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Airplane Flying Handbook
Emergency Procedures

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Airplane Flying Handbook


Table of Contents

Chapter 1,Introduction to Flight Training
Chapter 2,Ground Operations
Chapter 3,Basic Flight Maneuvers
Chapter 4, Slow Flight, Stalls, and Spins
Chapter 5, Takeoff and Departure Climbs
Chapter 6, Ground Reference Maneuvers
Chapter 7, Airport Traffic Patterns
Chapter 8, Approaches and Landings
Chapter 9, Performance Maneuvers
Chapter 10, Night Operations
Chapter 11,Transition to Complex Airplanes
Chapter 12, Transition to Multiengine Airplanes
Chapter 13,Transition to Tailwheel Airplanes
Chapter 14, Transition to Turbo-propeller Powered Airplanes
Chapter 15,Transition to Jet Powered Airplanes
Chapter 16,Emergency Procedures



Emergency descent.
Figure 16-6. Emergency descent.

When the descent is established and stabilized during
training and practice, the descent should be terminated.
In airplanes with piston engines, prolonged practice of
emergency descents should be avoided to prevent
excessive cooling of the engine cylinders.


Afire in flight demands immediate and decisive action.
The pilot therefore must be familiar with the procedures
outlined to meet this emergency contained in the
AFM/POH for the particular airplane. For the purposes
of this handbook, in-flight fires are classified as: inflight
engine fires, electrical fires, and cabin fires.


An in-flight engine compartment fire is usually caused
by a failure that allows a flammable substance such as
fuel, oil or hydraulic fluid to come in contact with a hot
surface. This may be caused by a mechanical failure of
the engine itself, an engine-driven accessory, a
defective induction or exhaust system, or a broken
line. Engine compartment fires may also result from
maintenance errors, such as improperly installed/fastened
lines and/or fittings resulting in leaks.

Engine compartment fires can be indicated by smoke
and/or flames coming from the engine cowling area.
They can also be indicated by discoloration, bubbling,
and/or melting of the engine cowling skin in cases
where flames and/or smoke is not visible to the pilot.
By the time a pilot becomes aware of an in-flight
engine compartment fire, it usually is well developed.
Unless the airplane manufacturer directs otherwise in
the AFM/POH, the first step on discovering a fire
should be to shut off the fuel supply to the engine by
placing the mixture control in the idle cut off position
and the fuel selector shutoff valve to the OFF position.
The ignition switch should be left ON in order to use
up the fuel that remains in the fuel lines and components
between the fuel selector/shutoff valve and
the engine. This procedure may starve the engine
compartment of fuel and cause the fire to die naturally.
If the flames are snuffed out, no attempt should be
made to restart the engine.

If the engine compartment fire is oil-fed, as evidenced
by thick black smoke, as opposed to a fuel-fed fire
which produces bright orange flames, the pilot should
consider stopping the propeller rotation by feathering
or other means, such as (with constant-speed propellers)
placing the pitch control lever to the minimum
r.p.m. position and raising the nose to reduce airspeed
until the propeller stops rotating. This procedure will
stop an engine-driven oil (or hydraulic) pump from
continuing to pump the flammable fluid which is
feeding the fire.

Some light airplane emergency checklists direct the
pilot to shut off the electrical master switch. However,
the pilot should consider that unless the fire is electrical
in nature, or a crash landing is imminent, deactivating
the electrical system prevents the use of panel radios
for transmitting distress messages and will also cause
air traffic control (ATC) to lose transponder returns.
Pilots of powerless single-engine airplanes are left
with no choice but to make a forced landing. Pilots of
twin-engine airplanes may elect to continue the flight
to the nearest airport. However, consideration must be
given to the possibility that a wing could be seriously
impaired and lead to structural failure. Even a brief but
intense fire could cause dangerous structural damage.
In some cases, the fire could continue to burn under
the wing (or engine cowling in the case of a single engine
airplane) out of view of the pilot. Engine
compartment fires which appear to have been
extinguished have been known to rekindle with
changes in airflow pattern and airspeed.

The pilot must be familiar with the airplane's emergency
descent procedures. The pilot must bear in mind
• The airplane may be severely structurally damaged
to the point that its ability to remain under
control could be lost at any moment.
• The airplane may still be on fire and susceptible
to explosion.
• The airplane is expendable and the only thing that
matters is the safety of those on board.


The initial indication of an electrical fire is usually the
distinct odor of burning insulation. Once an electrical
fire is detected, the pilot should attempt to identify the
faulty circuit by checking circuit breakers, instruments,
avionics, and lights. If the faulty circuit cannot be readily
detected and isolated, and flight conditions permit,
the battery master switch and alternator/generator
switches should be turned off to remove the possible
source of the fire. However, any materials which have
been ignited may continue to burn.