearance for the slow AI aircraft in front of me to get off the runway. Even able to do a 360 most of the time if needed.
    Hello Dave

    @ PawPaw's house - near KADS, Addison, Texas, USA

  8. #8

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    Billy's only issue with a 172 is that with flaps past 10 degrees you cannot sideslip because the downwash off the wing will disrupt the air over the horizontal stabilizer causing a tailplane stall and loss of elevator control. While this is not simulated in FS if you're going for procedural accuracy you might not want to do it. The technique I teach to my students in the real world is to pull the power to idle, drop full flaps, and slow to 60kts. The airplane feels like it turns into a helicopter and decent rates near 1000fpm are not uncommon. This is simulated in FS and is jolly good fun.

    If you're talking jets, the only cure for being high and fast is go around, re-do your decent planing, and be on speed and altitude for the next approach.

  9. #9
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    Let's see, since this is only a game, I have used the following techniques to slow my plane down and get down from too high a perch:

    1. Sideslip.
    2. Full flaps
    3. Gear down
    4. Full spoilers. This is funny, some models don't have spoilers shown but the cfg file has them activated. So I imagine the pilot sticking his arms out with his palms perpendicular to the ground to slow the plane.
    5. Thrust reversers engaged.
    6. Reversed the pitch on the props
    7. Some combination of all the above and performing the "Dive of Death" (FSPax users should know about that one, with the screams and all).
    8. Do 360s, turning at 45 degrees in a steep dive. Like the time I fell asleep and woke up over HECA on VATSIM doing circles over the airport. Thankfully no ATC was on then.

  10. #10

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    not that I'm as good a pilot as some as you guys are, I'm still learning!!
    but when I get about an hour out from my destination I start going down in steps
    till I'm about 4 or 5 thousand feet , usually works for me

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