Bounce, Bounce, #$%&* – Hangar Flying | Aviation

By Steve Krog, EAA 173799.

This piece originally ran in Steve’s Classic Instructor column in the January 2024 issue of EAA Sport Aviationmagazine.

According to the aviation dictionary, a bounced landing is the action of an aircraft that can develop after the aircraft landing gear touches the ground and the aircraft wheels repeatedly lose contact with the runway.

Several recent FAA accident/incident reports have focused on bounced landings and the end result. I’m sure you’ve all seen photos of airplanes pointed nose down with their tails high in the air.

It appears to me that little, if any, training time is spent on the proper and safe methods for handling a bounced landing. Beyond that, I wonder if anyone ever practices dealing with a bounced landing, or better yet, thinks through the proper action to take should one ever be experienced.

One afternoon last summer, a transient pilot flying a new Mooney called on the Hartford UNICOM stating he was entering the pattern and landing on Runway 27. Surface winds at the time were approximately 230 degrees at 12-15 knots, certainly not such that one would question landing with a crosswind.

Several of us were with students performing preflights in preparation for giving dual instruction in the J-3 Cubs. When the Mooney turned final, we paused to watch, and it soon became a teaching moment. That poor airplane bucked and hopped at least three times before a go-around was initiated. Hearing squealing tires, more people came out from the hangars to see what the commotion was all about.

The Mooney pilot decided to give the landing a second try. This time it was worse than the first attempt. Bucking and bouncing down the runway, it not only performed a series of bounces but also demonstrated how to “wheelbarrow” a tricycle-gear aircraft. We were all waiting for the sound of propeller metal contacting asphalt! After about the third bounce, power was added and a go-around was…

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