Engine failure turn back.

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radfordc

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Taking a look at Sonex LLC on Google Earth I found runway 9 to be approx. 3600 ft long. If the pilot chose to taxi to the intersection of runway 27 he would have had about 1500 ft of runway. The next intersection down would have given the pilot about 2500 ft.
Rwy 9/27 is 6179 ft long. The Rwy 13 intersection takeoff allowed for 3000 ft of runway.
 

don january

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I have to believe, that there was no attempt for a turn back on that crash of the Sonex SA with J. Monnett, and friend. I ask myself? did the engine shear loose from the craft (bolt's or whatever)? If that was the case the CG would have went tail heavy beyond control to say the least. I recken "Turn Around" all boil's down to what your altitude is at the moment of failure and if you feel your abilities are good enough to get ya around and back on the ground. There's the risk! "is Your decision the right one? I guess it's 50/50 if you made the right choice.
 

BBerson

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This video is dangerous because the engine was producing plenty of power till he turned back and shut off the mixture.
I know this because the video shows exactly 1 minute elapsed from cylinder failure to touchdown.
The video also shows liftoff at 2:35:00 and failure at 2:35:26 which is 26 seconds of climb. And it touched at 2:36:26.
He said it quit at 450 to 500 feet so a one minute glide in a turn from 500 feet is unlikely without power. He must have had some power.

The engine can provide power with one cylinder missing.
 
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Rockiedog2

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Mr Keller got it on the ground in one piece...no arguing with success.
a couple thoughts that might add to what we can learn from his experience.
the airline guys have a departure engine failure procedure for every runway for the airport they're operating out of and they brief it for the particular runway they're using on that takeoff. everybody knows what they're gonna do before they ever start the takeoff roll. the basic decisions have already been made.
Mr Keller had been operating out of that airport long term...(not to criticize) but I don't think it's unreasonable to say that he should have known exactly where he was gonna go from any point in the departure for any runway on that airport in the event of an engine failure. And he didn't. He self critiqued his decisions and then presented (lowest common denominator-type pilot) suggestions for those who watched his vid. The straight ahead, monkey see, monkey do, type reaction to an engine failure on takeoff situation. (No PIC judgement allowed). As already mentioned it looks like the automatic reaction should have been a left turn for a nice no sweat base to runway 30...but he didn't have that preplanned and altho he was successful in what he decided to do he cut his margins down to near nothing. Obviously not the best decision.
Why not give some forethought to what "might" happen (on takeoff from the runway we're using from each airport; before it does)? Like look at the airport diagram before takeoff and think about where we're goin if it quits here or here type thing. And think about the wind, the weight, the DA...and how we might stack the odds in our favor etc etc. It only takes a sec...if we fly long enough it becomes more and more apparent that what might happen eventually does.
I've wrecked the things and I don't pretend to know it all, but I do think about where I'm goin before each takeoff...and I won't shut down an engine making power in a potentially critical(depending on how the PIC handles it) situation like trying to make it around.
Think about it before it happens and expect it to happen every time is all I'm sayin...
 
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bmcj

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I often favor turning slightly off of the extended centerline (usually toward the downwind side) so that if I lose my engine, I can perform my teardrop turn (if altitude allows) back to the runway and roll wings level already lined up with the runway, not having to converge back toward the runway then counter-correct back to runway heading.

I also like multiple c runways because they can often provide alternates that require fewer turns to reach.
 

Pops

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I was taught to play "What if" before every take-off. Same for if the engine is producing any power, I'm using it. Flew an aircraft 7 miles to an airport one time with a broken crankshalf. Running on the front 2 cylinders.
 
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Alan Waters

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I'm not ready to second guess Jeremy's runway decision based on the facts presented in the preliminary NTSB report, and the conclusion that using more of runway 9 might have prevented this is unwarranted unless we know how much time/distance/altitude there was before the engine went out (if we even know it was an engine-out situation).

Alan, are there more facts available outside of the preliminary report that I'm not aware of?
mcrae0104 At this point I have no facts. Only what the news media has said. Sorry if I gave the impression I was second guessing. I am not. Just trying to put myself in the position and learn from what may or may not have been pilot error.
 

Lucrum

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This video is dangerous because the engine was producing plenty of power till he turned back and shut off the mixture.
I know this because the video shows exactly 1 minute elapsed from cylinder failure to touchdown.
The video also shows liftoff at 2:35:00 and failure at 2:35:26 which is 26 seconds of climb. And it touched at 2:36:26.
He said it quit at 450 to 500 feet so a one minute glide in a turn from 500 feet is unlikely without power. He must have had some power.

The engine can provide power with one cylinder missing.
Both an interesting and astute observation
 

BJC

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This video is dangerous because the engine was producing plenty of power till he turned back and shut off the mixture.
I know this because the video shows exactly 1 minute elapsed from cylinder failure to touchdown.
The video also shows liftoff at 2:35:00 and failure at 2:35:26 which is 26 seconds of climb. And it touched at 2:36:26.
He said it quit at 450 to 500 feet so a one minute glide in a turn from 500 feet is unlikely without power. He must have had some power.

The engine can provide power with one cylinder missing.
Some actual data on Mooney glide here Redfeather Pilot Log: Should you "stop the prop" for a forced landing?


BJC
 

BBerson

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Both an interesting and astute observation
One more observation after watching the video again. He did not drop the nose at all.
I would have pushed that nose down at the first sign of any power loss, then start a nose down turn.
The fact that he didn't is further proof his engine was making enough power.
When the engine quits in climb mode, speed will decay rapidly if the nose isn't pushed down into the glide attitude.
I tested my Cherokee one day to see what would happen. I pulled the power back to idle at 500 feet just passing the end of the runway. The plane almost stopped flying, I pushed the nose down and got the power back on in about 2 seconds.
Scared the c.... out of me. Never did that again. A Mooney may have a better glide. But all aircraft have a high sink rate just after the engine quits in a climb. Could take 500 feet just to get up to best glide speed.
 
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Rockiedog2

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I thought I heard a stall warning horn just start to blow and it looked like that prompted him to push the nose over. I only watched it once.
 
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wsimpso1

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Scary video. While it turned out OK, I believe he was lucky to get down safe. The stall horn appears to be what prompted him to lower the nose the small amount he did instead of immediately pitching for best glide speed, he turned the long way to get on his landing field instead of the short way to the other runway, and he was distracting himself from flying the airplane with thoughts of saving the engine instead of making power as long as he can into the emergency.

The stall horn probably sounds at 1.3 Vs, and its sounding may have reminded him to fly close to best glide speed. Partial power means a broken engine, which also means total engine failure is imminent with no idea when. You have to treat it as if it will fail completely right now. Imagine if the blown engine finished giving up the ghost: Would he have been able to execute 240 degrees of turn and still get on the field from 500 feet? That means that luck failed him when the head separated, but rode with him on altitude and partial power.

I do not know if I would do better at dealing with the unexpected, but he seems to have been spring loaded to return to the departure runway, which is not what we know is the right response. Correct immediate response list is to: Pitch for best glide speed; Grab a handful of carb heat; look ahead for landing, check altitude select landing field. If he was running a checklist that looked something like "take-off climb, drop the nose and land straight ahead"; "crossing x1 feet AGL, OK to teardrop back to crossing runway"; "crossing x2 feet AGL, OK to 180 back to departure runway"; "crossing x3 feet, OK to enter traffic pattern and land on preferred runway" and he had gotten to x2, then he did the right thing. His description did not indicate this level of deliberate action...

I do mental rehearsals of my engine failure responses on take-off. You should too. Save the engine? Save the plane? The engine is toast and the airplane belongs to the insurance company! How about if we save the people by lowering the nose to avoid stall, pick a landing spot and stick with it (might be a runway, might not), transition to minimum speed at landing, and do not centerpunch anything at the fast end of your landing site?

Billski
 

BBerson

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It isn't clear if he knew he had partial power or not.
His comment that he set up for a gradual descent was puzzling. Nothing gradual in the case of a total engine failure while in climb mode with the prop still turning on a dead engine. In that case you want to dive to get some reserve energy to flare a bit just before hitting the bushes. First instinct should be to push nose down, not turn. And he never landed flaps up before...
I recommend some dual instruction practice time in the airplane with the engine off. Go to 5000 feet and after cooling the engine a few minutes, put the nose high in a climb and shut down the engine and see what happens. (Over an airport)

The instructor should be good with spin recovery.
 

Dan Thomas

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The stall horn probably sounds at 1.3 Vs, and its sounding may have reminded him to fly close to best glide speed.
Stall horns are typically rigged to fire at 5 to ten knots above the stall. They're an AoA-sensitive device and will fire at higher speeds in higher load factors. That airplane was close to stalling when the horn sounded.

Turnbacks usually end up badly unless the engine has failed at considerable altitude and the pilot can turn the airplane back without losing too much altitude. Most end up unconsciously trying to stretch the glide in the turn, and the airplane stalls and spins.
 
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Twodeaddogs

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there was a famous one at Stansted, London, UK. A Hs748 took off with a complete football team aboard and just after rotation, the right engine blew apart (turbine disc failure) and the front half of the engine left the wing. The captain, an old hand, instead of climbing away as the book said, simply pitched down and landed on the end of the same runway. Ran off the end and collapsed the nose gear. All survived, except for underpants.
 

Rockiedog2

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there was a famous one at Stansted, London, UK. A Hs748 took off with a complete football team aboard and just after rotation, the right engine blew apart (turbine disc failure) and the front half of the engine left the wing. The captain, an old hand, instead of climbing away as the book said, simply pitched down and landed on the end of the same runway. Ran off the end and collapsed the nose gear. All survived, except for underpants.
I expect he got a quick upgrade to copilot if they kept him on atall.
 

Kevin N

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I watched the video and I'm glad the outcome was positive. My training would have me not making speed and altitude killing turns while trying to formulate a plan. Wx and local knowledge is two of the biggest contributors to success in this case(opinion) As always, having an escape route in any T/O scenario is part of PIC responsibility . In viewing the engine damage pics it brought back memories. I had the same thing happen to an angle valve Lycoming, it snapped the head off and in my case some of the parts were making quite a racket inside the cowl. I did not shut down the engine but I'm not sure how long it would have stayed running. I had a second engine to get me back to the airport. (Aero Commander 500B) The wx was 700 overcast and snowing. All this was happening right as I entered the cloud base. I pushed the a/c back underneath the overcast and was able to return to the departure airport, Grand Island,NE. Scratch one pair of fruit of the looms.
Eight years ago this month I had 8 shipmates survive a crash in Bogata, Columbia. They lost 3 of their 4 engines within 51 seconds after T/O. The captain had very good local knowledge saved his and 7 other people's lives with his quick thinking. If you google "Kalitta air bogata crash" all this pops up for easy reading. Les Abend wrote an article in Flying in 2010 about the accident that was well written. The article was titled "Before Sully & Skiles" The captain had flown first officer for me in the early '90's and was a very good pilot.
 

Rockiedog2

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>>>My training would have me not making speed and altitude killing turns while trying to formulate a plan.
>>>As always, having an escape route in any T/O scenario is part of PIC responsibility .

yessir.

What struck me was he turned AWAY from what he should have had in mind(before ever powering up) as his emergency return. And after all those years operating out of that airport. Simply amazing. Well, I'm getting repititious...sorry, I got something of a thing about all that.
Too often we learn it like the FAA wants to see it on the checkride and oral...straight ahead and land...and never progress past that. Once we got the ticket now we gotta start thinking about how to best save our butts in case of whatever...we're on our own and in some cases our training doesn't go far enough. We wanta grow...it's on the PIC...

well, that's my idea of it.
 
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