Monday, December 20, 2010

Abort! The Emergency Procedure



How many of you regularly give a takeoff briefing prior to taking the runway?

If something were to happen, first there is that disbelief "this isn't happening to me ", and/or the "oh s__t" factor, which takes approximately 2-5 seconds before reality sets in.  Now, you are thinking - "I have to land on that runway behind me" - oh no -- The Impossible Turn.  Do you know for sure how high you have to be to make it back to the runway?  What about airspeed, stall speed, bank angle, and winds - returning now with a tailwind?

If you have a plan, one of the results of briefing it out loud, every single time before you takeoff, is that you have thought through your options in advance, decided what you will do, and you will more than likely do it, should the occasion arise.

Recently I was at San Carlos Airport taking off in a C172SP with one of my students.  As we gained speed on the takeoff roll there was this awful rumbling and loud noise.  Before I could say anything, my student already had the power pulled out and was applying brakes.  It worked!  And this student had just soloed a few weeks prior!!

What should your briefing include?  Here is mine: 
1. Any issues on the runway, power back, apply brakes, stop, get off the runway.
2. Any issues above the runway-with runway remaining, power back, apply brakes, stop, get off the runway.
3. Engine failure above the runway-no runway remaining and below 1000', (provided you have not already initiated a turn), land straight ahead,  turning no more than 20-30 °  left or right - land as soft and slow as possible.
4.  Engine failure above 1000' - perform a teardrop only if the winds are less than 15kts.  With winds 15kts or greater, fly the downwind and land.

As this is meant as a general briefing after one has thought through the various scenarios, there are certainly other situations, and more could be added.  If you have questions about my briefing, please ask.

Read "Escape! (the go-around)" for more safety procedures.

Sue Ballew

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