The Landing

  • Treat the field as a normal landing area
  • Fly a normal circuit
  • Do not lose sight of field
  • Give yourself a fairly long approach
  • Land over obstacles with at least 2/3 airbrake if possible.
  • Stop as soon as possible
All the problems related to planning the circuit for field landing are, once recognised, relatively easy to overcome. They stem, in the main, from habits formed at one’s home airfield; some of them have already been dealt with, but additional problems are:

  • There are no familiar ground features in a field landing.
  • A reluctance to ‘stand-off’ from the chosen field and fly a circuit of the normal size; the ‘mental block’ is in trying to treat the actual field as an airfield – starting the circuit at the upwind end. As a defence against this, tell yourself how many fields you need to fly over on downwind leg, base leg and final approach to have it resemble the normal circuit. There is also the difficulty of resolving the two aims of flying around the field to see it from different angles and then getting far enough upwind without losing sight of it.
  • The tendency to make full-brake approaches because there has always been considerable overshoot area at one’s home airfield – not so in the field landing case.
  • Caution, or lack of confidence, making one reluctant to fly a circuit of adequate size.
  • Tendency to fly a downwind leg parallel to the long edge of the field notwithstanding the fact that the into-wind direction may be the diagonal.
  • ‘Making the approach look right’ when the glider is much too close, by progressively lowering the nose, with failure to monitor airspeed, which increases. (If the airbrakes are very powerful, they can limit the increase.)
  • Poor speed control. This may be due to 6 or to insufficient monitoring. If conditions allow, reduce speed gradually in the final stages of the approach.
The final requirement is a well-controlled approach, which is essential for many field landings. It should be remembered that the manner of landing dealt with previously is still a consideration.
Having landed in the field, the action to be taken depends on the circumstances – it might be too windy to get out of the glider for instance: better to wait for help than have it blow over – but all the after-landing considerations are dealt with in the section on retrieving and crewing.