In a detailed two part series, Max Trescott covers what every pilot needs to be aware of: What to do when an engine fails after take-off. In part one (Turn Back to the Runway or Land Straight Ahead?), Max points out that a pilot’s first instincts (return and attempt an airport runway landing) is completely wrong:
One problem with relying on instincts in this situation is that the decision making process required is the exact opposite of the learning conditioned into a pilot by hundreds or thousands of hours of flying experience. During most flights, 100% of our efforts are dedicated to returning the airplane to the airport without a scratch. Why? Because scratches are expensive and nobody wants to spend money they don’t have to. Also, if the airplane returns without a scratch, then we’ll surely arrive without one too.