Off-airport landing
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
16-09-2016, 09:54 PM (This post was last modified: 16-09-2016 10:36 PM by skyking.)
Off-airport landing
When I was on my first solo cross country flight, the plane had an engine failure.
I was over the east side just north of Redmond. I had flown over Issaquah sky ranch, a small airport that is long gone to development.
By my reckoning, I was midway between Snohomish and Issaquah, but I had never seen Snohomish so I turned around and headed back south, losing altitude as the engine alternately ran and sputtered.
Carb heat on, no joy. switched mags, tried the primer. Nope.
By the time I reached Marymoor Park I had drifted down from 2500 to 1700 feet MSL, and the 5 miles of Lake Sammamish stretched out between me and the airport.
I lived in the area a few years back and knew it quite well. There was one heavily treed golf course on the west side and steep wooded terrain to the east. I would never make Issaquah Sad
Below me was a big park. I spotted people flying RC planes and figured, I can land there! Unfortunately, it was very busy and the thought of mowing somebody down did not sit well with me. There were 6 soccer fields, and people were out playing long toss frisbee across several of them.
As if on cue, they walked off the fields and left as I descended through 1000 feet.
I chose to land lengthwise, and had a pair of fields lined up. This was a lucky choice and we will cover that later.
The tendency is to end up high on a forced landing and mine was no exception. I had full flaps, full deflection slip, and still was not going to make that first field.
All the goal boxes were in place. I gave it a goose of throttle, straightened out the slip, and just cleared the goal box on field 2. I was going for a completely stalled touchdown and hit pretty firmly with the yoke in my lap.
Total ground roll was 225 feet on grass.
http://www.courtdimensions.net/soccer-field/
http://www.cessna150.net/information/perspec.html

All the credit for my stalled landing goes to my instructor, who would lift a plane back off the runway if you put it on there too fast. Smile

I had the option of a turning landing onto 4 soccer fields crossways, and that would have been disastrous! This is wet country and the fields are crowned left to right, with shallow swales between each one. Shallow, like 15 inches. I would have pranged the landing gear in the ensuing roller coaster ride.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 4 users Like skyking's post
16-09-2016, 10:19 PM
RE: Off-airport landing
Whew! I was on the edge of my seat! Then, I realized you're writing the story so you must have lived. Tongue

Did this happen recently or have you been at it for a while? Shy

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
16-09-2016, 10:35 PM
RE: Off-airport landing
1986, I learned to fly that summer. I was a student pilot with 21 hours of training at the time.
I went on to commercial single land and sea, multi engine land, instrument, and instructor's ratings.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes skyking's post
17-09-2016, 03:04 AM
RE: Off-airport landing
A bit of pucker factor involved, I'm guessing.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
17-09-2016, 04:14 AM
RE: Off-airport landing
This is viral marketing for "Captain Sully", isn't it? Smile
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
17-09-2016, 04:33 AM (This post was last modified: 17-09-2016 05:02 AM by The Dark One.)
RE: Off-airport landing
......I don't know much about soccer, as it is alternately considered a game for little girls or a Commie plot, here in Texas, but...if they don't let you use your hands, I'm assuming a Cessna is just bad form all the way around, eh? Thumbsup
Sierra Hotel, brother.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes The Dark One's post
17-09-2016, 08:14 AM (This post was last modified: 17-09-2016 08:17 AM by RocketSurgeon76.)
RE: Off-airport landing
Though nowhere near as nail-biting, I had a similar experience in a Cessna 152 when I was in the mid-20 hours of flight time, ironically during a session on practicing emergency landing procedures. We had finished our practice (the instructor randomly pulls the engine to idle, and you have to find a suitable landing field and make an approach, following proper emergency procedure, and at about 100-200 feet the instructor would give you the throttle back), and were heading back to the airport when the engine decided to munch a valve.

Oil-filled smoke started coming out of the right (instructor's) side exhaust manifolds, and managed to put a pretty good splatter all over the windshield. Luckily, I was able to quickly find a nice pair of farm fields with low trees on the perimeter and a gravel farm road through the center, and made an easy approach. The instructor let me keep flying the plane because he literally couldn't see out his side of the windshield. But no problem, I had it, knew how to do it, and felt confident, though I was of course scared to death.

We decided to kill the engine entirely, when it was obvious we were going to make the road easily, to stop the smoke, and the instructor leaned his head out the window to see forward, to maybe land the plane with his head out the window... then suddenly he yells, "TRUCK UNDERNEATH US! Land left of the road!!"

A Cessna 150 glides at 60 knots, but stalls (and soft-field lands) at only 35, so if this guy was going somewhere in the vicinity of 45mph, a collision would have been likely.

That would have been bad because we couldn't tell clearly which direction the furrows went, and there was a good chance of destroying the gear and tumbling the plane on landing. I leveled out to crab a bit to the left, and looked out my side-window to see the truck, whose driver had finally noticed he was driving underneath us and had veered into the field, ironically also to our left side.

So I quickly straightened us back out and touched down on the road, neat as you please. The farmer wasn't even mad about the ruined crops or plant-filled bumper/grill, and was nice enough to give us a ride back to the airport. I was the only guy in the flight school with an emergency landing in his logbook. I had already soloed, and the instructor let me "area solo" and do my cross country solo in my next two sessions. Guess he figured I was ready! Smile

The funny part is that the instructor got a job later that same month (I had to get a new instructor) flying a Beechcraft Baron for a local company, and about six months later had to make another emergency landing because a deer ran onto the runway right as he was flaring to land. He pulled up, but the nose wheel struck the deer and sheared it off. (The wheel and the deer's head, incidentally.) He declared an emergency and flew with gear still down to a nearby regional airport, with a tower, so they could inspect the damage and advise him. They asked him "How many souls on board?", which apparently freaked him out a bit-- the "souls" part indicated "you're going to die" to him.

But he did fine. He killed the engines on approach and deliberately did a dead-stick landing, bumping the starter on each of the engines until the three-bladed props had one prop vertical (so the other two were as far off the ground as possible, to prevent a blade tip from striking the ground, which would require the engines to be totally rebuilt), and greased it. I joked with him that I was never flying with his unlucky ass ever again!

Really, though, everyone was delighted at the news. Our little flight school had only had two emergency incidents up to that year, and both had resulted in fatalities. In one case, a student pilot on his first solo forgot to check that his seat was locked in place on the railing, resulting in it sliding all the way back when he rotated to take off... he held on to the yoke as the seat went back, sending the plane into a near-vertical climb, stall, and auger-in. The other was during instrument training in one of our 310s; the accident report said the student pilot got disoriented at a high angle of bank, and the plane spiraled in... this is a common reaction of neophytes who have lost their visual cues, when they see the altimeter spiraling downward-- they pull back on the stick, which does nothing because the plane is in a steep bank, so it just does a spiral downward. We think the instructor pilot, who was a tiny female, was unable to wrest control of the plane from the large and panicked male student. Two tragedies were smoothed over by two triumphs. It was a big boost for everyone.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes RocketSurgeon76's post
17-09-2016, 08:35 AM
RE: Off-airport landing
Nice Job RS! I was far too excited for pucker factor. I called a mayday as soon as the engine farted the first time, and I nearby CAP pilot was orbiting overhead before I touched down. He said "nice job", reported no damage to Boeing Tower who was listening along, and went on his way. I touched down and hit the brakes hard, and it was easy to see the length of the ground "skid". I traversed the field diagonally and ended up in one of those swales, prop was a few inches from the bank. Apparently I got on the brakes hard enough that one of the brake master cylinders had a cut o-ring, and that brake was flat when my instructor taxied it over to take the wings off. No way would it fly out of where I landed it Smile
I've had other inflight oddities since then. The most notable was a friend's twin Comanche CR. I was in a training flight with another instructor when the autopilot servo cable got wrapped on the works, and effectively prevented any right aileron! I was quite hesitant to force it and have it get stuck in an less favorable condition, so I flew a big pattern and used rudder to do what I needed with right roll. An engine failure at that time would have been a handful.
The 310 had a partial power loss but no biggie as I was up and heading to home. I left it running and did a fairly normal approach, and just reserved the barn doors till the landing was well in hand. The last 30 degrees of flap are mostly speed brakes on the 310.
An emergency descent is an eye opener on the old plane. Procedure is slow to 160, flaps 15, slow to 140, gear down and flaps to 45, throttle to idle, monitor for overspeed, and pick any road you wish for a horizon Big Grin There is nothing but dirt out the window.
The VSI wraps around past the 2000 FPM mark to 500 FPM climb, indicating 3500 FPM. Of course it is nothing you sustain unless you like pulling cracked cylinders.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes skyking's post
17-09-2016, 08:44 AM
RE: Off-airport landing
We were too far out in the boonies (nearest town with a tower was 30 miles away) to have much more than radar coverage. Never even saw a CAP plane, though we did have a few guys with local aircraft who volunteered for the local police department in emergency searches and/or with the hospitals for patient and organ transports.

Our school used two 310s for multi training, but the Baron on the field (there was also a very rare Duke) belonged to a private company, and Adam said he greatly preferred the Baron... apparently the 310 is a bit like the Duchess, in that if you lose an engine it's a right struggle to get enough power out of the other to stay airborne at full control deflection. I can't even imagine trying to do it with partial/no flight control surface deflection!

Our ground school instructors, mostly retired Vietnam-era USAF pilots, would often reference the term "Doctor killers" when talking about the light twins, because so many MDs buy them, fail to train enough in emergency procedures, and wind up wiping themselves and sometimes their families out when they auger in. Sad

That sparked an oft-told joke at our parties:

"What's the difference between a doctor and a pilot?"

"A pilot doesn't think he's a doctor."

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
17-09-2016, 09:00 AM
RE: Off-airport landing
I disagree wholeheartedly on the Baron Vs 310. Here's my list of what I recall flying both planes.
Baron:
Great flying qualities, and behave similar to the whole line from the Bonanza on up.
Fuel sensitive. tank location is behind the CG, and you can fly it into less desirable landing states.
Narrow up front. A big guy like me is rubbing shoulders up there.
310:
fast roll acceleration. This can be fun at manuevering speeds.
fuel sits on the CG. Doing weight and balance is relatively boring. Both planes will take off with two big brutes in the front seat and nothing in the back, but the baron will fly out of CG.
The 310 is decidedly wedge shaped to a wide spot over the front spar. We regularly change seats in flight so somebody else can get the front seat. Not even a thought in the baron.

On my commercial pilot test, we had a broken layer at 3500 that prevented safe engine shutdowns. The FAA had killed many a pilot with real engine shutdowns and mandated a minimum altitude for it.
No problem, we punched up on top and shut down an engine at 7500 MSL. The check pilot wanted to have a learning moment so we did commercial step turns with one engine feathered. Turning into the inoperative engine Smile
The plane had sufficient performance to fly at 150 MPH on one with less than full RPM and throttle.
I Suspect your instructor had a bad experience with the 310, which is entirely possible. It could get ahead of you, and a neophyte in the plane could get it doing these sickening roll oscillations on final. A tap of the rudder stopped them, but wagging the ailerons made it worse Tongue
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes skyking's post
Post Reply
Forum Jump: