Exercise 1b: Emergency drills

EASA requirements:
Exercise 1b: Emergency drills:
(A) action if fire on the ground and in the air;
(B) engine cabin and electrical system fire;
(C) systems failure;
(D) escape drills, location and use of emergency equipment and exits.

Although aircraft are designed to be very reliable, they are only machines and things might brake unexpectedly.

It would be much easier to focus on flying in normal situations first, and then learn all the unusual situations, however, emergencies don’t wait to happen before lesson number 13,.. They could happen on every flight. Even the first one…

Hope for the best, plan for the worst..

Flying is very safe compared to most other means of transport, mainly because we are well trained to deal with all sorts of emergencies.

And that is not just limited to the pilots. Everyone on board needs to know a few basic drills. If you have flown as a passenger before, you have already seen a safety briefing, demonstrated by the cabin crew.

This lesson is about recognising an unsafe situation and how deal with it.


The piper 28 has a single exit on the right side of the cabin. To open the door, the latch on the top needs to be opened, and then the door can be opened with the door lever. The flaps must be in the UP position to provide as a step.

Emergency equipment.
Familiarise yourself with the safety equipment of your aircraft as the content and the stowing location can differ per aircraft.

Fire extinguisher
A serviceable fire extinguisher is usually located below the right front seat.

First aid kit
A first aid kit is usually stowed in the baggage compartment.

An emergency locator transmitter can send a distress signal over the vhf and uhf radio frequencies. It can be activated manually with the red switch in the cockpit. A red indicator light shows when it is transmitting.

The most hazardous situation that could occur in an aeroplane is a fire. If a fire starts whilst the aircraft is still on the ground, the main priority is to make it safe to disembark and evacuate everyone from the aircraft. Thereafter let the fire brigade deal with what’s left of the aircraft.

The easiest way to extinguish a fire is to take the ignition source and the fuel way. The engine must be stopped to make it safe to disembark. Following the evacuation drill will do this the quickest and easiest way.

The engine and all systems are shut down and it is safe to leave the aircraft. Help everyone out and ask your passengers to help you out as well.

Let me first say, prevention is better than any cure and you shouldn’t over-prime the engine. but assume now you did, excessive fuel will overflow the inlet manifold and fuel-soak the inlet air filter. If the engine now also has a great chance to backfire due to hydro lock, when that happens, the fuel soaked air filter catches fire.
You may see smoke, smell fire or get alerted by anyone outside.
In case of a suspected engine fire. It can be stopped by ‘sucking’ the flames into the engine where they belong. This is done, after closing the fuel supply, by applying full throttle, and when the engine stops, crank it round a few times with the starter motor.

If a fire starts in the air, the course of action is dependant on the probable cause of the fire.

Cabin fire in flight
Contain a cabin fire before it can spread and escalate. Just hitting it with a knee board might be sufficient. Use the fire extinguisher if you have to. Just keep in mind, a co2 extinguisher works by suffocation and it does not discriminate between fire and people. Open the ventilation to clear the cabin of smoke and land as soon as possible.

Electrical fire in flight
An electrical fire can be identified by smoke and a smell of burning insulation.

My switching off the electric master switch, the source of the fire is removed, but it can still produce toxic smoke.
Clear the cabin by opening the ventilation and the window. Land as soon as possible.  Do not attempt to re-engage the electric system unless you absolutely have to.

Engine fire in flight
An engine fire can occur if fuel or oil leaks on the hot engine. Between the engine and the cockpit is the fire wall that should prevent flames from reaching the cabin.

By closing the fuel switch and the mixture. Fuel supply is stopped. Turn off the ignition and close the cabin heater and defroster. The engine is now off and a forced landing must be made.

Now you know how to deal with the most hazardous emergency situations, it is time to rehearse and practice this a regularly.

Enjoy your failures!

Emergency drills for the Piper Cherokee

Engine fire during engine start
• Fuel selector OFF
• Mixture OFF
• Throttle FULL OPEN
• If the propeller stops
• Crank for 10 seconds.
• Ignition off
• Electric master OFF

The evacuation drill
• Fuel selector Off
• Mixture Cut-off
• Magnetos OFF
• Master battery OFF
• Flaps UP
• Cabin door latch OPEN
• Cabin door Open
‘evacuate evacuate’

Cabin fire in flight
• Fly the aircraft!
• Extinguish the fire
• Ventilate the cabin
• Land ASAP

Electrical fire in flight
• Fly the aircraft!
• Electric master OFF
• Ventilate the cabin
• Land ASAP

Engine fire in flight
• Fly the aircraft!
• Fuel selector OFF
• Mixture idle cut-off
• Ignition OFF
• The engine will stop
• Cabin heater and defroster Closed
• Perform a forced landing.

Passenger Safety briefing:

Welcome on board of this piper Cherokee. Please sit down and make yourself comfortable whilst I explain to you safety features of this aircraft.

Your seat is equipped with a seatbelt and a harness which needs to be fastened during take-off and landing, however I strongly recommend that you keep them fastened during the entire flight.

In the unlikely event of an emergency I will ask you to keep the brace position. Put your lower arms on the glare shield and rest your head down on them.

When I give the signal to evacuate, you are to open the door by unlocking the top latch and raising the door lever. When you are outside, please assist everyone else in evacuating the aircraft and together we will walk to a safe distance from the aircraft.

During the flight you can speak and listen to me through the headset. Please restrain from speaking during take-off and landing.

If you see any other aircraft nearby whilst in the air, please do not hesitate to inform me. Thank you for the cooperation, do you have any questions? That leaves me to wish you a very pleasant flight.

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