I’m a pilot – here’s why having a scarier landing is actually a good thing

LANDING can be one of the scariest aspects of flying, particularly when the plane touches down on the runway with a thud.

However, those harder and scarier landings can often actually be safer than having the plane gently reintroducing itself to the tarmac.

Pilots prefer harder landings to more gentle ones because it helps them stop the plane


Pilots prefer harder landings to more gentle ones because it helps them stop the planeCredit: Alamy

Pilot Eser Aksan E told Sun Online Travel why she, and other pilots, prefer coming back with a bang.

She said: “To have a really soft landing, you have to float over the runway for a long time, but you don’t land.

“That’s the type of landing that pilots hate the most because it takes away your landing run.

“You have a certain amount of runway to land on and if you just keep floating, you’re going to end up without any runway after a while and a shorter distance to stop.

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“That’s why most of the time, pilots prefer a firm landing, especially when it’s raining or the runway is wet and slippery.

“It should be firm and it should be immediate. That way you have a good distance to stop, so if you make other mistakes, you have a pretty good amount of runway still left.

“If you keep floating, you don’t have any runway left.”

When pilots come in to land, they have an aiming point near the start of the runway that they try to touch their wheels onto.

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However, that isn’t always possible and those who are going to run out of runway have two options. Either take off again or just keep going until they eventually stop.

Taking off again is only an option if the reverse thrust system has not been turned on.

Once the “reversers” – the system that helps aircraft slow down after landing – are on, there’s only one option left for pilots.

Eser said: “There is a way back – you can still take off again.

“If you’re too far along the runway, then you have the option. As long as you don’t open the reversers, you can just take off again, that’s not a problem.

“But if you have opened the reversers, there is no way back. So you have to stop.

“That’s why a very smooth landing is something we don’t want because you need to get rid of your speed a little bit during the landing as well. So a little bit of a bump is always good.”

Although pilots prefer to have a firmer landing, having a soft landing is not necessarily a sign of a bad pilot.

Eser said that, because there are so many different things that can affect how a plane comes in to land, you shouldn’t really judge whether or not your pilot is good or bad by how the plane touches down.

She said: “You don’t always know the circumstances.

“I don’t know if the wind has changed, or what has happened.

“It could be a bad day or something could be wrong, so I think it would be wrong to judge somebody on their landing.”

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Meanwhile, this pilot revealed the decisions they have to make in the cockpit when there’s a storm.

And another pilot explained what they have to do while flying to keep the plane in the air.

Eser explained why gentle landings can be more dangerous than bumpy ones


Eser explained why gentle landings can be more dangerous than bumpy onesCredit: Eser Aksan E

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