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Heavy Landing

There are those who have had them and those who will. Pilots are always judged on their landings and to maintain confidence there are some of the following strategies may be useful.

  1. Adopt a workperson like approach to landings whilst maintaining conscientious standards. Not all landings will be perfect but if the job has been achieved and nothing more than pride has been wounded then do not dwell on perfection.
  2. If a landing has resulted in noticeable effects in the cabin e.g. lockers opened or masks dropped from ceiling then some embarrassment is to be expected and normal. Keep perspective and do not judge your entire career on one aberration. 
  3. Pilots are human and cannot be expected to maintain blemish free performance on a continual basis especially if fatigued or compromised by issues outside of the workplace. Be kind to yourself especially if life events or fatigue are affecting your performance and take time to recover. 
  4. Take every event as a learning event, no good sailor learned to sail on a calm sea and our mistakes are simply another opportunity for growth. A hard landing in one airfield with correct fault analysis may prevent a worse situation in another environment. 
  5. Seek support from Peers either via organised support programmes or close colleagues. All will have their individual stories and similar experiences to help normalise the event.
  6. If suffering from post event anxiety and concerned about future performance use some anxiety coping strategies from other sections and concentrate on rebuilding self-confidence. 
  7. Contact training department or a trainer with whom you have a close bond and ask for extra simulator session to prove to yourself that you have not forgotten your skills and training.
  8. Seek Support: Share your experience with trusted mentors, fellow pilots, or friends who understand the aviation industry. They can provide valuable advice, support, and encouragement to help you bounce back from the setback. 

Recognising that a heavy landing is an occasional feature of flying and that sometimes environmental and personal issues combine to leave us poorly placed will help you be a more empathic colleague and aircraft commander. Everyone in a flying career will have had them and despite having hundreds of satisfactory landings we judge ourselves on the few bad ones. Remember what you have achieved and do not judge yourself or indeed others too harshly.

If you or a loved one is in immediate crisis...