If the pilot misjudges the rate of sink during a landing and thinks the airplane is descending faster than it should, there is a tendency to increase the pitch attitude and angle of attack too rapidly. This not only stops the descent, but actually starts the airplane climbing. This climbing during the roundout is known as "ballooning" (Fig. 10-3). Ballooning can be dangerous because the height above the ground is increasing and the airplane may be rapidly approaching a stalled condition. The altitude gained in each instance will depend on the airspeed or the rapidity with which the pitch attitude is increased.
When ballooning is slight, a constant landing attitude should be held and the airplane allowed to gradually decelerate and settle onto the runway. Depending on the severity of ballooning, the use of throttle may be helpful in cushioning the landing. By adding power, thrust can be increased to keep the airspeed from decelerating too rapidly and the wings from suddenly losing lift, but throttle must be closed immediately after touchdown. Also it must be remembered that torque will have been created as power was applied; therefore, it will be necessary to use rudder pressure to keep the airplane straight as it settles onto the runway.
When ballooning is excessive, it is best to EXECUTE A GO-AROUND IMMEDIATELY; DO NOT ATTEMPT TO SALVAGE THE LANDING. Power must be applied before the airplane enters a stalled condition.
The pilot must be extremely cautious of ballooning when there is a crosswind present because the crosswind correction may be inadvertently released or it may become inadequate. Because of the lower airspeed after ballooning, the crosswind affects the airplane more. Consequently, the wing will have to be lowered even further to compensate for the increased drift. It is imperative that the pilot make certain that the appropriate wing is down and that directional control is maintained with opposite rudder. If there is any doubt, or the airplane starts to drift, EXECUTE A GO-AROUND.