We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Soft Landing?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
WikiMotors is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WikiMotors, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A soft landing is a landing in which an airplane or spacecraft touches down gently, without incurring damage. The opposite of a soft landing is a hard landing, in which the aircraft hits the ground hard, potentially experiencing damage or injuring passengers inside. A number of different techniques are used to achieve soft landings, with most systems being redundant so that in the event of a failure, other systems will kick in to generate a soft landing.

In order to land successfully, anything from a bird to a large aircraft needs to slow down, reduce its lift, and allow gravity to gently pull it back to Earth. Some of the ways in which this can be accomplished include stalling the aircraft, using parachutes and flaps to increase drag, and firing rockets to control descent. When the landing is accomplished properly, it should be soft, allowing the aircraft to gently lower itself to Earth.

A number of aircraft have landing gear designed for this purpose. The landing gear consists of a set of rubber wheels which are designed to grip the runway when the aircraft settles down, creating more resistance to slow the plane. Rubber is also an excellent material for a soft landing because it has some give and flexibility, allowing the aircraft to bounce as it settles to the ground, rather than jarring. Some spacecraft, such as the moon landers, use specialized feet in combination with rockets to gently lower themselves to the surface of the moon.

Soft landings are easiest when they are done on a runway, because runways are specifically designed for takeoff and landing, with the necessary space to allow an aircraft to come to a complete stop. Depending on the consistency of a ground, soft landings can also be accomplished in fields, and very skilled pilots can safely land a plane in an emergency on water, with pontoon planes being specifically designed for a soft landing on water.

Aircraft aren't the only thing which can come in for a soft landing. Hang gliders and paragliders also work to create a soft landing when they hit the ground, as do people in hot air balloons. Likewise, people who jump from aircraft with parachutes, whether recreationally or professionally, are trained to perform a soft landing to minimize the risk of injury when they hit the ground. In all cases, the soft landing reduces the risk of injury, and ensures that no damage occurs, so that the aircraft or device used for flight can be used again.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WikiMotors researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.