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Navajo Drivers......

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Well-known member
Jan 7, 2002
For all you Navajo Drivers. Or just anybody who wants to try at this. I don't want to sounds like a smarty pants, but I'm going to ask this anyway. A good friend of mine recently went to SimCom for training in the Navajo. He asked me a question when he came back:


No Wind situation:
You takeoff and you're at 800 feet (water is in front of you and there is no place to land on the ground because it's swampy, or it's a city, or whatever - both engines fail, what do you do?

You're taking off of runway 32 and you have a westerly wind, same think - 800 feet, both engines fail, what do you do?

Let me know what you think the answer is, I'll post it after a few replies.
OK, I'll bite! In a Navajo or any other light twin if you have a double engine failure at 800 ft. you are going to land nearly straight ahead, in the case of the water or swamp if you do it right you are going to wade or swim out, in the city situation better be looking for a street. That said every double failure on piston twins I have heard of has been due to contaminated fuel, either jet or H2O. If you take care with your fuel all other engine systems being separate your chances of a double failure are almost nil.
I think the sim trainer is bored. Turn right 45 degrees while establishing a 78KT decending turn next turn left 225 degrees apply flaps 10 while passing 180 degrees maintaining 78kts. When you have picked up the runway drop the gear when you have 3 green feather both props. Maintain airspeed adding flaps over the end of the runway. Apply brakes and stop.
I'll go with DC9stick. I've flown Navajos and I've flown sims, but never a Navajo sim. My guess is that the sim instructor was able to demonstrate a return to the runway when both engines quit. Having been a sim instructor, I know there is a lot of neat stuff you can demonstrate in the sim, that you would never do in flight. As for trying to return to the airport at 800 feet with both engines dead, I'd take my chances landing straight ahead.

In the sim, you are not suprised the engines quit. In the sim your reaction time is immediate since you expect this stuff to happen. In the sim the winds are constant. In the sim the aircraft is not overloaded (ever have a pax lie about his weight or baggage weight?). In the sim you don't have screaming passengers. In the sim you're not fearing for your life, fumbling through the memory items, forgetting to feather the props (you DID feather the props didn't you?).

Anyway, you get my drift. I'll take my chances landing upright and under control in the swamp than possibly out of control, with no chance of survival while trying to return to the field attempting to perform a maneuver that requires flawless execution to be successful.
I have a lot of time in Navajo's too, in real life I would go straight ahead and put it in. If I were over a beach like climbing out of FXE,I would ditch parallel to the beach.
Concur. There is no way to get it back to the runway, regardless of the winds. Unless the field elevation is 800 feet, and the failure occured on the runway...

Straight ahead, or a turn to get closer to shore.

Weight will make a big difference, as a Navajo at gross weight is no glider.

Attempting to get back to the runway is asking for a nasty accident.
You picked up on that, field 800 feet and failure occured on the runway, but you are still going straight ahead. I know they are calling for the 180 degree turn, I have seen it done before in a sim with another airplane, if you turn into the wind initially you are screwed.
Many years ago at CMI a pilot left a big pile of rubble and 8 bodies short of the runway as he tried to make a 180 degree turn. He is not around anymore so I didn't get to ask him if turned into the wind or not.(he helped dig the hole the passenger fell in it) Sim training is neg training as obviously this pilot never got to try it again. Always go straight ahead, even if you loose just one.
Especially in a PA31.
Read the accident reports. So many have stalled in the turn and left a smoking hole. And that is with one good engine. I will take my changes with a controlled crash straight ahead.

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