Why pilots used to say “when in doubt, land long” ?


It comes from a book I’m reading , quoting some astronauts talks transcriptions , they often refers to a specific terminology used by pilots. E.g. “break, break” or “no sweat”

In: Engineering

Basically, landing long you’re going faster and landing further down the runway than ideal. Landing short you’re slow and landing closer to the beginning of the runway.

When landing long you have more airspeed and altitude and more options. If there’s wind shear it’s less likely to drop your airspeed below stall speed. If everything isn’t right you can accelerate, climb and try again.

If you’re landing short, you’re slow, maybe on the edge of stalling, you have less chance to go around. Wind shear might cut your airspeed even lower. If you do stall, you crash and die(Maybe literally)

It’s oversimplifying, but airspeed and altitude are your friends.