How to Prepare for and Exit a Cessna 172 in the Event of a Crash Landing

How to prepare for and exit a Cessna 172 in the event of a crash landing

If you plan to use an aircraft as a means of transportation, it is important to know and follow all safety related information and directions, particularly in a small aircraft because such safety related information may be overlooked. The following sets of instructions are to be used as standard procedures in the event of an emergency landing in a Cessna 172. These instructions are very similar to many other small aircraft, such as a Cessna 150, 172, 182, 206, and the Cessna 340. In the event of an emergency aboard one of these aircraft you can refer back to what you learned here.


  1. 1
    Stay Calm. Upon notification of a failure and the potential for a crash landing – Remain Calm and listen to all commands given by the pilot.
  2. 2
    Confirm that your lap and shoulder belt (if installed) is tight. To fasten your seat belt pull down on the end of the tether.
  3. 3
    Confirm the lap belt is around your hips and not your abdominal area. If your aircraft is equipped with a shoulder belt, secure it beside your hip and confirm that the belt runs from your hip across to your opposite shoulder.
  4. 4
    Confirm that your seat is in the most upright position and that it is locked in place.
  5. 5
    Look around you! Is there anything that could present a potential hazard? Stow or jettison any articles that could cause harm to either you or the aircraft. If you are wearing eyeglasses take them off and stow them in a pocket.
  6. 6
    Locate your closest exit. In a C172 there are two main doors, one located on each side of the aircraft.
  7. 7
    NOTE: (Additional emergency exits.) There is a cargo door located on the left side (if seated in a forward facing seat) of the aircraft that can be kicked out if needed. Both the front and back windows in a C172 are made out of Plexiglas, both these windows can be kicked out.
  8. 8
    If possible remove a heavy sweater or coat. This item will be folded into a square and placed in front of your face for cushion just prior to touchdown.
  9. 9
    If you are sitting in the co-pilots seat the pilot will request at 200 feet (61.0 m) above the ground that you open your door and lock it open. Do not be worried you will not be sucked out and the door will just bang against the cabin.
  10. 10
    On the final approach (or approximately 100 ft above the ground) resume the brace position for the seat you are in. (Refer to step # 7 for additional information) Clasp your hands together and with you clasped hands hold your head in between your knees with your elbows pointing towards the floor of the aircraft.
  11. 11
    NOTE: This position if for seats without shoulder belts. For positions with shoulder belts simply cross your arms across your chest as if making an “X” and hold each shoulder with a hand.
  12. 12
    The aircraft will now contact the ground. Maintain the brace position until the aircraft comes to a complete stop.
  13. 13
    Exit the aircraft. You have already noted your closes exit but confirm there are no hazards outside before exiting. It is extremely important that you get out of the aircraft quickly but you do not want to step out of the aircraft into fire or oil. If able bring the medical kit and fire extinguisher with you.
  14. 14
    Meet the other passengers at the back of the aircraft. This is the meeting spot where everyone will go to confirm who’s made it out and coordinate the rescue of anyone else if needed.
  15. 15
    Move away from the aircraft!
  16. 16
  17. 17
    Turn on the E.L.T. which is normally located in the back of the aircraft. Simply flick the switch to the on position.
  18. 18
  19. 19
    • If the pilot does not provide you a safety briefing, REQUEST ONE! This will save your life and the lives of your passengers.
  20. 20
    • Read any all safety placards and brochures.
  21. 21
    • Before the aircraft starts make sure you know how all doors operate and where your closest exit is.
  22. 22
    • Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
  23. 23
    • Bring a cell phone with you on every flight. Make sure to tell someone where you’re going and what route your will be taking.
  24. 24
  25. 25
    • Flying for recreation is fun but can be dangerous. Know the safety procedures for the aircraft you’re flying in and follow them.
  26. 26
    • Do not go flying if you are under the influence of Alcohol or Drugs.
  27. 27
    • Inform your pilot if you have any medical conditions.
  28. 28
    • This is not a Transport Canada approved safety document. This is a set of instructions that I the writer was taught on how to prepare and exit a Cessna 172 in the event of a crash landing. This set of instructions is not aircraft specific and the user should look to the aircraft operating manual for specific emergency procedures.

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Categories: Cessna Aircraft