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What Would You Do If An Airplane Taxied In Front Of You During Touchdown?


Just as your wheels touch the pavement, another airplane taxis across the runway directly in front of you. Would you go around, or veer to the side of the conflicting traffic?

Video: Near Miss Following Runway Incursion

The startling video below shows this exact scenario as it happened to the pilot of a Cessna 172. Immediately after touchdown, another C172 entered the active runway. This was an extremely close call, and fortunately, nobody was hurt.

Option 1: Go-Around

In the video, the pilot performed a last-second go-around and successfully avoided the other airplane by just a few feet. However, there's one big risk to a go-around like this: a power-on stall.

Power-on stalls happen more often during go-around, and there are three reasons why. During a go-around distractions are high, the aircraft is trimmed for landing, and retracting flaps during the go-around causes a pitch change.


If you have to go-around because of traffic on the runway or near you in the pattern, it also means you're going to be spending time communicating with that airplane, or ATC, to make sure there's blue sky between everyone. And when you're talking on the radio and low to the ground, you have less time to focus on things like airspeed and pitch attitude.

When you throttle up for a go-around, you have aerodynamics working against you. On final approach, you're trimmed for landing speed, which is almost always slower than Vy (or Vx for that matter). One problem is with flap retraction. When your flaps retract, your wing's center of lift moves forward, causing most aircraft to naturally pitch up. At the same time, retracting flaps increases stall speed. When you combine a shifting center of lift and increased stall speed, it creates a recipe that can get you close to stall, if you don't correct by maintaining your pitch or pitching down.


Option 2: Veer To The Side

This doesn't initially seem like a great option either, because you'll exit the paved runway surface. In the video, the pilot would have had to step on the left rudder and add left aileron to avoid the crossing traffic.

On top of that, aggressively maneuvering a tricycle-gear aircraft on the ground could cause a main wheel to lift up, and your wingtip to strike the ground.


What Would You Do?

This is a difficult situation. With very limited time and space, there's no "right" answer here, and standard procedures don't really apply. So, what would you do in a situation like this? Tell us in the comments below.

Swayne Martin

Swayne Martin

Swayne is an editor at Boldmethod, certified flight instructor, and a First Officer on the Boeing 757/767 for a Major US Carrier. 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), is a former pilot for Mokulele Airlines, and flew Embraer 145s at the beginning of his airline career. Swayne is an 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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