Having confidence, trusting the technology and taking sensible action should be the pilots’ mindset. The main cause of
accidents with single-engine planes is that the amount of fuel required is wrongly calculated. So safety is primarily
the result of professional flight management. The engine in a Cessna that has had maintenance done on it, can’t actually
fail during the flight. But 'actually' is a word we have to qualify. So it’s better never to say never and prepare for this emergency.
Assuming you have nerves of steel, plenty of training experience and sufficient altitude, even when a Cessna engine fails there’s
no need to panic. Because one of the plane’s best features is its ability to glide. Without any power it can glide for 40 km
at 4,000 m altitude. These are distances where hopefully an airfield or a makeshift runway can be reached to land. The pilots
have 15 to 20 minutes to run off the emergency check list.
During the round-the-world flight in 2007 and the round-Africa trip, the plane had full emergency equipment, in order to respond to the challenges. There will also be suitable equipment on board for the trip to South America and North America.
Emergency landing over land mass
Once you have landed safely, the problems in isolated areas could just be beginning. How long will it take until rescue teams find the pilots? For emergencies over land mass, the Cessna is equipped with an ELT (Emergency Locator Transmitter), a directional transmitter, which emits an emergency signal when the pilot has activated it and then alarms the rescue teams. The pilot also wears a Breitling wristwatch that also emits a directional transmitter signal on the same frequency.
Emergency landing on the sea
Before each flight over the sea, the pilot and co-pilot put on waterproof survival suits that are also used by assembly teams offshore (in the wind power, oil and gas industries). The survival suits are made in such a way that a body temperature of 36 degrees can be maintained in water that’s 4 degrees cold for at least 6 hours.
They also put a belt on that contains a life raft that automatically inflates by pulling on a cord. The pilots put a hammock in it and a flysheet provides protection from the sun and rain. This “house boat” is equipped with a stroboscope light that can be seen from up to 6 km away. Without this light, the pilots would be practically invisible in the dark to rescue teams. The EPIRB, emergency position indicating radio beacon, is in the survival suit and its signal can be received worldwide by satellites and transferred via ground stations to the rescue teams.