Principles to live by

When teaching in the airplane, sometimes I don’t have a lot of time to explain things so I have to be pithy. If you have a better way of saying this while keeping it concise and the meaning the same, go ahead and let me know.

Stop “it” (airspeed, altitude/pitch, or heading excursions) from getting worse then bring it back to what you want.
Explanation: While hand flying and maintaining altitude you notice your altitude is 50′ high – so, you’ve been climbing –  first of all ease the control yoke forward and use the pitch trim to maintain level flight, then begin a very slow descent back to the desired altitude and level off at the correct altitude. Note: since your airspeed is a little higher than it will be soon, you’ll need to trim forward a little to maintain altitude until the airspeed slows over the next minute or so – then you’ll probably need to trim up a little. Remember, we’re trimming for airspeed not an altitude. You probably began gaining altitude as the airspeed began to rise. due to losing weight burning off fuel.

Anticipate, then double check.
You extended the landing gear handle but
did you get three green lights
did the airspeed
slow as expected
when you retarded the throttle(s) for landing did the gear warning horn sound?

 When there is a “bump in the night” don’t panic. Check whether the airspeed is as desired, altitude (or pitch if you were climbing or descending at the time) and heading are ok. If not, you’ll need to work to fix those. If these are steady, look at the engine gauges, if they’re normal and the engine isn’t running rough go on to the flight controls. Are they damaged? If you find nothing wrong, then cautiously fly to an acceptable airport airport to determine the cause and decided from there whether to continue the flight or not.

Be very jealous of your airspeed especially close to the ground. (normally you wouldn’t look at the airspeed indicator while in the flare, you’re too busy maintaining landing pitch attitude and a decreasing distance above the runway). Now back to the airspeed – if the airspeed begins to decay rapidly while on final, quickly correct that and be ready to correct your (over) correction. Watch the trend. if the airspeed, altitude/pitch or heading begin to stray from what is desired, correct quickly but just enough, in this way you will have less of a change to over correct which then means you’ll have to correct again.

On short final be nimble, especially in a gusty crosswind situation. Correcting correctly and purposely making a good safe landing in these conditions shows great control of the aircraft. Have the nose of the aircraft lined up with the centerline by use of the rudder pedals (a better way to say it is have the whole longitudinal axis of the aircraft, nose to tail, lined up with the centerline). While changing from a crab on final to a slip by first applying rudder, the aircraft will naturally begin to drift. While correcting for this drift with ailerons, the aircraft will tend to crab again, correct that with rudder application. Once you’ve made all the right corrections, don’t relax, remember these are gusty crosswinds and the strength and direction of the winds are changing. Keep correcting for these changing conditions and don’t relax until you’ve crossed the runway hold short markings on the taxiway (another runway if control tower allows) and you’ve come to a stop. Also remember, as the aircraft slows down during the landing the less effective the ailerons are (and the rudder also until the nose wheel is on the ground) so larger control inputs will be needed to correct for changing winds.