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Along with continuing my navigation training, my last lesson included practice forced landings over St Mary’s Marsh.

Getting a forced landing right is all about nailing the attitude, speed and distance from your touch down point which you are aiming for. My practices start at anything from 1000ft to 2000ft and more often than not, Christof my instructor doesn’t give me any warning, he covertly radios up for permission and then promptly pulls the throttle and carb heat back.

The first step is to get your speed down to 65knots which is the best glide speed for the aircraft and also fly into the wind if you have enough altitude to make the turn. At this stage, trimming the aircraft is key. The next step is to pick a field. St Mary’s Marsh has a huge array of fields so more often than not, I just pick the biggest and flattest – usually the field below us.

Whilst flying downwind I bring the field out to my left to be below the wing and I keep a constant aspect whist gradually circling and turning towards the field. If the field rises in my aspect, I know that I am losing too much height and need to tighten my turn towards the field. If it lowers, then I am too high and need to circle further.

Whilst this is happening, I run through the options to restart the engine (in theory) and having discounted them, I continue my decent.

At the point at which I know for certain I will make the field I start adding 1 –3 stages of flap in depending how confident I am on making it. 3 Stages of flap makes a huge difference to the attitude that you fly at and it feels like you are pointing right at the ground! At around this point, I make my go around and having established a positive rate of climb, I start to bring the flaps back in and re-trim. I climb back up to the required altitude and I resume my flight.

Mike

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