1

Several articles/books that I have read include sentences where a "plane skips".

Examples from Google Books:

As the U-2 settled down the forward landing gear touched the runway and the plane skipped and bounced back into the air.

The plane skipped into the air.

The plane skipped and skidded on its belly across a field some distance from the airstrip before coming to an abrupt stop.

From The Week:

The bomber skipped across the water like a huge metal bird, before it stopped and sank into the Overton Arm of the lake.

The first time I skipped through these pages, I thought it was "skid", but then I realized it was "skip" and tried to picture that. The closest meanings of skip, AFAIK, would be "to move with hopping steps" or "to jump". It doesn't seem to make much sense though. How does a plane jump or hop? I have gone over MW and OED's skip pages, and found nothing beyond the definitions I mentioned related to movement.

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It means that the airplane touched the ground, but then bounced back up into the air, probably to come back down again a bit further down the runway. Think of it hitting the ground hard enough that the landing gear helps to bounce it back into the air like a trampoline or a spring. Or perhaps a gust of wind comes in and causes the airplane to briefly lift off again after touchdown because of the increase lift generated by the wings.

For the belly landing example, think of a rock thrown along a cement road. The rock will hit the cement and "skip" back into the air, then as it looses momentum, it will "bounce" and "skip" a bit more before coming to a stop when its energy is consumed. In my mind, after that airplane has come to a stop, being damaged and tipped on its side from all the bouncing around and damage.

If you go onto Youtube, I am sure you can find video of "rough" landings where airplanes bounce and skip on the runway.

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