Landing - Aircraft


Aircraft usually land at an airport on a firm runway or helicopter landing pad, generally constructed of asphalt concrete, concrete, gravel or grass. Aircraft equipped with pontoons (floatplane) or with a boat hull-shaped fuselage (a flying boat) are able to land on water. Aircraft also sometimes use skis to land on snow or ice.

To land, the airspeed and the rate of descent are reduced such that the object descends at a slow enough rate to allow for a gentle touch down. Landing is accomplished by slowing down and descending to the runway. This speed reduction is accomplished by reducing thrust and/or inducing a greater amount of drag using flaps, landing gear or speed brakes. When a fixed wing aircraft approaches the ground, the pilot will move the control column back to execute a flare or round-out. This increases the angle of attack. Progressive movement of the control column back will allow the aircraft to settle onto the runway at minimum speed, landing on its main wheels first in the case of a tricycle gear aircraft or on all three wheels simultaneously in the case of a conventional landing gear-equipped aircraft, commonly referred to as a "taildragger". This is known as flaring.

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