Exercise 19 - Practice Forced Approaches


AIP - Search and Rescue (SAR).

ANO V No 6 - Distress and Urgency Signals Order.

Flight Manual - Emergency Procedures.



For the student to learn how to carry out a safe forced landing following an engine failure.


Autorotations - Exercises 7, 13 and 18.


Although aircraft engines are nowadays generally reliable, failures do still occur. The lives of the pilot and his passengers are dependent on his skill and judgement should an engine failure occur.


Teaching Points

    1. Describe the immediate actions that must be taken in the event of an engine failure:
      1. enter autorotation;
      2. select a suitable landing area;
      3. select airspeed(s) and heading(s) in order to make the selected area; and
      4. land.
    2. Describe the actions that should be taken, height and other factors permitting, during a forced landing:
      1. transmit MAYDAY;
      2. identify cause of failure and cure if possible;
      3. actuate ELT (if equipped with manual control);
      4. warn passengers; and
      5. switch off electrics if fire is suspected.
    3. Stress that pilots should be aware of wind velocities at all times. It is always preferable to be into-wind on a forced approach, but a suitable landing area is a prime consideration and may well take precedence. In other words, it is better to land down-wind in an open field when the only alternative is to land in tall trees with the wind on the nose.
    4. Remind the student that turns and speeds above or below the manufacturer's recommended speed in autorotation, increase the rate of descent substantially. Straight flight at the optimum speed should therefore be achieved as early as possible in the final stages of a forced approach.
    5. Discuss the problem of ditching a helicopter and review ANO II, Number 8, the Life Saving Equipment Order.
    6. Discuss the techniques of forced landing into trees, mountainous terrain, built-up areas and flying at night.
    7. Point out that an engine failure when flying at low level over obstacles will result in a forced landing that is difficult to pull off successfully, without damage and injury. For this reason, pilots should always fly as high as the task and common sense allow.



    1. Demonstrate forced approaches from a height that will allow the full procedure to be carried out without haste (2,000 ft. AGL or above, if possible).
    2. Student practice.
    3. Demonstrate forced approaches of increasing severity from different altitudes.
    4. Student practice.


    1. This is not a procedure which can be allotted a certain time period for the course and left at that. After students are competent they should be given surprise engine failures on as many dual trips as possible. This enables students to practise the procedure regularly and will develop the judgement skills necessary to consistently make the selected area.