Flight Training - March 2011 - 23
By Bob Schmelzer
SURVIVING A TOUGH TASK
SIMULATED EMERGENCY APPROACH
t some point during every practical test, an applicant will experience a simulated engine problem requiring an emergency approach. This time-critical task is especially challenging because of the many variables associated with an emergency approach, such as altitude available, terrain, and obstacles; landing surface conditions; and winds. But there are a few
commonalities to all such emergencies. Understanding these can improve your checkride success and survivability if you’re ever faced with an actual emergency. A helpful training technique is to divide the emergency approach maneuver into two separate and distinct phases: Phases A and B. Phase A occurs while the airplane is maneuvering more than 1,000 feet above ground level (agl) and phase B represents the final 1,000 feet of the approach. Throughout phase A, the pilot’s main objective is to plan and adjust the flight path of the airplane to ensure that upon reaching 1,000 feet agl, the aircraft will be located directly abeam of the planned touchdown point as if on the downwind leg of a runway. The FAA’s Airplane Flying Handbook refers to this point as the key position. Obviously, altitude is your friend during phase A, but as a matter of convenience, most designated pilot examiners (DPEs) will typically direct checkride maneuvers to be performed at around 2,000 feet agl. This lower altitude is often where the simulated emergency approach task begins, providing applicants limited options for their choice of landing sites. Since very little time will be available to maneuver for your emergency approach, you can stack the cards in your favor by immediately selecting an acceptable landing field while establishing the proper glidespeed. Don’t get too picky searching at length for the “perfect” field or for a nearby airport. Remember, the ultimate objective is for you and your passengers to survive the emergency—not to eliminate any aircraft damage. Once the landing site has been selected, begin maneuvering toward it before initiating your appropriate emergency checklist duties. Woe is the applicant who spends this precious first minute attempting to restart the engine prior to selecting and maneuvering toward a suitable landing site, thus severely limiting landing-site and maneuvering options. Phase A is very busy and time-critical, demanding good planning, flight path visualization, and mastery of the aircraft and its emergency checklist procedures. Since there will not be time to begin digging around for those elusive checklists, emergency checklist items must often be done from memory, using a “flow pattern” and then, if time permits, confirming completion with the written checklist. Phase A is also where excess altitude is an especially valuable time asset, and if available, used for corrective troubleshooting (carburetor heat, fuel selector, fuel pump, mixture, magnetos, primer),
ASI: FLIGHT RISK EVALUATOR
Know your abilities. Understand the risks. What's safe? What isn't? And where do you draw the line? The Air Safety Institute's Flight Risk Evaluator offers you a series of real-time questions to help you see risky situations before you ever leave the ground. The evaluator asks your anticipated flight time, location, VFR or IFR, and even your aircraft model (optional) and helps you evaluate the potential for problems before you take off (http://flash.aopa.org/asf/flightrisk).
attempted engine restarts, emergency communications to ATC, and squawking 7700. But make sure that any checklist activity does not distract, interfere with, or compromise your phase A objective of arriving at the key position at 1,000 feet agl. More time equals more options; but always remember—fly the airplane first! Phase B begins when the aircraft arrives at the key position 1,000 feet above and abeam of the selected landing site. From there, all that remains is to maneuver and configure the airplane for the emergency landing. Since this is where you normally reduce power for landing anyway, the emergency approach can be flown from this point much like any power-off approach to landing in the traffic pattern. This phase might also include final engine-securing items such as fuel selector and mixture to cutoff and unlatching the cabin door, for example. It is during phase B that many applicants will misjudge their position, altitude, and descent rate, making a safe landing at their selected site impossible. Faced with being too high, applicants might simply dive the airplane instead of taking more effective measures: flaps; forward slip; S-turns. Even worse, becoming low on the approach, applicants sometimes attempt to “stretch the glide” by raising the nose attitude, allowing airspeed to become dangerously slow—which increases the sink rate even more. This usually leads to a common checkride failure known as “scaring the examiner.” Most important, you must maintain control of the airplane’s speed and attitude all the way to the touchdown point. And on that point, every pilot examiner will agree.
Bob Schmelzer is a Chicago-area designated pilot examiner and a United Airlines Boeing 777 captain and line check airman. He has been an active flight instructor since 1972.
MARCH 2011 FLIGHT TRAINING
Flight Training - March 2011
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Flight Training - March 2011
Flight Training - March 2011
Air Safety Institute
Since You Asked
Legal Q & A
The Flight Training Experience: Making It Work
Where Do You Stand?
Is This Flightopia?
The 12-Step Lesson Plan
Who Will Fly?
Career Pilot News
Can a CFI Use Pizza in the Cockpit?
Flight Instructor Burnout
By the Numbers
Flight Training - March 2011 - Flight Training - March 2011
Flight Training - March 2011 - Cover2
Flight Training - March 2011 - Contents
Flight Training - March 2011 - 2
Flight Training - March 2011 - 3
Flight Training - March 2011 - President’s Perspective
Flight Training - March 2011 - 5
Flight Training - March 2011 - Right Seat
Flight Training - March 2011 - 7
Flight Training - March 2011 - Flight Forum
Flight Training - March 2011 - 9
Flight Training - March 2011 - Going Places?
Flight Training - March 2011 - 11
Flight Training - March 2011 - This Weekend
Flight Training - March 2011 - Tech Tip
Flight Training - March 2011 - Success Story
Flight Training - March 2011 - Air Safety Institute
Flight Training - March 2011 - Since You Asked
Flight Training - March 2011 - 17
Flight Training - March 2011 - Final Exam
Flight Training - March 2011 - Legal Q & A
Flight Training - March 2011 - Flying Carpet
Flight Training - March 2011 - 21
Flight Training - March 2011 - Insights
Flight Training - March 2011 - Checkride
Flight Training - March 2011 - The Flight Training Experience: Making It Work
Flight Training - March 2011 - 25
Flight Training - March 2011 - 26
Flight Training - March 2011 - 27
Flight Training - March 2011 - 28
Flight Training - March 2011 - 29
Flight Training - March 2011 - Where Do You Stand?
Flight Training - March 2011 - 31
Flight Training - March 2011 - Is This Flightopia?
Flight Training - March 2011 - 33
Flight Training - March 2011 - 34
Flight Training - March 2011 - 35
Flight Training - March 2011 - The 12-Step Lesson Plan
Flight Training - March 2011 - 37
Flight Training - March 2011 - 38
Flight Training - March 2011 - 39
Flight Training - March 2011 - Weather
Flight Training - March 2011 - 41
Flight Training - March 2011 - Flight Lesson
Flight Training - March 2011 - Who Will Fly?
Flight Training - March 2011 - Career Advisor
Flight Training - March 2011 - 45
Flight Training - March 2011 - Career Pilot News
Flight Training - March 2011 - Can a CFI Use Pizza in the Cockpit?
Flight Training - March 2011 - Flight Instructor Burnout
Flight Training - March 2011 - By the Numbers
Flight Training - March 2011 - 50
Flight Training - March 2011 - Advertiser Index
Flight Training - March 2011 - 52
Flight Training - March 2011 - 53
Flight Training - March 2011 - 54
Flight Training - March 2011 - 55
Flight Training - March 2011 - 56
Flight Training - March 2011 - 57
Flight Training - March 2011 - 58
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Flight Training - March 2011 - 62
Flight Training - March 2011 - 63
Flight Training - March 2011 - Debrief
Flight Training - March 2011 - Cover3
Flight Training - March 2011 - Cover4