Today (02/19/2012) we continued with some more maneuvers and finished off with some takeoffs and landings. Tim said we would go out again to the practice area just 10 miles outside of Crystal airport and practice the maneuvers, which we did but ended up flying a little beyond the 10 miles.
Today was a much better than yesterday. It was bright and sunny with hardly any breeze and it was a little warmer too. Once I was in the practice area I did the 90 degree clearance check to the left and then 90 degrees to the right. Clearance checks are checks you make to make sure there’s no air traffic flying through as you’re practicing the maneuvers. Tim then suggested that we ought to do some emergency landing practice. We weren’t going to actually land anywhere but we were going to go through all the motions and maneuvers all the way up to landing the plane.
So Tim told me to fly up to 3,500 feet and then suddenly cut the power off i.e. the throttle. This is simulating engine failure. My first step is to get the plane in to its’ best glide speed which is about 73 mph on the Piper Warrior. The best glide speed is very important as this is the best speed to fly you maximum distance since you’re already losing altitude due to engine failure. The best glide speed reduces the rate of decent. Next step is to look for a safe place to land, and I could see an open field on my left and told Tim that’s where I’m going to land. Next step is to quickly go through the flow check I mentioned in my last post. This flow check may help me to find out what could be the cause of engine failure. For instance if I turn on the Carburetor heat, then the ice formed in the fuel venturi would melt and the plane would get more fuel and air to fly and the engine may start again. If this was the case then no need to make an emergency landing.
Next step is to enter the emergency frequency of 121.5 in to the radio and you have to shout “Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!” three times and state your location and that you’re going to make an emergency landing and all the time you’re maintaining the ideal glide speed and maneuvering the plane to land in the desired field. You also enter the code 7700 into the Transponder which is the code for General Emergency and as we approached the field then it was normal landing procedure by pulling the flaps to reduce speed to land.
We practiced a few of these and then Tim realized that we weren’t far from Princeton airport and said, “Let’s do the Emergency landing procedure there”, pointing to his left and continued, “Go through the procedure but now pretend the landing strip is the field you’re going to land in. This way, you’ll practice the emergency landing procedure and also your takeoffs and landings”. Usually there are people practicing landings in uncontrolled airports like Princeton and Buffalo but today there wasn’t anyone, and so we were able to get a few good practice maneuvers in before it was time to head for home at around 9.45 am.