Forced Landing #1
December 30, 2000
By: Jim Hayward

Well Guys, I had my first ever (in 32 years) forced landing this afternoon. I had gone up to double check some stall speeds for my FAA log entry requirements and slowly throttled back to idle. I did a couple of power off stalls then heard and felt the engine's idle drop lower. The idle speed dropped down to about 14 or 15 hundred, faltered a bit before I could get enough throttle to it, and quit.

Since I had a couple of thousand feet under me, I did a couple of real power off stalls then decided I'd better get it started again. It would try but not start. I tried choking it, opening the throttle in case it was flooded, and combinations in between ... it wouldn't start.

So I picked out this field I was near, circled around and dropped in. It was rougher than it looked and the gear took some licks from the frozen cow patties and snow. The gear would have been toast had it been factory gear but my fiberglass gear worked flawlessly.

I was stopped in short order and looked around my (now) cruddy field. I knew I wasn't too far from a road so I got the engine started without too much trouble and taxied in the direction of the road. It was not a good field and I knew I had to have something better.

Naturally, when I got to the road, there was an impassable fence so I taxied around till I found some better land and then taxied back and forth along the length of my intended "runway" to check for obstacles. I cranked in some flaps and checked the engine near full power then let 'er go.

I got back up okay and headed home about 5 miles away. I guess the engine just got too cold in the 20 degree weather and quit. All in all, I felt pretty fortunate with the whole situation as there was no damage other than to my pride.