180 Degree Power-Off Approach in a Retractable Gear Airplane

The 180 Degree power-off Approach is a required maneuver for both the Commercial Pilot Certificate and the Flight Instructor Certificate.  Flying Activity members with these pilot certificates will be asked to demonstrate the maneuver during Annual Flight Reviews and CFI Annual Standardization flights.

Recent Annual Flight reviews and CFI Standardization checks have shown some inconsistency in the demonstration of the maneuver. In some cases, the pilot or CFI have delayed lowering the landing gear until on final or short final.   This late extension of the landing gear which may be necessary for an emergency landing situation but is not the proper procedure for the 180-degree accuracy approach maneuver. 

The correct procedure for the maneuver is described in “The Airplane Flying Handbook (FAA-H-083-3B) in Chapter 8.  The 180 degree Power-Of Approach is described as a continuation of the 90 Degree Power-O Approach, which states clearly:

 “The before landing checklist should be competed on the downwind leg, including extension of the landing gear, if the airplane is equipped with retractable gear.”

Risk Management.  In addition to conformance to AFM criteria, from a risk point of view, delaying gear extension introduces many uncertainties:

  • Delayed extension puts the pilot in a high workload time compressed situation.
  • Lead to late time change in pitch moment.
  • Increased risk of gear not being down and locked
  • Increased risk of pilot distraction from confirming gear down.

Any questions check with your flight instructor, John, Lou or myself.

PAUL LAHOUD, RAFA Safety Officer.   Pl2319@aol.com

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