Airspeed for downwind

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by injb, Dec 3, 2017.

  1. EppyGA

    EppyGA Touchdown! Greaser!

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  2. WannFly

    WannFly En-Route

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    If u guys flew AOA, this discussion will never happen

    Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
     
  3. dmspilot

    dmspilot En-Route

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    It would be "What color donut for downwind?" instead.
     
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  4. unsafervguy

    unsafervguy Cleared for Takeoff

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    There is no certain speed for downwind. If you have a jet right behind you keep the speed up, if everyone else is at 120 fly 120, if you all alone in the pattern fly mca if you want. I just like love it when I come in the pattern and someone is flying 747 patterns at 70kts. fly what works for the situation. If I'm all alone I fly 150kts till abeam the numbers, chop it and do a 180 turn to final.

    Bob
     
  5. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    Down wind speed is irrelevant. It is the final approach speed that counts.---> touch down speed --- > squeak.
     
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  6. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Apart from my rant, as would I, usually... but I’ve seen where a Skyhawk was the slowest thing in the pattern and everyone else is hanging on just above stall speed for dear life trying not to run them over, too.

    And my rant was mostly about folks who are picking up students or even rated pilots working on something from other instructors... need to evaluate a bit to see what their habits are, and as someone else put it, see if they’ve decided upon a somewhat inappropriate “profile” for whatever reason.

    Of course we don’t know if the instructor in this case already evaluated the pilot and decided he’s three counties behind the airplane at 100 knots, either. ;)
     
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  7. Skyrys62

    Skyrys62 Pattern Altitude

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    agree
    Make the plane do what you need it to do, as long as you deem it safe.
    I've probably never flown the same landing twice lol.
    Just call me snowflake!
     
  8. Salty

    Salty Pattern Altitude

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    You're not going to fail a checkride for flying a downwind at 100, but maybe what the instructor meant by his comment is that you will have difficulty successfully demonstrating an approach within the standards when you're a new pilot going that fast abeam the numbers.....
     
  9. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

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    make the downwind speed work for the traffic in the pattern. You may have to slow down....with flaps. Be ready for that. Or, perform a 360 and re-join for traffic separation.....it just depends.
     
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  10. bflynn

    bflynn En-Route

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    Well, yes, that's what I was saying. But he asked what I fly downwind at in a 172 and it's 80 kts because that's what I was taught. Perhaps the reason I was taught 80 on DW is because I fly at an pilot controlled field where there are many a/c that fly at 80 and some that can never make 100. I believe that if you're capable, you should fly at a speed that is compatible for everyone. You don't want to be chasing a cub around the pattern when you're at 100, but you don't want to fly it at 65 either.

    I'll whip the squirrels harder going into a controlled field where I have 2 miles of runway to slow down on, but that's a different situation.
     
  11. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I never said not to adjust speed for others in the pattern. I am saying there is no set speed one has to or should fly downwind. If I'm the only one in the pattern, or no one is in front of me, why fly 80 if I want to fly 100? These planes slow quickly and can be configured for landing quickly. Sure that comes with experience. Now as an instructor, I will have a student fly the pattern a certain way during initial training as they need structure as they are learning, but later show them different pattern speeds to fly so they know there are other options.
     
  12. timwinters

    timwinters Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I think we need clarification as to what segment of downwind the OP is referring to.

    The beginning of the downwind leg? Or, nearing the end of the downwind leg (abeam the numbers) when one configures for approach.

    If he's talking about the beginning then I agree with those that say speed isn't critical. Go with the flow if there's other traffic or gradually slow if there's not.

    If he's talking abeam the numbers, then, especially as a student pilot, he should do the same thing every time for the type of landing being made (trim for hands off approach speed...in my case I trim to 1.4 Vs1 for a normal landing: 80mph) and then simply make minor corrections necessitated by variances in wind and local geography.

    I assumed, maybe incorrectly, that he was referring to the downwind speed once he reaches the "abeam the numbers" point.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2017
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  13. injb

    injb Pre-takeoff checklist

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    No I'm talking about the section from when you turn downwind to when you reach the numbers.
     
  14. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    And then there is some guy in a Tripacer who decides pattern altitude is 500 feet and there he’ll stay...tower sent him to Kansas while I practiced S turns until turning base...
     
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  15. exncsurfer

    exncsurfer Pattern Altitude

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    My CFI always had me keep my speed up, maybe not cruise but close. I would think it depends a lot on the airport in question. I trained at an 8000 ft. runway with regional jet traffic so maybe that is why.
     
  16. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    In all reality, downwind speeds are a bit more important when flying higher performance aircraft, as it takes a bit more effort to transition into the approach phase than it does in a 172.
     
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  17. LongRoadBob

    LongRoadBob Line Up and Wait

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    I'm not the OP, just another student, but thanks for this. You have a good knack for putting things in perspective and seems like time and time again explaining in a way that helps me a lot, that makes sense to me.

    It's a good quality to post and make the distinction between experienced pilots POV (which is where we students to want to get to) and what is helpful to a student (where we are now).

    This post helped me a lot. An automobile equivalent would be like teaching someone to merge from an on ramp. You really want them to know in essence that they have to pick up speed to match the speed of traffic, so maybe you tell them a certain speed or acceleration but also the goal is that they look in the mirror and check that they are really merging. That comes with experience.

    But especially your point about having enough energy to make the runway if the engine quits. That drives home the REASON for not wanting to be too slow. Also many other factors, but mainly it seems like 1) to "merge" seamlessly if other traffic, 2) to have a basic default speed that is reasonable, and 3) to realize the implications, that if engine or other trouble you need enough to get to the runway.

    And maybe 4) get trained in different speeds.

    Good stuff! Thanks!

    Great point! I think of the point about "do the same thing every time" like learning to shoot pool. If you don't have a solid "stroke" with the pool cue, you cannot get anywhere. If it is wavering all over the place you have no "base" to adjust because its a different angle of attack every time. You have to be solid with the stroke and then adjust it slightly to get the shot.

    So the value here (my understanding from what you wrote) is if you can be consistent, and if it is not optimal, you can adjust and get to the point where the pool cue just needs a fine adjustment, or the landing pattern speeds, and adjustments just needs a tweak.

    And to injb, I've been through a similar thing. Fourth instructor, and each one is a little different.
    I also trust my current CFI, and just will do what he says but I ask him if I don't get the why or thought behind something. If it were me, I'd respectfully ask the idea behind what he said.
     
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  18. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    On downwind..??
    How much much do you think you need to slow down?? I’d say 0. Keep the speed up. It’s not like you’re doing 250kts.
     
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  19. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    For a 172, you can hit downwind at VNE and still do a base to final turn and cross the fence a vref
     
  20. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    Agree totally... but never heard Vref as referenced to a C172!!! Lol!!
     
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  21. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Final Approach

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    What goes here?
    It’s not just about being able to slow down enough for landing. It is also and even more importantly about blending in with other traffic in the pattern.
     
  22. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    Exactly.
     
  23. Ken Ibold

    Ken Ibold Final Approach

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    While the original question revolves around 172 ops, obviously the solution varies widely among aircraft as well. A Mooney requires a different kind of energy management from abeam the numbers to touchdown than does a Pitts, and that complicates the whole "if the engine quits" scenario.
     
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  24. MadseasoN

    MadseasoN Line Up and Wait

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    90 is good in a 172.
     
  25. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    So is 110. So is 80. So is 70.

    Other traffic, adjust speed accordingly to fit in. This ain't rocket science.
     
  26. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Never blend in, be yourself :)

    But legit, you could easily enter downwind at full cruise speed in a 172 and it wouldn't be a problem.
     
  27. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Depends on what you're following!
     
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  28. MadseasoN

    MadseasoN Line Up and Wait

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    I prefer consistency. I may extend or shorten DW for traffic but the speeds are always the same.

    In the 172, and most other planes I fly, I found that the power setting and speed for pattern entry/DW worked out like this:
    From level cruise (75% power) reduce RPM to maintain a 500FPM descent. Note the power setting.
    Level off at TPA and keep the noted power setting. The plane will slow to pattern airspeed.
    The 172 is about 90.
     
  29. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Nothing wrong with that either. Your choice, technique.

    But there are times when the tower may request you to keep your speed up, etc. Of course you can refuse, as long as you don't mind flying 360s on downwind. :D
     
  30. Ken Ibold

    Ken Ibold Final Approach

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    Flew a piston single into Miami International once and got there along with a bank of American arrivals. Cruise power to the fence, for sure.
     
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  31. MadseasoN

    MadseasoN Line Up and Wait

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    True. We should all know how to fly DW at cruise speed too.

    Like my Texas grandpa always said "I already got it taken care of".
     
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  32. danhagan

    danhagan Cleared for Takeoff

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    To the OP: The CFI's are trying to get you consistent so you have good landings. In practice, you'll match what ever is out there, and sometimes you can't. Our field was heavy training, and local doc that flies a Pitts would run a faster wider pattern very hot and usually get 2 landings in for everyone of mine. All I did was confirm he had me in site every time he called downwind so he wouldn't run me over. The Cirrus and GlasAir guys were faster, but I usually departed the pattern if they were around and went somewhere else.

    Sold my Tiger, but I was often at 1600-1700 RPM trying to stay as slow as some in the pattern.

    On my checkride in 2007, just as we were getting setup 5 miles out for the 45, I heard a familiar voice on the radio call 15 miles inbound to land and immediately told the DPE hang on a second and started an immediate descent to 500 AGL. Not 2 seconds later that aircraft went directly over us ... DPE responded," Now THAT's situational awareness!". This guy could never give an accurate position call, and was a mid-air waiting to happen.
     
  33. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    :needpics:
     
  34. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Does ATC ever ask people to do that? I'm having a hard time seeing what purpose it would serve, given that airliners fly downwind much wider than a 172 does.
     
  35. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    ATC could request it if they were trying to get you in front of, say, another plane on the ILS 6 miles out for example. I've done it plenty of times when I was ATC, but issuing 360s was the most fun. ;)
     
  36. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Just adjust your sequence and timing accordingly.

    I've often entered downwind at airports in my 185 at 120kias, gear down, power back, sweeping turn down wind to final, dropping flaps as the speed bleeds down.

    Not a big deal. Especially in a 172 with how draggy it is and its buck ten full rental power speed
     
  37. unsafervguy

    unsafervguy Cleared for Takeoff

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    So that was YOU I was following!
     
  38. Ken Ibold

    Ken Ibold Final Approach

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    Yeah I think you dented my rudder
     
  39. Zamviation

    Zamviation Filing Flight Plan

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    In the C172SP, I generally target 80-85KIAS on downwind, 70KIAS for base, and slow to 61 +5/-0 (Full Flaps) on final (Dont forget about gust factor). Usually, it's a good bet to standardize what you do. Adjust power setting as needed for the conditions.
     
  40. Ken.P

    Ken.P Filing Flight Plan

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    I was taught to go about 90. Just just have to bleed it off before turning base. No need to race the downwind leg.