April 2001 Issue

Rubber and Runways

Sometimes tires and pavement just don’t want to be together. Here’s how to make ’em

The moment of truth often comes at the end of a flight, when the rubber reaches for the runway for the first time. All too often, that’s when the ride begins. Watch the traffic at any airport for any length of time and you’re sure to see ballooning and bouncing – control errors when the airplane is in its most vulnerable state.

Ballooning and bouncing are related in that they are both caused by over-controlling or misjudging the descent rate. They can happen in a hurry. Lower the flaps too late or flare before lift has decreased enough and you balloon upward. Similarly, you can expect a bounce if you flare too late or otherwise hit the runway with too much energy. Each problem has a solut...

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