How to Safely Deal With an Aircraft Engine Failure

Posted on December 24, 2020 John Jones

While aircraft engine failures are exceedingly rare and are something that no pilot ever wants to have happen while they are flying, such occurrences are always a possibility. To ensure the safety of all on board and for surrounding areas where an engine failure occurs, it is critical that pilots know how to deal with such situations. In this blog, we will discuss the main steps of handling engine failures, beginning with immediate actions following when a failure is noticed to enacting restart procedures and landings.

When an engine failure occurs, it can cause a state of shock for a pilot who may not be entirely aware of what is happening immediately. Nevertheless, calming oneself and conducting a set of standardized approaches is paramount for quickly enacting a safe approach. Once one has discovered an engine failure, they should immediately apply carburetor heat, boost or pump fuel, and create a rich mixture. By doing so, the aircraft can have a better chance of continuing a glide, rather than beginning to stall. When failures occur at the liftoff stage of a flight operation, pilots may only be able to do this step as they try to steer towards a safe landing spot. If the engine failure occurs at high altitudes, on the other hand, pilots should then maintain altitude while reaching a glide speed. To best be aware of how to conduct such procedures, one should practice at a safe altitude with an instructor if possible.
Although a pilot may be able to restart the engine and continue operations before landing in a safe location, one should always know where they can land in the case of needing to conduct a forced landing. As such, having situational awareness can help you avoid mountains, infrastructure, or other unsafe areas. By remaining in contact with air traffic control, a pilot may be able to be assisted in finding a VFR or IFR plan and location for a safe landing. If there are nearby roads, they may serve as a suitable and safe landing runway due to having solid ground and a possible straight direction of touchdown. Nevertheless, the pilot needs to ensure that there are no power lines or other dangerous obstructions and hazards that the aircraft may come into contact with.
Once a landing site has been ascertained, whether an airport or a road, the pilot should enact a safe glide speed with the glide assembly while considering the total weight of the aircraft. Meanwhile, the pilot should also retract various flight surfaces and landing gear. At this point, the pilot can create an approximation of their rate of descent in the case of needing to land before attempting to troubleshoot the engine. If there is no power being generated, the TIT gauge and EGT gauge should reflect it. If the problem turns out to be just a single cylinder, it is possible that one can have enough power to reach an airport. If the issue turns out to be something that doesn't require an immediate landing, the pilot can follow the specific emergency checklist for the operated aircraft to attempt to adjust carburetor heat, the fuel assembly, or other engine sections to try and fix the issue and restart the engine.
If the engine cannot be restarted, then a forced landing should be made. Before conducting the procedure, the pilot should contact air traffic control and have them on frequency if possible. With the help of the air traffic controller or by oneself, the aircraft can then begin a controlled landing. All passengers and pilots at this point should secure themselves and protect their faces, and all should be aware of how to remove such harnesses when the aircraft has finished landing. Depending on the type of ground or surface that one is landing on, landing gear may be deployed. Additionally, pilots should always be prepared for obstacles that may be present on the floor and should plan accordingly. Once the aircraft is leveled, landed, and has come to a stop, all personnel should exit the aircraft in case of a fire, electrical issue, or other hazard.
While no pilot wants to have to deal with an engine failure, knowing how to handle an aircraft in the occurrence of one is critical. At Jet Parts 360, we can help you secure the aircraft ground support equipment and engine failure supplement parts that you need to conduct safe flight operations. With our purchasing power and market expertise, we leverage competitive pricing for the benefit of our customers. Get started today with a personalized quote on the parts that you are interested in when you fill out and submit an Instant RFQ form as provided through our website.


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