Landing is the final phase of flight, when an aircraft touches down on the runway or other surface.
Landing is when an aircraft touches down on the ground and is the final phase of flight. Landing techniques vary depending on the aircraft and the landing surface, but most landings in a fixed-wing aircraft include four stages:
- Descent (or final approach): reducing speed, lining up with the runway and descending to just above the surface
- Flare (or roundout): lifting the nose of the aircraft just before touchdown to avoid landing nose first, and reducing speed further
- Touchdown: making contact with the ground
- Rollout: slowing the aircraft on the ground
Aircraft always land into the wind, if possible, because it reduces the aircraft's groundspeed on touchdown; for instance, if an aircraft has an airspeed of 80 knots on landing with a headwind of 20 knots, then the groundspeed at touchdown is reduced to 60 knots. A lower groundspeed results in a gentler, safer landing with less braking required, because the aircraft has less kinetic energy and momentum when it touches down. In contrast, landing with a tailwind increases the aircraft's groundspeed for a given airspeed; to use our earlier aircraft with an 80-knot airspeed at touchdown, a 20-knot tailwind would require the aircraft to touch down with a groundspeed of 100 knots, putting much more stress on the brakes, hastening tire wear, and increasing the amount of runway needed to stop safely (thus also increasing the risk of a runway-overrun).
After touchdown, the pilot slows the aircraft during rollout to a speed where it can be safely steered on the ground (or water). Wheel brakes, spoilers, airbrakes, thrust-reversers, and even parachutes can be used to help slow the aircraft.
helicopters and stol/vtol aircraft may use different landing techniques, and many aircraft require specific procedures for certain conditions such as short or contaminated (e.g. snow-covered) runways.
This tag is appropriate for all questions about landing techniques and procedures, legal regulations on landings, and so on. Questions about approaches - i.e. the maneuvering phase of flight before final approach - should usually be tagged approach instead.
- Landing (Wikipedia)