HIT the SPOT – or NOT

Any self-respecting pilot wants to make spot landings, and all skilled ones can.  But only if they try.  Learning to land smoothly and accurately at a predetermined point is vital, but over-control is not the way to do it.  Generally, steeper approaches are easier to judge than flatter ones.  Flatter approaches invite the threat of falling short, but very steep ones make stopping quickly  problematic.  (Without flaps, that is.)  As so often proves true, compromise offers the most effective solution.  A moderate approach angle diminishes the faults of either extreme while affording room to adjust either way.

Fly every landing as an attempted precision approach aimed at some arbitrary point – until that moment when you see you’ve missed.  Then, still fairly close to that spot, you abandon heroics and execute the nicest possible good landing wherever gravity brings you down.

If for any reason you bounce (or flair too soon and balloon back up), the best solution is to do nothing.  You must maintain a level attitude anyway, so leave the elevator where it is.  Also, you should already have some degree of spoilers deployed, so leave them open too.  (If your error was nearing the ground with no spoilers, then it may be better to ease them out – but only very gently.)  You know that, whatever happens, you’ll be down soon, so be patient.   There is no need to force the plane down from a few inches of altitude, and jerking any of the controls in this situation can be disastrous.

Afterword, you analyse how best to modify earlier parts of the approach to make kissing that spot easy…    next time.