We can stop the general aviation twin engine aircraft from losing control and hurting people. The airlines do it and we can do it also. The loss of lives and aircraft can be stopped. It is really a simple solution. So what are the problems?
- PILOT TRAINING FOR CONTROL
- UNDERSTANDING THE SYSTEMS.
Let’s take the last one first. If you understand how a system works then you can anticipate a problem sometimes before it happens. Learning the systems also teaches you what you can do and what you cannot do when an indication changes. The example is when you see a gauge go in a different direction, what does that mean. Does it mean you put it on the ground? Does it mean you continue with the flight? Does it mean you just report it to a maintenance facility or maintenance person of the reading? If you do not know what those gauges mean then you will probably make the wrong decisions. As I teach in class I’ve learned that males just love to push levers and pull switches when something is not right. They do not know why they do it, they just do it and sometimes it is wrong.
Maintenance is the other problem. “Oh, I can work on your twin and what was that a “Golden Talan”? No, it was a Golden Eagle. “Oh yes, I worked on that model once”. I tell pilots that at one time you bought a brand new car and you drove it for four hours and stopped for fuel. You filled up that gas tank and then tried to start it and it would not start. You will definitely be upset. Brand new car and it would not start. So what about your aircraft?
An annual is supposed to put the plane back just like it came out of the factory. In other words, your aircraft after an annual should be returned to “like new” condition. It should start correctly just like it came out of the factory. Believe me when you bought a new aircraft, such as a Twin Cessna, Piper or Baron, it started correctly. You pretty well could do just about anything you wanted to those mixtures, throttles and primer and it would start.
Now we get pilots who ask “are you going to teach me the right way to start my Twin Cessna or Baron”? No, but we are going to tell you where you can go to make the aircraft start like it was “brand new” just off the factory line. So what is the problem? Sorry, it is the person “twisting the wrenches”.
So if it was perfect when it came out of an annual then it should be just like it was when it came out of the factory. The problems is these planes are NOT restored to original conditions.
Now we have covered maintenance and talked about systems training. Now let’s get to the one that is NOT being followed to “airline standards” and that is PILOT TRAINING.
Pilot Training. “I DON’T NEED NO PILOT TRAINING.” I can visualize the low time pilot sitting at the runway ready to push those throttles forwarding stating the “single engine prayer”. It is something like this “please do not let an engine quit until I get to 15,000 feet.
So the airlines fly many, many hours and those pilots are trained, and trained and trained, regular training of a minimum every six months. Emergencies repeated over and over. They have systems that tell them what the problems are and what to do. It becomes “automatic” to respond to a problem. It is not a “what do I do next” but it is “here is the problem, here is what we trained for, and this is what we do”. This is simple. Your passenger’s life is in your hands.
Every month a large twin engine pressurized, part 91 operated (at a minimum part 91) has a major problem resulting in at least damage to an aircraft. Everything we look at is usually pilot training and if it is not pilot training then it is systems. Even it is systems if a pilot works with a training facility that knows how to teach systems and their problems with the decision process of keeping the plane in the air is satisfied. In other words, the pilot knows what to do and what not to do.
A 172 is probably good with a flight review. An IPC done correctly will probably keep you current on instrument skills but in a twin engine aircraft it won’t. You will have to go into more detail and more training the more complex the aircraft is.
We call it the “pucker factor”. If you have a change in the aircraft operation while in flight and you do not know what to do your pucker factor goes through the roof. Folks, that is what you have to train for and you have to train with a facility that knows these aircraft. The training personnel have to understand the aircraft and also acknowledges that each pilot is different. We have sat with low time pilots who actually were pretty good in managing problems. We have sat in front of high time pilots who were “walking time bombs”. You have to train for the emergencies and you have to know what to do in your subconscious thoughts. You cannot guys, just glance at the checklist while the engine is shutting down or whatever. Time is of the essence in a critical flight situation. Think about this.
Train hard. Fly safe.