Engine failure on takeoff - mitigation.

Discussion in 'Lessons Learned' started by Engine Failure Fear., Oct 12, 2019 at 1:37 PM.

  1. My biggest anxiety in aviation is losing an engine on takeoff. Aside from doing the obvious (checking fuel quality/quantity, doing a run up and having a plan if you lose and engine on climb out -- immediate stick forward to avoid stall), are there any other checks you can do?
     
  2. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Well, I have some good news for you. Twins are cheap now...

    ...of course, they also double your chances of having an engine failure on takeoff.

    But, I would suggest that you can also have a better plan for if and when it does happen. Yes, you'll need to push and keep your airspeed up, but when you're flying into an airport, scope out the options you'd have on takeoff before you land. That'll give you a much better chance of finding a survivable place to land after the initial push. You can also use the 3D airport view in ForeFlight or even just the aerial map or Google satellite view to see what your options will be.
     
  3. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Research on google earth, plan for outs and where you could put her down.

    Some off airport training is also good.
     
  4. Ryanb

    Ryanb Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Unfortunately, there aren’t any pre-takeoff checks that you can do that will ensure the engine won’t grenade during the initial climb. It’s a crap shoot - hate to say it.

    Yes, losing the engine on takeoff is one of, if the not the worst times for it puke, but there are some ways that the risk can be mitigated.

    1. Perform a pre-takeoff brief and know what you’ll do if the engine quits during the takeoff roll, after takeoff without runway remaining and after takeoff above 1,000ft AGL. In many of the basic training airplanes, you have 30deg left and 30deg right to find a suitable landing zone, that’s it.

    2. Know where you’ll go if you lose the engine below a 1,000ft AGL. Google maps helps with this as James said.

    Besides this, if the engine has sufficient oil, is receiving fuel and the air filter is clean, and there’s no ice forming in the carb (if you’re not fuel injected) than the chance for a power failure is reduced substantially.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2019 at 9:33 PM
  5. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

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    For your home airport you should note the location off the runway that are good options. If you fly in congested areas, that may be very limited.

    You should brief yourself of every take off what you will do if you lose an engine. 1. Land on remaining runway if able, 2. Land with no more than a 30 degree turn if below X altitude (500 ft agl converted to MSL) 3. Above X MSL you may turn more for landing. Have an estimate of how much runway you should be off by.

    Oil pressure and power check before rotation.
     
  6. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    There really isn't much you can do that hasn't been offered here, but let me add one more.

    Forget about saving the airplane. Save yourself and anyone on board.

    The insurance company owns my airplane. I just get to pay for everything and play with it.
     
  7. bobmrg

    bobmrg En-Route

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    This calls for what I describe as constructive paranoia: Break every takeoff into indentifiable segments and have a plan in mind for an engine failure during each segment. For example, before you push the throttle in, tell yourself that your engine is going to quit before you reach rotation speed and know what you will do in that situation; with that behind you, tell yourself that you are going to lose your engine after liftoff but before reaching 400 feet (agl, of course) and be ready to execute that plan (straight ahead or no more than 20 degrees of heading change and try to hit something inexpensive). If you make it past 400 feet but before you get to 1000 feet your plan should include a turn of no more than 90 degrees. Above that, a turn back will probably get you onto the airport property but not necessarily the runway.

    I have never had an engine fail in a single-engine airplane but I have had a couple of anomalies in twins that involved shutting down an engine. In each case, I was spring-loaded to take the appropriate action because of constructive paranoia.

    Bob Gardner
     
  8. Lndwarrior

    Lndwarrior Pre-takeoff checklist

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    For every take-off I continuously call out my landing option up to a thousand feet. if im alone i do it out loud. if i have a pax, i do it in my head.

    for example, as soon as i lift off i start repeating - "straight ahead, straight ahead" and so on (talking about my home airport now) up to 400 feet. then my option becomes the lake. so just after 400 feet i start repeating over and over "the lake, the lake,". i keep this up until 700 feet and then, depending on wind , i'll start repeating " turning back, turning back" and keep that up until i hit 1000 agl.

    my two early options (straight ahead and the lake) are not good options. im probably going to get hurt. But because these are bad options i just don't wsnt to hesitate if it ever really happens.

    i still do this same process even if im at a field with good landing out options.
     
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  9. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

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    Brief a good engine out plan.
     
  10. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    How many have actually landed on a grass field? river bed? gravel? or brought a plane in from almost a stall to on speed to minim speed?

    Always though it was crazy how one can get a PPL and never even do a real soft field landing

    I remember a video of a 182 or something, had a engine failure and landed near a river, beautiful except he went all limp wrist on the touch down vs keeping the stick aft, went from probably a not even scratching the paint event to being flipped on his back
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2019 at 11:35 PM
  11. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

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    :rolleyes:

    Get as much altitude as you can as quickly as you can because altitude is life. Always have a plan for what you’ll do when the motor quits. I do it a dozen times a mile.
     
  12. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Offset takeoffs if you are an impossible turn believer.
    Keep that shoulder harness damn tight.
     
  13. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    PC12 can do it from 500’ strait out departure, if you’re quick on the flaps and feather.

    Whoever coined the phrase “impossible turn” should be kicked square in the nuts.
     
  14. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

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    I fully agree, but minimizing damage to the fuselage is rather important.
     
  15. alfadog

    alfadog En-Route

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    Practice that turn back (LOL - "impossible"). For me, in a C172, 600 feet AGL is my minimum to turn back.
     
  16. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

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  17. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Agreed.

    The whole forget trying to save the airplane is probably worse than “impossible turn”

    Try your best to save the airplane ALWAYS, pro tip, the better condition the plane is in, chances are the better condition you’ll be in.
     
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  18. write-stuff

    write-stuff En-Route

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  19. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    I would add "proper maintenance" to that list. I've sometimes been appalled by the stuff I find in an airplane we see for the first time. Fuel strainers that haven't been opened in many years: corroded bowls and contaminated filters. Fuel selectors full of crud. Fuel caps that leak. Magnetos that haven't been removed and opened since they were installed on the engine 40 years before. Spark plugs that easily fail the spark testing after cleaning and gapping. Why is it that owners treat their airplanes like that and expect perfect performance from them? Is it because they are spoiled by our nearly maintenance-free cars now? Or is it because they take the airplane to the cheapest shop they can find?

    A good writeup on engine failures: https://www.aviation.govt.nz/licens...structor-guide/engine-failure-after-take-off/
     
  20. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Mx free cars?

    There is a reason people view cars as “old” after 5 years, same thing, everything needs mx, and with proper mx things last longer than the pilot most times.

    Still engine failure wise, chit happens, just read the sump this.
    http://www.sumpthis.com/
     
  21. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    Meh. Just another Continental getting close to needing a top overhaul. :rolleyes:
     
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  22. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    Damn it! Beats me to it yet again :D