Loss of engine in the soup

cforst513

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i'm studying for my instrument checkride and i got to thinking what one would do if you lost your engine in the soup. let's say you're flying IFR at 5,000 in the clouds, with bases at 1,500, and plenty of small airports around. you suddenly lose an engine. what's the next step? for my private i was always taught to trim for best glide speed, but that means losing altitude. is this the first step, followed by notifying ATC of your situation and your losing altitude, and THEN troubleshoot? my instructor and i have not gone over this. would ATC try to vector you to the nearest airport? what would you guys do?
 

Mmmmmm Burritos

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This is why you should NEVER fly single-engine IFR when it's low outside. I've done it and gotten away with it, but I wont anymore now that I actually had an engine failure (in clear VFR thankfully). Say you were flying in 1000 OVC. Next time you're up with an instructor, get under the hood and have him pull the power at 5000' and then pretend he's not there. Then take off the hood at 1000 AGL and see if you'd be able to survive. It all depends on the terrain in the area.

To answer your question more clearly, it depends on many variables. How high are you? Do you have GPS? Try to troubleshoot but if you see oil all over the windscreen, don't try and switch fuel tanks. And always take off with full fuel IFR (payload permitting). And ALWAYS know which way you're going if the engine quits. Always plan on the engine quitting, and if it doesnt consider yourself lucky :)

And remember you'll probably go partial panel since you'll lose your vacuum pumps (unless you have a backup electric one)
 

erj-145mech

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cforst513 said:
but that means losing altitude. is this the first step, followed by notifying ATC of your situation and your losing altitude, and THEN troubleshoot? my instructor and i have not gone over this. would ATC try to vector you to the nearest airport? what would you guys do?

If you're in a 172 and the engine fails, you are going to loose altitude. Trimming takes the loss rate out of the equasion, and gives you some control. Remember, you always have to fly the airplane. After everything is under control, the next thing to do is troubleshoot, gas, primer, etc. Try to hit the softest, cheapest object at the slowest possible airspeed.

ATC will give you vectors to the nearest airport, sometimes making it to that airport is up to you.
 

joe_pilot

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Good advice from both guys. I would like to add a little bit to Mmmm's comments, though. Don't fly single-engine airplanes into low IMC (say less than 500') without seriously asking the question "How important is the flight?". Aviation is all about risk management. Set some personal minimums and stick to them. As you gain experience, some of those minimums can and will be raised. How much of a crosswind will you accept?, etc.

All of that being said, ask any experienced CFII, freight dog or alaska pilot how they feel about flying a single in WX that is at or near minimums. They'll tell you it is done all the time.

Good question, BTW. Keep thinking like that.
 

mar

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Turn. Turn. Turn.

joe_pilot said:
All of that being said, ask any experienced CFII, freight dog or alaska pilot how they feel about flying a single in WX that is at or near minimums. They'll tell you it is done all the time.

If you're flying IFR in anything with a service ceiling of less than 20,000 feet you had better be carrying VFR charts with you and know where the high terrain is at all times.

Forget about the stupid GPS button.
Forget about ATC.
Forget about the stupid checklist.

You need to turn. RIGHT NOW. I don't care if you're in a single engine airplane or a DC6.
 

Captain4242

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1. Aviate (fly the plane)
2. Navigate
3. Communicate

Those three, in order, seem to be pretty popular.
 

lowslow

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Hmmm. I guess it's a good thing you guys do not fly Vans full of freight...
 

HMR

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mar said:
If you're flying IFR in anything with a service ceiling of less than 20,000 feet you had better be carrying VFR charts with you and know where the high terrain is at all times.
Excellent advice. I ALWAYS kept a VFR chart in my lap when I flew singles and piston twins in the soup.
 

BD King

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mar said:
If you're flying IFR in anything with a service ceiling of less than 20,000 feet you had better be carrying VFR charts with you and know where the high terrain is at all times.

Forget about the stupid GPS button.
Forget about ATC.
Forget about the stupid checklist.

You need to turn. RIGHT NOW. I don't care if you're in a single engine airplane or a DC6.

Agreed.

www.bdkingpress.com
 

cforst513

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thanks fellas. it's good advice. i just didnt know when you should let ATC in on the secret of why you're off your assigned altitidimatude.
 

avbug

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All of that being said, ask any experienced CFII, freight dog or alaska pilot how they feel about flying a single in WX that is at or near minimums. They'll tell you it is done all the time.

I'm not certain who the "they" in that statement is, but I sorta suspect I'm one of them, and I don't agree with flying single engine instruments at all. I learned the hard way after deadsticking to a landing in a 182 many moons ago following an engine failure IMC. I landed on a gravel strip that was beneath me when I emerged from the higher cloud bases, but to this day am not impressed in the least with the idea of flying single engine instruments, especially in piston equipment.
 

Huggyu2

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Mmmmmm Burritos said:
This is why you should NEVER fly single-engine IFR when it's low outside.

There are not many "absolutes" in aviation, and this isn't one of them. As mentioned above, it's about risk management. To say "NEVER" fly IFR in SE aircraft is something I disagree with wholeheartedly.
If engine no-worky, then fly the aircraft, and make engine worky again. If that won't happen, it gets complicated (obviously).
 

onthebeach

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When teaching primary students in single-engine aircraft, I used an acronym to teach a flow to manage a power failure. Works the same for IFR or VFR. Yours free if you want it.

G - A - T - R - E...pronounce it like "gator."

G = Glide. Trim for best glide speed.

A = Area. Turn toward a suitable landing area (If IFR, to an airport you know you can make; or, if none, turn into the wind)

T = Troubleshoot. Check fuel on or switch tanks, turn on boost pump (if any), mixture rich, carb heat hot (if any) or alt. air selected on, check mags. Attempt a restart.

R = Radio. Tell somebody about your predicament. If VFR out in the sticks, probably a call on 121.5 is your best bet, but if IFR talk directly to your controlling ATC station at the time.

E = Exit. Before you land (or, if IMC, before impact) unlatch the doors, turn off the fuel, set final flaps (assuming electric flaps) before you turn off the master. If in solid IMC and you know the approximate height of terrain under you...you DO know this, don't you...then set full flaps, slow to 5 knots above stall, level the wings, and wait. People debate about the gear in a retractable. Personally I would extend it before impact unless I knew I was over water (E-w-w-w-w...poor planning all the way around, eh what?)...the more things sticking out, the more things to get torn off and absorb energy.
 

joe_pilot

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avbug said:
I'm not certain who the "they" in that statement is, but I sorta suspect I'm one of them, and I don't agree with flying single engine instruments at all. I learned the hard way after deadsticking to a landing in a 182 many moons ago following an engine failure IMC. I landed on a gravel strip that was beneath me when I emerged from the higher cloud bases, but to this day am not impressed in the least with the idea of flying single engine instruments, especially in piston equipment.

All I meant is that people in those professions, especially the last two, do an awful lot of flying in low IMC. Would they rather have a twin? Absolutely. Do they do it all the time in singles? Absolutely.

Glad your time wasn't up that day.
 

Lead Sled

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avbug said:
I'm not certain who the "they" in that statement is, but I sorta suspect I'm one of them, and I don't agree with flying single engine instruments at all. I learned the hard way after deadsticking to a landing in a 182 many moons ago following an engine failure IMC. I landed on a gravel strip that was beneath me when I emerged from the higher cloud bases, but to this day am not impressed in the least with the idea of flying single engine instruments, especially in piston equipment.
I think that I'm also one of "them". There was a time in my life when I wouldn't have given much thought to flying single-engine IFR day or night. That was a long time ago. Now days, I'll let the eager, young time-builders have all of that time. About the only SE IFR I'm up to is during the day, enroute, with a solid VFR conditions underneath me.

'Sled
 

inthewind

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onthebeach said:
Personally I would extend it before impact unless I knew I was over water (E-w-w-w-w...poor planning all the way around, eh what?)...the more things sticking out, the more things to get torn off and absorb energy.
I agree with this whole heartedly, I balled up an apache after an engine failure during takeoff, the docs told me that the only thing that saved my spine was the gear soaking up some of the the 7g impact
 

Dr Pokenhiemer

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STAY CALM Trim for best glide, declare an emergency--ask for vectors to nearest airport, STAY CALM, troubleshoot on the way down. STAY CALM, land safely, Calmly change underwear (so people won't see how calm you were).
 
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