Aviation is an environment which pilots and controllers use various phrases "off stage" to describe things in different terms from the standard ones. How do they say (far from the mics), HARD LANDING?


6 Answers 6


Pilots often refer to hard landings using terminology usually associated with carrier landings, such as "welcome aboard" or "caught the 3-wire" or something similar.

One of the most memorable remarks made on a firm landing was something that a flight attendant said after I absolutely pounded one in on my first or second day in the left seat of the 737. It was the last flight of the night, and things weren't working out right, and at about 20 or 30 feet, the check pilot (instructor) in the right seat just said "oh, boy" which you know isn't a good sign. And he was right, I absolutely slammed the landing on, really one of my worst ever. The only saving grace was, I was still monitoring the PA audio (which I normally wouldn't at that point, but my left-seat habit patterns were still evolving) and one of the flight attendants immediately got on the PA and said, "And that, ladies & gentlemen, is why we tell you to turn your electronics OFF before landing!"

Apparently they'd had somebody who simply wouldn't turn off his phone, wouldn't get off his laptop, and so on, and the FA figured it'd be worthwhile to reinforce a point (even if the one had nothing at all to do with the other in fact). I've never kissed a flight attendant, but that night I just about could have.

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    $\begingroup$ I didn't see this myself, but one time a passenger asked the pilot after a very hard landing. 'did we land or were we shot down?' $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Commented May 2, 2023 at 14:19
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    $\begingroup$ At my gliding club, we sometimes witness a "five point landing": main wheel, nose wheel, tail wheel and both wingtips... $\endgroup$
    – Limey
    Commented May 3, 2023 at 12:28
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    $\begingroup$ I remember a pilot once saying, right after one of those landings, something like "Ladies and gentleman, we have attacked Chicago's O'Hare Airport and it has surrendered!" $\endgroup$ Commented May 3, 2023 at 18:32
  • $\begingroup$ I thought the 3-wire was supposed to be the one you aim for? The others are there in case you land a little early or late, but the 3-wire is supposedly the ideal landing on a carrier? $\endgroup$ Commented May 4, 2023 at 13:53
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    $\begingroup$ @DarrelHoffman Yeah, the point of the comment isn't that it was a bad carrier landing, but that it was a carrier landing -- and every bit as firm as is expected for such events. (But yes, the 3-wire is the desired one to catch.) $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Commented May 4, 2023 at 17:46

Usually it's just "hard" prefixed by a word or phrase. He/she:

Arrived hard

Touched down hard

Landed hard

Set it down hard

Alighted hard (maybe for someone who likes to use fancy words)

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    $\begingroup$ I'll honestly say I can't recall ever hearing "alighted hard" used as a descriptor of a firm landing. Or of anything else, as far as I can recall. The rest I'd agree with, though. (Maybe if I flew with more Brits, I might have heard that one too.) $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Commented May 2, 2023 at 13:38
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    $\begingroup$ Yeah lol I was just reaching for as many words as I could think of. Pounded it on on your answer is good. I used to help a structural engineer review FDR plots of CRJ hard landings sent to us by a Chinese operator. They were monitoring crews by downloading the FDR data daily because the crews never reported them, the system there being somewhat punitive. $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Commented May 2, 2023 at 19:29

In flight schools they will often refer to doing "slam & go's" as opposed to "touch & go's."


I have heard/used "Turned it into an RG" for fixed gear airplanes.


I’ve always called any airplane a student bounced five or six feet off the ground because it was stalled in from that height ‘pranged.’ Of course then the aircraft would probably ‘wheelbarrow’ for about 500 feet, with help from the student.

No idea where the saying ‘pranged’ came from. I was taught the term so I just passed it on.

Probably came from Yeager.



When I trained in the US, a hard landing was usually met with a call from the controller to "Taxi what is left of you're aircraft back to the ramp". No such good quality banter have I ever heard over in the UK unfortunately.

It did make me chuckle.


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