Airspeed for downwind

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

  1. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Line Up and Wait

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    The specific speed is not what is important. Using a consistent speed is--particularly for a student or pilot flying a new aircraft.

    This is also a big part of why we fly a standardized traffic pattern, in addition to it's benefits for collision avoidance. You keep as many things consistent from approach to approach then change only what needs to be changed to fit the specific situation.
     
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  2. Tantalum

    Tantalum Cleared for Takeoff

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    100 knots in the downwind will fail you? Why? What FAR are you breaking by doing that or AIM is being pushed? I never understood why some instructors treat mundane things as if they were life or death. I did an IR stage check with someone who took me to task about setting up for the FAF at 90 knots.. when he preferred 85. Like really?! What's much more important in the pattern is to be consistent, stable, spatially oriented, situationally aware, and **coordinated**

    Same here. In the Archer the target RPM is 2200 for downwinds, setting up for approaches, etc.. That's where I start and then once the plane settles out I'll adjust as needed to give about 90 knots IAS

    That seems very slow, especially in mph. I 100% understand not wanting to fly away from the airport, especially when extending downwind. If you really are flying that in mph that works out to about 60 knots.. that seems way too slow and jams up the pattern behind you. In the Archer I plan 65-70 on final.. 60 over the numbers. These are knots. 75 on base, and 80-85 abeam the numbers. At 60 knots you're barely hanging on the edge and causing a traffic jam

    Yes. Consistency.


    **In generally I really don't think it should be standard practice to fly patterns under 90 IAS. I never understood this desire some people have to drag it around the pattern at 75 knots. I know everyone in this board loves to hate Cirrus, but if you have other non trainers in the pattern, like a Cirrus, etc., then that really holds other people up. Plus, if you ever fly into larger Charlie or even Bravo airports I don't think they're going to want you sitting 5 miles out on final doing 75 knots. Flying back into MYF the other day from an XC I called the tower from about 9 miles out, which would put me just up the coast-ish, and I was doing about 120 GS. Tower comes back "you're going to have to slow way down, we have a Cub in the pattern" <- thought that was very odd. Have the Cub fly right traffic then for 28R, or give me 28R, don't give us both left traffic for 28L and expect me to slow a Cirrus to 80 knots in the downwind.
     
  3. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That CFI is wrong. Any speed is acceptable. Most SE planes are from say 80 to 110 or so, others slower like a J3. 100 knots downwind in a C172 is fine. What if you were at a towered airport and controller requested you to fly faster for traffic? Would a DPE still fail you? Nope
     
  4. N659HB

    N659HB Pattern Altitude

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    Jets fly downwind? :eek:
     
  5. Tantalum

    Tantalum Cleared for Takeoff

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    Yes, but only on treadmills
     
  6. N659HB

    N659HB Pattern Altitude

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    Bet they have metal landing calculators, too.
     
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  7. timwinters

    timwinters Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    You assume there was ever any traffic at airports I typically flew at when I had my 172. That would be an incorrect assumption.

    Regardless. It was a straight tail 172 and 70 mph was 1.3Vs1 and that's what I trimmed for abeam the numbers. If you're behind me then just live with it (both figuratively AND literally) just like when I'm behind a Cub I live with it. I have no expectation that they should adjust their standard procedure for me. They shouldn't.

    Now I fly a straight tail 182 and I trim for 80 MILES PER HOUR abeam the numbers. Again 1.3Vs1. That was what was instilled in me during my training to develop precision. Excess speed creates sloppiness.

    It's really hard to "drag it around the pattern" when the power is at idle. You can fly your 747 power-on approaches at 90kts all day long, I don't care. I'll fly my 0.5 to 0.75 mile power off approaches...and won't be in your way.

    Remember, I'm not flying downwind at 1.3Vs1, rather I'm only trimming for it after the throttle goes to idle abeam the numbers. Then it's only a minute or so before I'm on the ground. If I have to extend my downwind, I don't trim for approach speed abeam the numbers. I only trim after the throttle is at idle.

    That said, if I regularly flew at an airport with a lot of traffic, or a towered airport, and I have in the past, my approach would be different.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018 at 2:04 AM
  8. coloradobluesky

    coloradobluesky En-Route

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    A competent pilot should be able to fly downwind in a 172 at any speed the airplane will do it, down to the slowest it will hold altitude in normal cruise. So 70 to 110 knots indicated, or so. There is a lot of leeway on this one. Experiment around with different speeds. There is no one speed that is "right". Pick a speed you are comfortable with.
     
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  9. Aaronk25

    Aaronk25 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    At home airport RST tower said If you can keep your speed up and you will be #1. Got jet traffic at 5 miles. Crossed mid-field in the Mooney at 210kts. That might be a bit excessive though lol......


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
     
  10. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

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    don't mind me.....if I slide inside your 2 mile final.

    You won't even know I'm there....I'll slow to 1.3 speed on short final. ;)
     
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  11. Tantalum

    Tantalum Cleared for Takeoff

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    Maybe I haven't flown enough out of slow untowered fields, around here it is not uncommon to have 3, 4, 5 planes in the pattern, etc., and you kind of have to be comfortable with the flow. It might be common practice in some places to slow to 70 mph abeam the numbers but I don't think that would be very neighborly around here, esp when some of the airports, especially CRQ, see a descent amount of turbine traffic

    I don't consider 90 knots "excess" speed, and I still come over the numbers at 60-65 knots. That airspeed gives me a nice safety buffer and is more neighborly and courteous to the traffic behind me

    Perhaps it's a geographic or location difference. To each their own.
     
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  12. LongRoadBob

    LongRoadBob Line Up and Wait

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    I see a lot of difference of opinion here. But the OP is, like me, a student.
    With that in mind, folks that say one should be able to do any speed in the downwind, but what about for a student? It is a lot easier to train first to a smaller range of possible speed, and also not have to maybe deal with slowing down much more on base, etc.?
    Say a 172... how many knots is a good start?
     
  13. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Guess you could always say tower requested it! ;)

    Ref: 91.117 Aircraft Speeds
     
  14. Tantalum

    Tantalum Cleared for Takeoff

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    I was always taught in the Skyhawk and Archer to start at 2,200 RPM then aim for 90 knots in the downwind, then
    75-85 abeam the number
    75 on base
    65 final
    60 over the numbers
     
  15. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    210kts in a class D?
     
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  16. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man Cleared for Takeoff

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    I usually enter downwind at around 140-150 knots slowing to 125 knots when the gear comes out. 95 on Base slowing to 85-90 depending on runway length for final.
     
  17. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    200 can be exceeded IF ATC requests it, so he can always claim that. :rofl:
     
  18. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

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    do this....but anyone should be able....after a while....to learn to fly 100 to short final then transition to slower speeds. You'll need that skill when flying 172's to larger airports.

    I remember a while ago, flying an Arrow, into Regan National.....and flying the whole river approach at 135 kts to short final. I think I floated a little....till I got stopped.:D
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018 at 9:57 AM
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  19. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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  20. timwinters

    timwinters Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    HAR!

    As I said in the post you quoted, you'll seldom find me flying over a 0.5 to 0.625 mile final. If I was at 1.3 on short final then I might have to use my brakes to use that first turn-off that's 1000' from the threshold! ;)

    Agreed, even at the class D that I frequent (KCGI) there is seldom anyone else in the pattern. If told to expedite by the tower, then sure, I will. But otherwise, if I'm flying a standard pattern then it's as I described above. But, even if someone else was behind me flying a power on approach at 90kts I likely still wouldn't get in their way because of how tight my pattern is. I'll fly 100 mph on the downwind to the numbers, then chop the power and trim for 80. As soon as I hit 80 i'm typically already turning base.

    One other big difference may be that I frequent grass strips that are in the 1,300' to 1,600' range so I can't afford to NOT be at minimum speed when I cross the numbers thus I try to practice that on every approach. If all you fly off of is 3,000'+ strips then, sure, eating up 500' of runway as you bleed off speed isn't a big deal. Back when I was based at KSGF, it wasn't that unusual for me to float 2,000' to 3,000' down the 7,000'+ runways when tower told me to keep my speed up and I'd cross the threshold at 120 or more. It was fun actually.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018 at 9:53 AM
  21. JonH

    JonH Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I was taught 90 kts and became very comfortable with it. From there I can speed up or slow down. If I know tower is going to extend me I will slow it down some. If I'm the only one in the pattern 100kts is just as easy to manage, especially with a headwind.
     
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  22. LongRoadBob

    LongRoadBob Line Up and Wait

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    Thanks!
     
  23. timwinters

    timwinters Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Let's not forget that many CFI's (especially, it seems, young ones) view excess airspeed as an insurance policy. Again, it's no big deal if you have a long runway in front of a 172.

    I am reminded of this:

     
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  24. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

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    I will never have a base to final stall....if my speed is 100 mph. I just ain't yanking and banking that much. :D
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018 at 10:09 AM
  25. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Was that the POA mods that kept interrupting the video with all that mumble jumbo crap? :popcorn::biggrin:
     
  26. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I love the TEN stripes on his dork bars at the end of the video - "five striper" x 2.
     
  27. Tantalum

    Tantalum Cleared for Takeoff

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    @timwinters funny video and the guys who fly insane patterns get to me too. I like to stay close for engine outs, etc. The video mentioned one trick pony, fair enough, but the same could be said for the 1/2 mile power off 60 knot approach as well

    Just not long ago there was a thread that someone posted on here about how they were flying to an airport on a XC and they received straight in instruction and they were all out of sorts..

    Either way, be consistent and know how to manage your energy is the moral
     
  28. paflyer

    paflyer Final Approach

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    Dammit that's funny!

    And I miss flying a Cub :(. When I was doing it 40 years ago I didn't realize how cool it was.
     
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  29. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yep I haven't flown a Cub in 27 years at least. There's one at a flight on the but I don't think they rent it out. Need to check on that.