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Golden Age Aviation, Inc.

Earl C. Downs, President


Suspended Descent

By: Earl C. Downs


It may be necessary to suspend the descent after you are established in what you believe is a stabilized approach on final, but you are still above your go-around decision point. An example of this could be the need, or desire, to land further down the runway. A suspended descent means maintaining approach configuration and speed while holding altitude. Here’s how you might practice this:


Choose a suitable practice area and pick an altitude that is no less than 1500 feet above the ground as your make-believe airport altitude.


Fly a traffic pattern 1000 feet above the make-believe airport altitude and fly a downwind, base, and final, just like you are making an approach to a real runway.


After establishing the make-believe final approach in landing configuration, apply power to level the airplane without changing configuration while holding airspeed and altitude. Note the pitch and power setting.


Hold this suspended descent configuration for 10 seconds or so, then reestablish your stabilized approach. Practice this several times.


You can end the practice approach with a practice go-around…we’ll cover this in another TIP.

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