30 - Emergency Landings with Previous Warning

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Hello Folks,

As you all know, I am a very sad person. When I'm not flying, I'm continually thinking about flying. Right now, I haven't flown for a month, so I've been doing a lot of thinking.

It is fairly common to have to make an emergency landing, but not immediately.

For instance, if you have something seriously wrong with your undercarriage (like, it won't extend, or a wheel's come off, or one leg's gone wonky - very common in Cubs, Austers, Maules & such). Alternatively you might be unable to fully close the throttle (that can easily be caused by an oily outer cable P-clip, or the inner pulling out of its clamp).

Of course, if you're well practiced in glide approaches, you just pull the mixture (gently, you don't want that one coming out of its clamp too) make a few practice glide approaches with mixture-back-in go-arounds, and then come in to land like that.

But there are also other possible causes of a potential problem on touch-down which don't require an immediate landing. Whatever the reason, don't rush into it. First check your fuel state and work out how much time you have.

It's a good thing to burn off excess fuel anyway. The less you have on touchdown, the shorter the fire and the less the agony.

Call anyone else on the frequency, and get what help from them you can.

If you think you might need professional crash assistance, call Perth Radar (135.25) and tell them you're diverting to Jandakot. It takes those guys 45 minutes to get ready for you. I know that because I was involved in such a diversion last month.

Murray Field is also a useful diversion if you think you might need a longer or wider runway than any of ours.

If landing at Serpentine is OK, radio down and get the guys to warm up the fire truck, and get as many able-bodied folks as possible out of the hangars and equipped with heavy gloves, reasonably flame-proof overalls, fire extinguishers and such. You never know what help you might need.

Burn your fuel off down to the minimum safe level (or, if it's late in the day, maybe land half an hour before sunset regardless, your choice).

Whatever you choose to do, the longer you stay up in the air, thinking about it, getting advice, and lowering your fuel level, the more chance you have of a successful outcome.

Good luck guys, enjoy your flying and remember: get plenty of practice and keep thinking!

Yours

Bob Grimstead
SABC Safety