For the first landing I choose to land on the parallel grass runway and use 65kt on final with the second stage of flap, bleeding back to sixty over the fence. The 300 is very speed-stable, and the ASI needle is nailed as we sail over the fence with the throttle at idle. However, as there is almost no wind, the float is prolonged and we touch down further into the field than intended.
Full power and the ‘touch’ turns into a ‘go’ instantly. Round we go and this time I try full flap, five knots less for the Vref and a dribble of power. This works perfectly and I’m more than happy, but Steve wants me to try and meet the EASA CS-VLA requirement of a descent with idle power, flaps at the ‘landing’ setting, undercarriage extended, a speed of 1.3Vs1 (approx 57 kt) and trimmed longitudinally.
It can’t be done: you simply don’t have enough trim authority, and end up carrying quite a bit of back pressure on the stick. Of course, it could be done (by increasing the size of the trim tab, or shifting the C of G aft) but − other than the hypothetical force-landing case − there’s no future in being at 57 kt, idle power and full flap any distance from the runway.
Fifty-seven is the speed at which you want to be approaching the flare, not the middle marker! In this configuration and speed it’s really sinking as you’re right on the back on the drag curve and firmly ‘in the bucket’. In fact, quite a bit of power is required to arrest the sink rate. It’s unrealistic, and I think a product of CS-VLA and the relationship between stall speed and trimmed speed.
In the real world, and when flown by typical pilots, the speed and configuration promulgated in the 300’s POH is perfect. Use Flap 2, 65 kt on the approach, Vref of sixty with a suggestion of power, and it comes down the slope like it’s on rails with enough energy for a short float and a gentle touchdown – which is what I did for the final landing onto the tarmac. Bottom line: 65 is correct, 57 is too slow.