CHAPTER 13. Abnormal and Emergency Procedures

Procedures for Using a BPS

In an emergency situation where ADM is used and the best outcome for the given situation is the use of a BPS, the following general procedure for properly operating the BPS is:

  • Select the proper location if still in control of the aircraft. Consider wind drift and a descent rate of 900 to 1,800 feet per minute (fpm). A minimum 500 feet above ground level (AGL) is recommended for complete deployment that is low enough to provide accurate targeting at intended area. (If below 500 feet AGL, consider this a low deployment and skip this step.)
  • Shut off the engine (this is especially important for pusher WSC).
  • Slow down and lift the wing on the side where the chute will deploy (if a side deployment and above 500 feet AGL).
  • Pull the BPS deployment handle hard and as far as it will go. This can be more than 12 inches in some situations.
  • Hold the control bar firmly with bent arms until parachute infl ates.
  • Steer the descending WSC aircraft toward best landing spot, if possible (some installations that hang from the top at the hang point center of gravity (CG) may allow some directional control).
  • Before impact, put hands in front of face and keep arms and legs in and tight to body.
  • After impact, exit aircraft immediately.

Emergency Landings

This section contains information on emergency landing techniques in WSC aircraft. The guidelines that are presented apply to the more adverse terrain conditions for which no practical training is possible. The objective is to instill in the pilot the knowledge that almost any terrain can be considered suitable for a survivable crash landing if the pilot knows how to slow and secure the WSC aircraft while using the WSC structure for protection of the pilot and passenger.

Types of Emergency Landings

The different types of emergency landings are:

  • Forced landing—an immediate landing, on or off an airport, necessitated by the inability to continue further fl ight. A typical example is an aircraft forced down by engine failure.
  • Precautionary landing—a premeditated landing, on or off an airport, when further fl ight is possible but inadvisable. Examples of conditions that may call for a precautionary landing include deteriorating weather, being lost, fuel shortage, and gradually developing engine trouble.
  • Ditching—a forced landing on water.

A precautionary landing is less hazardous than a forced landing because the pilot has more time for terrain selection and approach planning. In addition, the pilot can use power to compensate for errors in judgment or technique. The pilot should be aware that too many situations calling for a precautionary landing are allowed to develop into immediate forced landings when the pilot uses wishful thinking instead of reason, especially when dealing with a self-infl icted predicament. Trapped by weather or facing fuel exhaustion, the pilot who does not give any thought to the feasibility of a precautionary landing accepts an extremely hazardous alternative.

Psychological Hazards

There are several factors that may interfere with a pilot’s ability to act promptly and properly when faced with an emergency. These factors include reluctance to accept the emergency situation, the desire to save the aircraft, and undue concern about getting hurt.

A pilot who allows the mind to become paralyzed at the thought that the aircraft will be on the ground in a very short time, regardless of the pilot’s actions or hopes, is severely handicapped. An unconscious desire to delay the dreaded moment may lead to such errors as a delay in the selection of the most suitable landing area within reach and indecision in general. Desperate attempts to correct whatever went wrong at the expense of aircraft control fall into the same category.

The pilot who has been conditioned during training to expect to fi nd a relatively safe landing area whenever the fl ight instructor closes the throttle for a simulated forced landing may ignore all basic rules of airmanship to avoid a touchdown in terrain where aircraft damage is unavoidable. Typical consequences are making a 180° turn back to the runway when available altitude is insuffi cient, stretching the glide without regard for minimum control speed in order to reach a more appealing fi eld, or accepting an approach and touchdown situation that leaves no margin for error. The desire to save the aircraft, regardless of the risks involved, may be infl uenced by two other factors: the pilot’s fi nancial stake in the aircraft and the certainty that an undamaged aircraft implies no bodily harm. There are times, however, when a pilot should be more interested in sacrifi cing the aircraft so that the occupants can safely walk away from it.

Fear is a vital part of the self-preservation mechanism. However, when fear leads to panic, we invite that which we want most to avoid. The survival records favor pilots who maintain their composure and know how to apply the general concepts and procedures that have been developed through the years. The success of an emergency landing is as much a matter of the mind as of skills.

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