First, I'm not looking for speculation on an accident, I just want to know if pilots are trained to make certain maneuvers in response to an emergency.

In reading about the jet that just went down in Egypt, the story stated

"It turned 90 degrees left and then a 360 degree turn toward the right, dropping from 38,000 to 15,000 feet and then it was lost at about 10,000 feet," Kammenos added.

Assuming the report is accurate, are those maneuvers a standard procedure of some kind? Are pilots trained to maneuver like that in an emergency? If so, in what type of emergency would those maneuvers be useful?

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    $\begingroup$ At the bottom of the article there's a quote CNN aviation analyst Les Abend: The 360-degree turn, that seems very abrupt. It's not something I would do in any major emergency unless I was losing control of the aircraft. $\endgroup$ – TomMcW May 19 '16 at 15:45
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    $\begingroup$ Just wanted to point out, excellent job keeping this question generally applicable and far away from speculation. Well asked. $\endgroup$ – Jay Carr May 19 '16 at 17:10
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    $\begingroup$ @JayCarr I would say well edited $\endgroup$ – Federico May 19 '16 at 17:38
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    $\begingroup$ @Federico And probably well commented to get to those edits. So, good job on everyone :D. $\endgroup$ – Jay Carr May 19 '16 at 18:04
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    $\begingroup$ @Jörg W Mittag I didn't know if they were pilot maneuvers. That is exactly what prompted the question "Were they pilot maneuvers?" and the continuation "Do emergency pilot maneuvers even exist?". The update later on in the article from the CNN Aviation Analyst hadn't been published when I first posted the question. Thanks for all the help editing the question, all! $\endgroup$ – jEsp May 19 '16 at 20:55

There are no emergency procedures I'm aware of that requires a pilot to turn left 90 degrees and then turn right 360 degrees.

There is a procedure for situations requiring rapid descent for things like medical emergencies and fires. They consist of a 45 degree banked, full-flap, power-idle descent flown at maximum flap extension speed. So it is a spiraling-turn descent.

Also, the Cessna 172N checklist instructs the pilot to slip in the opposite direction from a wing fire to keep the flames blown in an outboard direction.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you! Just out of curiosity -- what is the approximate rate of descent with this procedure on an 'average' commercial airliner? This question says that normal rates are probably under 4,000 fpm -- how much faster is this procedure? $\endgroup$ – jEsp May 20 '16 at 14:26
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    $\begingroup$ @jEsp I found this generic Boeing checklist. It looks like they don't utilize a bank like smaller aircraft do. I speculate they can descend so fast as it is, that increasing the descent rate may begin to reduce safety so that it outweighs the benefit. $\endgroup$ – Ryan Mortensen May 20 '16 at 16:42

There is no such procedure for making these turns, however you can make orbits to lose altitude which is basically 360 turns. You may need it when you are very high and need to lose altitude. Let say you lost engines, executing powerless flight and you have very good option for airport just below you. So you can come on top the airport and begin orbiting. Also in military there is pill off manoeuvre making 360 to land.

For this crash, I think there is a total loss of control associated with electrical fire after examining ACARS messages. You can find the link here : http://avherald.com/h?article=4987fb09&opt=7168

May be detailed but nice to read all.



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