At uncontrolled airports follow 91.126……….When approaching to land at an airport without an operating control tower in Class G airspace—Each pilot of an airplane must make all turns of that airplane to the left unless the airport displays approved light signals or visual markings indicating that turns should be made to the right, in which case the pilot must make all turns to the right.
At Controlled airports follow 91.129 and do what the controller tells you to do, unless that clearance doesn’t make sense. For Example, you are approaching DuPage (DPA) Airport from the west and the controller tells you to enter left traffic for runway 20R. This clearance doesn’t make sense. Why would a controller ask you to fly over two active runways. It would make more sense to make right traffic to 20R. In a case like this, I would confirm that this indeed is what the controller wants. Its’ a very rare situation where you would need to fly over the assigned runway. Most likely someone is confused.
Landing accident are our leading causes of accidents. Its been a problem even for the airlines.
Lately I’ve seen pilots come in way too fast or way to slow. The airplane POH has the correct speeds to follow. If for some reason the speeds aren’t there the final approach speed should be 1.3 Vso with additives for gusting conditions. The PTS state for the private pilot check ride the speed should be held within plus 10 knots to minus 5 knots. Commercial Standards are +/- 5 knots.
Stabilized Approach. This means the airplane is established on final approach in the landing configuration (gear & flaps down) on the required speed, on the correct glide slope to land on the desired point, aligned with the runway with no crosswind drift with the power stabilized. 40% of all landing accident are the result of an unstablizied approach. If the approach is not stabilized, GO-AROUND!
Make a timely decision to go around. If the approach doesn’t look or feel right, go around and do it again.
When you do Go-Around follow the procedure in the POH. The biggest problem I see is the retraction of the flaps during the go-around. If the POH procedure is not followed, a dangerous situation could happen. For example a stall, high sink rates, failure to accelerate or climb could occur.
A cabin or engine fire are bad news! Get the airplane on the ground NOW! It’s not appropriate to fly to an airport 5 miles away. Follow the procedure in the POH if there is one. If not, use one of the procedures in the Airplane Flying Handbook.