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Engine Failure: Which airport do you choose?

Hi guys, it’s been awhile.

I want to let everyone know that I am now writing some pilot and flying articles again. They can be found on my website and they offer tips and tricks, safety related items, cool products I endorse, and “war stories” from my F-16 days.

This is an article I finished a few days ago about a hypothetical situation on which airport to choose following an engine failure, and you have two airfields equidistant apart. Which do you choose?

Anyway, I hope you’ll check it out from time to time as everything is related to making you a better and safer pilot. Click the “Articles” tab at the top of my webpage to see all of my posts. Maybe you’ll find something interesting and useful.

And thanks again for the support on Engine Out Survival Tactics, I see a few sales every month from Europe! Thank you!!

Fighter Pilot Tactics for GA Engine L...
KVGT (Las Vegas, NV)

I am still reading your excellent book

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Hi Buster,

Thanks for your book. I have a couple of training sessions planned out of it!


It is a great book. I worry about pilots who would have chosen airport A however….

EGTK Oxford

Other scenarios are more interesting, like 15 and 19nm, and if you are already facing the upwind airfield how (if at all) do you make the turn, and when and whether you pull the parachute and why would you not be in a Baron and just put a couple more inches on the live side and continue to destination.

EGKB Biggin Hill

What if I was heading north and would now need to make a 180 degree turn. How much of this advantage would I loose in the turn?


There is also the question of what the approaches are like. If they are across urban areas, it might be better to use your available 20 minutes to find a nice field or bit of tarmac to land on in a careful, planned way.

EGKB Biggin Hill

You guys are skipping to the advanced lessons already.
Walking before running.

ESMK, Sweden

Testing how much height you loose in a 180 is a very good thing to do. You also may get surprising results depending on your plane; for example in the PA46 you loose a lot less if you do a steep rather than a standard turn; but if you’re already low or in IMC, you can’t count on being able to do that.


Arne wrote:

You guys are skipping to the advanced lessons already.

When you get an engine failure, you can’t guarantee that the situation will be elementary.

EGKB Biggin Hill
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