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Thread: Dead Stick Landings

  1. #1
    Bob Breeden's Avatar
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    Dead Stick Landings

    Got the bug to go fly tonight. Something interesting. Well, that's normal, so far...

    Went out and blasted off....into the hot summer haze and murk. VFR, but more like looking through chicken broth or cheap lemonade. Anywhere to fly looking horizontal was not looking like big fun. So what else to do???

    Aha! I could see the ground straight down just fine.

    So climb way on up to 400 feet agl, slow down, low power to cool the girl, full flaps, pull mixture, nose up through a couple of burbles at about 30 mph to stop the prop.... then nose over to about 55.... and oh so sweet a smooth, steep arc back to the strip.... headset off; felt nice to hear the tires slap the grass and then spin up.... I just had to go do that again.

    Any other compulsive Cub drivers play like that? Just curious.

    Bob Breeden

    Oh, by the way, before this becomes a lightning rod for anybody who might get all atwitter about this... consider your thought and think "proficientcy training".

  2. #2

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    heck, that sounds normal to me, add some 90- 270's/ wheel landings to either end of the strip 50-100 agl & the length of your short strip and even some wierd wind into it and yeah, thats heaven!

  3. #3
    murph's Avatar
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    Hey Bob:

    Good to see you're still doing weird stuff. I worried that you'd gone normal on us. :P

    murph

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    Rick Papp's Avatar
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    Flying lots latlely right at dark, landing over trees on familar strips. Gives a whole new perspective of ground references. Also adds lots of natural micro VGs [ bugs]. Caution Buzz field first for deer!!! Rick

  5. #5
    Torch's Avatar
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    Bob,

    I have never shut down the engine. I pull it to idle and make a landing from the pattern. Maybe it is just me but the Cessna pilots here make these huge patterns and if their engine ever quits they will have to land off airport. I keep my patterns nice and tight so no matter where I am just about at any time I can land on the runway at the airport if the engine quits. I love giving a biennial flight review to someone that flies huge patterns. As soon as they get set up on their wide downwind I pull the power on them and ask them what they are going to do now. Their response, and they are proud of themselves, "I am going to land on that street." Thats when I hit them hard with the, "If you kept your pattern in close we could land safely on a freaking runway at the airport." Most pilots that I do that to say that they were never taught that. Sorry didn't mean to rant but I hate following some dip stick in a C185 making 3 mile patterns.

    Torch

  6. #6

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    Yes I did that a couple of weeks ago. Wanted to know if I could air start. Went up to 4000' and shut her off, stopped the prop, pushed over went thru 120 mph and it wouldn't start so I went and entered the pattern and landed, got out gave the prop a swing and was off again what fun.

    Matt

  7. #7
    SJ's Avatar
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    My question: Do you need a glider rating to do it legally?

    sj

  8. #8
    S2D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torch
    Bob,

    I have never shut down the engine. I pull it to idle and make a landing from the pattern. Maybe it is just me but the Cessna pilots here make these huge patterns and if their engine ever quits they will have to land off airport. I keep my patterns nice and tight so no matter where I am just about at any time I can land on the runway at the airport if the engine quits. I love giving a biennial flight review to someone that flies huge patterns. As soon as they get set up on their wide downwind I pull the power on them and ask them what they are going to do now. Their response, and they are proud of themselves, "I am going to land on that street." Thats when I hit them hard with the, "If you kept your pattern in close we could land safely on a freaking runway at the airport." Most pilots that I do that to say that they were never taught that. Sorry didn't mean to rant but I hate following some dip stick in a C185 making 3 mile patterns.

    Torch
    I always had tha drilled in me too but since I almost never get high enough to make a normal pattern, it is moot. Also got to wondering. If you feel you have to make a pattern this way, do you pull the power off as soon as you enter the pattern? cause adding even a touch of power means you screwed up. Do you make all your short field landings into real tight spots the same way? if not why? Your engine could quit then too. what happens when you are still 5 miles out from the airport? Do you always stay high enough to glide to an airport if the engine quits. I gotta admit I just ain't good enough to make all my landings dead stick and land on the exact spot I want at the exact speed I need when I only have a minimum amount of area to land on. Always thought that idea came from the era that engines were so undependable that if you pulled the power back, it had a good chance of quitting.-- Not that I am for ungodly huge patterns either.

  9. #9
    Big AK's Avatar
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    I learned alot more than float flying from my float rating instructor. He said it takes 65mph indicated on final to have enough energy left over to smoothly round-out and flare a loaded dead-stick SuperCub....75 for a loaded dead-stick Float SuperCub.

    Also, when seated in the front of a SuperCub, the dead-stick gliding radius is "anything visible underneath the jury strut spacer" (the tube that separates the Jury struts at the lift struts). This is a "rough" guideline, of course.

    I ridgesoared my PA-11, deadstick, a few years back. Took my Mom with me a week later to do it again. It was a three thousand foot high ridge in twenty-five MPH winds, and no problem at all to soar the ridge.

    Any "new" type of flying should be given extra respect and forethougt before its undertaking. Be Careful.

    DMC

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    Rule of thumb for any airplane for no-power minimum approach speed to fly:

    1.4 Vs (clean) & 1.5 Vso (full flap)

    That will give you adequate margin for steep banking and enough speed to allow proper flare from the steeper descent angle & rate.

  11. #11
    Bob Breeden's Avatar
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    Dead Stick Landings

    Wow, guys, interesting.

    DMC, yeah, you are right about "new types of flying" or when stretching your personal envelope is a time for an equal amount of caution to go with the exhilaration . And it is prudent to learn and safely stretch ourselves everyday, or otherwise we risk complacency, right?

    I lapsed in not mentioning that this is not the first time to play with deadstick landings. Sometime ask me about deadsticking a high performance retractable spamcan...into the same grass strip. A Cub is a piece of cake - if for no other reason than it comes down steeply, allowing for a spot on landing - instead of metering a flat approach with gear, flaps and slips to specify where you will land; as it is with clean, fast airplane with no drag from a windmilling prop....

    Altitude at the start, airspeed regulation (slower is steeper, faster will stretch it - to a point), aircraft configuration, strip length; there are myriad interesting variables, which is what makes is so fun.

    I can't think of a more fun plane than the Cub to play with...

    Thanks,
    Bob Breeden

  12. #12
    PA12driver's Avatar
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    Some people from Montana are definetly not high enough to fly a pattern????

    I was taught from the old school that you should always include in your scan the options available to you "if and when the windmill quits".

    I agree with the "best" pattern altitude is one that would allow you to land dead stick from any place in the pattern.

    I have been told that most instructors don't teach dead stick landings due to the liability of having an accident and then the NTSB finding that there was "nothing" wrong with the engine, thus the PIC could be considered negligent (kinda similar to running out of gas??) or taking off from an airstrip of inadequate length for the configuration of the Aircraft??

    CFII's what have you heard on the subject??

    Tim

  13. #13
    Student Pilot's Avatar
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    Deadstick

    A PA22-20 feels a bit different with the prop stopped, horizontal it seems to affect the tailplane by buffeting. If the prop is up and down everything seems fine, I'm sure the SC would be the same. I dont know the figures but the extra speed of the Pacer would balance out the slightly flater glide of the bigger wing on the SC.

    The glide performance (ratio) would be very similar I'm sure except the SC would be slower. For a 360 turn expect to lose up to 800 feet with the prop stopped and a resonable speed, too slow with any machine and the drag curve takes over and the glide ratio decreases rapidly. Finish off the landing by keeping 10 knots or so more than normal because the speed really washes off with no engine.

    Landing on a dark night (I'm talking with power now) is pretty hard work without runway lights, if it's a long runway (800 metres) its not too bad. The main trouble is lining up, a single light either end of the runway makes it a lot easier. Once you get down to where you can see with the aircraft lights (the Pacer ones are the same as a SC and it's only the last 100 foot or so you can make things out) ordinary white runway markers show up to give height guidence, some blokes use ordinary road reflecters set up like runway lights. In this country an AH and DG are required for ordinary night flying, for night AG work all that is required is airspeed, turn and bank and altitude (and some pretty good lights which are only used the last 200 feet of letting down and to spray, turning them off to pull up and turn).

  14. #14
    cubdrvr's Avatar
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    I wonder where the term "dead stick" came from.....seems it's actually a dead engine........the stick works fine. Back in the 60's when I did a lot of instructing we all taught power off approaches with the power being pulled on downwind. It was a good preparation for the students to give them the feel of the airplane should an engine ever quit.....but the power was available should it be necessary. Prop stopped descents and landings are fun and, similar to breaking out on a 200 & 1/2 appproach, you're not assured of the outcome until your options are few or none. Good competent pilots like Bob can do these all day long but I would not advise instructors to teach "dead sticks"......let the students explore these on their own at a later date in their flying if they wish. You sure don't want the student, after a "dead stick" accident to tell the Feds "Hey, Dave showed me that when I was learning to fly"
    Another fun stunt we used to do in the C-150 ( at altitude ) was to lock the control column, don't use the rudders, and fly the airplane with the power for climbs/descents and the doors for directional control.
    "Sometimes a Cigar is just a Cigar"

  15. #15
    SJ's Avatar
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    Dead stick I believe refers to the old' wooden prop (stick) standing still...

    sj

  16. #16
    S2D's Avatar
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    In my Mooney I would try to ease the power back to idle about 15 miles out and try to make the whole approach without using power, most of the time I could come pretty close to my intended spot. My spray plane I don't even worry about, cause if the engine quits in it, you just point it straight down and hpoe you got enough airspeed to flare, its got the glide ratio of a rock. If I'm trying to make a real short landing in a Super Cub without an obstacle, I use lots of power and flaps but if the engine quits 100 yards out, I'm screwed.
    I'm just curious how people reason their way of thinking for patterns.
    I've had the priviledge of flying in front of a few old timers from WW2 and high time SC Pilots and they all had their own way of making an approach(none were the same) and weren't afraid to tell to tell me I wasn't doing it right (their way).

  17. #17
    PA12driver's Avatar
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    The great and somewhat unique quality of a SC is that it can be flown successfully using a variety of technique. I would say, and I think most would agree it is still a matter of practice, practice, practice. Successful STOL performance is as much knowing what you can't get away with as what you can get away with. Just like Babe Ruth and other record holders, they failed more then most, in doing so they also won more then anyone else.

    Such is life!

    Be safe,

    Tim

  18. #18
    flyguybri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PA12driver
    I have been told that most instructors don't teach dead stick landings due to the liability of having an accident and then the NTSB finding that there was "nothing" wrong with the engine, thus the PIC could be considered negligent (kinda similar to running out of gas??) or taking off from an airstrip of inadequate length for the configuration of the Aircraft??

    CFII's what have you heard on the subject??

    Tim

    I have a friend who did pull the engine once with a student. When the student mentioned it to some friends who were pilots and instructors, they all freaked out and told her how dangerous it was and that she should switch instrutors. I don't know of anyone else who has done it, I never did it in my training. I don't think it's something that's done even rarely.

    I had a student do a simulated engine failure to a landing at Cedars North once in one of the Cubs. One of the tires went flat and we had to call and have the owner fly out in a 150 and switch the tire. I got my butt chewed out for landing at a "private" airport. I talked to him later and showed him it wasn't private anymore and he was ok. So, as a CFI, you've got to be pretty careful to cover your butt, not just from the NTSB but from the flight school owner too

  19. #19

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    Regarding 'dead stick' landings:

    I will not solo a student until they have performed at least two simulated engine failures with approach to an appropriate landing site (down to 500' or less) and at least FIVE poweroff landings from various places in the traffic pattern, including climbout if the airport has a cross runway that can be used in crosswind or downwind.

    In the early 60's, my old grouchy instructor made me LAND three times power off in a J-3.... twice in alfalfa fields, once on a road.... BEFORE solo.

    Most of today's problem is (IMHO) that the average CFI is dangerous doing such a thing... much less the student.

  20. #20
    WIflier's Avatar
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    Dead stick landings

    I've probably done 25 to 30 dead stick landings in my old BC12D best darn powered glider ever built. I remember one time I shut it down at about 5000 feet and was having a good time until some guy in a 150 spotted me . He kept circleing me, made me a little nervous trying to keep an eye on him and my position to the strip . He didn't know the strip was there and I coulden't get 65 to tick over Landed and he landed behind me and wanted to know if I was all right and needed any help. I told him what I was doing and was all right and didn't his help I think he thought I was nuts . Another time Matt had just started flying with an instructor and for his dual cross country they were taking me to pick up a Supercub I just bought. I was relaxing in the back seat of our 172 at 4500 feet when some how my foot knocked the fuel selector to the off position. When it quit Matt did an exelent job of getting it running again but it sure pissed the instructor off . I guess they don't like surprises . If you know your aircraft, your strip isn't busy, you can learn a lot with a dead stick landing.

    Si

  21. #21
    Torch's Avatar
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    I gave a friend a bi-ennial flight review in his PA-12. We were in the pattern on the downwind and I pulled the power to idle and told him to land the aircraft on a runway. He had plenty of space to do it in. If the pattern is flown properly one can land out of the pattern if the engine quits or power is pulled to idle. His first action was to put a notch of flaps in. I ask him if he could make the runway with the notch of flaps. He said yes and I said I bet you cannot make it now. He turns base and sees he will not make it. He takes the notch of flaps out and makes the end of the runway. He is a pilot with a bunch of PA12 time. When we finished the bi-ennial he got out and said, "Don, I didn't think you could teach me anything about flying my plane that I didn't know. You taught me something today." He shook my hand. I was taught by my instructor to do landings with the power pulled to idle. When I got my float rating the FAA designated examiner pulled the power to idle on the plane and had me land out of the traffic pattern. Maybe things are different here in Alaska. He also made me do a 180 degree step turn in the channel at Fairbanks. I was supposed to get about halfway through and shut it down and tell him I can't do it safely. At least that is what he wanted to see. I did the complete turn. After the ride he said he didn't fail me because I made the turn safely without coming close to other aircraft. Up here you better be ready to fly.

    Torch

  22. #22
    SJ's Avatar
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    Because there maybe some confusion on this thread, let's first say that a "power off" (idle) landing and a "no power available" (pulled mixture) landing are two different things completely - especially in the instructional environment. As an instructor, except with very advanced students, I am very careful not to teach them things that are outside of the cirriculum that could get them into trouble. I teach the heck out of "power idle" landings both in and out of the pattern.

    However, you can imagine when the television reporter was asking the kid standing 300 yards short of the runway in a field, "So turning off the engine in the air was something your instructor taught you to do?" "What has his name?"....

    Having said that, after some spins series up high, I have pulled the mixture on numerous occasions and glided down. I have the advantage of being able to use the electric button to get things going again however...

    sj

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    Absolutely... shock cooling is a factor. Another good reason to use 'idle' versus pulling the mixture. Idle keeps the flame in the cylinders and gives you an 'out' with instant power-up if required. One would look very silly if the mixture cable broke when you pulled it in the air and it wouldn't reset to rich. I know it has happened on the ground during engine shutdown.. so it could happen in the air as well.

  25. #25
    S2D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve

    Having said that, after some spins series up high, I have pulled the mixture on numerous occasions and glided down. I have the advantage of being able to use the electric button to get things going again however...

    sj
    Do you pull the nose up and actually stop the prop Steve?
    I used to shut the fuel off in my C-150 on students just to wake them up. never had the prop stop without pulling the nose up intentionally.
    Does anyone know the speed required to get a prop windmilling again from a stopped position or does it depend on the compression of your engine. I know its quite a bit because one of my spray pilots tried it in his j3 and couldn't get it to move at the J-3 's redline.

  26. #26

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    Prop rotation in 150 hp Citabria was 130+ mph... sometimes 140 mph IAS.

    Depends on compression and prop pitch.

    Prop is putting pressure on cylinder with valves closed. After a few seconds, compression sometimes bleeds off enough to get the prop to spin to next compression cycle. At that point, often the inertia of the prop turning and the air forces will take it through the cycle and the aircraft will start.

    If you only have an impulse on one magneto, you should switch to that mag as you are flirting with a kickback to airstart with mags selected 'both'.

  27. #27
    cubdrvr's Avatar
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    I used to feather a prop doing ME instruction in 310 or Baron. Without accumulators is was about a 220-230 mph dive to restart. Only thing wrong with stopping single engine props is that is may be the first of "the series" of bad decisions that could lead to an accident. Older is sometimes wiser??.........or more chicken-hearted>>.
    "Sometimes a Cigar is just a Cigar"

  28. #28
    kase's Avatar
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    I got a BFR in 1987 in our PA11 and we shut the motor off and pulled the nose up to get the prop to stop. Flew around for awhile and decided to start the engine. Dove to 135 and couldnt get it to windmill. Landed at the airport with out incident but the instructor made me push the plane the last 50 ft because I slipped to make the runway and bled off to much speed to make it to the ramp. I stopped and talked to him last month on the way home from OSH. He said he always remembers me because in 50+ years of instructing I had the only plane he couldnt get to start. Hes in his 80s now and still instructing.

  29. #29
    SJ's Avatar
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    Stopped the prop once, it was quiet... too quiet...

    sj

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    Student Pilot's Avatar
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    Shock cooling

    How would flying around on a low power setting for 5 minutes till the engine cools right down then shutting it down and stopping the prop (only starting after landing then warming up as normal) be any different to shuting down in cold weather after flying? Do you folk from the colder climes put engine plugs and cover on after flying? Do you put engine heaters on after flying to keep things warm for a while? if so how long and what temp do you take them off and what is the ambient Temp?

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    SuperCub MD's Avatar
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    We used to always shut down and feather each engine at least once per flight when ME training, even in the dead cold of winter. We tried to get the guys to cool them down slow first, and warm them back up slow after restart, but these were renters... I know it's not good for them, but I can't really remember these planes having any more cylinder problems than any other rental type planes that were not subjected to this.

    When it comes to the shock cooling debate, I always ask what about flying through a big rainstorm? Nothing can be worse than getting those heads nice and hot, than throwing cold water on them. Even shutting them down dead from full power and gliding in could not achieve the fast cool down the water will.

    Being very gentle with the throttle whenever possible is the way to go though. Back in the good old days when more large piston twins were working corporate and charter, the planes that would get the engines consistently to TBO without problems were the ones that were flown by the pilots that were the easiest on the throttles.

    Is it true that some CFI's don't give primary students simulated engine failures anymore? I thought that was even in the PTS?

    There was once a CFI who loved to pull the throttle back on his students, did it all the time. He was flying with a particularly grumpy student who didn't apreciate this extra training. So when the CFI pull the throttle on him one to many times, the student shut the engine off with the mags, pull the key out of the switch, and threw it out the window. Than he said to his instructor, "There a-hole, now YOU find a place to land the SOB!"

  34. #34
    SJ's Avatar
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    Boz,

    "Emergency landings" are still in the PTS - power to idle.

    180 degree power off accuracy landing has been put back into the commercial PTS. You must land withing 200 ft beyond the "spot". It is a great manuver and I think will help pilots a lot.

    sj

  35. #35
    CaptFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperCub MD
    We used to always shut down and feather each engine at least once per flight when ME training, even in the dead cold of winter. We tried to get the guys to cool them down slow first, and warm them back up slow after restart, but these were renters... I know it's not good for them, but I can't really remember these planes having any more cylinder problems than any other rental type planes that were not subjected to this.

    When it comes to the shock cooling debate, I always ask what about flying through a big rainstorm? Nothing can be worse than getting those heads nice and hot, than throwing cold water on them. Even shutting them down dead from full power and gliding in could not achieve the fast cool down the water will.

    Being very gentle with the throttle whenever possible is the way to go though. Back in the good old days when more large piston twins were working corporate and charter, the planes that would get the engines consistently to TBO without problems were the ones that were flown by the pilots that were the easiest on the throttles.
    MD, Id agree totally on the Shock cooling debate, I did not want to be the first on to jump in on it but I agree with you.

    I think it is overated especially on the relativly small non turbo engines. Obviously the more gentile the throttles has to be better for them, Most trainers and commercial operators routinly make it to TBO and they can get alot of abuse.

    I think alot of people want to use it as their excuse for problems with their engines but it is probably more to it than "SHOCK COOLING" Alot of people do not realize that even though you have an "Overhauled engine" what is the age and history on all the parts on it!!! I've seen many with TT's in the 5-7000 hour range or more with 0 SMOH with overhauled cylinders but how old are they, If the Cylinder has been overhalued once, twice or more it could be getting quite fatigued even though it met overhaul tolerances when done and could let go at any time? Yes shock cooling could contribute to this but I think age could be also a big factor.

    David.

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  37. #37
    StewartB
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    You could make an argument that water interferes with the efficiency of heat transfer in an air-cooled engine. I've never noticed any difference whether it's raining or not. I do see differences based on air temp. If everybody is really concerned with shock cooling, get a digital gauge and watch your CHT's. Descents aren't as bad as you think, if you keep some power on, but watch when you turn off the motor. The manufacturers have always said if you could just start an engine and let it scream for 2000 hours, they'd all make TBO. It's the starting and stopping that kills engines.
    SB

  38. #38
    Cubus Maximus's Avatar
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    RE the ME feathering: My first twin instruction was in an old Baron without accumulators. Feathered the right engine and couldn't get it started again - crank, crank, crank, nothing...(drained the battery - old generator wires)

    Finally got it going on final for 23 after it had a long time to cool down and build up the battery again. My left leg got a nice workout anyway.

    Brad

  39. #39
    Aviator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cubdrvr
    ... Back in the 60's when I ...
    I know exactly what you're talking about, cubdrvr. I didn't know how to do power-on approaches (let alone landings) until I got into meat-hauling (revenue flying). Dead-sticking used to be SOP, day or night. Still, I get a real kick out of these "back when" lines that date us. Reminds me of the old Leathernecks' favorite slopshoot conversation-opener: "Back in the Old Corps..." The story goes like this:

    Back in 1775 when recruiting started for the new Marine Corps in Tun Tavern, the very first enlistee came in, signed the papers and took the oath. He was then told to go outside in the cold and wait for the other enlistees to be processed. After a few minutes the second enlistee came out and sat on the porchsteps beside the first. The first man looked at the second and began: "Son, let me tell you about the Old Corps."

    S.F.
    Nick

  40. #40
    mvivion's Avatar
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    I love it!!

    As to the shock cooling debate, I think it's like a lot of things, as noted before on this thread:

    Keep the changes at least a little gradual, and there simply won't be any problems. It's the guy who goes through a long cooling period, then shoves full power on with a lot of choke in the cylinders who may have some problems. Same reason we warm up a bit prior to launch, and it's cylinder head temp I worry about in that case.

    As to cooling after flight in severe cold: No, we don't do anything special. If you are at -40 and land, with an expected departure in an hour or so, put the engine cover on. That's it. If the plane is done for the day, it's going to get to ambient temperature pretty quick anyway, and whether it does so in ten minutes or two hours isn't a big deal.

    Personally, I think all the hype about shock cooling is just that: hype.

    But shoving a fistful of throttle onto a cold engine can't be good, in my book.

    Mike V

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