Engine out practice

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Adam Weiss, Feb 9, 2020.

  1. Adam Weiss

    Adam Weiss Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Practiced engine out yesterday.
    Flew overhead, pulled the throttle, and circled in, staying close.
    Did that a couple times.
    Then killed the engine entirely and tried it.
    It really did make a big difference with the prop totally stopped vs idling.
    Pitching for best glide was a much more conscious and pronounced act.

    Based on this, I’m fairly confident that I could make the field if my engine ever died while I was 2000 AGL directly over it. But it’s likely not going to happen that way. I feel I should get a better feel for actual glide distances with wind.
    Anyone else practice this and have recommendations?
     
  2. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    Damn! glad you made it, and I'm sure it's a worthwhile experience seeing what it's like without the engine on or without the psychological safety of knowing that you can add power if you need it

    Assuming this was an uncontrolled airport, what did you say on the radio called?

    "Simulated actual engine out"?

    I wonder how hard it would have been to restart
     
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  3. Ryanb

    Ryanb Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Did you try this solo? I really wouldn’t be practicing engine outs with the engine totally stopped.
     
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  4. Adam Weiss

    Adam Weiss Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Yes, uncontrolled airport, and no one in the pattern.
    The first couple times I called “Simulated engine failure”.
    When I actually killed it, I called “Engine out. Dead stick landing”, but tried to do it calmly and not alarm anyone.

    Once I touched down, I fired it right up.
     
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  5. Radar Contact

    Radar Contact Pattern Altitude

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    It’s no longer practice when the engine isn’t running... :)
     
  6. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Well that was silly
     
  7. Adam Weiss

    Adam Weiss Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Yes. I was solo.
    I thought long and hard about it.
    Glad I did it.
    It really is a different animal from idling.
    Now that I know the difference, I don’t think I would have a good feel for a real engine out by only practicing simulated.
     
  8. Adam Weiss

    Adam Weiss Pre-takeoff checklist

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    It’s still practice if you can fire it back up at any time.
     
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  9. farmrjohn

    farmrjohn Pre-takeoff checklist

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    So, was there a big difference in the rate of descent with the engine out vs. running at best glide speed, and if so how much (and what way)? I'm too chicken to try that myself but do wonder.
     
  10. Adam Weiss

    Adam Weiss Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Flying gliders is silly too?
     
  11. RoscoeT

    RoscoeT Cleared for Takeoff

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    Glider pilots would.
     
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  12. Adam Weiss

    Adam Weiss Pre-takeoff checklist

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    There were two things I noticed.
    Descent rate was indeed a little higher.
    And I had to pitch over more to maintain airspeed.
     
  13. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Will you be my hero?
     
  14. RoscoeT

    RoscoeT Cleared for Takeoff

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    Some people think anything outside their own skill/comfort zone applies to all.
     
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  15. donjohnston

    donjohnston Line Up and Wait

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    Just to make sure I understand...

    With the prop stopped, you descended faster?

    I have always been told the windmilling prop (on a single engine piston airplane) creates more drag than a stopped prop.
     
  16. Adam Weiss

    Adam Weiss Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Yes, I definitely descended faster with the engine stopped.
    Even at idle, there’s some amount of power being applied.
    I notice this on normal landings.
    My plane wants to fly and takes a little planning to descend (compared to Cessnas).
     
  17. brcase

    brcase Pattern Altitude

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    Interesting, I have rarely if ever been able to tell the difference between an idling engine and a windmilling engine.
    What kind of plane?
    I have flown a few planes that the idle seemed to be set to high, that I think I might noticed.
    I suspect I might be able to tell in the 2 stroke Kitfox I am flying a bit lately. It seems to be producing a significant amount of thrust at full idle.

    If a typical Cessna or Piper, find an instructor willing to experiment with you in a safe place. Have him cover the engine controls and randomly pull either the throttle or the mixture (with the appropriate safety precautions in place of course, to include altitude and suitable landing areas) and see if you can identify which he pulled. My opinion is that few pilots would be able to tell the difference.

    Brian
     
  18. Adam Weiss

    Adam Weiss Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I fly an RV-9A with an O-320.
    With regard to windmilling, mine didn’t.
    I counted 3 times during the descent that the force on the prop was enough to overcome the compression in the cylinders and advance.
    But most of the time, the prop was dead still.
     
  19. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    There's a problem with your experiment, me thinks. A stopped prop should result in less drag, less nose down, longer glide, no?
     
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  20. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform En-Route

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    No, have not tried it.

    I put my plane’s glide ratio into ForeFlight and look at the glide advisor, then look outside for the landmark on the end of the glide advisor. You’ll pretty quickly get a feel for what a “glide-able” distance actually is.

    It surprised me. It’s not as far ahead or to the side as I would have thought.

    Even though your glidieabilty distance increases with altitude, angularly it all looks the same from the cockpit. I’ve often thought about putting a mark on all my windows to mark my best glide max range.
     
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  21. Adam Weiss

    Adam Weiss Pre-takeoff checklist

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    It certainly merits a more scientific approach next time.
    My airspeed was low.
    I pitched forward.
    Airspeed was OK...descent rate was high.
    Pitch a little less.
    Repeat.
     
  22. Dana

    Dana Cleared for Takeoff

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    That's surprising. In the "real" (i.e. not ultralight) planes I've tried this in it always windmilled unless I slowed almost to stall, then I had to dive quite fast to get it going again.

    A windmilling prop creates quite a bit of drag. Engine idling probably less drag then stopped prop.
     
  23. Salty

    Salty Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I did this last year in a skycatcher (o-200) Well, I started the engine again at about 500 feet. I see no reason to go all the way down. I could not stop the prop from windmilling. Even pitched up to nearly a stall, the prop kept going. I definitely got a higher sink rate than I would at idle, it wasn’t a huge difference, but it was noticeable.

    stand behind your plane at idle. It’s still moving some air.
     
  24. pigpenracing

    pigpenracing Pattern Altitude

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    Try it in a Biplane that glides like a brick. I was lucky. crank 1.jpg a eagle 3.jpg
     
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  25. Adam Weiss

    Adam Weiss Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I have high compression (10:1) pistons to make 160hp in my O-320. I suspect that makes a difference.
     
  26. Fallsrider

    Fallsrider Line Up and Wait

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    Trent Palmer and a buddy of his tested this a year or two ago. They climbed up to a safe altitude, then first pulled back to idle and timed how long it took to lose maybe 2000 feet of altitude at best glide. Then they did the same test again by shutting down the engine. With both of their planes, the descent rate was faster with the engine shut down. They surmised the small amount of thrust their engine was producing at idle made the difference.

    Their suggestion was to add in a little extra margin for glide if you have a true engine out, versus the practice you do with the engine at idle. You may not glide quite as far as you've seen in practice.

    Each plane, engine, prop, etc., combination may perform differently.
     
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  27. JCranford

    JCranford Pattern Altitude

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    You hope.

    I think that falls on the 'bad idea' side of the line.
     
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  28. Blatham489

    Blatham489 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    In pre-buy
    Read the book “Engine Out Survival Tactics” by Nate Jaros, former F-16 Viper pilot and Bo driver.
     
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  29. GrummanBear

    GrummanBear Pre-Flight

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    Ballsy. Glad you’re good to go.

    D4E41AED-B0F7-4379-954F-6AF578385B17.png
     
  30. cgrab

    cgrab Pattern Altitude

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    When my engine quit, I was at 5k with an airport nearby. I had to slip to get down and I made three calls for emergency. The prop continued to turn until I rolled out and was only going about 30 knots. O-320 with fixed pitch prop.
     
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  31. DFH65

    DFH65 Pattern Altitude

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    I wonder statistically how many times the engine just quits vs. the number of times it is making some power just not enough to sustain flight?
     
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  32. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    I used to play a little airplane game where I'd stop the engine at altitude and try and make it to a nearby airport and land. it was really fun. I won if I did a smooth full stop lading in the first third of the runway. Of course I monitored the radio carefully, had an eagle eye out for any traffic, and turned on the power here and there to keep my simulated emergency from turning into a real one. If anyone was around I'd cut off the exercise. In that airplane I'm pretty certain if a field was in gliding distance I'd make it. Haven't tried it in the Mooney, though I should. I'm always worried I'm going to forget the gear.
     
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  33. Adam Weiss

    Adam Weiss Pre-takeoff checklist

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    There's been a few comments in this thread that sum it up I think.
    Other than the lousy glide ratio, there's no difference between performing this procedure in a plane or flying a glider.
    If you're uncomfortable with it, I respect that.
     
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  34. Salty

    Salty Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I think there's value in doing it once. Just so you can see for yourself. Not something that makes sense to do more than that IMO, but the risk seems pretty close to zero that a healthy engine would restart. As I said, I saw no value in keeping it off all the way to the ground, for me the experience was about understanding the difference between idle and OFF. But, I have a glider rating, so I've plenty of real world practice at "finishing the job" with no engine.
     
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  35. Adam Weiss

    Adam Weiss Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I'm considering making this something I practice regularly, and why I asked if other folks do it, and how they practice it.
    The entire goal is to be a safer, more proficient pilot.
    When I actually need to do it, I'd like it to be muscle memory, and not scrambling through checklists and second-guessing.

    It's the same reason I shoot approaches to minimums with foggles regularly.
    Any instrument pilot can probably relate to how fast you get rusty, and I don't want to try to remember how to do everything in the soup.
     
  36. Salty

    Salty Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Slightly different to
    Oh, I practice an engine out nearly every recreational flight. It's actually shutting the engine off that I see no value in other than the first time.

    I did an engine out from 5 miles away last weekend. We were at 6000 feet and my passenger was very impressed when I put it down on the numbers. He had casually asked what we would do if we lost the engine, so I demonstrated.
     
  37. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    What plane? How slow did you have to get to make it stop windmilling?
     
  38. Adam Weiss

    Adam Weiss Pre-takeoff checklist

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    RV-9A O-320.
    I was slowed to 60kts before I pushed the nose over.
     
  39. Weekend Warrior

    Weekend Warrior Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Kudos to you. I've tried this before as well (and I was also recommended to not do it), in my warrior. I had an actual dead stick once many years ago, and I always felt I managed more on luck than skill during that episode, so since then I've tried to improve my skills.
    I tried gliding first with the mixture pulled to full lean (prop still wind milling), then slowed the plane down to get the prop to stop and then tried gliding with the prop stopped. I felt there was very little difference. I also then tried diving to restart the motor, which did NOT work: the motor would sort-of turn over, a half turn, then pause, a half turn, then pause, but wouldn't start even though I was in a steep dive. I had to hit the starter.
    I know most will tell you not to try this. Then I would say for them, don't try it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2020
  40. Dana

    Dana Cleared for Takeoff

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    When I had my T-Craft I had to dive to near Vne to get the engine running again after stopping the prop (A65, no starter).