Landing with VS

Does real pilots lands with VS? do you land with VS?

Real pilots always controling / monitoring their Vertical Speed. But as I know no one lands with locked VS. In this case it’s better to use APPR.

Same in IF. Before touchdown you have to reduce power to reduce your VS. It will be hard to do same maneuver with locked VS.


I am switching off my VS when I am established with the localizer

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Autoland aside, pilots land by feel. You can judge your sink rate by the cadence of the ground proximity annunciations and with what you can see visually. The vertical speed readout lags behind what the aircraft is actually experiencing at any given moment so its useless anyway in that regard.


If you land with a locked VS, chances are your aircraft will end up slamming into the ground nose first. Whereas APPR may flare just before touchdown, standard AP does not.
You should always learn to judge the correct rate of descent and adapt accordingly.


How? Why? I do agree it’s good to focus on the glidepath until you’re at the landing threshold, but how do you flare and touch down smoothly if you ‘switch off’ your vertical speed?

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I assume he means to turn AP vs off when he intercept localizer, and then handfly it to the runway?
Personally I use AP until around 3 nm out, then handfly the rest when flying commercial.


So do I. Though you can cancel vs only ank keep AP.

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Personally I like to turn off APPR or autopilot, should I be using them, at 1000ft above unless in poor visibility. Unless it’s a visual approach - hand flying all the way!

in the real world the answer is no. V/S is absolutely not used for landing - it is a pretty dumb autopilot mode when compared to other pitch modes such as VNAV or Level Change, and should only be used sparingly since all it does is maintains the set V/S value without any regard to speed, or speed & altitude settings in the FMC.

for an automatic landing in the real world you would use approach mode with at least two autopilots engaged and the auto throttle engaged. the approach mode basically is coupled to an ILS so has both vertical and horizontal guidance right down to the runway via the localiser and glide slope signals. additionally there is a Flare mode which is armed so that when the plane is about to touch down it will automatically engage Flare mode and flare the aircraft for a landing - the pilot does not disengage the autopilot until on the ground.


Lots of good advice and information. Solely referring to IF, when I fly the airliners I like to have my pitch and approach speed established prior to intercepting the localizer. I’ve found that I can adjust the VS +- 100fpm to keep the glide slope right on target while I bleed off airspeed and add flaps. I never have the autopilot programmed for altitudes lower than 500 to 800 feet AGL because at this point in short final I’m calibrating the device and switching off the AP. From here with your glide established and your speed well under control you can add or reduce engine power to carry you through to the runway, flare the nose and make a picture perfect touch down. Again this is strictly how I use AP in IF and not necessarily what a pilot would do on a real airliner.

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Ianding solely with vs should not happen. You should use the glide slope to guide yourself down. Upon landing you could glance at your VS but I would focus on centerline and your flare.

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I’ve been flying recently with no HUD solely relying on the data on the bottom of my screen like heading, MSL, ground and airspeed - fuel to dest, remaining fuel, and winds.

If you use AP VS the aircraft will have a Ryanair landing, not ideal - I go by the feel and make sure I flare at the call out of 20-feet

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Here’s a good video on YouTube. I actually flew my decent like this yesterday and it worked out pretty good. I had the throttles set to idle she whole way down to when I intercepted the glidescope

Although it’s a video on how to calculate your decent he does say why he doesn’t descend using V/S.


I know when to decent it is not the issue

Sorry I wasn’t implying you 🙂. I just put it up there because he mentions about why he doesn’t descend using VS.

So are they descending with VS or not?

Not. Because as he puts if you start decending from his example 27000 feet at the TOD point your VS will only be 900 fpm which is too shallow to intercept the 3 degree slope. That’s how I understood it. There maybe others that might be able to put it better.

So are you descending menualy?

Also to point out dont worry about your VS in determining your landing. Your Gs are more important and that is not completley dependent on your VS. For instance an aircraft at 1-5ft tgat igoes from -100fpm to -300fpm will have less Gs experienced on touch down than an aircraft at 6-10ft going from -100 to -300ft. This is because you will have less potential energy stored when everythibg but your height is the same due to PE=mgh and a lower height will mean less potential energy thus less energy being converted to KE.