By Jerry Kelly
It happens! Your motor seems to be running better than ever, but shortly after take off the motor slows down and dies. There are two things you should program yourself to do.
1. If you are holding a little up elevator, release it immediately and the nose should drop to pick up speed. Keep the wings level and then start using elevator as you normally do for a landing.
2. Simultaneous with releasing the elevator, pull the throttle back to about 3/4 power. If your motor problem is due to a lean setting this will make the mixture a little richer. If this keeps the motor running you can try to nurse the plane around for a normal landing. Avoid steep banks at this speed!
Dead Stick landings.
As soon as you realize the your motor is dead, turn the airplane so it is coming directly at you. If you see that you can’t make it back, turn into the wind and hope. If you have enough altitude as the plane approaches, aim for the head of the runway for a normal landing.
If you are too high, make a small circle until you are low enough to enter a landing pattern.
On windy days, beware of the high-speed downwind leg. The airplane will be moving at its airspeed plus the wind speed. This gives you the feeling that you have plenty speed to make a steep bank and pull elevator for a fast turn. Sorry! You just stalled.
But whatever you do, DON’T stop flying the airplane. Your situation may look bleak, but continue to work the controls. I’ve seen too many cases where a pilot just shrugs his shoulders after an engine kills. That just guarantees a crash.