- Sep 17, 2008
They tell people not to do it because so many crash trying it. It takes some serious training and practice to achieve, and we already have pilots that crash because they didn't even bother to pay attention to simple stuff like the carb ice stuff in groundschool. Carb ice is a big killer and it's completely avoidable. If we need anything it's more training on the stuff that causes the most accidents. Engine failures after takeoff are rare and in many cases landing straight ahead, more or less, is safer than trying to save the airplane by turning back.Nor do they point out the eaa effort or the available data cards and instructions on how to test and record the climb and glide slopes for your own aircraft in Foreflight, to avoid having to test at low altitude as they did in the aopa vid. Instead they just tell people not to do it (!).
What causes the most accidents? Carb ice. VFR into IMC with loss of control or CFIT. Running out of fuel. Landing too fast, or trying to clear the obstacles on takeoff because you didn't look up the stuff in the POH. Stall/spins due to mishandling the airplane in several different scenarios.
Engine failures on climbout are most often due to maintenance-related issues, mostly a lack of maintenance. Teaching turnbacks is treating symptoms, not the disease. Owners are cheap or uninformed; it has to be one or the other. If an airplane is properly maintained it will serve you faithfully. If it's not, you can expect trouble. I have opened fuel strainers that appear to not have been apart in 20 years or more; the screens are half-clogged with crud. That's a 100-hour/annual item. Same with carb inlet screens. On takeoff the fuel flow is at its max, and any restrictions in the fuel system can cause a big panic. I've found fuel tank quick-drain valves clogged with debris; they couldn't have been draining water out at preflight like that. Strainer bowls corroded almost all the way through because nobody ever drained the water out of them. Over on Pilots Of America we regularly have new tales of alternator failures that could be fatal at night or in IMC, because the alternators are being run to failure instead of getting their 500-hour internal inspections. Their field brushes wear out. Same goes for magnetos, which have points that burn, distributor bearings that wear, rotor bearings that wear, lots of stuff. Another 500-hour item, but they're habitually run to failure. Vacuum pumps that fail in IMC/night, leaving the pilot with no gyros. They're worn out far beyond the manufacturer's limits. Fuel boost pumps, a ten-year replacement/overhaul item, usually, that are as old as the airplane. Good luck if the engine-driven pump fails and the tired boost pump can't keep up. Same with fuel and oil hoses, a five-year item unless they're teflon. Hose liners degrade and can crumble and clog stuff. Old hoses get hard like wood and can crack and fail. Lots of stuff just waiting to get you.