Lesson Five – Landing Circuits

Learning Objectives

  • Be able to line up with the runway ready for landing
  • Recognise the correct time to begin descending in the circuit
  • Descend and slow the aircraft whilst turning safely towards the runway
approach pattern for landing


Landing Circuits

  • You will handle take-off, your instructor will handle landings

There are two main components to the landing circuit and approach:

  1. The line-up with the runway
  2. The descent to the runway

You should practice the line-up first before you begin to worry about the descent.  This is easy to do and you should have it mastered already if you can fly smooth and accurate circuits in both directions.

Most landings are made on the main runway at the LMMAC field; that is the runway that runs left to right in front of the pilot’s box.  This is useful as we can use the electricity pylon directly in front of us as a guide when to begin our descent.

  1. At normal circuit height pull the throttle back to around 25% as you the aircraft passes over the top of the pylon
  2. Allow the model to lose height slowly, do not try to use elevator to force it down or hold the nose up
  3. If you are descending to quickly, apply a little power
  4. If you are descending to slowly, reduce power a little
  5. Once you flown past the end of the runway begin a slow wide turn onto your base leg
  6. Continue descending as you make another turn onto the runway centreline
  7. Let the aircraft continue descending towards the runway
  8. Once over the end of the runway, apply full power and climb the aircraft smoothly back up to circuit height – this is called going around

It will take some time for you to get used to your aircraft and how much throttle and space it needs to descend. Do not be tempted to push down on the elevator to lose height more quickly as this will cause the aircraft to speed up and you will not be able to land safely.

Most new pilots find that it is more difficult to judge the final turn once the aircraft is descending.  Practice this approach a lot until you have memorised the correct position and altitude for each stage of the approach.

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