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Why do commercial airline pilots find it so difficult to land a commercial airliner smoothly, even in calm conditions?

Most passengers judge a pilot’s skills based on how hard he landed. This is an error in judgment because a smooth landing is not necessarily a safe landing. Any well-trained pilot can make your landing extremely smooth by hovering the plane and keeping it off the runway longer. But that’s not what you expect from a pilot. When we’re being trained on airplanes, the first thing instructors always want to see is a well stabilized approach. A stabilized approach is very critical in a high-performance aircraft (most aircraft).

So what do I mean by a stabilized approximation? Without going into technical details when a pilot is making such an approach, the number of controls or stick movements he has to make to keep the aircraft on the correct path for landing is small. The pilot maintains the correct approach speed. It’s on the centerline of the track and, more importantly, closely following the crucial three-degree drop in the track. When this happens, the aircraft will pass the end of the runway (threshold) by 50 feet (15 meters). And from there, a good landing is one where the pilot lands preferably in the first 1,000 feet (300 meters) of the runway with adequate vertical speed.

Of all the points mentioned above, the most critical is always to land the plane in the right place. Hovering over the runway in hopes of a smoother landing is downright bad practice. As the famous aviation quote goes: There is nothing more useless than the runway behind you and the altitude above you ! This is a very true statement. Landing too far on the runway increases the chances of overshooting, especially when landing on short runways. It also increases wear on engines and brakes.

So the answer to your question. Pilots do not find it difficult to land the plane smoothly. They are well-trained to know what is safe and what is not. I’m not saying that all crash landings are done on purpose. Sometimes pilots fumble and land hard, but usually the plane’s landing gear can handle the load. On an A320, for example, it is not considered a forced landing unless the vertical load on landing exceeds 2.8 gs, which is quite a lot. A typical firm touch rarely exceeds 1.5 gs.

Source: Quora

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