No way to simulate real vacuum failure

MaceyHold

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I finished up my required training for my instrument checkride last week...I got lots of good information from this board, but unfortunately, never had anything too exciting to post about on here......until today.

I went up with my instructor to "finalize" a few things prior to my checkride, which is scheduled next week. We went over to the local uncontrolled field to shoot an NDB approach, missed, then hold at the NDB. Other than a quick brushup on outbound timing due to winds, all went well. We headed back to LZU, and I started verbally going over "what if" scenarios, and then giving the answers. I talked about pitot blockage, static blockage, and then vacuum pump failure. Then I pointed to the stand-by vacuum system, and went over my thoughts on how it worked just to make sure I completely understood. As we were getting vectored for the ILS, I noticed the AI was indicating a descending left turn. I thought, man, that is weird...but that's it. As I continued with the scan, I got back to the AI, which was now showing a steep descending turn. At this point, I would have ideally checked the vacuum guage. Unfortunately, I tilted my head back, and confirmed that we were straight and level with the actual horizon. THEN I looked at the suction guage, which was pegged to the bottom left. I knew there was no way to simulate actual vacuum failure other than covering up the AI/DG, but I questioned my CFII anyways...he said he was not messing with anything. I said, well then, I guess we have a real vacuum failure!

After all our partial panel training, I am bummed that I didn't catch it right away, and do the cross check to identify. It was a perfect training opportunity, and I blew it by transitioning to visual to confirm. I guess it was a good opportunity to get me thinking more about a possible failure, and how I will react next time.

I sure wish there was a way to simulate vacuum failure other than just covering up the instruments...that is a definite sign they have failed. It would be much more realistic to do partial panel with the "slow death" that actually occurs.
 

spudskier

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FTDs my friend... not quite as good as the real thing of course, but a good FTD will slowly degrade both instruments into failure while the student may or may not notice them, either way, good training.
 

MauleSkinner

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MaceyHold said:
After all our partial panel training, I am bummed that I didn't catch it right away, and do the cross check to identify. It was a perfect training opportunity, and I blew it by transitioning to visual to confirm. I guess it was a good opportunity to get me thinking more about a possible failure, and how I will react next time.

You DID catch it...and you used an appropriate crosscheck to verify it. It's just that crosschecking the horizon isn't always available ;)

Did you then continue to fly instruments with the AI rolled over? THAT's the tough part.

Fly safe!

David
 

MTpilot

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An old instructor of mine used to teach at a place where they had a piper that was rigged up so there was a switch under the panel that would shut off vaccum to the instuments and they would slowwly roll over, course that was back in the day, the FAA would probably have your ass for something like that any more.

Don't worry, you did right by crosschecking it, just remember next time check it against your whiskey compass or slip skid indicator. someday there won't be a horizon handy.
 

MaceyHold

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I did continue on instruments until the outer marker, then flipped up the shades. The DG was already covered since we were doing partial-partial panel. I actually pulled the sticky off the DG, since we had an actual failure. On second thought, I guess I shoulda put another sticky over the AI to help eliminate it from my scan...I only dealt with it for a couple minutes since we were being vectored for the ILS when it failed.

I think that after this experience, I will be certain to identify it correctly right away if/when it happens in IMC.
 

midlifeflyer

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MaceyHold said:
On second thought, I guess I shoulda put another sticky over the AI to help eliminate it from my scan...
During a recent safety seminar, it was suggested that a major reason real partial panel crashes isn't lack of proficiency at flying partial panel, but simply the difficulty in keeping control when the AI is giving incorrect information, and that many of these accidents would be avoided by having a sticky note pad to cover the failed incident.

I don't know if there are stats to support it, but I do know that I had a failed AI on a VFR flight in CAVU conditions and found it incredibly distracting until I covered it.
 

johnpeace

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FTDs my friend... not quite as good as the real thing of course, but a good FTD will slowly degrade both instruments into failure while the student may or may not notice them, either way, good training.

We have a GREAT AST sim/FTD up here in Gainesville. Let me know if you want to come up and fly some of the approaches at Anderson/Donaldson Ctr before your checkride.
 

MaceyHold

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johnpeace said:
We have a GREAT AST sim/FTD up here in Gainesville. Let me know if you want to come up and fly some of the approaches at Anderson/Donaldson Ctr before your checkride.

I may take you up on that. I shoot you a PM if I can get some free time before the ride. Thanks.
 

johnpeace

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OK, np...we have a couple of guys up here who have done IA rides with the DE you're using.
 

NoPax

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Agree with the whole 'its not flying partial panel, its recognizing a failure' argument. It sure is.

As an instructor I would use an Elite PCATD, or one of their new Advanced Aviation Training Devices - Elite G-500/G501 - excellent equipment and much much cheaper to operate than an FTD. (you can use them for upto 20 hours for the Instrument Rating).

If you experience it for real, declare an emergency, and try to get out of the clouds.
 

JediNein

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An old Frasca 142 FTD will simulate vacuum failure just fine.

We keep folks working on their skills by not allowing them to cover the instrument in the FTD, if they even brought cover-ups with them; in-flight you bet your bippy cover the POS failed instrument, just not in the sim. It helps add to the spatial disorientation that one has to fight when dealing with a real instrument failure.

Fly SAFE!
Jedi Nein
 
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