I'm seeing problems with the soft field landings. I'll save a bunch of work and just copy and paste right from the FAA's Airplane Flying Handbook. I will highlight some key point to keep in mind.
Soft-Field Approach and Landing
Landing on fields that are rough or have soft surfaces, such as snow, sand, mud, or tall grass, requires unique procedures. When landing on such surfaces, the objective is to touch down as smoothly as possible and at the slowest possible landing speed. A pilot needs to control the airplane in a manner that the wings support the weight of the airplane as long as practical to minimize stresses imposed on the landing gear by a rough surface or to prevent sinking into a soft surface.
The approach for the soft-field landing is similar to the normal approach used for operating into long, firm landing areas. The major difference between the two is that a degree of power is used throughout the level-off and touchdown for the soft-field landing. This allows the airspeed to slowly dissipate while the airplane is flown 1 to 2 feet off the surface in ground effect. When the wheels first touch the ground, the wings continue to support much of the weight of the airplane. This technique minimizes the nose-over forces that suddenly affect the airplane at the moment of touchdown.
The use of flaps during soft-field landings aids in touching down at minimum speed and is recommended whenever practical. In low-wing airplanes, the flaps may suffer damage from mud, stones, or slush thrown up by the wheels. If flaps are used, it is generally inadvisable to retract them during the after-landing roll because the need for flap retraction is less important than the need for total concentration on maintaining full control of the airplane.
The final-approach airspeed used for short-field landings is equally appropriate to soft-field landings. The use of higher approach speeds may result in excessive float in ground effect, and floating makes a smooth, controlled touchdown even more difficult. There is no reason for a steep angle of descent unless obstacles are present in the approach path.
Touchdown on a soft or rough field is made at the lowest possible airspeed with the airplane in a nose-high pitch attitude. In nose-wheel type airplanes, after the main wheels touch the surface, the pilot should hold sufficient back-elevator pressure to keep the nose-wheel off the surface. Using back-elevator pressure and engine power, the pilot can control the rate at which the weight of the airplane is transferred from the wings to the wheels.
Field conditions may warrant that the pilot maintain a flight condition in which the main wheels are just touching the surface but the weight of the airplane is still being supported by the wings until a suitable taxi surface is reached. At any time during this transition phase, before the weight of the airplane is being supported by the wheels, and before the nose-wheel is on the surface, the ability is retained to apply full power and perform a safe takeoff (obstacle clearance and field length permitting) should the pilot elect to abandon the landing. Once committed to a landing, the pilot should gently lower the nose-wheel to the surface. A slight addition of power usually aids in easing the nose-wheel down.
The use of brakes on a soft field is not needed and should be avoided as this may tend to impose a heavy load on the nose-gear due to premature or hard contact with the landing surface, causing the nose-wheel to dig in. The soft or rough surface itself provides sufficient reduction in the airplane’s forward speed. Often upon landing on a very soft field, an increase in power may be needed to keep the airplane moving and from becoming stuck in the soft surface.
Common errors in the performance of soft-field approaches and landings are:
Excessive descent rate on final approach.
I don't know how IFR fuel planning got so difficult but here's one one way.
1. Time & Fuel to destination
2. Time & Fuel for approach
3. Time & Fuel to Alternate
4. Time & Fuel for approach at Alt:
5. 45 Min FAA reserve
6. FAA Required fuel (the sum of 1-5)
7. Time and fuel for Holding (known delays)
8. Extra or Contingency fuel
9. Total fuel (Sum of 6-8)
Number 6 is the fuel required by CFR 91.167***
Number 7 is used to account for any known delays.
Number 8 is used for my personal minimums.
Number 9 is my planned take off fuel.
If you are using an EFB for flight planning, the program may hide some of this info in different places or calculate it as you think it should.
So in my 182 you may see me have something written out like this for a trip from JVL to EAU with an Alternate of LSE.
1. Time & Fuel to destination 1+40 21.7
2. Time & Fuel for approach +15 3.5
3. Time & Fuel to Alternate +26 6.0
4. Time & Fuel for approach at Alt: +15 3.5
5. 45 Min FAA reserve +45 10.5
6. FAA Required fuel (the sum of 1-5) 2+36 45.2
7. Time and fuel for Holding (known delays) 0 0
8. Extra or Contingency fuel +45 10.5
9. Total fuel (Sum of 6-8) 3+21 55.7
***Per an FAA legal interpretation fuel for the approach is required to be added.
Putting this out there for everyone. I don't do check rides in experimental aircraft and I also don't do check rides in airplanes without shoulder harness.
Several problems have been occurring across all type of check rides. Some of them I thought were put to rest years ago. The biggest thing you can do to help yourself or your student (or Learner as the FAA wants these days) is to be familiar with the applicable ACS or PTS. Here is a quick rundown....
1. Using a POH/AFM that doesn't apply to the aircraft we are flying. For example, using a 172S model POH for performance data when we are flying 172M model.
2. Using generic weight and balance data instead of the actual empty weight and CG of the aircraft we are flying. This includes finding the Actual weight and balance in the aircraft POH/AFM.
3. Relying on EFB data too much. These are wonderful tools but they have limitations and can produce inaccurate information. Remember, garbage in equals garbage out. Be able to explain where the data going in came from and what are some of the ways that you verify the data is correct.
4. If the student is old school and uses paper, that's fine but again, be able to explain how you got your answers. For example, several applicants planned a cross country using a cruising speed in MPH, measured the distance in NM and the winds aloft in KTS.
5. Aircraft systems. Simply put, applicants don't know their aircraft. Sure you will be asked questions on systems but a lack of knowledge show up during preflights as well.
6. Stall and Spins. I ask a scenario question that a lot of people miss. That scenario is based on a real accident. Another easy question I ask, What's more important during stall recovery, Adding power or lowering the nose? You wouldn't believe the number of people that get that wrong.
That's all for now. Fly Safe!