Other questions on this site say that go-arounds are roughly 1-3 per 1,000 landings. But in many of them, as described by passengers, the wheels don't actually touch the ground. Recently I had a touch-and-go (at Nuka Hiva, a small airstrip on a cliffy island in the Pacific) where our wheels most definitely touched the ground but we immediately accelerated and went around. The brief announcement said it was due to wind shear - we were safely on the ground on the second try so all's well that ends well.

I'm curious as to whether a true touch-and-go when a pilot is not practicing touch-and-go, on a commercial flight, is a significant rarity. By coincidence, this very same flight started with my first ever aborted takeoff, because a fuel overfill on one side had left us unbalanced; we returned to the gate and span one prop for 10-15 minutes then took off without incident. Am I in lottery-ticket territory?

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    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure that you will ever get an answer since touch and gos are classified as go arounds. I even remember reading about a go around once where the PF elected to put the wheels on the ground before climbing away to eliminate the chance of a tail strike since the decision to abort was made very late. A really good reason would be a touch down beyond the TD zone with an assessment that there is insufficient runway remaining to safely stop. $\endgroup$ – Simon Aug 30 '15 at 21:43
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    $\begingroup$ I found this video showing x-wind landings. There are a couple of touch and gos which might suggest that they are not rare. $\endgroup$ – Simon Aug 31 '15 at 7:30

In larger aircraft you may not be able to execute a go around once you have touched down but its not always because of weather. This mainly has to do with the fact that once a plane touches down (situation depending) it may have already committed to the landing and will no longer be able to get airborne with the remaining runway. There is a discussion here on the topic and an article here that covers it as well.

It generally takes more distance to take off than land and a considerable amount of speed is bleed off during the flair and subsequent touch down. If a plane touches down at the proper touch down point on a runway it may not have enough distance to accelerate and become airborne again by the other end of the runway. Further more you can complicate the situation with things like thrust reversers which, once deployed force you to commit to the landing.

The airport in question has a 5578 x 98 feet runway which is a solid size but chances are you were flying a plane on the smaller side. Generally the smaller the plane the less runway you need to land and take off so go arounds after touchdown are possible.

To directly answer your question, in some instances they do happen but they will be recorded as an aborted landing. In other cases (heavy crosswinds) you may have only one side of the mains touch (does that count as a touch down?). The runway length and aircraft size/performance are the main factors and there are so many combinations of that.


Since you have provided the make and model of the plane we can extrapolate a bit more. You can find the full specs here but lets take the the At TOW for 300 Nm - Max pax - 3,000 ft - ISA +10 - situation which is quoted at 4,626 ft. Take off speed at max load is 116 Kts (and you were landing so you were on the lower end of the fuel which means you were below max load even with full passengers). Likewise approach speed is 113 Kts. Some of this depends on the pilots precision but It should be (and obviously was) possible to touch down, full power, and get airborne again in enough distance on the strip. Sine you would only need to make up 3 Kts assuming he came in on the mark at 113. They would lose speed in the touch down but if they were on the throttles fast enough it would work.

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  • $\begingroup$ it was indeed a small plane (though not the smallest of my trip) - an ATR 72 Turboprop. $\endgroup$ – Kate Gregory Aug 31 '15 at 13:57

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