After learning what to do when our engine quits at a low altitude in part one. We now move onto what happens if there is no usable runway left. Can we make a turn back to the runway? Is the impossible turn really impossible?

Learn what to do if the engine quits on takeoff in this weeks video podcast!

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Text Transcription

Engine Failure on Takeoff Part 2

Hi and welcome to MzeroA’s video podcast. Episode 16, Engine Failure on Takeoff Part 2. I’m your host Jason Schappert.

In the previous lesson, we discussed what to do if you have an engine failure at say around 200 feet. But the main point being there was still suitable runway left so we simply took off and brought the airplane back down to the remaining runway in front of us.

What about the other scenario? What if we lift off, say we got to about 500 feet and it’s not safe to make that runway. Where are we going to land? Or, what if we get a little bit higher? Is it possible that we can maybe make a turn back to the runway?

We’re gonna discuss that and more in today’s lesson.

So here we are on a relatively normal climb out. Everything seems to be normal as we climb to 200, 300 and 400 feet. You can see there is still some airport and some runway beneath us. But as we climb a little bit higher and higher, that runway is going to be more and more difficult to obtain judging by how much nose down we have to put to make that runway and we’ll probably overshoot it by gaining too much airspeed. So what do we do in this situation? We reach around 500 feet and all of a sudden our engine quits.

If you are even below 1000 feet, please don’t even consider turning back to the runway. The best thing to do is to look straight ahead and see what you’re gonna land at, turning no more than 30 degrees to the left or the right. Pick something off your nose and stick with it. In this case, we quickly run through our ABC’s and put the nose down and select a landing area. So when can we turn back? This is a question I get asked so much, “When can I turn back to the runway?”

My best rule of thumb for this is that if you are at 1000 feet or above, you can then turn back to the runway. In this case, our engine just quit right out of a thousand feet. Instantly we enter into a shallow left-hand turn. Notice we’re never exceeding standard rate here, just making a smooth left turn back to that runway. We establish our best glide speed, keeping in mind it might be a little bit faster given we’re losing the horizontal component of lift in this turn. However, looking at our instruments we never really get more than 500 feet per minute in a descent. So as we turn back to the runway, we realize we might actually make it.

So from here is where you can determine, do I need to add flaps? How’s my speed looking? All of these questions run through your head. If you’re in a towered airport, it’s important to start talking. If you’re in an uncontrolled airport, it’s almost even more important because you have to make sure everyone else is already out of your way. So we continue this nice shallow turn to the left all the way back to the runway. Now, the point is, we may not make the runway but you’ll at least be on airport property. Go ahead and take a look at our path here. You can see what a smooth left turn we made to make it back to that runway. Not doing any steep turns or anything fancy, just a nice, shallow, standard rate turn.

Once we determine that we’re gonna make that landing area, we can start to add our flaps in and pitch that nose down a little bit more just to make sure we make it and have the speed to do so. In this case, we actually came in a little bit high so you can see the pilot’s adding more flaps and pushing the nose down quite a bit to get down quickly.

So there you have it. The impossible turn isn’t so impossible as long as it’s conducted above a thousand feet and not to exceed much more than a standard rate turn. This ends our 2-part series on engine failures on takeoff. Remember a good pilot is always learning. See ya.

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