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all around you as you join a circuit for landing – dozens of situations which another few hundred hours might teach you to anticipate. K. was very good, but he was becoming a shade over-confident and it seemed sensible just to show him that he was not quite as clever as he might be beginning to think he was. There was a technique which I found useful in these circumstances, and that involved demonstrating a manoeuvre and asking the pupil to repeat it – which is what all instructing was about – knowing that he would fail and, as a consequence, begin to think he was not quite as good as he had imagined. This was not a matter of demonstrating the perfect slow roll and expecting the pupil just being introduced to that exercise to be able to do it as perfectly – though Hanzl might have done just that! It had to be something that the pupil could and should be able to do without difficulty. My ploy was to demonstrate a forced landing due to engine failure. The


instructor’s patter went like this: ‘Now, when flying cross-country, the sensible pilot of a single-engined aircraft should have two things in mind. He should try to have in mind the wind direction, and use his eyes to pick up indicators of this, like smoking chimneys or the wave pattern on water. Secondly, he must at all times have in view a field or piece of ground which he can reach and which would be suitable for landing his aircraft if his engine fails. Pick out a field ahead, keep it in view and in mind whilst you can still reach it, then pick another field ahead, and so on.’


The demonstration started with the aircraft at an altitude of about 2,000ft. The instructor would have used the patter and agreed with the pupil that such- and- such a field (or open space) was within reach and suitable. Then he would close the throttle and continue with the patter and the exercise. This consisted first of all of converting surplus airspeed – the margin by which your cruising speed was in excess of correct gliding speed – into extra height, for any extra height gave you more time to plan and manoeuvre. This was accompanied by a quick check of the instruments, switches and so on to see if there was an obvious explanation for the engine failure. If there was none, then it was essential to concentrate on getting the aircraft into a position on the leeward side of the chosen field from which a normal cross-wind to 500ft and then into-wind final approach could be made, aiming about one third of the available landing space into the field to avoid the possibility of undershooting and failing to clear the near boundary. Overshooting could always be corrected by side-slipping off surplus height, but undershooting, as the horrible M1 disaster all too sadly showed, can be fatal. With the engine throttled back and instrument checks thus made, the pilot had then to concentrate on descending in a series of gliding turns, losing height at the aircraft’s correct gliding speed, which in the Harvard was, from memory, about 75 mph., aiming for that position from which the normal final approach could be comfortably made.


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