AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 22

FLYING LIFE

Not just 'those pilots'

BY NATALIE BINGHAM HOOVER

An emergency hits close to home

NATALIE BINGHAM
HOOVER is a
CFI, CFII, and
multiengine
instructor with
more than 3,000
hours of dual given.

22 | AOPA PILOT May 2021

WHEN YOU HEAR SCARY STORIES about aviation emergencies, how do you continue to climb into your
airplane day after day knowing there's a real possibility that something like an engine failure or electrical
fire could happen to you? My coping mechanism has
often been to tell myself I'm safe because I would never
make the same mistakes as those pilots. This method
works just fine until the bad thing happens to a friend,
a person I respect as a consummate professional aviator. In short, it could have happened to anyone. It could
have happened to...me.
But for you readers who don't know Katie George
like I do, you might be able to go on pretending you
are immune. So you know that she's a real person, and
not some faceless pilot, let me describe her. She has
wavy blond hair and blue eyes. She reads psychological thrillers on the airport couch on rainy days. She
loves mint chocolate chip ice cream and grew up with
a pet guinea pig named Fluffy. She has an easy laugh
that you can hear all the way down the hall, and has
never met a stranger. If you knew her, you'd want to
be her friend.
Let me tell you what happened to your new friend,
Katie: As a flight instructor, she observed her student
do a preflight on a Cessna 152, before they took off for a
local lesson to the practice area. On run-up, all indications were normal, but because it was cold and humid,
she and her student discussed the possibility of carburetor ice and did a takeoff emergency briefing. On the
climbout, they noticed a slight drop in rpm.
" You still have the throttle all the way in, right? "
Katie confirmed with her student.
Within seconds, the rpm dropped further, and
Katie took control of the airplane. At 500 feet agl and
with zero time for hesitation or troubleshooting, Katie
made a 180-degree turn and informed tower she was
landing. By the time she was facing the runway again,
the propeller had completely stopped. She heard the
stall horn intermittently, but felt secure enough in
their gliding capability that she continued to stretch
it, landing without injury or damage about 1,000 feet
down the runway. Maintenance towed the airplane
in, while Katie said mankind's most authentic prayer
(God, thank you for letting me live) and decided to take
the rest of the day off.
The next morning, without yet knowing why that
engine had failed, Katie forced herself to get back in

the air with another student in a different airplane. I
saw her in the runup pad and marveled at her courage,
which is most definitely, as Nelson Mandela said, not
the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.
What caused the engine to fail? After the incident,
the mechanic pulled multiple sump cups of water out
of the strainer drain. But they sumped the fuel before
the flight! The rational part of me that demands fairness and explanations cannot let that detail go. My
friend was standing right there, making sure a thorough preflight was conducted. She did everything the
way she was supposed to. Katie will never know if her
student's sump cup had a water bubble in it that they
missed, or if the sump cup was completely full of water
and therefore no separation of water and fuel would
have been visible, or if the water that made it into the
engine never actually made it into the sump cup, but
had settled in another spot in the wing.
Here are the things I'm taking away from our
friend's story. When I sump the fuel now, I get out
from under the shade of the wing and hold that thing
up in the light against the white paint of the fuselage. Sometimes it doesn't look all that blue, so you
can also do a smell test to confirm that a strong fuel
smell is present. You can also sump small amounts
from several sumps into one cup, so that if one sump
is all water, hopefully another spot will have all fuel
and you will get a clearly visible separation of good
stuff from bad stuff. However, as numerous studies
have shown, you can take all these precautions and
still end up with enough water in the tank to cause
engine trouble. In no activity can risk ever be minimized to nil.
Even though it was zero fun to lose an engine on
climbout, the story ends well, in part, because a competent pilot was at the controls. Katie did a verbal
pre-takeoff brief so when that engine quit producing
power, she knew exactly what to do without hesitation. She relied on her training and her experience in
the airplane and managed to get herself and her student safely on the ground. Many, many pilots have not
been so fortunate. And perhaps the biggest takeaway
of all is that Katie got back in the air the very next
day. Flying frequently demands much of us: skill and
proficiency and sometimes extraordinary amounts of
courage. 
AOPA
myaviation101.com


http://www.myaviation101.com

AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021

Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - Intro
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - Cover1
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - Cover2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 4
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 5
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 6
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 7
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 8
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 9
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 10
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 11
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 12
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 13
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 14
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 15
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 16
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 17
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 18
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 19
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 20
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 21
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 22
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 23
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 24
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 25
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 26
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 27
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 28
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 29
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 30
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 31
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 32
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 33
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 34
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 35
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 36
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 37
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 38
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 39
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 40
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 41
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 42
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 43
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 44
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 45
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 46
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 47
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 48
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 49
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 50
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 51
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 52
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 53
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 54
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 55
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 56
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 57
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 58
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 59
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 60
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 61
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 62
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 63
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 64
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 65
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 66
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 67
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 68
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 69
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 70
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 71
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 72
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 73
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 74
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 75
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 76
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 77
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 78
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 79
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 80
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 81
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 82
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 83
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 84
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 85
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 86
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 87
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 88
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 89
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 90
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 91
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 92
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 93
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 94
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 95
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 96
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 97
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 98
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 99
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 100
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 101
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 102
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 103
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 104
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 105
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 106
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 107
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 108
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 109
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 110
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 111
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 112
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - Cover3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_202107
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_202106
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_202105
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_202104
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_202103
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_202102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_202101
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_202012
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_202011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_202010
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_202009
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_202008
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_202007
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_202006
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_202005
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_202004
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_202003
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_202002
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_202001
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201912
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201911
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201909
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201908
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201907
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201906
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201905
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201904
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201903
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201902
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201901
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201812
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201811
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201810
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201809
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201808
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201807
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201806
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201805
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201804
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201803
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201802
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201801
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201712
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201711
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201710
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201709
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201707
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201706
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201705
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201704
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201703
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201702
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201701
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201612
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201611
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201610
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201609
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201608
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201607
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201606
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201605
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201604
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201603
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201602
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201601
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201512
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201511
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201510
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201509
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201508
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201507
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201505
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201504
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201503
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201502
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201501
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201412
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201411
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201410
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201409
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201408
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201407
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201406
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201405
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201404
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201403
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201402
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201401
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201312
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201311
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201310
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201309
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201308
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201307
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201306
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201305
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201303
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201302
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201301
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201212
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201211
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201210
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201209
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201208
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201207
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201206
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201205
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201204
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201203
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201202
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201201
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201111
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201110
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201109
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201108
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201107
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201106
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201105
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201104
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201103
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201103_test
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201011demo
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot_201011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/pilot0308
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com