Sometimes it’s obvious you must land right away…like today when your turbo normalized engine rolls back to low power without any input from you. The less obvious choice comes when the problem seems to go away. Do you stick with your plan to divert, or do you press on tentatively, ready to land as needed?
You’re out practicing some maneuvers, and ATC gives you a heads-up about traffic. You roll out of the turn and what do you see? There’s an airplane with no relative motion heading straight for you—close enough that you have only seconds to react. What will you do to avoid the collision?
It’s a beautiful day and a routine flight over the open fields of Kansas. A minor instrument glitch seems to have resolved itself, leaving you to contemplate the scenery. That’s until “fire in flight” changes from a POH procedure into an immediate reality. You must get much closer to that scenery right away … but […]
Flying a floatplane has inherent risks, one of which is your landing site might be impossible to use if the winds are wrong or the water is low. Amphibious gear gives you the best of both worlds—until it fails and leaves you searching for the least bad solution to a multi-headed problem.
Seconds after rotation, the airplane has a mind of its own: It climbs; it descends; the controls seem all wrong. You get a moment of stability and have to decide what’s worse: Turning away from airlines approaching O’Hare—and risking renewed loss of control—or busting through the final approach of one of the world’s busiest Bravos.
There are few emergencies in aviation that require immediate action without time to think. One of them is an engine failure at low altitude. What will you do when faced with four options, given your actual view out the window? Or, will you use the airplane’s parachute—even though you’re so low it might make things […]
It’s just a short hop in a plane you’ve logged hundreds of hours flying. However, it’s not until rotation that you realize how poorly the airplane is performing. Now there’s not enough runway to put it back down, but barely enough climb to keep it in the air. Where will you go?
Bang: You have no engine and no hope of getting it back. In the next 30 seconds, you must decide where to put this airplane down with your daughter, your dog, and all your gear aboard. Ditch it in the lake or fly it into the trees? Think fast, you get lower with each passing […]
Fire might be the most terrifying thing a pilot can face. Even the possibility of a fire is enough to warrant an immediate diversion. But what if the nearest place has no assurance of landing, and the surest one is practically your destination anyway? And what if it’s not fire but just the smell of […]
VFR into IMC might be the deadliest trap for non-instrument pilots. It’s easy to say you’d just turn around, but the reality of cross-country flying is that deteriorating weather lures even the most resolute souls when it occurs slowly, and with tempting options–that can vanish in moments if the conditions are right.