CFI-to-CFI Newsletter - Volume 2 | Issue 1 - 6

That sinking sensation
BY DAVID JACK KENNY
FLIGHT INSTRUCTION isn’t just a matter of

Safety spotlight

teaching maneuvers and procedures. Students will hopefully have flying careers that extend far beyond their checkrides, and the most valuable thing they can take away from training may not be stall awareness or crosswind landing technique. Despite what one might think, it may not even be good judgment so much as the knack of distilling judgment from growing experience, and the sense of how to compensate for a lack of experience and still make sound decisions. This is a real challenge, particularly for a young new instructor who’s just learning that same skill. Throw in career as-

to have been in good working order prior to impact, and fuel was found in the float bowls of both carburetors. One blade of the right propeller had gouges in its leading edge, suggesting that it was turning when it struck the ground. The left propeller had one undamaged blade; the other showed damage along both edges and at its tip. The NTSB attributed the accident to “The flight instructor’s failure to maintain sufficient airspeed to avoid a stall/spin while maneuvering the aircraft with a dual student.” Most multiengine training programs impose strict airspeed and

meant to be “60 knots,” that’s far below VSSE: Piper recommends 82 knots as the minimum safe airspeed for single-engine operations, the slowest they feel provides an acceptable margin for technique that’s less than perfect. Losing an engine at 60 knots would be a real emergency for an expert multiengine pilot. The idea of pulling an engine on a student at such low airspeed left experienced multiengine instructors shaking their heads. But the MEI giving this lesson wasn’t that experienced. He was 20 years old; his

THE IDEA OF PULLING AN ENGINE ON A STUDENT AT SUCH LOW AIRSPEED LEFT EXPERIENCED MULTIENGINE INSTRUCTORS SHAKING THEIR HEADS.
pirations and a wish to impress the boss, and a new instructor may be vulnerable to allowing the desire to please overwhelm that uneasy feeling in the gut. Early in the morning of May 13, 2004, a Piper Seminole corkscrewed into the desert floor near Wittmann, Arizona, killing the CFI, the private pilot receiving instruction, and a back-seat passenger. No one saw the impact, but one witness did see the airplane coming down in a spin, nose-low. Radar data showed a VFR target just north of Deer Valley, the Seminole’s home base, at 6:45 a.m.; it turned west and climbed to 6,000 feet. After a series of 500foot climbs and descents, it began a figureeight maneuver before dropping into a descending 360-degree turn. The last two radar returns were recorded just short of the accident site and 18 seconds apart. In that time, it lost 1,300 feet of altitude, a descent rate of more than 4,300 fpm. The ground scars and wreckage condition suggested that the airplane hit nosefirst. The gear was down and locked; flaps appeared to have been up, and all flight controls were functional. Both engines seemed 6 | www.airsafetyinstitute.org altitude limits to minimize the risk of any loss of control. Stalls are typically prohibited during single-engine flight. Demonstrations of VMC , the minimum controllable airspeed with one engine inoperative, are approached with considerable caution. Most other engine-out work is done at blue line (VYSE, the airspeed providing the best single-engine rate of climb), or at least no slower than the manufacturer’s published safe single-engine airspeed. What went wrong? The investigators chose not to speculate. After ruling out a physical problem with the airplane, however, their report includes one remarkable observation: According to students and other instructors at the flight school, “… the CFI had done multiple check rides with a DPE who would simulate loss of engine power during stall recovery and slow flight at airspeeds about 60 mph. They indicated that if CFIs knew that a maneuver might be tested, then CFIs would teach the maneuver.” Sixty mph is 52 knots. VMC for the Seminole is 56. Even assuming “60 mph” was

480 hours of total flight time included 173 hours of dual given. All of his 76 multiengine hours were in the same model. How much was logged as a student and how much as instructor was not reported. Whether his 230-hour student was slow to lower the nose or late to step on the rudder or misidentified the dead engine, once it happened things got bad in a hurry, leaving the instructor with precious seconds to regain control as the ground rushed up at his windshield. The comic-book character Spider-Man has a sixth sense that warns him of unseen danger. A new CFI needs to develop something similar. David Jack Kenny is manager of aviation safety analysis for the Air Safety Institute, an instrument-rated commercial pilot, and owner of a Piper Arrow.


http://www.airsafetyinstitute.org

CFI-to-CFI Newsletter - Volume 2 | Issue 1

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CFI-to-CFI Newsletter - Volume 2 | Issue 1

CFI-to-CFI Newsletter - Volume 2, Issue 1
Contents
ASI Online: Accident Forgiveness
CFI Tools: The Art of Professionalism
Checklist: Fuel— Good to Go?
Safety Spotlight: That Sinking Feeling
Chief's Corner: In Their Shoes
CFI-to-CFI Newsletter - Volume 2 | Issue 1 - Contents
CFI-to-CFI Newsletter - Volume 2 | Issue 1 - 2
CFI-to-CFI Newsletter - Volume 2 | Issue 1 - ASI Online: Accident Forgiveness
CFI-to-CFI Newsletter - Volume 2 | Issue 1 - CFI Tools: The Art of Professionalism
CFI-to-CFI Newsletter - Volume 2 | Issue 1 - Checklist: Fuel— Good to Go?
CFI-to-CFI Newsletter - Volume 2 | Issue 1 - Safety Spotlight: That Sinking Feeling
CFI-to-CFI Newsletter - Volume 2 | Issue 1 - Chief's Corner: In Their Shoes
CFI-to-CFI Newsletter - Volume 2 | Issue 1 - 8
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