I was recently asked about the possibility of an air strike upon landing in a typical light plane such as a Cherokee or a Cessna 172 plane. Specifically, I was asked how far the Genie Control can deviate without hitting the tarmac when one or both runways collide The main landing gear is on the runway after landing at the nearby stall speed.
I will admit that I have never tried to reach the amphitheater with my wing tip and don't know anyone with it. However, it can definitely be done. Perhaps the best question is: What landing technique will ensure that the wingtip does not press the runway?
I want to talk about landing techniques in a really strong opposite direction before I address the issue of wingtips. After all, wingtop strikes are not considered a credible problem except in intersecting winds that approach the restrictions of an intersecting plane.
To make a controlled cross landing, you must master the plane's steering skill in the same direction that you move over the ground. If the plane is pointing in another direction when landing, the best that you can hope for is sudden side forces on your landing gear followed by a letter while the plane swings in the right direction. The worst is loss of directional control followed by a flight off the side of the runway, a possible ground loop, a nose, a vertical stroke, or all of the above.
Directing the plane toward it is the most important landing skill. It is not as easy as it seems. And it definitely requires practice before being able to master it. In short, here's how to do it:
Steer the plane in the direction you flip through the nose with your rudder pedals alone. Move the plane from side to side by changing the angle of your bank with ailerons. Control the speed or height above the runway by changing your position on the field with your elevator. This allows you to keep your wheels shown in the direction that the plane is moving and to keep your plane directly above the middle of the runway. This is exactly where it should be when landing.
When landing in a crossed direction, you can touch the runway while controlling it. This is a stable condition. Your plane does not turn around its long axis. This means that it has a fixed angle from the bank. In general flying, light production aircraft, you cannot cross enough control to touch the wing tip.
The best method is to try to keep the main wheel to land off the runway for as long as possible after it lands on the rear wheel. To hold the wind direction, you must constantly increase the deflection of the airfoil until it reaches the maximum. Ultimately, as the plane continues to slow down, the ailerons lose power and the other main wheel will rest on the runway.
Finally in any well-executed crossover landing, the airfoil control will be pushed to the limit. An important point here is that, like any other aspect of good flying, you have to move your controls smoothly and in order to change the position of the plane. A snap roll is the only case in which the controls are intentionally moved.
Now, go back to the topic: How do you hit the wingtip? I can think of two ways.
Suppose you suddenly and violent slapped the control in the airfoil until the end. Two things will happen: the plane will not be properly controlled, and it will start to roll. Now you can hit the top of the wing. In other words, I had just spoiled a very good crossover drop. I had put the plane in a very difficult position, a situation that would require a very skilled pilot to save. I do not recommend it.
The most likely situation is that you land a wings plane in a strong cross direction. This is to say, not by controlling it. Here, the plane was suspended in the wind and the wheels were not aligned with the plane's path above the ground. Since the plane is not aligned to its trajectory through space, the wheels will generate very powerful side roads that are imposed on the undercarriage when it touches the aisle. Unfortunately, this results in a side slide. Just like in a car, if the wheels are far enough apart, the plane glides until it stops or straightens. If the distance is not far enough apart, then you are unlucky. Roll the plane, hit the ground with the tip of the wing.
The lesson here is: use the right crosswind techniques and you won't need to worry about wingtip strokes.