Calculate when to start descending

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Calculate when to start descending

Post by skipperdan » Sat Dec 25, 2010 11:05 am

Here is a great tip that appeared in the January issue of AOPA Flight Training Magazine. I strongly encourage all of you to join this fantastic organization. There is a wealth of on-line resources and the Flight Training Magazine is great.

Getting the airplane down and in the traffic pattern at the appropriate altitude is a common mistake for students, but it can be easily remedied. To calculate how many miles out you need to start descending, simply multiply the number of feet you have to lose (in tens) by three.

So, if you have to lose 5,000 feet, multiply 5 times 3 to get 15 miles early.

There’s a clever way to figure out rate of descent to reach that target as well. Take half your groundspeed and multiple by 10. Let’s say you’re flying at 100 knots. Half of that is 50. Multiply by 10 and you get 500 feet per minute.

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