10 Ways to Mess Up a Great Landing

10 Ways to mess up a great landing


Nothing is more elusive in aviation than the mythical perfect landing. And isn’t it funny how nobody is every present to witness those silky-smooth greasers? We’re all capable of making great landings, but a lot of factors have to come together for it to happen, and it doesn’t take much to mess it up. This week, we take a look at 10 ways to botch a perfectly good landing.

  1. Too much airspeed: You’ll float like a butterfly
  2. Too little airspeed: Can you say “thud?”
  3. Flare too high: You’ll bleed off airspeed quickly, see #2
  4. Flare too aggressively: The airplane balloons. Embarrassing at best, dangerous at worst
  5. No crosswind technique: Sideloads are a real pain in the gear
  6. Wrong crosswind technique: Don’t overthink it: straighten the nose and apply opposite aileron
  7. Not transitioning eyes down the runway: Surefire way to mess up the flare and crosswind technique
  8. Over-controlling the airplane: Go easy, most planes will almost land themselves
  9. Not trimming: Don’t wrestle the plane down, trim, trim and retrim for a hands-off descent
  10. Unstabilized approaches: You ought to be on speed, glide path, and course well before the runway

Looking for more landing tips? John expanded on this article with more techniques at GolfHotelWhiskey.com

Please share your flying tips and landing mistakes by commenting below:


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About the author
Pat Flannigan is a professional pilot and aviation blogger. He has been flying for fifteen years and is currently working as an airline pilot in the United States.

5 Replies to 10 Ways to Mess Up a Great Landing

  1. This is a great list for all pilots to review!

  2. Can you expand on a segment involving a stabilized approach? Particularly pertaining to a single engine airplane. I know what a stabilized approach is, constant airspeed, power and attitude…but what if the engine quits? You won’t make the runway if you have to carry power on a normal approach. Some instructors teach/stress a power off approach. What are some good pointers for setting up a power off approach from abeam the numbers on downwind?

    • The basic idea behind a stabilized approach is to be fully configured (on speed, glide path, course, gear/flaps, and power setting) before you land. I’ll make this a topic to write about a little deeper soon.

      Thanks for asking!

  3. alice says:

    thanks Pat, I will try the tips right away

Please, share your thoughts and opinions

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