Engine Failure in a Cessna – 172: Whatever You Do, Don’t Panic

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Home / Engine Failure in a Cessna – 172: Whatever You Do, Don’t Panic

The Cessna – 172 is a high wing aircraft – the high wings make it more stable. Photo Credit: Jmiguel Rodriguez.

If you’re in a Cessna – 172 (a single-engine plane) and that one lone engine fails, what do you do? First and foremost, don’t panic – just focus on getting to the ground in one piece.

A single-engine, high-wing light aircraft such as the Cessna – 172, is more than capable of gliding to safety. If you have a smooth enough terrain in reach of your glide distance, you can land safely, and in one piece – but only if you keep your wits about you.

Most trainee pilots, in their initial hours of flight training, make a critical mistake during simulated engine failures in a Cessna – 172 – they start trying to figure out the cause of engine failure, what might have gone wrong, and how to restart the engine. This is another example of exactly what NOT to do in the event of an engine failure in real life.

So if you aren’t supposed to panic, and you’re not supposed to try to fix the problem, what should you be doing in the case of an engine failure? Your primary response to an engine failure in a single-engine plane must be to maintain control of the aircraft. Secondarily to that, you should ensure a maximum flight time in air at the expense of available altitude and airspeed. All efforts to determine the cause and to restart the engine should be a distant third place to the above two.

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