Home > VansAirForceForums

-Advertise in here!
- Today's Posts | Insert Pics

Keep VAF Going
Donate methods

Point your
camera app here
to donate fast.

Go Back   VAF Forums > Main > Safety
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 11-27-2021, 01:31 PM
smokyray's Avatar
smokyray smokyray is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: TX32
Posts: 1,968
Default My turn...

Originally Posted by jrs14855 View Post
There are people who discuss the turnback as a 90/270 turn. Charlie Precourt in Sport Aviation series on the subject states a minimum of 190 to 210 degrees of turn. The 90/270 has no place in this discussion UNLESS very unusual high terrain or obstruction is involved almost at the departure end of the runway.
There are exceptions.
Many moons ago during my RV4 test period I experienced a significant (90%) power loss just after takeoff from a 2200' grass strip with 50' pine trees at the end. My RV4 takeoff technique was similar to the F16 where we accelerate (rather quickly) in ground effect followed by a steep climb at best rate to cruise altitude.
My RV4 power loss occurred at 200'/100 KIAS just after beginning my best rate climb clearing the departure end trees. After a nanosecond evaluation of my not so attractive options I was able to successfully perform a buttonhook turn used frequently by crop dusters where I grew up to reposition themselves for subsequent spray passes. It involves an immediate 45 degree check turn followed by a constant left slight climbing steep bank 225 degree turn back. Similarly but much quieter I was able to climb slightly while bleeding airspeed to an 80 KIAS glide about halfway thru the turn. I landed opposite direction on the grass strip I had just departed with manual flap deployment just past the (now approach end) trees stopping 3/4 down the runway, surprised onlookers notwithstanding.

Lessons learned were many even with two prior engine failures in single engine aircraft, (one in the F16 and another in a Scout). More than anything else they taught me to stay calm, take a breath and evaluate your options.
Practicing my engine failure takeoff profiles at higher altitudes previously also helped immensely. Being light on fuel with no pax was also a positive factor.

Like all the old instructors said, when something bad happens, fly (not stall) the airplane!


Last edited by smokyray : 11-27-2021 at 02:12 PM.
Reply With Quote
Old 11-27-2021, 02:33 PM
jrs14855 jrs14855 is offline
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Lake Havasu City AZ
Posts: 2,647
Default Misc

You bring up some good points. Watching Bob Hoover in the Shrike with both engines shut down was my recurrent in energy management. I tend to go to 130 knots in a shallow climb for cooling. If the engine quits while I am in the shallow climb I will continue to climb until approaching my personal maneuvering speed of 90 knots. Then I will lower the nose as necessary. While that is taking place I will turn as appropriate.
A Long time ago in the Pitts S1S I was getting ready to start an airshow(air start). I was approaching about the 1000' mark of the single runway at a 90 degree angle, at treetop height and Vne, which is 203 statute in the S1S. Close to the runway the engine suddenly shook violently and I pulled up to about 500 AGL with throttle at idle. Rolled into a steep left turn that continued to short final. Made the runway with room to spare. Somewhere in the process I switched mags and the engine ran normally but I elected to leave the power at idle. 3000' runway, a right turn and slow to land would not have worked.
I get to watch the ag pilots frequently, I am based on a ag airport. Their turnarounds appear to often be banked 60 degrees or a bit more.
For those who feel a 45 degree bank close to ground is suicidal perhaps they should choose another hobby.
I have a vague recollection from half a century ago of practicing turn arounds in the Wittman Tailwind from 300 AGL. I had just over 300 hours total flight experience. Did I practice first at a safe altitude? Of course not.
Reply With Quote
Old 11-27-2021, 02:38 PM
jrs14855 jrs14855 is offline
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Lake Havasu City AZ
Posts: 2,647
Default Turnbacks

First three items on the engine failure checklist:
1 Fly the airplane
2. Fly the airplane
3.Fly the airplane
Reply With Quote
Old 11-27-2021, 02:54 PM
jrs14855 jrs14855 is offline
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Lake Havasu City AZ
Posts: 2,647
Default Bad Outcome

On Sep 12, a new hangar neighbor who I had not met took off from the AG strip to go to another airport for fuel. On takeoff after fueling, 8000' runway with additional overruns ADSB shows the airplane losing speed at around 100' AGL, with significant runway remaining. A turn to the right with and then a continuously steepening left bank back toward the runway, bank angle increased to 90 degrees and the airplane crashed wingtip first and burned. Pilot was by himself an was killed.
The most bothersome thing is that he had plenty of runway to land straight ahead. He might have gotten stopped or he might have gone thru the fence.
Cessna 177RG, there was no hope of making the turnaround. There was also a recent history of engine problems that the pilot was working on.
Camshaft and lifters trashed and broken rings in two cylinders. 600 plus hours since cam was replaced, but it appears the airplane then was inactive until the accident pilot purchased it.
Detailed preliminary report on Kathryns, Sep 12.
Reply With Quote
Old 11-27-2021, 03:03 PM
skylor's Avatar
skylor skylor is offline
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Southern California
Posts: 1,023
Default Weight and Turn Back

Originally Posted by Jab View Post
Interesting discussion and there may be some misconceptions. All things being equal, weight is not going to change the glide distance. You may have to change speed to compensate for a heavier aircraft and you wonít have as much time to figure things out, but you will end up at the same place on the ground. Wind will play an effect on this too but donít think you can glide farther just because youíre light.
While this is true, this is another area for a potentially fatal misunderstanding when applied to the engine-out turn back. While increased weight will not affect best glide distance, it WILL increase the altitude required to make a successful engine out turn-back. This is due to the increased glide speed and stall speed which both work against you to increase turn radius thus increasing the distance flown in the turn.

Reply With Quote
Old 11-27-2021, 03:28 PM
smokyray's Avatar
smokyray smokyray is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: TX32
Posts: 1,968
Default Well said...

Originally Posted by jrs14855 View Post
For those who feel a 45 degree bank close to ground is suicidal perhaps they should choose another hobby.

Reply With Quote
Old 11-27-2021, 04:07 PM
KRviator's Avatar
KRviator KRviator is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Sydney, Aust.
Posts: 849

Here's one that popped up in my FB feed from only a few days ago.

What looks to be a -210 on a post-overhaul break in flight certainly broke something, suffering a catastrophic engine failure very shortly after takeoff. Fortunately the runway layout allowed a safe return - no report on the condition of the pilots seat cushions though.
Once you have tasted flight you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return - Leonardo DaVinci

My Flickr gallery:

RV-9A - Finished on 10th February 2016 after 4 years, 9 months and 19 days! The 1020th RV-9 flying.

First flight 26th March 2016. Essential specs 145KTAS @ 2400RPM, 8000', 24.2LPH, Initial RoC 1800FPM.
Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2021, 09:44 AM
Vac Vac is offline
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Niceville, Florida
Posts: 491
Default Degrees of turn required for turnback depends...

...on the distance from the end of the runway the turnback maneuver begins. If it's within 5 turn radii, it will take some extra maneuvering (degrees of turn) to align with the runway:

For a sense of scale, this runway is 3000 feet long and begins just inside the picture.

The turn reverse to align with the runway requires a relatively healthy "unload" (reduction in AOA) to avoid a stall.

It would also be practical to turn less, overfly the hangers on the north side of the runway (bottom of the picture) and touchdown further down the runway, provided sufficient runway was available for stopping. The landing roll could be shortened with an intentional ground loop.

Fly safe,

Mike Vaccaro
RV-4 2112
Niceville, Florida
Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2021, 12:14 PM
PhatRV PhatRV is offline
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Buena Park, California
Posts: 620

Originally Posted by Vac View Post

The Navy teaches its officer this turn maneuver when retrieving man overboard. The goal is to have the ship returning 180deg back to its previous wake in the middle of the ocean absent of any reference point from land, or GPS.
RV8 standard build: Empennage 99% completed
Wing -- Closed
Fuselage -- Canopy Done. Fiberglass 80%
Avionics Installation -- 90%
Firewall Forward -- Cowl completed. Baffle 90%
Electrical -- 90%

Donation paid through 2022
Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2021, 01:17 PM
swjohnsey swjohnsey is offline
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Kingsville, TX
Posts: 398

If you allow your airplane to drift downwind off the centerline after landing isn't an option, a turnback into the wind will bring you back much closer to being aligned with the runway. I make it a part of take-briefing, turn back altitude, which way and where landing is no longer an option.
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:15 PM.

The VAFForums come to you courtesy Delta Romeo, LLC. By viewing and participating in them you agree to build your plane using standardized methods and practices and to fly it safely and in accordance with the laws governing the country you are located in.