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Most landing accidents are caused by unstabilised approaches - really?

This was posted on an obscure EASA forum but appears to be from the FAA

Surely, most landing accidents are caused by people not landing the plane right. What you did a mile back is irrelevant.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

A concept which is largely correct, but applies mainly to commercial air transport. The 1,000’ (instrument) and 500’ (visual) AGL check of a stabilised approach being a big deal.

It is why ATP standard at minima is one dot, the aircraft being on profile, on speed, MLG straddling centre line, configured and checks complete. The aircraft has too much inertia to allow for only very minor changes. Jet assessments are looking for strong discipline on the stabilised approach.



OTOH a low inertia Piper Cub can, in reasonably competent hands, be landed nicely after quite unstabilised approaches.

Oxford (EGTK)

Peter wrote:

Surely, most landing accidents are caused by people not landing the plane right. What you did a mile back is irrelevant.

Of course, but the probability of having a landing right is proportional or conditional to what you did a mile back?

Remember you don’t know the future only the past it would have been bloody easy if pilots know they are about to crash in next 5s, most of us just don’t…

Last Edited by Ibra at 15 Sep 17:13
Paris/Essex, United Kingdom

Ibra wrote:

but the probability of having a landing right is proportional or conditional to what you did a mile back?

Is it? I’m not really sure how relevant that is as I’m rarely turned to final over a mile away. It possibly gets into the territory of correlation not necessarily being causation if the case.

Agreed in the case of big heavy buses that have lots of inertia. Not convinced for lighter stuff.

Peter wrote:

Surely, most landing accidents are caused by people not landing the plane right. What you did a mile back is irrelevant.

That depends on conditions. If you have a 2000 m runway, you can get away with a lot in a light aircraft. If the runway is marginal for your aircraft, you really have to arrive at the correct speed and altitude. If you’re too fast or high, you may make a safe touchdown. If you’re too slow or low you risk a hard landing, possibly before reaching the runway. In particular fixing a fast/high situation on short final may not be so easy – it has to be done earlier.

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

Sometimes you wonder what people do get away with in terms of unstabilized approaches. Sometimes they are fun to watch. Doing side slips with the Caravelle was fun. Getting a landing clearance “Cleared to land if you can make it from this position” while in a base turn wasn’t so much but the guy made it anyway with a rather heavy airliner. (put it on the numbers too). Flying a circuit in the Carribbean on a wide body at approximately 200 ft over the sea…. as long as it works, it’s fun. If it doesn’t it ends up on ASN.

LSZH, Switzerland

Is it? I’m not really sure how relevant that is as I’m rarely turned to final over a mile away. It possibly gets into the territory of correlation not necessarily being causation if the case.

Agreed in the case of big heavy buses that have lots of inertia. Not convinced for lighter stuff.

It’s a matter where you put your cutoff, you have to be right on (ASI & VSI & ALT) or (feel) over the runway threshold, but you have to start somewhere way before that to get that right?

Stable at 1000ft agl on 3deg glide path at the right speed or go-around is surely not be adequate for someone who is used to cruise at 500ft agl or turn base leg at 300ft agl but there is a limit on how far you can “save it” to get the landing right?

Obviously, a moot question to anyone who flies gliders, stable or unstable approach, it’s one way anyway but the BGA guidance did appreciate wing level at 300ft agl…

Last Edited by Ibra at 15 Sep 17:54
Paris/Essex, United Kingdom

I think a lot depends on the definition you give a stabilized approach.
At work i use different standards then while flying ga.
I once did a flight to EBAW in a p2010, atc asked me to keep high speed and i kept 100+ kias till short final, crossed the fence at 90, bled off all excess speed in a long flare before touching down at the normal speed of 60kias
Would it be stabilised at our home base of 600m grass with some trees not too far away? No
Would it be stabilised for a normal approach? No
Was it stabilised for the situation? Yes

Belgium

For low inertia aircraft being stabilised above roundout is irrelevant. In turbulence stabilised occurs when all three wheels are on the ground. In marginally high gusting winds the aircraft is stabilized when either 2 tiedowns are secure or it is partly inside the hangar.
The Bolkow Junior has a 20kt crosswind limit.
The manual has no safe limit for getting out without the aircraft blowing away if no helpers present.
Using the wrong technique for the aircraft is probably the main cause of landing accidents.

Last Edited by Maoraigh at 15 Sep 18:50
Maoraigh
EGPE, United Kingdom

Examining landing accidents seems to have revealed that often the subsequent approach was crap.

Examining good landings seems to have revealed that often the subsequent approach was good.

For a 3000m runway, flying a loooong 65kts approach, fully configured, in a Pa28, would be very risky for me. I’d crash because I would be asleep by the time I’d touch down. ;)

Airline/Mentor/Safety/Instructor - Pilot
Based Austria | Operating Worldwide
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