Skysport-UK Air Adventures

Engine Failure After Take-off

The recent crash of a Royal Air Force Red Arrows Hawk appears to have resulted from a failed attempt at a turn-back following an engine failure shortly after take-off. This article covers the aerodynamics of the turn-back and explains why it so often fails and ends in a fatal stall/spin accident. The author taught the turn-back as an RAF instructor on the Jet Provost. He has come to opinion that it is a highly dangerous technique with a low probability of success particularly for the average private pilot flying a typical light aeroplane.

This document has been prepared by Skysport-UK as information for pilots participating in the Elite Pilot programme. It does not necessarily reflect official CAA policy on flying training as laid down in the various CAA publications. © Skysport-UK 2018. All rights reserved Worldwide.

Why you should NOT try
a turn-back if you have an
Engine Failure After Take-off

Author: William Lonergan, RAF (rtd.)

Fighter Pilot, A2 QFI, IRE

William learnt to fly on the Tiger Moth in New Zealand in the late 1950s. He flew the T6 Harvard with the RNZAF before becoming a commercial pilot and flying instructor with the Southland Aero Club. He instructed on the Tiger Moth and Auster J5F Aiglet Trainer. Most of his commercial flying was in Austers and the Cessna 170 out of grass strips in the Southern Alps of New Zealand. He came to the UK in 1960 and joined the RAF training on the Piston Provost and Vampire T11. He then became an ab-initio instructor on the Jet Provost T3 and T4 before moving on to ground attack on the Hunter. Apart from a short sojourn on the Gnat T1 he flew Hunters for the rest of his service career finishing his time in the RAF as an instructor on the RAFs Tactical Weapons Unit. He has flown around 60 types of aircraft and is one of the last aviators left who has been a professional flying instructor on Tiger Moths and supersonic, (in a dive), jets.

William flies the Beagle Pup and Bulldog with the Skyhawks Formation Display Team.