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forced landing - THE FIELD CHOSES YOU!

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forced landing - THE FIELD CHOSES YOU!

Old 11th Jul 2015, 12:40
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forced landing - THE FIELD CHOSES YOU!

Piperboy in his thread about practicing forced landings on his home field, had problems, though familiar with the field.

Got me thinking about the big difference between landing out in a glider, and forced landing (real! when your engine struggles or quits altogether). In that case, IN A FORCED LANDING IN A SPAM CAN, THE FIELD CHOSES YOU!

Compare the glide ratio for the glider, probably 40 to one for a 15 meter average sort of glide; and the spam can, more like 12 to one. From say 1,500 feet, when the glider pilot has about 15 minutes to select a suitable farmer's pasture, usually no problem. But the spam can probably has less than five minutes. So whatever excuse for a field is below, plan to use that one, and set up a CONTROLLED APPROACH.

Anything will do if you and the plane are under control and do a well held off landing, avoiding wires, fences, single trees. Actually landing on tall crops or woods full of trees is OK if that's all you've got, as long as you land on the top of the crop (!) in a fully held off touchdown. Works for 8 foot maize, I've done that in a glider. Friend of mine landed his glider top of the woods in Wales, then did it again at Booker. Walked away both times. Gliding club suggested that next time he buy his own glider....
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Old 12th Jul 2015, 03:18
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The field has chosen me four times, and happily, each time, I was able to fly it out when the problem was resolved. Two were EFATO's. The 12 to 1 for a power plane is optimistic, as some glide half that well. As Piperboy has well reminded us, practice!

John Farley has written that you pick the more near field, and make it, rather than pick the far one, and hope to make it. My personal preference would be to overshoot because of my mis judgement, rather that to undershoot. If I got it wrong, I'd rather go between two trees at the far end, at 10 MPH, than hit the embankment on the approach end at 60 MPH!

Routine rental flying does not lend itself to practicing forced approaches, particularly on the one or two flights a month, with the wife or kids, but you've got to practice....
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Old 12th Jul 2015, 07:09
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practice, practice....

Good point. Perhaps some power instructor reading this could explain how to arrange a useful exercise to train his students in forced landings....

In gliders it is a very important part of the training, often taken in the Falke motor glider. Almost too realistic, in my opinion, never really trusted the Falke as to me it seems so underpowered....but the experienced and qualified Falke instructor can ask the gliding student to select a field ten or fifteen times a session, and it sure felt real to me when I was the student suffering.

The equivalent exercise with a power instructor always seemed more like a joke. Pre-selected area (noise abatement must be respected!) pre-identified field, down to 300 feet, and away we go, exercise complete. I don't think so.
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Old 12th Jul 2015, 09:46
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Making the more near field work ...

Originally Posted by Step Turn View Post
John Farley has written that you pick the more near field, and make it, rather than pick the far one, and hope to make it.
However you can take this a little too far. Many moons ago I helped to retrieve someone who had "run out of height" and landed out a lonnnnng way from base in one of those places only accessible via 25 miles of twisty single track road. To digress, I have to say that one of the things that I learned from my brief stint at gliding was that there are FAR more places in the UK like that than I had ever imagined.

As we approached the chosen field, we noted that there were a lot of large flat fields all around, unencumbered by glider-eating features. Then we saw it: a small hill, with a small field going up it. No! Really? He'd rejected all the nice big fields with standing crops, and the nice big fields with low crops, all of which had nice low boundaries and a complete absence of power lines. Instead he'd gone for the tiny one one which went up the hill, with power lines on one side, telephone cables on another, tall trees on a third, an electric fence down the middle and, yes, you guessed it, sheep on one side of the fence and cows on the other. Said cows had by now cleaned the flies off the leading edge and were now busy licking the gel coat off. Glider and pilot were otherwise intact. So at least he'd "made the nearby field work".

The one advantage of this field was that the "road" (by now a glorified farm track) went down one side (hence the telephone poles) which meant that we could get the car an trailer to a mere 150 yards from the glider. No chance of getting into the field with the car, however: the glider was waaaay up in the top corner; the access into the field was too steep and muddy to contemplate driving the car in.

So we trudged across the field, carefully avoiding the large quantities of fresh cow pats. On arrival we noted that the glider hadn't dodged the cow pats quite so well, and the underside and rear were liberally spattered with particularly fresh cow pat contents.

Disassembly was achieved with the usual "ease", aided by liberal clouts on the wing taper pins and the usual yelps of pain. Then we had to carry the bits down to the trailer, only remembering which order things needed to go into the trailer AFTER we arrived with the second bit and realising that we needed to take out the first bit that we'd put in. Of course the cows were not helping at all, and by now the sheep were trying to get in on the act, so it really shouldn't have been a surprise when the hapless pilot slipped on a particularly warm, wet and fresh cow pat into a veritable pool of brown and smelly stuff whilst encumbered with the heavy end of the wing (I'm not stupid!) and simultaneously fending off a particularly inquisitive bovine.

At this point we consoled ourselves that, following the usual rules, (you land out: you provide the retrieve vehicle) it was HIS car that we'd dragged the trailer with, and so it was HIS seats that he was going to ... er ... foul up.

The drive back was uneventful, if silent, and was conducted with all windows open and fan on FULL ...

PBW
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Old 12th Jul 2015, 10:07
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Well, it could have been worse.... I once heard a tale from someone who drove a very long way to a remote glider retrieve, then opened up the trailer on arrival only to find a three piece suite inside...
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Old 12th Jul 2015, 13:14
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I appreciate landing away is the norm with glider pilots and they are much more experienced at doing so than the powered pilots.

Also the nature of the animal is different.

Having said that the biggest danger to powered pilots is fixating on a chosen landing strip and going for that strip at all costs.

often there is a suitable landing strip left or right of track which might not be totally into wind or length but a better option than stalling or taking out a line of trees in front of the chosen landing strip.

it is better to hit a hedge at the end than stalling in out of control or descending into trees because you got it wrong on your chosen landing strip.

it is so important to have a good situational awareness and a number of get out of jail for free cards in the back of your mind than fixation

Pace
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Old 12th Jul 2015, 13:41
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About one in four actual landings for me will be a practice forced approach, just because I can. Even a busy towered airport will sometime allow it, as I did yesterday at a Toronto area airport, by asking for a slant base to final, while still quite high.

At my home runway, I have a distinct reference point 200 feet from the threshold, and that's my aiming point, sometimes from overhead. It keeps me sharp. I've been flying a friend's 172 taildragger, with all kinds of wing mods - it won't come down! I've been practicing in it, as I'm having to change my reference to where I'm going, or it will way overshoot.

On the obverse, while practicing and training my friend in the 182 amphibian, at 3350 gross weight, I found that the glide area was alarmingly small. It's kinda like a helicopter autorotation, look above your toes on the pedals, 'cause that's about where' you're going! Make a good job of that, rather than a very poor job what what you think should work.

Practice in the different types you fly, they glide differently....
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Old 12th Jul 2015, 13:51
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Personally once I have chosen the landing area I use the constant aspect approach technique, it works well in various types I have tried it in both for practice glide approaches and one real engine failure with an off airfield landing.
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Old 12th Jul 2015, 19:35
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The equivalent exercise with a power instructor always seemed more like a joke. Pre-selected area (noise abatement must be respected!) pre-identified field, down to 300 feet, and away we go, exercise complete. I don't think so.
I'm with you on that one Mary, but add to that my pet hate. I've picked the field, it's doable, the glide is shaping up nicely then the instructor opens the throttle 'to avoid shock cooling the engine' thus blowing the approach right there. Thanks a bunch, Dick.

What is it with this shock cooling sh*t anyway? We weren't at full bore when you pulled the mixture. You're probably not going to throw a PFL at me over really difficult terrain where we're really going to need every ounce of horsemeat we've got to get out over the trees or whatever. Hell, we're not even going to get low enough for the trees to be an issue in the first place, and is our two seater training hack so gutless it can't manage to level off and maybe even climb gently without ramming it straight to wide open?

I fly a motorglider. I can shut it down in flight and restart it again and when I do that I run at lowest sustain throttle setting to let it warm up relatively gently.

On landing while usually the engine is not quiet and cold I do tend to close the throttle on the downwind then not touch it again until I have to taxi clear so in that sense every landing for me is a PFL.

[edit] I also agree with Above The Clouds about use of the constant aspect approach.
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Old 12th Jul 2015, 19:57
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I practice steep approaches from assorted positions, power off, to land when I have a grass airfield with no other traffic. But some instructors insist a circuit must be flown, even at the risk of losing sight of the field, for a pfl.
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Old 12th Jul 2015, 20:15
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Delta V, I've posted a comment about shock cooling here: http://www.pprune.org/private-flying...ml#post9044009
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Old 12th Jul 2015, 21:47
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Whilst I accept that the beats method is legitimate, I'm also a firm advocate of the CA method - I practice at least one a month, and teach that method.

One thing I have noticed, teaching it, is the number of students who will fly according to their perception of adherence to rule 5 (the UK low flying rules - min 500ft separation from people, vehicles or structures).

I lose track of the number of times I've said "if you are flying with me, it's my licence - if you have a real engine failure, it doesn't matter. So stop thinking about rule 5 and just fly to the field".


I do not however subscribe to the view in the title of this thread. I choose the field, I make suire I fly to it, and I am in command of the aircraft. The field is not in command of the aircraft, nor is fate.

Which takes me to what, in my opinion, is the single largest failing I see in pilots I am coaching (I won't say teaching in this context, as as a CRI I'm flying with people who are supposed to know this already - although I often doubt this) PFLs. It is students who trust to either me, or to fate. So they'll continue in a straight line hoping that the field they want will magically swim into view, or take less than they could in ensuring that the aeroplane is where it needs to be for a good field. Whilst I've never had anybody say it, there is often an air of affrontery - people who deep down think that I was not playing fair in failing to ensure that there would be a nice big into wind field there for them in clear sight. Is that what other instructors are doing?

G
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Old 12th Jul 2015, 23:01
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I had a particularly good training in forced landings and EFATOs when I flew Chipmunks in a UAS. Since then, due to my peripatetic life-style, I haven't accumulated many hours, but have had many dual-checkouts in various parts of the world and as a consequence, done many practice forced landings.

On several occasions, due to my unfamiliarity with the gliding characteristics of the type I was flying, I've had to say to the instructor "I'm not going to make the field I chose, so I'm going for THAT one instead."
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Old 12th Jul 2015, 23:26
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Yes where does that come from.

What matters is a setup for a good field. It's not a game of "tell your instructor the field at 2000ft, then make sure that's the field you set up for".

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Old 13th Jul 2015, 02:53
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I hold the opinion that the most important practice is the power off to the ground. Applying the power at 300 feet, and saying that you could have made it is really cheating yourself out of the most important part of the practice.

When I'm training, I would much rather the pilot pick a close field, and get it down, than to bob around searching for optimum glide characteristics. Yes, if you're off shore, or over the city, making the glide stretch to the next suitable landing area is important. But, a lot of our flying affords us reasonable choices nearer - make the most out of those.

This is when you add 10 knots for the wife and kids, and maintain your inertia down final, you'll be happy to have it when you begin to flare. This is what the overshoots miss - transition from glide to actual flare and land. If you arrive to the top of the flare power off with landing flap, and at the "best" glide speed, you're going to have to time your flare really well. It's fine if you're practiced at it, but if you're not, that extra inertia will come in really handy. You can slip it off, if you have too much as you cross the fence - but you're going to loose it in a hurry anyway.

If your flight manual suggests an after takeoff speed, this is the speed you're looking for for the final segment of the glide to a power off landing. It's probably around Vy. This faster speed provides the inertia you need to flare and land. It's easier to find the close field, and not be distracted, for a good landing from the faster approach speed...
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Old 13th Jul 2015, 02:55
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I have said this before but I am going to say it again. 80 % of engine failures are caused by the actions or in actions of the pilot. The best situation is to not have to choose a field because you did not let the engine fail in the first place or if it did fail you were able to recover power by use of an effective and fast engine failure cause check.

For instructors: Before your students get to fly a practice PFL they should have to master the initial vital actions, including be able to quickly establish a stable and trimmed gliding attitude and can with out prompting or faffing about perform the engine failure cause check.

I think this fixation with flying the perfect forced approach is partly rooted in an unstated rather prevalent "hero pilot syndrome". In that most pilots want to be the guy the others talk about at the club bar. "Oh blogs there had an engine explode on him with no warning. He coolly squeezed the machine into this tiny field with no damage at all !".

Instructors need to beat this fantasy out of the students head. Safe flying comes with proactively identifying and eliminating those boring and unsexy things that history has shown cause the majority of engine failures like carb ice and fuel exhaustion/mismanagement/contamination, and practice the checks that will restore power if performed quickly and properly. Then yes they need to know how to fly the aircraft to a controlled touchdown at a chosen spot. Mary, the OP IMO nailed the field selection criteria.
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Old 13th Jul 2015, 07:58
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The one point we are all missing here is practice FLs and real ones. In practice we can chop the throttle at 2000 feet 1500 feet 1000 feet reality is that the cruise is the least likely time you will loose an engine.

More likely in the climb out at 200 feet 400 feet 600 feet where your time is very limited for looking at causes. As BPF states most are pilot mismanagement or not complete loss of the engine.
"tell your instructor the field at 2000ft, then make sure that's the field you set up for".
I WISH Engine failures were all at 2000 feet plenty of time !run through engine checks, set up the glide ,fly a pattern onto the chosen one and bingo but sadly reality is not like that.

Hence why its vital to be decisive and flexible in your thinking and actions and be ready to change if the situation changes.

You may restart if you have altitude, you may keep the engine running and decide to make it back then find it stops and you are faced with a new set of circumstances.

You may select a field and get it wrong do you have a plan B or C in mind and are ready to change that.
There are so many variables and a certain amount of luck too in a real engine failure and a successful outcome.

One pilot picked a field landed short wrecked the aircraft and sustained minor injuries on his left was an even better field which after the crash he said he discounted because it wasn't into wind. He could have turned into it but didn't (( Hindsight is a great thing BUT?

Most of all keep it flying or for almost certain you will end up dying if you don't

pace

Last edited by Pace; 13th Jul 2015 at 11:31.
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Old 13th Jul 2015, 10:16
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Prevention of the circumstances which could arise to cause a forced approach is important, but, like stall and spin recovery, ultimately the skill must be there to land a plane without power. This thread presupposes that you're up, you're going down, and you must get it right. The reason for this undesirable situation is worthy of many planning and prevention discussions - but right now, you're gliding....

There comes a point when you can't give power restoration your priority attention, you have to plan to get on the ground safely. For most pilots, that task could take all of the attention.

Selection of a suitable field is an important skill. If you can't make it to the field you started toward, at least you waste good gliding opportunity, if not fail completely. If you're right on top of the only practical place, you're going to have to get to an approach end before you can land on it, and that will involve some altitude costly turns.

And then there's just awareness of your choices to begin with. I was once mentoring a new pilot in his Tomahawk. I selected the perfect field, a nice grass runway, on his side, pulled the power, announcing "forced approach". He chose and set up for a pretty, but very small sod farm. I told him this would be a full stop landing forced approach. He told me that we would have a heck of a time taking off from his selected landing site. I hmmm'd a little to use up a bit of his gliding time, and then told him that we'd have no problem taking off from that nice runway over there. He completely re-setup his approach, and we made it fine. He did not look around enough, before committing, and I had left him lots of time. Tunnel vision.
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Old 13th Jul 2015, 11:42
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The other presumption from Standard PFLs is that we are on a CAVOK day with great visibility where we can see potential landing sites for miles around and can see our pattern onto that field?

Reality maybe that we are in poor visibility in rain and maybe even chopping through bits of scud cloud on our way down loosing sight of our chosen landing spot.

Yes Piston singles fly on crap days too and in IMC conditions engine failures are not limited to 2000 feet on CAVOK days even more important that the pilot can think and react quickly.

It maybe in those situations that you change your game plan fly over head the landing spot and do a semi IFR VMC procedure like a teardrop back onto final

Flexibility, spatial awareness and creativity and speed/energy management are the keywords

Pace
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Old 13th Jul 2015, 18:47
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qww_LrMoUY4

This is amazing footage of what is supposed to be a forced landing after loss of power. How this pilot walked away ? How to do every thing wrong ? Loss of power my guess pilot induced too. Pretty horrible to watch

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