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What Can Pilots Do If All Engines Fail?  
User currently offlineUnited Airline From Hong Kong, joined Jan 2001, 9160 posts, RR: 15
Posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 14979 times:

This happened to BA a few times and the pilots managed to restart the engines.

If all engines fail, anything pilots can do? Can they glid the plane to somewhere?

33 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineDavid L From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 9523 posts, RR: 42
Reply 1, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 14997 times:

Well, they can try to restart the engines. If that fails and all else goes to plan, glide and land. You could do a search for the Gimli Glider and Air Transat flight 236.

Quoting United Airline (Thread starter):
This happened to BA a few times

A few times? I know of Captain Moody's Jakarta incident, BA009, but I'm not aware of the others...


User currently offline727EMflyer From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 547 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 14982 times:

Airliners glide much better than the general public seems to believe. Number one thing to do if all engines fail is to try to find out why (well, after stabilizing the airplane though). Lets take the simple example of a single engine piston. For the engine to stop working one casualty from a fairly small list would have to have taken place: Ignition system failed, carburetor iced over, fuel supply cut out, or a physical fault develops in the enging (typically indicated by a loss of oil pressure). There are troubleshooting steps you can follow that will address most of these: 1. Set fuel tank to both or most full. 2. Mixture full rich. 3. Carb heat on. 4. Ignition both. 5. Throttle slight. Carb icing could take a bit of time to clear up, but with these checks you are setting everything the engine needs to run, and it is windmilling so it will re-start if it can (I really really really want to test that it will re-start in flight, but darn the good judgment!).
Unfortunately I don't have experience with multi-engine turbine airplanes, but the process will be similar. One thing unique will be the need to find a fault that is common to all engines (even if that fault is something outside the aircraft like volcanic ash).

The key thing for any pilot to do though is manage his flight so that an engine failure that is within his control never happens. I have read countless accident reports where it was found the pilot mismanaged fuel. This has got to be the biggest preventable cause of accidents, at least among small airplanes! It even occurs at the ATP level, such as the UA DC-8 that ran out of gas over Portland OR in 1977 or 78. (Aircraft was circling trying to troubleshoot a landing gear indication fault. Captain kept asking about fuel level and the FE kept announcing the ever-smaller numbers very calmly and non-urgently. FE was cited for not signaling the fuel emergency and Captain was cited for not recognizing the significance of the values reported by the engineer.)


User currently offlineRolfen From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 1800 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 14892 times:

Airliners will try to do this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gimli_Glider
(also check the link to Alt.Disasters.Aviation FAQ at the end of the above article - I added it  Smile - It contains great delail)

They also might consider ditching, like that hijacked ethiopian aircraft did.

Small planes will try to land on roads, parking lots, etc...



rolf
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 4, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 14866 times:

Quoting United Airline (Thread starter):
anything pilots can do?

We are permitted to land under these circumstances. Smile

Quoting 727EMflyer (Reply 2):
Airliners glide much better than the general public seems to believe.

He is exactly right. A 737 may look like a pumpkin (at least the -100) but it glides better than a Cessna 172. The big drawback is that it will land at a fairly high speed and slide a long ways. So like any other emergency, it is all about getting back to normal. As 727EMflyer tells you, there has to be some condition that brought this on us. Change that condition.

Volcanic ash encounters may not be recoverable if they've done enough damage. But hey! Give it a shot while you are gliding down. What else are you doing? So long as we are flying we can glide and that gives us airflow to keep engines windmilling. The battery will give us ignition, if we are lucky enough to have a fuel supply we are probably going to get an engine going.

Get one going and we now have a generator. We can probably get another going. We can probably get the APU running to help out with the chores.

The BA 747 is one kind of story, the Gimli glider is another. Still another is the ONA DC-9 that ditched between St. Thomas and St. Croix. Deadstick landing in rough open ocean and relatively successful. (until a raft got popped in the forward entryway) Then there was the A-330 that deadsticked into the Azores a few years ago. There were a few things that might have been done better in that event but they lived.

Just a rough answer here: In a typical twinjet airliner, cruising at 35000' having a two-engine flameout. I'd expect that you would stand a good chance of making any airport within a 90 nautical mile circle including a minimal amount of maneuvering. I'd expect that you'd be gliding for a good twenty minutes. Lots of time to get terrified. Smile Plenty of time for one person to fly the airplane and talk on the radio while the other attempted to deal with the flameouts.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineLH463 From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 68 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 14810 times:

As everyone said above YES these things do glide. The first thing you learn in flight school when you have a complete engine failure is to establish your best rate of descent. This ensures that you have the maximum amount of time to work with before reaching the ground. Once you have trimmed the aircraft so that it maintains that speed, you start troubleshooting, communicating, looking for a place to land, securing etc.


Turning final...
User currently offlineLongHauler From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 4906 posts, RR: 43
Reply 6, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 14752 times:

I have to laugh at the A320 QRH for "Dual Engine Failure - Fuel Remaining" and "Dual Engine Failure - No Fuel Remaining" .... the first line .... LAND ASAP!

(It's not really an option!)  Smile

In an A320 though, you will descend at about 1300 fpm with no engines at higher altitudes, and around 800 to 1000 fpm around 10,000 feet. So, starting at around 35,000 feet you have roughly 30 minutes before you land. The cabin altitude, if pretty tight, will be rising at about 500 fpm with no engines.
Therefore, with a cabin altitude of 7,000 feet at 35,000 feet, you have about 14 minutes before the masks come down at a cabin altitude of 14,000. That would happen at an altitude of around 17,000 to 18,000 feet, so your passengers would not require the oxygen masks all that long.

As far as distance, you can safely count on around 90 miles to glide from 35,000 feet.

(Perhaps not at all if you had a place close by to land, and you descended quicker.)

As scary as it sounds, in most cases you have two valuable items .... time, and options.



Never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down .... Barefoot Blue Jean Night
User currently offlinePilotpip From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 3144 posts, RR: 11
Reply 7, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 14683 times:

The big guys have lots of options, us little ones don't have so many. I teach my students to perform the engine failure and restart checklist from memory. If you're above 2500AGL, then pull out the checklist and go through it again. When you're that low, you're first priority is finding a safe landing spot. This is also the reason that I'm an advocate of climbing up to 6000 feet or more on a cross country if winds permit. Altitude gives time, time gives distance, distance gives options.


DMI
User currently offlineDH106 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 626 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 14642 times:

Quoting David L (Reply 1):
A few times? I know of Captain Moody's Jakarta incident, BA009, but I'm not aware of the others...

I think there was a VC-10 incident back in the 70's where fuel mismanagement caused all 4 to flameout. The crew however very quickly trouble-shooted (trouble-shot?) the situation, pointed the engines at some fuel and re-lit them all. Unfortunately for the crew, the RAT had been deployed during the incident - which cannot be re-stowed in the air........



...I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tanhauser Gate....
User currently offlineDavid L From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 9523 posts, RR: 42
Reply 9, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 14575 times:

Quoting DH106 (Reply 8):
I think there was a VC-10 incident back in the 70's where fuel mismanagement caused all 4 to flameout.

Thanks. I don't think I've heard of that one. I'll get on to it now.  Smile


User currently offlineBri2k1 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 988 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 14570 times:

Quoting Pilotpip (Reply 7):
When you're that low, you're first priority is finding a safe landing spot.

I think you should already have it selected, and just turn towards it when the rubber band breaks. No reason you can't be searching for that emergency landing field as you're scanning for traffic or whatever.

Airliners do it too, if you think about it -- the list of nearest airports is easy to display quickly.



Position and hold
User currently offlineCosmicCruiser From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 2255 posts, RR: 15
Reply 11, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 14567 times:

"ignition overide..on"
"ADG...deploy"


User currently offlineMiamiair From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 14559 times:

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 4):
ONA DC-9

Slam, you ever fly for them?


User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 13, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 14535 times:

Quoting Miamiair (Reply 12):
Slam, you ever fly for them?

No, but in the few years following I knew at least half a dozen of their ex-pilots. Two of them are still good friends of mine.

I'm also the only guy my age who NEVER flew for Del Smith or got beat up by Connie Kalitta. Smile



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineOkie From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 2986 posts, RR: 3
Reply 14, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 14499 times:

Reminds me of the pilot applying for a F/O job at an airline.

Interviewer: Flying at 35,000 feet and you hit severe clear air turbulence. The Captain has been knocked unconscious, both engines have come off the aircraft and all your control surfaces have been torn off. What would you do?

Applicant: Revive the Captain

Interviewer: Why?

Applicant: I don't think the Captain has ever seen a crash like were getting ready to have.

 smile 

Okie


User currently offlineBoeingOnFinal From Norway, joined Apr 2006, 476 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 14490 times:

One question for the Airliners engine failure:

You never have the APU switched on during flight, right? So would you have to turn it on during a engine failure (if all engines stop of course, most likely empty fuel), or would the wind-mill effect keep the power running?
And can you turn the APU on without any external power?



norwegianpilot.blogspot.com
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 16, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 14460 times:

Quoting BoeingOnFinal (Reply 15):
You never have the APU switched on during flight, right? So would you have to turn it on during a engine failure (if all engines stop of course, most likely empty fuel), or would the wind-mill effect keep the power running?
And can you turn the APU on without any external power?

On lots of newer airplanes you can. On older ones, like the DC-9 you could not start the APU in flight on the battery. This was wired this way so that you would not be tempted to try it, and fail. A cold-soaked APU may not light off very easy. And the battery was part of the "Emergency" electrical power that gives you thirty minutes of captain's instruments and their lighting, one nav and one com radio, basic control over aircraft systems and so on.

Some newer airplanes have a dedicated 'APU battery' which is a large NiCd just like the main battery but it is just in standby to start the APU.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineZkpilot From New Zealand, joined Mar 2006, 4801 posts, RR: 9
Reply 17, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 14320 times:

Quoting LH463 (Reply 5):
The first thing you learn in flight school when you have a complete engine failure is to establish your best rate of descent.

Don't you mean best glide speed, or minimum glide rate of descent? Best rate of descent means pitching the nose down and descending as fast as possible without damaging the aircraft (and preferably not the occupants inside  Wink )
Best glide occurs when the a/c is flown at the angle of attack for the best L/D ratio. This is usually about 4deg AoA at least in light a/c.  Wink



56 types. 38 countries. 24 airlines.
User currently offlineZkpilot From New Zealand, joined Mar 2006, 4801 posts, RR: 9
Reply 18, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 14318 times:

Oh I forgot to say... grab out the parachutes and become meat bombs  Wink hehe


56 types. 38 countries. 24 airlines.
User currently offlineWoodreau From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 1015 posts, RR: 6
Reply 19, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 14280 times:

Quoting BoeingOnFinal (Reply 15):
You never have the APU switched on during flight, right? So would you have to turn it on during a engine failure (if all engines stop of course, most likely empty fuel), or would the wind-mill effect keep the power running?
And can you turn the APU on without any external power?

You'd still have to comply with the limitations for APU start, e.g. for example (I can't believe I forgot this limitation... have to go hit and study the limitations section again...) a CRJ-200 max altitude for APU start is 31,000ft / CRJ-700 max altitude is 37,000ft. so a dual engine flameout at FL410, means about 10,000ft descent in a CRJ-200 before you can start the APU to restore the rest of your electrical plant that is not powered by the ADG.

If you have no fuel, then you aren't starting your APU anyways.

From what I understand the windmilling engines in a 747 is enough to provide hydraulics (don't know about electricity though.)



Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
User currently offlineLitz From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1754 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 14243 times:
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Quoting David L (Reply 1):
Well, they can try to restart the engines. If that fails and all else goes to plan, glide and land. You could do a search for the Gimli Glider and Air Transat flight 236.

Add to that the TACA 737-300 that successfully landed on a levee just outside New Orleans after it experienced a dual flame-out due to water ingestion while on approach. They were actually intending to ditch in the Intercoastal Waterway, and decided to try to land on the levee itself instead (successfully -- the aircraft was actually repaired and flown back off).

Southern 242, a DC9, suffered the same problem, except it was hail instead of water ... the sad thing is, they actually pulled off a fairly spectacular emergency landing on a state highway, only to discover the hard way that a DC9's wingspan is wider than a highway's right of way; it hit trees, telephone poles, and eventually impacted a building.

(see http://members.aol.com/Panzerbaer/so242.html for more info)

BTW, a fairly complete list of instances where a jetliner lost all power can be found at : http://www.airsafe.com/events/noengine.htm

- litz


User currently offlineCptSpeaking From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 639 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 14044 times:

Quoting 727EMflyer (Reply 2):
I really really really want to test that it will re-start in flight, but darn the good judgment!

My buddy just did his commercial multi-engine with instrument, and part of the checkride was a full shutdown of one engine in-flight. He said that was the strangest thing to do, especially after flying all piston singles until that weekend. But then, because it was windmilling, all he had to do was put the mixture back to full and it just jumped back to life.

There was a great article by Barry Schiff in this month's AOPA Pilot magazine about glide speed (no link on their site to it, I checked). He was talking about how there are two glide speeds: Maximum range and minumum sink. If you're trying to stretch your glide to get to an airfield, then you use the former, but if you have a field picked out right below you, there is no reason to maximize the range. Instead, you want to minimize how fast you come down so that you have more time to a) fix the problem b) run through checklists and secure/brief passengers/cargo or c) pray

Your CptSpeaking



...and don't call me Shirley!!
User currently offlineBallpeeen From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 77 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 13967 times:

Quoting Pelican (Reply 23):
Why didn't they make it to an airport. There engines quit at a fairly high altitude (well that's also the cause), therefore I would think they had enough time to find an airport. Was there sink rate to high because of a stall? Were did they fail after they lost both engines?

I believe if you go to the NTSB website, you can read the CVR transcript (I have), but the answer in a nutshell is that they had a dual flameout, but told ATC they still had one engine running (no one knows why). ATC then vectored them to Jefferson City airport, rather than one of the seven or eight fields that were much closer and could have been glided to without further incident. Please make an effort to read the CVR transcript. It will chill your bones.


User currently offlineIFEMaster From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 13965 times:

Quoting David L (Reply 1):
You could do a search for the Gimli Glider

Speaking of the Gimli Glider, here's an excellent pic. From what I understand, it was taken the day after the landing while the family racing event was still being held.



User currently offlineCancidas From Poland, joined Jul 2003, 4112 posts, RR: 11
Reply 24, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 13958 times:

engine? whats that? from what i know, that big spinning thing on the front of the airplane is only there to keep the pilot cool. when it stops spinning, thats then you can actually see the pilot sweating.


"...cannot the kingdom of salvation take me home."
25 Post contains images Zkpilot : um...that would be closing the throttle completely... if he was actually shutting the engine down for a multi checkride then he would be feathering i
26 Viv : A B-52 can sustain level flight on the remaining four engines.
27 CptSpeaking : this may be true, but his checkride involved a full shutdown and feather (sorry I didn't mention it before) of the right engine. to restart, you put
28 Post contains links and images A300605R : Yes, that's possible. A few years ago, an A310 of HF on its way from Greece to Germany could not retract the gear. As a result, they used more fuel t
29 SlamClick : Well, since you've done your multi checkride you do realize that closing the throttle completely is not a shutdown at all - just an idling engine; an
30 Starlionblue : There's that (possibly apocryphal) story where the tower calls up a one engine plane and tells it to delay landing in favor of a B-52 with one engine
31 Post contains images Zkpilot : well yeah i did mention it and explained why for training purposes it is not normal to actually shut an engine down in a light twin.... in a large tw
32 SlamClick : Sorry, I didn't see any mention of the mixture control in your reply #27 which I quoted. I got my multi training in the Army, in T-42A Beech Baron. T
33 Post contains images CptSpeaking : absolutely! not sure when we started comparing pistons and turbines though... ouch...those days aren't fun at all... Your CptSpeaking
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