Thought Processes

LFE said:  "My instructor tells me you should always be scouting for potential forced landing sites, where the hell do you put it down in the mountains?"
Here's my take on what I think the correct answer might be.  Since I am not an instructor I strongly encourage student pilots reading this to discuss anything they read here with their instructor and get their opinion on it.
Here's the scenario:  You are flying up a valley in mountainous terrain and your engine fails.

Here's some points to consider:
  1. You must land somewhere in this valley unless you can get your engine going again.
  2. The list of potential landing sites is limited by the amount of space you have to fly in and the height you have to play with.
  3. You didn't get to choose the place the engine quit but you sure as heck get to choose where you will land.
  4. Within that list of potential landing sites below you will be the best place to land.  It is ALWAYS there, it is your responsibility to find it and accurately put your aircraft on it.
So what is the most suitable place to land in a heavily wooded mountainous valley?  It will depend on what you have to work with.  It could be a riverbed, a mountain trail, a small clearing, a road (if you are really lucky), or simply an area where the trees are not as dense as the surrounding forest.  Everything is relative.

I read this gem of a quote somewhere regarding pilots responsibilities during forced landings, "Fly it until you cannot fly it any more, only then have you done enough."  Until all aircraft have ejector seats or ballistic parachutes this piece of sagely advice rings true, for me at least. 


Rodney said…
A piece of sagely advice I heard many years ago went something like this:

"Never give up. No matter what goes wrong, no matter what stops working, no matter how bad it looks. No matter if nothing you've tried seems to be helping. Never, never, never ever give up. When you give up, you (and your passengers) will die. When you keep trying, you always have a chance"

OK, a bit morbid, but still. Anyway, as for your post - I'd be looking seriously at the bottom of the valley - gives you max glide time and there's probably something (relatively) flat down there somewhere. Nice post!