Student Pilot Loses Engine During Solo Flight And Nails The Emergency Landing

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bmcj

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Good job. That was definitely a real unplanned deadstick landing, not like that other video that made the rounds with two onboard that was obviously planned and faked for the camera.
 

Dana

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Good job putting it down, but... not so good preflight planning (running out of fuel).
 

Victor Bravo

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So you're telling me that this video shows an unplanned, unexpected emergency landing, on a student pilot's long XC solo, and the huge mowed field he landed in just happened to be there, and a brand new student just Elvis'ed his way through it, all calm and composed like that, and he just happened to have a camera in the airplane to document it ??

If that's the case, I want to buy his instructor a steak dinner.
 

Dan Thomas

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This pilot apparently has a CPL and was towing a banner. Other scuttlebutt indicates that something broke at the carb.
 

Tiger Tim

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Good job putting it down, but... not so good preflight planning (running out of fuel).
I don’t know if it’s the case here, but a decent number of people have found that all the numbers can work and show sufficient fuel according to your planning but forgetting to lean the mixture in cruise will run through your enroute fuel, VFR reserve, and then some.
 

bmcj

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So you're telling me that this video shows an unplanned, unexpected emergency landing, on a student pilot's long XC solo, and the huge mowed field he landed in just happened to be there, and a brand new student just Elvis'ed his way through it, all calm and composed like that, and he just happened to have a camera in the airplane to document it ??

If that's the case, I want to buy his instructor a steak dinner.
I think so. Lots of people and schools are putting cameras in their planes now, he looked like he was legitimately scouting for a place to put it down, and I didn’t see any suspicious hand movement when the engine finally quit. Besides; student pilots when they get to that point are usually fairly competent in their skills due to recent recurrent instruction without long gaps. Unfortunately, many go on to build more experience after getting their license, but lose some essential skills unless they fly often and exercise various skillsets.
 

Dana

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I don’t know if it’s the case here, but a decent number of people have found that all the numbers can work and show sufficient fuel according to your planning but forgetting to lean the mixture in cruise will run through your enroute fuel, VFR reserve, and then some.
Not in a 150 at typical altitudes. Most flight schools tell the students to leave it full rich all the time to avoid problems caused by over leaning.
 

Dan Thomas

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Not in a 150 at typical altitudes. Most flight schools tell the students to leave it full rich all the time to avoid problems caused by over leaning.
Which is truly unfortunate. We make dumber pilots that way. It's no wonder sparkplug fouling is such a problem, especially in engines designed for 80 and run on 100LL, which has four times the lead that 80 had. It's also no wonder why carb ice causes so many power failures, too.

Instructors aren't getting this stuff in their training, and they pass on their ignorance to the student, and sometimes add even more ignorance to the teaching. I held yearly refresher classes for the instructors to try to make sure they knew stuff, and we taught students a lot of things some of these bogus flight schools didn't: Leaning, its theory and practice. The physics and management of carb ice. Proper landing techniques. Taildraggers. Mountain flying. Fuelling and defuelling.

We didn't lose engines to leaning problems. In fact, the POH for most light aircraft will tell you to lean for best power on a short-field takeoff. Lock the brakes, go to full throttle, lean until the RPM or MP peaks, and take off. Slowly enrich once in the climb.

POHs are funny that way. Too bad so many pilots never check them.
 

dwalker

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Which is truly unfortunate. We make dumber pilots that way. It's no wonder sparkplug fouling is such a problem, especially in engines designed for 80 and run on 100LL, which has four times the lead that 80 had. It's also no wonder why carb ice causes so many power failures, too.

Instructors aren't getting this stuff in their training, and they pass on their ignorance to the student, and sometimes add even more ignorance to the teaching. I held yearly refresher classes for the instructors to try to make sure they knew stuff, and we taught students a lot of things some of these bogus flight schools didn't: Leaning, its theory and practice. The physics and management of carb ice. Proper landing techniques. Taildraggers. Mountain flying. Fuelling and defuelling.

We didn't lose engines to leaning problems. In fact, the POH for most light aircraft will tell you to lean for best power on a short-field takeoff. Lock the brakes, go to full throttle, lean until the RPM or MP peaks, and take off. Slowly enrich once in the climb.

POHs are funny that way. Too bad so many pilots never check them.
Funny you should say that..

30 years ago while in college I took some lessons and mixture was among the first few things covered, mostly how to not kill the engine, and how to not foul spark plugs, how to recognize a fouled plug on runup and try to lean it to clear it. I ran out of money/time prior to solo, so never made it to cross country etc.
Currently taking lessons and the mixture is always set to full rich. Always. My assumption is that the current curriculum waits until doing cross country- next up for me- before covering mixture settings, but I am starting to wonder.
 

Dan Thomas

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Currently taking lessons and the mixture is always set to full rich. Always. My assumption is that the current curriculum waits until doing cross country- next up for me- before covering mixture settings, but I am starting to wonder.
That's a violation of the Learning Factor called Primacy. Stuff learned first is the most easily caught and held and is almost impossible to change. Rich mix all the time in the first 10 hours? OK. That's what we do all the time, then. It's only for shutting the engine down. No wonder pilots run out of fuel.

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Victor Bravo

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I can't vouch for anyone else, but I almost always lean my O-300 above 3000 feet. Lots of folks say "it doesn't do much below XYZ" but my engine runs a little smoother and it keeps the plugs cleaner.

I lean it the way any old washed up model airplane guy does... by sound and the tachometer. Pull the mixture until the RPM drops off, then push it back in until the RPM is at or just under peak. If I had one of those whiz-bang (whiz-bank) engine computers I might be able to do better of course.

Since I use the Marvel Oil in my gas, leaning it helps keep the plugs from getting oil-fouled as much. The Marvel oil makes the outside of the plane sooty, but I'll take that gladly in exchange for the upper cylinder and valve lubrication.

On a cross country flight, I gotta believe that leaning makes a significant difference in fuel burn on almost any airplane.

So if the student pilot in the OP video was on his XC, and didn't lean it out at all, AND he didn't plan for that loss in range, AND he was too stupid to look at the fuel gauges... then perhaps the whole world can blame the mixture control for this incident :)
 

radfordc

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So if the student pilot in the OP video was on his XC, and didn't lean it out at all, AND he didn't plan for that loss in range, AND he was too stupid to look at the fuel gauges... then perhaps the whole world can blame the mixture control for this incident :)
So, did the failure occur 9 miles from his takeoff airport or 9 miles from his destination? Not exactly clear in the article. Said, "9 miles from home airport".
 

Dana

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He was on his long solo cross country, and almost back home at the end of it.
 
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