That’s 16 Loss of Directional Control on Runway(LODC-R) events reported since last Wednesday. Take the two blown tires off the list (we’ll assume the tires blew and caused the loss of directional control, not the other way around), and there are still 14 events in the last eight days of reports. It seems as though this is common this time of year, as many Northern Hemisphere pilots are getting back into flying after a long winter at the same time the winds tend to increase with the change in seasons.
In the eyes of our passengers the measure of a pilot seems to be how smoothly he or she lands the airplane. They feel a good landing means a good pilot, but a firm or bounced touchdown negates everything the pilot did to that point! Somewhere between the two extremes (that the landing needs to be glassy smooth or it may destroy the airplane, but it’s okay as long as no one is crippled!) lies the reality: we need to land with a level of aircraft command.
How do we avoidloss of control on the runway (LODC-R) or runway overruns? Every situation is different, but you’ll improve your precision and reduce your chances of joining the list of “on landing….” by doing the following:
Most pilot training textshome in on the stick-and-rudder skills needed to maintain runway alignment in a crosswind. That’s absolutely essential, and crosswind control should be at the centre of all your recurrent training. But the industry is remiss in omitting the single biggest factorin the success of a crosswind landing - the decision whether or not to try it in the first place.
Take-offs are optional. Landings are not. However, landing at any one location, or on a specific runway, is optional. Make a conscious decision to accept or rejecta landing by figuring the crosswind component before accepting an approach or entering the pattern/circuit. Most LODC (Loss of Directional Control) on landing events occur, in fact, with reported surface winds reported below 10 knots.