January 2017 Issue

Emergencies Are Analog

They often are gradual and affect multiple systems, but resolving one problem can contribute to another. Meanwhile, you still have to fly the airplane.

Over the years, I’ve had my share of urgent situations, events that were abnormal and required ending a flight in a fashion other than was planned or performing a checklist from the flight manual’s emergencies section. These events never really turned into full-fledged emergencies, but “emergency” is defined by the person experiencing it. Most of us have experienced such episodes—peaking oil temperature, a rough-running engine, an unsafe landing gear indication. The outcome is more likely to be frustrated phone calls from unfamiliar airports, plus unscheduled underwear changes, than an accident report.

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