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You’ve probably heard of touch & go landings before, but what are they? In this expert guide, you’ll learn everything there is to know about them.
If you’re just getting into aviation and flying planes in general, you’re bound to hear about touch and go landings before you know it. Heck, before you even got into aviation in the first place, you’ve probably heard these terms thrown around before. But until you start to really dive in, you likely don’t know what they really are. Here’s everything you need to know.
Touch & go landings are when a pilot barely touches down on the runway and then immediately takes back off again without coming to a complete stop. These are most commonly performed when pilots are learning how to fly or trying to remain proficient with their landings.
As you move forward in your journey to become a pilot, you’ll undoubtedly come across touch and go landings during your training. So it’s perfectly normal to wonder what they are and why you should do them. These are questions that are often asked by people who are new to aviation. In this article, we will explain what a touch and go landing is, why they're used, and how to perform one.
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What is a Touch & Go Landing?
Before we get too far into how touch and go landings are performed and why you might do one as a pilot someday, let's make sure we're all on the same page about what they are. After all, any sort of landing is commonly thought of as the most difficult and stressful part of flying. So it's vital that you know what a touch & go landing is so you know exactly what we're talking about.
A touch and go landing is defined as a landing where the pilot touches down on the runway and then immediately takes off again without coming to a complete stop. That's it! Simple, right? This might not seem like such a big deal, but when you think about it, there are quite a few reasons why pilots would want or need to do this type of landing. And we'll get into all of that shortly, don't worry!
It's easy to remember what a touch and go landing is if you just think about the term itself. The "touch" part refers to the plane touching down on the runway, and the "go" part refers to taking off again without coming to a stop. So as we mentioned above it really is just a landing where you don't stop. I know that some terms in the aviation world can be confusing or not mean what you think they do, but this one really is that simple.
Now that we know what a touch and go landing is, let's talk about why they might be used.
Why do Pilots do Touch & Go Landings?
There are quite a few reasons why pilots might want to do touch and go landings instead of just coming to a full stop after landing. The most common reason is simply for the sake of efficiency and saving time. If a pilot is practicing landings or taking offs, it's much faster to just do touch and goes rather than stopping the plane after each landing, turning around, and then taking off again. This saves a lot of time because you don't have to waste time taxiing back to the end of the runway.
Another common reason why pilots might do touch and goes is in order to stay proficient at flying. If it's been awhile since you've flown or if you're rusty on your skills, performing touch and go landings can help you to get back into the swing of things. They're also a great way to maintain your proficiency if you're already a skilled pilot. If you fly regularly, then touch and goes can help you to keep your skills sharp.
Lastly, another common reason for doing touch and go landings is that they're often required when flying in certain types of airspace. For example, if you're flying in controlled airspace near an airport, the air traffic controller might require you to do touch and go landings. This is for safety reasons so that the controller can keep track of all the traffic in the area. But this is done very rarely. You'll almost certainly only perform these maneuvers if you're learning how to fly a plane.
Now that we've gone over some of the reasons why pilots might do touch and go landings, let's talk about how they're performed.
How do You Perform a Touch and Go Landing?
Touch and go landings are actually not that different from regular landings, at least for much of the process. The biggest difference is, of course, that you don't come to a complete stop after touching down on the runway. Other than that, the process is pretty much the same. So let's go over the steps of how to perform a touch and go landing.
First, you'll line up with the runway just like you would for any other type of landing. Then you'll descend towards the runway and perform your normal landing flare just before touching down. Once you've touched down, apply light braking pressure to slow the plane down without coming to a complete stop.
Then once you're at a safe speed, advance the throttle and begin your takeoff roll. And that's it! You're now airborne again and can continue on with your practice.
Touch & Go Landing vs Stop & Go Landing
So now you have a better idea about what touch and go landings are as well as how they compare to regular landings, but what about stop and go landings? Well, stop and go landings are very similar to touch and go landings except for one key difference. As you might have guessed from the name, stop and go landings are when you come to a complete stop on the runway after landing before taking off again.
Similar to touch and goes, stop and go landings are typically done for practice while you're learning how to land or to maintain proficiency. They're also sometimes required when flying in controlled airspace. The main difference is that with a stop and go, you actually come to a complete stop on the runway after landing before taking off again. But it's not like a regular airplane where you'll taxi off the runway and get out of the plane. You just stop and then take right back off again.
Are Touch and Go Landings Really Good Practice for Pilots?
Now that we've gone over what touch and goes are, how they work, and some of the reasons why pilots might do them, you might be wondering if they're good practice. The answer is yes! Touch and goes are actually an excellent way to practice your takeoffs and landings because they give you a lot of repetition in a short amount of time. And the more you practice, the better you'll get.
So if you're a student pilot or even a seasoned pro, touch and goes can be a great way to stay sharp and keep your skills up to par. Just remember to always focus on safety first and never push yourself beyond your limits.