I'm curious as to why the British often seem to refer to the last part of an approach as "finals" whereas the rest of the world only needs one per approach. Do you need a spare in case you break the first one or do you have one for each bounce you are anticipating?
Well... When I do "aeros", I'll do a bunch of loops, rolls and some chandelles in a given flight, so plural seems appropriate. I might do "aero" if after the first, my pax looks terrified, or green.
If I'm landing (the flight is going to terminate) I only do one "final". If more than one is required for that flight, I have really messed it up....
Now, that said, I do recall while taking helicopter instruction, and landing on the very small dolly, that if it looked messy, my instructor would ask me to back out and up, and do it again. Those, were "finals"!
It's definitely a militarism. I learned at, and flew from, civilian fields for the first four years of flying and always said 'final'. When I moved to flying from a military airfield I was ordered to say 'finals' and now find it slipping into use at civilian fields too.
Mind you, it doesn't quite mean the same thing in military circuits in the UK, of course, being called half way round the curved base turn.
If it's good enough for the boys in blue (who after all saved our bacon) it's good enough for me. It's been 'FINALS' with me for over 40 years. This typical extract, copied from one of the 125+ pages on Prrune's Military Aircrew forum :"Gaining An R.A.F Pilots Brevet In WW11" shews plenty of precedent. Pedants beware of tampering with it.
I rest my case.
"....So we hogged the flarepath all the way round, and came round on finals with infinite care. With luck, you were "in the green", and carried on down with the flarepath tucked close on your left. Now the problem was when to "round out". You could estimate roughly where the ground was from the perspective of the flarepath, but there was a very useful trick. You watched the closest flare intently, until the point of light suddenly turned into a recognisable flame. That was it - you eased back on the stick and you wouldn't be far wrong (a variant of the blades-of-grass trick by day)...."
Last edited by mikehallam; 19th Apr 2012 at 16:47.
This has always drove me mad to be honest. After a short sharp conversation with a chap in the tower in Gamston that "finals" was fine, i thus spent the rest of the afternoon calling "downwinds" and "bases"
I've always used "finals" and understand it to be an abbreviation of "final checks". A similar usage as academic "final exams" - "finals" at university. Pilots made the necessary final checks in order to be able to land (or go-around) safely, and probably used the word to themselves as a prompt (as in the more modern "red, blue, three greens" - or "four" greens if it's a Harrier) before the use of radio. When RT came along, that point in the circuit just got named after the actions the pilot was performing at that time.
It's one of my pet pieves as far as RT is concerned;
Any of these jewels one more time and I won't be responsible for my actions:
"...... with you.." when calling ATC
"ready for take-off "
"crash-and-go" , "smash-and-go" "trash-and-go" or any other "funny" cliche that we've all heard a million times....
The 'with you' that is all but endemic in the US is annoying. So superfluous. They're not 'with' them in the sense of being in the same room, and that they're 'with' them on the frequency is self evident by their transmission.
Many moons ago, at the College of Knowledge, we were taught that it was "final" for final approach. Any mention of "finals", whether by pseudo-pilot or ATCO cadet, was met with a terse "...so just how many landings are you expecting to make off this approach?"!