It’s the rare pilot who has actually had to make an emergency landing with an aircraft. However, all good pilots are constantly thinking about “what if …” Your flight instructor will help you develop this mindset. In fact, once you’re comfortable with flying, your instructor might reach over, pull the throttle back and say something like: “You just lost your engine. Where are you going to land?”
The first time it happens you might not have a good answer. The second time it happens you’d better have one. The most common reason why aircraft quit flying is the same reason cars block rush-hour traffic: They run out of gas! And, just as there are no gas stations in the middle of the freeway, there are none in the clouds, either. So the best way to prepare for an emergency is to make sure you’ve done everything to prevent it. Use your pre-flight checklist!
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Remember that your instructor isn’t there just to ask tough questions. He or she is there to teach you to fly safely. That means you can ask the instructor the same question: “I just lost my engine. Where am I going to land—and why?” Your instructor will probably tell you, above all, “No matter what happens, keep flying the aircraft.” You’ll quickly learn about maintaining control, analyzing wind direction and speed, setting up a glide, attempting to resolve the emergency, and other important factors. In fact, your plane’s operating handbook might even have a checklist for logically handling in-flight emergencies.
"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore."
-- Andre Gide