How to Prepare for an Airplane Emergency Landing
Being a pilot, especially for private flights or even small charter companies, you’re responsible for the lives of your passengers. Keeping these things in mind, you should always be prepared for an emergency landing and should practice with your simulator or real airplane. If you’re new to aviation, this blog gives some tips on what to do in case of emergency landings.
First, lets talk about The different types of emergency landings are defined as follows:
• Forced landing—an immediate landing, on or off an airport, necessitated by the inability to continue further flight. A typical example of which is an airplane forced down by engine failure.
• Precautionary landing—a premeditated landing, on or off an airport, when further flight is possible but inadvisable. Examples of conditions that may call for a precautionary landing include deteriorating weather, being lost, fuel shortage, and gradually developing engine trouble.
• Ditching—a forced or precautionary landing on water.
A precautionary landing, generally, is less hazardous than a forced landing because the pilot has more time for terrain selection and the planning of the approach. In addition, the pilot can use power to compensate for errors in judgment or technique. The pilot should be aware that too many situations calling for a precautionary landing are allowed to develop into immediate forced landings, when the pilot uses wishful thinking instead of reason, especially when dealing with a self-inflicted predicament. The non-instrument-rated pilot trapped by weather, or the pilot facing imminent fuel exhaustion who does not give any thought to the feasibility of a precautionary landing, accepts an extremely hazardous alternative.
A well-executed water landing normally involves less deceleration violence than a poor tree landing or a touchdown on extremely rough terrain. Also, an airplane that is ditched at minimum speed and in a normal landing attitude does not immediately sink upon touchdown. Intact wings and fuel tanks (especially when empty) provide floatation for at least several minutes, even if the cabin may be just below the water line in a high-wing airplane.
Now that we have a grasp about different types of emergency landings, lets talk in depth about the tips and general precautions on how to avoid risk.
#1 Avoid the clouds
Nobody likes to get rained on! Pilots are taught everything they need to know about weather, thunderstorms and clouds, and they know it’s best to stay out of the clouds. Clouds can mean turbulence, embedded rain or thunderstorms and lack of visibility. Flying into a cloud on a visual flight is risky — you can no longer see other airplanes, towers or mountains, for example.
Stay out of the clouds in the real world, too: Avoid trouble and steer clear environments in which you can’t see clearly enough to make it through to the other side without crashing.
#2 Give yourself a way out
Probably the most important rule for pilots, leaving yourself an “out,” means never getting into a situation you can’t get out of safely. Never get yourself backed into a corner with nowhere to go. Pilots do this by planning for alternate routes, taking extra fuel and always looking for an emergency landing spot, even when there isn’t an emergency.
Whenever you make a decision, make sure you leave yourself another option in case things don’t go as planned.
#3 Safety briefing
Always make sure that passengers understands the briefing clearly in order to prepare them mentally for any emergency
People who are mentally ready for a disaster such as a plane crash have a higher chance of survival
each airline has its own safety debrief that could contain crucial new information.
#4 Over water flying
If flying over water, you should have the necessary survival equipment. At the very least, have flotation devices. Without them, staying afloat until help arrives might be impossible. Don’t count the airplane. A ditched aircraft may not float for long.
#5 Emergency training
One problem with making forced landings is that pilots may be unintentionally biased by their training. For safety reasons, instructors use a good field when practicing emergency landings. In the real world, Murphy’s Law almost guarantees that an engine failure will occur at low altitude over inhospitable terrain. If pilots have been conditioned to think that a reasonable landing site is always available, they may not react appropriately in situations that have no reasonable alternatives.
While simulating engine-out emergencies where no obvious landing sites exist might better prepare pilots for real emergencies, engine-out training itself is risky business. Simulations can become real when pilots attempt to recover from the maneuver.
So, prepare your passengers and the aircraft before flight, and know what you’ll do as you descend toward an emergency landing, and you’ll be able to protect as best as possible those who trust you with their lives , while your primary focus must remain (as Bob Hoover famously said) on “flying the airplane as far into the crash as possible.”