Skid Row

Early morning takeoff from Atlanta Hartsfield… funny how some things you just don’t notice until later. Lined up on Runway 8Left, beautiful sunrise… Hey, who left those skid marks?

Would’ve liked to have seen that landing. Looks like a 45 degree crab to the runway at touchdown followed by a quick trip toward the weeds before getting it straightened back out.

Gotta be fun explaining that one to the passengers! Oh well, we all learn from each other’s mistakes. Mental reminder to always make sure to line up on the centerline and ride it like a rail to touchdown. One of those lessons you learn: fly the plane, don’t let the plane fly itself. You are not done until the engines are shut down and the chocks are on the wheels.  And please, don’t ever let me leave a set of skid marks like those!

Pilots get judged by the quality of their landings. It doesn’t matter how many thunderstorms you avoided enroute, or how much time you saved by choosing the right altitude. If you botch the landing it’s a Down grade. On the other hand, if you do make some less than stellar decision on the flight but turn in a greaser of a landing… Well, you are one master manipulator of machinery!

So, even though we often say “any landing you can walk away from is a good one” we still try as hard as we can to make a silky smooth touchdown. It’s as close as pilots usually get to a command performance. Which is why the applause is always nice!

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