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David Wood wrote:5/ By all means call something like "G-ABCD positioning for long finals, runway 26" or something similar so that everyone knows what you are up to. But don't actually call finals until you would have done if you'd been in the circuit, ie at about 500' or so.

"Long final ... " is a CAP413 call, made at 4 miles to the threshold isn't it?

Rob P
Regarding your sketch for Kemble, sort of, but without the extra turn on the extended centreline.

For your example I would probably initially aim slightly further west to ensure better separation from any departing traffic. Depending on how busy it is I might even make a non standard call 'passing through the extended centre line one mile outside the ATZ 1250 feet (or whatever) will join downwind'

Miss the noise sensitive point in the bottom left of your sketch, line up on downwind and complete the circuit to land.
Last edited by Charles Hunt on Fri Jan 08, 2021 12:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Saisworld liked this
Couple of comments....

Saisworld wrote:1) Fly overhead number 26

You should really be a bit further out rather than right overhead the runway. Think of the initial part of the OHJ as a roundabout in the sky. If the airfield you're flying to is busy, you can all play follow my leader overhead the airfield and peel off one by one into the circuit.

Saisworld wrote:5) keep flying (visually for the PIC from his seat) tail of the aircraft touches the runway ,this means we have reached downwind OR visual landmarks
6) Turn left, now the tip of the wing should touch the runway

These are only initial pointers when you first start out to give you an idea where the downwind should be flown. After a bit of experience you should instinctively know approximately where in relation to the runway to fly the downwind or where is comfortable for you to fly it. If there are other aircraft in the circuit, obviously don't fly the circuit inside them.

As for judging your final approach, it's the same as flying the circuit normally, just look at the "picture" of the runway and descend when it looks right. You won't always get it spot on, I remember flying in the south of the US a couple of times where I think it looks right, pull the power back, but the aeroplane just doesn't go down because of thermals.
T6Harvard liked this
Rob P wrote:
David Wood wrote:5/ By all means call something like "G-ABCD positioning for long finals, runway 26" or something similar so that everyone knows what you are up to. But don't actually call finals until you would have done if you'd been in the circuit, ie at about 500' or so.

"Long final ... " is a CAP413 call, made at 4 miles to the threshold isn't it?

Rob P

You may well be right Rob. But I would suggest that whilst that may be appropriate for a large airfield, for the average GA airfield 4 miles is well outside the ATZ and far too far away.

Four miles is only two minutes or less from the ATZ boundary and is a good heads up for existing circuit traffic.

I'd never fly a straight-in at a non-ATC field without calling long final

Rob P
AndyR liked this
Saisworld wrote:
How to fly a Long Final approach ? None of my instructors taught me to do this and I received my License yesterday. In a normal circuit, in Baseleg I start to descend and it automagically everything sets in the right path, right altitude, right attitude, right speed. In a Long final, when and where should I be at the circuit height, start descending, ?
If I descend too early, I have to use power to get back, If I didnt descend at the right time, I will be too high.

Teaching descent planning in general is something that is easily missed for a variety of reasons. It probably stems from the fact that a large proportion of student cross country flights are planned at 3000' or below due to weather, airspace and sector length constraints.

If you were to plan a 2 hour plus flight in gin clear weather with no airspace constraints, what altitude would you plan to fly at? There is no right answer to this. You might be flying into a headwind and want to minimise the flight time and a lower level might reduce the headwind. You might want to sightsee along the way. You might wish to fly higher to increase your TAS and reduce fuel burn.

Let's assume that you choose to fly at 7000'. How far out from your destination would you begin your descent? I might suggest that a better question is you many minutes before your ETA would you start your descent given that, for passenger comfort, engine health, and easy maths, a ROD of 500 fpm works quite well. Keep a mental "howgozit" going (altitude/height v time) and be prepared to make adjustments if it's not going to work out.

If you were to be landing on runway 36 at anywheresville, and you are flying to anywheresville from the south, commencing a 500 fpm ROD 14 minutes away will put you fairly close to the right position on long final.

If you were to be landing on runway 18 though, you might start your descent from 7000' with 12 minutes to run; you are aiming to position yourself to be at 1000' when abeam the runway on a downwind leg.

Approaching anywheresville from the west, at 7000' when runway 36 is in use, LH circuit and a standard overhead join at 2000'? When might you start your descent? If during your descent whilst passing say 3500', you are offered a left base join, what are your options?
Some other points:

The Manual of Air Traffic Services describes "Final" as being on the centreline within 4 miles of the threshold, and "Long Final" as being on the centreline between 4 and 8 miles from the threshold. No reference is made to the aircraft's vertical position at either of these ranges.

Often, the Noise Abatement Procedures (e.g. EGSH AD 2.21 Noise Abatement Procedures) state that:

... and when approaching to land, without the assistance of ILS, shall follow a descent path which will not result in their being at any time lower than the normal 3° glide path.

It's not necessarily inappropriate for an SEP to fly angles of descent on approach which are steeper than 3 degrees, or shallower, if there are no specific Noise Abatement Procedures.

Be aware that the normal triggers that a student/newly qualified pilot might use as prompts to carry out "airfield approach" and "before landing" checks might not be present when carrying out a "non standard" approach.
This is no criticism of you, @Saisworld, but is sounds to me as though your instructor has left you a bit short of some useful experience in your training.

A PPL course can't cover everything you'll encounter in the real world, but making sure you get exposed to the more commonplace scenarios, even if just talking them through in the briefing room, is something i'd have expected to see.

Buddying up with a local mentor who can talk things over with you, or who can accompany you on some of your flights, might be something worth exploring when things ease up and we start flying again.
Rob P, Saisworld, AlanC and 2 others liked this
JAFO wrote:CAP413 says Final call is at 4 miles or less and Long Final is 4nm - 8nm.

The OHJ guidance in CAP4413 says the Final call is made at 500'.

And don't even get me started on people that call final (or long final :) ) at 8 miles (or even 4 miles) and think it gives them priority over base leg traffic, ie me. :evil:

Even if technically it does. And yes I know about the supersonic ones that have no choice.