But when that other plane belongs to your next-door neighbour, the situation reaches a whole new level of humiliation.
Despite the odds, that is exactly what happened at Roanoke airport near Dallas in Texas when one rookie pilot attempted to touch down.
The only problem was that his neighbour, at the controls of a smaller, red aircraft was on the runway and preparing for take off.
A quick chat over the radio and both men thought they had it clear - the other one was going to give way.
Unfortunately of course, neither did, and the undercarriage of the learner's plane became wedged in the top of the second plane's wing when he landed regardless.
Both propellors also smashed together and the planes were badly damaged, although luckily no one was injured.
Roanoke Airport is the largest airport under private ownership in the U.S. and has over 550 aircraft based there.
But the lack of a control tower means pilots are forced to navigate in and out using the radio.