Flying Lesson # 26 – Forced Landings

July 29, 2012

Forced landings are a lot harder than they sound!

In theory, it sounds quite easy. Pick a nice piece of land, create a circuit and land the aircraft. In reality though, it requires a lot of thought and skill.

After jumping aboard UGF, we requested a departure to the south and headed out. Tracking south east initially until we cleared the inbound VFR route through Park Ridge, we then headed toward the Jimboomba area. We commenced our forced landing training in the same area as last week; around Kagaru. Robert had me jump straight in and show him what I had been studying. Luckily, the area that Robert chose to pull the throttle was basically directly above the Kagaru airfield and I was able to quickly identify it and start to map out the pattern to fly. The flying itself went ok, I was a little bit high on my down-wind leg but corrected it on base by flying through final a little bit and turning back. My checklist was all over the shop. I only missed a few items, though I was all over the place with the ones I remembered.

We tried a second forced landing in a different location. This time I didn’t have the luxury of an airfield to land on, I chose a piece of land that looked good initially and planned out my down-wind, base and final approach. Again, my checklist was all over the place (though I didn’t really expect that to improve in 10 minutes) and my flying of the legs were ok. Once on the final approach, I looked down the ‘runway’ and noticed the land that I had chosen was far too short and there was no way I would actually be able to land on it. Luckily, in this case, I had a working engine and was able to go around at 500 feet. In a real emergency, I would have been committed to that landing and it may have been quite bumpy. I now understand the importance of getting forced landings down pat.

I definitely need to study the checklist a little more before we try again next week. After the second attempt, it was almost time to head home. Robert quickly showed me s-turns which are great for forced landings. It’s essentially a way to lose height without turning your back on the landing strip. You simply complete steep-ish turns in a figure 8 until you are at the desired height. These turns should be done along the base leg at the point at which you would turn final. My turns were atrocious when compared to Robert’s, though still effective.

On the way home, Robert left it up to me to return safely to Archerfield. I managed to find the Mount Lindesay Hwy without too much effort, then followed that through to Park Ridge. From there, you can pretty well see the airport and I just tracked toward it, reporting my position at the Logan Mwy and when on the base leg. On my return to Archerfield, I ballsed up the landing something chronic! I’d rather not talk about it, but let’s just say there was an eerie long silence in the cockpit immediately following the landing.

Greater concentration is definitely required next time, coupled with plenty of study over the next week. I’m not sure what is in store for the next lesson, possibly some instrument flying. Whatever it is, I’m sure I’ll enjoy it! 🙂

Until next time…

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