Emergency Procedures

by Bob Martens on October 18, 2010

OK pilots, this is one where we have a clear choice. Would you rather conduct your first ever engine out landing in a field with trees on both ends with all of your loved ones on board, OR prepare yourself for this same event with a CFI in the next seat? Tough one, huh?

The good news is that engine failures in single engine airplanes don’t happen very often. The bad news is that when they do occur, we get just one shot at getting it right. AND, the lives of our loved ones rest in the outcome!

So, let me ask you, when was the last time YOU practiced an engine out landing right to the ground? I told audiences for years that if you haven’t practiced the procedure in the last thirty days, you’ll probably blow it!

Why? Because the pressure is clearly on, and the landing is NOTHING like our standard approach and landing. Unless, of course, we practice each and every landing we make with the precision required on an engine out.

On the engine out we will be managing our energy remaining to get us safely to the touchdown point with NO go around option. Flaps will be used as necessary and airspeed control will be crucial. What does your field look like? Obstacles? Long Field? Short Field?

I’ll be honest with you when I say that during much of my Air Force training, we were practicing some sort of emergency procedure. And while I didn’t like it at the time, it had me well prepared for the real thing. When I landed with an engine on fire in Japan, it was no big deal. When I landed with only 12 rather than the standard 24 main gear in the C-5A, it was no big deal. Why? Because of the great training I received.

Prior planning prevents poor performance, and nowhere is that more true than when flying with an emergency. We won’t know how we will perform under pressure unless we practice under pressure.

Doesn’t sound like fun, but then again how much fun is it when the real thing happens and you are surrounded in the cockpit with all the people you love the most?

You have a choice! Be ready!

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