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Home > Flying the Plane > Feedback: Dead-stick Glide Landing
Feedback: Dead-stick Glide Landing
Flying - Flying the Plane
Wednesday, 19 September 2012 14:58

US Airways Flight 1549 Hudson River Crash
Dear Capt Lim,

I enjoyed reading your articles featured in the August and September issues of Air Asia's in-flight magazine. I don't have any questions, but perhaps a correction and a suggestion.

In the September article, you mentioned that the term "dead-stick landing" was coined in reference to the old wooden propellers of planes. I have always understood this term to refer to the yoke of the plane, which in older propeller-driven aircraft was a "stick", as in the term "stick and rudder".

Later in the article, on handling a dead-stick landing you mentioned that "Unlike a normal powered landing, a Dead-Stick landing requires skills and good judgement." But don't ALL landings require skills and good judgement?

Perhaps using a modifier such as "more than the usual", "increased vigilance", or something like that would be more precise. After all, there is no option for a go-around, right?

Just some thoughts


Hi William,

Thank you for the feedback and for reading the articles in Pilot’s Perspective (Travel 3Sixty magazine here). My research tells me that ‘dead stick’ dates as far back as to the First World War when propellers of military planes were made of wood. Hence the slang of that day was that if the ‘stick’ was not turning on the propellers, it was called the ‘dead stick’. You can Google this at Wikipedia for the most accurate meaning of this term.

You are right; handling a dead-stick landing require more skills than usual as I mentioned in my article that “An error in selecting the flaps or landing gears prior to touch down is generally irrecoverable and the plane will land short of the runway”

PS. To check for any latest updates or postings, you can follow my new Twitter at @CaptKHLim

Air Race Dead Stick Landing

Crazy Cessna Flight & Dead-Stick Landing


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Captain B747 400
My comments are directed to William who commented on Capt Lim's Dead stick article............

Dear William,
Good point you note on the 'more than usual' skills required to carry out 'dead stick' landings. Incidentally, Capt Lim and I go back a long way when he was my most excellent Instructor in Primary and Advanced training ]. We are both Airline pilots now............

There was a time in early training when I was terrified 's...less' whenever the Instructor threw in the good old PFL or 'Practice Forced landing' exercise. ie engine at idle and 'prove to me that you can put it down and walk away from a small....ish field'.
One day I woke up and said 'Im gonna lick this PFL thing' and set about mastering the dead stick landing on our training aircraft an ubiquitious Cessna 172. I soon learnt that Practice, Practice and more Practice produced a confident and capable pilot who can handle a dead stick landing. I learnt how to carry out consistently good dead stick landings, from which I could walk away if I had to do it for real 'some day'.
Capt Lim and I used to engage in friendly 'spot landing' exercises at the Club where we Instructed to great hilarity.

That 'some day' of the real thing has occured to me twice in my flying career over thirty years
( thankfully not on Airliners )and Im still here to talk about it. Yeah !
All pilots who have some curiousity, try to beg ther simulator Instructor to practice an 'all engine flame out.... unable to restart' exercise to test their mojos at an engine out landing on a runway. Thankfully, this can be done safely in a simulator which is like 99% of the real thing.
I have tried it on Boeing 747-400 at 250 tons landing weight and Im here to tell you that it can be done........I placed the aircraft in an initial glide at 260 knots, which produced a glide while descending at about 2000 feet per minute. We started the exercise at 10,000 feet and I carefully maneuvred and positioned myself (mojos working overtime) close to the selected airport, gingerly rolling into the finals leg on a 5 degree glide path at about four miles and lowered the flaps in stages and when I was absolutely certain of 'making it', dropped the landing gear, which took sometime and plonked it down 1500 feet from the start of the runway to stop 6000 feet later........and NO, I didnt tell the passengers !
Go out someday and take a 'familiarsiation or introductory' flight in a training aircraft at a friendly flying Club and at the end of the exercise, ask the pilot to show you a 'dead stick' landing.....just to unnerve him.
Make sure you tell him you want the plane landed on runway threshold, not in the bushes OK !
If he/she does buy them a beer !

'Real' Pilots are trained....not born !

Capt Siva
capt siva , 08 Oct, 2012
Can you tell me what dead stick landing is cause I can't find it on here
Can't find dead stick landing and it's for a class projectsmilies/shocked.gif
Jayden , 09 May, 2014

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