Landing when engine fails


cockpit2How to landing rc plane when engine fails is one of the most challenging skill, so be well prepared and know how to handle it safely.

Firstly as a rc flyer you would better know that some particular situation are not possible to safely landing the plane, which are:

  • Receiver fail – which is totally dead stick, I still can’t find any idea to save the plane in this situation. One small chance is that if you fly glider or light high-wing plane it has good opportunity to land by itself safely.
  • The plane is under take off stage  – which means the altitude is not good enough to glide the plane and to land safely.
  • Too nervous, this is not an exaggerated one.  Some new flyer do not have much training on this particular situation, and it is most likely that they are too panic to properly control the stick.  Don’t worry this can be overcome with correct training.

Landing with one landing gear down

So these are the things you have to do when the engine fails.

  •  Avoid climb up  This is most important since climb up will slow down the airplane and leads to stall.  When airplane stall there are no lift on the wing and it will be very hard to control.
  • Plan where you can land the plane  It will take time to get the idea of this recommendation.  The Altitude + type of plane + the environment of the landing area are all concerned to put into your decision.  Gradually practice and repeat training until you are confident in your own skill. Each type of plane do have different handling when the engine fails.
  • Gently descend the plane in wide orbit before landing  With the circular motion combining with descending maneuver it will be possible to land your rc plane into the target area.  In the case that the plane still has more speed, too fast to land, and might overshoot the runway, it is recommended that you make the wider circular orbit. The distant will absorb the plane’s speed.  In contrary if the plane speed is almost gone you should either apply nose dive to gain more speed or land the plane in a straight line. Avoid turning since the plane will quickly lose the altitude.
  • Avoid people and property  This must be a critical and most important rule you should have in mind.  Flying rc plane is pleasure and dangerous.  A more sizable plane you have a more intimidation to life and injury it will be.  In any situation if the landing fails while the plane head to the people or property  ” Better crash the plane rather than hurting the people.”   Don’t worry you do a good job and save people life.

Please remember

You have only one attempt to make the landing in this situation.  Therefore do your best to practice the technique of landing with engine shut off. You will find that the Electric type plane with motor power will be good for this training. Fly the plane to normal flight altitude, cut the throttle off completely and gently glide the plane down to the runway. The more practice your are the more convincing control you will be on the emergency landing.


Big mistake for pilot with less knowledge of the plane he is flying

Case study

In this picture you can see that the plane plungs into left side. It is noticeable that the maximum aileron on the right wing is in correct position to resist the left roll. However the plane was still losing its balance and going to be crash.

It is possible that the flyer attempted to land the plane with improper airspeed. This no flap rc plane generally needs longer landing path + sustainable airspeed. Furthermore the design of this plane is too scale to handle easily for new rc flyer. The wing area is tight, and when checking with weight to power ratio it will be definitely hard to control.  Last comment on this plane is that its fuselage is made of fiberglass which bears more weight than the balsa.  This will give more load on the wing and engine, thus make it difficult to fly in lower airspeed.



The rc plane which is called ” scale” – too real – is more difficult to fly.  Therefore many manufacturer are trying to make “Semi scale” model plane which has larger wing area to make it more easy to fly.  I am also appreciated in this type of plane especially the War Plane which sometimes called “War Bird”.


FW190 with OS alpha 81 engine. This is Semi Scale model with acceptable outlook and superb flying.













8 thoughts on “Landing when engine fails

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  1. I have already visited this site in the past, and can reiterate what I said. This is very nicely organized site, and with so many useful information related to this niche. The pictures are beautiful. Jovo

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