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How to Make a Good Approach and Landing in FSX

Video Outline

The outline below compliments the video above.  You should really watch the video and use the information below as reference.  Reading the information below without watching the video above may lead to a little confusion.

My name is Steven here back with a tutorial on how to make a good approach and landing. Right now we're in a Cessna 172 Skyhawk right here. We are on a final approach right now for rolling 3-5 right at Centennial Airport. Currently we are showing just under 8,000, so 7,900 right here shown by altimeter. We're at an airspeed of a little bit above 80 knots, about 85 right now, which is good approach speed. We have no flaps. I am on pause right now so we're not moving.

Right now I'm going to explain to you how to get a good approach descent path established at an airport.

First of all, let's start out by these lights out here:
VASI lights

They're a little bit hard to see, but there are these lights out here and these are called a VASI, which is a visual approach slope indicator. And they're showing about a three degree descending slope. So right now we're showing two red, two white, which means we're on the path perfectly and we don't need to climb or descend.

And shown over here, too, this is a precision approach path indicator:
PAPI lights

 In real life, both these runways do have a precision approach path indicator, and the reason I know this is because I fly out of this airport in the real world.

So this is what you should be seeing on this runway, but right now, just FSX has it up where they have a VASI. But as precision approach path indicator is used for instruments landings as well, they are also the same three degree descending slope into the runway. So right now we're showing, like I said, red over whites, and that's perfect. If you get both white lights on there, you're above the glide slopes. You are too high and you should reduce your throttle and put it into a slight descent. And if you have two reds, you should stop your descent, increase power, until you reestablish on that glide slope.

So without further ado, let's get flying. So let's unpause it right now, and there we go. We're moving. And we are showing a climb rate right now. Vertical speed indicator is very helpful in this. I find that in a Cessna about a 500 feet per minute descent rate is about the best for this. Right now, as you can see, all the lights went to white, so we are too high. So we're going to descend the airplane. And you want to point the nose at it. You got to kind of judge it. You really need to be smooth though on your movements. You need to have really small, minute adjustments.  Minute movements are the best things you can do on an approach.

And if you don't feel like an approach, you can do what they call a go-around. It's where you cram it, clean it and call it. So whenever we mean cram it, we mean throw the throttle in to full. Clean it, pull your flaps up, pull your gears up when it's safe, and then call it, then contact the tower and let them know that you're going around. But we don't need it right now because we are high and we like to be high. High is more favorable than low.

And I also want to bring up flap settings. As you can see here on our airspeed indicator:
90kts Airspeed indicator

...It's showing we're going about 90 knots. Flaps 10 can be put in when there is beneath 110 knots, so right there. Then flaps 20 through 30 can be inserted in this white arc right here. And the reason is, if you put the flaps in before that white arc you could crack your flaps, unfortunately, and that's not a good thing to do. It's very costly repairs and just keep an eye on that speed. And I just inserted flaps 10, so we're doing all right.

We're showing red over white again, which is good. Keep your approach speed about 80 knots at this point. We are probably on a two mile, three mile final right now. So that is good. Once again, keep those small adjustments, up, down. And you could trim it, too, with the trim wheels so you don't have to really make super big adjustments. So that's what I have done. Previously to starting the video I trimmed her out, so everything's good. So once again, try not to use your throttle a lot. Don't be a throttle jockey. And I am going to put in flaps 20 right now. So, and where you have flaps there's buttons. You could go into the options, settings, and then controls, and you can set whatever button you want for flaps extend and flaps retract. So right now, we're showing really good. You know, I already have it set up on my joystick, so that's really nice.

We're showing about 70 knots now, which is good, and we'll put in flaps 30. And we're about to cross the Interstate, so E470, if you're in Denver right now. So we're showing, once again, that red over white. And just keep it going down really nice and smooth, once again. Add power as needed. Try not to be a throttle jockey by moving it in and out. Just try to control your airspeed with your descending and climb rate. That really helps out.

So what we're going to do once we reach these numbers right here:
Runway numbers (35R)

...so that's these things that are called the numbers, you're going to pull your throttle back to idle. So you're going to pull your throttle all the way back and then you're going to set the aircraft into what they call a flare. And you just keep pulling back on the stick until your main wheels touch down first. You never want to put your nose wheel into the ground because you get what they call a prop strike, and it's a pretty costly repair.

So once again, keep pulling, never pushover, it's just a wise thing to do. And as you see, we just touched down, so we can actually go to replay and see how good my landing was. But I felt that was pretty good. So hold on one second. Options, instant replay, and we'll do 60 seconds. So here we are. We're on finals. We got all our flaps down and making those small, minor tunes, as you can see right there. Just keep it real nice. And you'll see what I mean by the flare whenever we start pitching the aircraft up. And that's when you're over the runway. You do not pull throttle before the numbers until you have reached that threshold that you do that. So here we go. We just ballooned a slight bit because we had a little bit too much airspeed. And there you go. Once again, these are all very, very minute adjustments. They are not rough. They are very, very small and very minor.

So thank you all very much for watching my tutorials. Hope you all enjoyed it. Later on I will probably do an ILS approach, which is an instrument landing system with autopilot. If you guys want to know how to do that, let me know in the comments and I'll be more than happy to do that. My name's Steven and thank you all very much for watching my FSX tutorial on how to make a good approach and landing. See you guys later.

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