"I want to practice precision Power-Off 180s to landing in my Cessna 182 and I'm not sure on the technique. After pulling the power to idle, I put in full trim and pull the prop all the way back. This makes a big difference in my glide ratio and how I land. But it could complicate a go-round. What do you endorse?" —Sean M.
“I’m assuming you’re putting in full nose-up trim to easily maintain a speed near best glide and full coarse pitch on the prop to maximize glide range. That’s fine if you’re traveling toward a forced landing area, but it’s probably unnecessary if you’re already in position for a gliding 180 to a touchdown. And, as you said, if you go around you’ll need forward prop for full power and a lot of forward pressure to avoid a stall, until you dial out that nose-up trim. So, I wouldn’t do power-off 180s in that configuration.
There’s another reason to keep the prop full-forward for a power-off 180. Every airplane is different, but the best general strategy for a power-off 180 is to configure for something between your lowest drag and your highest drag as you commence the 180-degree turn toward your target touchdown point. This leaves your options open to either increase or decrease your descent rate as needed.
Because a slip is almost always available to increase your descent rate, keeping something to decrease it is what most people forget. That’s why I recommend keeping the prop forward for the entire maneuver. If you miscalculate and are coming up short, you can pull the prop to coarse pitch and extend your range a bit. And if the prop is forward, that’s one less thing to change if this is practice and you must go around.
Do you practice Power-Off 180s?