Emergency Landings

Vance

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In another thread using a vertical descent in an emergency landing is discussed.

As I was writing my response and remembering what I don’t like about vertical descents I remembered back when I was constantly practicing engine at idle landings so I was prepared for when the engine went quiet.

I was always looking for potential landing zones.

There was a part of me that wanted to have a real engine out just to see if I could handle it.

My emergency landing skills have since been validated several times over.

I felt there might be value in sharing my opinions based on my experience with an emergency landing in a gyroplane.

I typically fly a thousand feet above the ground.

That suggests to me and experience has validated that I have less than forty two seconds to:

  • Figure out if I can get the engine making power again.
  • Figure out which way the wind is blowing.
  • Find a suitable landing zone that is within reach.
  • Come up with a working plan.
  • Check for obstacles in my landing zone.
  • Check for wires along my flight path to my landing zone.
  • Confirm my landing zone is clear as I get closer.
  • Confirm that my plan is working even though it may be too late to modify it.
It is surprising how much more you can see at fifty feet above the ground than you can at five hundred feet above the ground when you made your decision and formulated you plan.

I still regularly practice simulated engine out downwind landings.

I am still always search for potential landing zones as I fly.

I still constantly monitor the wind direction.

I fly a little higher over difficult terrain.
 

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All_In

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I love this. Thank you. Only one change of wording.
"Check for wires along my flight path to my landing zone."
1) The human brain does not discern horizontal lines as well as we do vertical lines.
2) wire are too thin to see in my real-life and practice FW engine-outs.

Part of our Piper Dealership flight instruction was to teach (what the Navy taught their pilots) that you always look for the POLLS never the wires!
This means you need to constantly scan from one side of the gorge to the other for Polls or towers. Personally, I learn the route first by boat or car or fly above wire tower height one way looking for polls and red balls on wires. But can see the polls way before the red balls.

I have even seen the bob wire fence POLLS from 1/4 to 1/8 mile away. Long before I was committed to final.
But I could not see the wire many times.
Honestly, the polls in a ROW even fence polls are especially easy to spot but it means do not fixate on the landing zone or glideslope.
Scan specifically looking for POLLS and then you can figure out where the wires are strung.
 
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All_In

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PS:

"Check for POLLS along my flight path to my landing zone."
The Navy test showed that by the time you see a phone WIRE a pilot must have fixated on it and it hit. Because there was time and other options mostly to fly under it. But there were rows of polls they should have seen 3/4 miles away at the altitude they had the problem.
The study was only about Fixedwing pilots with most of them having approach speeds 40+ knots faster than what I fly = they have even less time to react. Cavalon approach speed is about the same as my Piper Archer but much steeper.
 
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Vance

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I love this. Thank you. Only one change of wording.
"Check for wires along my flight path to my landing zone."
1) The human brain does not discern horizontal lines as well as we do vertical lines.
2) wire are too thin to see in my real-life and practice FW engine-outs.

Part of our Piper Dealership flight instruction was to teach (what the Navy taught their pilots) that you always look for the POLLS never the wires!
This means you need to constantly scan from one side of the gorge to the other for Polls or towers. Personally, I learn the route first by boat or car or fly above wire tower height one way looking for polls and red balls on wires. But can see the polls way before the red balls.

I have even seen the bob wire fence POLLS from 1/4 to 1/8 mile away. Long before I was committed to final.
But I could not see the wire many times.
Honestly, the polls in a ROW even fence polls are especially easy to spot but it means do not fixate on the landing zone or glideslope.
Scan specifically looking for POLLS and then you can figure out where the wires are strung.
A good suggestion John.

I was sloppy with my use of the language.

Not everyone knows that the best way to look for wires is to look for the poles.

I have read that the number one cause of helicopter crashes is wire strikes.

There have been many gyroplanes destroyed from wire strikes.

Mark Shook was killed when he hit wires over the Colorado River. Flying as low as he was he could not see the poles along the banks because of the trees.

I have some specific wires I show clients to help them understand how difficult the wires are to see and I have them fly over the polls rather than the wires. One end of the Avilla Pass is blocked by power lines coming from the power plant in Diablo Canyon. They are huge and there are two sets of them marching over the hills. The light has to be just right to see the wires and I have to look left or right to find the structures that support the wires. Coming from the north the first few poles are hidden by the hills.

I have one wire in a canyon near the Twitchell reservoir that I like to use as an example of how hard wires and poles are to see. It is a single wire suspended on two wooden poles covered with black creosote.
 

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Well, I excel at sloppy use of language. Add Dyslexia and I replace entire words with gibberish.
You are far behind me in that regard my friend.

I just wrote about losing height with slight left and right turns on engine-out landings.
They are just slide slips starting on the side with the prevailing wind and then I have to put the nose down to gain my best glide without advancing my ground track as much as best glide. Why did I write slight left and right turns I will never know.
I suck at writing even that. I like math.
 
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Vance

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I just wrote about losing height with slight left and right turns on engine-out landings.
They are just slide slips starting on the side with the prevailing wind and then I have to put the nose down to gain my best glide without advancing my ground track as much as best glide. Why did I write slight left and right turns I will never know.
I suck at writing even that. I like math.
A slip or skid in a Cavalon won’t lose as much altitude as in a fixed wing John.

A straight line is the shortest distance between you and your landing zone; if you need to lose some altitude modify the straight line.
 

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A slip or skid in a Cavalon won’t lose as much altitude as in a fixed wing John.

A straight line is the shortest distance between you and your landing zone; if you need to lose some altitude modify the straight line.
I discovered that it does not lose as much altitude but now I'm practicing engine out spot landing on the numbers.
When the engine dies I go to the best glide speed. That is the only time I can see where I'm going to actually land.
When I'm slightly high, doing left and right slips until I see my glide slope will hit the numbers is working for me and all I knew to do for spot landing anything. Slips are still almost a straight line and without them I would be at least 100 feet away from the numbers.
 
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Tyger

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A couple of years ago, I was taking an experienced fixed-wing instructor for a spin in my gyro over his usual training area in north central Pennsylvania. He mentioned that some of the farmland we were flying over belonged to Amish farmers. He then posed a question: "If you had to do an emergency landing, would you prefer to land at an Amish farm or an 'English' [non-Amish] one?"
The answer: Amish. There will not be any electrical wires!

I recently read Eddie Rickenbacker's memoir "Fighting the Flying Circus". The only wires he ever had to worry about hitting, back in 1918, were the ones mooring the observation balloons he was targeting...
 

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PS: With engine-out I'm not hitting the numbers all the time in gusting winds. Not sure I ever will.
 
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All_In

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A couple of years ago, I was taking an experienced fixed-wing instructor for a spin in my gyro over his usual training area in north central Pennsylvania. He mentioned that some of the farmland we were flying over belonged to Amish farmers. He then posed a question: "If you had to do an emergency landing, would you prefer to land at an Amish farm or an 'English' [non-Amish] one?"
The answer: Amish. There will not be any electrical wires!
How do I tell the difference? But if local and you knew that is brilliant Tyger!!!
 

Tyger

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There are a few ways you can tell, I guess. No tractors (but horse wagons), no parked cars, garages, or paved driveways, no silos, barns of a different design... things of that nature.
 

All_In

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There are a few ways you can tell, I guess. No tractors (but horse wagons), no parked cars, garages, or paved driveways, no silos, barns of a different design... things of that nature.
That is why I asked. Suspected you would know.
I'd rather be thought ignorant for asking than remain ignorant.

I can do that!!!!
Thank you.
I love to learn. I love this forum!!!
 

Tyger

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John, you might enjoy this video about landing in fields (from the UK glider world). I know I learnt a thing or two from it, not least how to identify fence lines from the air.
 

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I'm only 7 minutes in and already learn a thing and remembered two.
Thank you, Tyger, now back to the video after I get some popcorn...

Ask Jon how helpful taking some glider training can be for gyros. Especially spot landing and seeing and staying in lift to use to go over mountains. And they are fun too.
 
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Vance

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I discovered that it does not lose as much altitude but now I'm practicing engine out spot landing on the numbers.
When the engine dies I go to the best glide speed. That is the only time I can see where I'm going to actually land.
When I'm slightly high, doing left and right slips until I see my glide slope will hit the numbers is working for me and all I knew to do for spot landing anything. Slips are still almost a straight line and without them I would be at least 100 feet away from the numbers.
If it works for you John keep doing it.

What you describe is not how I would do it or teach it.

When practicing a power off approach and accuracy landing I do not use “the numbers”. They are not well defined enough and if the client is short they hit the end of the runway.

I use the thousand foot bars so if my client is short it doesn't matter other than they didn't meet the standards. We pretend the beginning of the bars is the beginning of the runway.

I would rather the client land short so he can see how far he needs to move the point he brings the power back.

The practical test standards for Power off approach and accuracy landing are”

1. Exhibits knowledge of the elements related to performing a power-off approach and accuracy landing.

2. Selects a reference point in the landing area for touchdown and reduces power to a zero-thrust position.

3. Adjusts glide path to terminate approach and touch down beyond and within 300 feet of the reference point.
 

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With a gyro how is the best way to do spot landings when high but not high enough for a turn? But still, keep close to your best glide or I have no idea where that glide slope will take me. Only can see where I will land at best glide.

I like the way you train a pilot for their license.

I'm not training for the shortest hours or even my license YET.
I've asked Henry that once I can fly to standards that we start overtraining on emergency landings and all maneuvers he knows a gyro can do.
Once I can fly those I will see if I can fly to standards and ask to be recommended.
 

anthom

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Being prepared like Vance explained is the key. Knowing the winds, glide capability, terrain layout, obstacles in the flight path, etc. can have a lot to determine the successful outcome of a forced landing when the engine goes quiet.
Sometimes, there aren't many options, and one has to make the best use of what's available.
Clearing wires is a tricky situation, sometimes one is unsure whether they will be cleared or not, or whether to go above them or below depending on the clearance available, and the size of the field.
A near zero roll also helps in case of tall brush.
Practice, practice, practice....Engine out.jpg
 

Vance

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With a gyro how is the best way to do spot landings when high but not high enough for a turn? But still, keep close to your best glide or I have no idea where that glide slope will take me. Only can see where I will land at best glide.
I suspect I don’t understand your question John.

I don’t know how you can be too high but not high enough for a turn.

If you are too low for a sixty degree turn make a thirty degree turn or two fifteen degree turns.

At your best glide speed (Vbg) anything other than a straight line to your landing zone will use up altitude.

Anything below your Vbg will use up altitude and steepen your approach angle.

A turn will typically cause a higher rate of descent and because it is not a straight line will use up altitude..

You tend to think in black and white John.

Control of an aircraft is about small changes and understanding how each small change will affect the outcome.

You need to adjust for the conditions.

There are lots of ways to shorten the glide in a gyroplane.

I have not found a way to stretch the glide in a gyroplane.

I try to use the controls in harmony

In my opinion the keys to proficiency are practice and currency.

PS.
Your minimum altitude for sport pilot, gyroplane maneuvers during your proficiency check ride is 600 feet above the ground. If you drop below 600 feet you fail.

A steep turn has a bank of thirty degrees plus or minus five degrees and the roll out is plus or minus fifteen degrees.
 

Vance

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Being prepared like Vance explained is the key. Knowing the winds, glide capability, terrain layout, obstacles in the flight path, etc. can have a lot to determine the successful outcome of a forced landing when the engine goes quiet.
Sometimes, there aren't many options, and one has to make the best use of what's available.
Clearing wires is a tricky situation, sometimes one is unsure whether they will be cleared or not, or whether to go above them or below depending on the clearance available, and the size of the field.
A near zero roll also helps in case of tall brush.
Practice, practice, practice....View attachment 1153307
Exactly, nicely put Anthony!
 

JETLAG03

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Obstacle spotting is sometimes easier by looking for the shadows, post shadows are often easier to see than the posts.
 
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