Simulated Engine Failures


Encounters of engine failure in multi-engine airplanes in PIA I flew for, started with my training to become a captain on Fokker F-27, a twin engine turbo-propeller. We did not have a simulator for this airplane at the time. On the take-off roll at V1 (go/no go speed), engine power was taken off by retarding the power lever to idle.

Your job was to get airborne, correct the airplane swing because of the engine loss, and simultaneously while monitoring the instruments, give oral commands of memory items to be carried out, such as:

  • Raising the gear,
  • Flaps,
  • Maintaining V2+10 (take off safety speed) and
  • Requesting identification of the failed engine.

The aircraft’s nose swings when there is an engine failure, and the rule to identify the failed engine is: dead foot (no pressure on rudder pedal to correct the swing) is dead engine (failed engine).

One precautionary step was to always push the HP cock lever (fuel and propeller blade angle selection) forward to the lockout position before bringing it back to open to prevent inadvertent shut down of the live engine, since the positions were: Lockout; Open; Shut-off; Feather. The captain was also to keep his hand covered over the shut-off position while this was being done.

We also practiced an inadvertent shut down by the first officer of the live engine while two engines were operating during climb out and the after-take-off checklist was in process. This memory item is still retained as TIFR:

  • Throttle (back)
  • Ignition (igniters on)
  • Fuel (HP cock open)
  • Rotation (Start rotation)

The engine used to pick up at once despite being actually shut down.  Single engine ILS approaches and landings were practiced along with threshold landings and circling approaches.

On the B747 at Denver with United Airlines, there was a cockpit procedures trainer (CPT) and a full flight simulator (level D). We had one aircraft training session where engine failure on take-off was practiced by retarding the power lever back at V1; practice of 3 engine ILS (instrument landing system) approaches and 4 engine go-arounds with an engine failure as you applied power to overshoot. All training was done in the circuit at Stapleton International Airport with touch and goes.

On the B707 it was the same story, the engine cuts (throttle retards) were at V1, though all this was practiced in the simulator before flight training started.

I had aircraft flight training of four sessions totalling 5 hours inclusive of command check on the airplane. In fact, there was an actual hydraulic failure during the check, and for the landing, a manual gear extension was carried out, the instructor cautioning me that the gear doors were not retracted now and were hanging down.

Go around with an engine failure as soon as power was brought up, and 3 engine ILS approaches were practiced. Circling approaches and landing from an off-set position after getting visual on an ILS approach, where you had to manoeuvre and align the airplane to an imaginary point on the centreline of the extended runway, overshooting from a very low height (deck). The point is actual aircraft training was in vogue at that time.


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