All you wanted was a day at the beach. Instead, you’re airborne in an airplane lacking a primary flight control. An air traffic controller helped you pick an airport for landing and has people standing by. Now you must configure the controls that remain and decide which technique gives you the greatest chance of walking […]
You’re at an airport where joining a full pattern is just SOP. Then, a bird ends its days by punching an actual hole in your windscreen. However, the airplane is still flying, and the rest of the Lexan is holding. Will you make everyone get out of your way, or will you find a quieter […]
Emergencies are equal-opportunity hunters: They’ll strike high-time pilots and newbies alike. Now you’re alone in an airplane with under 50 hours of total time—and an engine that’s out of control. What are the risks and tradeoffs given four different plans to get this airplane on the ground? Can you adjust the plan on the fly?
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 […]