Not like clockwork: why the landing is hard

Not like clockwork: why landing can be hard

Landing is always a lottery: sometimes the plane touches the ground gently, almost imperceptibly, and sometimes it’s as if it hits a washboard with all its might and rolls on it for a good couple of minutes. Dissatisfied passengers can loudly blame the pilot: they say, they are not lucky with firewood, and they should be somehow more careful. But in vain, because the pilot at such moments takes care of their safety, trying to cope with circumstances beyond his control. With which ones – now we'll figure it out.

High humidity

In cloudy, rainy or snowy weather, the thinnest layer of water forms on the runway. If the plane touches the ground smoothly, it simply will not be able to grip the surface, it will slide forward and not slow down in time. To prevent this from happening, the winged car has to be literally imprinted into the ground, providing sufficient traction with the strip.

Gusty wind

Wind is another dangerous weather whim: due to the sharp gusts that increase near the ground, the plane can shake noticeably, and even the most skilled pilot is unable to influence the elements. There are many places on the planet where nature is raging with might and main: for example, Narsarsuaq Airport in Greenland is located right next to the fjord, so strong winds and turbulence make landing a real test. Kansai Airport in Japan is based on an artificial island, and the work of pilots is complicated by earthquakes, cyclones and instability of the seabed. And in Hong Kong's Kai Tak, sandwiched in a dense ring of skyscrapers and mountains, crosswinds were blowing so strong that in 1998 the airport had to be closed. Goating, cassette and 6 more clever terms to show off while flying.

Type of aircraft

Most domestic aircraft – say, Tu-154 or Il-86 – are designed for a soft landing: before landing, the pilots hold them above the ground, at a height of about 1 m, and thereby achieve a light touch and smooth grinding. Foreign Boeings and Airbuses land at higher g-forces due to their design and pre-landing alignment procedures.

Irregular stripe

The quality of the coating also matters: if it is even and smooth, the landing will be softer, if it needs repair, you will have to jump a little. The surface of the runway at the Mariscal Sucre airport in Ecuador was so bumpy, the surrounding terrain was difficult, and the fogs were thick and frequent, that in 2013 a new modern air hub was opened instead of it, better equipped and better located. An imposing hill rises almost in the center of the strip at Courchevel Airport, and on one of the strips of Savannah Airport, the irregularities are completely eerie: the tombstones of Mr. and Mrs. Dotson, who owned these lands in the 19th century, are embedded in the coating.

The main runway at Gibson Airport in New Zealand is crossed by a railway line, and at Barra Airport in Scotland planes land right on the beach. It is unlikely that in such conditions it would occur to someone to scold the pilot for carelessness! Why does a flight attendant hide her hands behind her back when she meets passengers? Maybe she's hiding something?

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