FAST: The Graveyard Turn on to Final Approach.

Graveyard Turn on to Final Approach.

Topic: Principles of Flight

Turning at low speed and high angle of bank is incredibly dangerous. New or inexperienced Pilots are at risk of doing this when turning on to final approach to land having over-shot the runway centre line. What could lead to an over-shoot of the centre line? Two reasons mainly:

1) A cross wind that is from circuit direction will always give a fast base leg and configuring the aircraft to land will need to be done quickly. Consider configuring late down-wind instead or even extend down wind for a longer final approach.

2) Sloppy Aviating!

Stall Speed and Angle of Bank are related. Remember why? It's because Stall Speed varies with the square root of Load Factor.

Load Factor = 1 / Cos θ (θ is Angle of Bank)


The stall speed of a particular aircraft in the landing configuration is 46 knots. If the Pilot was foolish enough to turn on to final approach with a 60° angle of bank, his stall speed would increase to a whopping 65 knots which is typical of the 'approach speed'!


1 / Cos 60° = 2g Load Factor

√2 = 1.41 (percentage multiplier)

1.41 x 46 knots = 65 knots (new stalling speed).

Moral of this story:

Always limit angle of bank to 25° (maximum) when turning your aircraft on to final approach to land. If you can't be bothered with the Maths (and you should be), then just remember that all 'Normal Category" aircraft are limited to a maximum of 60° turns for this reason. But no more than 25° when turning on to final approach please.

Fly Safe

Adam Berrington (TGC Team)

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