Chapter 12 — Night, Abnormal, and Emergency Procedures
Engine Failure In Flight
Never fly over something you cannot land on (considering
your altitude and glide slope) and remain
constantly aware of the surrounding terrain and hence
potential landing zones. If you adhere to these rules,
an in-flight engine failure will not directly correlate
to an accident or incident. If this happens, continue
to fly the aircraft. You simply glide it away from all
obstacles and toward the safest landing area.
The safest landing zone may perhaps be in the middle
of the flight park if you have a lot of altitude. Or, the
best landing zone may be straight ahead if you are
below 100 feet. If at all possible, set up your landing
approach so you touch down into the wind—but the
number one priority of an engine-out scenario is safe
terrain (not ground wind direction). Wind direction is
a secondary concern. Land into the wind if possible;
otherwise land downwind. Crosswind is the least favorable
wind direction to land into.
When you are about one second from touchdown, begin
applying a full flare. [Figure 12-7] With a single
1-2-3 rhythmic timing motion, push both foot steering
bars completely forward and hold that position as
the rear wheels touch the ground. You can increase
the amount of flare before landing, but you cannot
release it when you are close to the ground and without
power! Once on the ground smoothly release the
flare and pull down the canopy (since the engine is
Engine Failure in a PPCL
When planning any over-water flight, wear a life vest.
Maintain an altitude that will allow you to safely glide
to land should the engine fail. [Figure 12-8] If you
consistently fly over water, consider attaching an automatic,
inflatable device or pontoons to the bottom of
your PPC (i.e., so it becomes a PPCS with pontoons,
as opposed to a PPCL in water). Carry a line-cutter
that is easy to access, yet placed so as not to cause
additional injury upon impact. Practice emergency
procedures so you are prepared and brief your passengers
on evacuation procedures prior to any overwater
If you find yourself over water with an engine failure,
too far to glide to shore, remain strapped in so the cart
can provide some impact protection. It is possible you
will become disorientated, as the PPCL will likely flip
over when you hit the water and settle upside-down in
the water. You may become entangled in the wing and
lines as it descends upon the craft and the occupants.
Although your PPCL may float for a few minutes, it
will eventually sink. The time before sinking will depend
on the amount of fuel left, the condition of the
seals on the ends of your tubing, and the air left in
your tires after impact.
As soon as you know a water landing is inevitable,
your first step is to align your PPCL into the wind if
possible, and move as close to shore as possible.
1. Don’t panic. Use the ADM “DECIDE” method.
2. Stay seated.
3. Turn off all electronics.
4. Remove any objects that will delay your
evacuation of the aircraft prior to impact (i.e.,
communication cords, camera straps, etc.).
5. Discard any objects that may penetrate your skin
upon impact (or hit you, such as cameras).
6. Tighten your seatbelt and shoulder harnesses.
7. At approximately 2 seconds (~25 feet) above the
water, bring your head, neck, and legs in as close
to your body as possible. Place your arms along
the side of your head, with your hands over the
lower back of your head.
8. If experienced, you could execute a full flare and
a parachutal-wing stall approximately 3 seconds
(~40 feet) above the water (recommended for
PPCs with foot steering bars only).
9. Once in the water, release your seatbelt and
shoulder harness and exit the cart.
10. Help your passenger with his or her restraints.
11. Do not try to retrieve items on the aircraft or
try to save the aircraft. When surfacing, avoid
the wing and swim to the side of the PPC (if
entangled with the canopy lines, cut them with
the line cutter and work your way to the edge of
12. Swim to shore.