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How to do a perfect VFR Approach, Avoiding a Mid-Air Collision!

in Aviation Blog, Flying Tips

This post was sent in by Brannen M. Sanders (Former CFI #1732539) on November 22, 2011.

Back in the mid-1970’s I purchased a slightly used Beechcraft Sierra, single engine aircraft. Part of the deal was that I would get about 10 hours of Dual Instruction in the airplane from the dealership.

Most of the time was with an Instrument Instructor and I was flying wearing a hood. Anyway, as the lesson came to an end one day, and it was time for us to head back to the airport, I took the hood off.

It was a beautiful, Fall day in Coastal Virginia with visibility and ceiling unlimited. We were heading back to the Norfolk airport and were around 8,000 feet. When the instructor got on the radio to contact the tower, since I was flying directly towards the runway in use, only I was high and about 6 or 7 miles away, I asked the instructor to request a “Straight In” Approach.

The tower approved the “Straight In” Approach and I pulled back on the power. We made a long, straight in approach from 5 or 6 miles out and from 8,000 feet! At the end of that long Approach, I “Put the Wheels” of the little Sierra down on the numbers at the end of the runway.

The Instrument Instructor wanted to know how I did such a perfect landing from so high and so far out. It was SIMPLE.

You simply keep the numbers at the end of the runway IN THE SAME SPOT ON YOUR WINDSHIELD all the way down. Obviously, if the numbers move up, add a little power. If they go down, pull a little power back, etc. Also, you make little corrections to the left or right as needed. Just keep the numbers on the same spot on the windshield and it works EVERY TIME! Simple, simple, simple!

There was also the way I would teach students to deal with air traffic in busy traffic patters. I would simply tell them that as long as another airplane was moving across our windscreen either left or right or up or down, we were O.K.

You had to be aware of the airplane that stayed in the same spot in your windscreen and got bigger and bigger. That meant we were on a collision course!

Of course, both of these little tricks are well known but one would be surprised how many students are never taught them!


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