If in doubt, go around!
Any pilot will have heard this old cliché, however this has recently become a hot topic at Almat.
When it goes wrong badly….
Picture this, you touch down and for whatever reason the aircraft bounces, this comes as quite a surprise. You expect to be touching down and all of a sudden you’re back in the air! Your instincts scream for you to get on the ground, so you push the control column forward, pitching the aircraft down. As a result the nose wheel contacts the runway with great force, as a result the oleo leg rebounds you back into the air. What is your reaction? You push forward again! And on it goes, each time the nose wheel supports take more and more punishment until they can take no more. The nose wheel collapses and before you know it you are skidding down the runway, out of control on the aircraft’s nose.
It couldn’t happen to me…
Now every pilot has bounced an aircraft at some point, even the most experienced of aviators have bad days which may lead to a bounce. However the key is how we react. And this is where pilot inducted oscillation comes into play. This is where a pilot essentially ‘feeds’ a bounce causing it to grow in magnitude until the aircraft can take no more.
So how could these accident have been prevented?
Most bounce situations are caused by flying to fast on the approach. Fly the aircraft as it is designed to be flown. All operating speeds can be found in the aircraft POH. Do not be tempted to add extra speed where not required.
If you bounce , go around! As soon as the aircraft bounces once apply power, remove any drag flap, accelerate just above the runway to a safe climb speed and climb away. This simple action could save your life!
Many mismanaged landings are caused by stress, maybe the circuit was busy and you has a close call? If you feel stress at all during the approach and landing phase go around! Why not leave the circuit, collect your thoughts and try again? This 10 minute delay may just save your life!
Remember if you do bounce, on the first one go around! There is no excuse for an aircraft to bounce more than once. You may walk away from it once, however next time you may not be as lucky.