February 2016 Issue

The Impossible Turn

Unless you’ve practiced it, land straight ahead when the engine fails shortly after takeoff.

This magazine often has discussed the so-called impossible turn: returning to the departure runway and landing downwind after an engine failure during takeoff. Our view of the impossible turn is that it is possible, but only with practice, sufficient altitude and some luck. Generally, executing a forced landing straight ahead is preferable to attempting a steeply banked turn at low altitude. This is especially true without engine power or sufficient airspeed above the wing’s stalling angle of attack to enable the steep turn.

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