Deadstick landing

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A deadstick landing, also called a dead-stick landing, is a type of forced landing when an aircraft loses all of its propulsive power and is forced to land. The "stick" does not refer to the flight controls, which in most aircraft are either fully or partially functional without engine power, but to the traditional wooden propeller, which without power would just be a "dead stick".[1]

All fixed-wing aircraft have some capability to glide with no engine power; that is, they do not sink straight down like a stone, but rather continue to glide horizontally while descending. For example, with a glide ratio of 15:1, a Boeing 747-200 can glide for 150 kilometres (93 mi) from a cruising altitude of 10,000 metres (33,000 ft). After a loss of power, the pilot’s goal is to fly the descending aircraft to the most suitable landing spot within gliding distance, and then land with the least amount of damage possible. The area open for potential landing sites depends on the original altitude, local terrain, the engine-out gliding capabilities of the aircraft, original airspeed and winds at various altitudes.

The success of the deadstick landing largely depends on the availability of suitable landing areas. A competent pilot gliding a relatively light, slow plane to a flat field or runway should result in an otherwise normal landing. A heavier, faster aircraft or a plane gliding into mountains and/or trees could result in substantial damage.

With helicopters, a forced landing involves autorotation, since the helicopter glides by allowing its rotor to spin freely during the descent thus generating lift.

When a pilot makes an emergency landing of an aircraft that has some or all of its propulsive power still available, it is known as a precautionary landing. An example of such a landing occurred on April 29, 2007, at Manchester Airport in the United Kingdom, when a bird got sucked into the right engine of a Thomsonfly Boeing 757 just as it rotated off the runway.[2]

Deadstick landings of passenger aircraft[edit]

There have been several well-known instances of large jet airliners successfully executing a deadstick landing.

See also[edit]

References[edit]