Accidents and Close Calls Discussion on accidents, close calls, and other unplanned aviation events, so we can learn from them, and be better pilots ourselves.

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Old 4th Mar 2022, 16:16
  #21 (permalink)  
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One of our contributors here, John Farley, who sadly passed away a few years ago, told me, on the topic of forced landings: If you don't need to get maximum glide performance to "make it", don't bother, point it where you think you could crash it, and don't crash when you get there. He told me that this was based upon his demonstrating power off landings in the Hawker Harrier - not a plane we would think of for power off landings. He told me that gliding approach speed was around 250 knots, but it was easy. (perhaps for a skilled Harrier pilot!).

An unconventional technique, I agree, but I have tried it and it works. I'll pick a close spot, perhaps below me, and do a fast descent/slip into it. I find it easier to manage drag, even increasing speed to increase drag, to achieve a precise touchdown, than to try to judge and perfect the positioning of turns in a gliding circuit approach at "glide speed" to a forced landing. I entirely accept that it dilutes/distracts training to a standard to teach a forced approach where speed is deliberately maintained to an "other than specified" speed. but it is also one more tool in the box, if conditions permit it's use.

While checking out an instructor in a PA-18 on skis a number of years ago, I required him to demonstrate forced landings. His judgement was poor. Each attempt became a "won't make it" in the late downwind to base area of the circuit he was flying due to poor judgement. And, he did not assure himself a suitable landing area in between (even for safety during the training). The farther he allowed himself to get from the landing spot (big circuit) the more likely that he would mis judge, and the more winds could affect the outcome either way. I demonstrated a tight slipping circuit, modulating the slip as I needed to for glidepath control (albeit steep), and touched down nicely on my selected spot. A tight gliding circuit, with some excess speed allows precision, and holding a reserve later into the final approach, reduces some factors which will affect success.
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Old 4th Mar 2022, 17:15
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Winds were reported light, but they shifted to favor the reciprocal runway indicating that windshear was lurking. And there's just about always some windshear; so better to have something to give away than be caught short.

Remember the forced landing advice is to aim one third into the field (implied at best glide speed). Aiming for the threshold you better have extra speed.

Really best glide speed is about maximizing field options and applies to still air (a rare and highly localised phenomenon aloft - I have an excellent wind display based on 3D accelerometer and compass sensors integrated with TAS to back this up).

Downwind and a bit slower expands your options. Upwind you will have to fly a bit faster and will not go as far.

Once you do have your field made, it's time to increase speed to have a cushion.
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Old 4th Mar 2022, 17:43
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Originally Posted by Pilot DAR View Post
By the way, the flapless type I mentioned does have a remark in the flight manual about increasing speed above glide speed for a power off landing.
In no part of my post did I suggest that final approach should have been at best glide speed. Best glide speed, compensated for actual weight, wind, and airmass sink/lift, is appropriate until reaching the intended landing site. Once over the intended landing site best glide speed has no relevance. The task is now to select a touchdown point and to fly the circuit/pattern to land near that point using appropriate pattern/circuit speeds.

Since nearly all my (airplane) approaches are at idle power all I would need to do is move the planned touchdown point further down the runway to have some margin in case I misjudged the difference in glide between idle and a real engine fail. (Those who always make shallow dragged-in approaches will have much more problem judging an engine fail circuit/pattern.)
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Old 4th Mar 2022, 19:15
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Since nearly all my (airplane) approaches are at idle power all I would need to do is move the planned touchdown point further down the runway to have some margin in case I misjudged the difference in glide between idle and a real engine fail. (Those who always make shallow dragged-in approaches will have much more problem judging an engine fail circuit/pattern.)
I generally do the same, and agree entirely!
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Old 5th Mar 2022, 09:50
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Those critising the pilots approach fail to be cognisant of his experience and level of skill, there is more than one way of skinning a cat. Who could pour themselves a glass of water while performing a barrel roll, not many I venture, but it can been done, Bob Hoover. Chuck Yeager had to eject because he had neither the instrument flying skills nor an understanding of engine gyroscopic effects, all because he declined the instruction from the project pilot.

In our neck of the woods back in the old, old days one of the skill tests for a private license was to shut down the engine at a given height (and I mean shut down, mags off) and perform an engine out landing with touchdown as close as you could get to a marker on the runway, accuracy determined whether you passed, or not.

EXDAC, what do you teach for an engine failure pattern?
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Old 5th Mar 2022, 10:04
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There is always someone who thinks they know better. Major engine failure, great situational awareness, controlled flight and engine out circuit to a safe (and smooth) landing. All critics please present themselves for a competition to see if they can do better.
In an aeroplane that they own, please.
Volunteers?
No? Well, there's a surprise.
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Old 5th Mar 2022, 10:47
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Originally Posted by Piper.Classique View Post
There is always someone who thinks they know better. Major engine failure, great situational awareness, controlled flight and engine out circuit to a safe (and smooth) landing. All critics please present themselves for a competition to see if they can do better.
My evaluation of the demonstrated performance was not a criticism of what the pilot did, or the outcome. It was a comment on all those who seem to be saying he did it perfectly. Why not learn something from the discussion?

I have no intention of failing the engine in either of my airplanes just to see how well I would handle it. I did win my club's recent spot landing contest with a simulated engine fail approach (idle power before base turn) that touched down 49 feet past the mark. Only the best one counted but my other attempts were 91 feet long and 50 feet short. I'm reasonably confident that I could handle an engine failure that left me in gliding range of a runway.

The hard part for me is accepting the less than 8:1 glide ratio after over 3,000 hours in gliders.
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Old 7th Mar 2022, 11:05
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Originally Posted by EXDAC View Post
My evaluation of the demonstrated performance was not a criticism of what the pilot did, or the outcome. It was a comment on all those who seem to be saying he did it perfectly. Why not learn something from the discussion?
.
I guess the issue is that you stated poor airspeed control and pattern planned for a situation that was handled with resounding success as if the final result was successful despite poor techniques being deployed.

I might suggest that airspeed control and pattern flown were quite satisfactory to achieve the desired goal. In addition, I would state that a superior pilot has flexibility in thinking ta adjust as appropriate to the circumstances at hand instead of blindly following the standard practice scenario.

I will add that for a complete loss of engine power, he did have near ideal circumstances.
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Old 7th Mar 2022, 19:04
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Note that he used his extra speed to clear runway, after checking with ATC that this was acceptable.
Some seem to think blocking the runway until towed clear would have been better - the result if he'd had less speed.
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Old 7th Mar 2022, 23:42
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Originally Posted by Maoraigh1 View Post
Note that he used his extra speed to clear runway, after checking with ATC that this was acceptable.
Some seem to think blocking the runway until towed clear would have been better - the result if he'd had less speed.
I think he was emulating this guy(see at 8:57). Perhaps he did the same wave.....

Or if he had just been low on fuel......


Last edited by punkalouver; 7th Mar 2022 at 23:54.
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Old 8th Mar 2022, 06:12
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Originally Posted by EXDAC
My evaluation of the demonstrated performance was not a criticism of what the pilot did, or the outcome. It was a comment on all those who seem to be saying he did it perfectly. Why not learn something from the discussion?
The results speak for themselves, he did do it perfectly.
It was my impression from watching the whole sequence that he was well above best glide speed, only made it to the airport because it was well within max glide range, and made a rather poor job of speed control and pattern planning
He was fortunately in a position where speed control and pattern planning was rather unimportant to him, because he had altitude in hand and presumably confidence in his skill level.

I don't recall what I was taught with regards to flying a pattern for forced landings when I went through the local aero club in 1962 and I've been asking what you teach, but you seem rather reluctant. My military training taught very specific engine out patterns for the particular aircraft, whether it be for a T-34, reproduced below for the high altitude case, or a F-104, which I never flew. The procedure works a treat.



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Old 8th Mar 2022, 11:23
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I've taught plenty of forced landings and the procedure from low key on was not that much different to what's shown above for the T-34. We started out teaching a standard pattern but if we later created a simulated forced landing for a student the only grading item was: did they end up in a position and configuration from which they could safely land the aircraft. If they used the standard pattern: great! If they found another route that led to a safe landing: also great!
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Old 8th Mar 2022, 11:55
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If they used the standard pattern: great! If they found another route that led to a safe landing: also great!
That's what I was taught, and teach. I would rather a student build a bigger toolbox based upon understanding, and solid skills. As long as factors which could affect safety with a varied technique have been considered.
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Old 8th Mar 2022, 13:34
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Originally Posted by megan View Post
I've been asking what you teach, but you seem rather reluctant.
Pick the touchdown point and fly a controlled speed descent to touchdown at the chosen point with minimum energy. There is no defined path and no defined configuration. Both need to be adjusted to maintain the sight picture that will result in touchdown at the selected point. That technique will work just as well for an off airport landing as for a 10,000 ft paved runway. I don't believe the pilot shown in the video had any clue where the aircraft was going to touchdown.

A touch down with minimum energy at the chosen point will allow the aircraft to roll clear of the runway if the touchdown point was well chosen. However, rolling clear of the runway is very low priority.

The video pilot was very fortunate to be in range of a long runway. I doubt he would have survived an off airport landing.

Last edited by EXDAC; 8th Mar 2022 at 21:26. Reason: corrected "of" to "off"
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Old 8th Mar 2022, 19:04
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"The video pilot was very fortunate to be in range of a long runway. I doubt he would have survived an of airport landing"
I doubt he would have used that technique for an off-airfielf landing.
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Old 8th Mar 2022, 19:22
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Touchdown with minimum energy yes, and controlled speed descent to to touchdown yes. But, that does not mean it is necessary to aim for minimum energy any earlier than necessary in the approach. If the power off approach is managed with excess speed, when excess speed does not matter, then the speed is bled to minimum energy just prior to touchdown, that's okay. Aside from going needlessly off the end of an overly long landing area, getting down safely is the objective, the finesse is secondary, and artistic merit points hold little value.

I opine that the pilot would have applied a different and suitable technique for a different landing surface. I would like to receive the benefit of the doubt so I'm prepared to extend it to other pilots in the absence of any other information (and a fast approach/long landing is not it).

Now, for a forced approach onto water (which I have done), it is wise to include a stop as close to shore, or helpful vessel in the plan. So as often, broad thinking is needed, and simple "rules" will have exceptions.
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Old 8th Mar 2022, 19:56
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Originally Posted by EXDAC View Post
...The video pilot was very fortunate to be in range of a long runway. I doubt he would have survived an of airport landing.
I think this quite unreasonable.

So far we've seen a pilot who has completed a successful landing into his chosen field after catastrophic engine failure, he's had the presence of mind to communicate well and think of things outside his immediate concerns, and no doubt he's also been examined on FL's into different places during his initial and subsequent tests.

There are many factors involved in the success or otherwise of a FL, especially when the available terrain for landing is variable, but I couldn't question this pilot's competency or presence of mind as a factor - in my view, there's nothing in what we've seen here that could lead to a conclusion that he wouldn't do a good job elsewhere.

One needs to bear in mind that this is an example of just one actual - successful - FL this pilot has concluded in specific circumstances. While it's fine to review and discuss - indeed it's good to use such examples to learn from - criticism such as suggesting he wouldn't survive an 'of [sic] airport landing' is a leap so far that, maybe, it says more about the deliverer than the recipient?

FP.
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Old 8th Mar 2022, 23:04
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Originally Posted by First_Principal View Post
While it's fine to review and discuss - indeed it's good to use such examples to learn from - criticism such as suggesting he wouldn't survive an 'of [sic] airport landing' is a leap so far that, maybe, it says more about the deliverer than the recipient?
What techniques demonstrated in the video would you think would be appropriate for an off airport landing. Do you actually think that a landing spot was selected? Do you actually think the touchdown was at the selected landing spot? Do you think the vertical path and speed was appropriate for an on airport or off airport landing with an engine failure?

Go back to the military engine out approach diagram posted earlier, Can you find any part of the video's approach that comes close to the approach path that shown in that diagram?

Which parts of the video would you use to tell your students - this is how you should make an approach and landing with an engine failure?

It is my opinion that primacy will rule. If you never practice idle power approaches to landing at a preselected spot you will not be able to do that when the engine fails.

I'll concede that this video may not be representative of the pilot's ability to perform a safe off airport landing. I'll revise my comment to say - In my opinion this pilot would not have survived an off airport landing using the technique shown in the video.
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Old 9th Mar 2022, 05:01
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In my opinion this pilot would not have survived an off airport landing using the technique shown in the video.
Come back to the real world, what pilot in his right mind would be using that technique for an off airport landing? The chap is fortunate the engine failed when it did, it looked like he had a tree top solid undercast on track just ahead of him.
I don't believe the pilot shown in the video had any clue where the aircraft was going to touchdown
Given the runway available there was no absolute need to have an exact touch down point in mind.
Go back to the military engine out approach diagram posted earlier, Can you find any part of the video's approach that comes close to the approach path that shown in that diagram?
He was on top of the airfield at 2,300 AGL on a northerly heading and from midfield flew a continuous left turn to touchdown on 31L, a disciplined approach, exactly as the diagram shows, only differing in speeds and altitudes, as does the F-100, F-104 etc diagrams et al.
Pick the touchdown point and fly a controlled speed descent to touchdown at the chosen point with minimum energy. There is no defined path and no defined configuration. Both need to be adjusted to maintain the sight picture that will result in touchdown at the selected point. That technique will work just as well for an off airport landing as for a 10,000 ft paved runway
That doesn't actually explain how you ensure a safe landing, he actually complied with each of the points you make. The pilot actually says to himself "Alright Kev, don't f*** this up we do this......", his statement is cut off by a radio transmission but I bet the rest of his statement was "all the time", probably reflecting on an instructional background perhaps, that assessment is backed up by his cool unflustered manner.

When I did a flight test with a regulatory pilot with 60 hours in the log for the award of a CPL scholarship he gave me an engine off at 3,000 in the C150, was positioned on a high, high final for a grass cross runway, planted it right on the numbers, full flap 40, his critique was be careful of wind shear, a valuable piece of advice not mentioned previously, aiming to touch down as close as possible to the boundary fence of a short paddock is fraught if the sight picture becomes suddenly starts rising (undershooting), better to aim to land deeper into the paddock and run off the end at slow speed.
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Old 9th Mar 2022, 15:07
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Originally Posted by megan View Post
Come back to the real world, what pilot in his right mind would be using that technique for an off airport landing?
Well I think we agree that the answer is no one who had the skill to make a successful off airport landing would be using the demonstrated technique. What we don't seem to agree on is whether someone who used this technique to land on a 6,600 ft runway would be able to use a completely different technique to land off airport.

I prefer to use the same landing technique for an 8,000 ft runway as for a 600 ft dirt strip. That technique starts with selecting the touchdown point and everything else flows from that. If there is no selected touchdown point then there is no aim point and no possibility of establishing a stable sight picture.

I simply do not understand why anyone would think that coming over the runway threshold that low and floating about 2,000 ft down the runway in ground effect would be held up as an example of how to handle an engine out landing.
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