The Right Engine Failure on the Commanche

24 Nov

I had a friend at dinner last night express what most people do when they read about that right engine failure that happened several years ago that I sometimes write about.

Most people are incorrectly under the assumption that if you lose an engine it shouldn’t be a big deal because there are 2 on a twin engine aircraft.

Let me quote the following source and you will understand, it is a big deal:


Conventional light twins have many significant advantages over their single-engine counterparts. One of the most obvious of these is that should you be unlucky enough to experience a major engine malfunction, the other engine should carry you safely to the nearest suitable airfield. This can be particularly significant when flying over inhospitable terrain or over water – particularly at night or in IMC conditions. However, it is also a well documented fact that should you be unlucky enough to lose an engine in a light twin during the take-off, the margins for error, especially when at higher weights, are very small. Identification of the failed engine needs to be both rapid and accurate and the propeller must be feathered whilst simultaneously keeping the airspeed at the best single engine climb speed, often referred to as “blue line” speed because of such a line often seen on analogue ASIs. Unless the landing gear is fixed, promptly raising can be vital. Then there are ‘housekeeping’ matters such as retracting the flaps at the appropriate time and making adjustments to the engine controls of the operating engine. If these tasks have been performed correctly and in a timely manner, the reward will be at least no loss of altitude and, in favourable circumstances, perhaps even a positive rate of climb. However, there is little room for error and, all too often, a score of less than 100% leads to an accident.”

The right engine failure the second time happened before the takeoff sequence was completed.

In layman’s terms – to survive it requires perfection in response to the emergency. And no panic of course. No margin for error at all.

It’s not as simple as people think

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