What is Short Touch Down?

The term “short touchdown” in aviation refers to the situation where an aircraft touches down on the runway within the first 500 feet of its landing surface. Airlines and aviation authorities do not typically allow or encourage short touchdowns, especially during normal landing procedures at airports.

Aviation authorities, such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) internationally, set specific regulations and standards for safe landings. These regulations require that aircraft touch down within the designated touchdown zone on the runway, which is typically the first 1,000 to 3,000 feet of the runway, depending on the airport and runway length. Deviating from these standards may lead to regulatory violations.

Modern commercial aircraft are designed to land within specific touchdown zones. Short touchdowns can put additional stress on the landing gear, tires, and other components of the aircraft. Short touchdowns also reduce the margin of safety for obstacle clearance and increase the risk of accidents or collisions with obstacles.

Landing within the designated touchdown zone provides aircraft with the necessary distance to clear any obstacles that may be present near the beginning of the runway. In standard operating conditions, maintaining consistency in landing within the designated touchdown zone on the runway is a fundamental aspect of aviation safety and operational efficiency. It minimizes the risk of runway overruns and ensures that landing procedures are predictable and safe for passengers and crew.

Do not confuse Short field landing with Short touchdown. A short field landing is a specific landing procedure used when a short runway or other factors require the aircraft to land within a limited distance. A short touchdown, on the other hand, is a situation where the aircraft touches down on the runway near the threshold within the first 500 feet of the runway’s available landing surface, which is typically avoided in standard landing procedures due to safety concerns.

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