"In an engine-out forced landing situation, once you have selected your field, should you circle over the field as long as possible before setting up your landing?" - Su-Min O.
“In this situation (engine out), I want to conserve my altitude and time aloft as much as possible. Once I have selected my field I want to use the rest of my altitude and time to learn as much as I can about that field.
(Altitude permitting) I would make one or more circles around the field and plan to arrive at a point abeam my landing spot at approximately 1000 AGL. My plan is to make this look as much like a downwind leg at my home field as possible.
The reason for the circles is to learn as much as possible about the field I am going to land in. For example, I can better determine what my obstacles are, look for trenches or ditches, and check for power lines across the field. Because of sun angles, you may notice something on one side of the field that you would miss from another side. So I want to spend as much time as I can learning as much as possible about where I am going to land.
In addition to learning more about my field, time aloft gives me more time to try a restart, communicate and complete my checklist. So don’t waste that altitude, it is a resource to use.”