Discuss the problems and solutions to all of the situations that Pilot X finds himself in.
By Echo Delta
#1228838
Tea for two

Leia Fee tells the tale of Pilot X, who departs in haste to catch up with his friend Pilot Y. By chance, both suffer an identical component failure, even if circumstances dictate very different results…

Pilot X gently swung someone else’s tail out of the way and pulled his aircraft forward, passing the high wing over yet another nose. Finally, a clear run to the hangar door! He put his back into it and tugged the machine out into the daylight. The sturdy, if diminutive homebuilt was his pride and joy. Alright, it was functional rather than a looker, and he’d only been able to afford the smaller, two-stroke Rotax to go in it, but the little engine hadn’t missed a beat, it was an aeroplane all of his own and he adored it.
Now if only he had a hangar of his own to go with it, life would be perfect. He frowned at another minor scuff on the wingtip and examined the aircraft closely, relieved to find no other new signs of hangar rash. The first Permit renewal since he’d owned the machine was due in the next few weeks and he already knew there were a couple of little jobs he needed to do before then. The local inspector had already cast an eye over it as a favour, to give him a heads-up on anything obvious; while Pilot X was grateful, he half suspected that some of the items he wanted changed were pet peeves and personal preferences – after all, the original build had been passed. In any case, there were no other new problems and the wingtip scuff wasn’t bad enough to need patching, so he climbed inside and began on the internal checks.
He glanced out towards the hold to see if Pilot Y had left yet. They’d learned to fly together and although they’d ended up with very different aircraft (Pilot Y acquiring a lovely vintage taildragger), the speeds were compatible enough that they still often flew to the same destinations for lunch. Today’s plan was cake and tea at the next airfield over.
Pilot Y was nowhere to be seen, so Pilot X quickly jumped in and started. He could save some time and catch up his friend a bit by taking off from the runway intersection instead of backtracking all the way to the end, take-off roll being one of the few areas where his aircraft marginally outperformed Pilot Y’s. Air-ground acknowledged his intention, told him the circuit was empty (to the best of its knowledge at any rate) and that the wind was calm. Pilot X turned briskly onto the runway, took a moment to check he was correctly lined up neatly on the centreline, made a final scan across the cockpit and opened the throttle. The aircraft accelerated easily and Pilot X flicked his eyes inside one last time to confirm the airspeed, which he already could feel he had, before lifting into the sky.
He settled happily into a best rate-of-climb speed, smiling indulgently at the high nose attitude, which somehow made it feel like a much quicker climb than was in fact the case, and was just about to contact air-ground to inquire after an early turn out of the circuit when, with a smoothness and suddenness that made it all
the more unbelievable, the engine power faded away to nothing…

No stone unturned
Well, not quite ‘nothing’. The distinctive ‘bag of spanners in a washing machine’ din that passed for idle running was still to be heard, but Pilot X was too stunned to fully register anything other than the rapidly decaying airspeed and the really rather vigorous push forward that was needed to even start to maintain it. He glanced around frantically looking for options, only now realising how little he knew the area and what lay beyond the airfield boundaries. If he’d made that turn out a few seconds earlier he might have made the cross runway, but was far too familiar with horror stories about stalling off a turn to try it now.
Straight ahead turned out to be a smallish, rather stony field, mercifully free of wires and maybe, just maybe, long enough. He’d overdone it on the speed though and was fast; he lifted the nose, glancing from airspeed to field and back. Was he overshooting now? He let the nose dip again; he was aiming more at the right spot now, but still fast. Perhaps that didn’t matter, fast had to be better than slow, anyway. In any case, there was no further time to get rid of the excess speed and all he could do was flare at what seemed like the appropriate time. It seemed to take more of a pull than usual, and his arrival was so firm he was half surprised to find himself rolling instead of sliding down the field. Still too quickly though, the hedge was rapidly approaching and the machine was rattling and clattering over the stones. It was really only a matter of whether the undercarriage would give up before or after he went through the boundary hedge…
A few miles west, still climbing and with finger poised about to call to change frequency, Pilot Y froze in horror as she heard air-ground call first (in vain) to Pilot X and then to the airfield fire crews. What could have gone wrong? Surely not something mechanical? Pilot X had been giving the machine a good going over only yesterday. Suddenly she was no longer in the mood for cake and toyed with returning. Was it wise while the airfield was in the middle of dealing with an emergency? Should she go on, land away as planned and call them from the ground to see what had happened?
No, she decided, carrying on, worried and stressed as she was, would do her own flying no good. If they were staying open she was going back. She levelled off, reduced the throttle and paused in utter disbelief, sure for long seconds that in her worry she’d confused herself and wasn’t seeing and hearing what she thought she was. The engine continued to roar away at full power.
Pilot Y reduced the throttle further, staring at the tacho. Full power. The disbelief morphed into anxiety and she moved the throttle from one extreme to the other. No difference. Full power. Anxiety morphed into concentration as she realised that if she didn’t get this right she might turn out to be the second accident of the day.
Now, what exactly should she do? ■


Questions
1 As well as sharing flying company, Pilots X and Y have now shared the same component failure. What was it?

2 What could Pilot X have done to better his chances?

3 What should Pilot Y do next?
By riverrock
#1228846
1. Throttle cable failure? On one aircraft the result being idle power, another full power (depending on the type of throttle linkage). Why both at the same time? Don't know! Coincidence? There is no suggestion that the aircraft were in the same hanger and were different types.

2. Full length take off would have given more EFATO options, such as landing on the cross runway

3. May be able to reduce power somewhat by using 1 rather than 2 mags, and with the mixture control (at least keep the engine revs below the red line). To land back, (after making relevant radio calls such as "Mayday") decide whether to land at this airfield or another with more facilities (or at least, one in which the fire / rescue service aren't busy with another incident). Get to a suitable point in the circuit (such as "high key" or "low key") then cut the engine using ICO or magneto switch and make a glide approach to land.
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By alexbrett2
#1229604
Would a typical light aircraft engine startup properly at full throttle, as I'm wondering what would happen here if you were to cut the engine to do a glide approach, and then for whatever reason screw it up and want to go around and have another try - would there actually be an option to do that?
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By Jim Jones
#1229659
Weren't Sopwith a Camels and similar managed by switching the mag on and off.
? Blipping iirc.
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By kanga
#1230061
Jim Jones wrote:Weren't Sopwith a Camels and similar managed by switching the mag on and off.
? Blipping iirc.


yes, AIUI. 'Throttle' control on rotaries was a bit chancy (cylinders could easily flood preventing easy restart), so usual method of thrust control once airborne was 'blipping' magnetos. This effectively cut spark from one or a series of cylinders (but not too many!). Propeller (and, in rotaries, whole engine) continued to tun (flywheel effect from heavy engine) so restart (when spark restored) was more reliable.
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By Gertie
#1233617
Had a throttle cable failure in a car once - an electrical fault welded the inner and outer together at full throttle whilst accelerating to overtake.

Turning the ignition off and putting the gear stick into neutral was the easy bit, barging my way through a couple of lanes of nose-to-tail traffic to get to the hard shoulder was more fun.

You can also control engine power by turning a mag off in floatplanes, when idle gives you too much power, eg to creep up to a dock rather than ramming it.
By Barbara B.
#1252220
Had similar flying a C 42,with an instructor.Jammed on climb out.the throttle quadrant had bent in the central housing . Did a very quick"you have control" he.called a Pan Pan,and landed back at home strip by cutting both mags and doing a glide approach.both needed much falling down water afterwards.
We both wondered on talking it over later if one could blip the mags as the old rotary engine pilots used to.
#1274125
1. as RR said.
2. RR again and would add maybe a sideslip was in order depending when exactly he noticed the high/fast situation
3.climb to the overhead of nearest and longest available strip tell them whats up and cut the mags