Know when to go around,avoiding hard landings

By now I’m sure most of you all have heard and seen the video out of Amsterdam Schiphol International Airport, where a small passenger plane had it’s right main landing gear collapse due to severe winds causing the aircraft to make a hard landing and the gear to collapse. Thankfully no one was seriously hurt or injured, this brings up a major issue that pilots both in the training and professional world face; hard forced landings.

For those of you who haven’t heard about the small incident at Amsterdam, FlyBe (a small regional airliner) flight 1284 was bound from Edinburgh, England to Amsterdam on February 23rd during Storm Doris. The flight had already been delayed due to the storm, which at some airports were recoding winds of up to 90MPH. The flight took off from Edinburgh shortly after noon, bound for Amsterdam and would soon face the brutal challenges of the severe weather. Upon approach into Amsterdam, the Bombardier Q400 faced winds gusts of up to 40-50 MPH and when it landed and right main landing gears collapsed upon impact.

Here’s the video of the impact

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4253390/FlyBe-plane-crash-lands-runway-Amsterdam-airport.html

As you can see, it’s a pretty hard landing (considering the right landing gear collapsed) but it brings up an issue that we pilots need to consider when it comes to landing, and that is forcing a landing. Now look I’m not judging this pilots career or how he flies, but I do wonder what lead to his decision to landing rather than going around? My main reason that I’ve concluded that the pilot wanted to get down to the ground due to severe delays, not wanting to have to declare a missed approach, and probably fatigue.

Again, I’m not judging this pilot, but this is a good case of letting pilot desire get in the way of safety since the outcome could’ve been more serious then what it was. Believe me I’ve had a few landings of my own where I forced the plane to the ground because I was tired or I just wanted to get on the ground because I was feeling nauseous or sick of flying, but I’ve come to realize that it’s never good to force the aircraft onto the ground. In fact, the first flight instructor that I had hear at the University of Oklahoma told me that “when it comes to the professional world (especially the airline world) you can apologize for the delay, but you don’t have to apologize for keeping your aircraft and passengers safe”.

Over the course of the past year that quote that my first instructor told me has stuck with me, and every time that I feel that the winds are throwing me off the center line of the runway or that I’m not in a stable position to land, I call a go around or a missed approach. Now I’m probably like most of you when I say I hate calling a go around or especially a missed approach since that means I have to wait for ATC to get me back onto the instrument approach system (ILS), but it beats a hard forced landing any day of the week, plus I’m sure we would rather declare a go around rather than facing the consequences of a hard landing which could lead to significant damage on the aircraft, and the question we would all hate to answer, “why didn’t you go around?!”.

Now I know that this pilot was carrying passengers who probably wanted to get to their destination ASAP, and that the pilot wanted to continue on with his day, but it comes to show us that whether if you’re flying small aircrafts (since most of us do our training in Cessna’s or Piper Warriors like I do) or are a captain of a major airliner, a go around or missed approach is much better than forcing your aircraft onto the runway, resulting in a hard landing. Again, you can apologize for the delay, but never the safety of your passengers, crew and aircraft.

Well guys that’s it for this week’s blog, Also, make sure to check out https://blog.globalair.com/  for other great blogs and featured stories on other pilot stories as well as other reviews on aviation related articles. As always guys remember that “adventure is out there!”

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