What is the ground effect?

One of the phenomena that most influences the course of a flight is the ground effect. This effect can cause difficulties at the moment of landing. With the necessary knowledge and skills, this aerodynamic phenomenon can be dealt with safely while minimizing its effect.

Why is the ground effect generated?

This aerodynamic phenomenon is generated when approaching the ground, a pressure difference is generated between the lower part and the upper part of the wing. This generates a drag that makes the aircraft tend to float or bounce on the runway.

As it approaches the ground, the air below the wing is pressurized against the ground, which causes an increase in pressure. The increase in pressure generates an increase in lift.

Ground effect usually occurs when the aircraft is flying over a surface at an altitude less than half its wingspan.

Controlling the ground effect

One of the first things to learn is to control the aircraft under this phenomenon.

Under the influence of this phenomenon, the flight is more unstable, since the airplane is more sensitive to the movements made on the control stick. To achieve an optimal landing under ground effect, slight corrections should be made as the aircraft decelerates. As the speed decreases, it is sufficient to pull the stick back.

Optimal ground effect control will result in a significant reduction in drag, thus making the aircraft’s fuel consumption much more efficient.

Landing problems

If not properly controlled, a balloon effect can be generated. If at the moment the effect starts to act, if an excessive pitch correction is made, the aircraft will climb.

If you find yourself in this situation, the best option is to regain altitude and abort the landing. When flying at low speed and in landing mode there is some risk of a hard stall or stall.

Controlling this phenomenon is a matter of knowledge and practice. At EAS we train pilots in both theoretical and practical studies in a coordinated way for a better use of the course. You will learn in our academy located in Barcelona (next to Sants station) and you will practice at Sabadell airport.