I was flying home with an empty Super Cub when I flew by a mountain top that looked liked a possible landing spot. I had seen the potential several years earlier, but had never taken the time to work out a landing on it. The winds were calm and the air had not yet been disturbed with afternoon thermals so I decided to give it a couple of passes. It was plenty long enough, but I was surprised by how steep it was. It was one of those scenarios where it was too steep to drag downhill or uphill so all I could do was fly by at an angle looking out the side window. This makes it much more difficult to judge length and texture but it can still give you the overall perspective. There was a hump in the middle that I was trying to get a good look at to determine size. After several passes I decided the hump of concern would not be an issue because the steep terrain would decelerate me so quickly that by the time I reached it I would just roll over it. (A “bump” jars the aircraft, a “hump” launches the aircraft)
In the process of checking-out the strip I also detected a very slight tailwind, but since length was not really an issue I decided it was manageable. I flew by the airstrip one last time as I headed out for final approach. As I turned in toward the mountain top with my flaps fully extended I double checked my ground speed and found it acceptable. As I passed the point of no return I could feel the tail wind had increased. I tried to ease off the throttle and pitch the nose up to really slow it down, but could feel the airplane sag out from underneath me, so I came back in with a little bit of power and hit the ground “long and hot” (meaning I landed well beyond where I intended going faster than I desired). I nailed “the hump” and launched back into the air even though I was climbing a significant hill. One wheel came almost 2 feet off the ground, that is a massive bounce, and is unacceptable in this sort of flying.
We all botch landings once in awhile, and this was a perfect example. I should have moved-on as soon as I detected the tailwind. These sorts of landings don’t lend the luxury of a, “little tailwind”. I’ve noticed with pilots that nothing is ever their fault. It’s always the, “gust of wind” or “engine problems”. Truth is that gust of wind is still my fault because I should have accounted for the fact that there was adverse wind blowing… and then gone home! This landing was no big deal, and nothing of consequence happened. There were no passengers onboard and I was very light, but I remember this event because it surprised me, and I hate surprises in the pilot seat.
An embarrassing bounce.