Engine Failure on Takeoff

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by azpilot, Sep 20, 2021.

  1. azpilot

    azpilot Line Up and Wait

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    I'm curious if anyone has come up with a detailed plan for how to handle an engine failure on takeoff, specifically for how to handle this at your home airport.

    It would look something like this. These numbers are all generic.

    Engine failure on takeoff roll up to 50' AGL - Land on Runway.
    50' AGL - 700' AGL land at xxxxx (this could be a specific field, road or area that you've pre-planned and considered
    700' AGL - 1,000 land at yyyyy (this is a different pre-planned spot)
    TPA - "Impossible" turn or something else

    I know that local conditions (i.e. temperature and winds), as well as airplane performance, will alter all of this. Additionally, if you're renting, or in a club and routinely fly different airplanes, each airplane will perform differently as well. But I am interested if this is something that others have given any thought to, or if others have planned this out for their home airports in any more detail.
     
  2. Bellanca_Pilot

    Bellanca_Pilot Pre-Flight

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    Yes, and I had it happen in my Pitts!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  3. brcase

    brcase Pattern Altitude

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    Friend of Mine on his multiengine checkride had the examiner put a clipboard between the Propeller and Mixture controls so he could not see what the examiner was doing with the mixtures during the takeoff. The examiner didn't do anything, but then asked what were you doing/thinking during the takeoff, the answer of course was my friend was on edge waiting to see which engine the examiner might fail. The examiners point was, if you do every take off thinking which engine is going to have a problem, you will never have a problem when it does.

    To the OP, your question is my standard question for a flight review. As we depart tell me what your emergency (power failure) plan is at each stage of the take off, and when that option is not longer viable what is the next plan.
    for example i.e. we are landing straight ahead on the runway,
    At this point still landing on the runway but likely going through that fence at the end.
    At this point we are going into the small field there, we will likely damage the airplane but walk away.
    At this point we we will be landing on the road to the right.
    Now we would be landing in that field
    and now that field
    and now we could easily make it back to the runway.

    Identifying the points where a successful landing with no damage is not likely and committing early to what the best option is at that point will help a lot if you ever have to make the tough choice to sacrifice the airplane.

    Brian
    CFIIG/ASEL
     
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  4. azpilot

    azpilot Line Up and Wait

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    That sounds like a story that needs to be shared here. I know the Pitts will climb really well, but I hear they glide like a brick. That must have been quite the day.
     
  5. Daleandee

    Daleandee Pattern Altitude

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    I had an engine quit on takeoff many years ago somewhere about 100-150' up with about 600' of runway left. There was a piece of open field just ahead before the trees. I pushed the nose over, threw it into a hard slip, and stuck it into the muddy field. I did damage the left landing gear as it didn't want to roll in the mud but me and my buddy were thanking the Good Lord that we were down safe with minimal damage.

    A little higher than that would have been a field just beyond the trees or even the trees if needed but there was no turning around being that low. Once I begin the crosswind turn, depending on the airplane, a turnback becomes an option.

    The answer is always going to be "it depends." There has been a lot of this discussion lately but there are so many variables that you, in your plane, in the weather at the moment, dealing with the startle factor, and the skills you have or have not honed will determine the outcome.

    BTW, it don't matter ... owner, loaner, or a rental, when the engine quits the insurance company owns it so don't worry about dinging it up. ;)
     
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  6. azpilot

    azpilot Line Up and Wait

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    This is a really good point. It's also the kind of feedback I was hoping to get. The "planner" part of my brain wants to have a pre-planned decision assigned as a function of altitude. But there are just so many other variables. I think I like the idea of just knowing were all of the possible landing point are. Then, as you gain altitude, you transition from one potential landing spot to the next.

    Ain't this the truth? My life is worth more than any airplane. The life insurance policy my wife took out on me says so. lol
     
  7. RussR

    RussR En-Route

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    I have done this to trainees as well. It's a great lesson.
     
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  8. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    With a CFI you should do a simulated engine failure on a 10,000 ft runway from ~200 AGL from a Vy climb. Every thing happens very quickly and you are not going anywhere but down. The maneuver requires large pitch reduction to prevent stall and then pitch up to the landing pitch. The altitude loss at this point is very large and rapid.

    At >300 AGL, you might be able to turn 20-30° to avoid objects or to a very close landing area.

    At 500 ft AGL you can turn up to 90°, but the glide distance is still going to be rather short. In a typical 172 or Warrior, you will have less than 4500 ft to impact if you turn. Maybe 5000 ft straight ahead.
     
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  9. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

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    “Ahead of the wings, into the wind” is a really good place to start.
     
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  10. Brad W

    Brad W Line Up and Wait

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    Had an engine falter and almost die, but not totally, once when away from my home. This airport was something like 8,000 feet. We were something like 150 ft or so up...just pulled the throttle back, pushed, and landed with plenty of runway to spare.
    After that incident I thought about this topic a lot....if I'd have been home on the approx 3,200 ft runway it could have been ugly..... but regardless, it seems to me like it's complicated with so many variables to come up with a single number. Considering temperature, winds, weights, and on and on..... You could really do some complex math and come up with numbers such as distance down the run way and altitude at that point that would allow landing straight ahead either on runway or on over run.... then another set to make the field that lies say under the crosswind leg....
    But it could be bad to be so fixated on a particular variable, especially one that would be entirely different at a different field, or even with different conditions or in a different aircraft.
    One thing I've considered is the human mind's ability to do very complex integral and differential calculus on the fly by eye..... think throwing and catching a baseball, or shooting a basketball, etc... Perhaps more interesting to do some sort of targeted practice to perfect that hand eye coordination and familiarity with your airplane so that you can adjust making decision fast regarding decent rates, turn rates, etc.... problem is that most of our practice is at altitude where visual references are so far away that we don't get a true sense of what's happening....
     
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  11. Daleandee

    Daleandee Pattern Altitude

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    I guess if there's an "advantage" to being in a single engine plane it would be that when the engine quits ... you know which one it is ... :D
     
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  12. azpilot

    azpilot Line Up and Wait

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    I really like this idea! KIWA is right next to KCHD and has three ~10,000' runways.
     
  13. brcase

    brcase Pattern Altitude

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    I think you meant Vx climb. otherwise spot on.

    Brian
     
  14. brcase

    brcase Pattern Altitude

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    I have also heard much of this taught as the TLAR method (That Looks About Right), and that is much of the exercise of talking through what your options are for a power failure. As a CFI I can usually judge if you are making realistic assessments of what you can or can't do. When you safely can, test your TLAR Judgement. If you are sure you can land on the remaining runway, then try it some time. How much extra did you have, did you have to stand on the brakes harder than you expected. Having a CFI back you up while practicing this kind of thing is an excellent idea.

    Brian
    CFIIG/ASEL
     
  15. pmanton

    pmanton Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    It didn't quit, but I lost a cylinder in a 65HP Champ on TO. I accepted an intersection take off. I was flying from the back seat and as soon as I ran out of a place to set down I lost the cylinder. There was some oil and smoke from the engine. I had a bit of altitude so I started to turn back. I told myself keep the ball centered and as soon as I ran out of altitude I was going to level the wings and make the best landing on what ever was in front of me.
    I did complete the turn. It turned out to be a hole in a piston caused by detonation. (that's what they said- it was a club plane.)

    That was 1965. You bet I plan on which way I'm go if I lose an engine on TO. I got lucky once.
    Paul
    Salome, AZ.
     
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  16. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    Actually I meant Vy. The transition out of a Vx climb is really dramatic and if you aren’t patient enough and don’t get enough altitude it is dangerous. You should still have 2500 ft of runway when you touch down.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2021
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  17. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Fortunately, when we had our engine failure we were at around 1,000 feet and 10 miles from the airport. An engine failure immediately after takeoff at our home drome is either going to drop us into the ocean or into the trees.
     
  18. Robert Gee

    Robert Gee Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Been wondering from lesson 1, what is the point where it's better to slip or even dive down to eat that 10' chain link fence kinda fast or glide farther, into the trees?
    Knocking wood!
     
  19. Albany Tom

    Albany Tom Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    A simulated engine out at Vx in the climb IS dramatic. That's why I think every pilot needs to learn it. It's perfectly safe as long as the instructor has the altitude and remaining distance under control, and the student knows to expect it, and has already had stall training. If you don't practice it, have never done it, in my view you're in a lot of trouble if it ever happens unexpectadly.
     
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  20. azpilot

    azpilot Line Up and Wait

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    So, I know everyone flies in different environments and circumstances, but my home airport has a mile long runway, and I never operate out of short fields. After takeoff, I pitch for Vy. Given the flying I do, for me, it would work best to train that maneuver at Vy.
     
  21. Albany Tom

    Albany Tom Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    That's a good point. I'm flying mostly out of 2500', with obstacles. So short field technique, Vx climbouts are routine, and normal with the first leg of most flights.

    An advantage of a Vx climb, though, is that you get higher up earlier. I suppose that's obvious. If I'm flying in an area with plenty of fields around, I'll just fly Vy out. But if I'm in an urban area, even on a long runway I'm going to climbout between Vx and Vy. It gives me a better chance of either landing on the remaining runway, or turning back if I'm high enough. By the end of a 9000' runway, depending on the wind, weight, etc, I'll likely be high enough to get what I fly back to the airport, especially if there's a crossing runway. But again, if you always have fields around, that may never apply. (I would LOVE to have fields around. Along the lines of, can we slowly make anything w/in 5 miles of an airport green space? :) )
     
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  22. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    I take off my my home drone and the mill takes a dump I'm doing the turn. My reasoning is as follows: above about 300 feet if I land ahead I'm landing in a suburban neighborhood full of kiddies. Don't want to do that. I do the turn and bloody well keep my speed up if I can. If I'm not successful it's the same as landing straight ahead, I'm landing in suburbia. If I succeed I land in the cow pasture adjacent to the airport or even the airport itself.
     
  23. MICHAEL MAHN

    MICHAEL MAHN Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I've wondered the same b/c of a recent crash in my club. Apparently the pilot aborted the takeoff when he realized the plane was not climbing, then realized he couldn't stop before the fence, applied throttle to clear the fence, but he only had about 100-150 yards after the fence before trees which he impacted. I was thinking about what I would have done. I do not believe I would be thinking clear enough to make the decision he did. I'm nearly 100% sure once I made the decision to stop it would have been the fence for me.
     
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  24. allPrimes

    allPrimes Pre-takeoff checklist

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    At my home airport (KBZN), I repeat this immediately after the run-up and before I get back on to the taxiway to move to the hold-short line:

    "If I lose engine power anywhere between rotate and about 4,900', I can land straight ahead. If between 4,900 and pattern altitude [5,300'], I have options: maybe R21, ramps adjacent, or even the grass strip off-airport. If I make pattern altitude, I can make it back to the airport environment."

    I hope I never have to put any of those statements into practice, but it reinforces to me where the MSL cutoffs are and where I should be going. My CFI suggested that I use indicated altitude rather than AGL so that I can more easily make the decision based upon the altimeter.
     
  25. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Hitting the trees instead of the fence wasn’t thinking clearly IMO. Once you decide to abort, changing your mind seldom makes it better.
     
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  26. azpilot

    azpilot Line Up and Wait

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    Sitting here on the ground, while typing this out, I'd say it's 100x better to eat the fence. That fence is going to absorb a lot of energy and stop you over a relatively long distance. As long as you're not impaled by a 6' pole, you'll probably walk way. Crashing into the trees is similar until you fall from 20' up onto the ground.

    But if I'm startled and have to make this decision in the air??? Who knows what I'm going to do. Honestly, there is a big part of me that would probably want to salvage the landing in someway. I think that is kind of human nature. That's kind of the whole point of this thread from my point of view. I want to become extremely familiar with my home airport. I want to do the analytical thinking on the ground before so that in the moment it happens, the decision is more reflexive.
     
  27. write-stuff

    write-stuff En-Route

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  28. azpilot

    azpilot Line Up and Wait

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    I like the MSL vs AGL idea. I think that's a good point. I'll have to incorporate that.

    Also, at KBZN, is it more common to takeoff runway 12 or 30? I'm just curious if one direction is more common, and how you that affects your thought process at all?

    At KCHD we normally depart on 4L. There is a parallel runway, 4R, which is staggered forward. Plus we have taxiway B and C which could be options. Additionally, there are some fields in front of 4L and 4R. But once those fields end, there's a Walmart, a Target and a freeway. Yikes!
     
  29. allPrimes

    allPrimes Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Agreed. For a few times, I would recite in AGL. At some point, CFI suggested "think about it all in terms of MSL because that's what you'll be looking at." Made sense to me as newish student pilot and it's stuck with me.

    R12 is most common and tower won't change direction until winds are >10kt. The only thing that changes for me when I'm taking off from 30 is between 4,900' and pattern. There's fewer options for on-airport environment landing (just the nature of where 3-21 sits) but more for off-airport, even if they are a bit further away, given the number of grass strips nearby. That said, if I need to land on the terminal ramp, I'm going to land on the terminal ramp!

    upload_2021-9-21_10-14-26.png
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2021
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  30. azpilot

    azpilot Line Up and Wait

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    Wow! Great video! This is pretty much what was rumbling around in my brain, but this video puts it all into practice.

    So, what happened to you when your engine quit?
     
  31. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Keep mind that a barometric altitude of, say, 400 feet above field elevation isn’t always 400 feet above the ground.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2021
  32. write-stuff

    write-stuff En-Route

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    Piston shattered, connecting rod broke, and the engine tried to vibrate loose from the engine mount. The last part, fortunately, didn't happen. Upon autopsy, it looked like someone had thrown in a large shovel-full of rocks. The wrist-pin looked like it had been in a pencil sharpener. Crankcase cracked.
     
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  33. azpilot

    azpilot Line Up and Wait

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    Sorry, I'm not sure I follow you. If I verify I have the correct altimeter setting before takeoff, and confirm that my altimeter is reporting field elevation, then when the altimeter says 400' AGL, why wouldn't I be 400' above the ground? Am I missing something with "barometric altitude"?
     
  34. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You’re forgetting about true altitude.
     
  35. jbrinker

    jbrinker Pre-takeoff checklist

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    On my PPL checkride at KRME (Griffis), after doing I think short field landings, we taxied back and took off again. He failed my engine at about 2-300' AGL (at most!) and boy do things happen quick. That is a 12,000' runway, so I could have landed (and taken back off) about 4 times at least lol. But it really did show me some reality. Once I was established on a proper glide to landing, he said "Go ahead and put power back in and lets go finish up". So I didn't actually land, but that was a great simulation, and one I plan to do again (at an appropriate place, time, etc).
     
  36. Daleandee

    Daleandee Pattern Altitude

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    :yeahthat:

    My first instructor was pretty clear about making me understand that the idea was to make a plan and stick with it. This is not to say that the situation isn't fluid, but having, and executing, a plan should be what is happening. As was once famously said, "Let's work the problem people."

    Seems many of the errors in emergency situations come from indecisiveness ...
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2021
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  37. azpilot

    azpilot Line Up and Wait

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  38. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

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    An altimeter is subject to errors from nonstandard temperatures. Hot days will be higher than indicated, cold days lower than indicated.

    the cold side is addressed with instrument approach corrections so you don’t go below the protected procedure. https://www.pilotsofamerica.com/community/threads/cold-weather-approach-correction-notam.77520/


    Otherwise, it’s a whiz wheel calculation that you should have learned about when you were memorizing answers for the Private Pilot written. ;)
     
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  39. brcase

    brcase Pattern Altitude

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    What isn't obvious is that it really isn't Altitude that is your friend, but rather energy. What the Vx vs Vy Engine failure demonstration will show is that Potential energy (Altitude) is pretty useless without Kinetic Energy (Airspeed). Especially when you don't have the time/space/vector needed to convert that Altitude into Airspeed.

    Brian
    CFIIG/ASEL
     
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  40. Brad W

    Brad W Line Up and Wait

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    After my incident I started mostly doing the initial climbs at Vx...thinking it's better to gain altitude over the runway as opposed to dragging it out low over the fence at Vy. Especially with longer runways it gives more options for landing straight ahead, or ultimately turning to other areas or runways.
     
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