Primarily for general aviation discussion, but other aviation topics are also welcome.

Have you ever had an engine failure in an SEP?

Yes, total
Yes, partial
No, never
User avatar
By flyingeeza
patowalker wrote:Yes, many. An inverted Cuyuna 430R and 2% TCW oil in Peruvian leaded petrol made PFLs redundant. :)

Love it! My old Cuyuna on an MX1 spat one of its plugs' porcelain insulators clean off! They don't run too well on one cylinder do they!! Never used a Champion plug again!
User avatar
By Lockhaven
Not voted as the options are not particular right.

1 x total failure due fuel vaporisation on a piston engine during climb out, 180 deg turn back with a successful landing.
1 x partial failure over water with a failed cylinder, it kept running for over 2 hours until I reached land.
1 x engine failure because of fuel pump failure in a piston twin over Greenland.
1 x engine shutdown due severe vibration because of ice on a fan.
User avatar
By davef77
I voted partial.

I have had the engine stop due to fuel starvation on several occasions while doing aerobatics.

If fuel was a bit low in my Skybolt the flop tube in the tank couldn't keep up with the fuel sloshing around the tank.

The first time it happened to me, I rolled upside down for a bit, rolled upright and the engine stopped. I established the glide and was busy picking fields and had just reached to turn on the fuel pump when the engine started again.

The first time was the longest cut. I got used to a bit of a pause in the power output after any significant inverted when fuel was much less than half.

Last time it happened to me, I was flying a stall turn and lost all power after the stall turn. I was again picking fields as I flew the vertical down-line, I even rolled on the downline to head for a nearby strip. I pulled out in the glide and only then did the engine restart.

It certainly focussed my attention on these first and last occasions. I was quite pleased with myself that I carried on aviating, albeit with an elevated pulse :shock:
No option for three total... Two below 200' and I got to use the aircraft again twice. One at 5000' required a vertical dive to restart with a height loss of 2000' (armstrong starter only).

Two partial...

I sold the aircraft not long afer the fifth one...
User avatar
By Genghis the Engineer
The big and useful thing I get from this is that half of SEP pilots will experience an engine failure at some point, but only half of those will be full failures as per normal PPL training.

I know that it's a small sample, and I know that the survey is crude because it only allows a very simple answer about "one" failure - nonetheless it's a usefully stark message to support the way that I elect to train and teach for engine failures.

Specifically, it's not just an academic exercise, and it shouldn't be assumed that all engine failures are total and can't be rectified.

To be honest, I also like using PFLS as an efficient way to develop cockpit familiarity, handling, spacial awareness, and accurate control on approach. An element of "brain fake" about that, but one I'm pretty unrepentant about.


SEP: 2 partials, one into a field, one onto s disused crosswind runway.

Microlight : one total, one partial.

+multiple precautionaries into fields in microlights, for various reasons.
Last edited by Genghis the Engineer on Thu Feb 16, 2017 8:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
flyingeeza liked this
By malcolmfrost
Thanks to everyone responding so far, in retrospect I would have added an option as to whether it was a mechanical failure, or pilot induced, ie fuel or carb icing.
Frankly the numbers are surprising, my last (touch wood) failure was in 1983 and I've done 25k hours since then with about 250 hours SEP.
Perhaps I'm an outlier and should start practising forced landings every time I fly :D
By Maxthelion
I answered none, though did once have an engine stop on approach into WW, but it was just a badly set idle, and a quick turn of the key had it running again without any drama. I've had a few rough running engines but never what I would call a partial or full failure.
User avatar
By Gertie
Genghis the Engineer wrote:The big and useful thing I get from this is that half of SEP pilots will experience an engine failure at some point

I don't think so. The survey is not scientific, it's far too self-selecting.

All it tells you is something about "half of SEP pilots who responded to this poll", there is no evidence that it tells you anything about "half of SEP pilots".
By Groundspeed
One engine failure on a 2 stroke, due to a split rubber cap on a carb. When I throttled back on climbout it cut dead, close to the airfield with plenty of height so not really a problem. Damage to front piston,cylinder and to the crank.
Ashamed to find that with plenty of time I'd neglected to turn off the fuel tap. It had the effect of sharpening up my pre-flight inspection because it was there to see and I'd missed it
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By Talkdownman
malcolmfrost wrote:Thanks to everyone responding so far, in retrospect I would have added an option as to whether it was a mechanical failure, or pilot induced, ie fuel or carb icing

MF, mine was a 'Speedbird three eight' scenario. Scraped into the undershoot, but ran out of energy for the flare. Part power with carb heat selected all the way down, needed a tiny bit more power, but no response...
User avatar
By mmcp42
my partial was over the Solent
initial symptom was slight vibration
did nothing (aviate) over the water
once over land I tried each mag
right mag only made no difference
left mag only - massive vibration
obviously left mag failure
continued with both mags
PAN into Southampton
turned out to be not the mags at all
one exhaust valve spring had broken so valve moved when and where it wanted to
the two broken ends of the springs scraping the sides of the valve guide made the oil all sparkly

then to add insult to injury, Bonus went bust during the fix, but that's a whole nuther saga