Ever wonder how fast is too fast on final?

Cirrus will tell you you better have a truly legitimate reason to fly faster than 75kt on short final in an SR20 (80kt SR22 and 85kt SR22T). NTSB accident reports are full of examples of flying the final too fast.

Sooo, what does Cirrus consider to be  ‘truly legitimate’ reasons to put the pedal to the metal on final?

1. Gusting winds. We are taught to add 1/2 of the gust factor to final approach speed.
2. Wind shear. Cirrus approves adding up to 20kt of additional airspeed to final approach speed for wind shear (flap limiting).
3. Structural icing. Cirrus instructs us to fly final at a minimum of 95kt with ice on the airframe.
4. Flap failure. We are instructed to add 5kt to final approach speed for each missing flap.
5. Instrument approach. Cirrus instructs us to fly the final approach at a minimum of 100kt until runway is in sight.

Some pilots will tell you to add airspeed for steady state crosswinds or tailwinds—this is NOT a legitimate reason to add airspeed on final and is considered unsafe. Others will incorrectly say the practice of always flying final faster is “money in the bank” or “free insurance”—again not legitimate and is unsafe.

I’m never surprised when Cirrus pilots remark “this feels so slow” when instructing them to slow down and follow the Cirrus final approach standard.

For those who disregard the Cirrus standards someone wise once said “we can lead a horse to water, but can’t make him drink”.

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