United Airline
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What Can Pilots Do If All Engines Fail?

Sun Apr 30, 2006 8:33 pm

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?
 
David L
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RE: What Can Pilots Do If All Engines Fail?

Sun Apr 30, 2006 9:28 pm

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...
 
727EMflyer
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RE: What Can Pilots Do If All Engines Fail?

Sun Apr 30, 2006 10:05 pm

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.)
 
rolfen
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RE: What Can Pilots Do If All Engines Fail?

Mon May 01, 2006 3:48 am

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
 
SlamClick
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RE: What Can Pilots Do If All Engines Fail?

Mon May 01, 2006 4:59 am

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.
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LH463
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RE: What Can Pilots Do If All Engines Fail?

Mon May 01, 2006 6:48 am

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...
 
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longhauler
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RE: What Can Pilots Do If All Engines Fail?

Mon May 01, 2006 9:46 am

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.
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RE: What Can Pilots Do If All Engines Fail?

Mon May 01, 2006 2:47 pm

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.
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DH106
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RE: What Can Pilots Do If All Engines Fail?

Mon May 01, 2006 5:35 pm

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........
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David L
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RE: What Can Pilots Do If All Engines Fail?

Mon May 01, 2006 9:52 pm

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
 
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RE: What Can Pilots Do If All Engines Fail?

Mon May 01, 2006 10:08 pm

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
 
CosmicCruiser
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RE: What Can Pilots Do If All Engines Fail?

Mon May 01, 2006 10:14 pm

"ignition overide..on"
"ADG...deploy"
 
miamiair
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RE: What Can Pilots Do If All Engines Fail?

Mon May 01, 2006 10:24 pm

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 4):
ONA DC-9

Slam, you ever fly for them?
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SlamClick
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RE: What Can Pilots Do If All Engines Fail?

Mon May 01, 2006 10:55 pm

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
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Okie
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RE: What Can Pilots Do If All Engines Fail?

Mon May 01, 2006 11:56 pm

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
 
BoeingOnFinal
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RE: What Can Pilots Do If All Engines Fail?

Tue May 02, 2006 12:08 am

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?
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SlamClick
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RE: What Can Pilots Do If All Engines Fail?

Tue May 02, 2006 12:49 am

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.
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Zkpilot
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RE: What Can Pilots Do If All Engines Fail?

Tue May 02, 2006 8:56 am

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
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Zkpilot
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RE: What Can Pilots Do If All Engines Fail?

Tue May 02, 2006 8:57 am

Oh I forgot to say... grab out the parachutes and become meat bombs  Wink hehe
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Woodreau
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RE: What Can Pilots Do If All Engines Fail?

Tue May 02, 2006 11:36 am

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.)
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litz
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RE: What Can Pilots Do If All Engines Fail?

Tue May 02, 2006 2:05 pm

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
 
cptspeaking
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RE: What Can Pilots Do If All Engines Fail?

Wed May 03, 2006 4:04 am

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

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ballpeeen
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RE: What Can Pilots Do If All Engines Fail?

Wed May 03, 2006 8:32 am

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.
 
IFEMaster
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RE: What Can Pilots Do If All Engines Fail?

Wed May 03, 2006 8:36 am

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.

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cancidas
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RE: What Can Pilots Do If All Engines Fail?

Wed May 03, 2006 9:02 am

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.
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Zkpilot
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RE: What Can Pilots Do If All Engines Fail?

Wed May 03, 2006 1:40 pm

Quoting CptSpeaking (Reply 22):
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.

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 it... if its spinning its creating drag. if you just close the throttle then it will keep turning over. When I did my multi checkride it was just simulate engine failure and feathering... most training etc does not actually involve shutting the engine down unless at altitude because light twins just do not have the available power or reliability with an engine out.. too dangerous to practise for real.... thats why you simulate by closing the throttle...for all intents and purposes it has the same result but if you really need it you just open up the throttle  Smile
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viv
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RE: What Can Pilots Do If All Engines Fail?

Wed May 03, 2006 6:07 pm

A B-52 can sustain level flight on the remaining four engines.
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cptspeaking
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RE: What Can Pilots Do If All Engines Fail?

Wed May 03, 2006 9:22 pm

Quoting Zkpilot (Reply 27):
most training etc does not actually involve shutting the engine down unless at altitude because light twins just do not have the available power or reliability with an engine out

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 the prop forward to get it spinning, then the mixture forward to get the engine going again once it is spinning. My comment earlier was more about the restart (and the previous poster's comment) than it was about how to secure an engine if you lose it. (And yes, it was at altitude, at least 4000 IIRC) Also, it wasn't the standard PA-44 seminole, but a Beech Dutchess. It actually climbed at a decent rate with the throttle closed on one engine (when I was with them...I wasn't there on the checkride). As for reliability, any piston aircraft engine does pretty good, and the chances are extremely small you'll have a dual engine failure unless you've done something really dumb.

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A300605R
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RE: What Can Pilots Do If All Engines Fail?

Wed May 03, 2006 9:55 pm

Quoting United Airline (Thread starter):
Can they glid the plane to somewhere?

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 than expected and both engines shut down. They glided the Airbus to Vienna Airport and made an (almost) excellent landing - no severe injuries.


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SlamClick
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RE: What Can Pilots Do If All Engines Fail?

Wed May 03, 2006 11:11 pm

Quoting Zkpilot (Reply 27):
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 it... if its spinning its creating drag. if you just close the throttle then it will keep turning over. When I did my multi checkride...

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 everyday occurrence.

I'm sure you meant to mention pulling the mixture to IDLE CUTOFF which would, indeed, shut it down. At this point, unless you feather it, or load the prop, it will continue to windmill but at less than idle speed in level flight.
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RE: What Can Pilots Do If All Engines Fail?

Wed May 03, 2006 11:23 pm

Quoting Viv (Reply 28):
A B-52 can sustain level flight on the remaining four engines.

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 shutdown. The single engine pilot replies: "Ah yes, the dreaded seven engine landing".
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Zkpilot
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RE: What Can Pilots Do If All Engines Fail?

Thu May 04, 2006 12:12 am

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 31):
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 everyday occurrence.

I'm sure you meant to mention pulling the mixture to IDLE CUTOFF which would, indeed, shut it down. At this point, unless you feather it, or load the prop, it will continue to windmill but at less than idle speed in level flight.

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 twin/turbine aircraft and engine out is an inconvience with possible divert to nearest airfield. In a light twin it is almost an emergency unless you are right near an airfield.
Idle cutoff will shut the engine down which unless you are at altitude in a light twin is inadvisable to do..not sure about FAA requirements but here in NZ and AU, it is a simulated shutdown during your MEIR flight test and practise approaches, missed approaches, holds etc (as you do an actual shutdown during your type rating for the a/c). So far as performance goes a simulated shutdown (ie closing the throttles) has the same effect as an actual shutdown... the engine still turning over neutralises the extra drag from the prop windmilling..., whilst an actual shutdown to Idle cutoff and feathering also reduces the drag... so if you are at lowlevel why risk it by ACTUALLY shutting the engine down?

Quoting CptSpeaking (Reply 29):
As for reliability, any piston aircraft engine does pretty good, and the chances are extremely small you'll have a dual engine failure unless you've done something really dumb.

piston compared to turbine reliability is a joke... and thats just in normal operation.... factor in things like slowclimbouts at altitudes where birds are, carb icing, engine overheating, overboosting turbos (if fitted) and props just ain't the same... but yes you are right 99.5% of the time you shouldn't have a dual engine failure in a light twin.... except its not a dual engine failure because you have shut an engine down... what you have is effectively a single engine operating at a high power setting (the most likely time for an engine failure)... which is why I have said above that unless really necessary, low level practise of actual shutdowns should not be done but simulated insted.  Smile
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SlamClick
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RE: What Can Pilots Do If All Engines Fail?

Thu May 04, 2006 12:32 am

Quoting Zkpilot (Reply 33):
well yeah i did mention it

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. Then after I got my wings I transitioned into a larger, more powerful airplane. The syllabus for this course was written for people with no multi rating (the Army still had a few old mossbacks without it) so I got a really agressive multi checkout using the T-42. We did full VMC demonstrations, air and ground. Been upside-down in the Baron a few times!

We always shut down and feathered. Man, I would hate to attempt it today, but we did partial-panel circling ADF approaches and cranked the gear down in the circle! Talk about loading up a student! My instructor seemed to feel that the syllabus was too wimpy, so he'd deviate from it occasionally. If we were doing a single-engine landing and got just a bit low on short final, rather than add power and risk VMC problems, he'd just reach up and feather the good engine. A light twin glides very nicely with both engines feathered!

Anway, when I left active duty and went to get my commercial etc. I was not multiengine current. To add that rating, I rented a Piper 150 hp Apache on an 8000' DA day and we had to feather one. As I recall, with full fuel and just the two of us we were in about a 200 fpm descent with max-continuous on the good engine.
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cptspeaking
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RE: What Can Pilots Do If All Engines Fail?

Thu May 04, 2006 1:48 am

Quoting Zkpilot (Reply 33):
piston compared to turbine reliability is a joke

absolutely! not sure when we started comparing pistons and turbines though...  wink 

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 34):
150 hp Apache on an 8000' DA day

ouch...those days aren't fun at all...

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