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Forced Landing Poll

Flightist

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Hi People!

A few weeks ago I had to do a forced landing with a 152. I was doing 8's on Pylons with a commercial student when we blew a cylinder and lost all the oil. I set it down on the gravel road we were using for the maneuver.

The incident got me to thinking about how common a major engine failure is with light aircraft. I would very much appreciate anyone who could participate in the following simple survey. To make the results most meaningful I'd like people to limit their hours flown and forced landing incidents to piston engine operatons only. I'll post some kind of half-assed statistical analysis after getting a significant number of replies.


question #1: How many hours of piston-engine airplane time do you have?

question #2: How many forced landings have you done due to engine or structural failure. Please include any failures that would have forced you to make an off-airport landing had you not been close to an airport. Please include any returns to the airports for failures that would have caused you to put her down if you had been enroute somewhere. Please don't include a return to the airport because of a fouled plug or losing one Mag. Basically any failure that meant you couldn't maintain altitude or you had to get it on the ground immediately.

To make this survey as valid as possible please reply regardless of your hrs flown or whether you've ever had a forced landing.

Thanks very much!

For me:

#1 - 565 piston airplane total hours
#2 - one forced landing
 
Last edited:

TurboS7

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9500 piston hours- 5 forced landing and 3 multi-engine shutdowns.
 

OtterFO

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1800 piston hours. 5 forced landings, 3 from major engine componant failure, 2 from a bad carb.
 

StarChecker

Warp this...
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Enough
1600 piston hours. No forced landings and no shutdowns......as I knock on my head with both hands. One aborted takeoff.....alternator failure.
 

Flightist

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Thanks for the responses!

I told a coworker about this thread and he suggested I ask people that did have engine failures/forced landings about how close to TBO these engines were that gave up the ghost. The one I was flying was at 2300 hrs or 300 over TBO - no big wonder it died! The owner seems to believe in the theory of run 'em till they die. That's real comforting.

And Otter, those aren't great averages you've got going. Any comments on why? Maintenance or bad luck?
 

TurboS7

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Now your getting technical. I ran a Part 135 for ten years we eventually went to overhauling all our own engines here are our stats over ten years.

IO-540-KIA5- 9800 hours two cylinder failures

IO-540-C4B5-17800 hours 6 major engine failure-crankshaft failures-one major fire subsequent to cylinder failure(AD)

I0-520-F 12,000 hours 3 cylinder failures

O-470-R 7000 hours

R-985 3000 hours 6 cylinder failures

TSIO-540-J2BD 4000 hours 2 cylinder failures 1 turbo failure
 

tarp

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2,800 recip hours, 1 forced landing due to engine failure thankfully right over a BIG runway, 1 in-flight fire again thankfully just past the IAF on an ILS. And I'm knocking everything made out of wood in this den.
 

A Squared

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3400 recip hours, over 20 shutdowns, not sure exactly how many, I haven't counted in a while. I do know that I've shut down an engine 6 times since February.
 

Flightist

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A Squared,

That's a lot of shutdowns. Are all those in twins? Did any result in an off-airport landing? For those shutdowns in twins, about how many of the total would have resulted in a forced landing assuming the failure had occured in a single?

Please excuse my nosiness. I'm trying to establish what the risks are of my new found profession and how best to minimize those risks. Hopefully this of interest to others besides me. Thanks everyone for your input. It looks like the most immediate conclusion one can reach is that if you fly a few thousand hours you are more than likely going to suffer a major engine failure. I think I'll let this poll run a bit longer and then add/divide the figures and see if some meaningful average can be established.

Thanks Again!
 

OtterFO

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Don't let A Squared scare you. He's flying a piston airplane with 4 big round engines in air temps between -30F and +90F. Something's bound to give.....


My failures where 2 thrown rods, 7AC Champ, Aztec. 1 bad overhual in a PA-28-235, the accessory case came appart. The carb was in the same airplane, a 180hp super cub. Took us a while to figure out why it would quit....
 

avbug

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10 failures to a landing in singles, and I don't recall how many off hand in the multi's. Quite a few. I can identify with A Squared.

TBO is meaningless.
 

Twotter76

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520 hours in piston aircraft, 1 forced landing due to extreme engine roughness. Fortunately that landing was on the crosswind runway that was nearby.
 

tarp

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A couple of comments about your unofficial poll and I am looking forward to the results you print.

1.) Congratulations on a job well done. Eight's on means you were flying about 1,000ft agl and you still put it down in your "safety zone". And, of course, now that you know that engines can fail - I'm thinking you will teach your students with just a little more emphasis on "engine out" procedures and picking safe sites for performing ground ref. manuevers (leave yourself an out!)

2.) I think your poll will be a little skewed towards a pretty ugly number - mainly because people will probably not answer you with a "no failures" answer. Don't let the results discourage or intimidate you. We fly a LOT of hours without failure. I personally own an airplane with a "bulletproof" O-360 Lycoming under the hood. The engine has run 4800 hrs and of the three owners in its life (I have 1800 hrs in it), this little plane has never let us down. However, as an owner, I take great pride in the plane and do some pretty regular maintenance.

3.) I think the engine question is legitimate. I remember seeing an article in Aviation Consumer magazine many years ago that reinforced my decision to buy a simple Lycoming like the O-360. My engine failure was in a Continental TSIO-360 with 800 SMOH. Engines which are high performance or are turbo-charged to boost their performance are more prone to failure (IMO).

4.) Life as a CFI will expose the pilot to far more airplanes and in more questionable condition than most pilots out there. As a private pilot after my initial training, I probably flew maybe 15-20 different airplanes. When I got my CFI rating and started working in that field, I could go through that many in a work week. At my airport, there are about 20 FBO planes, about 30 in different flying clubs and then another 200 owner airplanes. I have no idea who does the maintenance on all these planes, but I review the logbooks, do a pre-flight and go (if all passes muster).

Experience is a wonderful thing.
 

Speedtree

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about 2000, no engine failures or forced landings. MOst of the time was as CFI in Houston,TX or training.

I heard a long time ago from an unremembered source that the averages are about 1 engine failure per 5000 hours flown. Obviously this depends on the type of flying you are doing. Generally SEL a/c are relatively safe if you don't do anything stupid. Without doing research, it seems to me that most SEL accidents are pilot induced ( loss of control, etc.)
 

dlwdracos

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A 152 has a TBO of 2400, not 2000. Your plane was 100 hours short of TBO. As Avbug says, TBO is meaningless. Congrats on handling the situation!
 
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