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Touch&Go circuits

During training, both basic and afterwards, it’s typical to do a lot of touch&go’s, at least here in Switzerland. I’ve never been a fan of them though. I just find it too much to do in a short time – flare, land, hold centerline, reconfigure, add power. And all this on the typical 500-700 m runway. It’s also something you only do during training, I’ve never done a touch&go on a “normal” flight.

During landing for a touch&go, I also find myself sometimes focusing more on the takeoff that is coming up, and not on the actual landing. Especially if I’m a bit fast or I land long, I’m unsure whether I’ll have enough runway to land properly and takeoff again, so I’m more focused on that than on making a proper landing.

The only advantage is that you can save some money, time and fuel by getting a lot of landings in a short amount of time, as opposed to a full stop and taxi back to the beginning of the runway.

What is your experience with touch and go landings? Do you think they’re a good think, or would rather do full stop and taxi back?

LSZF,LSZK, Switzerland

I just find it too much to do in a short time – flare, land, hold centerline, reconfigure, add power. And all this on the typical 500-700 m runway. It’s also something you only do during training, I’ve never done a touch&go on a “normal” flight.

I do them in “takeoff config” (half flaps & gear down), usually just the throttle is moving while I monitor speed and centreline, the runway need to be longer a bit to land on “takeoff config”, Ido the same at night or hardcore instrument, the go-around is usually trivial when you are in “takeoff setup”

If the runway is very short to require full flaps and sideslips, one has to be careful that they need to touch with enough distance ahead (before 1/3 of runway) otherwise they need to cut the loss and pull the mixture

Last Edited by Ibra at 14 Apr 19:34
Paris/Essex, France/UK, United Kingdom

In my opinion, touch and goes are great fun and very useful to master approach and landing technique. Very necessary during training and also after having obtained the licence for recurrent “self-training”.

I used to do touch and goes whenever I had the chance while building my hours. Often when flying alone and when the destination airfield didn’t charge much extra for it, I would do a touch and go followed by a full stop landing.

Full stop landings are good to practice the landing run, which we tend to dismiss as “trivial” but becomes really important on larger airplanes: braking technique, centre line tracking etc.

I never really understood why some people would say full stop landings are inherently safer than touch and goes. Some ATOs wouldn’t let you do touch and goes at certain short runways which to me was kind of nonsensical: if the runway is too short for a touch and go, then how can it be fine for a full stop landing? or a normal take-off?


The touch-and-go practice works in the spirit of Flight Safety Foundation’s ALAR (approach and landing accident reduction) toolkit. One of its main principles is that the pilot in the approach should be mentally programmed for a go-around, and a landing is essentially an aborted go-around. Remembering that a go-around may be executed even after touchdown, one can use the touch-and-go as a training aid: you need to be able to depart or safely stop at any point in time during any landing.

Last Edited by Ultranomad at 14 Apr 20:55
LKBU (near Prague), Czech Republic

Switzerland really is the land of the short runways, more than any other place in Europe. On such short runways, everything has only small margins, even normal takeoffs and full stop landings. Americans tend to absolutely shocked when they see the stunts that we are doing around here.

Rememer that if you touch down at say 50 knots, you will be at roughly 40 knots by the time you have brought the flaps up/into take off position. So if you lift off at 55 knots, you only need 15 knots more to get airborne. That‘s the advantage you have in a touch n go over a normal takeoff from zero. If you touch down reasonably short, you will often be back in the air with more runway remaining than on a normal takeoff.

Instructors can normally judge pretty well when a touch n go can e made safely and when it can‘t. But yes, it is always split second decisions.

Mainz (EDFZ) & Egelsbach (EDFE), Germany

In the case of tail wheel aircraft, what is practised are land, re set and go. Directional control from landing to full stop, and then transition from stand still to take off, with torque, gyroscopic effects, crosswind, all being parcel of learning the tailwheel.

Bonanza Proficiency Program organised by the American Bonanza Society doesn’t do touch-and-go training. All landings are to a full stop. The biggest annual culprit for rendering Bonanza airframes beyond economic repair, are gear up landings, or gear collapses, and understandably ABS does not want to be part of this problem. Insurance capacity for retractables, especially in the USA, continues to shrink, hence the popularity of fixed gear types, another reason why the ABS discourages the practice.

From a technique perspective there is a fair amount going on in a single crew complex type during a touch and go: re-trimming, raising the flaps (but not the gear!), opening the cowl flaps, checking Ts&Ps, all while dealing with engine torque, crosswind and maintaining the centre line.

A student of general risk statistics might agree the learning value of a touch and go in a complex type doesn’t compensate the increase risk of damage.

Oxford (EGTK), United Kingdom

We usually taxi back in the Merdian. Actually a touch and go is one of the most difficult manouvers in this plane. You have to bring the flaps up a notch, then add a lot of power without overtorquing while tracking the runway which is the most difficult part. Then the trim will most likely not be where it should be for a normal take off and you fight the plane for the first seconds after rotation. The amount of runway used will be more than a take off with the engine spooled up before releasing the brakes.

During initial training for an LAPL or a PPL, I(as instructor) prefer to do a landing and backtrack for a new takeoff. A lot less stressful for the student.
Certainly at a short strip which we have at my base.

ESSZ, Sweden

I agree with the previous posters that it depends a lot on the aircraft type, runway size, and pilot experience. In real life flying, there do not seem to be many times that this skill is exercised. Lots of go-arounds, particularly at busy fields, but once you are on the runway it’s rare to need to take off again.

Fly more.
LSGY, Switzerland

I think the emphasis on hard circuit training just achieves a student who is soaked in sweat and who is taking in very little of it while spending money at a copious rate.

Much better to do a t&g and then fly around a bit and come back 10-15 mins later.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
38 Posts
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