The power-off 180 is a no-power precision landing, starting from the downwind. The goal is to manage energy to fly a stable approach and land on a specified point.
You have a LOT of tools available to help you achieve the precision required by the power-off 180. This includes:
- Changing your track: This includes adjusting where you turn base and final, as well as how square your pattern is, and additional S-turns or other course modifications. If you are coming up short, you want to shorten your distance to the runway, and vice versa.
- Flaps: Adding flaps early steepens the approach. Delaying flaps can help correct a situation where you are below glide path.
- Slipping: You can use the rudder to slow down the airplane
- Adjusting your airspeed: If you are high and on speed, you can often raise the nose a little and as a result (1) slow your groundspeed and (2) add drag which often help steep your approach angle. If you are low and on speed, you’ll often want to keep the nose down to avoid inducing more drag. After you reach ground effect you can stretch your glide to the landing point.
- Propeller: If you are performing this maneuver in an airplane with a constant speed propeller, you can reduce RPM to reduce drag. (Word of caution: This must be corrected before a go-around, so don’t do it unless landing is assured.
Good technique for the power-off 180 should require only small adjustments. Even though you have all of these resources available to you, the goal is still to fly a stabilized approach and landing.
One recommendation we make is that you start this maneuver with a very slight turn in order to gauge the winds. If you continue to fly downwind, you may be unaware of the strength of wind speed until you turn and notice that the winds are much stronger than you think, leading you to be low. A very slight turn can make it easier to see what the effects of wind will be.
How can you use ground track to adjust your approach path?
How can you use flaps to adjust your approach path?
How can you use a slip to adjust your approach path?
How can you use airspeed/pitch to adjust your approach path?
How can you use a propeller control to adjust your approach path?
You turned base a little too early, and are now high. What are some ways you can fix this?
You turn base a little late and are now low. What are some ways you can fix this?