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What makes a good field for emergency landing

I found this link on another pilots website and while it is dedicated for glider pilots it is useful for all pilots and helpful for when the instructor/examiner says "which field are you going for"


Great resource, thanks for posting


That is a really good link, although you will need to bear in mind that the timings given are for the midlands and will vary considerably from north to south. With oilseed rape I have noticed in Essex when it was brown there were large patches in Norfolk that were still in flower, a great guide though.

I still do as my instructor suggested note the colour of the varying crops as I drive to the airfield, at times it changes dramatically from week to week

Not a lot of choice where I am....just stacks of these.....ouch!


That's really interesting.

To me, a lot of those fields look similar but presumably it is the ones with brown/green patches which are best avoided?

Not sure how much brain processing power one would have when dealing with a forced landing to decide

I know of a Mooney pilot who landed in a potato field. He managed to get away with it and, after the plane was towed to another field with a tractor (and had a new engine installed) it was flown out of there.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

When I was trained in helicopters, I was given some valuable advice about choosing an off airport landing site - it applies equally well to fixed wing flying: Select a landing site as though you were selecting a member of the opposite sex. Check: Size, Surroundings, Surface, Slope, and Wind.

That said, if it is a real emergency, safely getting out of the stopped aircraft is your primary objective, so as long as it comes to a stop without hurting anyone, you did okay... But it's nice to think about minimizing damage to the aircraft if that is also possible.

Home runway, in central Ontario, Canada

Check this out: a real-world example of finding a field (EFATO):

Yeah baby!

Engine fails, insurance company owns the aircraft. FIrst and only real priority is to walk away. Obviously some crops better than others.

EGTK Oxford

Engine fails, insurance company owns the aircraft. FIrst and only real priority is to walk away.

I think that's a mistake. You have a "duty" to do a decent landing, if at all possible, because that is the only assurance of being able to walk away.

So, if faced with a decent field, I would try to do a decent landing on it, rather than do what the POH says "for an unprepared surface" which is to drive it in gear-up, creating a minimum of £30k of damage.

But then I am the owner, not a renter, and I have to renew my insurance each year.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

As am I. Walking away is the priority and of course that means a good landing which should also be good for the plane - or as good as possible.

EGTK Oxford
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