Taming the Bounced Landing

It’s safe to assume that at some point during your training — maybe at several points — you bounced the landing on touchdown. We all know that corrective action for a bounce — depending on its severity — is the same for ballooning. When the bounce is minor and there’s no extreme change in the airplane’s pitch attitude, a subsequent landing can be made after the bounce by applying enough power to cushion the next (and hopefully last) touchdown.

But what about when a bounce is severe? Or when a bounce occurs in a crosswind? What are we to do in these cases?

With a big bounce the smart thing to do is execute an immediate go-around, even if it means the airplane might descend and cause another bounce. Full power should be added and care made to maintain directional control. The reason we don’t want to try to salvage a bad bounce is that airspeed will decay very rapidly with this nose-high attitude and you might stall at a considerable height above the runway.

If you happen to bounce the landing with a crosswind, the important point to keep in mind is to maintain your crosswind correction. That will probably mean you’ll need to reeastablish the crosswind correction immediately after the bounce since when the downwind tire hits the runway, the other tire will hit too, bringing you to a wings-level attitude. You’ll need to dial back in that crosswind correction to make sure you don’t drift off centerline. Again, if the bounce with a crosswind is severe, don’t try to salvage the landing. Go around and try again.


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