Turbulent Air Approach and Landing

For landing in turbulent conditions, use a power-on approach at an airspeed slightly above the normal approach speed. This provides for more positive control of the airplane when strong horizontal wind gusts, or up and down drafts, are experienced. Like other power-on approaches, a coordinated combination of both pitch and power adjustments is usually required. As in most other landing approaches, the proper approach attitude and airspeed require a minimum round out and should result in little or no floating during the landing.


To maintain control during an approach in turbulent air with gusty crosswind, use partial wing flaps. With less than full flaps, the airplane is in a higher pitch attitude. Thus, it requires less of a pitch change to establish the landing attitude and touchdown at a higher airspeed to ensure more positive control. Excessive speed causes the airplane to float past the desired landing area.

One procedure is to use the normal approach speed plus one-half of the wind gust factors. If the normal speed is 70 knots, and the wind gusts are 15 knots, an increase of airspeed to 77 knots is appropriate. In any case, the airspeed and the number of flaps used should conform to airplane manufacturer recommendations in the AFM/POH.

Use an adequate amount of power to maintain the proper airspeed and descent path throughout the approach, and retard the throttle to idling position only after the main wheels contact the landing surface. Care must be exercised in closing the throttle before the pilot is ready for touchdown. In turbulent conditions, the sudden or premature closing of the throttle may cause a sudden increase in the descent rate that results in a hard landing.

When landing from power approaches in turbulence, the touchdown is made with the airplane in approximately level flight attitude. The pitch attitude at touchdown would be only enough to prevent the nose wheel from contacting the surface before the main wheels have touched the surface. After touchdown, avoid the tendency to apply forward pressure on the yoke, as this may result in wheel barrowing and possible loss of control. Allow the airplane to decelerate normally, assisted by careful use of wheel brakes. Avoid heavy braking until the wings are devoid of lift and the airplane’s full weight is resting on the landing gear.