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By Anon
So I had a 'learning experience' :oops: - coming in to a relatively narrow hard runway, with full flap, I'd let the speed get a little low (which I'd noticed, but decided I could correct), but then flared far too high (probably as I'm used to a much wider runway and didn't allow for the perspective change). The net result of those conditions obviously being a very hard landing...

I realised this was going to happen about a second or so before it did, and decided to go around - unfortunately by the time I'd made this decision and pushed the throttle forward, we were 'touching' down (such that by that stage I'd ideally not be trying to go around any more as we were actually down).

As I'd instinctively been pulling back hard to try and reduce the rate of descent, with full power applied the aircraft got airborne again, but with the stall warner chirping intermittently.

I then proceeded to fly the worst go around I've ever done - I retracted the gear, but didn't think to retract the drag flap until some amount of time later, and I wasn't applying enough forward pressure given where the trim was so the aircraft was at too high a nose attitude (and thus low speed, with the stall warner continuing to occasionally chirp). In retrospect, I think my mind was probably trying to play back what had just happened in the landing and worrying about what damage I might have done, rather than concentrating on flying the go around, which was clearly more important.

I did eventually correct the situation, picking up speed, climbing away and getting the remainder of the flaps up, and then perform a low level circuit to land (I didn't want to climb too high as at this stage I wasn't sure what damage I may or may not have done so wanted to always be able to glide back to the field if necessary). The circuit was uneventful, other than another aircraft repeatedly asking if it could line up despite my having announced I was performing a low level circuit as unsure if any damage etc :x

Inspection once on the ground showed that the tail tie down had very slightly scraped the runway, but amazingly otherwise no damage (phew!).

Takeaways from this for me are:
  • If the speed is clearly significantly lower than it should be on short final, GO AROUND, don't try and fix it
  • Think about the width of the runway in advance, so as to be mentally prepared for the perspective relative to 'normal'
  • Concentrate on what's happening now, not what's just happened - you can worry about that later
By johnm
If the inspection wasn't done by an engineer I'd advise getting such done. A hard landing is a relative term so it might not be any kind of an issue, but if it was really hard landing less than obvious damage is a possibility
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By GrahamB
Your point on runway width is worth a comment.

Whist it's absolutely right to consider all the factors when landing at an unfamiliar place for the first time, when landing on a runway which is significantly narrower that you are used to, you are more likely to flare too late than too high, due to peripheral perspective effect.

The outcome could well be the same, though - a hard arrival!
By Anon
(OP here)

The aircraft has been looked at by an engineer, who couldn't find anything (beyond the scraped tie down) and was happy to declare it airworthy - I was fairly confident this was the case, but obviously was worth getting it checked just in case...

Re: the runway width - GrahamB is quite correct, so I imagine what happened is I over-compensated knowing the runway was narrower, rather than misjudged because of it.