Training and Safety
Landsberg tells how to handle emergencies above cities
Bruce Landsberg, president of the AOPA Air Safety Foundation, told New England pilots taking off from large urban areas to “get altitude as quickly as possible” during a speech to the Aero Club of New England. The club each year sponsors a “crash course” and has invited Landsberg to be the keynote speaker for more than a decade.
“We discussed the ‘impossible turn,’ the effort by some pilots to turn back to the runway shortly after departure, and how it is important to be spring-loaded for emergency situations when over large urban areas,” Landsberg said.
“There is little difference between flight over the Grand Canyon and the canyons of Manhattan. Both benefit from modifying flight routes to minimize exposure to that sort of area,” he said. He also discussed the difference between abnormal situations and emergencies. For example, a landing gear malfunction or an open door is a potential problem, not an emergency. The solution is to get some altitude, get stable, and trouble shoot.
So where do you land when the only choice is an urban area? Landsberg recalled Bob Hoover’s advice to, “Fly the thing as far into the crash as possible.” Avoiding the sudden stop is what’s essential to survival.
March 12, 2009