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5 Ways To Land An Airplane And Why Each Is Unique

Do you think landing is the toughest part about flying? Here are 5 types of landings you'll fly throughout your training and career...

If you're an experienced pilot, you're well versed in this subject. If you're just starting, here are some building blocks to start researching!

1) Flaps-Up Landing

By putting the flaps out all the way, you maximize the lift and drag that your wing produces. You have a slower stall speed, which means you can land slower. You'll also produce more drag, which allows you to fly a steeper descent angle to the runway.

When you don't have flaps, or you can't use them, you'll find yourself flying a much faster approach speed and have a tougher time slowing down with less drag.

2) Short Field Landing

To make a great short field landing, you need to be in complete control of your airspeed and descent rate. When you're stabilized, on speed, and on glide path, you can touch down where you want, prevent your plane from floating down the runway, and stop well before you run out of runway.

That means configuring early, flying a stabilized approach, and carrying little excess airspeed into the flare to nail your touchdown point.

Pilot MKN

3) Soft Field Landing

The difference between a normal and soft field landing really comes into play once you cross the threshold. That's because as you get close to touchdown, you want to hold the aircraft 1-2 feet off the runway in ground effect.

By holding your plane off the runway, you dissipate your forward speed, and allow your wheels to touch down at a slower speed. And by doing that, you reduce the nose-over force on your aircraft when it touches down.

4) Tailwind Landing

If you're landing with a 10 knot tailwind, your landing distance generally increases by 50%. Controllability on touchdown is another issue. When you're landing with a tailwind, you have a higher ground speed on touchdown (assuming you're flying standard pattern/touchdown speeds). When pilots land fast, they have a tendency of braking more aggressively than usual.


5) Crosswind Landing

You can fly a wing-low or crabbed approach to a crosswind landing. As you touch down in the crosswind, you want to do it in three steps: first, the upwind main, then, the downwind main, then finally, the nose wheel.

Here's how to fly perfect crosswind landings.


Do you have any landing stories to tell? Describe them in the comments below.

Swayne Martin

Swayne is an editor at Boldmethod, certified flight instructor, and an Embraer 145 First Officer for a regional airline. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota in 2018, holds a PIC Type Rating for Cessna Citation Jets (CE-525), and is a former pilot for Mokulele Airlines. He's the author of articles, quizzes and lists on Boldmethod every week. You can reach Swayne at, and follow his flying adventures on his YouTube Channel.

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