October 2001 Issue

Involuntary Gliding

Youíre going down when the fan stops turning, but you have more options than you may realize

[IMGCAP(1)] In singles and even light twins in some circumstances, an engine failure means the airplane is going down. The pilotís job at that point is to pick the best spot to land and properly execute the forced landing.

Sounds simple, but itís a procedure that pilots routinely botch, either because their skills are so rusty or because they donít know the right way to make a forced landing.

Glider pilots are sometimes smug about their ability to land without power, but in fact, an airplane with a windmilling prop is markedly different from a glider. For one thing, the lift/drag ratio is about three times higher in gliders than in powered airplanes. An airplane canít gain altitude in...

To continue reading this entire article you must be a paid subscriber.

Subscribe to Aviation Safety

The monthly journal of risk management and accident prevention, is packed with useful, timely information on basic and advanced technique, accident analysis and, most important, practical articles on how you can develop the judgment that will keep you in the air and out of the NTSB's files.

Already subscribe but haven't registered for all the benefits of the website? Click here.

Subscriber Log In

Forgot your password? Click Here.