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MEIs...How do you train for engine failure after T/O?

Fearless Tower

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I was getting checked out in the local flying club Duchess the other day and during the flight, the MEI I was with had me fly a simulated engine failure on takeoff with the gear down still down. I responded by pulling back the throttles and establishing a controlled descent to the simulated field elevation which is how I had previously briefed the takeoff and in accordance with all of my multi training. The instructor explained that what he had wanted me to do was immediately raise the gear and feather the affected prop. We took a time out so to speak to discuss this event and his explanation was that the maneuver was something that he had always been asked to demonstrate in checkouts and flight reviews. His thoughts were that if you no no useable runway remaining then you were better off getting the gear up and trying to keep the plane in the air.

The problem I have with such a demonstration is that it is clearly contrary to current FAA guidance that I have seen as well as contrary to what is published in the Airplane Flying Handbook. If your criteria for raising the gear is positive rate and insufficient runway remaining then you would still have runway/overrun available if you lost your engine with the gear still down. If not, then you would have already selected gear up. In a light twin, I do not see the point in having someone demonstrate such a conflicting procedure. To me it seems alot like the single engine failure on takeoff 180 turn to return to the runway. Still CFI's that teach that and still alot of people getting killed trying to accomplish it.

At any rate, I realize this may stir up some debate, but I am curious to hear what other MEIs are teaching/training with regards to this.

To clarify - I'm talking specifically about light twins, not transport category aircraft and/or aircraft with published V1/V2 speeds.
 

avbug

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I responded by pulling back the throttles and establishing a controlled descent to the simulated field elevation which is how I had previously briefed the takeoff and in accordance with all of my multi training.

I like the way you respond.

Too many instructors teach something not because they have an ounce of sense, not because they know how it should be done, not because there's a reason they know...but simply because that's the way they were taught. It's what I like to call the heritage of inexperience.

I brief students, examiners, inspectors, and check airman about low altitude engine failures. In a Part 23 airplane, I make it clear that we don't do single engine missed approaches or go-arounds, and I make it clear that if they pull an engine below 400' on takeoff, they're going to lose that engine. I make it clear that I won't pull an engine on them, but that if loss of power occurs, it will be treated as a bona fide engine failure, to include feathering the propeller. I make it very clear that unless they plan to be landing on a road or in a field nearby, they had best not be pulling power close to the ground. I will, and have, landed the airplane near the airport with the FAA and others on board...and once had a chief pilot/check airman in tears because he was warned...and learned the hard way that I wasn't kidding. I passed the checkride, and never had to listen to him snivel again...he works for the FAA, now.

There's no good reason to set the airplane up for an emergency situation at any time during training unless one is fully prepared to carry the even through to a full conclusion. This means that one should NEVER pull an engine unless one is fully prepared to complete the flight without that engine available.

In a single engine airplane, one has no business retarding the power to simulate an engine failure, or killing the engine for that matter, unless one is 100% prepared and confident to make a forced landing right here, right now. Never, never, never assume that power can be restored.

In a multi engine airplane, the same is true. Never pull power to simulate an engine out unless you're fully prepared to not get that engine back. This means, in many light Part 23 airplanes, being prepared to put the airplane off field or on the ground. This may mean having a runway in mind within the drift-down range of the airplane, having a road, a field, or other option ready.

Departure engine failures can be simulated at low level so long as one is fully confident and able to continue the rest of the operation without getting the power back. If one intends to pull the power then one has picked up one end of the stick. Pick up one end of the stick, you pick up the other. the other end of the stick may very well be a forced landing. If the airplane is of a type that can't make it on one engine and will necessitate a forced landing, then by pulling the power one has opened up the option, and must be prepared to make a forced landing. It's that simple.

I don't know your location or density altitude or loading or airspeed at the time the instructor pulled the power. Perhaps you could have retracted gear and continued with the engine-out. If not, then there's no reason to be pulling that engine, even in training, at that point in space and time. Much better to continue to a safe altitude where one can still make it back to the airport or a safe landing field, in the event power is lost.

A few years ago I prepped a student for his instrument ride, and he was of the same mindset. He warned the FAA inspector conducting the ride not to attempt simulating a power loss under certain conditions, and the inspector did it anyway. The student refused to let the inspector have the power back, and landed on a road in the country. The inspector was livid, but he'd been warned. He was also terrified, and doubtless never made that mistake again. My student passed with flying colors, and I'm glad he did what he did. I'd do the same.

You know the capabilities of your airplane. Pull that engine and lose your performance, lose your airspeed, and lose your altitude, and you may not have the option of continuing the flight. In a light twin the only option may be to accept the nearby terrain and switch from attempting to fly to making a forced landing. Sounds to me like you did an admirable job with what many find to be a difficult mindset. You let go of the mindset to continue climbing out, and recommitted on the spot to making that forced landing. Too many wait too long and either run out of options for that forced landing, or go past the point of directional control ("Vmc")...sacrificing the little time they had to make things work out.

I say congratulations on your decision making. Not everyone who offers themself as an authority, an instructor, an examiner, or holds out as a professional will offer you something good. You've taken the bold and intelligent step of making a critical decision on your own, and recognizing what's being preached to you on it's own merits...and for that you're to be congratulated.
 

brokeflyer

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in a plane like that, that was the best option. The duchess probly would only climb on 1 engine in freezing weather below sea level.

Sometimes however straight ahead isnt an viable option. So that 2nd engine may only be able to control your decent a little better.

When i was an examiner I did several checks in late model 310's......diffrent performance there. I've also done them in King Air's.....that's diffrent too. And then the seminole, :(.......Having a good relationship with the local instructors we all knew what o expect from each other.
 

Talian

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First of all a prudent multi engine pilot flying the mighty BE 76 should have determined the performance factors pertaining to the specific flight.
In my multi and ATP training I was fortunate to have a great instructor who also was an engineer.
We calculated a takeoff trajectory triangle for every takeoff. If the flight was close to sea level and not too hot out with only two pax the triangle would clearly show that the takeoff could be accomplished safely and that a climb although minimal would be possible given the certain conditions.
On the other hand if we set up the conditions involving high altitude, high temp and weight you could know that the desired rate of climb with an engine failure would be nill.
This brings us to the decision do we land straight ahead with both engines at idle or do we use the power of the operating engine to help us reduce the rate of descent.
Since the Duchess doesn't have a critical engine and not a whole lot of power such as airplanes as twin cessnas I mostly would prefer to keep the good engine operating.
Granted that every situation is different and some pilots may have differing opinions on this subject.
Although Part 91 ops don't restrict takeoffs outside of a climb triangle that guarantees an acceptable climb rate the pilot is on his own to make the decision on how to proceed.
My personal decision in this area is if I was flying a light twin I would always like to operate the plane at a specific weight and density altitude that would allow some sort of performance .
I dont fly light twins for a living so i am able to operate as I feel comfortable and will continue to do so.
I guess its personal preference to understand the limitations and not try to get a plane to do something it cannot do.
In some cases the good engine has just led many pilots to the scene of the crash.
 

ackattacker

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While everyone raises good point I think they are failing to address the gist of the Original Poster's question. They were not at low level - they were simulating an engine failure at takeoff while actually flying at a cruise altitude (unless I misinterpret). Since the gear was down the "student" simulated a forced landing, since he had been taught that in a light twin the gear retraction is the go/no go decision point.

I have always taught the same thing. And that is also how Cape Air trains using 402's. You did the right thing. It is a sensible and simple decision point.

At that point (engine failure after liftoff, gear still down) you really don't have ANY "good" options in a light twin. However it is important to have trained for that eventuality and to do exactly as you trained and briefed. Ignore all this talk about "well, it was xyz model and the temperature was less than such-and-such". You don't have the time in flight to go through all those variables. You do as you trained, make a decision and commit to it.
 

avbug

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They were not at low level - they were simulating an engine failure at takeoff while actually flying at a cruise altitude (unless I misinterpret).

I think the "gist" of the question is quite clear. Yes, the student was simulating the failure on takeoff, and yes, he did so while maneuvering at a safe training altitude. Never the less, we fly as we train, and the student reacted the same as he should have, and would have done, should the failure have occured during an actual takeoff at a low altitude.

The student made a good call.
 

Sig

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I like the way you respond.


I say congratulations on your decision making. Not everyone who offers themself as an authority, an instructor, an examiner, or holds out as a professional will offer you something good. You've taken the bold and intelligent step of making a critical decision on your own, and recognizing what's being preached to you on it's own merits...and for that you're to be congratulated.


I think you've impressed Avbug- and that's a really small cadre!!

In my opinion, you absolutely made the correct decision as well.
 
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