35 - Engine Failure After Take-off

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Hello Folks,

One of our members brought up this topic last week, and I thought it deserved a wider audience.

Yours, Bob

I remember well the little bit of glider training I did and the need to pick out an emergency paddock BEFORE take off. Could an emergency put me amongst all those steel pipes at the end of the runway with no alternatives? Am I wrong in thinking that I could be in a position where I had to go over the fence at the end of the runway but not be able to make it over the fence at the other side of the pipes? Could the safest bit of flat ground be exactly where the pipes are? Where is the alternative to that paddock? (the road may have a car on it so it may not be an alternative)

All I can suggest is that when you get to Serpentine, you park outside the gate for a moment and go and have a look at your possible forced landing fields. They've changed. Then, when you fly, have another good look from the air.

When your engine stops just after take-off it is a shock (believe me, I've been there). The first thing to do is NOT to look inside the cockpit to see why.

The second thing is to lower the nose promptly to maintain (or regain) gliding speed. You all know exactly the correct attitude for that, don't you?

The third thing is to select an appropriate forced-landing area within thirty degrees either side of your nose.

Then go to it.

There's a lot to do, and it can be very hectic in those few seconds (ten seconds? twenty? thirty if you're lucky)

If you have already selected your field before getting in to your aeroplane, you're half-way there.

There have been changes at the south-western end of Serpentine too. A lot of the vines have gone, leaving a big, open area that is very welcome. However, last time I looked there were rows of dead vines piled up, which is not so good. I suggest you drive down there and take a look at that too.

Bob "Bob the Grim" Grimstead
SABC Safety