‘Aim small, and miss smaller’

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Brown detailed several accuracy exercises that have led to better landings.

Remain on the centerline during taxi and takeoff. When flying from the left seat, “Put the centerline through your right knee … and lo and behold, it works.” He said starting out with precision and maintaining it contributes to “basic sight and muscle memory.” He confided that “it can be stinking hard” to maintain that precision during the takeoff roll because of large power changes, P-factor, crosswinds, and gusts. He suggested smaller and more constant steering inputs to dial yourself “into a higher standard of performance” all-around, and he suggested that pilots “aim small and miss small.” Know your aircraft’s power settings and have them close “at hand.” This is critical for getting your airplane to perform the way you want it to perform during different phases of flight, including approach for landing. Brown uses a certain power setting during an IFR vector to final; a setting for the “final approach fix, [and] descending”; and other descent phases. He memorized the correct power setting for downwind, the power for “perch onto base,” and so on. “Basically, if you’re descending, you ought to be going to a power setting that you know is pretty close … and then tweak it” for headwinds, crosswinds, or other weather phenomena. Arriving at the runway environment during a “honking headwind” means he needs more power, and he responds by adding an inch of manifold pressure in a constant-speed powerplant, a similar RPM increase for a fixed-pitch propeller engine, and 5 percent extra torque in a turbine aircraft. “You’re going to need that” to counter strong headwinds and lesser groundspeeds. Maintain directional precision on short final by “chopping out” roll drifts on descent with “quick, sharp countermeasures.” These inputs make an “enormous difference” when pointing an airplane where you want it to go. He said an experience “wallowing around down final” during a landing at New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport led to the revelation. “The airplane should not go where you did not tell it to go,” so as a drift or roll begins, “chop it out” quickly and decisively to remain “stable as a rail” on descent. Brown said that “if you perceive making small changes more quickly,” it will eliminate the potential to compound those errors on final. Choose a precise landing point. Brown said he borrowed this drill from a backcountry

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