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Touch and Go’s

The video above shows an example of how you would accomplish the procedure in an average Piper Cherokee. Each airplane will have a slightly different procedure, so make sure you go over the specific procedure for your airplane with your CFI.

Why perform Touch and Go’s?

First of all, what are these touch and go’s everyone talks about?  Basically, the idea is to land the airplane on the runway (touching down) reconfigure for takeoff while still rolling down the runway, then add full power and takeoff again without stopping (the GO part).  Why do this?  Well, when training you’ll want to practice lots and lots of landings, coming to a complete stop each time and taxiing back to the beginning of the runway would simply take a lot of time, and time is money.  So for the reason of saving money and time, you’ll get familiar with performing touch and go’s.

Setting up for a Touch and Go

Setting up the airplane for a touch and go is performed in the exact same manner as setting the airplane up for landing. Remember:

Power – What RPM are you setting power for?

Pitch – What airspeed are you pitching for?

Flaps – As required

Fuel Pump – As required

As discussed in previous sections; select your touchdown point, set up your approach, and prepare for a normal landing.

After the Touchdown

After touching down and ensuring you have maintained aircraft control, it’s time to reconfigure the airplane.

  • Flaps: Raise the flaps to the desired takeoff position. It is critical in aircraft having retractable landing gear, you verify that you are about to retract the flaps and not the landing gear.
  • Trim: Re-trim the aircraft for takeoff.
  • Carburetor Heat: If your aircraft has carburetor heat, don’t forget to turn it off! Taking off with Carburetor heat will have a substantial performance impact on your climb.

After the aircraft has been reconfigured, apply full power and perform a normal takeoff.

Important Notes

There are some important factors to take into consideration when performing Touch and Go’s:

  • Avoid performing touch and go’s on short runways, contaminated runways (water, sleet, snow, ice, etc…), or runways containing obstacles at the end.
  • As a new pilot, avoid doing touch and go’s in complex aircraft. Adding items such as retractable landing gear, propeller controls, and cowl flaps to the mix increase the chances of an error being made.
  • Never reach down to switch your fuel-selector while performing a touch and go. Wait for a less critical phase of flight such as on Downwind.
  •  Be aware of density altitude. Takeoff and landing performance calculations are based on full-stop landings, not touch and go’s.
  • Avoid soft and short field practice. As you can really only practice half of the maneuver in a touch and go, it is better to practice soft and short field operations by performing full-stop landings.
  • Communicate! At a towered airport, be sure to let the tower know of your intentions. At a non-towered airport, it is essential to communicate with other aircraft so they know what your intentions are.