I just ran across an interesting discussion of the proper turnback altitude. (Actually, it's been a fragmented discussion over the last week or so in rec.aviation.soaring.) First read this paper from 1991 by David F. Rogers. Then, if you're up to it, there's a much more detailed paper that describes the math and physics reasoning behind it.
The most surprising thing to me in the first article was that power pilots don't need to practice or demonstrate much in the way of low-altitude takeoff engine failures. As a glider pilot who's planning to work on a power license, it seems rather foreign. One of the biggest accidents we train for is a low altitude rope break.
Posted by jzawodn at November 07, 2003 10:11 PM