The Impossible Turn is the subject of the latest video in the Reality Check series from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Air Safety Institute (ASI).
The debate about the “turnback” to the departure runway after engine failure on takeoff — known as the impossible turn — reemerged after the March 2021 crash of a Beechcraft Bonanza A36 in Pembroke Pines, Florida.
In Reality Check: The Runway Behind You, the AOPA Air Safety Institute tested the disputed maneuver using a Piper PA-18 Super Cub, a Van’s RV-4, a Cessna 172N, and a Beechcraft Bonanza A36.
“Our study was conducted by highly experienced and proficient pilots flying predetermined profiles in near-perfect conditions. We documented our findings, and the different results of turning back to the runway were surprising for each of us performing these flights,” said ASI SVP Richard McSpadden.