CHAPTER 13. Abnormal and Emergency Procedures

Attitude and Sink Rate Control

The most critical and often the most inexcusable error that can be made in the planning and execution of an emergency landing, even in ideal terrain, is the loss of initiative over the aircraft’s attitude and sink rate at touchdown. When the touchdown is made on fl at, open terrain, an excessive noselow pitch attitude brings the risk of “sticking” the nose in the ground. Steep bank angles just before touchdown should also be avoided, as they increase the stalling speed and the likelihood of a wingtip strike.

Since the aircraft’s vertical component of velocity is immediately reduced to zero upon ground contact, it must be kept well under control. A fl at touchdown at a high sink rate (well in excess of 500 feet per minute (fpm)) on a hard surface can be injurious without destroying the fl ight deck structure depending on the design of the airframe and the shock absorbing system. On soft terrain, an excessive sink rate may cause digging in of the nose wheel with the wing and/or WSC aircraft rotating forward into the ground, stopping with severe forward deceleration or tumbling with higher speeds.

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