Lately, I have been seeing a number of bad landings. Bouncing, porpoising, wheelbarrowing and hard landings. According to the AOPA Nall Report, landing accidents make up the largest category of pilot-related accidents. Fortunately, they have some of the fewest fatal accidents. Most of the land accidents can be solved by flying a stabilized final approach and then correctly executing the flare.
Most of the problems I'm seeing is the approach being flown to high and to fast. This leads into floating down the runway. Rather than doing a go-around, some people have been forcing the airplane on to the runway. And that's where the excitement begins. Usually it starts with a bounce followed by a push on the yoke witch results with a landing on the nose wheel, followed by some porpoising action.
Another issue is that some instructors have been emphasizing hitting the desired touchdown spot at all cost. So imagine a nice, mostly stabilized, approach but it looks like we will miss the desired touchdown spot by maybe 100 or so feet. So what does the pilot do? He doesn't flare and we hit the ground in a level pitch attitude on all whee wheels, usually pretty hard. Some pilots even shove the nose forward to be sure to hit the spot. Sure we hit the spot but is this an acceptable way to land an airplane?
A number of landing accident have occurred from what I have described above. (just go to YouTube for some wonderful videos) May I offer the following help. Number one, if it doesn't look or feel right, go around. Number two, never force the airplane on to the runway. Number three, if you do bounce or porpoise and can't fix it correctly immediately, go around. Number four, fly a stabilized approach. Number five, flare correctly with the power off and touch down on the main wheels first. Hold the nose up as long as aerodynamically possible.
Flight Instructors. Start with teaching a stabilized approach and correctly exicuting the round out and flare attitude. The nose wheel should should be a good foot or two off the runway when the main wheels touch down. After this has been mastered, then put more emphasis on the touch down point.
Last comment on landings. What is the difference between the short field landing and the soft field landing? Technically, two things. One, on the soft field landing we add power in the flare (provided everything else is correct) to basically transition to slow flight. This will reduce the descent rate and allow us to touch down on the main wheels with the nose high at a minimum airspeed and rate of descent. Two, don't use the brakes. You will note in the ACS, there is no touch down spot or accuracy requirements for the soft field landing. From a realistic standpoint (not an ACS requirement), I teach to touch down within the first third of the runway when doing a soft field landing.
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