AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 86

P&E 

DOGFIGHT

Don't Turn Back (continued)

Never Say Never (continued)

single. Even proponents say not to attempt a turn back in winds
exceeding 10 knots. But where would we practice 10-knot tailwind landings? What is the risk of that?
Finally, the pilot needs to practice 45-degree-bank turns
with the stall horn chirping. That will result in inadvertent
spins. When an engine failure happens for real, close to the
ground, there will be a big dose of adrenaline. There is no way
to simulate that. Adrenaline destroys fine motor skills and creates tunnel vision. Fine motor skills and situational awareness
are exactly the skills needed to pull off what is essentially a
low-level aerobatic maneuver. Pilots will instinctively push the
nose around
with rudder to
accelerate the
rate of turn,
resulting in a
skidding spin
entry. Training
to the level of
proficiency
required to execute this task
would result in
accidents.
Conversely,
landing ahead
of the wings,
into the wind
and under
control, is
less demanding. The shock
factor will
be there, but
it 's easier. If
the stall horn
chirps, lower
the nose. Land
on a street, a
fairway, a football field, in the tops of trees, or the roof of a warehouse. All of
those have been done successfully. Landing upwind increases
the accuracy and reduces crash energy. One hundred feet of
braking or sliding, and it is doubtful there will be injuries.
Picking a spot ahead of the wings is easier. Training for
off-airport landings is very low risk. Pull the power at cruise
regularly, then Airspeed, Best place to land, and Checklist.
ABC. Power-off 180 spot landings should be part of every pilot's
regular proficiency practice and are low risk. Severity of consequences is still higher than most regimes of flight, but the
reduced crash energy and increased chances of an accurate

180-degree turn back to the field after an engine failure." The
AC further states that flight instructor refresher courses should
have instructors teach how "to determine quickly whether a
turnback will have a successful outcome."
If you believe that turning back after an engine failure is
always dangerous and should never be attempted, then you
should not do it. You have made up your mind, and you know
your limitations. I would encourage you, however, to be openminded and learn how to perform the turnback maneuver at
a safe altitude with a qualified instructor. Doing so will help
you to decide whether you can be reasonably comfortable performing such
a m a n e u v e r.
After learning
how to perform
a return to the
runway, it is
likely that you
will consider
the maneuver
easier than you
had thought.
Practicing it
until you are
proficient will
add one more
skill to your
collection of
resources.
The thought
of an engine
failure shortly
after takeoff is
daunting. Although the likelihood is remote, the severity of
the consequences could be catastrophic; therefore, preparation before every takeoff is warranted. A turnback should not
be accomplished when better options exist.
Being prepared for an engine failure to occur during every
takeoff means having a plan and knowing in advance what to
do when an engine does fail. If the engine does not fail-great.
This mindset and preparation can save your life.
It is a natural tendency to return to where you came from
when things go wrong. Numerous accidents have resulted
when pilots instinctively attempted to turn back to the airport
after an engine failure despite being admonished not to do so.
These pilots probably did not have the benefit of the training
required to do so safely. Since pilots are instinctively doing it
anyway, why not teach them when and how to properly perform a turnback maneuver?
NTSB records are replete with accidents resulting from
pilots who attempted to turn around following an engine

Land on a street, a
fairway, a football
field, in the tops of
trees, or the roof of
a warehouse.

86 | AOPA PILOT October 2020



AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020

Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - Intro
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - Cover1
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - Cover2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 4
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 5
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 6
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 7
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 8
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - Cover3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - Cover4
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