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#84092 - 06/26/12 11:06 PM Impossible Turn
TheSRQPilot Offline
Pilot in Command

Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 405
Loc: Florida
There is a lot to consider if your engine quits on takeoff with no runway remaining. Altitude, speed, winds, is there an intersecting runway, and other things. I know there might be a lot of controversy or different opinions on the "impossible turn" subject and I was wondering what you guys think. I asked my instructor and he thought 1,000 feet was the minimum to make the 220 (or whatever it was) degree turn back to the runway in normal conditions. Let me know what you guys think smile
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#84094 - 06/26/12 11:18 PM Re: Impossible Turn [Re: TheSRQPilot]
California Flyer Offline
Diamond Pilot

Registered: 10/21/09
Posts: 6199
Loc: Groveland, California
I'll give you an imprecise answer - it all depends. It depends on the conditions and it depends on your skill level, among other factors.

One exercise my CFI and I did that I found to be very helpful was this: we went to a very quiet airport and took off, climbed to some altitude (well above 1000'), then pulled power and turned back to try to land. We kept doing this at lower and lower altitudes until it was clear that I wouldn't be able to return to the the runway safely. It really reinforced the idea that it is safer to land ahead of you than to make that impossible turn. You might see if your instructor would be up for doing something similar.
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#84096 - 06/26/12 11:43 PM Re: Impossible Turn [Re: California Flyer]
TheSRQPilot Offline
Pilot in Command

Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 405
Loc: Florida
I was thinking going out to a practice area and start at 1500 feet then go into a climb and when reaching 2500 cut the power wait for a 4 second delay and try to make a descending a 220 degree turn at best glide speed and see how much altitude I lose. Thanks for the reply I'll have to ask him
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#84097 - 06/27/12 12:16 AM Re: Impossible Turn [Re: TheSRQPilot]
Ward Holbrook Offline
Gold Pilot

Registered: 03/26/10
Posts: 2436
Loc: Kaysville, Utah
Oops, I saw what you posted while I was composing your reply. I agree 100% with your plan.

The next time you go up you can get some idea of how much altitude you'd need to make the turn. It's simple to do...
1. After climbing up to altitude, establish yourself in a Vy climb over a road or some other simulated runway.
2. To make it easy to calculate how much altitude you've lost, simulate your engine failure (don't forget the carb heat) as you're passing through a hard altitude.
3. To simulate the "surprise factor" wait 3 to 5 seconds ("one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three...") before reacting in any way, then lower the nose, establish glide speed and start the turn. (You should always make the initial turn onto the wind to minimize the "down wind drift" that you will have to compensate for.)
4. Remember, it's going to require more than one 180 degree turn. It will actually be more like an initial 210 degree turn followed by an immediate 30 degree turn back around to line up with the runway.
5. Once you've got yourself reestablished and stabilized over the road or other landmark that you used to simulate the runway, make note of your altitude.

I believe that you'll use up more altitude than most guys expect. Sure it can be done, but there are so many ways to muff it up. That's why your best option frequently is to limit your turns to 45 degrees left or right and simple take what you get.



Edited by Ward Holbrook (06/27/12 12:22 AM)

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#84100 - 06/27/12 12:22 AM Re: Impossible Turn [Re: Ward Holbrook]
TheSRQPilot Offline
Pilot in Command

Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 405
Loc: Florida
Thank you that is what I was exactly looking for. Should the turn not exceed 45 degrees of bank because your more likely to stall in a turn and lose more altitude?
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#84102 - 06/27/12 12:42 AM Re: Impossible Turn [Re: Ward Holbrook]
elliot172 Offline
Bronze Pilot

Registered: 08/07/11
Posts: 608
Loc: Trinidad,co
Another idea to learn about the impossible turn without spending money is to use Microsoft Flight Simulator. I attempted the impossible turns about 10 times on the simulator with different wind conditions and altitudes. Not good results at all below 1000 feet. My general rule of thumb is if I am below 1000 feet I will go for the nearest stretch of terrain I can set my bird down on be it road, field, trees ( hopefully not big pines) parking lot, river, pond. If I have to bend it or break parts off of it, so be it. I am more then willing to sacrifice any plane in order for the occupants to survive. To be realistic, if you lose power on climbout you will have seconds to deceide on what you are going to do. Is it good to think about what you are going to do, of course, but as we all know a matter of a few feet further down a runway or lower in altitude and the best laid planes are history. My instructor used to say when all else fails, fly the plane. The plane in a forced landing is a survival tool.

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#84104 - 06/27/12 01:03 AM Re: Impossible Turn [Re: elliot172]
TheSRQPilot Offline
Pilot in Command

Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 405
Loc: Florida
Thanks good idea I know a guy who works for a flight school who can get me in a Redbird FMX C172 G1000 full motion simulator (The One Below) Thanks I didn't even think about that till now. I always think about an engine failure during takeoff and transitioning into a cruise. If anything ever happened I try to drill it into my head, Fly first, Communicate Second. I like it better than Aviate, Navigate, & Communicate. We have coastline close to the airport but then my next thing to think about is what if the beach is crowded, do I go for the water and sacrifice my safety and the plane by going for the water? Or possibly hit an innocent person on the beach. So many scenarios...

Red Bird FMX
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#84117 - 06/27/12 06:59 AM Re: Impossible Turn [Re: TheSRQPilot]
Rusty Rudder Offline
Diamond Pilot

Registered: 02/26/10
Posts: 8363
Loc: Fair Haven New York
Everybody has probably already seen this video, but, here it is again, real life impossible turn.

http://flash.aopa.org/asf/pilotstories/impossibleturn/

Note what he says in the beggining, "dont try this at home"....
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#84119 - 06/27/12 07:14 AM Re: Impossible Turn [Re: Rusty Rudder]
TheSRQPilot Offline
Pilot in Command

Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 405
Loc: Florida
This is where I first heard of it. I think it's really cool somebody recorded it
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#84122 - 06/27/12 07:39 AM Re: Impossible Turn [Re: TheSRQPilot]
vettdvr Offline
Club Sponsor
Diamond Pilot

Registered: 06/24/10
Posts: 7724
Loc: Slidell La
I have been practicing this turn now for about 18 months. Power failure turn into the wind for sure. I use 270 degrees for my amount of turn. I immediately roll in up to 45 bank and hold THEN pull elev. This way the energy is used to bring the nose around quickly holding AS at 70 knots. I found if you let the nose drop too far and try to pull back up speed will drop like a stone trying to generate power lift.

What turns is aileron then elevator. I have to be quick on both. My practice takes about 330 or so ft of altitude for the turn at 70 knots.

Remember your GW , temps, winds may be different.

The reaction time AND how quickly you roll in make big differences.
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Vettdvr

Single/Multi/instrument/type/commercial But then I am still learning.

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#84124 - 06/27/12 08:22 AM Re: Impossible Turn [Re: vettdvr]
TheSRQPilot Offline
Pilot in Command

Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 405
Loc: Florida
It seems like you got this down pat, I'll try that technique in the flight simulator but I doubt it will simulate that. I think I'm going to do it in real life next time I get out the pattern :P

I didn't think it could be done in 330ft, sounds like you have it down to perfection
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#84155 - 06/27/12 11:39 AM Re: Impossible Turn [Re: TheSRQPilot]
elliot172 Offline
Bronze Pilot

Registered: 08/07/11
Posts: 608
Loc: Trinidad,co
Just remember vettdvr has a lot of military flight time and training. The trick with "the impossible turn" is that yes it is possible at times to make it, if the stars are in alignment and you have your tongue sticking out of your mouth just right. The problem with the maneuver is that just like takeoffs and landings, every time will be different. For instance most of us takeoff into a headwind or a front quartering headwind. You lose your engine and are at 500 feet just over the threshold, your airspeed was at 65 and you were in a climb attitude, your losing airspeed quick, your not going to establish best glide speed, you have 1 minute to impact with the ground, but instead of trying to find a spot and put the plane down while you have control you opt for the impossible turn. You drop your nose, enter into a 45 degree bank, and pull on the yoke to increase the rate of turn, congratulations you just increased your decent to 800 feet per minute. You now have less then 30 seconds to impact. You are turning your tail to the wind, using all the rudder available, you are losing lift from the wind and getting blown around further off centerline of the runway. Noticing your decent rate you pull back on the yoke harder you are about to stall!!!! You now have 8 seconds to impact. Your stall warning horn is blaring, the plane is buffetting your 15 degrees from the runway, 100 feet from the ground, if you can just maintain your airspeed and altitude you can make it. You try to level the wings but realize you are stalled with no airspeed and are about to enter a spin. The last thing You see is the runway numbers as your plane plummets out of the sky, uncontrolled, you open your mouth to scream.

OK so I have a vivid imagination but I hope you get the idea. When it comes to it. You are the Pilot, you need to make the decision on what you are going to do. I like living to much to end up like the pilot in my story. If I am below a certain attitude I will not try a maneuver in a emergency situation that is a low chance of success if I can avoid it. Sure if you are 800 to 1000 feet and know you are capable of making it and are in the proper position then go for it, but don't try something foolish in an emergency, that is how you get killed.

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#84166 - 06/27/12 12:27 PM Re: Impossible Turn [Re: elliot172]
KevinMcP Offline
Gold Pilot

Registered: 08/13/10
Posts: 1665
Loc: Dothan, Al
Excellent points elliot172!! (and I don't mean to appear surprized you came up with them wink ).

I don't see this ending well in most cases. I don't know how the Airfarce trains the impossible turn. I always thought they were more of the "Below 10,000'- Eject" type pilots. I don't teach it. It is all fun "precision flying" practice and makes for good discussion. I am not sure an unplanned, low altitude, high G, steep turn, downwind, hoping for the runway, is the thing to do. But, you go ahead. I'll be the guy opening the door, shutting off the fuel and crashing slowly straight ahead. That is unless I am climbing out on the other engine or doing an autorotation. Depends on the day.
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"A smart man learns from his mistakes. A wise man learns from the mistakes of others" -Anonymous

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#84169 - 06/27/12 01:06 PM Re: Impossible Turn [Re: KevinMcP]
Dr Nick Offline
Bronze Pilot

Registered: 04/27/11
Posts: 721
Loc: Nebraska
This is why I climb as much as I can as fast as I can once off the ground. The more space between me and the ground the more time I have to think.
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Life is tough, I got your back!

1969 C~172K N79105

http://www.linnchiro.com


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#84186 - 06/27/12 03:24 PM Re: Impossible Turn [Re: TheSRQPilot]
Ward Holbrook Offline
Gold Pilot

Registered: 03/26/10
Posts: 2436
Loc: Kaysville, Utah
Originally Posted By: TheSRQPilot
Thank you that is what I was exactly looking for. Should the turn not exceed 45 degrees of bank because your more likely to stall in a turn and lose more altitude?

I was referring to a heading change of no more than 45 degrees left or right of the runway heading - something that is easy to do and hopefully will provide you with an acceptable landing option. A successful off-field landing under these conditions is when everyone gets to walk away. If you double the speed, you multiply the kinetic energy four times. The survivability of a crash is a function of how quickly the kinetic energy is dissipated. So if the airplane is able to fly again that's a bonus - that's why you buy hull insurance.

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#84187 - 06/27/12 03:51 PM Re: Impossible Turn [Re: Ward Holbrook]
Ward Holbrook Offline
Gold Pilot

Registered: 03/26/10
Posts: 2436
Loc: Kaysville, Utah
I'm not sure how much credence I'd put in any data derived from MS Flight Simulator.

Personally, I don't preach the "180 Degree Turn" as a viable option in an engine failure after takeoff scenario. I take the student up and do the demo that I described. In order for it to work you have to be in a pretty narrow window. If you're outside of that window things likely won't go too well for you.

My only engine failure right after takeoff occurred in a Mooney M20C at LAS. (It was back before they added the new parallel runways.) I was departing off of RW19 when the engine quit. I simply made a right turn and landed on RW7. I told the tower if the runway was occupied I would take the parallel taxiway. An airliner had been cleared for takeoff on RW25, but they heard what was happening and held short for me. It was no big deal, but attempting a 180 degree turn would have been a big mistake.

I had a friend who was killed trying to make it back to an airport after an engine failure in his homebuilt. He overflew more than one suitable field, but I'm sure he was trying to save the airplane. Screw the airplane, your butt is more important.

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#84192 - 06/27/12 04:50 PM Re: Impossible Turn [Re: Ward Holbrook]
Nintendo Pilot Offline
Gold Pilot

Registered: 05/22/11
Posts: 1744
Loc: Utah
I think the engine out on takeoff scenario is something that worries me the most. At KPVU, taking off from rwy 13 or 31 puts you over water. I'll have to study carefully what is available to me in the way of fields to the east and northeast. A lot of it is marsh. My options are not as good as I'd like.
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Prior C172 owner, now 1963 Beechcraft Bonanza P35, (N9673Y)
Alan C.
PP-ASEL

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#84198 - 06/27/12 05:46 PM Re: Impossible Turn [Re: Nintendo Pilot]
Russ Offline
Safety Pilot

Registered: 05/19/10
Posts: 85
Loc: New Fairfield, CT
I used all the tips in the AOPA article and made my turn with a 400' loss. My thought is 600' to 700' feet is my number, and at least 400' of that has to be before I cross the end of the runway. Of course if there is a straight ahead option I would choose that. My home base doesn't offer good options if you can't turn. I know I need to practice this turn often to have a chance of it having a happy ending.

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#84214 - 06/27/12 08:42 PM Re: Impossible Turn [Re: Russ]
Ward Holbrook Offline
Gold Pilot

Registered: 03/26/10
Posts: 2436
Loc: Kaysville, Utah

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#84215 - 06/27/12 08:43 PM Re: Impossible Turn [Re: Russ]
TheSRQPilot Offline
Pilot in Command

Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 405
Loc: Florida
Thanks guys I just read all of these and I see this is a very dangerous maneuver (which I understood before). I watched seen a video where an aircraft attempted the impossible turn, unfortunately went into a spin and crashed. Once again thank you, I'm going to do my best and remember them all when I go to preform practice impossible turns next time I get out to the practice area.
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#84257 - 06/28/12 07:13 AM Re: Impossible Turn [Re: TheSRQPilot]
vettdvr Offline
Club Sponsor
Diamond Pilot

Registered: 06/24/10
Posts: 7724
Loc: Slidell La
My home base on rw 36 is nothing but tall pines for about 2 to 3 miles. What I do for practice is immediately start bank and not let the rate of descent build but it is a bit like working on a Swiss watch. The first few times I tried it I lost 550 ft in the turn. Practice practice.

Yes I have lost and engine 1976 in a Cherokee on take off (3 people on board). Not total failure but about 60% loss of power and in a very slight descent the stall horn was going off. My 1st thought was to make a right turn and land on the cross runway. But I thought stall spin because of such low airspeed. I continued straight ahead with pine tress coming fast. I was fresh out of USAF and had been test flying USAF aircraft. I went through in my mind all possible issues and checked performance gauges. I went 1st to the mag switch. I switched off L mag no change, then R mag and the engine cleared up and hit on all cylinders. Investigation in the engine showed the right mag had internal cross over flashing causing the misfire. Fortunately I was quick enough to go to the mag vs other items. Most people would assume land straight ahead as Cessna has in procedure for engine failure after take off. My combat training was to keep it flying 1st. I read a couple months ago that 95% of mag failures on take off are mis-disdiagnosed. So TIP engine missing badly on take off not enough power to climb. Think about the mags.
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Vettdvr

Single/Multi/instrument/type/commercial But then I am still learning.

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#84277 - 06/28/12 11:07 AM Re: Impossible Turn [Re: vettdvr]
TheSRQPilot Offline
Pilot in Command

Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 405
Loc: Florida
What you just told me could potentially save my life in the event that an engine fails in the future. To be honest I don't know (most likely not) if I would have thought of that. I'm going to make a special note of it. Thank you for sharing
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YouTube: http://YouTube.com/TheSRQPilot

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#84293 - 06/28/12 03:00 PM Re: Impossible Turn [Re: TheSRQPilot]
Ward Holbrook Offline
Gold Pilot

Registered: 03/26/10
Posts: 2436
Loc: Kaysville, Utah
I had a similar experience to Vettdvr's a few years back. Alan (Nintendo Pilot) will probably know the airport - BMC (Brigham City Utah). I had a mag failure right after takeoff, towing a glider. Because of the terrain (marsh, wetland) that we were over just off the end of RW34, I didn't want to cut the glider loose. It was a hot summer afternoon (high density altitude) and we were quite heavy. I was towing a 2-seat Blanik L-13. We weren't climbing very fast to begin with and it took a little while to climb up to 400' agl to start the crosswind turn. By the time I was high enough to start the turn we we're out over the marsh and too far out for the Blanick to make a 180 degree turn back to the airport. Suddenly, the engine started to run really rough. I switched mags and was able to restore some power, but running on one mag, there was no climb to be had. The stall horn was chirping and I told the guys in the glider to stay in position and I would try to bring them back over the airport to release. It took a very long shallow turn at about 400 feet, but we finally got them into a position where they could make a safe landing after cutting loose. Once the glider was off, I was able to climb up to pattern altitude and come around and land. The lesson to be learned in all of this is to always be aware of what's going on. If your engine starts to run rough, what could be causing it? Bad mag? Carb ice? Improper mixture? Whatever? The first rule is to always "AVIATE" in other words fly the airplane. Be aware of your surroundings and make as many decisions as you can before you fly. Having the "luxury" of being able to take all the time in the world to decide what you'd do IF the engine were to fail on you on this particular takeoff is much better than trying to make a snap decision immediately after it quit on you.

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#84296 - 06/28/12 03:42 PM Re: Impossible Turn [Re: TheSRQPilot]
vettdvr Offline
Club Sponsor
Diamond Pilot

Registered: 06/24/10
Posts: 7724
Loc: Slidell La
Originally Posted By: TheSRQPilot
What you just told me could potentially save my life in the event that an engine fails in the future. To be honest I don't know (most likely not) if I would have thought of that. I'm going to make a special note of it. Thank you for sharing

You're most welocme. That is why I cover it. May sound like stoy telling but if i saves you someday it will have been worth listening to another of my war stories.



Edited by vettdvr (06/28/12 03:52 PM)
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Vettdvr

Single/Multi/instrument/type/commercial But then I am still learning.

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#84309 - 06/28/12 07:53 PM Re: Impossible Turn [Re: vettdvr]
TheSRQPilot Offline
Pilot in Command

Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 405
Loc: Florida
To be honest I love listening to other peoples stories, I'm always up for advice because I never know when I might need it, their's usually a moral to every story and a leaning experience. I like to read Aesop's fables because the morals are great and still relevant for a book written thousands of years ago. Once again thanks for the tip smile


Edited by TheSRQPilot (06/28/12 07:55 PM)
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