Flight Training - July 2012 - 44

FLIGHT LESSON

By Rick Helgeson
FLIGHT LESSON offers the opportunity for pilots to learn from the experiences of others.

CHAIR FLYING TO THE RESCUE

POWER SURGE

I

n my 18 years on this Earth, I recall only a couple of incidents that caused me to fear for my life. The most recent occurred on February 5, 2012, while flying solo in our 1978 Piper Warrior II on the outskirts of Orlando, Florida.
craft into a climbing left turn toward the airport. This maneuver put enough load on the propeller to bring the rpm and airspeed within limits while I simultaneously declared an emergency and maneuvered the aircraft toward a left base to final. Remembering a story I had read in this

On the day of the incident, the weather was perfect for training as I climbed away from the traffic pattern from my home base, a nontowered field just outside Orlando. Visibility was unlimited with only light winds and a cloudless sky. I had just finished a few touch and goes and was departing to the practice area to work on

THE AIRSPEED INDICATOR WAS ACCELERATING THROUGH THE TOP END OF THE GREEN ARC, AND THE TACHOMETER WAS REDLINED.
the commercial pilot maneuvers in preparation for the checkride. I had logged 150 hours total time. Upon reaching the practice area while straight and level at 2,000 feet msl, the aircraft’s engine suddenly surged to full power. All attempts to reduce power with the throttle were fruitless; the airspeed indicator was accelerating through the top end of the green arc, and the tachometer was redlined. After a few heart-pounding moments spent troubleshooting, I pulled the airmagazine, I reduced fuel flow using the mixture control and was able to control the engine surge enough to descend out of 2,500 feet to 2,000. But I feared doing so for an extended period would cause a catastrophic engine failure and soon abandoned this procedure. After radioing other aircraft in the area about my intentions and inside two miles on a left base at 2,000 feet, I pulled the mixture control to idle cutoff and began a dead-stick landing. The engine shut down normally. From this point only the sound

of the airflow around the aircraft could be heard as the propeller ceased rotating. Flaps were added as landing at the airport was assured. Approaching the runway, I returned the mixture control to rich and was prepared for a restart in the event a go-around was necessary. The aircraft crossed the threshold slightly above a normal glidepath at 80 knots. An uneventful landing followed, and I was able to maintain enough speed to exit the runway. As I exited I radioed that the runway was clear. Postflight inspection of the engine revealed that a bolt at the throttle cable attach point to the carburetor was missing. This missing part caused the full throttle condition. Incidentally, this part is not visible during a preflight inspection. The aircraft has since been repaired and is once again airworthy. You can never be too prepared for a flight, no matter how routine. Keeping your mind immersed in aviation and staying proficient have more value than any flight instructor can express. I hadn’t expected this to happen, but I had prepared myself by chair flying through this type of emergency after reading a similar story involving a Piper Cub. The preparation and postflight discussions of emergency procedures with my instructors allowed me to understand what was happening and take decisive action. When my airplane failed me, I was able to anticipate my next moves by maintaining the proper focus and executing the steps necessary to bring the airplane down safely. I used clear and concise radio calls to alert other aircraft and prepared my aircraft for a possible go-around. The end result was a safe landing and a very relieved pilot.

LESSONS LEARNED
Know your airplane’s systems. Practice for the unexpected. Chair flying and simulated scenarios can help to keep you focused.
ALEX WILLIAMSON

44 /

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Flight Training - July 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Flight Training - July 2012

Flight Training - July 2012
President’s Perspective
Right Seat
Letters
Best of Both Worlds
How It Works
Knowledge Test News
After the Checkride
News
Since You Asked
News
Final Exam
Products
ASI News
AOPA Action
Flying Carpet
ENJOY THE VIEW
V IS FOR VELOCITY
TECHNIQUE
Weather
Checkride
Flight Lesson
Year One
Career Advisor
Tech Talk
Is Flying Hard?
Delaying Solo
Are You Positive?
Advertiser Index
Debrief
Flight Training - July 2012 - Flight Training - July 2012
Flight Training - July 2012 - Cover2
Flight Training - July 2012 - 1
Flight Training - July 2012 - 2
Flight Training - July 2012 - 3
Flight Training - July 2012 - President’s Perspective
Flight Training - July 2012 - 5
Flight Training - July 2012 - Right Seat
Flight Training - July 2012 - Letters
Flight Training - July 2012 - 8
Flight Training - July 2012 - 9
Flight Training - July 2012 - Best of Both Worlds
Flight Training - July 2012 - 11
Flight Training - July 2012 - How It Works
Flight Training - July 2012 - Knowledge Test News
Flight Training - July 2012 - After the Checkride
Flight Training - July 2012 - News
Flight Training - July 2012 - Since You Asked
Flight Training - July 2012 - 17
Flight Training - July 2012 - News
Flight Training - July 2012 - 19
Flight Training - July 2012 - Final Exam
Flight Training - July 2012 - Products
Flight Training - July 2012 - ASI News
Flight Training - July 2012 - AOPA Action
Flight Training - July 2012 - 24
Flight Training - July 2012 - 25
Flight Training - July 2012 - Flying Carpet
Flight Training - July 2012 - 27
Flight Training - July 2012 - ENJOY THE VIEW
Flight Training - July 2012 - 29
Flight Training - July 2012 - 30
Flight Training - July 2012 - 31
Flight Training - July 2012 - 32
Flight Training - July 2012 - 33
Flight Training - July 2012 - V IS FOR VELOCITY
Flight Training - July 2012 - 35
Flight Training - July 2012 - 36
Flight Training - July 2012 - 37
Flight Training - July 2012 - TECHNIQUE
Flight Training - July 2012 - 39
Flight Training - July 2012 - Weather
Flight Training - July 2012 - 41
Flight Training - July 2012 - 42
Flight Training - July 2012 - Checkride
Flight Training - July 2012 - Flight Lesson
Flight Training - July 2012 - Year One
Flight Training - July 2012 - Career Advisor
Flight Training - July 2012 - 47
Flight Training - July 2012 - Tech Talk
Flight Training - July 2012 - Is Flying Hard?
Flight Training - July 2012 - Delaying Solo
Flight Training - July 2012 - Are You Positive?
Flight Training - July 2012 - Advertiser Index
Flight Training - July 2012 - 53
Flight Training - July 2012 - 54
Flight Training - July 2012 - 55
Flight Training - July 2012 - Debrief
Flight Training - July 2012 - Cover3
Flight Training - July 2012 - Cover4
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