Forced Approaches

The past two lessons have all been about forced approaches. I’m starting to feel challenged again!

To answer my own question in my previous post, we don’t learn the 360° landing forced approach until the CPL phase of training.

The hardest thing I’ve found is judging your touchdown point on a grass field. There really isn’t anything to use as a reference point. My FI then pointed out the idea of using objects in your peripheral (ie, trees on the side of the field) to use as your reference point.

In a nutshell, this is how a forced approach (ie, emergency landing) is supposed to go:

1. Your engine dies.

2. Immediately put your plane into best glide configuration (for me, its 65KIAS). A quick and easy way to do that is to turn your trim wheel 5 times. Don’t forget about the flaps and carb heat!

3. Pick your field and key points. Do your COWLS (civilization, obstacle, wind, length, surface) check.

4. Do a cause check (see if you can determine why the engine died and restart it)

5. Do your mayday call

6. Perform engine shutdown checklist

7. Land airplane

I’m going to do some armchair flying before my next lesson in order to get all of these items done as quickly and efficiently as possible. One thing that I’m going to be constantly keeping an eye out for (as suggested by my FI) is fields I can use to land. Every 5 minutes or so peer around you and say “if my engine died right now, which field would I use”.

Its nice getting out of the circuit and into the practice area. This time, however, we’re using the one over Claremont (instead of Keswick).

On the way back we did a simulated DF steer in order to demonstrate it to me. This is a way for the tower to steer you into the right direction to get back to the airport in case you are lost. You ask for a DF steer and the tower will come back with instructions with what you need to do. Make sure your gyros are synced (ie, the heading indicator matches with your compass) and (in this particular case, as instructed by the tower controller) say your call name three times with a 1 second pause in between… keeping the mike keyed the entire time. This allows the controller to get a “fix” on your radio/position. He will then come back with a heading to turn. You can cancel the DF steer once you have the field in sight.

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3 thoughts on “Forced Approaches

  1. Ahh yup, the passenger briefing.. you’re right, I forgot to add that to the list.
    I always feel goofy saying “this is going to be a forced landing in a field, i’ve practiced this many times before so there is no need to worry. What I need you to do is remove any sharp objects out of your pockets and push your seat fully back. I will ask you to unlatch the door and exit once we touch down”.
    My FI had a handy suggestion. If your passenger is freaking out, give them a task. She suggested something like asking them to keep an eye on the oil pressure guage and to tell you if it goes into the red (it never will). That will keep them preoccupied while you fly the plane.

  2. My instructor suggested to ask the passengers to keep an eye on the hobs and tell the pilot when it changes. (Cuz it actually changes and oil pressure guages going red sounds terrible)

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