The big fear on approach is that the airplane, with its high drag flaps, will start sinking, and the inexperienced pilot will add power too late to arrest the descent. That can and has happened, and the results are usually disastrous.
However, the more common accident for jet pilots, particularly those short on experience, results from approaching too fast, landing too long and running off the end of the runway. The only thing worse is the pilot who realizes he can't stop in time and tries a late go-around and runs off the end accelerating, but not flying, instead of slowing. That is a certain recipe for tragedy.
The solution for either hitting short or landing long is the same — accurate airspeed control. Modern flat-glass avionics with the airspeed trend indicator have made airspeed control much easier. The indicator is a little tape that moves up and down on the airspeed scale to show where the airspeed will be in a specified number of seconds if the current acceleration or deceleration continues. The trend indicator gives you five or 10 seconds of warning for adjusting the power to return to the target speed.
What pilots new to jets will find unusual about landing is the site picture near the runway. All but a handful of jets approach the runway in a level to slightly nose-up attitude, while nearly all propeller airplanes approach at least a little nose-down. Because the jet's nose is already close to the landing attitude, any additional back pressure on the wheel will halt the descent prematurely. It's very easy for the new jet pilot to flare too high and sit there with airspeed bleeding off rapidly and the runway too many feet below.
The Type Rating
A type rating actually can apply to several models of jet if the FAA has determined the jets have enough in common. For example, the LR-JET type applies to all Learjets in the 20 and 30 series, plus the 55. A common type rating applies to all large-cabin Gulfstreams with the PlaneView avionics system, even though they may be 400 or 500 series models. And there are many more examples.
New jet pilots will almost certainly need to attend and pass a type rating course at one of the major training providers because the insurance companies simply insist. A typical initial course is two weeks of combined classroom and simulator training for light and midsize jets.
If you meet minimum total time requirements and have turbine experience, you can probably earn your first jet type rating by passing the check ride in the simulator without flying the actual airplane. Otherwise you'll also have to be checked in the airplane. Different airplanes and different training companies have their own pilot experience requirements.
No matter what your level of pilot certificate, the type-rating check ride will be judged by the ATP standard, meaning you must remain within 100 feet of assigned altitude, no more than 10 knots from assigned airspeed, within plus-10 and minus-zero of final approach speed and so on. The check ride is really a very detailed instrument flying test with a bunch of emergency procedures thrown in. The airwork is demonstrating recovery from the approach to stalls, and 360-degree steep bank turns in both directions with the bank angle at 45 degrees. That's where your altitude, speed and bank-angle control is really tested.
In general, a type rating must be "renewed" every 12 months with refresher training and checking. You can keep two type ratings current by training in the two in alternate years. To keep three types current, you're in school every eight months alternating the types.
Many jets have radio altimeters that audibly count down the last 50 feet, and that can be a big help in knowing that you are still descending, because the visual cues can be misleading. But there is nothing like experience in each type of jet to know what the landing attitude looks like, where to start to flare, how much to flare and how to get the airplane down to the runway without floating over long distances.
Transitioning into a jet is something that any competent propeller pilot can do with the proper training. But if you think there is a jet in your future, the best way to get ready is to fly your propeller airplane with the greatest precision you can demand of yourself. If you get used to nailing every altitude, heading and course in whatever you fly now, you'll be ready for the jet. Pilots of propeller airplanes simply get more slack from the authorities, and the airplane, than pilots of a jet, but there is no reason you can't fly any airplane with everything right on the center.