The turn back to the field... engine out

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by 1000RR, Sep 14, 2021.

  1. 3393RP

    3393RP En-Route

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2012
    Messages:
    3,282

    Display name:
    3393RP
    With the many references in this thread to altitude above ground level in determining the turnback threshold, a closer look at those numbers is warranted.

    How many of us that land at an airport for fuel along the route of a long trip take note of the field elevation? More importantly, do we take that number and add 300, 500, or 1,000 feet to it, so a glance at the altimeter when the engine quits informs us of the advisability of a return to the runway?

    Something to consider.
     
  2. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 En-Route

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2010
    Messages:
    3,963
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas

    Display name:
    RyanShort1
    Unless you practice it more than once, you have precious little data.
     
  3. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Messages:
    19,326
    Location:
    PUDBY

    Display name:
    Richard Palm
    I don't doubt my fellow pilots' ability to calculate AGL heights. I do doubt that many of them account for the effects of field elevation on climb performance, and how that affects the difference between climb gradient and glide gradient.
     
    3393RP likes this.
  4. David Megginson

    David Megginson Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2018
    Messages:
    2,186
    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada

    Display name:
    Canuck
    From much better authorities than me — I'll dig up links when I'm back home at my computer and post.

    Before I do, for the record, are you suggesting the FAA and TC didn't stop PPL spin training, shutting down an engine during multi training, etc because of the high fatality rates during training?
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2021
  5. David Megginson

    David Megginson Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2018
    Messages:
    2,186
    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada

    Display name:
    Canuck
    True, but what they used for comparison (in Canada's case) was the number of spin accidents that started at a high enough altitude for recovery, and that number was negligible compared to the number of training fatalities (this from memory).

    Forum members will also remember the Richard Collins article decades ago demonstrating that twins (then) had a higher fatal accident rate than singles, which resulted in much higher insurance rates for twins in the years that followed.

    It turned out that most of the difference was accounted for by fatal training accidents, when the instructor or examiner actually shut down an engine to simulate the emergency they were trying to teach students to recover from.

    Once that misguided practice ended — and twin pilots got more serious about recurrent training — the fatality rate for twins came down to basically the same as for high performance singles.