Last week, a pretty hard landing at MCI in a Frontier A319 left me wondering if winds aloft, perhaps just a a couple hundred feet AGL, could be so different from the warm, calm, clear conditions on the ground that it could turn a would-be uneventful landing into a big, loud, bouncy event, at least from a passenger's perspective.
On approach, there was no turbulence, the skies were clear, the runway was not contaminated (and it's pretty long too), and the pilot did not appear to be wrestling with the controls (the ailerons were virtually motionless throughout and the approach was very smooth). There was no perceptible flair until just a second before touchdown, when the deck angle appeared to increase quickly at almost the same moment as we touched down rather hard, bounced briefly, touched down again, and then jounced and rebounded several times on the MLG struts. We did not brake hard and did not turn off early. Although I'm sure it wasn't dangerous or damaging, this was definately the hardest landing I've experienced in recent memory, despite flying probably 100 legs in the last 5 years or so in all sorts of weather and on runways of various lengths.
All the usual reasons for an intentionally "positive" landing seemed to be absent, so rather than assume the PF goofed the landing, I wonder if maybe a mild downdraft or sudden loss of a few knots IAS could happen so low to the ground on a night that feels perfectly still, clear, and calm on the ground, as it did that night. Thanks for any insights.