Emergency descent training

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OBJECTIVE: To develop the student's accuracy, judgment, planning, technique, and confidence in an emergency descent.


  • A. Prompt establishment of the best airspeed and the recommended configuration.
  • B. Use of emergency checklist.
  • C. Recognizing situations that require emergency descent
  • D. Importance of dividing attention between descending and accomplishing emergency checklist.
  • E. Establishing fastest practical rate of descent


  • Pre-flight instruction: 10 Minutes
  • Travel to training area: 10 Minutes
  • Instructor Demonstration: 10 Minutes
  • Student Practice: 20 Minutes
  • Return from practice area: 10 minutes
  • Post-flight Review: 10 Minutes
  • Total Time: 1:10

EQUIPMENT: Functional aircraft.


  • A. Conduct preflight training on the elements of Emergency Descents..
  • B. Demonstrate Emergency Descent
  • C. Conduct post flight briefing.


  • A. Ask questions, review homework.
  • B. Perform preflight.
  • C. Observe demonstrations.
  • D. Perform IAW PTS.

COMPLETION STANDARDS: Student performs Emergency Descent IAW the PTS.


  • A. Failure to identify the need for an emergency descent.
  • B. Failure to use proper checklists.
  • C. Failure to maintain proper configuration.

Introduction: Emergency descents are used when you need to lose altitude quickly. This is could be simply for losing altitude or (more commonly) to get to a land site quickly. This is usually because of a potentially dangerous situation with the aircraft such as a fire, smoke in the cockpit or due to an emergency decompression on pressurized aircraft.

A. Lesson Requirements:

  • a. Task: Perform an emergency descent.
  • b. Condition: Given a functional aircraft.
  • c. Standard: IAW the PTS.
  • i. Exhibits knowledge of the elements related to an emergency descent.
  • ii. Recognizes situations, such as depressurization, cockpit smoke and/or fire that require an emergency descent.
  • iii. Establishes the appropriate airspeed and configuration for the emergency descent.
  • iv. Exhibits orientation, division of attention, and proper planning.
  • v. Maintains positive load factors during the descent.
  • vi. Completes appropriate checklists.

B. ELO 1: Understand the use of an emergency descent.

  • a. What could cause an emergency descent? Anything that would require that the airplane lose altitude quickly while still being under control. (Engine fire, emergency decompression, smoke in the cockpit, etc)
  • b. What are the limitations on an emergency descent? NEVER exceed Vne, Vle, Vfe. Do not exceed a 45 degree bank. In multi-engine aircraft turn INTO the operating engine.
  • c. Student Check:
  • i. What are Vne, Vle and Vfe of this airplane? _______

C. ELO 2: Identify common errors in the emergency descent.

  • a. The failure to identify the need for the descent. Stay on top of the airplane. Be ahead of the airplane.
  • b. Failure to use the proper checklists. Use the checklist as soon as you have the airplane under control.
  • c. Failure to maintain proper configuration. Get the plane in proper configuration for the turn. Refer to POH.

D. ELO 3: Perform an emergency descent.

  • a. Reduce power to idle.
  • b. High RPM on the propeller.
  • c. Extend gear.
  • d. Full flaps.
  • e. Close cowl flaps.
  • f. Turn 45 degrees to one side. For multi-engine airplanes turn into the good engine.
  • g. Get checklist to finish troubleshooting.