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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?

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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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