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When landing a modern Jet such as the Boeing 737, what is the primary source for descent? The elevators or gravity(from reduced airspeed) or a combination of both? Is the glide path angle of descent a series of step downs where the Jet levels out in steps as its descending? In computer generated simulations , it appears as though the plane stays level throughout the entire descent and I'm wondering if that's actually what happens and if so how it is controlled?


marked as duplicate by fooot, Simon, J. Hougaard, Carlo Felicione, Ralph J Feb 25 '17 at 10:17

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  • $\begingroup$ It is a combination of drag and gravity. Both conspire to slow an aircraft down, and it can either add thrust to compensate or descend. Typical descent angles are only a few degrees: Watch the horizon ahead of the aircraft, and you will notice when it descends: The horizon line will slightly move up relative to the longitudinal axis of the aircraft. $\endgroup$ – Peter Kämpf Feb 25 '17 at 10:23

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