I had a great T-38 IP (instructor pilot) in pilot training – Capt. Rick Vaile. One day I asked him if he would take my picture on final, from the back seat. It was towards the end of the program; not a big deal.
This picture is not that great, quality wise – but it is a great picture for the memories it captured.
Here I am rolling out on final for Rwy 32R at Randolph Field, TX. We are about 300 feet AGL (above ground level), a mile from the runway and I am kinda busy. I have to break my descent rate from the final turn while at the same time, ‘wipe off’ about 20 knots of airspeed. I’m doing this as I evaluate the winds. Headwind? Crosswind? Then I adjust my heading accordingly. Now back to the airspeed indicator. As we close in on the runway threshold, is the runway clear? All this coming down final at 155 knots (180mph).
You can not just fixate on one aspect of the approach – you have to continually monitor and adjust airspeed, sink rate, heading and so forth.
And what’s my IP doing back there, while I am working my ass off? He’s taking pictures!