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PFLs - preferred approach

Yeah, but then you should be aiming for minimum sink speed, which is different from best glide speed….

Anyway, it’all rather academic cause we’re a few knots give or take. For me what’s important is that the student does not stall the aircraft. Otherwise, his focus should be on other items.

Mainz (EDFZ), Germany

No evidence that more emphasis on precautionary landings would save lives, only a hypothesis. One exercise (PFLs) is there to provide a skill in the event of engine failure, which hopefully does not occur that often – I believe the FAA concluded too much emphasis on PFL was leading to more training accidents than actual engine failure related accidents. The other exercise, the precautionary landing, deals with a chronic source of accidents: continued flight into bad weather by VMC only pilots. If only your typical PPL had spent more time on precautionary landing practice, ideally in reasonably realistic circumstances, my hypothesis is that more PPLs might carry out precautionary landings (as pilots did as a matter of course pre 1960’s), instead of drilling a hole trying to continue VMC into IMC.

The precautionary is taught and practised, but typically is downgraded in exam to box ticking a bad weather circuit.

The IMC is a higher skill and it is great that it is being preserved, but it complements the precautionary landing – and in a non FIKI SEP an IMC, or IR, rated pilot might also decide that a precautionary landing is safer than going IMC OCAS from an uncertain position, possibly climbing into the freezing layer. Also recall that the IMC works in the UK because of the dispensation to fly IMC OCAS.

Oxford (EGTK)

Type knowledge is very important, in the Bonanza, it makes the difference between making the field or not.

I think there are a number of issues across aircraft types that make this a true statement. For instance, I often fly behind a certified MT electric constant speed prop. In Auto Mode, which provides close loop rpm control, it has a minimum speed set point of 1700 rpm… which makes the aircraft come down like a rock with throttle closed, particularly if you leave the prop set to an even higher rpm. The procedure I use for PFL is to attempt restart by procedure and assuming no success, move the blades in Manual Mode to coarse pitch. This needs to be done very prudently as while it increases glide ratio greatly, it also creates a substantial delay in climbing out… something like an old turbojet on a go around. Basically to abort the PFL, you put the prop in Auto Mode with 2700 rpm set point. Then increase MP in concert with rpm slowly increasing, as the aircraft continues to sink. Since the blades move 1/6 as quickly as a normal hydraulic prop you use some altitude before you get positive rate of climb again.

I’d hate to be making a power off forced landing with that propeller, for practice or for real, if I didn’t know the particulars and act on them. Its actually pretty useful for me to type it out now.

Last Edited by Silvaire at 15 Nov 19:23

The other exercise, the precautionary landing, deals with a chronic source of accidents: continued flight into bad weather by VMC only pilots.

Just looking at simple psychology I can hardly think of a harder decision for a pilot to make than to elect to land in an unprepared field – especially one which probably cannot be flown out of, and it will cost thousands to dismantle the plane, cart it out, repair it as necessary, and put it back together.

I don’t suppose anybody is going to worry about this if the issue really arises but the insurance angle is nasty too: the school’s policy protects the policholder only (the school), not the renter.

As a result virtually nobody would ever consider a precautionary landing.

IMHO, if one was to make a dent in the CFIT / loss of control in IMC stats, one ought to attack the preflight briefing process which continues to rely on outdated pre-internet stuff.

Just my view – never been an instructor of any sort, but been through the student process, CAA and FAA.

It’s a pity that the guy who was a significant force behind David and I setting up the Instructor forum is no longer posting here.

Last Edited by Peter at 15 Nov 20:06
Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Just looking at simple psychology I can hardly think of a harder decision for a pilot to make than to elect to land in an unprepared field – especially one which probably cannot be flown out of, and it will cost thousands to dismantle the plane, cart it out, repair it as necessary, and put it back together.

That is why simple FG SEP with low kinetic energy have such a safety advantage over all other non turbine commercial ops GA. Average hull value probably around £25k, and I am not aware that either the CAA or the insurance industry would penalise a pilot undertaking a precautionary landing. Training should highlight, and this is the aim of exercise 17 in the PPL, that a precautionary landing is a much better outcome than VMC into IMC where the overwhelming majority of associated accidents are fatal.

Cirrus appear to buy into this philosophy with the chute system as the ultimate precautionary landing device – now if only some Cirrus pilots had the psychological preparedness to pull the chute as planned and not worry about insurance, the Cirrus would enjoy the low fatality rate which the design deserves.

Obviously better met training and better pre flight planning are also part of the picture.

Oxford (EGTK)

and I am not aware that either the CAA or the insurance industry would penalise a pilot undertaking a precautionary landing.

If that only were true… a damaged / written off aircraft is covered. However, recovering a perfectly serviceable aircraft from a field where it cannot take off from is normally not, unless explicitly stated in the policy. I found that out afterwards (although the thought of cost / damage / whatever actually never entered my mind when deciding to go into a field instead of cloud – only the strange fact that all of the sudden the world was filled with trees, telephone wires, and train lines with overhead power lines).

Thankfully, in both cases (one precautionary, one engine failure) there was no damage to the aircraft, and the field was good enough to get out again.

Ah, and the French CAA asked the German CAA to prosecute me for the precautionary landing (or, to be more precise, for flying in that kind of weather). The German CAA was more sensible, and decided to take no action after my full and frank report.

The flying school I rented the aircraft from was more sensible – I had to insist on paying the fuel for the CFI to come and collect me and the aircraft, and likewise the bill for taking off the spats to take out the mud.

Biggin Hill
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