Introduction to Emergencies; Instructional Emergencies; ...Roy's Engine Failure; Emergency Preparation; Emergency Authority; ...Help Is Just A Sound Away; ...Cockpit Smoke; ...Accident Causes; ...Training Areas for Safety; Emergency Field; ...Emergency IFR; ...Communicate; ...Pre-Crash; ...C. R.M . During Emergencies; ...Getting help (A story); ...'Door Emergencies'; ...Emergency Checklist; ...The Emergency Checklist; ...Simulated Emergency; ...Controlled Flight into Terrain; ...The Impossible Turn; The Possible Impossible turn; ...Runway Return Simulation; ...The Overhead Emergency (Instructor); ...Emergency Options; ...What to Have With You When Everything Stops; ...Survival; .Emergency Searches; Help Yourself; ..Emergency Mind Set; Emergency Use of the Transponder: Electrical Cockpit Fire; Emergencies Revisited; Engine Out; Calculate Glide Distance Using Wind as a Variable; ...High Altitude Overhead Descent Emergency; ...
Introduction to Emergencies
The time to think through your emergency situations and procedures is prior to the flight and on the ground. You will always be surprised by an emergency. That's what makes it an emergency. Since aircraft control is #1, you need to do what is necessary as conditions allow. You will develop a procedure for determining priorities.
At the end of the preflight you should think through your takeoff emergency options. After leveling off at altitude, get your emergency list up front. This is the basic list that applies to all situations and may include expansions for more specific emergencies.
We have been developing and adding checklists from the beginning. The last list is in many ways the most important. You will never be prepared for an emergency. The sequence of importance is #1 Fly the Plane. Make the most conservative decision quickly and don't change it. Don't waste position, airspeed, or altitude. Clean up the cockpit and instruct your passengers. In over 10,000 hours I have had only a couple of minutes of actual emergency all of which were resolved without incident. 20% of all flying is instructional but only 12% of the accidents are instructionally related. Mid-airs, propeller failures, and ground type propeller accidents occur each about once a month on average.
Most aviation emergencies are of the pilot's making related to weather or inappropriate maneuvers. 65% of the accidents are related to pilot error. A few mechanical emergencies come as complete surprises and lead to reactive behavior. Most mechanical emergencies occur at an altitude such that a reactive response is inappropriate. Mechanical failure is a very small factor in accident statistics (8%). Hasty reactions are, more likely than not, to be the wrong thing to do.
Darkness is a compounding factor in any emergency. You don't want your negligent eagerness to get home or 'there' to allow your self to get low on fuel or into weather and dark at the same time. Turn around, get down early and get fuel, stay down if weather doesn't promise legal night VFR. Don't push your night capabilities in strange areas or airports. Night get-there-itis is the worst kind. Darkness and weather (19% of cause) is serving notice to turn around and get down. The risk of drowning in your bathtub is five times greater than even having an aircraft accident. Only one in six aircraft accidents result in anyone being seriously hurt or killed.
An emergency checklist is the first item of any emergency. Don't do anything
until you have this list, altitude and time permitting. At several thousand
feet you have plenty of time. Most systems failures are slow motion
emergencies. You get to plan where to have your accident. The more training
and experience you have the more time you will have to do the right thing.
There is seldom the time or capability for doing something over.
If you have a problem, the nature of which you are unable to determine, and cannot fix, then get down as soon and as safely as possible. Don't try to control a situation that cannot be controlled. Make the best choice of a suitable landing/accident site as soon and as high as possible. Once you pick your spot that includes a good, safe approach don't try to second-guess yourself.
I welcome the opportunity to run through my area of emergencies that I usually expose to my students. One emergency I do only once because it is hard on the airplane. That is the aborted takeoff.
The takeoff and initial climb is a rich source of potential problems. One of my favorites is the "seatbelt out the door". Works with thin passengers where the tail of belt hangs out the door and bangs against the side of the aircraft. Makes quite a racket. Directly related is the open door 'emergency'. Should a student fail to advise me of my belt and harness the door always seems to open just as we lift off. Best solution to these is to ignore and return to land. Otherwise, door is ignored until reaching a safe altitude at which time the opposite window is opened and the door closed. Two people make it easier than one.
On reaching 300' I have student look back to determine runway alignment. We then lower the nose and look for emergency landing spots that are available at altitudes too low to make a return to the takeoff runway. I then point out how intersecting runways may be easily available. The first cold day of the year offers a great opportunity to fill the cockpit with 'smoke'. Had this happen when I pulled on the heater at 500' only to have the cockpit fill with dirt and fumes. Called an emergency and landed on intersecting runway.
Having winds that exceed student and aircraft capability can be an 'emergency' At my home field an old abandoned runway now used, as a taxiway will eliminate any crosswind emergency problems. It is commonly used by taildraggers when winds are difficult on the other runways. I will, as a practice, set up with ground control taxiing problems for the students. The tower will give a sequence of instructions to the student designed to confuse. While not your usual emergency it teaches the student to get on the radio and get instructions straightened out before proceeding. This is especially important at night.
Prior to solo I have a radio-failure exercise. I will have my student take off his headset. I will call the tower and set up a practice radio-failure exercise where we overfly the airport and make an arrival just as we would at an uncontrolled airport. I maintain a listening/advisory watch on the radio to avoid any problems. Lately towers want to know where you are all the time so some realism is lost. Student is expected to watch for green light and wave wings to indicate getting landing clearance.
Preliminary to the usual airborne emergencies I teach emergency descents. I have found that you can lose altitude just as quickly using full flaps and descending at the top of the white arc as you can by diving at the structural cruise speed. The advantage of flaps would be that when you would reach the ground you would dissipate speed more quickly. I include in the descent exercise steep turn descents and slips with flaps).
One of my favorite 'emergencies' is to simulate an engine failure on short final while in full flap landing configuration. I incorporate this in conjunction with a radio exercise that uses all the runways on the airport along with all the different things ATC may require of a solo student. We change runways, sidestep, do 360s, 270s, and 180s to make it possible to economize flight time. We will extend downwind, make short approaches, no-flap landings and even simulated radio reception problems and light signals. The 'emergency' of the first sentence occurs at 400'AGL. I pull the throttle, expect the student to immediately remove all the flaps, accept the sudden altitude loss of 100' or so while maintaining the best glide speed. Not only will we reach the runway, we could expect to land quite a way down the runway.
Roy's Engine Failure
I never pull throttles (or mixtures!) on my students. Before the flight, I explain that when we do engine-out drills, I'll tell them, and they'll bring the throttle back to idle. I also have them do the engine clearing drill. Sometimes I make the signal to start the drill me shouting BOOM! With the explanation (beforehand) this is to simulate the noise of a piston rod punching a hole in the crankcase.
In an engine out emergency you should have previously acquired knowledge as to how many turns of trim it takes you to acquire the minimum rate of descent as indicated on the VSI. In most Cessnas this takes four + full turns from an initial level flight condition. This same amount of trim will allow level flight with a minimum power application for maximum endurance. With the application of power there will be a 25% decrease in airspeed
Best-glide is at minimum drag and maximum lift-over-drag speed. This occurs
when induced drag and parasitic drag are equal. At minimum level power speed
induced drag is three times parasitic drag. Lighter weights will give lower
The FARs give the pilot all the authority he needs to handle an emergency so long as the emergency was not of his own making and he tells ATC about it. Far 91.3 makes the pilot the final authority for what he does. This is just fine but the FAA reserves to second-guess any pilot's decision or use of authority to determine what caused the problem. A pilot explanation is required only if the FAA asks for one. FAR 91.123(a)(b) FAR 91.113 give emergency aircraft the priority right of way and requires other aircraft to give way to this priority.
Flight into weather is generally such an emergency but the NTSB has ruled in the favor of pilots on occasion. A pilot who declares a real emergency has no reason otherwise to fear the ability of the FAA to second guess. AOPA would like to know of any emergency you may declare. Your right to claim an emergency applies only to arrivals; not departures.
Help Is Just a Sound Away
Jets have 58 different sounds for 31 functions. 16 tones, 8 horns, 5 bells, 6 clackers, 14 chimes, 1 clicker, 9 warblers. Some warnings are identical for ground and air operations so pilot must know area of operation for correct interpretation. Synthesized voice is found to be best warning method.
Smoke is more likely to incapacitate a pilot than the fire. Non-lethal inhalation will impair performance and cause fatal mistakes. Carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide are the main toxic combustion gasses. Carbon dioxide increases the respiration rate and makes you breathe in all the more deadly hydrogen cyanide gas. Wet cloth over the mouth and nose is a quick solution but a small fire extinguisher is best.
--Controlled flight into terrain (CFIT)
--Loss of control
--Unconfined engine failure
Training Areas for Safety
--Pilot decision-making requires
Once you are in an engine failure situation, get to the best L/D speed. The lift over drag speed is the speed that gives the best performance in time and distance when the engine is not functioning in no-wind conditions. You are a glider, a poor glider. Most trainers glide at a 10:1 ratio. You move forward ten feet for every one-foot of altitude. To penetrate a headwind add half of the estimated wind velocity to your gliding airspeed. A spiral descent will allow you to make wind adjustments that a committed straight-in will not. Given the choice, spiral over your chosen landing site.
A wide-long field is preferable to short-narrow field. Into the wind decreases ground impact speed. Uphill is better than downhill. Slope is difficult to judge from the air. If you can determine a slope, assume the slope is much greater than it appears. Any obstruction to the approach end of the field will cause a loss of useable landing distance ten times greater than its height.
Taking gliding lessons will make you a much more assured pilot in an emergency. An airplane without an engine is just a low performance glider. Knowing just how low your glide performance is (See POH) will enable you to select routes and altitudes that allow desirable options. You want to be able to make a power-off glide to a safe landing. Any excess altitude gives us the option of stopping the propeller. This is done by slowing to stall speed and using the starter to place the prop horizontal. The increase in glide performance will vary aircraft type to aircraft type. A stopped propeller can improve the L/D ratio to as much as 12:1. The time and distance gained may make the critical difference.
Over 50% of such accidents have fatalities. Usually caused by uncontrolled flight into terrain. The pilot fails to understand what the instruments are telling him. Unusual attitude recovery practice is a part of the training program and part of the Practical Flight Test. 40% of the flights had received no weather briefing. 35% occur at night. 25% of the pilots have instrument ratings but may not be current. Overconfidence and lack of regard are influencing the judgment and decisions made by these pilots for what a difference weather conditions can make.
The same number of non-instrument rated pilots get killed every year because we have made little progress in keeping them out of instrument conditions. The problem is not the weather or accuracy in reporting the weather. The problem is the pilot and how he functions in the pilot. Non-rated pilots just do not seem to realize the risks involved in marginal conditions. The wrong personality arises (anti-authority, impulsive, invulnerable, macho, resignation) before, during, and after the situation. Each personality leads the pilot further into the abyss. The pilot who has not experienced lack of control does not recognize the problem until the accident.
No one plans to have an accident. The non-rated pilot's chances of survival in IFR conditions are little and none. There are two types of entries for VFR into IFR. The first is disorientation followed by loss of control. This problem can be solved only by total avoidance. Just say, "No". The second type is VFR flight into lowering visibility conditions. Here, again, we need to recognize that less than VFR conditions are in the weather picture and say, "No". We often decide not to drive under adverse conditions. Likewise, with flying.
Never enter IFR from VFR.
1. Maintain control. This will be easier if you are skilled at trimming and controlling your aircraft with a light touch.
2. Make a standard rate 180 to reverse your direction. Stay light on the controls.
3. Place your total reliance on the instruments. Ignore outside sensory input from your eyes, ears, or body. Be gentle on the controls.
4. Use the Attitude Indicator for pitch and bank. Be gentle.
If the radio is not already on an active frequency go to 121.5. Put the transponder to 7700 since this will activate alarms at any radar facility within range. It is important that every phrase of an emergency radio call be said three times. Mayday (An English version of the French for 'help me') is repeated thrice, then the full aircraft identification thrice. Your position, problem, intentions are then repeated. Talk smoothly and clearly. The emergency use of a cell phone has never been questioned even in an aircraft. Use it if you must.
The ideal ground contact speed in a calm wind of a C-150 at full stall is about 35 kts. The combined average wind and stall speed would reduce ground contact speed to about 23 kts. This is close to or even less than the average crash speed of automobiles in the U. S. The structure of an airplane, except for the cabin, is built for lightness. It will crumple on impact and absorb shock. Small increases in speed become large increase in impact energy.
Any ground contact in close to a normal configuration and attitude will be survivable. Fly to the ground, don't stall it in. Half of engine failure accidents have stalled into the ground. Only 1 out of six crashes results in any injury or death. Prior to ground impact shut off fuel, open doors, tighten belts, and turn off electrical. Stay with the aircraft. Use caution to confirm activation of ELT by using aircraft radio. 121.5 Electrical sparks could ignite fuel fumes.
C. R. M. During
1. The PIC decides who attends to JUST flying
Line up the options,
Communicate the what and why of your plan.
2. The PIC decides who monitors source of emergency
Few aircraft emergencies require immediate reaction.
Monitor the situation before taking considered action.
..... 3. The PIC decides what to ignore
Doing nothing is better than doing the wrong thing quickly.
4. Conflicting opinions are resolved by outside source.
.... Consider all available sources of information
Make assumptions but be sure to confirm any facts you can.
5. All doubts are expressed to those involved.
Getting Help (A story)
At the time of our being surrounded by thunderstorms we were at 8500 heading West over Southern Missouri.. Virburnnium airport was given as four miles west of our position. I executed an emergency spiral descent and landed without difficulty on the paved but unnumbered runway. A gentleman gave us a ride into town and the only pay phone there. I called FSS and was advised to head to Springfield without delay if I expected to beat an approaching front.
Our new friend took us back to the airport and we took off immediately with only a cursory runup. No sooner was I airborne than I realized that the compass was cocked over and out of fluid. Our rapid descent had causes a bubble to expand and force out the fluid. We had no way to set the heading indicator either by runway or compass. lThe runway had no numbers. I had no idea of which way to head for Springfield. What to do?
I have always made it a practice to record ATC frequencies in order of use along the course line of my sectionals. So I immediately contacted Center and told them of my problem. Asked them to track my line of flight so I could set my heading indicator and then they could give me a vector to Springfield. We arrived at Springfield with no problem but, being Sunday, everything was closed. No services at all.
I scrounged around a dump pile and found a can of brake fluid with a couple of ounces remaining. I removed and opened up the compass and filled it with brake fluid. We left early next morning and flew to California with no problem.
I realized that given the light winds, I could have made a tentative heading setting by tracking to a VOR. Pulling a heading off the OBS and using it to set the heading indicator. Doing that would have required climbing up to the cloud bases for adequate reception. My wife would not have considered such a procedure a viable option.
An open door, one that pops open or a outside seat belt is not be considered a serious problem, but rather an annoyance. Such an event should be part of your training and checkouts. Aircraft performance in singles will not be affected. Cockpit noise level will increase and make conversation and radio communications more difficult but not impossible. The easy solution is to takeoff and return for a stop and go landing. It is not a good idea to close cabin doors in solo flight. At a safe altitude of several thousand feet some aircraft can be slowed and configured to allow a passenger to close the door.
The open door allows noisy but fully controlled flight. Open door accidents are caused by distraction. Plan ahead that, in the event of a door opening, you will proceed as usual. Fly the airplane first.
Went with my wife for her eye doctor visit. Got to talking to the doctor about flying as is usual with me. He had lost a friend last year in an aircraft accident and wanted to know what the accident report had concluded. His friend had departed Hawthorne airport near LAX and had a door open on his Bonanza. While returning to land he must have tried to close the door. In the process he must have inadvertently turned on the fuel boost pump. Doing this in a Bonanza is an invitation to engine failure due to excessive (rich) fuel flow. Onlookers saw smoke and sounds of engine roughness prior to the crash. An open cockpit door is not an emergency.
Know of a C-120 that had the passenger door fall off. Pilot flew on to his destination to the consternation of his sisther-in-law. She sued. Perhaps he should have at least landed.
I recommend that this list be written in red and at least the first item be memorized. A good time to introduce the need for this list is during review of the power off stall. Have the student make a no power recovery and then tell him that the engine has just died. Instant attention and concentration of facilities would become realistic.
Patience is an essential ingredient at the onset of an emergency. Accidents can be the result of failure to be patient in selection of the best option. At the onset of an emergency, the first thing you should do is NOTHING. Next to an actual engine failure, the next best thing is believing that you have one. It will sharpen your emergency skills. Three out of four accidents are due to poor pilot performance.
A pilot should always be basing his flight path, altitude, and aircraft configuration on "what-if" contingencies. Every 'what-if' has a running selection of answers. If you don't have an answer, consult other pilots. If weather goes bad, go to the nearest VFR weather.
Back on the ground the student is ready for development of...
2. AIRSPEED / TRIM
3. FIELD / WIND
4. ENGINE / RESTART
6. 121.5 / 7700
7. COMMUNICATE X 3
Belts, doors, fuel, electric
White smoke, odor
Shut off electrical master
Get on ground via dive or slip
Just before takeoff and as part of the takeoff checklist the placement of the EMERGENCY checklist to the ready status on the yoke clip.
When the instructor creates an emergency the student says "CHECKLIST".
Most students have a misconception as to exactly how an aircraft glides. If asked to place a hand in an aircraft glide position you will probably get a nose down position. The fact is that an airplane glides longest with the nose up. This must be practiced at altitude. On a power reduction emergency, the student must overcome preconceptions and hold the nose up. With practice no altitude will be lost (some may be gained) as the aircraft decelerates to 60 kts and 4 down turns of trim are applied to hold the airspeed. With a total stoppage the wind milling propeller will decrease your glide range. If you are at 3000' or higher, consider pulling into a near stall to stop the propeller. The Mooney manual guarantees 20% more glide with a stopped propeller so some improvement should be expected for any aircraft.
Once airspeed is stabilized the student needs to find where to land. It is best to select a field that can be reached rather than an optimistic projection. The optimist says, "At 3000' a C-150 can glide 5 miles. A pilot can judge angle better than distance. Set up the glide and decide if you have the angle to reach a given point. This as a radius gives about 225 square miles of landing area." The practical student tries to get a good look out the instructor's window but plans turns to the left because of improved visibility. A brown field is firmer than a green or plowed field. If you have selected a long field, aim about 1/3 past the 'numbers' to make more certain reaching the 'runway'.
The average wind in the U, S. is about 12 kts. It is important to learn how to locate wind indicators such as smoke, dust, waves, windmills, etc. The velocity of the wind near the ground is subject to friction. The air next to the ground has no speed and the further above the ground the air the less the friction and the greater speed. This is the boundary layer effect.
Air within 200' of the surface has a significant velocity gradient. This
gradient is helpful on takeoff since it effectively increases the angle of
climb. On landing that gradient degrades performance. The wind speed drops and
the aircraft sinks at a faster rate and the nose lowers for the same indicated
speed. If the pilot tries to prevent this sink by raising the nose, the
momentary illusion will be followed by an even greater sink rate. If we are
unaware and unprepared for this change in wind we will have an undershoot and
a stall landing. Hence, the high rate of stall-impact that goes with engine
failure. Again, aim 1/3 down the field past your ideal end-of-runway point.
Only 1% of aircraft accidents can be put to mechanical failure. The most frequent cause of failure is lack of fuel. Air contamination of the fuel tank. Carburetor ice is often suspected when an actual cause is unknown. Inadequate preflight causes up to 25% of all accidents.
The first part of the restart should be to all factors related to fuel. Gauges, mixture, selector, primer (in). Then confirm ignition key position. Confirm Carb Heat ON. (With the engine off, the use of Carb Heat is a faint hope due to cooling.)
Any simulation should be made as practical and meaningful as possible. This does not mean dangerous. The instructor should be explained to the student so they understand what is happening and why. I want the student to realize that there is a problem that can be resolved safely. The student has a checklist, altitude, and a 'runway' to land on. I want the student to use as much as he can of normal landing procedures to 'make' the landing.
The first introduction to the student is combined with the first ground reference lesson. Initially at altitude the procedure for use of the emergency checklist is reviewed. Then the procedure is practiced with emphasis on retaining as much altitude as possible while acquiring the best glide airspeed. Additional practice is required to gain skill in the full application of flaps and the immediate removal of applied trim. This is to be followed by a full go-around procedure with milking and removal of flaps and trimming for best climb. This exercise should be practiced until reasonable proficiency is acquired. The location of a potential field that is oriented to the wind requires some area familiarization and practice. The spiral down over the field is usually to the left for best visibility. Try right spirals as well since the flight test could be descending into right traffic. Flaps are not put in until the landing is certain. Avoid letting the wind blow the aircraft away from the landing area. Plan to arrive at the downwind numbers at pattern altitude. Make a normal power off approach without flaps until on final with the field made. This takes some practice and should only be done at an airport. Emergencies are not to be practiced by solo students.
The student should know the direction to fly to the best emergency landing sites. In every flight with your instructor get a simulated emergency included at some point. This should be done no matter how unpleasant they may seem. Become aware of the approximate gliding distance and speed for your aircraft from the manual. Include in your flying time a periodic scan of engine instruments if your checkpoint checklist is not being used.
The greatest hazard to simulated training emergencies is that the student may learn to expect that an emergency will always have a good landing place nearby. The desire to save the aircraft may overwhelm the judgment requires to control the aircraft. In every emergency, the life saving factor is primary. Only a controlled crash has the best chance of pilot and passenger survival.
Trying to maintain VFR in decreasing visibility is dangerous and a common cause of fatal accidents. Pilotage skill and area familiarity are often inadequate for the conditions. Darkness or the onset of it compounds the accident likelihood. The more familiar you are with the area the less likely such a terrain accident is to occur.
The Impossible Turn (Instructor)
Handbooks are deficient in how to handle failure. Our failures teach us. If you want to increase your chances of success, double your failure rate. Consider you have reached 300' AGL when the engine quits cold. Four seconds are required for realization and reaction. You lower the nose too much, gain excess airspeed and lose too much altitude. A shallow turn takes longer; a steep turn raises the probability of a stall-spin. A turn of 240 degrees is required to reach the takeoff runway. 45 degrees should be the absolute maximum bank as it increases stall speed about 20%. Any steeper up goes the stall speed and the descent rate.
At 70 knots a 180-degree turn in a 45-degree bank will require a radius of 560' for an arc of 1/2 mile to reach the runway. You will need a minimum of 25 seconds of airtime to complete the maneuver. A power off 45-degree steep turn will lose about 1000' a minute. The 4 seconds you wasted in the beginning plus the 25 seconds required has already used all available altitude. Turning back to the departure runway is not an option to the thinking pilot who has pre-decided his capability altitude plus a safe margin.
Expect to lose at least 250' for every 90 degrees of steep turn. At 500' AGL limit turns to 30 degrees. Without prior experimentation, any failure below 1000' should be considered a too low to attempt a return to original runway. The caveat to this is wind velocity relative to the runway direction.
Could you make it from 700'? Maybe, if you haven't wasted any time or altitude. You will be making a downwind landing. Any turn should be make into an existing crosswind since it will reduce the turn radius. Once the return to the runway is discounted, use your knowledge of wind direction and velocity to reduce your ground impact speed. Plan the angle and direction you might expect to use prior to takeoff. Know your aircraft; know your airport area and options.
While attending to the flying of the return to runway as your number one priority you should be making a quick check of fuel, mixture, gauges, confirm throttle position, pull carburetor heat, and fuel pressure. How quickly and when you do these things will depend on the point and height of the emergency occurrence. Partial power occurs more frequently than total failure. Do you know the minimum power you need to stay aloft? Have you tested this critical requirement?
A steep turn back to airport The emergency steep turn that MAY be successful in an airplane is directly related to the rope-tow glider break at 200'. Essential to both is instantaneous recognition. Since you have predetermined what your are going to do at a given altitude above the airport, don't wait to act.
There are two situations that you must deal with. The total failure does not offer as many options as does a partial failure. You should fly on a very hot day and at a high density altitude determine the minimum power you need to stay aloft. Again with the power off you should determine the minimum altitude that will allow you to make a 45-degree bank of about 240 degrees. It will take approximately 240 degrees of turn to reverse course, intercept and align with the departure runway.
Be aware ahead of time that an intersecting runway, taxiway or ramp may reduce the altitude and turn requirements. The most important factor in such a maneuver is the pilot's willingness to overcome the desire to return to the runway to 'save' the airplane. An off airport emergency controlled landing has a 95% non-fatality rate. This rate is far better than that of an uncontrolled airport landing.
A 45-degree bank is the optimum bank for the surprise situation of an engine failure. It will increase the stall speed about 20%, give you a rather quick rate of turn and minimum loss of altitude for the intended purpose. A steeper bank will increase the load factor, thus increasing the sink rate and stall speed. All of this increases the probability of an uncontrolled landing.
About 20% of emergency landings originate during the liftoff climb phase of flying. Thirteen percent of this 20% result in fatalities. This figures that out of every one hundred emergency landing events less that three result in fatalities. The odds can be improved significantly if every departure emergency were resolved by going ahead to land into the wind. An engine failure at 1000' gives you approximately a minute to select your crash-landing site. By most any measure a pilot will be better off not to turn back to the runway.
Controlling factors are the runway length, wind direction, climb rate, airspeed, the rate of turn and the available above runway altitude. By climbing at Vx you minimize your distance from the runway. The increase of P-factor with the higher nose used in Vx climb means that getting the nose down before anything else is vital. This part of the maneuver can be practiced at altitude. You must determine the critical altitude from which YOU can make the turn. Part of the accident statistics (lies) that apply to the turn back is that no record exists of successes.
Repeated turn back tests have shown that the 45-degree bank and teardrop turn into any available crosswind takes the least time and least loss of altitude. The closer you can do this turn to stall speed the better. If the stall warner is on the wing to the inside of the turn (usually left side) you are going faster than necessary. The feel of stall is a better warning than the warner, which is notoriously inaccurate. Flaps do not help.
At altitude trim for a Vx climb. At a specific point, retard the throttle. Wait 5 seconds before doing anything. Enter a 45-degree bank and turn 240 degrees. Your planning should include the direction to turn if there is a crosswind. Keep the stall warner whimpering throughout the turn. Roll out and establish an approach speed glide. Check the altitude lost. This is the minimum altitude at which you could expect to return to a departure runway. This is only if you do everything right. If you should determine you are not going to make it, head into the wind and take your best option.
When returning to the airport, contact the tower and request a simulated emergency while making an overhead approach. Depending on traffic and airport conditions your request may or may not be approved. The overhead approach is difficult for ATC because during at least part of the descent they will be unable to see you. This is the most protected landing simulation that I know of that can result in an actual landing.
One suggested way to perform an emergency decent in the Cherokee/Cessna fixed gear line is to have power to idle, FULL flaps, 45 degree bank, nose low to max Vfe. You'll be coming down like a ton of bricks at 2000 fpm+. Begin recovery at least 150 ft above your target altitude by rolling out
To minimize time I have the student enter on a base to the runway at 2300'. The power is pulled and the student makes a spiral descent spaced so as to position the aircraft for a safe landing. During this initial descent the checklist is used to confirm that the aircraft is correctly trimmed, an engine restart procedure is followed, and even the emergency radio procedure can be simulated. All this time the 'victim' is maintaining a precise airspeed and orientation with the runway designed to arrive abeam the numbers at pattern altitude. Communication with the tower is maintained as required. ATC needs to be always aware of the aircraft position and relationship with other aircraft. If traffic interferes, don't hesitate to request a different runway...traffic permitting.
1. Best glide
5. Seats, belts, doors-set
1. Fly the plane
2. Assess for effect
Survey and analyze
4. Select actions
5. Immediate action
6. Secondary action
Training and preflight will make off-airport landing survivable. The idea is to minimize ground speed so flaps are always used to create lower stall speed. Emergency procedures require constant renewal but never to the extent of creating a dangerous condition.
--A power landing is always better.
--If slips will reduce the amount of runway behind your touchdown, use them.
--If ditching low-wing use only partial or no flaps.
--A flight plan will only help if you fly the plan. Use radar advisories.
--Have survival gear especially water.
--Limit low altitudes to vicinity of airports.
--Never disable an aircraft in simulation of emergency.
--Keep your head out of the cockpit.
What to Have with You When everything Stops
Only very rarely and in the most isolated of circumstances can you expect to require an emergency kit for longer than a couple of days. Your initial problem is to resolve your attitude toward survival. Survival has been proven to be a matter of attitude. The will to survive assures survival. Fear is your enemy. Keep busy preparing a camp and climatic protection. Survival is 95% mental attitude. Consider a 44-hour candle.
Beyond attitude it is nice to have a survival kit. Certain essentials include a heavy duty knife, fire starter, chemical light sticks, a wire saw, compass, a Leatherman multipurpose tool, a signal mirror, an electronic game with extra batteries and shelter/bedding.
Do not try to save water. Limit your eating since digestion requires water. Any food should be military style. Turn on the ELT manually. Stay with the aircraft.
Stay with the wreckage.
Any water below 82F will cause hypothermia. At 50° you will be unconscious in a minimum of one hour and maybe for two hours. At 35° you may only last 15 minutes.
Keep harness tight until everything stops.
Hole-up in the heat of the day.
--Disappearing from radar
--Failure to close flight plan
--ATC facilities search
--Known pilot habits
--File flight plan
--Tell someone of flight
--Use flight following
--Make position reports
--Take safe routes
--Self activate ELT
--Handheld or cell phone
--Stay with airplane
Emergency Mind Set
We have entered an age of technology where what to do when a radio or engine quits has become a 'what to do' if the engine or radio quits. The teaching of failures a few years ago has lost emphasis simply because the realities of possibility have decreased to the point of diminishing returns. An emergency is more likely to occur in the practicing of the procedure than at any other time.
Reliability of engines and electronics has changed the instructional emphasis simply because the probability of a serious accident is moving beyond 65,000 flight hours. It is this reduced probability that presents the problem. Pilots who are trained today are apt to place their lives unnecessarily at risk because they put flight efficiency above the more desirable flight for greatest safety. Complacency has replaced the concerns that made for better flight planning.
We are trained to follow a routine in emergencies. The instructor takes considerable care to insure the availability of a safe landing option when he creates the emergency situation. If only airplanes were so selective. What to do in either a simulated or actual situation is directly associated with pilot familiarity of the area. A pilot is responsible for knowing where he is and this location's relationship with all potential landing areas.
The essence of an emergency landing is based upon self-preservation. Offer up to the Gods of chance any property and airplane you can to preserve human lives. Your best chance for such a preservation accident lies in doing what comes naturally as influenced by your training. An engine failure will be one of the most difficult situations you will ever need to accept as a happening. Survival depends more on your state of mind than on the state of your flying skills.
First, obtain your best glide speed by setting your pre-determined best glide attitude. Only this glide will maximize your time and opportunity to create a survivable situation. Practice doing this until you can be trimmed, hands-off, with minimum loss of altitude. Your lifeline to safety lies in your airspeed.
Second, go directly to the optimum attainable landing space that you have been scrolling through your mind. Your scroll includes a flight path as wide as your glide ratio allows for the altitude flown. Your scroll tracks both ahead as well as behind. The closer your selection the more normal can be your pattern procedure. The more your selection resembles an airport the better.
Third, plan and fly a normal power-off pattern. Put in flaps only when a landing is assured. Minimize the vertical sink rate and accept forward momentum for which the aircraft structure can be used as a shock absorber. The closer you are to roads and homes the sooner aid will be forthcoming.
Fourth, your ability to survive is predicated on your willingness not to attempt the impossible either in turns or range. Ordinary hazards such as trees, water, and wires can be used as aids to your survival. They can be sacrificed in favor of life preservation. Be prepared to sacrifice the aircraft for the survival of souls on board. Only one of six aircraft accidents result in severe injury or worse. Practically all of these serious accidents are the result of uncontrolled contact with the ground.
The line between luck and skill when it comes to survival can be razor thin or quite wide. Just how thin or wide can be measured by a pilot's arrogance/ignorance index. The arrogance/ignorance index is a measure of just how much a pilot believes that all the truisms of flight safety do not apply because of acquired experience and skills.
We are better at doing those things that we perform on a regular basis. An unused skill soon stops being a skill. Lost proficiency can be regained but it takes more than just knowledge. It takes considerable emotional and mental refurbishing as well. Refreshing lost skills is discovering what we lost and training to get it back.
Most forced landings are survivable. Only 5% fatality rate with 70% non-injury. Best rate of climb and best glide are about the same. Best glide is at least 5 knots slower when 300 pounds below gross weight given in POH. Consider pulling into near stall to stop prop if above 3000'. This can increase glide up to 20%. Pull out prop control in constant speed aircraft. Slide front seats all the way back. Backseat passengers heads down. All belts as tight as possible. At night use lights until just before ground contact.
Use master switch as off switch.
Emergency Use of the Transponder
FAR 91.215 tells the pilot about altitude reporting and use. 91.413 gives required tests and inspections. Beyond this, the pilot should know that even a momentary squawk of 7700 would set off the alarms in a radar facility. The preferred way to change a transponder code is by going to 'standby' before making any number changes.
A pilot is far more likely to get into difficulty by a delayed emergency declaration than by getting in touch with ATC early on. Proper use of the radio, using Paragraph 6-3-l of the AIM Section 3, tells you what to say and the proper way to say it.
The way to handle an emergency should be on your lapboard.
1. Climb to improve radio range.
2. Keep assigned code when in radio contact.
3. Use 7700 when out of radio contact.
4. Give information
a. Use MAYDAY OR PAN-PAN.
b. Who you are calling
c. Aircraft ID
f. Intentions and requests
g. Position, heading
i. Fuel time left
j. Souls aboard
k. Additional information
Prior to crashing:
a. ELT status
c. Aircraft color
d. Survival equipment
Shut everything off beginning with the master. Same thing at night or in IMC except for brief 'mayday' call.
Your IFR training should include some night IFR flight using only a flashlight. If it doesn't, get some time just to discover your operational limits.
You should work to get your electrical system back on line. Turn on the battery side of the master and then essential equipment beginning with the transponder, then a radio, then cockpit lights. If the battery can carry these without difficulty, head for VFR and a landing. Don't push your luck by getting everything on including the alternator. You must expect to get at most half the amp-hour life from the battery.
You should not expect harassment from the FAA for declaring an emergency. You are far more likely to make the safest decision if it involves an immediate diversion to an airport.
--FARs allow deviation from regulations as required to meet the emergency
--Only upon the request of an FAA agent are you required to send a written report
--There is no time requirement either for the FAA or the pilot to request or submit the report.
--A pilot who is given ATC priority in an emergency shall on ATC request submit within 48 hours a full report.
--FAR 91.123(d) (above) has three requirements, an emergency, ATC priority and ATC request.
--Practice power off landings to get used to the required power off approach angle
--Practice estimating distances to fields using GPS. Figure one mile per 1000 feet of altitude.
--Best glide will be a few knots faster than full nose up trim with propeller control all the way out or stopped.
--Select reachable field and fly toward.
--Orient wind direction to landing direction
--Stay high, fly a tight pattern and stay close if wind is strong
--Minimum descent rate is obtained with full nose up trim.
--Set x-ponder to 7700 and radio to 121.5 or nearest frequency
--Say everything three times, identification, location, situation, intentions
Calculate Glide Distance Using Wind as a Variable
Use the published glide ratio and airspeed - such as, 65 kts and 8:1. You can get the descent rate by dividing the airspeed by the glide ratio, or 65 kts /8 = 8.13 kts
which is interpreted as a 813 fpm rate of descent.
Divide the altitude to be lost by the descent rate, and you get how long it will take to reach your destination. If you want to lose 5000 feet you will divide 5000 by 813 and get slightly over six (minutes)
--In no wind, 6 minutes at 65 kts is 6.5 nm.
--In a 10-kt headwind, 6 minutes at 55 kts is 5.5 nm.
--In a 10-kt tailwind, 6 minutes at 75 kts is 7.5 nm.
--Fly slower in a tailwind by subtracting 1/4 of the tailwind from you IAS
--Never fly slower than Vx in a tailwind.
--Spend more time in the tailwind
--Fly faster in a headwind.
--Spending less time in a headwind has less effect.
--Add half the headwind.
High Altitude Overhead Descent Emergency
Spiral down without increase of speed.
--Plan spiral to arrive abeam numbers at pattern altitude
--Use power-off landing procedure.
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Continued on Page 5.98 Handling Engine Failures