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Straight Descents (Part Two) Leveling Off

in Airplane Basic Flight Maneuvers - Analog Instrumentation

The level off from a descent must be started before reaching the desired altitude. The amount of lead depends upon the rate of descent and control technique. With too little lead, the airplane tends to overshoot the selected altitude unless technique is rapid. Assuming a 500 fpm rate of descent, lead the altitude by 100–150 feet for a level off at an airspeed higher than descending speed. At the lead point, add power to the appropriate level flight cruise setting. [Figure 7-31] Since the nose tends to rise as the airspeed increases, hold forward elevator pressure to maintain the vertical speed at the descending rate until approximately 50 feet above the altitude, and then smoothly adjust the pitch attitude to the level flight attitude for the airspeed selected.


Figure 7-31. Level off airspeed higher than descent airspeed.

Figure 7-31. Level off airspeed higher than descent airspeed.

To level off from a descent at descent airspeed, lead the desired altitude by approximately 50 feet, simultaneously adjusting the pitch attitude to level flight and adding power to a setting that holds the airspeed constant. [Figure 7-32] Trim off the control pressures and continue with the normal straight-and-level flight cross-check.

Figure 7-32. Level off at descent airspeed.

Figure 7-32. Level off at descent airspeed.

 

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