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7 Emergencies That Scare All Pilots

In your flying career, you'll experience challenges and possibly an emergency. Hopefully it's not one of these...

1) Low Level Windshear

You're on short final and lose 15 knots of airspeed, causing your plane to drop suddenly, just above the ground. If it's not reported and you don't look closely at the weather, it's hard to tell if and when it'll happen. Keep your airspeed up on short final if you think you'll encounter windshear.

2) Electrical Fires

Electrical fires can quickly spread from behind the panel and into the cabin. If you have to immediately shut off electrical power while in IMC, you'll find yourself in a pretty challenging situation.

Swayne Martin

3) Microburst Encounters

Three engines, each with over 40,000 lbs of thrust, couldn't save the L-1011 of Delta Flight 191 when it encountered a microburst and crashed. There were 137 fatalities.


4) Engine Failure in IMC

It becomes a reality during instrument training when you're under the hood or in IMC and your instructor asks you, "Where would you land if our engine failed?" You'll realize that picking a landing spot is a whole lot harder when you can't even see the ground.

Swayne Martin

5) Passenger Heart Attack

It's stressful knowing that every decision you make is time-critical when every second counts as a passenger is having a medical emergency.

Aleksander Markin

6) Severe Icing

Your de-icing or anti-icing system isn't keeping up with the ice buildup along your wings. Getting out of the ice before you can no longer maintain altitude and lose lift entirely is crucial.


7) Engine Fires

If you're flying a single engine plane, engine fires usually mean you'll be performing an immediate power-off landing. Don't try to restart an engine if you've burned the flames out unless you have a special procedure in your POH. There's a good chance you'll only re-ignite the fire.

Jim Raeder

What other worst-case emergencies should pilots be wary of? Tell us in the comments below.

Swayne Martin

Swayne is an editor at Boldmethod, certified flight instructor, and an Embraer 145 First Officer for a regional airline. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota in 2018, holds a PIC Type Rating for Cessna Citation Jets (CE-525), and is a former pilot for Mokulele Airlines. He's the author of articles, quizzes and lists on Boldmethod every week. You can reach Swayne at, and follow his flying adventures on his YouTube Channel.

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