For much more on flying safely see www.thomaspturner.net
C2008 Mastery Flight Training, Inc. All rights reserved
FLYING LESSONS for May 15, 2008
suggested by this week's mishap reports
FLYING LESSONS uses the past week's mishap reports as the jumping-off
point to consider what might have contributed to accidents, so you can
make better decisions if you face similar circumstances. Although most
Flying Lessons are suggested by piston Beechcraft mishaps, commentary
arises from significant mishaps in other aircraft types as noted. In
almost all cases design characteristics of a specific make and model
airplane have little direct bearing on the possible causes of aircraft
accidents, so apply these FLYING LESSONS to any airplane you fly.
Feel free to forward this message for the purpose of pilot education.
This week's lessons:
ear%20Collapse%20Mishaps.pdf> cannot depend on landing gear squat
switches to protect you if you accidentally move a landing gear selector
on the ground. Use extreme caution to positively identify all controls
before repositioning to prevent this frequently $40,000+ mistake.
. The Multiengine Airplane Practical Test Standards prohibit
simulating an engine failure on takeoff at any speed above 50% of the
"red radial" [VMC] speed to protect against instructor-induced loss of
. There is a period of time after liftoff in a light twin,
before gear retraction, when the airplane has enough drag it will very
rapidly decelerate to VMC speed or stall extremely quickly after an
engine failure. In that configuration the twin-engine pilot is faced
with the same options presented a single-engine pilot with an engine
failure after takeoff-get the nose down to maintain flying speed for
minimum descent rate and lowest impact speed, and land pretty much
straight ahead unless much better options exist within the gliding range
of the airplane.
. The difference is that, in a twin, the remaining engine is
driving the airplane to diverge in all three axes, and it takes prompt
and correct pilot input to maintain control. Avoiding prolonged
exposure this most dangerous configuration is the source of "positive
rate, gear up" philosophy among almost all multiengine pilots, getting
into a low-drag configuration as quickly as possible to provide at least
the possibility of flying out of an engine failure.
. A great many pilots are now also climbing out at a shallower
pitch attitude, allowing airspeed to build as soon as possible in case
an engine quits at this most inopportune time. Airspeed = control, and
control is far more important to survival in a one-engine twin than
quickly gaining altitude.
. The landing gear in most airplanes won't retract quickly
enough to remove the drag and permit flight out of the engine failure;
except at extremely light weights and low density altitudes
"accelerate-go" really doesn't exist as an option in light piston twins.
I teach this "line-up litany" for recitation when taking the runway for
. If the gear is down, I'm going down
. If the gear is up, three degrees up
. "Going down" means lowering the nose as both throttles are
brought quickly to idle, basically the VMC recovery maneuver we learn
when earning the multiengine rating. "Three degrees up" is the
approximate pitch attitude needed for "blue line" airspeed in a Baron
(the multiengine type in which I have most experience instructing) with
a propeller still windmilling, unless heavily loaded and/or at a high
density altitude. Find the pitch attitude for the airplane you fly, and
substitute that attitude in the "litany".
. Perhaps a shallow, "blue-line-with-one-windmilling" attitude
is appropriate for initial climb unless obstacles are a hazard, so the
airplane is already at the correct attitude in the unlikely event an
engine quits just after gear retraction. Try this a few times when
taking off from a long runway to see if it's a procedure that works for
Questions? Comments? Send me a note at
Regarding last week's discussion of the Cirrus SR22 that flew at 10,000
feet several hundred miles without radio contact, only to fatally crash
when it apparently ran out of fuel, a reader with more than a passing
knowledge of chemistry responded to the claim that lean-of-peak (LOP)
mixture settings eliminate the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning:
It is impossible to get all of the carbon out of the exhaust. If the
combustion takes place is in a chemistry lab under perfect conditions
the products of combustion of a hydrocarbon (gasoline) would be carbon
dioxide and water. Since the engine can not quite do that trick, ROP or
LOP, there is some carbon monoxide in there ALWAYS, no matter what the
mixture control setting.
Another reader, who has an employee closely related to the pilot of the
The accident airplane had two previous problems with unspecified
"exhaust system leaks." The reader also relates: "My employee says he
was a very careful pilot and every time she [the employee] flew in the
airplane, she was briefed to pull the parachute if he became
This supports the theory that carbon monoxide poisoning may have
affected the pilot and passengers, leaving the airplane to continue on
autopilot until it was somehow upset or the Cirrus ran out of fuel.
Late report from the same reader at press time is that the FAA has told
the family it indeed does suspect CO poisoning.
Thanks, readers, for your insights.
FROM THE NTSB: TURBOCHARGER FAILURES
The National Transportation Safety Board has this week issued Safety
A-08-21, calling on FAA "require manufacturers of aircraft equipped with
engine turbochargers to amend their Pilot Operating Handbooks (POHs) and
airplane flight manuals to include in the Emergency Procedures section
information regarding turbocharger failure and, specifically, procedures
to minimize potential hazards relating to fire in flight and/or loss of
This recommendation results from the crash of a T206H operated by the
Drug Enforcement Agency. The pilot reported a loss of engine power at
1150 feet AGL. Witness reported that they heard several attempts to
restart the engine and that black smoke billowed from the aircraft
during each attempt. The airplane struck trees as it descended and
crashed into a garage attached to a house. A post-crash fire and
explosion ensued, and the pilot was fatally injured. The NTSB discovered
the turbocharger had failed and the turbine wheel seized. The Board
determined the probable cause of this accident was, in part, the seized
turbocharger. A contributing factor was inadequate emergency procedures
from the manufacturer.
The Recommendation goes on to cite additional turbo-failure accidents,
and a long history of contact with GAMA <http://www.gama.aero/> and
aircraft manufacturers to add turbocharger-failure emergency checklists
to their POHs.
You don't have to wait to be safe. Read my 2003 article Turbo Failure
<http://www.ipilot.com/learn/article.aspx?ArticleID=844> and a brief
E-C6EC-4120-90EF-543A314486F0&Dynamic=1> I wrote in 2006. If you have
any unexplained reduction in manifold pressure with a turbocharged
engine and your POH Engine Failure checklist does not contain
turbocharger failure steps, perform the published Engine Failure
checklist with these considerations:
. In multiengine airplanes:
o Perform a precautionary engine shutdown and transition to
o Land at the nearest suitable airport.
. In single-engine airplanes:
o Lean the mixture to a setting that supports combustion with
reduced air flow.
o Land are the nearest suitable location (not necessarily an
. In all airplanes:
o Watch for signs of an engine fire, and perform the POH Engine
Fire in Flight procedure immediately if needed.
Unfortunately, sitting in the pilot's seat there's no way you can
distinguish more benign power loss scenarios (sticky wastegates,
pressure controller failures, open overpressure valves) from the danger
of imminent engine failure or fire. As the NTSB recommendation
suggests, if you fly a turbocharged airplane you need to be ready to
deal with a turbo system failure.
NEW PISTON BEECHCRAFT REPORTS THIS WEEK
The May 15, 2008 Weekly Accident Update is now posted at
www.thomaspturner.net <http://www.thomaspturner.net/> , including these
. The pilot of a J35 retracted the landing gear instead of flaps
. The pilot of a B19 Sport lost directional control on landing..
. A Twin Beech's gear collapsed on takeoff..
. Two died when a V35 went down under unknown circumstances..
. An E55 crashed into a parking lot during an attempted
For more information, commentary and analysis see the Beech
<http://www.thomaspturner.net/WAU%202008.htm> Weekly Accident Update
link at www.thomaspturner.net <http://www.thomaspturner.net/> .
Fly safe, and have fun!
Thomas P. Turner, M.S. Aviation Safety, Master CFI
2008 FAA Central Region CFI of the Year
Mastery Flight Training, Inc.
I welcome your comments and suggestions. Contact Mastery Flight
Training, <mailto:email@example.com> Inc.
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