Smooth operators

Reader Sven W. emailed me following yesterday’s post about an airliner attempting a very hazardous cross-wind landing in Ireland.  He sent the link to this video of a number of very smooth landings indeed by Airbus A330 airliners at Manchester Airport a few years ago.  Obviously, wind and weather conditions have to be just about perfect to permit this degree of control and smoothness, but they’re still very impressive.  I can only recall experiencing a couple of landings like that in all the years I’ve been flying commercially.

Watch the video in full-screen mode for best results.

I wish some South African Air Force tactical transport pilots had learned to land like that . . . hitting the runway hard in a C-130 or C-160, then bouncing halfway down its length with the (rather explosive) cargo shaking and rattling against its tie-downs a few inches from your rather nervous body, is an experience I have no wish to re-live!



  1. I heard the auto pilot will land the plane better than most humans.
    Its an ego thing that keeps the pilots hands on the stick.

  2. I've been in the jumpseat of an A310 during landing. It's automated. It better be perfect when the weather is good. Commercial pilots on these large airliners are flight managers. They manage the systems and talk on the radio. That's why that Airbus fell out of the sky over the Atlantic a few years back: no abnormal attitude training. They were stalling and they couldn't figure out that they needed airspeed.

    There was a pilot named Buck (maybe, going by memory here). He wrote a book call The Art of Flying. He was a WW2 pilot, and flew commercial for decades after. He also flew his own small plane and was a glider pilot. He was a PILOT, not a systems manager. It is definitely worth the read.


  3. A lot of those landings showed the poor practice of "Feeling for the runway." The concept of really smooth landings is hokum. On speed, on the numbers and put it down and get her stopped is the correct way to go. Wasting runway will one day bite your ass.

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