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Touch & Go's (article)

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Touch & Go's (article)


Aero-Tips 08.09.06


Here's one that's sure to generate some reader mail... and that's my hope, that it gets people thinking. Question for the day: are touch-and-go landings truly instructional, and are they worth the risk?


A training standard


Touch-and-goes, a landing with just enough time on the ground to reconfigure and take back off, are a rite of flight instruction. All too often, though, touch-and-goes result in loss of control and a runway excursion; "T&Gs" are a frequent contributing factor to inadvertent landing gear retraction on the runway and even seem to play a part in gear-up landings. Given that T&Gs appear so frequently in accident write-ups, why is it we still train the maneuver, and should we re-think the T&G maneuver?


Training benefit


There are two benefits of T&Gs:


Time. T&Gs provide more landing practice per hour. A student flying T&Gs might log seven or eight takeoffs and landings in an hour, while full-stops might permit only four or five.


Money. More landings per hour means less money for the same landing experience. Some airports (especially outside the US) encourage T&Gs by charging fees for each full-stop landing.


However, flying a T&G the pilot must, in a very short time...


Quickly and correctly manage power controls. In piston airplanes this may be up to four inputs: throttle, propeller, mixture and carburetor heat. If the pilot does not set mixture to rich before landing, or the airport is at a high density altitude, this may require attention at a time of rapid change. Turbine pilots may have to direct attention to engine indicators to avoid overtemps or overtorques.


Reconfigure the airplane, including flap and, if equipped, cowl flap position. Here's where the danger of accidentally pulling up the landing gear is manifested again and again in accident reports.


Retrim the airplane. Many aircraft are trimmed radically nose up, away from a safe takeoff trim position if the pilot uses trim for landing. Failure to reset the trim is known to have resulted in fatal post-crash stalls.


Maintain directional control throughout this very high-workload maneuver.


Review and evaluate the landing process if any training benefit is to be realized.


Are T&Gs worth it?


I contend that more valuable instruction comes from landing to a full stop, reconfiguring the airplane using the postlanding checklist, taxiing back to the runway threshold and making another takeoff. This provides "scenario-based training" that encompasses the entire landing sequence, reinforces the use of a pretakeoff checklist insure proper configuration before each flight, and gives the time to critique and discuss the individual landing so learning is not lost in a jumble of T&Gs reviewed as a group after the lesson is complete.


Note: T&G practice does teach the advanced student and certificated pilot a technique for an emergency go-around should he/she detect a runway hazard after touching down -- such as an animal or another airplane on the runway, or the inability to meet a "land and hold short" requirement. So T&Gs do have a limited training benefit as an emergency maneuver.


Aero-tip of the day: Ask yourself if you're really getting the full learning benefit of practice by doing touch-and-goes, and if the T&G maneuver is worth the known risks.



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For what it's worth I have to agree with the author of the above article. However, landing to a full stop, back tracking and lining up again and again at a less than "lonely day at the airfield" day would more than likely lead to some congestion and annoyance to other users. Then again, the need for extra comms and lookoutcould lead to better habits in situational awareness for all concerned.


Any other thoughts?





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Guest Guest

Well it's not really a new training technique. Most schools I have dealt with ensure that new solo students don't complete the touch and go as we know it, but rather are informed to stop, backtrack and take-off again. I would be surprised if there are schools out there that are letting students or first solo's complete the touch and go in the early stages. It's a little like the mentality of not letting the first solo student do more than one take-off and landing for the first solo - this is kind-ofinstructional "best practice."



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Remembering that there is an Instructor by the students side (or behind) there should be no reason for a student to lose control during a T&G.


That being said, I do see some instructional T&G's that merely glance the ground, and power out again. 049_sad.gif.af5e5c0993af131d9c5bfe880fbbc2a0.gif


Instructing in a taildragger, I ensure that the student has deccelerated to below flying speed before going around.


To stop and backtrack, (which I will do in some cases) does as mentioned earlier tend to clutter up the strip and circuit.


If actual 'ground handling' technique is required, I will get the student to taxi up and down an inactive strip, progressively faster, until full control authority is demonstrated.


As for continual full stop and backtracking, I'll leave that for the GA schools that charge by the minute! 011_clap.gif.c796ec930025ef6b94efb6b089d30b16.gif





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  • 2 weeks later...

While I dont like touch and goes they do work as a learning tool. Years ago I was a student pilot at Grovedale in Vic, doing touch and goes and for some reason the 150 Cessna would not climb. I had to keep pushing the nose down hard to maintain any speed and was not climbing in fact I felt as if I was looking sideways at the chimney pots. I was at my wits end until I looked around and saw the flaps hanging down at 40 degrees.


Next day in the smoko shed I as told that the police were looking for a low flying pilot in the area, they really got me in for a while!


What a good learning experience. I will never do that again.





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My instructors at Shepparton insist on a T&G being done as a practice for a takeoff and a landing, with each touch being treated as a landing, complete with speed adjustment and setting neutral trim, once all wheels are on the tarmac.


Then its a rolling takeoff and repeat. As each landing is different - winds, light, traffic etc it is a valuable excercise as the number of landings must equal the number of takeoffs, and as our esteemed leader states; takeoffs are optional but landings are mandatory.


I see a few folks practicing T&Gs with a wheel touch, but while there might be an element of fun in that, it does not help practice a crosswind technique in getting all wheels on the deck, and the shipstayingdown the centreline.


My 2.2c worth..





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  • 1 month later...

I hate 'touch-&-Go' because it imposes a make haste atmosphere on the pilot. As others have noted, this leads to mistakes.


'Stop-and-Go' has always been the best value practice for pilots, because directional control is most difficult as speed decreases,the '3rd' wheel comes into play, and larger control inputs are required,sometimes with differential braking added in.


Provided that the touchdown is within 150m of the threshold, and the landing roll isn't unduly long - at most airports there is usually more than enough runway remaining for a take-off from stationary.


Traffic permitting of course! Nominate the intention to S-&-G at the turning final radio call, as circuit traffic will be well appreciated then.


happy days,



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I agree with the idea of landing, getting all wheels down and slowing down, reset flaps etc, then taking off. I call it Slow and Go.


This keeps things a bit less hectic and allows the pilot time to think.


Works for me, anyway.





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Guest micgrace

Hi, my 2 cents worth.


Excellent training in taildragger, where a lot of things have to be mastered at once, and number of circuits per hour go up. I have done this practice numerous times during training and really sharpens up the pilot (me) as well. But, there's no margin for error, as well pointed out.


But, I would only recommend if there is basically nil or minimal traffic around, otherwise, clear/backtrack runway for conventional takeoff.





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