Get Into Position

Prepare for that perfect landing before takeoff.

Flying Tip
Flying Tip

We all strive for accurate, smooth landings that we can produce predictably each time we fly. One step that will help you to standardize your landings is getting yourself into the best position in the pilot’s seat. You need to be able to comfortably reach the controls, and make sure that the forward picture is optimal and consistent every time you strap yourself in.

First, you need to make sure that you are far enough forward to be able to fully deflect the rudder pedals without having to stretch uncomfortably. You can achieve this by moving the seat forward or the rudder pedals aft, or by putting a cushion behind your back. Once you are far enough forward to reach the pedals, wiggle around to make sure that the seat is locked in and check to ensure that you can still fully deflect the stick or yoke.

After you adjust the seat horizontally, it’s time to work on the vertical adjustment. Make sure that the seat is high enough to see a section of the engine cowl. The engine cowl provides a consistent reference point to work with during the flare. If the pilot’s seat doesn’t move up and down and the seat is too low for you to see the cowl, use a cushion to boost you up.

Bringing one or two cushions to help get you into the best position in the pilot’s seat shouldn’t make you feel silly. It’s a reflection of your commitment to developing and/or maintaining good, consistent piloting skills. Depending on how adjustable the cockpit seats are you likely won’t need cushions for each airplane you fly. But regardless of how you get to the optimal position, you’ll be happy that you took the extra time to do it when it’s time to flare.