A normal routine for a pilot from the first pre-flight walk around to shutdown has us reaching for the checklist. A very important step we all must take and pushed by many flight instructors during all operations. If you read any aviation periodical, flying book, or simply hangar talk we here many times never memorize a checklist. Along with many I agree that memorization of checklists is not good practice. Eventually a step is going to be missed, maybe a minor issue the first time but it could be that important gear handle the next time. Hey it happens more than we think!
With that being said I am a strong believer in memorization of the in-flight engine failure checklist. Very important for a twin engine aircraft that has a few different procedures involved, but for those of us who fly single engine, that is our only source of power. Every aircraft manufacturer, cfi, and pilot will have different procedures for an engine out failure. My personal procedure that I have forced into my students head and we have heard thousands of times before is FLY THE AIRPLANE FIRST. The first 4 to 5 seconds after the event will be the oh s*** stage, and during this stage not alot will get done. After reality sets in start this flow.
The first two items are the most critical. First Glide, let your aircraft slow to the manufacturers reccommended best glide speed without losing to much altitude. This will insure the aircraft can reach out as far as it can during this situation. Second Grass, start looking for a field, road, airport anywhere that looks to be a suitable site. Sometimes this can be very difficult depending on what part of the country you are flying in. During all operations maintain your situational awareness. Also when considering where to land keep banks to a minimum if you need the distance, banking the aircraft causes a loss of lift. Remember FLY THE AIRPLANE FIRST!
The next two steps in our memorized engine out checklist is spark and gas. After we have positive control and have a plan on where we are going to put the aircraft come back into the airplane and finish the checklist. Complete the remaining checklist items, restart, fuel tank switch, aux fuel pump, mixture control, crack door, etc ( not necessarily in this order). This is where I recommend you check the aircraft POH to find the proper protocol. Also, remember to squawk your emergency transponder code 7700 and contact ATC on guard 121.5 to give your location. If the aircraft will not re-start we already have a plan in place. Speed is good and we have our spot picked out.
Knock the dust off that POH in the backseat from time to time and re-read the emergency section to keep the info fresh in your mind. Pilots can never predict an engine failure but we can be prepared and remain in control if one were to occur. Memorize that engine out checklist and practice it in your sleep. If you have not heard it before now remember fly the airplane first.