An anonymous forum to allow you to share those moments in flying that caused you concern. You can post without registering a username, registered users can log out to post
Hi guys. I've just joined as a way of therapy. It's genuinely keeping me awake!

So a couple of days ago I took a mate flying with his 2 kids. Aircraft was a warrior and landing on grass. I took of with winds 10 degrees off at 13 kts. When we came back to the airfield the wind had changed to 90 degrees at 14 kts. Still within aircraft limits and well within my own.

I was shocked at the wind change and I believe this is why I became distracted. I had carried out my pre landing checks and turned final. I selected drag flap and came over the threshold notably crabbing into wind. I kicked left rudder and right aileron to balance, and then we floated....then floated....then floated, the bloody thing would literally not descend. I was covering the throttle and can remember on 2 occasions actively pulling the throttle back to ensure I was actually at idle. Just as we got to the point I was going around it decided to touch down.

We still had a lot of speed on, i braked and just didn't feel like we were going to stop, the left wheel locked up and we yawed right, I let off the brake and countered the yaw, we eventually came to a halt 40m from the end of the runway...which is also the fence. I vacated the runway and my mate was full of praise to what probably seemed to him like a smooth controlled landing.

To me though it was too close. What had gone wrong?
So I drop my pax off, go and do all the paperwork and I decide to go up again on my own, I wanted to do some circuits and analyse myself. So I turn final on my first circuit and as I select drag flap I instantly realise from muscle memory that I hadn't pulled the flap lever that far on the last trip. So the reason I landed so long was I had zero headwind (90 degrees off) and I also was landing on 2 stages of flap.

Needless to say I vacated the runway before the halfway point this time and swearing at myself into my headset I've set about ripping myself apart. What had made me completely miss that I was landing on the wrong flap setting? I will never make that mistake again that's for sure, but equally its shaken me a little and certainly brought me back from complacency.

Has any one else had experience of making a silly mistake but got away with it? How did you calm your mind down? Why the hell didn't I go around!?!? That's what I'm so annoyed about. Lesson learnt I suppose. But I'd like to actually sleep tonight.

Any words of wisdom appreciated.

Last edited by Hackett on Sun May 29, 2016 11:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
You flew the aircraft, and every one is OK. That is all there is to it.

You eroded your own safety margins, you've learned a lesson that you will carry for the rest of your flying life. I certainly play bad events over and over, but eventually hope I learn from them and move on.

Nearest I have had was returning to the home airfield of another much more experienced pilot, me P1, him P2, passenger in the back.

Due to the slope the strip is effectively one way, we were approaching, as another a/c was taking off. I kept the a/c high to keep away from the departing traffic (never seen) was still high over the threshold.

"Time for a go-around" I said

"Just stick the nose down." Said my much more experienced P2.

Now in the quiet and calm, you know and I know that just isn't going to work; but at the time I must have thought, 'Well, he's much more experienced than I am, and this is is home field so it must be OK.'

Heaven knows where we touched down, but we stopped 10m from the fence, and I wouldn't be surprised if the brake pedals are further towards the firewall than they used to be.

I was furious a) with him; and b) with myself. It's the nearest I've come to an aviation accident, and I/we had breached the trust of the innocent passenger we had on board.

But. Lesson learned.

Always remember who is P1. By all means listen to the advice of others, but you have to make your own decisions.

[Oh, and this is probably better in 'It happened to me, rather than 'That Worst Day' which relates to the magazine articles, so don't be surprised if the moderators move it.]
Bobcro liked this
I did pop this over into "It Happened to Me"

As for the incident itself -you immediately wanted to practice afterwards, you figured it out. Those are all good.

The initial inccident, you're probably right in thinking distrsction was a factor or if it was choppy that disrupted your 'feel' for pulling the lever.

When you realised the touchdown was fast did y consider going around?

I had an incident last year which basically amounted to a rubbish landing, damaging the undercarraige and with hindsight there was a point when I'd realised the sinkrate was too high but (wrongly) thought it would be firm but okay and didn't do much anout it when I could have.

The birain does odd things sometimes and because we do go around comparatively rarely it takes a lot of mental work to convince the brain they ought to be the default option!

I was furious enough with myself to be a bit sleepless over thst one, but it did go away! Eventually the embrassment and frustration fades and only the learning point gets left behind - a bit more firmly engrained than before!
MercianMarcus, Bobcro liked this
No-one is perfect and no harm done, so take the learning experience and move on. Cross wind landings can be very disorientating because your ground speed will be higher and therefore things happen quicker and your roll out may be a lot longer than you usually get.

As always the key is try to get the aircraft set up well in advance, decide whether you will go for a crab all the way or transition to wing down on short final. On some aircraft this decision will have an impact on what flap you can use. Check speed, this is truly a time when adding a bit for luck is a really bad idea. If it's gusty be ready to add power quickly and even go around if the wind suddenly drops or chucks you sideways.

Not long ago I went into Alderney in a strong cross wind and following my own advice above I got it all the way to touch down before I realised I wouldn't be able to hold it on the run way and had to go around!
These things happen to all of us. The fact that it has kept you awake means you are a good pilot - one who really cares about the craft of flying and will strive to get it perfect every time.

And these glitches make us better pilots. Next time something similar happens you will go around early and hopefully end up feeling good about it. :)

Charles Hunt, Bobcro liked this
There are two really difficult things in flying,
1) doing a low go around, or baulked landing if you've ended up making a mess of the approach
2) admitting and talking about it
You didn't do the first, but have done the second, so IMHO you will be a better pilot as a result, you also show a willingness to learn from a mistake, the pilots that are really scary are the ones that never make mistakes!
Sometimes, even the most technically advanced and big aircraft behave just like a light one!
I often look around at pilots and consider whether I would want my best non-pilot mate or family member to go for a flight with them. There are those I wouldn't be happy about, and many I would. From what I have read here, the OP would very likely be "approved".
Leodisflyer liked this
I had a similar day yesterday.
Permit aircraft Emeraude taildragger.
Deserted farm strip.
Not flown for nearly a year, medical and maintenance reasons.
Decided to bite the bullet, get current, no instructors easily available.
Took off on 06, no problems I thought, halfway over the barley field, ASI reading 140knots! Bugger, I had had the panel in bits and connected the thing back to front. Continued to play for a bit, tight turns, general handling etc. Headed back, two aircraft inbound so called intentions to join. Radio transmit not working! Listened out and looked out, they both landed on 24. Checked the windsock, 90deg across, about 10knots. Started base/final at 1500ft! Full flap, throttle closed, it eventually came down and looked ok, flared too high and it floated, and floated ad-infinitum, seemed to be slowing down, just as I was about to do something sensible it dropped like a sack of spuds from 18inches, rolled out for a few yards then the engine stopped. Perhaps a good thing that it did.
Carb ice? Lack of practice? Thinking of fixing problem ASI and radio instead of flying the thing?
All of the above.
Fixed ASI in 5mins, took off again on 06, two circuits t&g perfect, full stop no problems.
Went home **** off with stupidity.
Even pilots with thousands of hours get it wrong sometimes. Have you thought about having a flight with an instructor to practise glide, flapless etc landings simply to regain confidence? Apologies if you are well-practised at these, but sometimes positive confirmation of your skills from someone else can help break the cycle of negative rumination you're experiencing, as can recognition that there are positive outcomes: first you dealt well with a difficult situation; second you learned an important lesson; third you recognised the cause of error as being distraction, which often precedes error, and you will be wary of that in future; and fourth, by talking about it here, others flying Warriors (or aircraft with similar flap mechanisms) may well just check their flap selection a bit more carefully, thus avoiding a similar experience.

Best wishes

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By dublinpilot
Don't beat yourself up about it. You made a mistake, nothing bad happened, and most importantly you admitted the mistake from yourself and you learnt from it. It's one mistake that you'll never make again.

We all have at least one mistake that we'll never make again!

But apart from never making that mistake again, the other lesson to learn here is short final is not the time to be diaganosing and fixing problems. If something isn't right and you can't quickly figure out why, then go around.

A few years ago, I was landing at a 500mtr field that I'd never landed at before. There was a stiff cross wind, but it was well within my capabilities. I normally am quite comfortable with strong crosswinds and this wasn't all that strong. I applied correction (wing down method) and gradually drifted, fixed everything (got lined up again) and gradually drifted again. I knew something was wrong but couldn't figure out what it was, and decided that short final wasn't the place to work it out, so went around. Mid downwind I realised what it was. I'd misread the wind sock and was applying the wrong correction inputs! Subsequent landing was uneventful. On taxiing in, I noticed that half the windsock was missing, which probably contributed to my misreading it! Still going around when something wasn't right and I couldn't figure out what, was what saved the day. A good lesson for me too :D
Hi guys thanks for all the replies.

I've flown several times since including a new type conversion which was obviously with an instructor. The mistake mentioned above is behind me now and after doing 6 circuits with the instructor including flapless and glide and nailing all of them my confidence is back.

Took my 7 year old lad up yesterday for as he calls it "rich people spotting" looking at all the stately homes and we had a great trip, the joy of flying is something that nothing else compares to for me and being the best I can be is important.

Thanks for your words regarding this, learning from mine and others mistakes is a sure fire way to keep me enjoying this pastime forever.